Monday, April 01, 2013

Ambiance is in The Eye of the Beholder

Last week flew by in a flutter of many things, not the least of which included junk.

 From the FREE to the pretty darn cheap, my life this week came with a heavy dose of grit, grime and things being crammed (and sometimes not - when they didn't fit) into the back seat of my car. The casters are now on the cable spool I found in the trash last week, and it's serving as an outdoor side table. At least something got done.

For $7.00, during last week's yard sale hour, I managed to score some fun as well as some practical finds, including this great boating flag.

 Got an old watch, some chain needed for a sign I'm making, some cute and dainty drawer pulls...

...this fabulous metal Costco stool...

and this terrific old Pilot stapler that works great.

These rolling plant stands came home with me too and have already come in handy as did these adorable and practical woodworking tools.

The same day I got them, I was working on a sign I was painting and needed something to scrape with. There they were, right on the counter within reach.

Then there were the FREEBIES of the week!
 My neighbor just painted her house and they had thrown their mailbox to the curb. I saw it as I was leaving for work Monday and stopped to snag it. I've already got a coat of paint on it.


Thursday is trash day in my neighborhood. I got out extra early because I needed to be on the road by 8:15. So I took a quick spin around town as the sun rose and lo and behold... I came across some interesting piles of stuff.

I should have stopped to take a decent shot, but ended up taking this one without looking as I drove back by when I was done. This doesn't really convey how huge the pile was.

Outta that pile I drug home a batch of these plantation type shutters of different sizes. Had to go home, drop some off and come back for more because my car was so packed with finds:

The top and bottom sections move independently.

These are like plantation shutters without the stick in the middle to move the slats up and down. There is another one like this that  matches, and it's looking like the two sets will fit over a window in my loft/sewing/junk room! Woo hoo! Many of these had to be hauled off the top of the pile and were covered with weeds and dirt and other things, so I just drug as many as I could off as fast as I could, crammed them in the car and took off toward home to unload, running the whole time back and forth to my car like I was in a junk race. I went back for more and ran back and threw them all out next to my house. Should have thought through which ones I was getting, but I didn't know what I was doing at the time, just figured I'd better take what I could and think about it later. I wish I could say I'm always smart enough to do that.

I gave the cute small ones I got to my friend, Lynette, who already has a use for one of them. Those had a casing around them which made them like a shadow box of sorts. I'll have to get a picture of what she is doing with them and show you later.

The same pile netted me this birdbath pedestal. I left the bowl part for some reason. Wish I had gotten it but it didn't seem worthy at the time. 

Regrets. I've had a few.  (There's a song in there somewhere.)

Believe me, I've left a lot of stuff by the wayside lately and wished later I'd taken it. Then everyone has to listen to me tell about the ones that got away. I did get some other heavy thing that's still in my car. It's a cement stand with a pipe or something sticking out. When I took it, I thought it was an umbrella stand for a patio table, which I'd like to have, but now I think it must be a sprinkler of some kind. I'll have to get it out of the car sometime and check it out more carefully. 

After unearthing what I could from that pile, I was running out of time and had to get moving, but not before I spied this beauty down the road next to the old elementary school. I couldn't believe my luck. It's one of those library magazine racks from back in the day. What would I do with it? I didn't know, but it was calling to me from my past. I couldn't turn a deaf ear, a blind eye or a cold heart toward it, now could I?

My heart started racing. Okay, it was already racing from running and rushing and all the other anxieties that had been piling on all week, but this was the kind of heart racing that says, "YOU MUST HAVE THIS!" Unfortunately, there was no way it was going to fit into my car.

Heavy as lead too.

I drove by it about 4 times trying to imagine the regret that would hound me if I didn't succeed in carting it home, the pain I would feel if this little piece of childhood history went to the dump, forever lost. For a brief moment, I contemplated shoving it on top of my car's hood and driving very slowly as I was only about two blocks from home. I snapped back to reality and called one of my friends for back up. Unfortunately, she was buried in deadline work and couldn't come. Time was up, and I had to get on the road. I headed down the highway and thought, you know, Lynette might be taking her son to school over by me, maybe she could come and get it. I called. It was spring break... no school. She did, however, offer to ask her husband to come and pick it up. Paul to the rescue! Gotta love Paul. I gave directions and hoped that the trash trucks I'd been seeing all morning wouldn't find their way to this street until later on. He was on his way!

Paul arrived in time and scored it! I was so excited, and here's where the magazine rack now resides... on my back patio, a place quickly becoming a jumble of all those street side whiners begging me to take them home. The white paper sign on the rack said "Please Discard". 

Oh, those silly librarians. Why would they trash this little wonder? In their honor, I slid my reading glasses to the end of my nose, and gave them a disapproving, "Tsk, tsk."

Just before I got all involved in that, I had found another curbside stash in front of someone's home a street or so over and it was comprised of all sorts of cabinet door samples.
 The doors are all new. So many styles, so many colors of wood. I was imagining signs and chalkboards when I came across them, and I threw lots and lots in my car. I sorta hate to paint them now that I see how nice they are. Gotta wonder why they were being thrown out.

Got this bigger one for Cally if she wants it, and in case it works for her to make a chalkboard or something for her kitchen wall.

More samples. So many pretty ones. There are two white ones still in the back seat of my car and two more in my trunk still wrapped up in the original boxes. I gave some to Lynette to see if she can come up with anything to do with them. I think I got 11 or 12. There was also something big and heavy packed and taped up tight in bubble wrap. I threw that in the car too. I finally opened it yesterday afternoon. It was two brand new pieces of cabinet side wood with a finish on them that'll make a sweet tabletop or something. A fun find. Some of these cabinet doors are hinged to a casing, which gives them extra potential.

Something Else

There were more finds this week...on my way home from work on Tuesday I spotted two of these. I could only fit one in my car so I called my friend Kathryn who also happens to be my employer. She came and got the other one which has a broken arm. The good news is, it's entirely fixable. 
It's heavy duty and already has a bit of cute distressing!

There was also a Cracker Barrel rocker across the street. Kathryn got that too since I couldn't. It needs a new seat. Doable. No picture of that yet. 

Why does the trash heap call my name? I do not know, but isn't it great to have friends like this (Lynette ) who will come with their SUV and do the dirty work of diving the dumpster without qualms? 

Yes, it's an unfortunate angle for a photo, but I just grabbed my camera and snapped one quick. What can I say...With friends like me, who needs enemies? At least I put little graphics in appropriate places.

We had an audience of many during this pick, so we were working fast and I didn't get a decent picture of the dresser. Turns out after we got all this in her SUV and hauled it to her also growing stash of stuff, we realized 4 drawers were missing. I had taken two when I first spotted this piece, thinking if all else failed I'd salvage the great handles. With those we have 8 drawers of 12 so that's a good bunch of handles if nothing else. We are weighing our options about what we'll do with it now. In the end, we may totally chop this thing up and make a smaller dresser out of it. There were also two large pieces of marble that we discovered fit into cutouts in the top of the dresser. The third piece of marble was broken. The slabs will make nice table tops if we can't end up using them on the dresser. Lynette fished the marble out of the dumpster too. Within an hour we had already gone back to see if more drawers got thrown out in the meantime. No luck. It is my mission to keep checking. Nothing like becoming a regular customer at someone's apartment dumpster.

Earlier in the day I scored something that I've been wanting for some time. It's not the color I wanted, but it's cute none the less. I'll share more shots of this as well as the rest of what I found this past Saturday, later.

There's no exclamation point on this old typewriter. Is that typical? Back then I guess we were expected to depend upon the craft of our words to convey emotion. Novel concept.

"Hooray, I found a typewriter," she shouted with glee as she came through the front door and set down a dirty plastic case with a sense of pride.

Casey, unmoved by her mother's latest feat of yard sale prowess, and considering the addition of another piece of old junk a less than thrilling prospect for adding ambiance to our home, responded as she is known to do. 

"Okay," she acquiesed without ever looking up from her studies, careful not to imply the slightest interest or encouragement lest she find herself buried up to the neck in symbols of her mother's past before she ever turns 21. 

Unfortunately for Casey, Mother was not the least bit daunted by the underwhelming response. 

After all, ambiance is in the eye of the beholder.

Like I said, it's been a busy week. I also found something else that Lynette helped me drag home from Goodwill. I'm thrilled with it, but we don't exactly have room for it at the moment. It will require the removal of The Beast I brought home and painted last Summer. Meanwhile, the living room has a large impediment just inside the front door.

I have work to do.

More on that later!

Ivy and Elephants

Thursday Favorite Things

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Furniture Feature Fridays

French Country Cottage

Lavender Garden Cottage


mop it up mondays


  1. Liz, you always find such cool stuff for free or next to nothing. Love the boat flag, the stool, the old stapler, shutters and cabinet doors.

  2. Liz,
    You are the Junkin Queen. You find the best stuff and for free. My favs are those cute chairs. I love the vintage library rack too glad Paul could help you save that cutie!!!! You are going to be so busy with all your treasure finds.

  3. What a haul! I could so be your partner in crime if I lived nearby!!

  4. Wow! You found great stuff! I found a beat up mannequin the other day who is still in the back of the van giving folks a scare! LOL I had to warn the guy at the Feed and Seed before I opened the back....he said, "we'll, you don't see that everyday".....true.

  5. I have no words...
    You have a bunch of great friends to haul all this home for you..I only have one friend who gets it, so we got Casey a truck. He doesn't really haul anything for me though. I'll need another house before that can happen. ;)
    Great haul!!! My fav is the library rack.

  6. Wow, you guys got some serious finds. I love yard sales and big garbage curb day, but I have yet to attempt a dumpster dive lol. Cool friends. Have you seen where bloggers (like Miss Mustard Seed) have made media cabinets and storage pieces out of those long French Provincial dressers missing drawers (the empty spots hold media components or baskets of stuff)?

  7. You have been finding some awesome stuff! Tell me, do you have a booth somewhere that you sell your repurposed stuff? You should if you don't - cause you are just too good at what you do!

  8. Great scores all around. My sister is ashamed of me when I pick up stuff by the side of the road but I do not care one itty bit.

  9. Bless your heart! Ok, real quick, before I forget anything...The dresser - leave the top drawer sections open for audio equipment and use it for a TV console. It looks about the right size. The library rack should be saved for a grandchild's bedroom. I can be filled with books with baskets for storage between the legs or you could just cut off the legs so it would sit flush on the floor. I remember those racks from my Sunday School rooms - filled with books for reading circle. The doors - a lot of people use the doors for signs. Pretty successfully too! And the chairs, well, you should just drop them off at my house. I need them badly!And you can bring the birdbath stand with them. Always pick up the bath part too - you can use those for succulent planters. They are perfect for that.
    I'm going to sit here and watch the Voice and get caught up on your blog. I think I can finish tonight. It might take all week!

  10. Love your blog. It's nice to kne that other people quilt, yard sale, and have way to much extra stuff to do something with.

  11. I have serious junk envy right now!!! I can't believe the free stuff you find....I love all of it....the chairs, the school library castoff, but those cabinet doors are amazing! I would love to score some of those! Congrats on the awesome finds!

    Life On Willie Mae Lane

  12. i have vicky's junk envy...big time! i would love each and every found treasure, liz! just wonderful!!

  13. Wow, jackpot!! Love those gorgeous chairs and that library magazine's amazing what people get rid of!!!

  14. If you sold everything you have found and rehabbed, you could buy a truck - it is one of those roll-y things with storage in the back. I am so green with envy right now, I cannot leave the house. My favorite would have to be the school magazine rack. I cannot believe it was on the street! The Costco stool, the boat flag - be still my heart. The present you added to your friend's backside was a bit much though. After all she WAS helping you save the orphans of your neighborhood!

  15. You scored some major treasures this week! Life to the full! Melissa @ DaisyMaeBelle

  16. Always in awe of what you find. Can't believe those chairs were in the trash! I think I need to move to your neck of the woods. Dumpster Diving Divas are you! Thanks for sharing with SYC.


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