Friday, July 19, 2013

A Second Life

The junk out back is a nagging eyesore. It is purposeful though, so what's a girl to do but work the pile one item at a time until everything I've drug home has been been fashioned into some newly reborn piece of furniture or what have you. Mostly a lot of "what have you".

Here's what became of one of one of those junk pile eyesores.
In back of my house there's salvaged wood, furniture ruins and the metal stuff for which I need to concoct a plan, table legs and cabinet fronts, drawer parts and end table bases, drop leaf halves, chairs I redid and now need to redo again, and more. I'm sure my neighbor behind me would be thrilled if I would do more than think, talk about and apologize for the grand disaster out there. She is the one whose house it faces (my neighbors on the side have their own junk disaster that puts mine to shame, so I don't worry as much about them). We do have a wood fence between my back neighbor and I, but it has gaps between the slats and I'm quite sure aura of junk pile is visible when she accidentally glances this way. I can't imagine she'd want to look over on purpose. I'm sure she must try to avert her eyes. It haunts me that I'm an eyesore because her yard is always in tip-top shape. She says she never even notices my junk and couldn't care less. I find that hard to believe, but I accept any leniency she offers and assuage my guilt. My working pile remains.

I often go back to the junk zone to see if I can bear to part with anything in order to tone down the junky effect emanating from my part of the world. I reorganize and imagine life without this, that or the other valuable treasure I know I will need some day soon. I'm constantly finding just the thing out there to fix up some other potential gem I've carted home. I look for something to tear apart and discard pieces of, or a random drawer front or wood shim I can toss, just to feel like I'm making headway, because the stuff in this area is always last on the makeover list.

I was out back staring with futility at the array of goodies one day, like I am known to do, hoping that some new inspiration would strike about how to maintain my stash while dejunkifying. Not only was all the leftover junk I've drug home sitting out there, but my rusty fire pit had been shoved over in that vicinity as well, to get it out of the patio view that I have from the kitchen window. It had become very rusty and covered with a rotting black plastic cover that says "trashy" unlike much else.

We so rarely use the pit. It just doesn't get cold or even cool often enough here in Winter, and when we finally have a cool a day or two, no one wants to go out just to sit around besides me. Who wants to go to the trouble to get a fire lit just to sit by themselves? Not I, but I didn't want to get rid of it. It was still functional.

I thought about my fire pit - rusted, abandoned, the plastic cover cracked and ripped from the sun and rain and making a great hideout for our lizard population.

 One of our tinier, less imposing lizards.

"I should go take that fire pit to the road and be free of it", I tempted myself. But then, of course I hesitated to do that, after all, I paid money for it some years back and besides, I asked myself the clarifying question: "If I saw this on the side of the road would I think, 'Hey! I could do something with that!'"? I truly felt my fire pit had passed its prime and was ready for a trip to the curb, mostly because it was unused and the cover was such a mess, always blowing off and collecting rainwater and I was so weary of the sight. What a great sense of accomplishment I would feel to trash it, and it would really make one of the scrap metal guy's day to find that at my curb. Even so, I couldn't commit to throwing it away. So, in a show of strength, I tore the cover off instead and took it around front to the trash, upsetting a colony of giant curly tail lizards in the process (they think my junk area is their lizard resort). At least I threw "something" away! I'm getting somewhere.

The underside of the pit.

Slapped Upside the Head by Genius

Right after the near trashing of the deteriorating fire pit, I saw that Laura at Top This, Top That had taken her metal firepit and made it into a planter. What?! Why hadn't I thought of something so obvious?! I make everything else into planters. It was like being slapped upside the head by genius. That was it! Just like that, I had a plan, and boy was I glad I hadn't thrown that rusty eyesore away! Oh, the long-winded whining you would have had to endure if had I done that. What a novel idea to fix up my own junk; something I hadn't drug home from someone else's trash but actually paid for. Woo hoo!

So I got busy and got the pit-turned-planter done - real quick. It got a second life in no time. Know why it was so quick? Because Laura led the way. I liked her paint color choice. So I admit, I brazenly copied. Do remember that imitation = Flattery. Done. I can do anything quick if I don't have to agonize over what colors to use and what not. Plus I thought I had everything on hand when I started, so I barreled ahead.

In the end, I really needed some black Rustoleum spray paint I didn't have, but I got that quick, got the base and bowl sprayed and I topped off the bowl part with a pretty light green Valspar paint I had a sample of (called Herb Cornucopia - and it actually doesn't look this pale in real life), and it goes well with my metal chairs. Following Laura's lead, I only painted a little ways down into the bowl to save time and paint, because the dirt would cover the rest. So smart, that Laura! Unfortunately I forgot to buy mulch, so mine doesn't look quite as fabulous as hers. Go check hers out. She also has a beautiful patio as a backdrop that sets hers off gorgeously.

Having just put together a planter as a gift not long before this, I had some idea of what plants were available at the store, so I made my plan for a color scheme ahead. That made choosing the flowers fairly simple and didn't require walking the aisles of Home Depot for an hour, for a change.

See, my snapdragons are blooming back there too, between the heliconia and the ground orchids.

I got it done, and boy does that rusty pit of a fire pit look like a new creation! I just love it. It gives the ugly expanse of patio concrete slabs a shot of pretty. The back patio is gaining new colorful blooms all the time, especially with the fire pit planter front and center.

And while I had the fire pit apart and was painting the base, I got another idea for someday in the future when perhaps I grow weary of my fire pit planter or in case the bowl rots away. Have you seen those cool round patio ottomans in the Ballard Designs catalog? They are ridiculously expensive but beautiful. I realized that this kind of fire pit base would make a great round outdoor ottoman base, as well as a planter and fire pit base. So after this second life, maybe my fire pit will one day get a third as an ottoman!

Colorful and fresh.

 The view from the window on a dreary day.

 Center stage and colorful

I'm loving my fire pit's second life!

So, if you have something junky you are just about to finally give up on and toss into the trash, consider paint and flowers. They are always a good go-to junk redo. They do wonders for dejunkification and an ugly patio deck too!

Stop over and visit with some of these lovely ladies at their parties this week:

Give Me the Goods Monday
mop it up mondaysFunky Junk's Saturday Nite Special
Furniture Feature FridaysFrench Country Cottage

Sunday                          is the day to share

Ivy and Elephants



  1. I'm loving your firepits second life too! It's gorgeous!

  2. What a great idea! Too bad I don't have one because I'd for sure copy this idea! I love it...:) Congrats on whittling down the "pile" a little! Oh...I love the flowers you chose as well and I think your patio is beautiful!

    Blessings, Vicky
    Life On Willie Mae Lane

  3. Great repurpose and the idea for the ottoman is super fantastic! That's amazing how much better it looks with a little paint and some flowers!

  4. I repurposed my fire pit like this a couple years ago and still love it - yours looks beautiful :-)

  5. I love that you re loved that fire pit into a gorgeous new piece. She is beautiful.

  6. Your fire pit turned out so great! And if you want to use it next year as an ottoman, or put a big piece of glass on it and fill it with seashells, or whatever, you've got most of the work done. Isn't it funny how our own junk is sometimes less obvious than other people's junk? I totally get that one.

  7. You know I love this!
    it is amazing... love the paint colors and the plant colors too.
    I felt just as amazing when I turned my broken bench into a cute little address sign near the road!
    It just takes a little imagine nation and some trash to make the perfect project...and put a smile on my face!
    Your's is so cute!

  8. Very pretty! I'm glad you hadn't thrown it away!

  9. Hi Liz, You crack me up with your junk adventures. I can relate to them very well. I've thrown things away, passed up on great junk etc. and slapped myself afterwards. You did great deciding to keep the fire pit. It indeed makes a wonderful planter and I also can imagine a third life as and ottoman.
    You can't get rid of all your junk. That would make the cute lizards homeless ... ;-).
    Have a great weekend! Wishing you junky pleasures,

  10. LOVE your patio, and the planter idea is a great save. Now, I need someone to slap ME upside the head!!

  11. Liz, you always make me smile. I love how honest you are about your junking adventures :) You've inspired me to have a look around and see if I can re-envisage something unloved into something fabulous.

  12. I love the view of your great beyond of a junk pile. I saw several treasures lurking there. The fire pit is now an asset to your patio and perfect to sit around with a nice cool drink. I do worry what will the lizards do?

  13. LOVE this Liz - now I'm mad that I left 2 firepits in the back yard of our last home when we sold!!!!
    It looks gorgeous -
    Now what are you going to do with the rest of the junk LOL???

  14. You are a genius. Again.
    I see a lot of fun junk out there!

  15. That is SO pretty! Hope I see one in someone's trash some time so I can do the same! Blessings - Dawn

  16. very cool re-do, liz! (i walked into the garage just now, and a lizard ran across the floor, --they creep me out--like snakes with legs--have a great week!

  17. That looks fantastic!!! I love the new look of the pit. Maybe we should trade junk piles. I will come to yours and give suggestions of what you should do and you do the same with mine. I bet I would win, hands down on the amount of junk out there. And yes, sadly it is always on the last of my list to makeover. The rainy winters don't help it along. I feel a little sadness in my heart and guilt that I let the junk down when it is so awful from weather exposure, but could have been salvaged at one point, by me.

    BTW, I too have meticulous yard neighbors. They have said the same thing, they don't notice. I am positive they look through the fence slats and gasp with horror at what I have back there. They are just too nice to say it.

  18. Great minds think alike. As I was reading I kept thinking, Oh, I hope she didn't trash that because it would make such a great planter!

  19. Perfection! I laughed all the way through this post because I feel the same way about my junk pile. When I make the painful decision to let something go, it makes me feel like I've accomplished something:-)

  20. You don't have any toilets or bathtubs hiding in that pile, do you? hehe
    We had a fire pit that I gave away because I also got to enjoy the fires all by myself. I never thought of making a planter out of it! Yours is looking mighty spiffy in its second life!

  21. What a clever idea! And I'm loving how gorgeous it looks filled with the pink and blue blooms! Junk turned into a treasure, indeed! I love inspiring ideas for container gardening... so much fun! Thanks for letting us take a peek at your treasure and for the sweetest comment. Have a lovely evening!Hugs,Poppy

  22. The old fire pit made a great looking planter. Glad you were inspired in time to save it!

  23. Brilliant! It looks awesome as a planter. If you were to buy such a "planter" in a store, you would pay big bucks! Thank you for sharing it at What We Accomplished Wednesdays. Have a great week!


  24. A fabulous creation...wonderful story and I love your little friend!!!! You rock! hugs...

  25. Liz, I have seen this done and I think it's a great idea. Love how yours turned out. I just brought an old entertainment cabinet home to paint and turn into an armoire and bought two old chairs at a thrift. I plan to paint white. I've got lots to do too. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

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