Adventures in Garbage

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Outdoor Rocking Chair

Last week I found the frame of an outdoor rocking chair perched precariously on an overloaded trashcan in an alley.

I'm guessing it used to be cushioned.

I’m guessing it used to be cushioned.

But with a solid wood frame, weathered as it is, I knew it could be salvaged

First I removed all of the old springs and links. And tightened the existing bolts.

First I removed all of the old springs and links. And tightened the existing bolts.

Then I added one 2x4 for secure the frame.

Then I added one 2×4 for secure the frame.

Trusty old pallet wood to the rescue, yet again. My air compressor is out of commission at the moment, so I had to use screws instead of the nail gun. In general, I try not to use screws with pallet wood because it is so likely to split.

Trusty old pallet wood to the rescue, yet again.

My air compressor is out of commission at the moment, so I had to use screws instead of the nail gun. In general, I try not to use screws with pallet wood because it is so likely to split.

I sanded everything down and gave it all a coat of PolyShades.

I sanded everything down and gave it all a coat of PolyShades.

I really liked how the red of the original frame cleaned up when I sanded it, so I didn’t bother changing it

A splash of hospitality and it's all set!

A splash of hospitality and it’s all set!

total cost: about $2 in stain.

Total cost: about $2 in stain.

The Gallery

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Dresser redone

I found this dresser in an alley with the garbage last Monday.

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Having sat through the rain and missing several drawers just means a little extra work.

Thankfully it’s solid wood, so the water damage was minimal and nothing a little sanding wouldn’t fix. But first I had to rethink the structure because of the missing pieces. I caught a break being able to just move the one drawer down since they are the same size.

First I knocked out old drawer supports, leaving the ones I wanted to turn into shelves.

First I knocked out the old drawer supports, leaving the ones where I would want to add shelves.

Next I dropped in some plywood onto the drawer supports and tacked it down.

Next, I removed the hardware and gave everything a good sanding.

Next, I removed the hardware and gave everything a good sanding.

Then stained inside and out. I used PolyShades Antique Walnut - because that's what I had on hand.  :)

Then stained inside and out. I used PolyShades Antique Walnut – because that’s what I had on hand. :)

A little upgrade in hardware.

A little upgrade in hardware.

Last, drop in a couple of baskets to prove its new functionality!

And last, drop in a couple of baskets to prove its new functionality!

Dressers that are missing drawers are a common occurence in the trash game. Much of the time, metal scrappers will take them if they have steel tracks or drawer pulls. But with a little extra time and some reimagining, even just the frame can still be quite useful!

(total reno cost about $6 for hardware and stain – the plywood was free)

Ready to Rock n Roll!

I set a goal at the start of the fall- to clean out the garage, get it organized, and then to only bring in as many projects as I can complete in 1 week. No more giant storage pile in the center. It may have taken several months longer, and a dumpster bag for me to actually get it done, but on New Years Day I breathed that sigh of relief. Even the kids were impressed!

Jake has space to work on his motorcycle,  I have space to do projects, plus an organized work bench, and the kids can even bike and scooter around in there!

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Anyone who has ever seen my garage knows what an accomplishment this is ;)

So on Monday, I officially had no undone projects sitting in there! And all of my completed things were moved into the shop (still goin strong!). Which meant that for the first time since September, I went out picking for garbage gold :)

One trip to the old neighborhood and I found these goodies in like 10 minutes.

2 rocking chairs and a crusty dresser!

2 rocking chairs and a crusty dresser!

Of course when Alex saw these,  even lined up neatly and out of the way he said, without bothering to hide his annoyance  “Mom!! Why are you starting to fill this up with old stuff AGAIN!!?!”

The good news is,  I was able to finish all 3 during the week and hope to get them over to the shop this weekend.

Gotta make space before trash day! 😀

NOT ABANDONDED!

Even though it has been nearly a month, I have not abandoned the blog! Along with normal holiday hubbub, Jake is moving his company to a new office building right now. In the hopes of beginning regular work there by the New Year, I have been been tackling many projects over at the new office to get it ready. Every room needed painting, there were 9 desks that needed assembling, new lighting fixtures, sprucing up the kitchen area, hanging blinds, and a lot of other detail work- I felt like I was living there for a couple of days!

Thankfully the 2nd floor is just open space, so the kids have actually had a great time playing there and have been really good sports about helping get it ready. When Alex first learned about the new office, he (of course) needed to know where he would be working. After watching Jake order desks online, about a month ago, he decided he would build himself a desk.

Being my child, his instincts were to scout out what materials he had on hand and go from there. We had had these pieces of a shipping pallet in our garage for a while, and he thought they would make perfect legs. I have to agree. He grabbed a piece of plywood and got to work. Anytime Alex helps me in the garage, or works on a project while I work on mine, it is like his ultimate contentment. He keeps up this constant flow of positive energy. “Isn’t it great working out here together Mom?”  — “How’s your job going over there Mom? Mine’s going great.” — “I really love being out here with you”. This kid is completely Sunnyside Up. I felt to proud, as did he, of the desk he created, and he is even more excited to get it over into his new “office”.

So, no, I have not given up on my quest of collecting garage and creating slightly more presentable garbage, I’ve just been super busy with non-blogworthy projects. Not to mention the colder months make painting and sanding a lot less enjoyable when you’re fingers go numb :/

Once we wrap up with all of our Christmas Festivities I’ll be back in the garage (which never did get the clean out I was planning back in October) with a ton of great projects my brother and parents found for me. I’ve been going CRAZY not being able to work on them these last few weeks! And with global warming on my side, maybe I won’t freeze :)

Creating organization

Phew! Took a nice little break for a couple of weeks and only did a couple of projects as time allowed. More trips to the park with the kids and fewer hours painting and sanding while the weather still allows us to do those things :)

I did manage to find this excellent piece a couple of weeks ago.

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Church pews are such unique pieces and this one is no exception. It didn’t take me long to realize I might be keeping this one for myself.

One of the first things parents of young children realize is how much crap they, the kids, seem to have and how all of it is everywhere all of the time. And how, some days, outfitting your kids with shoes in order to leave the house feels as daunting as climbing Mt Everest, with 2 kids who inexplicably have lost their shoes and have jelly on their socks. Who knew that my solution to jellysocks would be a free church pew on craigslist.

Once I started sanding, I realized the base was completely hollow. That, to me, seems like a waste of space.

Once I started sanding, I realized the base was completely hollow. That, to me, seems like a waste of space.

So I pried the front off. It was surprisingly easy!

So I pried the front off. It was surprisingly easy!

I finished the sanding and did 2 coats of Polyshades and then a spray coat of poly.

I finished the sanding and did 2 coats of Polyshades and then a spray coat of poly.

I gathered up some storage baskets- large enough that each kid has space for their backpack, jacket, shoes, hat and gloves.

I gathered up some storage baskets- large enough that each kid has space for their backpack, jacket, shoes, hat and gloves.

AND WHALLA! This freebie successfully delayed my desire to tear out the wall dividing our kitchen and dining room (for now 😉 ) and keeps me from tripping all over the shoes, socks, jackets and bags that were continually jammed behind the door. Plus, I’ve got more space to put holiday pillows!  New organizational systems and repurposing garbage — these are a few of my favorite things!

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Toxic busy-ness

How are we already half way through September!?  The kids started “preschool” and we have been in such a busy state that I don’t even have a decent picture for myself!
We have had some MAJOR work being done on our house.  So major that we are not doing it ourselves. (Except for demo. You can’t keep me out of demo) :) . Anytime “workers” are at our house, it is LITERALLY a non stop battle to keep Alex out of their way.  He wants to be in the middle of all the action all the time.  His biggest tantrum to date was last year when I wouldn’t let him go into our crawl space when a company was out here to insulate. It. is. exhausting. And a true test of my patience. Thankfully the guys we have here are friends and at least pretend pretty well to be tolerant of his non stop questions and constant interruptions.

While the last 2 weeks seem like a crazy busy blur, one thing keeps nagging at me; It’s that “busy state”. The one where for no particular reason you feel “behind” (on a list of things you keep in your mind that no one else sees, which is often filled with tasks and ideas that are of no real importance at the moment but still present in my mind always and forever nagging, nagging, nagging). I am so frequently guilty of this kind of self-induced stress that I have to remind myself that I’m the one making up the time table! No one is checking to see if I washed the pillows after I spilled coffee on them. No one cares about the stack of papers and mail in the cabinet that has needed sorting since December– yet I treat it as if there’s a deadline!

No where is this more evident than when we’re trying leave for a trip. Beyond packing and preparing,  I am so often doing these completely nonsensical jobs while at risk of making us late and getting frazzled about it. “Hey Babe, we need to get goin’. Kids are in the car.” “BUT WAIT! I didn’t clean out the box of playdoh toys!”

The unfortunate side of these phases of busyness, is that the added stress I give myself because of expectations set by myself can definitely affect the rest of the family.  Sometimes it’s an actual loss of my patience towards them or it’s just because when I operate at high speed I give off the impression that I’m annoyed at the world. But either way, it’s not warranted, and not fair to them.

We frequently hear about the importance of “want vs need” when it comes to learning money management. For me, this is equally true about scheduling time. Just as certain choices may land you in financial debt.  Certain “scheduling” choices may land you in time debt or, for me, emotional debt.

If my choosing to clean out the kids’ closets means that my temper will run extra short and by 4pm and we will all be miserable, then maybe, now is not the time. Maybe I need to ask for help. And I know I need to pray for patience. For now, we can go another day with last year’s winter clothes still taking up tons of space, because we had a pleasant afternoon together coloring and doing puzzles and no one needs to scream into a pillow.

Sometimes it’s literal time overspent, and not the emotional tax. Sometimes I just don’t prioritize the things that I think there will be “time for later”– you know, like long term things that never seem to need to be “done right now”: spending one on one time with the kids, getting a much needed weekend away with Jake, getting back into a regular fitness routine, making time for friends, prayer. How often do I back burner these VITAL pieces of life? Every. Single. Day.

The give and take of invested time and invested emotion within our family is so incredibly important. Yet it is frequently the first thing to be given up when something “needs doing.” When I give away my time, I am really giving away theirs. I want to know my kids.  I want them to know me.  I never want the invites for play to stop because they assume I’m always too “busy”. Quality time spent investing in our marriage, our family and friendships trumps pretty much any task that I may think needs doing! But in this crazy vortex of motherhood where you feel simultaneously like you’re overworking, procrastinating, under performing, pressed for time, yet there’s no end in sight- it is so easy to continue to over look what my “busyness” is keeping me from. And it’s days like this where I find myself sending a text to my Dad to see if anyone is at The Cabin this weekend.

I need to invest now. I need to reset now. I need to give up my selfish agendas to think about what they steal from the people I love. I need to unplug. To reconnect. To practice Peace, to give Love, and find Joy. And did I mention Patience? I need a lot of patience.

“I’m weary with my former toil
Here I will sit and rest a while
Under the shadow I will be
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree”

exhale.

Upcycling a stereo cabinet.

I hauled in this excellent cabinet piece 2 weeks ago. Seasonal tip: this time of year, thrift stores need to shovel everything non-halloween and then non Christmas related out of their stores to make room for their busiest time of year. Almost all the furniture was marked down to $10 or less. This (as well as that bench I shared on Facebook) were selling for $5. And I got that piano for free! So, if you’re in the market for anything second hand, check your local shops now!

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So, this is what I brought home.

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It had a sweet old record player in the center console. Unfortunately it was not in proper working order. That would have been awesome.

But, I WAS able to pull it out in one piece and the kids love playing with the switches and spinning some turn table beats. *wikka-wikka-wikka-whaaa!*

But, I WAS able to pull it out in one piece and the kids love playing with the switches and spinning some turn table beats. *wikka-wikka-wikka-whaaa!*

So first I removed all of the internal components.

So first I removed all of the internal components.

Only the center portion was built to open. So I pried off the ends and fitted them with hinges.

Only the center portion was built to open. So I pried off the ends and fitted them with hinges as well.

Then I spray painted everything with a thick almond white gloss paint.

Then I spray painted everything with a thick almond white gloss paint.

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Next, I closed up the back with a piece of lauan.

Lastly I painted and reattached the hardware, adding the formerly brass knobs I removed from my kitchen last year.

Lastly I painted and reattached the hardware, adding the formerly brass knobs I removed from my kitchen last year.

And there it sits. For a renovation total of roughly $16.

Farm Style Pallet Table

In the garbage business, pallets really are a dime a dozen. Except cheaper. They are also so versatile that they frequently masquerade in all kinds of other designs. One difficult thing about pallet furniture, or any rough wood for that matter, is that can be difficult to clean. That’s why sanding, resanding, and thick sealant is always important.  So, when I had a giant piece of glass left over from a different piece, I knew I wanted to build a pallet table for it.

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I had this partially cut pallet left from an old project.

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I added a simple frame to bring the surface area to match the glass.

I had taken these old spindles from my parent's shed earlier this summer, and they worked out great here.

I had taken these old spindles from my parent’s shed earlier this summer, and they worked out great here.

Next I added some more framing. Some for strength, some for decoration.

Next I added some more framing. Some for strength, some for decoration.

And a coat of paint.

And a coat of paint.

Lastly I added that piece of glass. And here it is in the outdoor display at Dover Antique Mall.

Lastly I added that piece of glass. And here it is in the outdoor display at Dover Antique Mall.

The Latest

Phew! I feel like August just flew by! (except it forgot to take it’s humidity when it left). I have been super busy around here the last few weeks, so pardon my lack of projects and postings.

I moved my shop into a larger space in a prime location at the Antique Mall. Things have been going really well! For the first time I have ZERO finished projects waiting around the house/garage and nothing pending in classified adds. That means items have actually been selling items faster than I can make them! I am feeling very blessed and so encouraged.

Here is a simple piece I cleaned up this week after picking it up off of Rt 74 on Monday.

Definitely in better shape than a lot of the stuff I pick up.

Definitely in better shape than a lot of the stuff I pick up.

And super unique. believe it was an old radio cabinet.

And super unique. I believe it was an old radio cabinet.

Since it was just missing a back and had some blistering from years of sun damage, this upgrade is really straight forward. Discounting dry-time, I finished it in about 90 minutes.

First step was to just clean it. Years and years of that thick dust, and a tiny stash of squirelly walnuts in the lower left corner later and I was feeling even more confident that this would be an easy job.

Plus ripping out the old radio components and the speaker from the drawer.

I ripped out the old radio components and the speaker from the drawer.

I did a very light sanding on the top and then a coat of Polyshades to bring it back to match the tone and shine of the sides.

I did a very light sanding on the top and then a coat of Polyshades to bring it back to match the tone and shine of the sides.

Next I tacked on a new back and dropped in a new shelf.

Next I tacked on a new back and dropped in a new shelf.

That speaker drawer was so awkward with a  hole cut in the bottom and no sides, so I added a craft crate so it can actually hold things.

That speaker drawer was so awkward with a hole cut in the bottom and no sides, so I added a craft crate so it can actually hold things. I totally lucked out that I had one laying around and that it was the PERFECT size. (I don’t do much “pre-planning” if you you haven’t noticed.)

And I moved it into the shop this morning, just in time for the big sale this weekend :)

And I moved it into the shop this morning, just in time for the big sale this weekend :)

Not one of my most drastic upgrades, but I really love classic pieces like this. And when fine wood is salvageable, it’s kind of a shame to spray paint it aqua 😉