Adventures in Garbage

Monthly archives for May, 2015

Our Day Out

Today the boys headed over to the fair grounds to check out a truck show.  So, Aryn and I set out for a fun day together too. Technically, I had to meet up with some buyers who were picking up some furniture pieces from me, but we won’t let that cramp our style! After jammin out in the car to my 1990 album of Minnie~n~Me (now available on iTunes for all you 90’s girls to reminisce with almost tearful enjoyment),  The first and inevitable stop, was Starbucks.

This girl and her smoothie drinks.

This girl and her smoothie drinks.

Here’s a trick of the mom trade: always carry a pocket knife. I may be borrowing from the Boy Scouts here, but this definitely came in handy today. Ever been stuck with no sippy cup when your kid needs a drink? Or gets one from the drive through?  Those milk and juice jugs are not at all spill proof. Even regular water bottles can be a nightmare. In the car, it is a wet lap, wet car seat, and tear fest waiting to happen. Whether the tears are from getting wet or from when you take the water bottle and stop them from getting more wet, this will be determined by your child. Anyway, this option largely reduces the spill problem. Simply poke and twist a small hole in the cap of any plastic drink bottle with a pocket knife,  thread a straw through to the bottom and BAM! kids cup.

Knowing is half the battle.

Knowing is half the battle.

It even helps if the straw is cramped a bit and slows the flow. The whole thing is more manageable for tiny hands and then, if the container gets knocked, dropped, or thrown the spill is minimal! Mom is happy and I’m sure the employees of the various Starbucks and Chick-fil-A’s that we’ve wrecked in the past appreciate it too.


This is the face of a mom and kid who didn’t have to endlessly smear smoothie puddles around on the floor trying to sop it up with useless, cardboard,  counter top napkins.

So,  go get yourself a pocket knife and don’t worry when people stare. Your ingenuity will be worth it. And the cracker crumbs in your car seats will survive another day without becoming spilled milk sludge.

Do you have a trick of the trade item you count on to make Mom life easier? Let’s hear all about it!

In the mean time, we’re off to hit up the thrift shops!

Ghosts of Projects Past # 2

While I get this blog idea up and running, please enjoy some of these past projects! Here are a few upcycled / repurposed creations.

Up first- The Window

I found this window in an alley behind an old building that was being renovated. There were about 10 others. But it looked like the “teens” and their rocks had gotten there before I did. Not far away from the Window was a stack of weathered wood stair treads. Naturally, I took the lot.


It’s not just teens who have it in for cool windows. The preschool crowd also likes to try kicking them whenever it leans within reach of their carseat on the drive home.

 My first instinct was to make some kind of wall hanging out of the window. But, it was a bit large, heavy, and fragile.  I had also planned to make some kind of table top out of the stair treads. Eventually, the 2 ideas came together to form this rustic desk.


Using spindles left from an old project, and pallet wood for framing, this project cost about $5


Yes. Those are Harry Potter books

After sanding, the treads stained beautifully and turned out to be a lovely deep accent to the white chipped-ness of the window as well as the plank on the front and sides (also from the alley with the treads). I taped up all the glass and then did a thick enamel coating on everything to give it a clean gloss and to stop any further chipping.

Next Up- The Pallet Shelf.

On one of my more disappointing trash hunting days, all I managed to come home with was this wood frame. I have no idea what it once was. It had odd fake paneling on the sides and the mounting hardware for a rolling window shade. Kind of reluctantly, I brought it home.

"Couldn't you have just built that out of 2x4's"? ... ummm. yes, I suppose so.

“Couldn’t you have just built that out of 2×4’s”? … ummm. yes, I suppose so.

This thing sat like this for WEEKS. Around the same time, we had some work done on our roof and I asked the guys if I could have the pallets that the shingles were delivered on. Finally, inspiration struck and I decided to turn it into a shelving unit.


Yes, those are Harry Potter books again. Yes, I like Harry Potter more than most people. And by that I mean, I like Harry Potter more than most people do. But I also like Harry Potter more then I like most people.

I used the planks from the shipping pallets to create the back and the top. I caved and purchased boards to make the shelves when I didn’t have any planks left. After hours of sanding it finally had a smooth surface and was ready for staining.  In total the project cost about $11 and sold for $50 the following day.

Lastly- The Ottoman.

I am frequently looking for new ways to use things I see discarded every day. Tires are at the top of the list of things always piled up in the alleys. So I picked up this one just to get a better idea of what I could to with it.


Riveting. I know.

Fun Fact: looking for a way to occupy a 4 year old boy for HOURS? Just pick up a stack of old tires. Seriously. If you thought rolling and bouncing a tire in the driveway for hours on end was boring, you clearly need to rethink your priorities. (You also probably didn’t waste your entire sophomore year of high school playing Homestar Runner’s  Population Tire Game on the library computers).

Anyway, after much brainstorming and a few Google searches. I decided to transform the tire into a fancy ottoman.


Wow, Population Tire! You’ve changed since 2003!

I wrapped the entire tire in black burlap ribbon. It worked well, but was expensive, so I will probably find an alternative if I do this again. I cut plywood into a circle to cover the center. Then covered the plywood with very thick, multi-layered quilt batting, then covered that with the decorative top fabric. Simply drive screws through the tire into the plywood disc, and BOOM- ottoman! Or miniature stage for your 2 year old to repeatedly breath in and out of a harmonica until she makes herself light headed.


Ghosts of Projects Past #1

To build a little bit of a base, I am going to share a few of my past projects. These will just give brief descriptions rather than details and how-to’s since I didn’t take pictures along the way. Also excuse the poor quality, most of these are phone pictures.

Maryland Table

This sad beat down table was leaning against a telephone pole, about to get rained on and then sent to the dump. Once I brought it home, I went ahead and put the wicker center out of it’s misery.

Is there such a thing as 'good wicker"?

Is there such a thing as ‘good wicker”?

 I created a new one by covering plywood with material and then topping it with plexiglass (useful tip- most home improvement stores offer glass cutting at no extra charge. All you need are your measurements). So anyway, with a fresh coat of paint to match, the table is now sporting some sweet home town flavor.

What up 410!!



The Twilight Dresser

Because who DOESN’T think “Oooh, I know what will improve this piece of furniture! Gluing on pictures of Twilight characters!”

 Ok, I admit it. I stuck stickers on my dresser when I was a kid. And that was probably my least destructive endeavor… Anyway, this here green dresser was hanging out in the alley. (which, according to all of the D.A.R.E pamphlets, is the wrong place to be!) I passed by it quite a few times, noting that the top was made of fiber board, and didn’t pick it up.  It turned out to be a slow trash day so I eventually went back for it. After a light sanding, patching one hole with copious amounts of wood filler, sanding again, adding a rail on the top to repair other damages and painting, it was starting to look alright! Then I ran out of the off white paint before the drawers were done. Because I’m always anxious to finish jobs quickly, and Lowe’s is 25 minutes from my house and any “simple” shopping trip with 2 preschoolers tends to take about 3 hours, I opted for a totally different color for the drawers. One that I already had on hand. I was really pleased with the result! The piece sold for $50 the very next day.


Money saving tip for hardware- REUSE IT WHENEVER YOU CAN! Hardware is expensive, but it also makes SUCH a big difference. Because this dresser had so many pieces, I chose not to spend the $35-40 on new knobs and instead bought a can a black spray paint and reused the existing pieces plus some new handles which were on sale for $1.99 a piece.



This last one is still one of my most challenging restorations to date.

Who in their right mind pulls a you-ee in the middle of an intersection for this pile of confusing garbage!!?   Me.

Who in their right mind pulls a you-ee in the middle of an intersection for this pile of confusing garbage!!? Me.

Firstly, I did not even know what I had picked up until I got it home and sorted through the pieces. Amazingly, it had all the legs and was only missing one additional drawer. I was able to identify that it was, in fact, supposed to be a drop leaf table which looked as though someone had once or twice decided to redo it but never finished either time. After more sanding than I have ever done in my life, I found bare wood. It was still a little too beat to stain nicely, so I went with painting and distressing it to play into it’s cozy tiredness.

I added iron key-style drawer pulls from Hobby Lobby to class it up a notch.


3 days, and so many sanding discs later, I had a clean new table which I sold on Craigslist for $75 (to a fellow crafter who planned to use it as a sewing table).

So to sum up, and quote some Paw Patrol – “Don’t lose it! Reuse it!”

~ Jodi

Welcome Note

So, after much prompting from friends and family, I have decided to bring my daily adventuring to the blog world. Here I hope to share my most recent DIY projects, insights to my life as a wife and mother of two crazy kids and all the ups and downs these adventures bring.

So hop on in and enjoy the ride with me because life is a roller coaster and the sign says  “no single passengers”. It also says that there is a strong likely hood of motion sickness.


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