Tag Archive | trash to treasure

My Trash Story

Since working at Community Forklift for three years now, I’ve taken to a different view of dumpster diving. It’s a sort of rescue mission, a diversionary tactic for landfill-headed junk. I am not a dumpster diver…. I AM SAVING THE EARTH! This is an empowering feeling, even if the skeptics call it spin. I never exactly felt bad about dumpster diving before, but now it holds an elevated sense of purpose bordering my morality.

You would not believe the stuff people throw away. It is true that trash tells a story. I often wonder why someone would get rid of this…. or that. Things that are fabulous among the rubble, no matter your sense of style. Trash is an exercise in diversity.

Working in a reuse store gives you a birds-eye view of the excess of American culture. Imagine creating 30-40 jobs just sorting out and selling old stuff: the cast-offs, dirty and dusty, waiting to be claimed and given a little TLC. That is what we do every day.

Just yesterday I dragged this chair home with me. While on our evening walk, the dog and I examined it with our cellphone flashlight and carried it at least half a mile. Juggling the poo bag, the found rocking chair, and the leash was a workout rivaling Crossfit. We did make it all the way home in tact.

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A rocking chair story.

Behold this beauty! I have only one question for you all: why are we wasting our time shopping for anything new? Let your trash tell its’ story.

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Found rocking chair.

© copyright Mariam d’Eustachio 2017 at Simply Turquoise.

Re-think and Recycle

I’ve been thinking about recycling lately. I am trying to fit my stuff into a new house and make it look as if it was always intended for THIS space, even though it wasn’t. On a purely practical front, people cannot go out and buy new stuff every time they move. The idea of repurposing your old and tired things appeals to me; breathing new life into some old junk.

Of late, my fantasies have consisted of beautiful dining room chairs prancing through my head. Once in a store, I occasionally have to wipe the drool from my chin as I ogle the chairs, until I am confronted with a price tag. Shocked, I take the reality check and walk away with nothing every time. Inevitably, this has lead to my recycling philosophy.

Chair Envy.

It all started with these chairs in a hotel lobby.

My wicker dining room chairs have lasted for twelve years and through several children who used to pick at them when they were in time out. The chairs refuse to wear out. I wish they would so I could justify pitching them. Rather than throw out perfectly good chairs, I decided to just give the cloth chairs on the ends a face-lift with new slipcovers. This changed the look of the whole room!

Slipcovered chair in my new dining room.

Dining room with a view of the not-yet-even-unpacked adjacent sunroom.

Fresh new paint in Benjamin Moore’s  picnic basket gives my dining room an entirely new look.

The solution turned out to be so easy. With the slipcovers from World Market, my chairs were new again in less than 15 seconds. The cost was $50 instead of at least 10 times that for new chairs. I successfully recycled the old chairs and breathed new life into them.

Recycling your old things not only saves money, but can make your home unique and add personality. I am challenging myself to reuse whenever possible and if I can’t reuse what I have, buy it used from Community Forklift, Craig’s List or The Habitat ReStores. When I rescue trash, I am actually preventing it from filling up the landfill and not giving in to the constant pressures to buy more stuff. Paint your frames if the finish is wrong, paint an old light fixture to spruce it up, recover an old fabric, or just add new hardware to an old piece of furniture. If the piece is solid wood, it will last forever. These ideas are not new, but to me it is refreshing to let the house be decorated over time and not rush into the latest must-have. You will end up with an eclectic look that is interesting as well as beautiful. That is a worthy goal.

 © copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio

Reveal! Coffee Table to Ottoman

Only one serious injury occurred while re-doing the coffee table I found in the trash last week. It was overshadowed by excitement and I just yanked the staple out of my thumb and reassured my mother that I have certainly had a tetanus shot sometime in the last ten years, I think. Besides, the staple wasn’t even rusty.

I ordered fabric from a website that I love called Fabricguru.com. They will ship any amount of fabric for $4.99. I was able to get a heavy cotton decorator fabric with a large floral print for $12.99/yard.

We bought 2 inch foam, fleece fabric and buttons from JoAnn’s. All together the supplies cost about $60. We cut the foam with a bread knife to fit the top. We marked where we wanted the buttons to go and drilled holes in the top of the table. Then we stapled a fleece lining around the foam to the underside of the table.

I marked the holes again on the top of the foam and made holes in the foam using a large drill bit. Then we stretched and stapled the fabric over the top of the table, centering the pattern over the table. Using a large needle and nylon cord, I went up through the first hole from the underside of the table and threaded the first button.

I brought the cord back through the fabric and tied one end to a nail. Then we pulled it tight and retied the knot so it would not go back through the hole. This created a tufted top on the ottoman. We did this eight times.

Underside of the table.

This is me in my pajamas working on it. It was helpful to have Angela there to push on the button so the tuft was really tight. She only has a few bruises.

The wood on the bottom shelf was in good shape, so I gave it a quick wipe with Old English and we moved it to the family room. It is so comfy!

I love it.


© 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio