Thursday, June 5, 2014

You Don't Need it But I Do

For a junker living in a college town, the end of May and the beginning of June are like Christmas. Trash cans  and Dumpsters are overflowing--sometimes with junk, sometimes with discarded treasures.

The best thing, though, is the UDon't Need it Sale, which is a University/City collaboration to keep junk off the streets and stuff out of landfills.  Students bring all of their unwanted goods, from towels and tables to bed frames and basketball hoops, to a big tent on campus, and it either goes to charity or gets sold to the public for ridiculously low prices. And those of us who volunteer at the sale can take an item for free for every shift we work.

We get some very interesting things like this couch, which is most definitely NOT my style, but as they say, one person's trash is another's treasure:

The day I worked this year was cold and rainy, and we weren't very busy. The sale wasn't open to the public yet, and we were just taking in odd lots of stuff from people who weren't turned off by the rain.

I kept wandering around, not really seeing anything that spoke to me. I grabbed a couple of towels for the beach house and two vintage Pyrex bowls... and kept looking. 

One little piece was kind of calling to me, but I fell into the "but I don't know what I'd do with it" trap. I texted Doug a picture, and he responded with a resounding "yes"!

Here it is in the tent. None of us realized at the time that it was upside down:

We eventually figured it out and flipped it over (the drawers go on the bottom because this is a small cabinet that probably hung on a wall at one point):

After I got it home, I cleaned it up and wandered around the house looking for a home for it.

Then I had an epiphany. When we redid the kitchen at the beach house, Doug built one base cabinet, but I talked him out of making a piece that would go all the way to the ceiling because I knew it would dwarf the kitchen. So we bought a little spice rack and put a vintage bread box on top of the cabinet:

But all of a sudden I could see the little cabinet on top of the base cabinet, with the whole thing looking like a hutch.  So we took it to the beach with us last weekend, along with a free sample pot of paint I got from Lowes. It's not a perfect match for the SW sea salt, but it's close enough (the colors are actually more similar in person than they are in this picture--besides, this is a funky little beach cottage, and I long ago abandoned any dreams of perfection):

Doug had to do a little fix to make it work--because the sizes didn't match up perfectly, he had to cut a piece of plywood to serve as a platform for the top of the base cabinet, so the little cabinet would be stable. I painted that too, and when the paint was dry (well, maybe it wasn't quite dry--I'm not known for my patience), he screwed it together. I couldn't be happier with the results.  And it was all free!

And to end on a note of pride... My daughter, who now has a master's degree but is at the moment unemployed, wanted to give her boyfriend something for his birthday, but he was adamant that she not spend money on him. So she went pallet hunting yesterday and called Doug when she found a nice pile of pallets for free at a store just a couple of miles away. One of the pieces was a fairly small frame, and, with a little help from Doug, she made this flag for Brian's birthday. It has 15 stars, which is the type of flag flown at Ft. McHenry--perfect for someone who lives in Baltimore:

Doug walked her through all of the steps from pulling nails (I didn't get a photo of that) to gluing:

and using the power stapler:

She's already a master painter, so she needed no help there:

She made her own stencil for the stars by printing one out on the computer and cutting it with an exacto knife.

Total project cost: $8.97 for three pots of paint, and she used only a small amount of each color. Maybe some more flags are in her future. They would make great gifts....


She gave Brian the flag a week early because she couldn't stand to wait (his birthday is next weekend). Here it is on the brick wall in his bedroom:

No comments:

Post a Comment