Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Trash Picking

It's trash day tomorrow. So, that makes tonight trash-eve. Or, as I like to think of it: Your trash is my treasure. Honestly, you won't believe the stuff people throw away. Sure most of it is truly garbage, but you can score some pretty good stuff if your timing is right and your standards are low attitude is optimistic.

A few weeks ago, on trash-eve, I was walking the mutt around 10 o'clock at night (once it was finally cool enough to be outdoors), when he slowed his pace and started this low, menacing growl. I assumed my best ninja stance and strained my eyes to see whatever he had locked his night vision on. A figure. In the dark. Tall. Not moving. Big. Really big. We crept a little closer, keeping a protective brick mailbox between us and the scary, hulking ... angel.

A neighbor had placed an 8-foot tall Christmas angel beside their trashcans. We got close and I inspected her. Hmm. I'm not a huge fan of yard art, but she looked pretty sturdy, lots of lights on her, maybe.... Before I could make a yes or no call, I looked down to see that the mutt had lifted his leg and was peeing on the angel. I took that as a 'no' and we kept walking. (It was gone by the morning, so my apologies to whomever took it. I hope you didn't take it indoors.)

Last year, my friend Tracy texted me a photo of two chairs her neighbor had out on the curb. She didn't need them and wondered what I thought. I hopped in the minivan and drove a few streets over.
Club chairs before 
Baby blue and certainly cat-clawed, but with some new fabric...I could definitely see potential. First I followed the advice of my BFF-I've-never-met, Lara Spencer, and checked the label on the chairs. She wrote the book on thrifting: I Brake for Yard Sales, and her sage advice includes salvaging name brand, well-made quality furniture. "Look for good bones, people," she preaches and I listen.

Lifting the cushion, I found a tag that indicated the chairs had been custom-made by a tony Dallas furniture shop. I did the sit-test for comfort (another tip from BFF-INM Lara) and a quick sniff test (for 'cat'), and gave Tracy a high-five. We asked the homeowner if we could haul them away, and he not only said yes, but offered us first dibs on his matching cat-scratched sofa. I passed but thanked him, and under my breath suggested he de-claw the cat. Or at least call me when the feline destroyed something else pretty nice.

I found a nearby upholsterer to recover the chairs and purchased fabric online. A few weeks later, I had two pretty sweet custom club chairs for a fraction of what I'd have paid to have them made for me.
One chair stays in the den after being covered in an over-sized floral by Richloom, legs painted gray.

The second chair I had covered in gray linen, legs painted black and placed in the living room. 

Someday I may recover them again in a matching fabric if I live someplace where I need a pair, but for now they work well apart. And while most of my rescues are DIY, I know when a project needs a professional to complete it.

I've never climbed inside a Dumpster, but I'm not afraid to see someone's castoff as a potential score. I just hope I never toss something into my van that a dog has lifted his leg to and watered. Again, my apologies to the Christmas angel and her new owner.

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