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Thoughts, ideas and tips on upcycling.

New Additions, with a little help from you..

Post shared from Mommy’s Cigar.

I brought home a new baby today. I know, I know. My floors still are not done nor are my walls but this only cost me $10.

When opportunity dresses itself in the form of a 1960’s retro desk I answer, and I do so with a giant smile.

I am still learning how to tie up the potential of a project and put it here in a photo graph for you to see.

WifeNOT has been working hard, so hard in fact she eats all three meals a day at work and won’t have a day off this week. We miss her obviously, but along with that I miss my sanity. I haven’t been out of the house a lot lately, which means neither have the children. Today I was happy we got out because this super keen desk found me!

It will be a week or two before I began working on the desk and I thought ‘Hey? Why not use that time to toss around ideas with YOU’s guys.


My favorite part about the desk are the drawers, their panels and clean lines. I love that the only arch on this piece are on the bottom near its beautifully tapered peg legs. All of the drawers work beautifully so that is a major plus. It’s the perfect for the space I have and feel of the desk really resonates with my other pieces which you can see in My Vintage Harvest or You Trashy Little Thing.

Obviously the desk will have to be redone a bit. There is some scratching in most ever place so it will need to be lovingly sanded. My first though is to paint it, not sand it. My first though may be wrong because it is based solely on the fact that my side table is brown, my entertainment wall shelf is brown, my dining room table is brown, the bench is brown, and my walls are…take a guess…blue. Kidding they are brown. When I say brown I mean wooden stained and finished, except for the wall which is painted. But as I mentioned in my last piece ‘Black Walls, a Gyno, and Colorful Reason’ (examples shown) they will be black post-remodel. The wood looks nice with black walls but so does color.

The most important question I have is this. The top is formica and the sun hasn’t been so easy on it. I know formica. Scary isn’t it?

I though of maybe covering the top in a bold retro fabric/wallpaper and some kind of lacquer or even having the top a crisp white and the rest stained. I mentioned to someone I replace the top completely but they suggested I add to it. What do you think?

I would love to leave this desk as is but alas its life has been hard. I am prepared to love it.

If it were your desk what would you do?

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The Lampiest.

I always have something going, right now I am redoing my bedroom, building a closet, and redoing my sons room. But that’s just today. My favorite thing to do is create, whether it is from existing materials or from nothing. There is nothing like building something in your mind then building it in real life all for the ah-ha moment of  “look what I can do.” It’s all very “I’m a big kid now” I know.

I’ve been spending some of my scarce free time building lamps, well I say building lamps. I have done 2. I have a few more put back to start on.

I love lamps, or any lighting at all. I’ve always had ideas of how I could make things better suit my household or design, or someone else’s design I just never knew that I could use my own hands to make that happen. But I can, and it’s quite exciting.

More exciting than building and re-wiring a lamp myself is really what it is made from. With this particular project I have paired my love for creation and lamps with WifeNOT’s love and my fascination of her job. All of that lovingly synced for the imagination/possibility aspect that should fill a boy’s room and this is what I have come up with. It was placed on the side table in Honest Abe’s room and I must say, I am in love with it…isn’t it just the lampiest!

Here is the breakdown:

Pieces a. b. & c. all came from an existing lamp that was carefully disassembled. They are made of brass. I painted piece b & c to match a stripe in Honest Abe’s bedding. I left piece a. the way it was to keep some of the original effect.

Piece d. is a black piece of scrap from a carbon fiber piece that goes to an experimental project that is to be determined. It has a wonderful texture that I can’t get enough of but it’s rare and so I’ll just have to love this piece an extra lot. Can you say Kim Possible?? Wish I could tell you more but I am not even allowed to know more.

Piece e. is a wooden piece that cam from a completely different existing non-working lamp. I painted it green as well.

All of the guts have been replaced a.k.a. new wiring. The lamp shade and wiring are the only things that were not upcycled [see Happy Upcycling]. I have not graduated to the making of lamp shades, at least not to my own standards but I am working on it.

A bit of advice if you are interested in building lamps..get an old junky lamp and practice taking it apart and putting it back together before you start on a big project. Eventually it comes easily and saves you a big headache.

So Voilà! The lampiest scientific upcycled monster of a teeny lamp I have ever seen.

Do you see anything disposable around you that needs a little lighting up?

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You Trashy Little Thing.

You thought you were about to get the scoop huh? Don’t be disappointed, in a way you are.
Those of you who know me have seen some of these photos or seen the said “trash” in person.

I love me some trash!!


I really really do! My favorite thing to do, other than writing for all of you of course, is to go rummage. You normally won’t catch me at a garage sale, sometimes but not often. When I go rummaging I say “Go big or go home son!” The place that I go (I will try to grab a photograph next time) would be the epitome of the word trashy at first sight but it will definitely teach you not to just a book by its cover. You can take it either way when you come up the long drive way to what the sign says is a ranch…. and there it is…

My kind of Heaven.

I pull in (if I can find a place to park). And there it is…the most beautiful clothing mountain I have ever seen, I apologize to it silently as I walk by it. I never give that mountain enough of my time..my mission is not with you my love. I get this little flutter in my stomach like the first time you hold hands, palms all sweaty…should I? YES!

There is a room filled with linens, walking across clouds of pillows and blankets I make it to the vintage suitcases. Their luggage tags and stickers from different cities flood my mind with wonder. Who had them? Where have they been? What have they seen? And sometimes…what did they spill in there? Oh let’s put that one back.

Tubs of broken toys, kitchen ware, sports gear fill the space between linens and luggage. Except for on Tuesday and Wednesday when all of these second chance items never live for their third chance…these are the days they are thrown out to make room for more. Going on those days is sad for me. Oh, if I don’t get that it will go to the trash!?!? But I have to pass by it anyway for it was not destined to be with me…”It’s your time buddy” I think to myself.

But that is not all…no. Out the “pillow room” as we call it, around the mound of clothing, and past the boxes of miscellaneous things is…dun dun dun. The lamp room. And through the lamp room is the book and dishes room. And few more steps, deep breath…it’s finally here! The furniture room. And oh my my! How my heart doeth love thee. We started with hand holding but have mustered up the courage for a kiss. The gold mine is what it should be called. NOT the furniture room. How sad for it..

“Don’t your dare call me the furniture room, We have lived lives, harder, longer, more adventurous than you will ever see with your own eyes. Live through us, take us home..give us the love that we deserve.”

A dresser once said that to me! No lie! But really, there is something similar in putting your grandmother in a nursing home before her time and sending these pieces to the dump.

[If you didn’t read that in 1-800 Girl voice  over or at least with anticipation you should try it again.]

That’s my trashy novel. Ha! Get it! I know this makes me stranger than most but that’s totally okay with me. The high of picking and choosing, the sadness in it too…deciding whose time it is to go and who needs to live a bit longer, this is what I live for! And you DO have to pick and choose. You cannot be thrifter without being a little bit of a furniture snob (but in the right kind of way). Not everything needs a second life, some things are on their tenth life and some were never built to live that long anyway. A good piece of furniture is like a tortoise, if loved and cared for can live to be 100+ years old but a fly now…a fly’s life is short-lived. We do not revive them because they are not meant to have a lengthy life. They were not made up of what it takes to live on and on and on. You should take this into consideration when choosing which rummage items to take into your home. Will it last? Is it quality? Is it ugly? Wait it can be ugly, ugly is good. The proper question is Does it have potential? Be picky, but be thrifty.

Sometimes I bring friends with me to this dirty filthy beautiful place. And sometimes they choose to sit in the car…but every now and then the thrifty or upcycling bug latches on to one of them, and never let’s go. This, my friends, is how I spread joy.

If you like this post you should do a little hop over to Scoutie Girl and read their blogs on Thrifted Thoughts. You won’t be disappointed! Oh wait!!! And Mod Nest, Lia Fagan uses the same heads in the photos of her AMAZING lamps as I do in my living room design! So go now! Hurry up! Shew!

[If you are interested in making your own a silhouettes a good guide I ran across is Acute How-to: Simple Silhouettes]

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Reasons to Upcycle

Coming Soon…

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I’ve been bitten!

Yes, I’m infected. This contagious bug has bitten me and I have become a host for creativity and appreciation. It has taken over my life in a most inspirational way so I decided, with the push of several friends over the past year, to do something with it. What I wanted to do with it I didn’t know for sure… Then after occasion and occasion of feeling the motivation behind things I find, what I do with them, what other’s do with them I came up with this.

I truly believe in what I do. Do I exaggerate? You are just upcycling, you aren’t curing world hunger? Maybe, but there is something more here…and I think if you spend a little time exploring you will see it too.

There are so many Reasons to Upcycle. They vary from wanting something creative that no one else has, finding something affordable, or saving things from landfills. My personal reasons for upcycling exist in all three of those examples and more. Let me explain this the best way I know how.

Have you ever been to a dinner party or any event and had an amazing conversation with an extraordinary personality, you could just sit and talk with them forever. They leave you feeling inspired, your mind continues to go back to the topics discussed. You learned something from them. You learn from every interaction you have in life, they may not all shake the ground beneath your feet but there is something to be taken from every experience. I feel this when I find an old piece of furniture or any item that evokes my senses. I take it home..not everytime, there is a line between rebirthing materials and hoarding. There is a life that things have lived before they make it to us. This is something that new items don’t necessarily have, unless of course they have a bigger purpose behind them…which I will write about later.

There is soul (so to speak) in items that have lived, in they area that they flourished. I think they can flourish again.

I don’t believe in too much attachment to material items. However, we are all going to decorate our homes and feel the need for things regardless…so why not design our lives with a purpose.

In bringing all of this information to you my hope is that more people take the time to give items a new home before they make it to a landfill, because recycling is no longer good enough. Too learn from the things you work with and the processes in which greatness happens. I hope this brings a new appreciation for things which already exist. I believe there is a movement here…somewhere there is a community of people who know or will know the importance of upcycling, it’s positive effect on the environment, on your creative intellict, and in your day to day living in general.

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