Dumpster Diving

I have a habit that’s an embarrassment to my family…I dumpster dive.  Except that where we live, there aren’t very many dumpsters–just heaps of junk by the side of the road.  I was mentored by one of the best: my mother-in-law.  It took her several months to confess to me the origins of the sofa she and my father-in-law found for us early in our marriage.  She was rather sheepish, thinking that I’d be horrified.  But I loved that beautiful old couch.  It had carved antique legs, a camel back (that needed a little repair), and tasteful upholstery.  A little cleaning, a stitch here and there, an artfully placed doily to cover some wear, a few nails…and what a price!

Over the years, I’ve hauled many treasures home:  bookshelves, tables, a plant stand or two.  The price can’t be beat!

Last Saturday evening as we left a family gathering, I spied a promising heap–a pile of aged lumber that was once a playhouse and swing set.


I’ve heard that by law, objects put out for garbage collection are free game.  But I always feel a little sheepish.  So we asked permission, and then hauled a truckload of weathered wood of all description, and a little hardware too.  The Master & Commander set the teenagers to pulling nails and sorting as soon as we got it home.  And then they graciously cut much of the smaller slats to my specifications.  One of the boys even taught me to use the power sander.

So far, I’ve made these:



They’re for my booth at Antiques Alley next month.  And I’ve got my eye on a few, hoping they won’t sell.

They boys have their eyes on some of the larger pieces of lumber.  I heard murmurings about catapults…  That’s fine with me because I’m hoping to pass on the mentoring.  After all, the price is right!