Yep. I'm a trash picker. Why? Because people throw stuff out for no good reason! When my husband (then fiance') and I lived in an apartment complex, people would often throw out brand new furniture! And, of course, I was usually the first one out to the dumpster, snatching it up! Now, I know better than to grab a mattress or a couch (ewww), but over the years, we have acquired many things (some of which we still use today). Some of the items include an over-the-toilet shelf, a couple of lamps, an (solid!) oak entertainment center, a school desk, a metal cart with a built-in surge protector, and a very nice office desk that was custom-made by a company in Canada, originally costing over $1000.00 (don't you love Google?) in perfect condition. When I was in high school, I had an old school bus seat in my bedroom. I know, livin' the dream! My point is, don't "be above" stopping to check out something on the side of the road or near a dumpster, because it may possibly be awesome.
Now, we do have many pieces of furniture that we did purchase ourselves, but I get such a thrill from finding something for nothing, and making it into something beautiful. If I were to list the furniture that I bought at second-hand stores and refinished or reupholstered, this would be a much longer post.
My most recent hobby is to spruce up our backyard. We have remnants of a nice flower garden that was here several renters ago, and I have been trying to make it pretty again. I never was fond of yardwork, and the only experience I have in the art of gardening is when my dad made me rake the yard with him in the fall when I was a kid. Thus, it has been a bit of a learning experience, and mostly trial and error. In terms of the planting of things, plants are surprisingly inexpensive! however, any sort of garden "decor" is not. Luckily, due to my trash-picking habit, I snatched up an arbor my neighbors threw out last year, and it has been sitting in my garage, taking up space that was meant for my car. I finally took it out yesterday and decided to fix it up. Now, it's not the most expensive arbor, it's actually made of plastic (basically glorified PVC), and all the pieces were falling out of it. That is where this wonderful product came in:
This is some mystery vinyl tape I found for a buck at Dollar Daze. It's kind of like a local outlet store, and I love the place. I've found great things there, but that's another blog post altogether. Anyway, this tape is white and shiny, the same texture/sheen as the arbor. So, the broken piece that was missing? I just taped over it. Now, the photo looks like it's glaringly obvious, but when you stand about three feet away, you can't even notice the repair.
Plus, I started some moonflower seeds today, so eventually I plan to have some vines creeping up this thing, which will further disguise my cheapo repair.
The fact that there are sunflowers and moonflowers are a total coincidence here. I bought the first white, climbing-vine flower I saw, and I thought that sunflowers would be fun to grow too. It works.
Here's the finished product as of yesterday. Of course, I have weeding and mulching to do still, but you get the idea. Would you have known that I found that on the side of the road? I didn't think so. I priced this arbor online, and it would have cost $140.00. I think that's a pretty good find.