Alright, this is my last Christmas post!
Being in Minnesota, we normally have a white Christmas, but without snow this year, we were left with a brown Christmas. While I do miss the snow, I decided to turn it into a green Christmas! The majority of the materials I used for wrapping were scavenges!
I started out wrapping everything in very normal grocery bags. That made it every easy to save on paper use throughout, and no matter what, it's all still recyclable at the end.
Then I wrapped a band of old Christmas paper around each package to make it look a bit more Christmas-like. With the piece of dark green yarn in a daisy chain (or cast on for crochet), they really started to look like a present.
The last thing I put on is the only part that's not truly scavenged: I made gift tags for each gift from a design I found in a Finnish blog called Hey Look. They turned out to be perfect for what I wanted, but I made a few slight color changes to make sure they fit the other colors in my packaging. Overall I made out with a fairly green-friendly Christmas!
For a long time, I have wanted my own piano. For Christmas when I was 7 years old, we were blessed with a Yamaha keyboard. It still works and has tied me over quite well. About a year ago, my mom scavenged her own piano through a string of events:
Her brother acquired a new piano when his wife's dad was downsizing. It's a gorgeous piece. So, my mom snagged her own piano for the cost of moving it from their house to hers.
This is the common denominator on free pianos: they are all self-movers. If I remember correctly, hiring piano movers was only about $80 for my mom's piano scavenger.
The piano on the left is not the one she scavenged: It's from Craigslist, but it looks like a very nice specimen. With just looking at pianos on here, I've found there are a few things to watch for:
- Approximate Age and Manufacturer. If they can tell you who made it, doing research is a whole lot easier!
- No matter what, the post must always have pictures. I don't even consider a Craigslist item without them. I want to see exactly what I'm getting myself into. It's a little bit judging a book by its cover, but you can see any blemishes, if there are any cracks in the piano keys, or if there are any major deficits.
- Last time it was tuned or the condition of the sound. If the poster is honest about its problems, I'm more likely to take them up on the piano. This particular one says that some keys need a little tweaking at its next tuning, and it hasn't been tuned for about three years.
For the last day of sister week, I thought I would celebrate a little bit about my sister on the Weekend Scavenger for a couple of reasons:
1) She hates scavenger posts because she thinks they are normally irrelevant.
2) We are both scavengers, and I want to show off a little bit of her work too!
Also, she has no idea that I'm featuring her secretary as the project today! I'm not going to delve too far into the details of this one, because the project can be pretty well understood if you click here.Still, it's a pretty cool project that starts not just with Mags, but with another pack-rat who seemed to have a little bit of everything: This secretary stand was originally our grandma's. And while I remember exactly where it was in her apartment kitchen before she died, I can't remember where it was in her house (but I'm sure my dad or sister will fill every one in through comments).Prior to its state in this picture, it was hideous 70s veneer with brushed brass knobs. The veneer was in poor condition, and almost anyone would have given up on it... But not people like me and Maggie! After priming, painting, waxing, and distressing, this little secretary turned into the perfect place to put keys and mail when you walk into her place. One of the great things about this kind of change is that the secretary stand was completely repurposed. It was a breadbox before it was a secretary, but with a good scavenge and a little imagination, some leftover paint in our mom's garage took a breadbox to the perfect landing strip!
It is amazing what you can find for free these days! There are so many things I have that I've scavenged or upcycled with only the cost of the gas to get it. In some cases, I'll spend a little fixing it up, or I'll do what I can to make it presentable, but I love seeing what I can find!
One of the funnest scavenges has been this chair since I retrieved it more than two years ago. I grabbed it from the side of the road: I saw it when I was on a walk with my dog - who happens to be in the picture.
I love this chair: deep, wide, and physically accommodating. It had great bones, and before I grab anything, I always check the bones! If it is structurally sound, the upcycle is almost always worth it. It sat in this condition with tufted cushions and strange velvet and carpeted back for two more years before I started making my changes. Despite its bones, it is a little too much for me. With the dirty and hard to clean upholstery, torn apart cane arms, and tufting that's just not my style, I've started pulling it apart piece by piece: Almost nothing will be thrown to the trash.
The fabric will be reused for pillows along with the tufting buttons, the cushion material will continue to be used after adding a bit of extra fluff, and the structure will remain the same. I'm adding a few little things: the finish is beaten and battered, the cane has been removed and thrown out already, and most of the fabric is off. I've added a layer of new cushioning under the new upholstery, but overall, I doubt I"m spending more than $50: which could easily go toward just the fabric.
Some of my scavenges were much easier than this chair. One of the greats is my bed: it belonged to my former roommate who purchased it when she moved into the bedroom where I now reside. She probably only used it for a total of 30 nights before deciding to move out. I love it. It is the most comfortable bed I've ever had, and despite that she snapped the boxspring to get it down the stairs (which is held together by an extra also-upcycled bedframe), it is perfect. I haven't had to move it anywhere, and it was practically brand new. I also inherited a desk and the chair I'm trying to match. The desk is very wobbly with broken drawers, and will give me another project. And as I mentioned last week, that desk chair is getting reupholstered as soon as I have a match and fabric.
Recently, I've started doing something I have always poked fun at my sister for doing: urban scavenging. We both have a knack for finding things and for finding uses for things, but it is nice to have an outlet for that type of hobby. I love turning trash to treasure, even if it doesn't become my treasure.
This week, I've made two impressive finds: a microwave cart that was left my by neighbors for the trash man. It has a few screw holes in the top, and part of the molding on the front fascia is breaking off. But it's nothing that a nail or two wouldn't fix. It has the 80's fake wood veneer look to it, so it would need a coat of paint, but it is the perfect size for my shiny (also scavenged) printer/scanner/copier and for organizing the different types of paper that I use. It also has molding to surround the casters and look a little nicer. So, it is sitting patiently in the garage for me to fix up. A little sanding and a coat of paint... and it will be perfect!
Last night, while scavenging an outdated article (I was looking for a desk chair), I nabbed a perfectly good dining table! It is exceptionally cute, and would go great with the chairs my mom has in her basement (as opposed to the table she has there currently). I love this table. It expands from a small rectangle to a decent sized square - I love square tables! So, I just couldn't help myself - even if I have no current use for it. Someday, I'm sure it will be great for an office, my mom's house, my future house... I'm not sure where it will end up quite yet!
What I'm really searching for, is an office chair like this one. I have one already, but with two desks, it makes more sense to have two chairs. I gave my other desk chair to my sister because hers was the stand for the seat and the remaining back. The seat itself snapped out, so I gave her my awesome purple chair. Since then, I have been searching for a chair very similar to this one, so I have two that match.
Of coarse, they wouldn't stay like this chair forever, I would love to have two chairs that I would reupholster in a great fabric and make them just a little bit more special from the normal desk chair.
And leather imitation vinyl gets too hot.
I found one out several miles away... so I'm debating jumping on it. I was hoping to scavenge one for free, and my space is going to be further limited in about six months. So, that scavenge may end up going on hold.
At some point I'm sure I'll get my perfect chair, but for now, I'll be happy with one.