Friday, January 7, 2011

Treasure Hunting: One Man's Trash is This Women's Treasure

When I was an overly sensitive tween going to school in the rich suburb of Fonthill, we had a thing called ‘Special Pick Up Day’ where you could leave anything at the end of your driveway and the city would pick it up.  Furniture, washers and dryers, pretty much anything that wouldn't fit in the garbage.  My mom LOVED special pick up day.   Rich people threw away good stuff, and my mom was always on the look out. We’d be driving home in the evening from somewhere, I’d be listening to the Spice Girls on my Walkman in the back seat, when all of sudden we'd stop, I’d look out the window… and there, to my horror was my mother, rooting through someone else’s garbage - sometimes someone I knew!  I. WAS. MORTIFIED! It’s not like this was a large community, and everyone knew our van! (Our embarrassingly huge burgundy van, to house our embarrassingly large family!) O.M.G, how could she do that to me!?  "My reputation!" I would scream, begging for her to get back in the van.  Usually she would just laugh hysterically at my suffering and beep her horn as she pulled away.  

I’m glad I am not that girl anymore.  And I KNOW my parents are relieved I’m not that girl anymore either. So as I’m dragging home another mirror from someone’s garbage, or searching through a box of my neighbour's discarded crap, I chuckle to think of what my 12 year old self would say.

I'm a lot like my mother these days, I find a lot of stuff on the street, and often she's even jealous of my finds. Who knew people in the city people threw away such good stuff! Here’s a pictorial of some of my favourites…

We found this door on the balcony of our old apartment and made into 'art'.  I hope it was garbage, cos otherwise we stole their door.
A cool mirror...

Found lamp, and mirror...
 I love my pillar...
I love this shelf!  It was in a 'free' bin at The Trinity Bellwoods yearly garage sale.
This mirror weighs A TON, I only found it a 5 minute walk from our house, but after all the breaks I had to take getting it home, it was more like a half hour.  Totally worth it.
The Legs!  This was once a full mannequin that we got from vintage clothing store that was shutting down.  My brother in-law, Will took the upper half.  It's proudly displayed in his living room in full military gear.  Always a conversation starter but sometimes both halves make people uncomfortable, but... if you don't like our legs, than I don't know if I like you!
The centre mirror is a recent find from someones garbage on Shaw St.  I find a lot of mirrors.  Do people get tired of looking at themselves?
The Avocado Lamp.  One of my favorite sources of light.
Ah yes, The Stuffed Pheasant.  How could you just throw this away???
 This piece was found in two parts.  I grabbed the bottom half across the street as soon as they put it on the road.  It must have been funny to watch me scurry over there and drag this thing to my front porch from directly across the street.  The mirror I grabbed from another neighbor who was doing some renovations.(they saw a lot of me that week.)  My father in-law built a base for the cabinet part, and a frame for the mirror and now it looks like a serious piece of furniture!  Definitely a top two.
Ummm, what??  Did you say FREE?
That's right, someone was throwing this away!  Don't worry, I cleaned this thing for 2 days before bringing it inside.
The typewriter for the 'writing room'.  James is a writer, and a great one.  The vintage playboys I found in my grandmothers basement of stuff being thrown away after a flood.  These were my Papa's.  Kind of weird I guess to have my grandfathers nudy mags, but I think they're pretty cool.
The book shelf was a street find as well as the green lamp.  The globe lamp, well...I did find it at swanky party, and I was told it was going to be thrown away at the end of the night and that I was welcome to it...but later... the person who told me that confessed that they were lying.  So I guess I stole that lamp.  Oops!  
These were picked out of the garbage for me by my brother Dane, another sibling who has, no doubt inherited the skill for treasure hunting.  He found them outside of an old lady's room in the nursing home he works at.  No, the ring was not inside, but I'm sure there was something similar to it inside at one time.
 Another mirror...and this time there were two!  Pretty sweet I thought...  The table the mirror is on was also a street find, and I painted it with a sample jar of paint.
I found this gem on Crawford and Dundas when 'Clandestino' was closing up shop.  It works perfectly for my metal findings and new earrings.
 Almost everything in this picture was garbage at one time.  The window frame, I found and painted.  I'll eventually put lace behind it so I can use it to showcase accessories.  The Styrofoam head I found at work and I use it when I'm making veils.  Both baskets were found somewhere, and the shelf everything sits on, James dragged home for me (bless his heart) so that I had someplace to store my fabrics and yarns.
Another mirror, and this one looks like it's from an old ship or something.  I love it.  Someone obviously didn't lucky for me!
Nice one eh?  I've been taking all the credit here for these treasures, but I really should tell you that my husband James has picked up my love for garbage picking and he's way stronger than me so he can carry more, PLUS he jogs a lot, so he hits parts of town I wouldn't normally venture.  We make a good team.

Those are my top finds, but don't you worry, when I get a new treasure, I'll be sure to show it off to my vast group of readers... : )  Up-cycling is the way to go folks, so get out there, you can always wash your hands when you get home.  

Love, Desiree
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