Pickin’ la Poubelle

Jun 12, 2010 | Uncategorized | 15 comments

 Doesn’t that sound prettier than trash can?
Leave it to the French.
We are all comfortable with some things and not with others.  I know people who swear by the Thrift stores for their wardrobes… me… not so much.  I’ll dress my kids from them if I find something quality but I just can’t get into it myself. 
I know some who can not leave the house without full hair and makeup, they are simply not comfortable.  And though styling my hair and going out with my “signature reds” makes me feel great; I am comfortable going sans maquillage too.
Some would not dream of hoisting something out of someone’s garbage pile… and that is OK but let me tell you.  I’d do it in a heartbeat.
It all started with an empty condo and a fake fireplace.
One day as newly, newly weds Joel came home hanging his head.  “What?”  I demanded.  “What is going on?”  He confessed to having had seen an old faux fireplace on the curb a few blocks away.  “Let’s go!  Come on!  NOW!”  I screeched.  His reaction?  
“I was afraid you would say that.”
This little tin faux fireplace served us well in our little condo. I faux finished the inside to look like stone… I would put candles in the bottom and line the top with family photos.  I can’t bare to part with it, though it really is a piece of junk.  It resides in the school barn now.  Perhaps some day when I put it on the curb a young wife with an empty home will drive by and to a little trash pickin.’

This little number is going to go in the nook in my office upstairs.  I just found it a few weeks ago.   I am going to paint it, fix the hardware situation and attach a large top cut to match that front curve… making it a big, deep, sewing desk.  Sure, it’s junky but give me two afternoons and a paintbrush and it will serve me well during many sewing projects.  F-R-E-E.

 My headboard?  Rattan and trés français.  Strait from the curb and proud of it.  Do you know how many years of antique and thrift stores it would have taken me to find a king size, cream colored rattan headboard?  I shutter to think.

When we first moved in a neighbor with plenty of lawn furniture of her own came by and told me about two pieces a block away.  She went and stood there til I came by with the truck.  Joel painted them black… I swear this is the most comfortable chaise…
It also has a matching love seat. 

And my latest find.  Not concrete but it sure looks like it…
Now at home on our patio filled with edible goodies.  Snapdragons, parsley, lemon thyme, rosemary and ornamental kale.

I think the key to garage sales, thrift shops or “dumpster diving” as some people call it; is to use a discerning eye.  You don’t HAVE to take it just because it’s free.  Think about how you will use it, any repair involved… are you the kind that will actually DO the repairs?  Or will you end up with a garage full of junk yourself?
Look, I know this stuff is not top quality.  I am not saying that.   It’s not a $300 concrete urn or a gorgeous chaise from the Restoration Hardware catalog but it’s working for us… we are such a wasteful country, so much prosperity… even in this horrible economy we are still the richest people in world.  It doesn’t mean you’re trash if you like to check out other people’s trash.  It means you have an eye towards the future… aware of what things were and what they can become.


  1. Privet and Holly

    AMEN! You sure said it, so well. I think that more people would rescue things from the trash if they had the kind of vision and creativity that you do. But, let’s face it, most of us don’t. That said, I have learned so much about re-finishing, re-using and re-purposing since I started reading blogs, that I’m ready to take a crack at it! Love all your projects and photos ~ wonderful stuff, all! xx Suzanne

  2. Tracie~MyPetiteMaison

    I couldn’t agree more, Angela. Your little fireplace has taken a piece of my heart with your story of it being a first piece in your condo. That urn is amazing, you did a great job in its appeal, it looks like a well time worn piece anyone would want in their garden. Oh and the headboard is beautiful!

  3. Stephanie

    I’m going to start keeping my eyes open more to what the possibilities could be in giving new life to these items. I can’t believe you found your headboard like this! It is perfect!

  4. Joannah

    You are good! My mom has had a few successes picking up other people’s castoffs on the curb. Drives my dad nuts, though.


  5. 1 Funky Woman

    I am in total agreement with your words! I have no problems dumpster diving! I do take a minute and think of what I will do with it before it comes home with me! I totally agree with how wasteful we are these days and I believe we should even do family and friend swaps then throw it away. I love your finds!

  6. myletterstoemily

    it means you have an eye for beauty
    where other people see only trash.

    good for you. i’m afraid i do not have
    that gift, but i have learned a lot from


  7. Anne Marie

    uh – I think I have an idea with this title of this post – if you “kwim”

  8. Anne - Fiona and Twig

    Love your faux fireplace story!
    And I love even more the idea that some other industrious, thrifty gal will one day resuce it from YOUR curb.

    Ahhh, the circle of life. 🙂


  9. Tamra

    What’s that old saying? “I am what I eat….Fast, Cheap & Easy” lol

    You gotta move fast, the cheaper the better and it would be so much easier if everyone would just get outta my way when I spy a bargain!

    Love the fireplace filled with boots and yes when you pass it on someone will love it too. Great story and that headboard is to die for!

  10. Corinne.

    C’est toujours avec plaisir que je viens te rendre visite sur ton joli blog !!
    Je vois que la petite princesse grandit bien et qu’elle est aussi belle que son frère et sa soeur.

  11. Cottage Remnant

    You go girl!!!!
    You know what they say about;
    Leave a smaller carbon foot-print. Besides, what story can there be behind a piece of furniture you picked up at the local store, how many others have the EXACT same pieces… Our town no longer has Big Pick-up so I can’t get anything good… :0(

  12. Lorilee

    I love to shop the curbs too!

  13. Molly @ Star Cottage

    Great finds 😉
    I have so many projects going all the time. My family thinks I’m nuts, that is until they see the finished product. I love turning other peoples trash into my treasures. I am currently sanding a few pieces of furniture myself. I can’t wait to paint them, but I though I’d wait till I was done being pregnant before I inhail all the fumes, just incase. Can’t wait to see how your sewing desk turns out. Everything you touch turns out beautiful.
    I’ll be sure to post mine when I am finished.
    Many Blessings,

  14. susanna

    Oh yeah! I’m with you with the dumpster diving and the curbside rescues. Most of our furniture belonged to someone before us. One of my favourite memories from my college days was waiting til a particular weeknight at the end of each month when the bookstores would rip off the covers of the expensive European magazines and toss them in boxes in the back alley. I had quite the love affair with Vogue Italia back then. Ahhh memories. YOU have done wonders with the furniture that you have found and refurbished/repainted.


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