Archives For Inspiration

No Shame in Dumpster Diving

Jennifer —  February 6, 2012 — 1 Comment

iloverehabs was featured over on wherelovemeetslife.  She found me somehow and wanted to show her readers my stuff.  Go over there and check her blog out…not to see my stuff but to see hers!  She is a full-time employee, mom, wife and DIY/Life blogger.  (plus I think she and I both have a love for chevron…kindred spirits, I just know it)  I think I am going to have to try her mustache glasses.  Mustaches are the rage and I think need to be added to my kitchen.  Thanks a ton for the love!

Raise your hands if you have done any dumpster diving. I am totally unashamed of taking one man’s trash (left on the curb) and making  it my treasure. I have never actually pulled anything out of a literal dumpster but I am not opposed either.  In fact, I have some friends (you know who you are) that would be the ones to help me in the dumpster…and not leave me there…hopefully.  This is a common practice in this part of America.  Maybe it’s because I live in the hills of the Ozarks, but people will even post on Craigslist what they are putting out on their curb with the trash. I found my garage cabinets on a Craigslist Curbside posting.

I saved a family in the middle of a renovation a trip to the county transfer station which probably would have cost them about $20 to dispose of these cabinets.  I must also mention the physical stress I saved them from having to get them there.  Here is a story for you.  (You might think less of me after this but oh well, just puttin it all out there.)  The Hubs and I were hanging out watching football one Sunday night with our good friends. We realized that the next morning was “large item trash day” in our city so at about 10pm (maybe later) we got in our car and went to the nicer neighborhoods to see what was left out to go to the county landfill. We didn’t find anything that night but the thrill of it made us feel like spontaneous teenagers. The funny thing is that my friend, the wife, was about 5 days away from the due date of her first child.  Shameful?  Maybe.  Responsible?  Probably not.  Memory?  Absolutely!

The Hubs and I have done our fair share of curbside sharing. I will literally put something out on the curb with a free sign. These are usually things that are not worth the time to sell. If it goes then I have saved myself some serious hassle. If it doesn’t…to the thrift store or transfer station it goes. Here is the crazy thing everything I have put out on my curb has been taken.   That tells me there are tons of dumpster divers like me. Here is what I have put out on my curb:

  • Fridge that was in the house when we bought it  (really old, really dirty. )
  • Stove that was in the house when we bought (too old with no knowledge of reliability to sell)
  • Coffee Table
  • Old Double door we took out of our kitchen.  (It was rusted and old)
  • Old Bike Rack
  • Outdoor table that was leftover from the old owner
  • Lawn chairs leftover from the old owner
  • Doors that we replaced

This chair was in storage for years at the camp that I work at.    It was headed for the trash pile during our cleaning week last spring.   I decided to salvage it and took it home one day after work.

It had a pair but its partner was broken and as much as I tried, couldn’t fix it.  When I brought it home I didn’t know where I would use it, but as I started working on my living room again I realized it could be extra seating there.   So, I turned it into this:

I found a clearance fabric shower curtain walking thru the clearance section at Wal-mart.  It was priced at $7.00 and the fabric kind of reminded me of ikat.  It had all the colors I wanted to use in my living room.  It had the blue from my new curtains and the turquoise from the pillow on my couch.

I didn’t even bother to take the leather off the original chair.  I just grabbed my pneumatic staple gun and recovered the seat.  I used some remnant white fabric I had from my new curtains project to clean up the bottom of the seat.

To cover the back of the back rest I cut a piece the shape of the back, yet bigger.  I folded and hot-glued it into place using spray adhesive for the middle part.


I screwed the pieces back into the chair and voila…for $7.00 I had a new addition to my living room.

Here is how it fits in the layout.

I decided to move it to the left of the bookcase so it doesn’t block my t.v. gear.  I am looking for a small side table.  I will probably DIY something or look for something inexpensive.  Here is the look I am going for so if you see anything out there let me know.  I like this one from west elm:

I am not cure ceramic fits my lifestyle so maybe a painted white version of this?  This is DIYable too.


Anyway, I love my chair’s Danish Modern lines and I love the extra seating it provides my living room space.

Do any of you have a dumpster dive you want to share?  Comment below with a link to your blog.  If you don’t have a blog, just tell us about it or link a flickr pic.

Thanks for reading,


If you liked this post you might like these:

Milk Crate Ottoman

Rocking Chair Rehab

Slip Cover A Chair

I must say that the title of this post is not my mantra in life.  I am a big believer that honesty should always prevail.  This was, however, my mantra in how I dealt with the black/brown Lack shelves that flanked my fireplace.  Here is the picture below. (again please excuse my pre-blog poor cell phone pic)

The first year that we lived in the house, I decided to purchase these Lack floating wall shelves to provide some decorative storage on either side of my fireplace.  My first intention was to purchase 8 floating shelves (four on each side), but I wasn’t sure of this decision.  Since I live 7 hours away from the closest Ikea I couldn’t easily return them, so I figured start with four.  If I liked them and wanted to add to more to each side, I could pick up the other four shelves 4 months later when I traveled to that city for work.  Thank goodness I listened to the voice in my head.  My  goal of my idea of 4 shelves on each side was sturdy shelving that could hold a good amount  of weight (you know, like books, boxes, decor)  These bad boys only hold 35 LBS so it wasn’t the sturdy option that I was going  for.

When I finally decided to build bookcases I wanted to build floor-to-ceiling bookcases and scrap the Lack.  You know me, I am a “try to use what I have” DIYer so we decided to build our Little Lack inspired bookcases and incorporate the Lack floating shelves we already had.

My first try: 

Paint them the white that I painted the bookcases. These bad boys are laminate so I looked up advice on painting laminate.  Maybe I did it wrong but I waited a LONG time ( a week) for the primer to harden and peeling paint was the outcome.  Sorry no pic.  I am not embarrassed to show you, I am more embarrassed I don’t have a picture.  I just got so frustrated and set out on the solution that I forgot to take a picture.  Here is a pic I found on the web that reminded me of how the paint was peeling after a few scratches.  Of course the scratch started small but in testing it a peeled it more and it looked like this (but not old and crackled..jut jagged like below)


Bummer.  I went to bed frustrated.  Has this happened to anyone?

The next day I went to target to pick out sheets to sew my friend’s baby girl’s curtains.  I found this set of  queen sized sheets on clearance for $20.00.  It was a soft grey (which is a theme in my room) with white little diamonds (or flowers depending on how you look at it).  What if I covered the shelves in fabric?  I bought the sheets and went home to try it.

Note:  I have lived and learned from this experience.  I am going to share with you how I did this project.  I believe my methods to be 85% effective.  If I could go back, which I can’t wont, I would do it differently.  I tell this to be real and honest with you.  I want your product, if you choose to do this project, to be better than mine.  I will say that I am 100% satisfied with my end product with that being said…

Step: 1

I lightly hand sanded the shelves.  Remember I had paint on them.  I don’t think you would need to do this if you don’t.  I had to get it back to an even surface.

Step 2:

I figured out how I was going to cut the fabric to get the most bang for my buck.  I was able to use the queen sized sheet and a little bit of the fitted sheet.  I posted here how to cut your fitted sheet to make it a flat piece of fabric.

Step 3:

I cut my first piece of fabric.  It was wide enough to fold over both sides and the front of the shelves.  There was just enough excess in the back to staple it to the back. Don’t worry about the excess on the side unless it helps you maximize your fabric.  You will cut the excess later.

Step: 4: 

I ironed my fabric.

Step 5:

The Lack shelf can stand on its own because of its 2 inch thickness.  I stood the shelf up on its back so the front of the shelf  was facing up.

Step 6: 

I sprayed Spray Adhesive onto the front part of the shelf and evenly placed the fabric (right side up) down on the front of the shelf.  I adjusted it to make it even and smoothed out the wrinkles.

Note:  My end product had a little bit of bubbling on the front a few days later.  Pesky little suckers.  Why it didn’t come up immediately I don’t know, but I think using modge podge as the adhesive would have prevented this.  I used it in covering plastic bins for my hallway and have not had one little bubble.  Why I departed from my first love modge podge?…I do not know. Yet, I did and hopefully it happened to help you.  Remember…use a light layer of modge podge.  From here on out in this tutorial I would advise using modge podge.

Step 7:

I sprayed the sides (one at a time) with spray adhesive and smoothed out the fabric until the bubbles and wrinkles were gone.  This is a fluid process.  You have to constantly smooth out bubbles up until the last staple.  That is why you still see bubbles in the pic below.  These seen bubbles went away when I pulled tightly to staple.

Step 8: 

 Cut the excess on the sides to about two inches

Step 9: 

Fold the excess from the front side down (see pic)  Use spray adhesive (modge podge) to keep it down.

Step 10:

Fold the top and bottom side like a present.  If you see the above the pic, by folding down the front side excess first it creates to angles on both sides.  I sprayed the side of the shelf and folded the bottom side up first.  Then I lightly sprayed on top of that fabric and folded the top side down over it.  Here is the final product. 

Step 11:

Turn the Lack shelves over.  The back of the Lack shelf has a little indention to rest on a metal piece that screws into the wall.  I wanted the excess fabric to be secure yet minimal so it wouldn’t hinder the hanging of the shelves.  So I sprayed spray adhesive on the back and tightly folded the fabric over.  I stapled it down as well.  I also folded side the edges down. (cut any excess so it’s not bulky)


I cut out the fabric that covered the holes where the shelf rests on the wall piece.

Step 12:

I put two light coats of modge podge on the shelves.  This might have caused the bubble process, but I wanted these shelves to be wipeable.  I didn’t want the fabric to rip as I took things on and off the shelf.

Step 13: 

 I hung them back up.

Can you see the bubbles? 

The flash from my camera working with the gloss matte modge podge makes it worse than it really is.  I am a perfectionist so if it looked bad they would be down and I would have posted and ” I failed” post.    Here is a close up of one of them and it’s not bad at all. 


No one ever notices when they see them.  Its even less noticeable when there is something else to look at the shelves.  Here is the finished product.  Stay tuned and I will share with you what I used to decorate them.

The lesson learned?  Here is my list

  1. When all else fails, fabric does a good cover-up job. Sad to say, only in DIY.
  2. Don’t give up.
  3. Don’t stray from what you know, modge podge…I am coming back if I ever do this project again.
  4. Don’t stress about minor flaws if they are not that big deal.  If it is gonna stress you out,  redo it.  If I were doing this project for one of you…I would have started over.  Hey, I am a perfectionist.  At my house, you don’t notice it so there is more important things to do in life.
    Resale value?  Haven’t lost a thing cause these puppies are coming with me when its time to go…bubbles and all.

    If you missed how I decorated these Shelves then check it out here.

Thanks for reading,


If you liked this post, try these:

The Little Lack Part 2

The Little Lack Part 1

My Hallway

Less is More

Jennifer —  November 15, 2011

My good friend is about to have her baby.  We are waiting any day now and we are so excited for little Avery to come into this world.  Avery is Asa’s sister.  Mom wanted to get Avery’s room as ready as possible and I helped her a little bit.

Avery’s mom was describing the colors that she wanted in the room and I brought her this Amy Butler Lotus  fabric remnant I had.

source here

She loved it and wanted to use it in the room.  So we pulled out my Benjamin Moore Paint colors and found a grey close to the one in the flower.  We took it to Home Depot and matched it to their Behr paint.  We didn’t have a lot of the fabric.  So we had to be strategic how we used it.  It wasn’t enough for curtains or crib bedding, but there was enough to make a statement somewhere.  The question was where.  Avery’s mom reminded me about the rocking chair they had.  Since we placed a new chair in Asa’s room we moved the rocking chair into Avery’s room next door.  Here is a reminder of what it looked like.  (Sorry I didn’t have a better pic.  They had a friend paint it so it was being painted by the time I got involved)

My friend painted the rocking chair base white.  It was more of a creme color.  My job was to recover the cushions.  I didn’t have enough fabric so my friend bought a queen sheet set at target.  In upcoming posts I will share all the things we did with this queen sheet set.  Back to the point of this post.  Here is how I recovered the chair:

    1. I took off the cushion and traced it onto the backside of the fabric.  I simply laid the cushion (with its cover still on) on the fabric and made sure my pencil was touching the edge of the cushion as I traced it.
    2. I took a sewing tape measure and measure 1-inch from the traced line all the way around.  I connected the measurement marks (grown up connect the dots really) and made a 1-inch border around my traced line.  This would be the line I would sew on.  (Note:  When you trace the cover like I did above you are tracing the shape of the cushion.  The 1 inch border will help you cover the thickness of the cushion.)
    3. I placed the back fabric right side up on the floor.  I placed the traced fabric right side down on top of the back fabric.  (Right sides should be facing each other).  Pin the fabric together and cut about a ½ inch around the outside border.
    4. Sew your fabric around the outer line that you drew.
    5. Leave the bottom open so that you can turn it inside out and insert the cushion.
    6. Turn the sewn fabric inside out and iron if you need to.
    7. Measure on the back of the original cushion where the ties are sewn on.  Cut off the ties on the original cushion.  Take the above measurements and mark where the cushion ties should be sewn.

  • I cut some grosgrain ribbon and hand sewed it onto the places where the ties should be.
  • Insert the cushion into the new cover.  Since my cushion was bigger on top than on bottom I folded it to get it through the bottom opening.
  • Fold and pin the bottom seam together.
  • There are many ways to do this.  Since I was using invisible thread I sewed the bottom seam shut with the cushion in it.
  • Repeat all the steps for the seat cushion.  This time, fold some grosgrain ribbon in half.  Insert the ribbon into the pinned fabric at the back corners where the ties are in between the fabric.  Since the back is where I insert the cushion, I just rounded the corners as I was sewing a bit and kept the back open so I could turn it inside out and insert the cushion.


The ottoman:

You could take the ottoman apart and cover the top. I just covered it and stapled it.  You could even tack it if you wanted to.  This took me 10 minutes.

The total process took me all of about 1.5 hours.  Here is the dramatic transformation:

What a fun transformation and it was so fun to see it “pop” in the room.  I think that a little of this fabric goes a long way in Avery’s room.  It served its purpose in doing the following things:

  1. It determined the wall color.
  2. It became the foundation for  the color palate.

Here is the color palate we chose for her room.  The fabric comes from my fabric remnant, a queen sheet set, and two pillow cases.

Picture source , here and here.

I added a few tissue pom poms above the rocking chair to make it even more fun.  You can buy them at hobby lobby for about $5, but your color choice is limited.  I bought three packs of .99¢ tissue paper and made them myself.  You get the colors you want that way.  Martha Stewart gives a great “how to” or…they are all over the internet.  I hung them by twisting a hook in the ceiling.

Stay tuned.  The back of this rocker is from a queen sized sheet set.  It comes with a sheet, fitted sheet and two pillow cases.  My friend bought it at Target for $43.00.  For $43 of fabric we were able to make a closet curtain, window curtain, crib bumper, pillows, and line the back of the rocking chair.

Thanks for reading!


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