Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Trash *Thinking*

Since I have a blog, I feel like my life is an open book.

But maybe here's something you didn't know about me. I trash pick on a regular basis. I rarely use the term trash picking around the kids, I prefer to call it recycling. My daughter calls it trash thinking. That term came from this conversation:

"Mom, that's not the way to school, why are you going this way?"
"I'm going around the block, honey."
"I need to go past that chair back there on the curb and think about whether or not we want that in our house."
"Oh, I get it. You're trash thinking again."

Sunday afternoon I was out running errands when I saw a small table by the curb. From a distance it looked like a child's chrome table from the 50's, similar to one my sister has.

Would you have put this in your car?!?

When I got up close and looked at the top of the table I was disappointed. It was a 50's chome and formica table. Adorable and rare child's size. But the top was in terrible condition. I had to take a pass on this one. Then I took one last longing look and realized something. That was not grey marbelized formica. It was grey marbelized CONTACT PAPER. I peeled a bit off (see upper right corner) and underneath, was grey marbelized formica!!!!

I took it home and peeled about this much off (see photo below.) There were some gouges (see those little lines) and since they had covered it with contact paper, I figured there might be some damage to the top, so I didn't get my hopes up. I had to leave it in the garage and forget about it all evening since we were having people over.

The next morning, I started peeling a little more contact paper off. The sides were covered with contact paper too, and the legs were extremely dirty, but not rusty. My sister has taught me a lot about refinishing furniture, especially this stuff from the 50's. She had an antique booth for awhile and cleaned up a lot of stuff like this. Super fine steel wool and chrome cleaner from the auto supply will make those chrome legs shine like new!

It took forever to peel off all the contact paper because it just came off in tiny slivers. And even after I removed all the paper, the top was still dirty and took tons of elbow grease. And after that came the shining of the sides and legs.....but the whole time I was thinking about the perfect spot for it:

Right next to our dining room table (which we eat on every night--because of the windows) in that empty spot snugged up to the windows. Great for drawing and homework and keeping it all off the table that I'm trying to set for dinner....perfect for the season of fall/winter crafting which is just beginning!

Here's a close up:

So shiny!! Those spots on the top that I thought were gouges ended up just being dirt!

I love it so much. And I guess the kids approve. It didn't take them long to get moved in!

*p.s. Little chair you see in above photo was "recycled" in '04, painted and recovered with Amy Butler fabric.


Blogger FemiKnitMafia said...

Wow! You're good. I'm very impressed with your trash thinking, but especially with the action. I grab things off the side of the road, and have great intentions, but rarely follow through. Perhaps this will be motivational for me. Especially since that table is SO beautiful.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Green Kitchen said...

It's beautiful.

I'm writing a post right now about craft guilt and you're featured. ;)

1:13 AM  
Anonymous chris said...

Wow! What an awesome find! And it cleaned up beautifully!

5:50 AM  
Blogger Carole Knits said...

Wow, Emily. I'm impressed with your diligence and so glad it paid off!

6:06 AM  
Anonymous Emma said...

What a fantastic transformation! I bet your loved ones are truly impressed with your trash thinking if you get these splendid results.

Excuse me, I think I need to go around some corners now... ;-)

7:17 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

Great find Emily! I just love that little table...and wouldn't the old owners be sad if they saw what they had given away and how nice it now looks. Well, perhaps not...maybe they'd be happy to know that it has a nice new home!
We eat in our diningroom every night (and breakfast and lunch too) because of the view!

7:25 AM  
Blogger Katy said...

It's gorgeous! You are motivating me to get back to work on some of my recent finds, which are gathering (more) dust in the garage at the moment. Sigh.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...

Wow -- you have vision. And perseverence :) What a find.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I am truly impressed. Table gorgeous--you are very talented

12:41 PM  
Blogger joyce said...

What a difference a little elbow grease and restoration knowledge made. I love it!

12:53 PM  
Blogger Gigi said...

Such is the magic of reclamation. Well done! It looks just beautiful after your TLC. =-D

2:27 PM  
Blogger Elaine said...

i've seen so many of those tables in exactly the same condition and i always wondered how those dirrrrty table legs got cleaned up! thanks for the tips and man, it just looks amazing! congrats! great find! :o)ek.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Allison said...

BRAVO SIS! Thanks for the cred!

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another A*M*A*Z*I*N*G here! Good thing you could see beyond the grit and grott. It is impressive, wonder what the previous owners would think of it now?

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and I just love that conversation with your DD. Don't you just love kids who are presistent questioners, and when they get to THE question where you really have to tell them your intent, no more 'answering around the bush'.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Linda in Chicagoland said...

Good eye, congrats! When I lived in Lincoln Park, I loved to walk my dog in the alley--lots of good pickings.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

Great find - and what an excellent job you did of cleaning it up.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Kay said...

Trash Thinking. Great title for a book! Al Gore would approve!

Save the planet! Remove the contact paper!

4:46 PM  
Blogger judy coates perez said...

you scored girl! I can't believe it cleaned up that nice.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Jenny143 said...

Well done you!!!!!
It looks lovely!

My mom calls it "resource reclamation" and has also found some hidden treasures! I am going to share your tips with her right away!


9:52 AM  
Anonymous bonnie said...

You merely "RESCUED" the table...and brought it back to life. Good work...it was meant to be.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

Super WOW! Good save and discovery. If I could "trash think" as good good as you, but also do the elbow grease, I'd be so pleased with myself ... I really am impressed.

11:08 AM  

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