Mother Nature is My Home Girl

Happy Earth Day, y’all!   (And thanks, Google… you always come through with your clever home screens right when I think I might forget medium important holidays and random botanists’ birthdays.)

But seriously, I love the planet, I love DIY, and it’s no secret that I love saving the murnies, so logically I love upcycling like nobody’s business.

Bring on the Earth-Day-themed-upcycling-posts-throwback-round-up-trip-down-memory-lane-smorgasbord-of-April-twenty-second’s love!


(Click on the image or the link above the image to take you to the original post!)

Vinyl Record Bowl

free dog toy toilet paper roll

Nice Knobs!  (Salvaged Crystal Door Knobs)


Vintage Yardsticks and Rulers

{Source: Corner House Blog}

Wine Cork Crafts

{Source: ewehoo!}


And I got it for FREE!

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday, and in case you missed it, I talked about her crazy-craftiness, specifically in regards to stuff she’s made for my home.  In addition to being all-around awesome, she is also salvage-savvy.  Before it was all abuzz in the blog-o-sphere, she was re-purposing old doors into headboards, picking up “damaged” dressers off the side of the road and repainting them, and she even once got an 8′ artificial Christmas tree from a neighbors’ “trash.”  Yeah, she’s that lady.  (Hm… I think I’ve made her sound crazy… but she’s not.  Only crafty-crazy.  See? That’s so much better than just straight up crazy.)

And however seemingly, um… weird… I found this behavior to be as a child, she still somehow managed to instill in me the same values.

And I passed these “values” on to Josh.  (I’ve made her very proud.)

It has often been mentioned in many design shows and magazines that if you live in a big city, you could probably furnish your whole apartment on things you found on the side of the road — things deemed “trash.”  More often that not, there is nothing wrong with these items and the previous owner was either too lazy to donate or sell them or didn’t see the hidden potential for further use.  When this happens, passers-by with two free hands score, and such has been the case for Josh and I since we have lived in NYC.

Among our many finds (and thus, additions to our apartment), the BEST has been our new butcher block table top:

butcher block dining room table

Ta da!

(“Thank you, Courtney, for that extremely blurry picture!  It really shows you care.”  “You’re welcome!”)

As you may remember, the original tabletop was found at Ikea for $19.99.  The Singer sewing machine base was from an actual circa 1920’s, antique Singer sewing machine.

antique singer sewing machine dining room table


I liked the previous table top, but we knew that because it’s cheap, Ikea wood (like a step up from particle board) that we’d eventually want to replace it.  Being that the Singer base is made of iron, we knew we could replace it with just about anything and it would be fully supported.


On Halloween of this year, Josh was walking down our street on the way home from work, when he spotted a butcher block table top sitting on top of someone’s trash.  It was near what looked like its previous base, but the base was broken (and cheap looking anyway).  We assume that once the base broke, the previous owner just decided to trash the whole thing.  Josh — probably hearing the sound of my voice in his head — inspected it for stains or damage, found none, and carried it home.

That sounds so easy, right?!  However, the carrying-it-home part was faaarrrr more difficult as it weighs a BAJILLION pounds.  It is solid, maple butcher block after all.

(In fact, I remember calling him and asking where he was, to which he replied, out of breath, “I… am… bringing… a surprise…. home…. t’you. [gasp] Be… there… soon!”  I later Googled how much a typical butcher block of this size actually weighs, and it’s about NINETY POUNDS.)

After a lot of stop-and-go walking as Josh carried the butcher block 1/4 mile down the street and up FOUR flights of stairs, he brought it into the apartment.  I remember seeing it from a distance and saying “That isn’t laminate, right?”  He got a bit sassy with me as said “Um, NO — Definitely not!”

Later, we removed the Ikea top, attached the butcher block one, and stood back and smiled.

Let’s look one more time :)

butcher block dining room table

Ta da!

Isn’t she lovely?

It’s just the tiniest bit wider and maybe 2 inches longer, but this little bit really makes ALL the difference.  And since I have virtually no counter space, this really helps out in that department (I felt weird using the veneer/laminate/particle board stuff before as a prep surface, not that I ever used it as a cutting board or anything).

And because we like to pat ourselves on the back, we decided to Google how much a similar butcher block table top would cost, brand new.  We saw one here that has about the same measurements as ours for $289.


So yeah, we were pretty happy.  The next step is to go over it a couple of times with a fine-grained sand paper, and rub it down with mineral oil (this isn’t because it’s damaged, this is just what you do with butcher block tops).

And don’t worry, the original Ikea top will not be going to the trash.  We’ll think of something else for that… or we’ll Craigslist it!

The moral of the story:  The next time you walk or drive by something that looks like it might have some hidden potential (or that is already awesome in its own right), stop.  It may be complete junk… or it may be something that, once it’s been given a little TLC, you cherish and pass down in your family for years to come!


You might also fancy…

Books and Nooks: The Living Room Edition

The Odyssey of the Curtain-Bookshelf Thing

Recycled Market

This ridiculous picture of Josh singing 80’s music:

Recycled Market (Get excited!)

Oh boy oh boy oh boy!!!

I feel like a kid on Christmas morning!  I have discovered a new toy — read: “website” — that is a marketplace for buying and selling recycled, upcycled and repurposed goods!  Yes!!!  So many GPP dreams coming true all in one place!

This is me literally jumping for joy. (Don't take this as an example of my dancing skills.)

Ok… calming down time…

(but no, really, when I found this website, I literally said to Josh “Oh boy oh boy oh boy!!!”) is a new website recently founded by two individuals, Erica and Lester, who are based in Australia.  They were seeking an online marketplace where 100% of the products were reclaimed or recycled.  Unable to find such an outlet, they sought to fill this need themselves.

Here’s their fabulous mission statement:

(directly from

Recycled Market is a unique online venue that encourages buyers and sellers to reduce, reuse, redesign, refashion, rework and recycle as much as possible. We are a are global marketplace focused on showcasing stylish handmade and ethically manufactured pieces made from recycled materials. Our aim is to offer a wide range of recycled products, ranging from readjusted clothing, upcycled jewellery, accessories, through to artwork, toys, homewares and gifts, created from recycled or reclaimed material, supplies needed to produce recycled goods, patterns, tutorials, and so much more. Recycled Market showcases independent artisan’s creative, exclusive eco-design.

Recycled Market:

  • Promotes and sells handmade, and ethically manufactured recycled products
  • Encourages artisans to utilise recycled materials
  • Offers consumers the chance to purchase unique products which are friendly to our planet
(If that mission statement was a person, I’d give it a big hug.  Or buy it a drink.  Hm…)

Did I mention how much I love their logo? Yeah, I'm smitten...

If you browse over to their website, you will see that most of the items are rather pricey, i.e., non-GPP friendly.  I attribute most of this to the fact that this is a brand spankin’ new website, so they have not acquired that many sellers… yet.  However, with their smashingly good mission statement and the nudge of a few folks via social media and word-of-mouth (wink), I’ve no doubt that the website will grow, as will the price range (hopefully, for the benefit of penny pinchers like myself).

In addition to the higher-than-I’d-liked-them-to-be price tags, the website also comes with a few other quirks: prices are listed in Australian dollars as well as U.S. dollars.  However, from what I can tell, you simply select your form of currency to make a purchase; there are no other hoops to jump through.

Despite the fact that this website is a little more expensive than desirable, it meets another one of my requirements in that all of the items are recycled, reclaimed, repurposed, re-whatever (they kind of all mean the same thing, and I talk about them a lot here, here, here, and here).

Recycled Market also meets another requirement that I seek to fill as often as possible: it is an opportunity to give my business to some place other than a  big box store or corporation (and you have to admit, regardless of your ideology, you’re probably getting a little disenchanted with a lot of their business practices).  But… breaking away from the discounted prices of a bigger store can be difficult, especially if you’re strapped for cash.  However, I feel that any impact is a big one, so if you can only do this every once in a while, that’s better than if you had never tried in the first place.

(Occupy Small Street, anyone???)

Ok, so check out the website:, and let me know what you think.  If you like what you see, bookmark it, keep checking back, spread the word, all that good stuff.

And if you like what you see here, do the same things!


***P.S.—  I have set a lofty goal of posting every week day … from now on.  Do you think I can do it???  Or will you miss me on weekends?  Or is this more GPP than you can handle?  Stick around.  I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve.