recycling

The Clean Up and Events at Golden Rule; Or This Mountain MaMa is Tired.

I have been working so hard to finish cleaning and sorting the 4 floors of Golden Rule that I really thought about changing the name of my blog title to…. “This Mountain Mama is Tired.”  Then leave some lame message about not having time to write. It would have been the truth. I am just beyond tired when I get home at night. I walk an average of 5 to 6 miles a day inside the building and that does not included the walking I do daily with my dog. So with 6 or 7 miles a day and the 3 sets of stairs in the building and the loads of trash and boxes I move every day. I just have not had the energy to stay up late or get up early to write. So please forgive me for not sharing more of the wonderful things I usually like to share.

So today I want to share just a few photos of what my life has been like since starting my work  at the Golden. It is a labor of love to be the main person to clean, sort and help with Demo in a 18,000 foot building.

Golden Rule Belington Wv

The 1902 Golden Rule Building 122 Crim Ave. Belington, WV my home away from home.

The building was abandoned after is was sold in the late 1980’s and it was never cleaned out. The building contained new old stock and office equipment from as far back as the 1920’s. My job has been to tackle the clean up of 100 years worth of history, trash and some how put together a couple of events to raise some money for the  rehabilitation.

So far we have removed 8,000 pounds of house hold trash and a 30 yard dumpster of ceiling tiles, paneling and dry wall.  It has taken a full year to reach the point that all three main floors are mostly clean and have a silent auction planned for the items that I was able to salvage. I have logged around 980 individual items that we hope to have for sale the first couple of weeks in May. It has been some of the hardest work I have done in my life, but the most rewarding also.

logan and Patrick AmeriCorps members volunteer to toss out 4,000 pounds of trash

Patrick and Logan AmeriCorps volunteers help remove 2000 pounds of trash from the Golden Rule 2018.

What we have found along the way is a treasure trove of history and stories from the past. Some of the questions we have about the building are solved, while others are still a mystery. I have done interviews with the former owner and several people who worked in the building that have helped put together a impression of what the building meant to the community and to those who worked here. One day I hope to put all this together in a book about the buildings story.

 

We are now ready to start the process of moving the history out of the building into storage and selling off what is left. We have plans for a ticket entry, benefit silent auction that will happen in just a few weeks, fallowed by community wide building sale. This should clean out most of the items that are remaining in the building. With lots of volunteers helping me over the course of the last year. I think the events will be a huge success.

Golden Rule flyer

 

The Golden Rule will soon be full of new people and construction materials, it will be full of busy saws and heavy foot steps and I will be regulated to watching most of it. I still have cleaning to do and a yard to tame so my work in not over but I will be more of an outsider for the next couple of years. I am excited for the work to begin in  June and can only imagine what I will be doing over the next year.

Golden Rule sign

Recycled sign for the Golden Rule Feeds and Fertilizers found in mill building. 

The project will start on the top floors of the building and work its way down. A new roof and 10 apartments will happen first and the final steps will be the retail spaces on the first floor. It is planned with a railroad depot in the back to connect passengers to the tourist trains in Elkins, West Virginia. A gift shop for the passengers, a Artist Market, a coffee shop and a viewing platform of the water powered elevator. We are hoping that some of the wonderful pieces we have found in the building will hang on the walls and be used as decor in the coffee shop and artist market one day.

Three-four years seem so far away from now, but I think it will pass in a blink of an eye. I know that one day not far off I will be wondering how it all got finished and open to the public.

Categories: antiques, Belington, WV, Benefit auction, Change, Golden Rule, historic locations, Historic Preservation, recycling, Vintage items, West Virginia, Woodlands Development Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Restore, Repair and Reuse an Old Coffee Table

Like many people my family lives on a limited budget. This means that the remodel of our house with the Barn Wood Builders has made us stretch every penny that we have extra every month as far as it will go. So when I wanted a different coffee table for the “NEW” room I had to think out of the box on how to get some thing we could afford. At first we started looking at new coffee tables…. then sticker shock set in. We had to try to find some thing used as I just could not see paying 300 to 450 dollars for wood coffee table.

So after a couple of weekends  we ended up at a local antique/ new furniture store that sells just about everything. On the top floor of the store, in a back corner, under another table, hidden away because it was so ugly, Tom found a table. It turned out that the table was a very used late 1960 to 1970  sold wood coffee table, with a leather stamped top. It was ugly and burnt and dog chewed and he loved it. So for the very reasonable price Tom said this was the “one” and we packed the ugly thing into my little Chevy.

Damaged top of coffee table

Damaged top of coffee table

 

side view of damaged coffee table

side view of damaged coffee table

close up of the amount of dirt and damage at the corner of table

close up of the amount of dirt and damage at the corner of table

The finish had chips, the top had burns from cigarettes and one leg was dog chewed, leaving the finish a different color then the rest. I was not sure what we would do with the table but my first thought was to tile the top with some of our left over tile and just stain or paint the base and call it done. Well some times you get a surprise that you are happy with before you reach the end of a project.

I first applied a stripper to the table and waited the recommended ten minutes and began to remove all the old finish. It took two complete coast of stripper to get all the finish off and  I washed the table off with a garden hose. Then I removed the leather top. The top was real leather that had an embossed gold leaf printed into the edges. I found a loose corner and began to pull and pry the leather away from the wood top below as carefully as I could. I did not want to damage the tables wooden top just in case I needed it later. This is what was left when I finished removing all the finish

stripped table with out leather top.

stripped table with out leather top.

As you can see in the photo the glue still remained in some places and would not come off with stripper… I tried and it was not going come off that way. I also really got a good look at the wood and the color of the table. To my surprise the back had a light-colored strip of wood and one leg was almost white after stripping.

back view of stripped table

back view of stripped table

So I let the table dry for a couple of days and started to sand the remaining finish off the table and it was looking pretty good but I really had no idea what was under the glued covered top until the sanding started. I sanded the top with a 220 grit paper on my orbital sander and the beautiful grain slowly appeared. This was not just a fill in top made from some second-rate wood. I was so happy to see the table top was the same wood as the rest of the table. It was the same color and would take stain the same way. This changed all of my ideas for the top. I sanded the entire table again with 400 grit paper and made the choice to finish the whole table the same way.

After a couple of days I stained the table with two coats of stain… the first being a stain called Gun Stock that should have been a nice darker maple stain. but turned our table orange. It looked funny and I was very unhappy with the first coat. This is what the Gun Stock stain looked like.

red orange color of the first coat of stain.

red orange color of the first coat of stain.

So after a day of dry time I added a coat of Cherry stain to darken the wood and bring out more of the contrast of the gain of the wood.  This was a good combination and we both loved it. Not to dark but not orange.

second coat of stain in cherry with out top coat

second coat of stain in cherry with out top coat

close up of the grain on the hidden top of the table

close up of the grain on the hidden top of the table

 

I finished the table with a wax rubbed on finish and we are still debating if we want to add a glass top to protect all of my hard work. I may need to get my coasters out for now just so I don’t mess up the finish. As you can see the old table that we spent less the 100 dollars for with stripper and stain is a real bargain over the 400 dollar table I feel in love with at the furniture store.

I really enjoyed this part of my summer projects it reminded me that we can recycle, reuse most well made furniture. It makes me smile when I look at the difference I have made and that my home has a personal touch of my handy work. I laugh when I know that if this table was back in the store it would not be hidden way in the back with the discards, but would be up front with a price tag that would be double what I have in it. Some times thinking out side the box is so much more fun then just buying new!

Categories: furniture, Home Decor, recycling, refinished furniture | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

Home Remodel # 2 Filming Barn Demolition with the Barnwood Builders at Jane Lew West Virginia.

If you are just dropping in, I am working on a home remodel with a company from Lewisburg WV. They happen to have a television show titled the Barnwood Builders.  They invited me and the blog to take part in not only a large amount of barn lumber but also in the filming of the episode at a barn in Jane Lew, W.V. The process began with Tom and I scouting out the barn and getting to know the producers. You can see more of that post at                            Home Remodel #1 .

Lets just say the I was thankful when Katie one of the producers, canceled Tom, Christopher and I from coming out to the site on Saturday. The rain was bad and the temperatures cold. Generally a typical dreary spring day in West Virginia. This also meant that the filming of my portion of the show was already a day late. Sunday morning Tom, Christopher and I packed into the truck and headed out  for a long day at two different locations. When we arrived the shed and outside wall of the feeding area of the barn are gone and they are working on getting some of the interior wood ready for Tom and I to take home.

Barn with crew, shed and outside wall removed

Barn with crew, shed and outside wall removed

We greet the producers and some of the staff as we walked up to the old house that is on the property. The sitting room is full computers and cases, it is now “Head Quarters” for the crew. With in minutes I received  a microphone and transmitter. On a morning that started out about 38 degrees this was the worst of the entire experience. The cord, microphone and box were freezing cold. It took my breath away to have an ice-cold cord dropped down the front of my sweater and run around my waist to my back where the sound engineer clipped it in place. BURRRRR!!!

I then headed over to met the director and star of the show. I walked across the yard to the fence in this photo and waited. Tom and Christopher waited on the porch and watched in the distance. I had no idea of any of the plans for story or lines. I was flying blind, alone and cold. I had not really realized how cold it was and had only worn a sweater and a wind breaker… no hat, no gloves, just rubber muck boots that would later fail me.

Eventually from the field that you see in the photo two men walked up to me at the fence and introduced themselves. Mark Bowe is the star and owner of Barnwood builders and Steve is our Director. They proceed to explain what we were going to do and what was going to happen first. Mark Bowe would pretend to see me standing at this very fence and walk across the field to see what I wanted and the story would run from there. The story for this episode is that a local woman writer is curious about the strangers taking down a loved local barn and wants to learn more. Pretty close to the truth and totally possible where I live. They begin filming with in minutes of our conversation. I stumbled through a few opening sequences, but get my stride and we film at the barn for the next 3 hours straight. All the while the rest of the crew continues to work at removing boards that I will eventually take home.

Johny Jett and Tim loading wood on to fork lift . the wood will  is for my house

Johnny Jett and Tim loading wood on to fork lift . the wood will is for my house

As you can see in the photos the ground is wet rutted mud. Making it a tricky place to walk,talk, think and “Act” in. It was all I could do not to fall. Then as Mark and I walk away from the barn, I do it, I find a rut with the tip of my rubber boot and trip. Still filming, I reach out and just grab his arm and we laugh. I say “It’s OK you work out” as he laughs and has some charming reply(that I have no memory of now) and keeps me from falling face first into the mud. We walk another 20 feet almost to the fence and the unthinkable happens. My boot gets sucked into the wet mud and I totally lose it. I just holler ” Shit!”…. “My boot is stuck in the mud!” as I pitch forward about falling on my face again. Twice in less than ten minutes, I have made it in to the blooper reel. Mark and I finally make it up into the yard laughing when the director and camera man reach us at the gate. Steve the director at this point complements me on my abilities ( of what I am not sure) and says I am actually good at this ( I am a basket case) and wants to give me a hug. “Wow, third hug in just three hours must be doing something right” I think to myself. I am free to return to seeing my family and friends at the  house as the crew finishes moving piles of lumber.

The time off camera is good, we all eat lunch from my friends Josh and Andrea Evans’ restaurant. They own The Second and Center Cafe’ in Weston, West Virginia.  Sitting around the yard and porch of the house,I finally get to take some random photos and spend time with Christopher and Tom. We are all getting excited to load lumber into our truck and watch the barn go down.

Grahm from the Barnwood builders gives Christopher his personal hat

Grahm from the Barnwood Builders gives Christopher his personal hat

Josh Evans owner of Second and Center Cafe with Bryan from the Barnwood builders

Josh Evans owner of Second and Center Cafe with Bryan from the Barnwood Builders

 

 

Lunch break Mark Bowe and Andrea Evans

Lunch break Mark Bowe and Andrea Evans

Loading up only one truck load of lumber for the shoot is great, it gives everyone the opportunity to get filmed even my little Christopher. Mark Bowe, Johnny Jett, Tim and Sherman, help Tom and Christopher load up the truck. Christopher is loving all the attention and steals the show when he dances with Mark in the muddy road.

Christopher with Star of Branwood builders Mark Bowe  loading lumber int o our truck

Christopher with Star of Barnwood builders Mark Bowe loading lumber into our truck

With the lumber loaded we drive away from the location only to return on foot. Tom parks the truck out of sight and  we all walk back to see the final moments of the barn going down. It is a happy and sad feeling watching part of my community being torn down. I have included a short clip of the last few seconds of the barn going down with sound. The cheering and talking is a little loud so please excuse it. I have no skills at editing video.

We  finished our trip home to unload this pile of lumber and head back to Jane Lew where we met the film crew at another location.The production company also wants to film at my  friend Sue Ann Spikers’ farm. She owns a beautiful property with several old buildings, a house and an old cabin. The Barnwood builders want to see the cabin and talk about its history and visit Sunny Pointe Guest House. Sue Ann is always ready for guests at her restored 1860’s Guest House and 1700’s cabin.

Sue Ann Spiker and her 1700's cabin

Sue Ann Spiker and her 1700’s cabin

This is where I will leave this Blog post. I will continue the story of Tom shoeing a horse for Sue Ann’s and share photos of the farm, guest house,and my pile of lumber. I want to explain more about what we are going to do with all this wood and the treasures we found inside the old barn.

I still can not believe that I was part of this experience and that the Barnwood builders will be back at my house this summer again to shoot footage of the after part of my living room.Hope you are enjoying a behind the  camera look at a TV show and who would believe that this all happened because I write a blog.

 

Categories: Barns, Barnwood Builders, blacksmith work, blogging, family fun, Farrier work., friends, heirlooms, history, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, Jane Lew, nostalgic, recycling, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Home remodel Part 1# The Old Barn, Barnwood Builders and My House.

Today begins the first step in the process of our remodel. Tom, Christopher and I are meeting the show producers for BarnWood Builders, from the DIY Network, at the barn that they are demolishing to repurposed  into a pile of supplies for our home. The Barn is way back in the country taking us around 25 minutes to get to from the interstate of I-79 and the Jane Lew Exit. So the logistics of moving the lumber out is still in the works. But here she is in all of her 120 year old glory. This is her before photo. I am a little sad to see her go as I have passed by her so many times over the years but the other part of me is so EXCITED knowing that I will share in her future and will love her even more at home.

Kenchelo road barn before being torn down

Kenchelo road barn before being torn down by the Barnwood Builders

The story behind her removal from the property is a common one. The home owner has passed away and the next generation of owners don’t want the barns and needs to remove them due to flooding and new uses for the pasture. As you can see the barn is in need of repair and in some cases dangerous to use. So to remove them solves lots of problems for the owing family and adds nicely to our new house.

When we visited the farm today the bottom land was still swampy. I was ankle-deep in standing water only feet from the shed on the right. This move will be very tricky… lots and lots of mud, gravel and hard work!

Here Tom and I walk down to get a closer look at the buildings and what we would find still in them or if they were empty of all history.

Tom walking to barn on Kenchelo

Tom walking to barn on Kenchelo

Tom looking at barn

Tom looking at barn

If you look closely at the siding boards… some of them are massive. Tom and I are guessing 18 to 20 foot lengths, twenty inches in some cases wide. Only massive trees produce lumber of this size. In most cases these trees grow on the farms or near the farms where the barns stand.  Tom says The boards look like white oak and are in wonderful condition for reuse. We are so lucky to keep some of this wonderful wood close to its home.

Sean,  Barnwood Builders producer, and Tom talk equipment and timing and I just hunt around the old barn looking for lost treasures. I found a couple of things and that will eventually become part of my home decor. The team from BarnWood Builders will arrive tomorrow and some of the filming will begin at the site and if we are lucky the rain that the weather man predicted will some how pass by.

So I guess I better get things ready here before the crew shows up to do some filming here at the house for the “Before” Portion of this project. Here are some photos of the family room as we use it today… lots of white walls and brown. I cant wait to see what happens when we add the barn wood as paneling to the walls in this room. Then Tom and I will be replacing the carpet in the family room with slate tile on the floors and a new ceiling light fixture. We are making a Chandler out of canning jars. So much fun and so much work to do over the next 4 or 5 weeks.

 

Family room from the laundry room door

Family room from the laundry room door

Famliy room from the front door

Family room from the front door

large front window at front of room

large front window at front of room

office portion of the family room

office portion of the family room

Wish us luck we could use it right about now… The national weather service in Charleston, WV already has flash flood warnings on the radar for tomorrow. So who knows what is going to happen over the next few days.

Categories: Barns, Barnwood Builders, furniture, heirlooms, history, home improvement, home remodeling, Homestead, Jane Lew, recycling, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Blog anniversary… Who knew this would lead to T.V.

I have written my way through 2 years so far. For a person with a frustrating learning disability like Dyslexia this is HUGE! I have taken on my weakness and confronted it, pushed through it and in some way over come it. Well maybe just worked around it, but because all of you are here it means that some thing in the last two years is working.

anniversary 2x

anniversary 2x

I took on writing a blog for a couple of reasons. The first was I  needed a creative outlet that I could do while at home with a 5-year-old and with a mother in law who was very ill. I also needed all of you, I needed to think about things other than the pile of toys on the floor and the trips to the cancer Dr’s office. My home was not a place to make crafts or paint large paintings at the time. So I wrote about who I love,what I love to do and some how you all found some thing here that spoke to you. Maybe it was the stories about cooking wild game and maybe it was that we love to garden and do canning, maybe the battle I fought to make sure my mother in law stayed well through her cancer treatments made you stay. Who really knows why you all have been here for this bumpy ride, but it is wonderful and has been one of the best hobbies that I have ever attempted.

I have recently been contacted by the DIY Network about my blog, yea shocked me too! They have a show called  “Barnwood Builders”  filmed in West Virginia and they are filming a barn in my local area. They found my little ( less than a thousand followers) blog and want Mountain Mama and the family in an episode of their show. So I am in total shock and over joyed that some where out in cyber space I have left an impression about who and what I am. At the current time it looks like we will be working together on the home we just purchased with some reclaimed barn wood. They also wanted to see my husband working with some of the horses he is responsible for as a farrier. They loved that we lived in a style that is already present in the show. We share a love for West Virginia history, working with our hands, seeing the beauty of our state and trying to live more simply.

I will write more later about the filming and when the episode should air… sometime next year for season two. But for now I have a few more topics to write about before the crew arrive here March 11th and we get to get dusty and dirty making my 60′ ranch feel more like the home of a county family. So hang in their if you love old barns, wood working, home improvement and decor because this spring should make for some great stories.

 

 

Mary Conrad Cabin Jackson's Mill, Jane Lew West Virginia 2013

Mary Conrad Cabin Jackson’s Mill, Jane Lew West Virginia 2013

Categories: blacksmith work, blogging, cancer treatment, canning, country cooking, dyslexia, Farrier work., furniture, hobbies, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, recycling, West Virginia, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Recycled Lumber into a Hunters Reloading Bench.

The one thing my husband asked for when we moved was to have enough room in the house so that he could have a reloading room. As an avid rifle and shotgun hunter he has discovered that reloading is a key ingredient to his successes in the field. It is one of the many ways that he stays active with his favorite hobby even in the off-season. So when we looked at house we loved the fact that it included  a small bedroom with knotty pine wood paneling and wood floors. The room would work perfectly for a man who needed a work bench and good lighting. The small room is now a work room with a reloading bench that any gun nut would love to have.

Downloadable plans for a reloading bench

Downloadable plans for a reloading bench

Tom was able to find the plans on-line and with a lot of scrap lumber, Tom made this bench only purchasing plywood and a sheet of Masonite. Even the paint for the bottom and legs was from the previous home owners collection of left over paint. At one time most of the parts of this bench where scraps from cement forms that Tom saved from being sent to the local dump from a construction site. The 4 x 4’s were actually found in the basement of the other house and were free. With scavenged lumber and paint I think our cost to build the bench was well under 100 dollars. The normal cost of materials could have cost around 350 dollars or more.

bottom portion of the reloading bench

bottom portion of the reloading bench

Top Portion of reloading bench almost finished

Top Portion of reloading bench almost finished

As you can see from the plans Tom did not make the sliding doors for the front of the cabinet portion yet and may not use them at all in the future. Trying to find the track for the sliding doors has been a bit of a challenge and may lead to him not using them at all. It really will depend on if he feels the need to cover up all of his supplies.

Tom getting ready to use his new reloading bench

Tom getting ready to use his new reloading bench

The next step in the process is to mount some of his reloading presses. In his case he has two shoot shell loaders and two rile reloading presses. So the front of the bench will be home to several holes so that the presses are removable at any time. In most cases once the presses get mounted they will be on the bench for long periods of time. Making a sturdy work area for the thousands of cases my husband loves to load.

It took Tom less than a month to do this project on nights and weekends and it will soon be joined by a smaller wall mounted drop table top for gun repair and cleaning. Soon he will finally have a place to really enjoy his guns and reloading work with out worries that one of the kids has gotten into some of his supplies.

Tom hopes to get things finish up and mounted as we only have 3 months until turkey season and we are both so excited to get back in the woods with our spring gobbler tags. He plans to spend at least three weekends  hunting and that means being ready with home loaded shot shells. I am guessing that this recycled wood and 100 dollars going is the best investment he has made it a long time.

Categories: furniture, hobbies, Hunting, recycling, reloading, rifle and shoot guns, Turkey season, Wild turkey | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Five Facts Friday, Random Things About Me

Five random facts friday,  is a creation of  a friend and fellow blogger Nancy Claeys who tries to get us  to post fun things about ourselves that others may not know.It helps all of us rural folks get to know each other better and share things we have in common when we are sometimes the only ones around for miles!

http://aruraljournal.blogspot.com/p/random-5-friday.html 

nancy claeys link photo

nancy claeys link photo

 

Markers Mark tasting room. Near Loretto, Ky

Markers Mark tasting room. Near Loretto, Ky

1.  Kentucky is one of my favorite places to travel to…. if I had to move, I would move to Kentucky…. They love the same things that I love so it feels like home any time we visit. They love Horses…. Southern Food… and Burbon… What’s not to like?

2. I have accomplished one of my New Years  resolutions from 2012… I wanted to recycle more.. and with the end of the year I did… lots and lots more. I wanted to do more than just my milk jugs so I really started digging into every plastic container we ever used and I had at least  4 , 13 gallon trash bags full of plastic every month… I never though we were so wasteful but the truth is out now!  

3.  I  love canning and making jelly and jams and butters. So this year I made well over 100 1/2 pints of the stuff and gave most of it away as gifts… thankfully my husband does not mind.

aplle cider jelly my best jelly so far

apple cider jelly my best jelly so far

4.  I am getting interested in making fermented foods from our garden so the next year will be full of wine, extracts, pickles, kraut and home-made vinegar. If you think about it I have to of the major bases covered… sweet, with jams and jellies and now tart with pickles and wine.

5. I have almost finish my first year of blogging and it has been the most fun hobby that I have added in years. So glad I tried to join into this vast pool of knowledge and friendship… Thanks Nancy it has been wonderful to share with you and your followers.

Thanks again for stopping by and if you can stop by the blog hop linked above.

Categories: blogging, recycling | Tags: , , , , , | 24 Comments

Everything that is Old is New Again

this is where we started about a year and a half ago

this is where we started about a year and a half ago

   It seems normal to homesteaders and farm families to look at something and see the future, the potential of an object or location. I am not sure if this is a blessing or a cures but it is part of who I am. My mother was not overly thrifty,but she was careful with what money she had. My father passed away young and left her with 4 children to raise on her own. I am the youngest and was the one who watched what could be done if you were wise with money and as a teen bought many of my clothes at clearance sales.When I got older and realised how expensive things really are I started shopping at thrift stores and second-hand stores.Never realising this was a life style choice that would stay with me through out  my life.                   

with help we were able to repair the back porch that was 4" off level from front to back

with help we were able to repair the back porch that was 4″ off level from front to back

Tom spent most of last year working on this old house the porch/ sunroom was the worst of the repairs that need to be done

Tom spent most of last year working on this old house the porch/ sun-room.

   Tom grew up on a farm with a large family of 9 children living on one income, at times they struggled to make ends meat. He was tought early on that you repair everything you can to save money. His father was able to teach him to repair cars and motorcycles and he learned to work on houses in vo-tech school. The importance of these skills was never wasted on Tom. He knew how much money his father was able to save when he was able to fix the families truck or tractor.

  Because of these childhood experiences we generally see life the same way. We just naturally are thrifty people and “new” is not a requirement for our families happiness. The house that we live in is only one of the many things that Tom and I have redone. I seems that we see recycling ,upcycling as a daily part of life. That it is a necessity if you want to beat down rising prices and the 100% mark up that you find on retail products. It is a simple and fun way for us to afford our hobbies and keep me at home with our son. It allows us extra money in our pockets,because we don’t buy new items and at times produce money from salvaging items for recycling.I am unwilling to let trend and a copy cat life style dictate to me what is beautiful or useful. I find that I am most happy when I am finding a hidden treasure at a yard sale or Auction. We purchase about half of our families clothing at thrift stores and all of my home electronics through E-bay at about 1/2 the cost of retail. 

  Over the past year I have been wanting a couple of new things for the house. Frist I really needed a new computer desk and I unwilling to buy anymore pressed wood furniture for my house…I am not 21 looking for something quick and cheap anymore. I want lasting power and great looks and I am willing to spend time and energy to get what I want at the price that I think it is worth.

   This week I decided to spend under 250 dollars for a “new to me ” wood desk.I knew that the desk needed to measure under 45 inches long to fit on the dinning room wall. My frist  thought was to look at a local used and antique furniture stores in our area. Rochells’ ( a used/ antique furniture store) takes up a city block and three floors. The store has anything and everything that you can by at an auction without the hassle of waiting all night for the good stuff. So after 4 rooms and a trip upstairs in the 1940 building we found it  my ” NEW” desk.

late 1960s cherry wood desk with damages top

late 1960s cherry wood desk with damage to the top

   The desk top is cherry with  two sold dove tailed drawers with wooded pulls. The legs appear dark walnut, giving the desk a two-tone effect. The top is water damaged and has a large scratch on the upper right side.Tom and I talked over the desk and Tom will be able to re-finish the top no problem. With the price of the desk, sand paper and varnish, I have an antique desk made of sold cherry and walnut for less the 125.00 dollars. Yes, it will take Tom about 6 hours to remove the old varnish and replace it but it is time well spent for a desk that we all love. Then to my surprise Tom saw something at the store and said that he really liked.  He wanted a set of tables that he had seen while we were shopping.  The tables tops are mixed wood and laminate. They are in great condition and some how I stayed on budget and still bought three tables and desk.

this is the used coffee table set that we picked up too

this is the used coffee table set that we picked up too

  The furniture we bought is not the latest style, but very functional and nice looking.They will serve us well in the years to come and if my 4-year-old damages the top of this coffee table it is less of a heart-break then if we bought new. I also realise that this is just our life style and not everyone will agree with me. We are ” Old School” and still believe that repair of something valuable is always the first step, then replacement. If you have a car you try to fix it first, then if that is not a reasonable option, then you buy new. This concept has served us so well that I saved thousands of dollars each year just by looking for a deal. It is my way of feeling like I have beat the system and won. 

 The other great thing about living this way is donating what it is we are replacing. Toms mom with receive the old coffee table and end tables when we get their tops finished. Thiers no fixing the desk and it will not see another home. I often donate our families cast-offs to a local homeless shelter or church. It makes more sense  to our family to give away what we have then to sell it. We feel blessed to own things like the desk and should pass that blessing on.  

  I find that repurposing, recycling,and being green all have their place in our lives.Tom and I have just taken the idea a little farther, and shaped our future being less and less dependent on the retail market. Less Wal-Mart prefabricated junk and more refinishing of family treasures. I think we just see the beauty in “Everything that is Old is New Again”.

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