I belong to a Buy Nothing group in my community: "The Buy Nothing Project (Washington, July 2013) began when two friends created an experimental hyper-local gift economy. Whether people join because they’d like to quickly get rid of things or simply to save money by getting things for free, they quickly discover that the groups are not just another free recycling platform."The connections I have made in this group are real and enduring and I can't imagine my life without this generous, caring, and quirky group.
Let me explain further. I am thrilled to have joined this group. I have received an abundance of free things, I have learned new skills and made new friends, and I have gifted objects that were cluttering up my home. My daughter even got a regular babysitting gig! What's not to like? Here are some of my favourite personal Buy Nothing anecdotes and experiences:
1. I had been hunting for cheap and cheerful tiles for a backsplash. This is a tedious task for someone who is picky and frugal. Last April, I saw this post on the BN site:
Oooh! I wanted them BADLY.
No one else was interested in the tiles, and the gifter told me that I was the lucky recipient. I bolted over to her house the same day. You snooze, you lose. Would you believe that there were just enough tiles to cover my wall? Here's my happy post, once my friend installed the tile:
How awesome does that look? No sterile white kitchen for me! I admire my backsplash every day.
2. Like most people, I spend a lot of time at a desk. My daughter thinks that my desk is her desk (she also thinks that my shoes are her shoes, my chocolate is her chocolate, and my wine is her wine. Kidding! She's only 13. I have a year or two.) She leaves her junk on my desk all the effing time: chocolate bar wrappers, hair elastics, dirty bowls and glasses, curling and straightening irons, abandoned craft projects, glue guns, scraps of paper and other assorted shit. This enrages me, or rather, it did enrage me until I got an awesome new desk from the BN site, and she got my old one. Win-win!
|Vintage tanker desk. These can sell for a shitload. Not sure why people didn't jump all over this|
As an aside, I got almost everything in this picture at a second hand store, or at a yard sale. The sewing machine, the rug, the teak dresser and the tin are exceptions - they were gifts (thank you Sheilagh Hunt, Joyce Brouwer and Mom!)
3. I am really into DIY, crafting and making things for my home. I love to learn new skills and if I can do it while socializing, eating and drinking, even better. One of the moderators of the BN group recently hosted our group's inaugural "Learn to Make" event. I and six other ladies learned to crochet (I suck. I will stick to knitting) and make beeswax food wraps on an otherwise cold and dull March evening. The next Learn to Make event will feature vegan cooking, and I will be hosting a How to Brew Kombucha event in April.
This brings me to my most recent project and the subject of this post. A couple of years ago, I decided to attempt a gallery style wall in my home. It looked pretty good, but I eventually tired of it. When I removed all those pictures, I had myriad nail holes and chips in the drywall. It looked like a wall in a student slum. I was going to repaint it, but while dropping off something at a Buy Nothing acquaintance's home, I caught a glimpse of the decoupaged wall in her front entry. She had papered it with the pages from a vintage women's journal (a library discard) - swoon. It looked a bit like this:
I was totally inspired and resolved to paper my own wall using the pages of a 1946 dictionary (sorry Mom but this unwieldy tome looks better on my walls than on my bookshelf). When I got home, I cleaned the wall with some vinegar and water, and filled all the holes with some white goo (spackle? I don't know the word for this product). A day later, I sanded the patches, hung a plumb line using a carabiner and some yarn, and got to work. Okay, I know my first row isn't straight but that's part of the charm.
I had fun selecting the various images. I tried to pick illustrations of birds and animals, and anything that I thought was quirky or entertaining. Here are some entries that I particularly enjoy:
|I love this drawing of a refrigerator|
I had some problems with rippling and bubbling when I started, but I quickly learned that less glue was the way to go. My method was to dip one of those cheap dollar store foam brushes into a 1:1 solution of white glue to water.
I then coated the underside of the page (not too liberally), flipped it over and pressed it onto the wall with my hand. This had to be done fairly quickly as the glue dried rapidly. My final step was to smooth out the air bubbles, working from the top down and swooshing out to the sides. My Art Gallery of Ontario membership card worked perfectly for this. Follow these instructions and you too can have a fancy and frugal word wall.
Here are some shots of it in progress:
And the finished product, ta-da!
I just need to rehang my art above the bureau, and I will be moving on to my next project: painting out my dated staircase and paying someone to install a runner.
And thanks to the miracle that is modern technology, my art is up and ready for you to see:
Now what to do about these stairs?
|Ooops! The little friend took a tumble down those slippery stairs|
Django and Dill are scratching the hell out of the steps - they look very worn - and I have to do something soon. Enter the great staircase redo.
I can't tackle rug installation. Some things are just not DIY.
My plan is to dust, wash and dry the stairs (likely a day of work). I will then sand them (ick. I hate sanding) as much as I can (ugh), and apply primer. I am not going to bother painting the area where the runner will go. I think this project is going to take me a while but I'm pumped. I'm on a decorating roll, peeps!
The look I am going for is something like this:
I did some research online and saw these non-slip stair treads (typically sold in sets) but I am worried that they might come lose and then I too will take a tumble like my little friend pictured above. So I guess I'm going with a runner.
Wish me luck, friends, and I will post pictures of the great staircase reno once I begin.
On an unrelated note, today is APRIL FOOL'S and I love me some tomfoolery. I tricked the kids and Richard today by placing a sign on the upstairs toilet ("Do not use. It's plugged!"). This forced them to use the main floor loo. Wouldn't you know that it was already occupied by the little friend, who picked herself up after her nasty tumble and raced to the toilet to empty her guts:
|olives, hummus, sour cream and bits of chips. mmmmmmmmmmmm|
Not content with just this bit of trickery, I had also face-tatted the children in the night. With a Sharpie. X marks the spot! lol
But I wasn't done with the monkey business. My post in the Buy Nothing group seemed to be a hit:
The comments kill me:
So freaking funny. Enjoy your day, friends, and try a trick or two on your friends and family even if it's not April 1st!
Optional musical pairing. April Fool by Chalk Circle
And for some April Fool's inspiration: April Fools pranks for lazy people