It’s no secret that I love curbside treasures. I have very little shame when it comes to slamming on the brakes, backing up, and loading up some great find from someone’s garbage pile. Even with people watching me from inside the house.
And after 20-some years of garbage picking I’ve found some wonderful pieces.
• Market umbrella. Makes my patio table look seriously Pottery Barn.
• Small cabinet. The doors had fallen off making this piece more of a bookcase. I painted it glossy white and it holds my family’s shoes by the back door.
• Paneled wood door. I painted it a warm, glossy black and hung it above my bed for a headboard.
• 4 matchstick blinds from Levelor. I picked these up before we even bought our new house, but they were such a good find, I knew they’d work somewhere. Now they hang in my sun room over (guess what?) my four picture windows.
• Cedar chaise lounge. I stained it with my trusty cedar deck stain. Now I just need to sew a cushion for it out a striped curtain panel I have.
• Antique dynamite box. This sturdy wooden box boasts a 100-year old company logo. Now it hold my kids’ toys.
• 2 Antique milk cans. Painted hunter green, these now flank my front door.
• Steamer trunk.
• Foo Dog Statue. Just a fake, resin foo dog, but sitting a back shade garden underneath my dogwood tree, it looks totally legit.
• Concrete garden planter. This small square (heavy!) planted has a perfectly mossy patina and sits in the middle of my dining room table as the best. centerpiece. ever.
The other day while driving the kids to school (in a driving rain) I spotted my soon-to-be ultimate curbside score. My Sistine Chapel. My Magnum Opus. It was a retro-style (but new!) Huffy Cruising Bike in sky blue with white-wall tires.
I almost passed out.
I didn’t care if it needed some work because I knew that a few repairs would still be cheaper than buying this baby new. But it didn’t need any work at all! Someone must have needed to free up some space in garage because this new bike in perfect condition. (Now dear reader, I know what you must be thinking. Maybe this bike was not really garbage, but rather somebody’s new bike that I just stole! I thought about that, too. But the bike was parked next to two garbage cans on the curb along with another bike, three pool noodles and a faded plastic gas can. And it was garbage day. I’m almost 100% sure that this bike was meant for the trash.)
I took it home, cleaned it up and rubbed off some flocking that was peeling off of the bike seat. Then I asked my son to fill up the tires because I still can’t figure out how to turn on our air compressor.
And it was gorgeous. But it was missing one thing: a basket!
The reason I wanted a cruiser was for the sole purpose of biking to the mailbox to ship out my parcels every afternoon. I needed a basket!
But when I started shopping online for baskets, I couldn’t find anything quite right. Most were ugly. All were too expensive. And the ones I really wanted (Cape Cod-style willow creel baskets) were very expensive. What to do, what to do.
I decided I would go to Michael’s and fashion a bike basket from a regular willow basket. Good plan. But as I was loading up all the stuff I was going to drop off at Goodwill on the way, I spotted a basket that never quite worked in my house. It was a funny slim-vertical shape . . . that would be perfect as a bike basket! Even better. So I removed the handle*, cut two small holes in the back, and attached the basket to the handles with two black Velcro strips.
Perfect. Absolutely perfect. And all free, too. And as an added benefit, I can entertain the whole neighborhood as I look like Pee Wee Herman biking down the street.
*I do this a lot. Removing the basket handle upgrades the basket from tacky fruit basket-holder to chic home storage basket