I just can't help myself. It all started with my grandfather. He kept all kinds of things and remade-reused them on his farm. (Back then they called it junk collecting.) My mother also did this. We spent one summer when I was a teenager going to a granite dump site and loading granite and marble pieces that were broken or damaged and taking these back to my mother's yard where she made stepping stones, garden edging and benches out of the stuff. So I come by it naturally, and then I add my own artistic bent to it.
While I'm recycling my things at the local drop off point, I also check out what has been tossed in the bin to see if I can re-purpose it. And yes, I belong to "dumpster diver anonymous." I also belong to freecycle, which is another movement to keep things out of the landfill. I've gotten many things from there, and also offer things for free to others that I no longer want. (Think: "one person's trash is another person's treasure".)
This instructable will show some of the projects I've re-purposed.
Step 1: Garden Waterproof Totebox
Step 2: Compost Bins
I like my bin because to turn the pile (for aeration and to help compost faster), all I need to do is pull on the pipes with the wire attached and the pile is left underneath. Then I just re-shovel the pile and it is turned.
I made another bin from some left over deck wood. The deck was getting pretty splintery and when I pulled it up I had all this left over lumber. I gave some of it away on freecycle, but there was a lot left. So I chopped into 3 foot sections and nailed together the sections in a simple box like shipping pallets. Three of the boxes make a bin when stacked together. To turn this bin, I pick up the sections and again re-shovel back in. Why three feet sections? Seemed a good measurement? Wasn't too big or too small. And it was easy to cut using my yardstick as the measuring stick.
Composting: There are many really good guides out there. But I go and pick up my neighbors grass clippings to add to my compost. I compost my coffee grounds daily (the worms really like the coffee grounds and so do the azaleas), shredded paper (would like to see an identity theft person dig into my compost!!) vegetable scraps, leaves (use your lawnmower to go over your leaves and chop them up!), pine needles, etc. And then you need to turn it occasionally to add air and mix up stuff. Since I'm adding to my compost all the time, turning is really necessary for me.
Step 3: Ugly Into Beautiful
I took an old wheelbarrow that the tray was getting too rusty and made it into a garden planter.
When we had a tree come down during a recent hurricane, the stump was left. As the tree had a large rotten place , instead of letting the trunk just sit there, I planted stuff in it.
Step 4: Fabric-holic-ism
As an art teacher (my real job), I use fabric scraps at school. If you have a box of scraps and you don't know what to do with them, please consider donating them to your local school- ask for the art teacher.
And the quilts when they get too ratty to put on the bed, go to the dogs for their beds or are used outside to wrap up the plants when we have that rare cold snap.
Step 5: Jug Masks
Step 6: Ladder: Plant Stand/trellis
Ladder: Made this into a plant stand, and trellis for vines Got the ladder for free from freecycle. It isn't sturdy enough for people use, but perfect for plant use.
Basically I added some green paint to make it blend in better with the landscape, but left some of the paint splatters showing because I liked it that way. I put a plastic screen on one side so that vines could grown up either the steps or the wire side.
The flip down stand for putting your paint cans and stuff was rotten and I pulled that off, but wanted to still have that stand. I got an old board that I'd saved from ripping out the bathroom cabinets and took the nails out- marked where the rails were and drilled holes so that I could lace up the board with some zip ties. I didn't think the wood would take new nails or screws without splintering, so the zip ties were a perfect solution.
Then I added some tent stakes to the bottom so that when it is windy the ladder doesn't tip over. (I'd had it in the garden originally and it kept blowing over, so I knew I needed to secure it somehow.) I attached the tent stakes with some zip ties figuring I'd want to move this ladder around- maybe next summer I'll use it under my cucumbers. So I can cut the zip ties and then pull up the ladder and then get up the stakes.
I'm going to put some morning glories in a planter at the bottom of the ladder. I'd grow right on the fence if it was my fence, but since it isn't- I'll just grow on my ladder and hopefully the neighbor will like so much that I can grow on their fence.
Step 7: Cardboard
For my garage chalkboard, I used chalkboard paint and painted directly on the wall in the garage, then used some cardboard to make a frame and tacked it up. The cardboard was some that I used as a "drop cloth" when spray painting another project. I thought it had an interesting pattern, so I used it to make into the frame for my chalkboard. I put some chalk in a bag and thumbtacked it to the cardboard so I could write down the list of stuff that I need (when I remember that I need it.) Or if I'm measuring something, I can write on this chalkboard so I don't have to fish out a piece of paper.
Step 8: PVC Pipe "bamboo Tripod"
So while I was painting PVC pipe for my compost bin, I thought I should paint some more. Then afterward the idea came. I took the pvc pipe and tied it together at the top with twine. I don't have any bamboo in my garden and wanted to make a tripod for things to climb on. I wrapped some twine around the poles because the poles are too slippery for the plants-- the twine gives a little traction. Then topped it with a glass jar leftover from a candle.
Step 9: Boots
So I primed them with exterior primer like you use for your house. Then painted them with some brown and green-- I'll keep painting but for this re-purposing, I'll show you the "finished" product before I'm finished.
I drilled some holes through the sole of the shoes so that they would drain. I put Styrofoam packing noodles that I save into the toes and the bottom of the boots- they are light, yet will let the water drain. Then some clay pots I had were the perfect size for the top part of the boot.
I am going to add some "gardening quotes" to these boots, but haven't the time to finish this instructable before I finish the boots. And to be honest, I need a little more moodling before I'm done.
Step 10: Moodling
I've got a great quote:
So you see, imagination needs moodling - long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering. Brenda Ueland
This kind of says it all for me- in that I pick up stuff that I think has great potential. I re-purpose things when my brain happily puts it into some kind of efficient use.
And the puttering part is so important.
If I say to my beloved husband of almost 30 years, that I'm puttering. He knows exactly what I'm doing...that inefficient happy idling thing that will mean that sometime later some kind of invention will occur!