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September 01, 2009


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I LOVE the piggie!!!

What a score with your find!

I've found things in the past..people always getting rid of something in L.A. My best score was a metal shelving unit. It holds my acrylic paint and so much more, and the best part is, it didn't cost a penny! Recycling at it's best!

It's funny as it's illegal to take things from the trash in L.A., but I think it should be illegal to actually throw good stuff that someone else can put to use away!

Here's to great finds on the curbside!


When I moved out on my own I needed some chairs for my little apt. I found school chairs with metal tags on the back that said, "IL Dept. of Labor" in a local shop for $15. I tried to walk them home. I got about half-way before my arms felt like they were going to pop off. I had to leave one of them as I was so tired. They were quite sturdy oak chairs! I left the one in a church parking lot and figured, well, if it's still here when I get back great, if not, at least I'll have one chair....it was still there. :)


I love the glass handles...and the cute little pig with wings. I am also an urban scavenger, dragging objects home that have been abandoned by their previous owners. It feels like a real treasure that way.


aw, that's a super story, Margie :) This piece of furniture has such a potential, and such caracter, that's for sure !
My little furniture rescuing story is the following : my mom used to work in a nursery school (well, the French equivalent, for children between 3 and 5). You know how awfully things work sometimes concerning budget & furniture (changing along the wishes of the director). Once, the director decided that the chairs weren't good anymore (just because you couldn't pile them up) so they went to the big bin. My mom (OK, not me) saved two of them, and they were in pristine condition. My children've been using them ever since & I love their vintage look. You can see them here : http://www.flickr.com/photos/cozymemories/2847257753/
Big hugs xoxox

Melissa R

I love road side treasures! I would have done the same and carried it home :)
Oinky is a cutie pie.


I have been an incorrigible trashpicker since my dad used to take me to the dump as a tiny kid and always let me bring home some "treasure". And I remember wending my way home from school in Kindergarten and first grade (when kids were still allowed to walk to school), my favorite day was trash day. I'd always find some little thing or other to haul home.

FF to last spring, I was driving down a residential street in the neighboring community, I spotted a huge pile of stuff outside of a house for sale. Looked like the old folks had probably had to go the the nursing home and the kids just cleared the place out.

Could that be?, possibly, OMG, yes! it's a Passap knitting machine stand. (Being now a machine knitter, and with a lovely, old, pink Passap at home without a stand, I was sure of it.) It was just peeking out of the top of a trash can. I happily (ecstatically!) rescued it. These older stands are hard to come by and pricey, now I had one for free! Of course I didn't just drive off without looking around a bit first. I saw several trash cans full of jars. Many appeared to be canning jars. I couldn't, in good conscience, let those go to the landfill. So I set about sorting through a hundred or so jars for the canning jars - about 75 of them were. Meanwhile, a 30-ish woman drives up, parks on the street and walks over. I'm thinking maybe she's the daughter and is going to scold me. But no! She says, "Is this yours?" "No," I say, "I'm just trash picking." "Oh, that's what I meant," she says. "Proper trash picking etiquette says it's not allowed to pick when someone else is already there." (Who knew?!?!) "Oh, I only want these jars. Take whatever you want."

The end of the story (besides having a beautiful, free stand for my Passap Pinkie) is that because I already have so many canning jars, I listed them for free on Craigslist, and a young man came in his convertible with his lovely young girlfriend to pick them up and take them to Milwaukee, where they were headed to see a Brewers baseball game, and then visit his mom, near the stadium. "She cans all the time and give the food away, but never gets the jars back. She'll be thrilled to get these!"

So... what goes around truly comes around!


An amazing piece of furniture that was surely worth the save. I like your little story that went along with it as well.

One day I was driving home through our neighborhood, we lived off a busy road where I spotted this gorgeous bright sunny yellow desk out to be discarded. Eep! Luckily my husband was home when I returned home and I told him all about it, how it was just sitting there screaming "Take me home!" It was 1 block up and 1 block over away from our house. My husband walked down (and being that we didn't have a vehicle that it would fit into) hoisted it onto his back and carried it home. I can only imagine the silly looks he received with a desk on his back like he is a pack mule. From a distance, this thing just looked like it needed some good elbow grease, sanded, and a nice coat of paint (of course keeping the bright yellow). When he brought it home, it was wobbly and part of the top was damaged. Nothing that couldn't be repair, so now it is going to be my Fall project to fix it up and bring it out of our garage and into our home. We have space in our upstairs hallway and I was thinking of making a "homework center" for my children.


A gorgeous set of drawers, Margie!:) I love old furniture with many stories to tell.... I've also moved impossible objects all by myself also, like a large freezer from kitchen to garage, with no clue how I did it! It is amazing the power of the mind when one really wants something and will have it, just so. Take care and have a good week x


What a great find Margie! I would have hauled that dresser home too!
I'm always on the look out for trash to salvage. Not too long ago I got three beautiful stained glass windows from my neighbor's trash! My latest find was a darling wooden four poster doll bed - it was right next door!


You are a superwoman! I simply tell the able bodied men of my home (of which there are 4) where the rescue needs to take place and they retrieve for me. I don't know if that is deserving of flying pig or a crown, Ha!


Love love the winged piglet. Too cute! Last thing I found curbside was a trellis and I was driving by on my way to the local nursery to buy one!!! Hah! LindaSonia ([email protected])

wintu nancy

When we were stationed in Germany I made some real finds. The Germans have what we Americans called 'Junking' four times a year. They can put junk out at the curb for pick up. One thing I scored was a trunk that is like the trunk Harry takes to Hogwarts. It too was a squeeze in the car. I now use it to store fabric in my sewing room.
BTW, love the 'SwineFlu'


I love love the story. And all the follow up stories. You really bring cool people together Margie. I wish I could meet you in person one day.

And since I love that piggy, and have yet to buy any of your beautiful things, I will share my own stories in the hopes of having a piece of you here in the flesh.

My favorite piece of reclaimed furniture is now our computer chair. It's clearly a very simply wooden chair for a kitchen, and it was sitting by the side of the road just a few houses down. My husband is adamantly against furniture salvaging, but I wanted it so badly I was able to convince him to throw it in the trunk.

Now he uses it almost exclusively, and guards it like a cranky cat with their favorite sitting spot!

Here's a link to it:

I have other great finds, but that one is my favorite, because of the silliness of it all.


Helen Lansdown

Hello, I just love your blog and your beautiful creations! Those little piggies and the crochet covered pebbles - the sweetest things! Denise from 'A Bun Can Dance' sent me your link.. and so glad am I! Helen


good roadside find! absolutely great story.

"when pigs fly" is one of my favorite sayings...



What is it about old furniture (or jars or fabric) that makes you want to gather it up, tenderly love it again and restore it to its former glories. And if it has scars and gouges from histories past, you welcome them as part of the mystery they form. As a graduate student I am continually on a budget yet surrounded by friends that actually have a salary and all the material goods that come with it. I enjoy my thrift store and garbage finds more than perfectly matched sets and its has a story.
Last Valentine's day was a dreary cold and wet day where I lived. But my fiancée and I had a wonderful day none the less. On the drive home after a gray walk by the river we spotted an old rocking chair on the side of the road. We took a closer look and decided to take it home. That evening was spent sanding and fixing the rocker together on the floor of the living room, drinking tea and eating sweets with a movie on in the background. Now the chair stands proudly in the room, filled with new and old memories!


Hilarious story behind the flying piggie...My husband has a HUGE affection for flying pigs. Goes back to childhood.

Man what a great curbside rescue! Can't wait to see what you do with it.

Jessie Hansen

the only real rescue I have ever attempted was a lamp I found in my old apartment. The managers didn't know where it came from so I told them they didn't have to worry about it and I stoled it, wrapped it with pink and green chiffon sewed on by copper wire with which I also made beaded flowers... Did that make sense? It is wonderful. http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=318276.0


My grandfather made a desk back in the forties and as a teenager, I stripped it and refinished it for use in my room. It is so fun to update old pieces and breathe new life into them!


I don't have a good story of my own, but my next door neighbors, good friends of ours, found a gorgeous oak antique double bedstead down at curbside. Can you imagine?! It's the most gorgeous thing, detailed carving, huge headboard and footboard. I'm so envious!! They lugged it home and it lives happily in their guest bedroom. (I love the flying pig!)


Hi Margie, I've been a faithful reader of your wonderfully "cute" blog for a year now - please bring on more cuteness!

I can totally see why you couldn't pass up this dresser. I've let great finds go in the past because I didn't want to seem like a dumpster diver, and when I finally got over that I have since scored some great treasures. My favorite to date is a pair of old ice skates with red and black striped fuzzy fabric inside. They're unfortunately a half size too small but sit beautifully on my old fashioned child's flip-top desk with the books from the 1890s that I found at the thrift store - one has a perfect and fragile four leaf clover pressed in it! Oh, the joy of those discarded treasures. : )

Denise Leavens

I love the last photo of Her Swineness. She looks like she is flying among blue stars!

I LOVE your rescued dresser. I have only been able to borrow such furniture for a few years at a time. I miss each and every piece I've had to give back.*Sniff*

Sheau Ching Lee

I started "gleaning" after watching a French documentary "The Gleaners and I". It is a very inspiring film that covers a wide background. I often search on craigslist free listing, watching for free items that are left on the curbside. Picking up planters, table before. The most memorable one is picking up two heavy rock planters myself. They are super heavy! Most exciting find is a beautiful old Mexican pot. Now, it is growing lots of succulents in it.

Sherri Mash

Wow what a find! I would have done what ever I had to do to get that lovely dresser too! I haven't rescued anything but love to watch out my window as people drive by and take away stuff I leave out :).


what a great find! i love your dedication to old furniture-rescue.
here in new zealand, people just don't seem to leave things out on the road for others to claim. i wish they did, though!


Does it count if I paid to rescue some furniture? My daughter just started grade one and I wanted to buy a desk for her. After a year of keeping my eyes peeled I finally found a lovely desk and chair in a junk shop here in Montreal for $20. It's well loved but very sturdy and has undergone a transformation from electric blue to white...eventually to be blogged about as soon as its in situ!


These are all really great stories! I can't remember a find that was as interesting but I do love when I happen upon things. I've found some great fabric, a piano bench and an antique mirror on the side of the road. It's great to see the pink pig again :)

Laura A.

I can't believe I did that. I wrote a long post about my dad and realized today that I never hit post! Sigh.

My dad was the consummate dumpster diver. He could fix and restyle just about anything. In the early 60s he was called to a laundromat to haul away a dryer that wasn't working. My dad assessed the situation and assured the owner he could fix the problem but the man would hear none of it. He'd had a couple of people in to look at it previously and just wanted the thing gone. Dad asked if he could have it then and the man assured him he could do whatever he wanted with it. So Dad brought it home and plugged into the correct voltage outlet and it worked like a charm for over 30 years. (And my mom had five kids, so that was a lot of clothes.)

But my favourite rescue story is the one that involves the solid oak coffee table he found curbside. The original owners must have had a very hungry Lab because the edge of the table had been completely chewed. Dad brought it home and routered the edges then refinished it into a beautiful table.


oh how cute! i don't think i've rescued a piece of furniture before... perhaps one day... but in LA things don't last long, I always know that it's going to find another home :)


Way to go Margie, That dresser is amazing! Yes, definitely worth a midnight workout!! I have dreamed of rescuing these kinds of treasures from the curbside for years, but I guess I have never really lived in the kinds of places these sorts of things happen.


My family's entire home has been furnished through my mother's dumpster diving. I love how unique and lived-in it makes our home feel; it's easier to become comfortable in a place when you aren't worried about messing up the furniture.


When Pigs Fly XD

My grandmother used to rescue furniture from the alley we lived on :D About half of her stuff was free lol

Mathyld / encore petite

When I say that you remind me of my mum this post is just another proof !!!

I know I talk far too much about my mum's tearoom ... But it is one of my dearest loves :)

The place used to be an "Auto Repair" place in the 50s ...
Then the place was abandoned. When we decied to open a Tearoom there, it was utterly dirty, greasy, dusty ... Not your average Tearoom space !

My mum had to rethink everything. The walls, the old rusty portal ...
I picked the paint colours.
We did almost everything by ourselves.
We worked from mondays to saturdays, all day long for 4 months (my mum started working alone during 2 months, before I left my job in a Parisian English Bookshop to go and help her)

And on sunday mornings ...
We were chasing cheeeeap & pretty furniture in all the garage sales and flea markets of the area.
Everything was between 7€ & 20€.
Yes, EVERY sunday we woke up at 6am -on our day off !- to chase antique furniture ...
If you are thinking that, being in Provence, we only had to take a nap in the afternoon to rest ... Then this is a common mistake !
Cheap furniture doesn't usually come in its prettier state ...
We had to work on the furniture during the afternoon ...
My mum did the biggest part of this job.

I grew up surrounded with second hand furniture. My mum (and my dad before his death) always worked hard to make them new again.

Sander, sand paper, paintbrushes were our sunday-friends, and the smell of oil of turpentine, beeswax, white spirit our sunday-fragrances ...

Now I am so proud to walk in this place filled with soul and beauty. And I love answering proudly "we did it" to the numerous people expressing how beautiful and cosy the place is.

You can see it there.
A few new pictures next week :)

Hugs to you, my dear Margie.
I missed you so much !
x x x

Mathyld / encore petite

PS : I love the top drawer glass handles ! Superb !


What a lucky piece of furniture to have met you and your skillful hands, Margie, ! You change the life of so many people or things around you ...

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