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Archive for December 14th, 2005

Trash into Something

December 14, 2005

If the 70s knitting I shared the other day scared or scarred you, you will probably want to click away from this page right now, because what I’ve got to show you today is worse. Thanks to the Friends of the Library used book sale, I have obtained a copy of Don’t Throw It Away!, a self-described “treasury of unusual craft projects” published in 1973. Unusual is right. This treasury features decorative and/or functional items to make from things that might otherwise be discarded. I wonder where the author got her trash, though, as some of the raw materials for these projects are things that I’ve never had occasion to throw away, not even in the 70s, like a wooden ironing board.

I’m all for reusing things–that’s good for the environment and keeps expenses down. Surely it’s possible to turn trash into treasure, but most of the projects in this book fall into “trash into eyesore” territory for me. Granted, this is a matter of taste, and tastes change over time. Maybe in 1973 it wouldn’t have made my brain hurt to look at things like the meat grinder lamp:


Click on the thumbnail if you dare. I don’t object on principle to turning things into lamps, but this effort went awry. Painting the meat grinder a sunny, happy yellow? Okay, but it’s still a meat grinder, so I would have just left it metal. Cleaned it up sure, but let it maintain its dignity. Using a fruit basket as a lampshade? Maybe–the basket and the meat grinder are both food related and thus go together. But the ball fringe AND the fake flowers AND the fake bird? No. I don’t care if they’re all color coordinated. Just no.


Speaking of no, there’s also this lamp, described as “pretty and peaceful”. It is pastel pink, which I guess is sort of pretty, but I feel anything but peaceful when I look at this. I feel unsettled and confused. What’s up with the roof–is that supposed to make me think of the old woman who lived in a shoe? Is that the old woman there, lurking in the fake flowers? And why are there fake flowers in the first place? And what happened to the other boot?

Not all the projects in the book are awful. There’s a mirror framed by wooden alphabet blocks that I like, and the wreath made of straw doesn’t make me want to poke my eyes out, but I don’t think I’ll be keeping this volume. I can donate it back to the Friends of the Library and maybe someone whose taste runs to the faux floral will find it and delight in it. Or I could just throw it away!


One year ago, I was unfussed enough to write a proper ski trip report.

Two years ago, I was also just back from vacation.

Three years ago, I’d just finished a baby quilt.

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