EST. May 2000 (AD)


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Dumpster Diva Decorating

By Crystal Click

Ten years ago flea markets were where it was it. All that funky, chic, shabby happening decorating potential in raw form being pawed at by sweaty motor home denizens, penny pinchers and pawn shop proprietors with "a good eye". Then, down the devil's road it went-discovered by some ethicless persons who dared to write books telling the Lore of the Flea and the rusty tin bucket. Hoards of happy homemakers and not-so-happy people with less than fashionable homes, headed to the flea markets and drove the prices through the roof.

As exciting as paying $75.00 for decrepit kitchenware is, the trend is over. What's next?

Decor a la Dumpster. The dumpster nearest you IS the greatest home decorating resource ever.

Come with me on a room by room tour.

Children's play room - For little Johnny's room we have settled on sort of a pool hall theme. On the corner of 8th and Dakota (you may have seen the apartment complex in season 3 episode 18 of COPS), I struck pay dirt. A quick glean, and a small altercation with a rat produced approximately 100 used hypodermic needles AND a rusty pizza pan. I hot glued some bubble wrap to the pizza pan, made a pie grid with permanent marker, and PRESTO CHANGO - my 8 year old had a new dart board. The children occasionally stick themselves so we have had to install a band aid dispenser in the play room, but the dried blood hasn't affected the flight trajectory of the darts at all.


Daughter's room - Just ONE trip to the local 24 mini mart garnered enough quality materials to totally revamp my daughter's room. It pays to have connections. I schmoozed Sarah the night girl and now she lets me know when there's really great finds to be had in their big metal Pandora's box. The chair (right) is less than six months old! Sarah hid behind it when Guido came to collect, thus the bullet holes (who knew she played the ponies?). I love the rugged look it adds to my little girl's room.





The lovely sea shell sign, although very bright and fun, didn't quite fit our theme so we toned down the red with soothing layer of graytone duct tape. We added a mock silk flower frame and Voila! I think I saw the EXACT item at Pottery Barn for $62.95.

We also came out with enough Styrofoam peanuts to completely fill a black garbage bag. We let the kids jump in it like a bag of leaves and then have fun watching them struggle to get out of the plastic. One of our greatest finds, we also used our bag o' foam for bean bag type chair and it works as a crib mattress in a pinch.

Living Room - I favor the trendy French Country look for my living room, which was of course formerly called shabby chic and prior to that it was simply referred to as country (not to be confused with the whole cowboy country southwest thing, another reason to shudder when you hear howling coyotes).

Like any girl, shiny baubles catch my eye. As I reached the bottom of the dumpster I found a handful of VINTAGE pull tabs cemented to the rusty metal by some 20 year old unidentifiable solidified ooze. Given the popularity of beverage paraphernalia these days, I know if I didn't bring them home NOW, I would miss a once in a lifetime chance. So called my man on the celly and he

was on the spot pronto with an acetamine torch. Just four quick swipes and the base for this creation was mine.

Once home, I soaked the metal and pull tabs in a citrus based gunk remover. I then hot glued the pull tabs to the base. The French children plaque was actually a left over from my flea market phase. I realize the children look somewhat Dutch, but when I told Hans (the stall's proprietor) that I loved French Country, he assured me that nearly all French children are blond and wear wooden shoes.

To give my French theme a more finished look, I managed to dodge mall security at the food court and wheeled out six trays of left over French fries. After about six weeks in my van, the fries had sufficiently dehydrated to hold a coat of lacquer. Our old coffee table was considerably scratched so I arranged the fries by type in a sort of mosaic pattern and used clear polyurethane to cement them over the scratched spots. It's a little hard to set coffee on now, but who really sits around drinking coffee anymore anyway.

With a little time and ingenuity you too can have a nearly free magazine worthy home, too!

©2003 Crystal Click


Crystal Click is an accomplished seamstress. She has made 14 dresses, 2 shirts and 12 baby outfits -- all of which are 60 - 75% completed and sitting in a neat box in her rural American rent free storage unit (otherwise known as a chicken coop).

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