Friday, March 31, 2017

French Country: Alley Shopping

I'm fortunate to live in an old part of the city that still has alleys,
and, over the years, I've found some amazing things . . .
finds tucked in next to a dumpster, sitting pretty atop a garbage can,
or even boxed up nice and neat like these old mason jars.

I'm an all-season alley shopper, whether it's on my bike in the summer . . . 


or bundled up in the winter, I'm always on the look-out for discarded treasures.


I'm not embarrassed to say I've rescued quite a few pieces from the landfill 
and given them a new life. 
After a little DIY, some sandpaper, or a touch of paint, 
I've created some unique items to add to my "Ethan Alley Collection."


My absolute favorite alley find has to be this amazing baker's rack
recently discovered while walking my dog.
I scurried back to my house to get some help loading it into my car
and prayed nobody would beat me to it.
It was a tight fit but we made it home without getting a ticket for an open hatch.
Don't be surprised if I end up buying a little pickup truck one of these days!


The baker's rack was in great condition, only one screw missing, some rust, a bit of chipped paint,
all of which made it even more desirable.
Initially, I had plans for it inside but once I saw it on the patio, I knew it was home.


It was a perfect fit!


Here are some more of my alley finds. 
This curvy ottoman got a complete overhaul. (If you missed that post, you can read about it HERE).


While out for a neighborhood walk, we spotted someone
headed for the dumpster with an old frame.
"You're not going to throw that away, are you?" Ron and I whispered at the same time.
Circling around the block, we went back to the dumpster after he'd left
and retrieved this charming framed picture.


A couple of rocking chairs for the porch didn't always look like this.
Want to read their story? Click HERE!


A painter's scaffolding found propped against a dumpster 
was the foundation for this unique garden bench.


My first DIY paint project. Want more info? Read about it by clicking HERE!


Can you believe we found this cement angel in the alley behind our house?
We gave it a new home on our patio.


These are the glass mason jars discovered in the first picture. 


Remember this fabulous find? Two matching urns for free!
Check out their makeover HERE!
I recently saw these exact same urns in a fancy antique store for $275!


This old ladder was leaning against a dumpster but not for long.
Even the cafe sign was an alley find. 


The list goes on.
We've also retrieved a pair of Adirondack chairs that just needed some support,
an iron windowbox that needed some posies,
a pair of pretty patio pillows that needed a bench,
and some chippy window frames that needed a new home. 

I hope you have alleys in your neighborhood too. 
Happy alley shopping! 

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31 comments:

  1. Those are some wonderful rescues. All they needed was someone to love them. I am also guilty of rescuing found treasure. I once climbed inside a dumpster to pull out a metal headboard and footboard. No side rails but it makes great yard art. :)
    xx Beca

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    1. Thank you Beca! Although I haven't climbed inside a dumpster (yet), I did pull an old door out of one once to remove the crystal doorknob. You win! Hugs, Pat

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  2. I have an Ethan Alley collection too, Pat. I was laughing out loud reading this. We have an alley behind our home, and I've seen treasures I've put out end up in my next door neighbor's yard, and vice versa, lol. My husband and I walk almost every day in our neighborhood, and any given day there may be curbside treasures. He usually acts like he doesn't know me as I 'shop', and I often have to go past treasures, only to see how fast I can get back after our walk. Good job on your selections!

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    1. Thanks Rita! Now, it's my turn to laugh out loud. You and your husband sound like me and Ron though he will gladly tote my finds back home for me. I'm so glad I don't live in the suburbs--no alleys! Hugs, Pat

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  3. Those Medici urns make me jealous. They are expensive here, too.
    After my parents died just three weeks apart, I had to clean out their apartment. And that required boxes. I went to Target to ask whether they had any that they were throwing away. Some guy shopping with his little daughter, overheard and came up to say he had just moved to the area and had lots of big plastic bins that I could just take. I was driving my parents' enormous handicap van with an electric ramp and all, so I had plenty of room for his bins. I left him a nice bottle of French wine on the porch. The kindness of strangers. And one man's junk is another's gold.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing this story. I love that you left him a bottle of wine. I do believe there are a lot of good people in this world. Hugs, Pat

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  4. Wonderful finds! I never seem to be that lucky with found objects d'art.

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  5. Aren't you a savvy treasure hunter! These are terrific finds! When we were first married and living in a duplex near the university, I brought home wicker rocker that was sitting out on the curb. Two Bar Harbor chairs followed me home sometime later. Ha! Those chairs were our living room furniture for the first years of our marriage. Once replaced, they were put to use on our front porch. When we moved to this home we didn't have a place for them, so I sold them to an antique dealer, but guess I should have paid it forward and just put them on the curb for someone to retrieve.

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    1. Thanks so much Sarah. I loved your story and had a very similar one when I was first married. We sat on folding chairs at a card table for several years; I wasn't sorry to see them go. Ha! Hugs, Pat

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  6. Great finds! My dear husband was always finding things on his jaunts out and about town. I never knew what he was going to come home with. I miss him and those treasures. I find very little, as I don't go to work anymore. Used to find goodies on my way to and from sometimes and that was always fun.

    Like you, we've found lots of things through the years, including our head/foot boards, Spanish colonial beech wood, found dumped on the side of the road when we were living in Spain 70-73.

    It really is amazing what people will throw out.

    Happy hunting, stumbling across treasures in your alley/s ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Thank you dear Lorraine. I could feel the love you and your husband shared in your words and was very touched. My Ron is always finding things to bring home too. Good thing we do't live in the country...we'd probably have a yard full of livestock! How thrilling that you lived in Spain. It's on my bucket list to visit. So glad you stopped by for a visit. Hugs, Pat

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  8. I just love your blog. You give such good ideas anyone can do. I took love Alley Shopping/Thrift Store Shopping. Someone's trash is another persons treasure. I have the basket (Longaberger) that is on the top picture, with 1 slat that is missing a tiny part. I found it at a thrift store several years ago for 6.95, yes 6.95. Keep up the alley shopping.

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    1. What a nice thing to say Brenda. Thank you! Don't you just love thrifting? You sure got a great deal on the basket. Hugs, Pat

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  9. Treasures from trash -- wonderful!!!!! Have a great week.

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    1. Thanks so much Snap! Hope you're enjoying your weekend. Hugs, Pat

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  10. That baker's rack was made for your patio. Love all your alley finds.

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    1. Thanks Ellis. I'm looking forward to this summer and re-arranging everything on it! Hugs, Pat

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  11. Hi I am so jealous. We don't have alleys out here in the country. I love all the stuff as you know. When you look around out here all you find are empty lick tubs, old tires, sometimes even an old tv or stove. Yipee!!!! Keep on looking girl you're doing great.

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    1. Thanks Jan! Your comment about empty lick tubs and old tires made me laugh. Hugs, Pat

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  12. Hi again, I had to send this. I loved all the comments on this blog. None of those people lived in the country though! I usually end up taking all our give aways to Good Will.

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  13. Smart, smart girl! Just imagine how boring your home would be without those great treasures and the stories that go with them.

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    1. Thanks Stacey! I also imagine how empty my home would be without all my alley finds! Hugs, Pat

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  14. Here in Australia, we have twice-yearly 'hard rubbish' collections managed by the Council. There is a great deal of rubbish that is put on the pavement, but at the last, I walked past a 3-seater leather lounge in excellent condition. We did not need one, but I couldn't bear the thought of it being crunched up in the garbage truck. I called my husband and we walked it home. It was a hot day, the couch was heavy and I sweated bucket loads in the transfer, but I felt like I had done a good deed in rescuing it!

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    1. Hi Catherine! I would have lugged that leather lounge home too. Did you end up keeping it? Good deed done! Hugs, Pat

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  15. I love all your alley finds! Great and I love that you have put a bunch out in the yard. I love it all. Great finds and a great job.

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    1. Thanks so much Pam. Yep, I have to remind myself not to put everything outside; it would look like a yard sale very quickly! Hugs, Pat

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  16. I can't even imagine having alleys where you can find such treasures! No alleys here. People must take everything to a donation center. Many of the things you found would go for big bucks. Happy for you to find such great things! Love how you call them your Ethan Alley collection. :) Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. Hey Jann! I guess that's one of the big advantages of living in a city...lots of alleys in the old parts and always something to find. Sometimes, wish we had more open space here but then we wouldn't have alleys. Hugs, Pat

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