Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Recycle Diaries

Ask not why I've been a sluggish poster. I'm typing one-handed right now with a baby on my lap. A baby who just got three vaccines. A snuggly baby who hasn't wanted to do anything but be held and gazed upon for a month. I'm not complaining, but blogging does become difficult.

Somewhere in the last week or so I joined If you're not familiar with this, it's a network of Yahoo! groups around the country with the purpose of keeping usable but no longer wanted items out of the landfills and heading toward someone who can use them. Here's how it works:

If you have something to offer or you're looking for something, you send an e-mail to the group indicating "Offer" or "Wanted." You include what the item is and what part of town you live in. If you want something and you're willing to go anywhere in town to get it, you include "willing to travel" in the header. These e-mails go to everyone in the group either as single e-mails (which can get cumbersome) or, as I've opted, as a digest in groups of 25.

Last weekend I got rid of a ton of stuff I found while clearing out the closets in Sylvie's room pre-painting. I also got a bag of trophies for Max, who's obsessed with trophies and awards, whether or not he actually earned them. He's now made an awards display on his bookshelf that includes his chess club participation medals alongside a 4H sewing trophy from 1994.

The Indianapolis Freecycle group has about 15,000 members, so it's fairly active. I've had takers within minutes for everything I've offered. (Amazingly, I was the only one who wanted the bag of old 4H trophies, though.) I've liked everyone who's come to pick up items, and I've just ignored responses to my offerings that seemed silly or greedy. Like, for example, when I offered a never-used crib bumper pad and comforter, and someone wrote back, "Does this include the crib?" Uh, yeah, I thought I'd just throw in a crib with the bumper pad and not bother to mention it.

Anyhoo, if you have items to get rid of and want to know they'll end up with someone who can really use them, or if you'd like to see what you might get for free in your neighborhood, check out

Meanwhile, in other recycle news, I've been pining for a sturdy dining room table to replace our current vintage Heywood Wakefield number, which our family size and rowdiness has outgrown. In my head, I was picturing my friend Betsy's table, which has sturdy support on all four corners, is big enough to have a smallish dinner party, and is good-looking but not so pristine that you're afraid to do crafts on it. I hadn't found the right table, and was eyeing a $2,000 job online. So when Betsy, who lives out of state, told me about renovating her kitchen and, in the bargain, getting a new table, I asked, sadly, what she had done with her old table. She said she was going to put it on Craig's List but it was currently sitting in her basement. So I'm getting the beloved table from her. Betsy and her husband were Phil's friends from college, and he took me to meet them when he and I were "just friends" fifteen years ago, where we ate Betsy's homemade waffles and Jon's grilled steak on that table. Years later, I learned to make jewelry on that table. Max and Tommy have cavorted with Jon and Betsy's kids around that table. It's seen a lot of my life, and I love that it'll be there for more, and that Betsy can visit with it when she's in town.

Finally, here's why I'm wishing away Sylvia's baby and toddler years:

Photo from

I saw this great sundress on the blog of designer Anna Maria Horner. If you can't tell, it's made from a small amount of new fabric paired with a vintage embroidered pillowcase -- the kind young ladies embroidered and crocheted for their dowries decades ago. (The post, with additional pictures, is here.) Anna Maria includes instructions for this clever reuse here. By my calculations, I have about four years to hunt up some great vintage linens before Sylvia will be pillowcase-sundress sized.

What have you kept out of a landfill lately?

1 comment:

Hooked on Houses said...

That is so cool about the table! What a great story. I hope you'll show us a picture of it after you get it in your house.

Anna Maria gave me permission to show her kitchen remodel, so I'll be posting it soon. Thanks for giving me the link to her site, Cindy! I love it. -J :-)