The Best Things Are Free!

After spending weeks refurbishing an old run down dining table, it has become one of my most favorite things... that I acquired free of charge.  In honor of my new blessing, here is a top ten list of some other things that I've collected ... at little or no cost to me.  The best things in life are definitely free!

shaving mirror
1) This is a wood framed tri-fold shaving mirror from either the 1930s or 40s. About fifteen years ago, an old man in my community had passed away. After his family had taken all they wanted, my husband was hired to clean out the rest of his belongings, and I went along to help. The family had left so many things behind, and as we cleaned up, we also spent the afternoon learning so much about the old man. Although I had seen him everyday, walking his little dog, I had only met him once. He had stopped to talk to the group of kids playing in the courtyard (my daughter included), and we struck up a conversation. I knew he was a Jewish-Italian-American, that he had been in the Navy, and that he had gone through WWII. What I learned that afternoon was that he was quite distinguished, and had collected some very fine things throughout his life. I saw the hospital photographs and court documents, after he had been the victim of a hate crime. I took with me some beautiful antique furniture, an Italian newspaper from 1944 with articles about the war, and two old Time magazines, each dedicated to the murder of a Kennedy.  I also took with me a new and deep respect for the man I never really knew.  I talk to him sometimes, and thank him for all the things he unknowingly passed down to me.  I think he appreciates that I appreciate them.

bar cabinet
2) This is the solid wood cabinet that I also acquired from the old man.  It has been used as a dining room buffet, a TV stand, among other uses, and now it serves as a printer stand.  It was originally intended to be a bar cabinet, but we don't drink very often so it stores batteries, plastic grocery bags, miscellaneous electronics, and pet supplies.

Uncle Charlie
3) This is a faux carved wood wall hanging, depicting one of my most cherished ancestors:  Emperor Charlemagne (aka Uncle Charlie). We know about him from school, of course, but we know about our relation because of my grandmother who spent her life researching our family genealogy.  This carving had hung on her wall for as long as my brain can remember, and when she passed away several years ago, it was handed down to me, to hang on my wall for the rest of my life.  Those are two reasons why I love it dearly.

The Guardian
4) This black stone lion was brought home by my husband about seven years ago. He found it in a vacant apartment, abandoned by the previous resident. He came to me just around the time that I was studying the art of Feng-Shui. I named him The Guardian, and wherever we live, he is perched on the porch, beside the front door, protecting us from negative energy. I painted his eyes, to give him a sense of life... and his toenails, to give him a sense of style.

painted mirror
5) Here we have a four foot long, heavy as hell, silver framed mirror that likely hung in some restaurant restroom. It was collected by my late father in law, who was a retired apartment maintenance man, who likely found it abandoned in a vacant apartment. He gave it to me nearly two decades ago, and I gave it a face lift. I sponged the frame in pale yellow and blue, and then stenciled on some ivy in mixed greens, and some leafy vines in blue. 

6) Aaaah, some of my most prized possessions. These three crystals came into my life nearly three decades ago, when my ex-husband found them while cleaning and painting his bosses daughter's apartment. They became the very first stones on a long and beautiful path into a world of deep spirituality, and an interest in ancient Celtic mysticism ... crystal healing, candle and incense burning during prayer and meditation ... which led me to a deep respect for the natural world, and it's sciences.

7) This sofa was an unexpected gift from the universe! Seven years ago, I had spent weeks trying to find one just like it ... searching newspaper ads, Craig's List, used furniture stores, and thrift shops. They were all either too expensive, or already sold. Just when I was ready to give up, this sofa appeared on the curb in front of my neighbor's house, while they were moving out. I introduced it to my carpet and upholstery cleaner, and it took up residence in my living room. It couldn't be more perfect for those long Saturday afternoon naps.

kitchen cabinet
8) This white kitchen cabinet was a gift from an old neighbor. She was an employee and a resident of the complex where we lived after arriving in NC. We only knew her for about six months before she found a new job, and moved out. Before leaving, she offered us this great country style kitchen cabinet, among other pieces. It was already white, with pine surfaces, but I painted the door and drawer pulls in Hunter Green. We used it for a microwave stand, and food storage cabinet until we moved to this rental house. The kitchen is much too small, so it became a TV stand and bookshelf for my daughters. We have since moved and it has returned to its original position in the kitchen.

Bamboo Shelves
9) When we moved to NC, the apartment beneath of ours was the designated "guest suite". A short term rental unit for residents to house their out of town visitors, like a big beautiful hotel room. Well, when some of the student residents began using it for all night parties, the management decided to turn it into a regular unit. All of the model furniture inside was offered up to the employees. I jumped right on it. I walked away with this bamboo and glass entertainment unit, a long white wicker dresser, and two matching white wicker nightstands. Yay me! Yay free!

10) And the piece de resistance ... without any further adieu... (I have no idea if I've spelled those correctly, but the spell checker didn't highlight them, so I'm going with it) ... the dining room table that was found on the curb after some neighbors vacated, about a month ago. Has it been a month already? Yeah I guess it has. I sanded it, I stained it, I coated it, and turned it into the beauty that it has become. If you'd like to see the photos of the table in it's original state, just look through the recent previous posts (on the right sidebar) for one called "Trash To Treasure".

If you have a cherished freebie, post a pic in the comments!

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