The pup and I sometimes explore other neighborhoods. This was on the edge of a nearby park. What do you think is going on here? This Underwood typewriter was in lovely condition. And just perched there, on the curb, between parking lot and playground.
Tag Archives: Annapolis
We (as Back Creek Design) renovate two to three neglected properties each year. Sometimes we find that the houses have been completely stripped. Not only appliances, but plumbing, wiring, and architectural details have been ripped out without regard to preserving the remaining structure.
Sometimes the houses are full beyond belief with the accumulation of a lifetime. Or more than a lifetime…it seems like more properties we find these days have been havens for hoarders, who have passed on and left the comfort of their possessions.
In either case, stripped or crammed, or even in that rare condition of ‘broom-swept clean’, we find things that we don’t need, can’t use, and which have no resale value.
I usually can find a treasure or two for our own home or garden. I’ve gotten some great mixing bowls, flower pots, and even an unopened bottle of premium tequila by sifting through debris. But I try hard not to accumulate clutter. (Yes, it’s a very hard challenge!) We donate what we can to Habitat for Humanity, but often the condition or quantity of the debris is not worth their limited shelf space.
We in Anne Arundel County are so fortunate to have curbside trash, bulk trash, and recycling pickup included in our County budget. So sometimes it is almost too easy to toss things out. And yet, I hate to throw things in the dump. (There are three county landfills in AACo. That’s a lot of trash!) That’s just shifting the junk from one location to another. Out of sight, but not beyond my responsibility.
As we renovate each property, we accumulate odds and ends of material. I’ve saved the scraps in our shed over the years, with the intention of using them ‘in the next house’. But invariably, there’s no place for that tile, or the color of the paint won’t work with the existing woodwork, or….
And so the shed becomes full, as well as the back of my car, and the back porch, with samples, scraps, and good intentions, as we work through each project.
Thank goodness for FreeCycle.
I try to join a group nearest to each project to keep driving to a minimum. Staying local, besides keeping things out of the landfill, is part of the FreeCycle philosophy. Anne Arundel County is fortunate to have many active locations. I usually gravitate towards Annapolis or Severna Park. But Odenton and Glen Burnie are also hopping. There are lots of crafty, thrifty, and creative people in this part of the world. Have you seen my ‘Repurpose This’ series? Stuff gets snapped up through FreeCycle for uses that I would never have imagined. Sometimes the number of responses for this ‘junk’ gets overwhelming. Thank goodness I can keep up a steady stream of empty CBRC coffee cans!
All the items pictured here were picked up, quickly, in one afternoon by fellow FreeCyclers. And there were more things that I didn’t think to take pictures of. Just read the great ways that these are going to be reused…
The ceramic tile is going to be used in a mother-daughter project. All the scraps are in the same color family, so they are going to mix and match them to make a custom mosaic backsplash for their kitchen. Mom promises to share pictures when they are done. Love it!
The coffee cans went to two places. A garden club is going to make a project based on the “Garden Edition” post. I am so happy! And an art teacher in the local elementary school will be using some cans as storage for supplies.
The portfolios of roofing and vinyl siding samples will be torn down to use as craft supplies…final project as yet undetermined. Whatever it is, it will last for a long time…there’s a 20-year warranty on that material. A really good reason to keep it out of the landfill!
Do you have a Freecycle near you? Did you know that you can request free items, as well as post offers? I have met people who have patiently completed an entire renovation project with material and furnishings entirely from FreeCycle.
What a wonderful way to be part of the community.
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It was bitterly cold when the pup and I set out this morning.
A skin of ice clung to the edge of the creek.
The pup, of course, was still interested in taking a dip.
This did not happen.
I spent several long seconds being snubbed.
A few yards inland, and the marsh mud was frozen solid.
We climbed up an observation tower to see above the Phragmites.
The higher we climbed, the more blue sky we could see.
Warm weather was creeping towards us.
Back home, the earth was softening in the sunshine.
Pink and yellow emerge from brown and grey.
another season has begun.5 Like This
Want proof that this mechanical oddity is a candleholder? Just take a look at all the melted wax coiled on the saucer.
Courting candles were used in earlier times as curfew devices. When a suitor came to call, a girl’s parents pulled the taper up through the clamp and lit the wick. When the candle burned down to the metal, it would go out, and the date was officially over.
I don’t have any examples for repurposing it. But I can imagine it working as a holder for a taper candle, or a single flower. It’s clamp and spring design make it perfect for post-industrial decor. Could it work as a unique incense burner?
If you are clever with candle making yourself, perhaps you could fashion another coiled candle and return it to its original use.
I’m always interested in our ideas, so brainstorm away! Let me know if you’d
like to pick it up in the Annapolis area. I’ll post it on FreeCycle as well.
There are more listed on Local Harvest, for the Annapolis area and nation-wide.
Farmers are getting ready to plant, so sign up while there are still spaces available!
Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a brilliant way to support local family farmers, learn about the food available each season, and enjoy a wide variety of fresh vegetables each week. If you haven’t looked into one yet, you owe it to yourself to take a look at what is available in your area.
You’ll never take veggies for granted again!
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Yes, it’s been a long and crazy week here, and I’ve neglected the blog for a few days. Rest assured, however, that cooking, eating, and rummaging have gone on during my Internet absence. I’ve got some new recipes, and new thoughts, to share with you later on. But for now, can we think of a use for this treasure-in-the-rough? It’s presence on my kitchen table over the past few days has me feeling guilty.
Originally a very well-made candle holder, it is crafted from very sturdy pottery. (Although not sturdy enough, apparently, for whatever extreme mishap it underwent once upon a time…the cup to hold the taper has broken off and gone missing) About 6 inches across and with a very deep bowl, it could be used as a pillar candle holder with the addition of some pebbles or sea glass, I’m sure.
It is glazed with a transparent taupe color. The cobalt blue details are thickly applied, and have dimension. It’s really quite lovely, and except for the handle, seems almost Japanese in shape. I am aware it’s most probable future is to be smashed with a hammer and used for mosaic, but I’m still wondering what ideas you have for using it intact.
As always, it’s available for pickup in the Anne Arundel area. I will also share it with the local FreeCycle group. But even if you are not local, your creative thoughts are always welcome!1 Like This
I look forward to my sort-of-monthly visit to Lotus. Tarragh does my pedicure, my single girly secret in my workpants-and-hoodie world. Although I am older than her parents, and wobble when I walk, she still talks to me like I am a real person. The pedicures that used to be an easy luxury for me are now a dear necessity, yet another thing for which I need to ask for help.
Tarragh has a family and a full-time career. Still, she tries on other lives part-time. “Like me, when I was younger,” I think, but never say. I don’t worry that she would be offended by the connection. I just have yet to accept that “when I was younger” is a part of who I am now. Once a week, she becomes a nail technician at this cozy, organic day spa. But unlike me at any age, she is wise beyond her years.
I am very early for my appointment today. Tarragh peeks out from the spa room. I stand in front of the wall of tiny bottles, holding one after another up to my skin. I apologize for interrupting her. “I need time to pick a color” I explain.
Tarragh steps through the doorway and laughs.
“Don’t worry, I understand”. She hands me a familiar inky-blue bottle. “You always want to make sure you know your options. But you almost always choose the same one.”
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As I mentioned last week, I was surprised, and thrilled, to find out how popular the topic of upcycling coffee cans has become. I am a super-achiever when it comes to creating empty coffee cans! But after honest self-assessment, I realized that all my fantastic ideas for repurposing them myself would not come to fruition unless I was also able to achieve power over the laws of time and space. Thank goodness for creative blog-readers and FreeCycle for giving these nifty cans new homes.
With time drawing near to start planning spring planting, here are some ideas for using coffee cans in the garden.
There are a zillion garden storage uses. The CBRC cans I have come with metal lids. They can last for at least a season exposed to the elements, and make a great place to stash plant tags, twine, and gloves.
I also use them as vessels for seedlings, and for planting cuttings to use as gifts. With the ends removed, coffee cans make sturdy plant guards to protect tender seedlings from traffic and prowling kitties.
Coffee cans make handy scoops for compost and soil amendments during transplanting. And don’t overlook the pre-garden prep work…a lidded coffee can makes a great compost bucket in the kitchen.
So put on that thinking cap and those garden gloves, and share some more ideas for coffee cans in the garden. Spring is just around the corner, I promise!4 Like This
We are now a few weeks into Winter, the holidays have passed, and the chill is setting in. Rather than hiding from the season, why not celebrate it with an only-when-it’s-cold-out adventure? For the next few weeks, the reflecting pool at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis will be transformed into an old fashioned skating rink.
Normal park entry fees apply most days until 5:30pm, but the rink is open until 9pm. Visit the Rink website for more information, including skate rental and lessons.
And if ice skating itself doesn’t entice you, the nearby Visitor’s Center with art gallery and Cafe makes a great perch to enjoy the activity while staying warm.
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