This, That, and Good Deeds Pay Off

Humid days tend to be lazy days, but with all the rain the sunshine and, yes even the humidity, had me itching to get things done. It was one of those days when I jump from one thing to the next as an idea popped into my head.

I beat the rain today.

I beat the rain today.

What to do with these found things?

The first summer I was here I spotted what looked like a headboard being carried to the dumpster. It was in actuality part of a crib that was supposed to then convert to a full-sized bed.

I dragged it in and used it as my headboard. I got a lot of complements on it, but it didn’t quite line up with the bed frame. This resulted in it constantly hitting the wall no matter what I tried.

With finding a wooden bed frame when the university closed for summer I knew I would do something else with the the headboard I bad.

This will be my new bed frame, it will be next on my list of items to work on.

This will be my new bed frame, it will be next on my list of items to work on.

Today I finally took on that task. I tried to borrow a post digger, but my friend decided he would dig the hole for me.

My plan was to make a barrier between our seating area and the home of our resident skunk. While I prefer not to get sprayed maybe if I give him a little privacy he will be happy here.

My plan was to make a barrier between our seating area and the home of our resident skunk. While I prefer not to get sprayed maybe if I give him a little privacy he will be happy here.

I weeded the area, grabbed the Red Plum flyers by the mail boxes, planted a hibiscus plant, which is supposed to have pink flowers – my only choice was pink or white).

Today before I got to work.

Today before I got to work.

The area didn’t feel right, it needed more plantings. I grabbed the pot we pulled out of the dumpster last summer which I had filled with cosmos and forget-me-nots. They had died off in the late frost but are making a comeback. Now we have a whole new sitting area. Of course this means I ended up with another plastic pot. I’ll use it for another plant so it won’t be tossed out. So much for believing this would be a month of no plastic.

After I attacked the weeds and moved things around.

After I attacked the weeds and moved things around.

It was time to finally tackle the outdoor chairs we rescued from the trash last summer. The seat fabric had rotted and was tearing on every one of them.

Worn fabric cut away.

Worn fabric cut away.

There is a funny story from my teen years which led to an idea of how to create cheap seats on these. My grandparents had those aluminum folding outdoor chairs with the webbing. When they began to fall apart, my grandmother went out and bought a pattern book and several skeins of yarn in various colors to weave a new seat. I don’t recall how much she spent but it took her weeks to complete one chair. My grandfather refused to allow her to restore his chair, saying it cost more than the original chair to do it her way.

He had plenty of tools, including a pop rivet gun. He headed out to the junk yard and asked for the seat belts out of a few old cars. They never had anyone ask for the seat belts before and didn’t know what to charge him. They finally offered him all the seat belts he wanted for free if he would remove them himself.

His chair looked so much like the original chair no one knew what he had done, unless told.

I don’t have his tools or know anyone with a pop rivet gun, so I decided to use clothes line. The only clothes line I could find was polyester and very thin. I picked up 2 packages, 100 feet each. I planned to weave my seat just like my grandfather did.

Wanting a tight weave this is all the further I got when I ran out of the first clothes line.


Not good. My project would end up costing a fortune. I decided to space it out more and got this much done when the second package was empty. One neighbor tried this out and liked it, but I’m worried it won’t be comfortable for a bigger person. I need to give this more thought.


The knobs I ordered for the vanity arrived but I only received one of the two, before calling the company I checked and was only charged for one. Of course things could have been worse…

Good Deeds

Early this summer I found a hose reel that I brought home so my neighbor would pick up the hose outside my apartment.


I was told it was missing a part and wasn’t useful. I took the old hose off and cut a few pieces off to use in the gardens to deter the deer. I was able to find a home for it when I was asked if I knew of a hose that could be used to hose off kids and dog after being at the beach. That left me with the reel.

Then I found a second reel. Again I was told it was broken. Frustrated I listed both on Freecycle this weekend.


I received a response right away. The gentleman who picked up the reels was so happy to have them, he had been looking for a couple for his business for a while. He mentioned he also saved computers and rebuilt them. I offered him my old tower, he turned me down but asked if I was going to need to access my information from the old hard drives. You bet I do. He informed me he had exactly what I needed and since I provided him with the hose reels he would return the favor and charge me nothing for the part I need.

I received a thank you from my daughter-in-law today. Do you remember the cabinet doors I worked on for 2 days in their new home?


My son, not wanting me to work too hard, kept telling me he could just paint the doors to match the walls, I’m too much of a perfectionist for that. He would never have had the patience for this task and with a 2-year old his wife would have taken longer to complete these doors. I don’t mind these types of jobs. They wanted me to know all my work was worth it as they loved how the doors turned out. Here they are hung.

You can even see the hardware now.

You can even see the hardware now.

Returning inside I found this from Jackie pondering if she could thrive in a barter society. Today showed me that yes we can survive, and well, in a bartering economy and at the same time it would consistently prove the goodness inherent in people.

What do you think, could you thrive in a barter economy and would you prefer it?

16 thoughts on “This, That, and Good Deeds Pay Off

  1. You rock. I love all of your posts and this one is no exception. LOVE what you’ve done with the headboard! Too cute. Someday, I’m going to create a survey for everyone who feels like they are living the simple or minimalist lifestyle. My guess is that by getting rid of stuff, they have more time and mental space to be more creative. I’m so inspired by YOUR creativity and chosen lifestyle. Thanks for being you. Cheers!

    • Hi Ginny, thank you!! I do have more time to be creative, or just to live more spontaneously since simplifying. I’m glad you like the new use for the headboard. I kept looking at it and thinking it didn’t look much different than the fencing I see at home improvement stores, although this is solid painted wood not plastic like much of what is for sale. Already neighbors are gravitating to that spot more than they did before so it seems to have been a hit all around. Let me know when you get your survey ready, I think the responses would be interesting to read.

  2. I love FreeCycle and use it quite a lot. Charles and I picked up about 10 terra cotta flower pots the other day for free!

    • Paula,I haven’t put too much on Freecycle until recently, but I am very happy to see how much people appreciate getting items they have been wanting. It also puts those of us who want to live simpler and like sharing in touch with others of similar mindset. I love that you were able to find terra cotta pots for free.

  3. I reckon in today’s climate the option of barter would be useful. Everyone is focused on exchanging goods and services for base metal and printed paper at the moment.

    • Alex, I didn’t realize printed paper was sought after at the moment. I think there is a shift already happening where people are finding it in their best interests to barter and trade. It’s a good change.

  4. Your post reminds me of my parents. My mother redid that seat of a rocking chair with clothesline almost 50 years ago and it’s still in great shape. Also, my father was great with bartering and trading. That’s where we got many of our things–swimming passes for the season, musical instruments, etc.

    • Live and Learn, thanks for sharing that your grandmother’s rope rocking chair lasted so long, it gives me hope that my chair will hold up. I’d be happy if it lasted even 10 years. Your father set a great example, to get swimming passes and musical instruments through bartering is amazing.

  5. Interesting question. My husband is Mr. Fix-it, and back when we lived in the trailer park, people were always coming to our house and asking him to fix things. He also sews, and has repaired things for people that way. I would be the trickier one. I am about as un-domesticated as they come! But, I guess someone would have to entertain the kids. I think about how much stress money causes, and I wonder if a barter economy would alleviate a lot of that.

    By the way, I love the sitting area–what I nice place to spend a summer day! And your story about your grandparents and the lawn chairs made me laugh. My grandma did the yarn thing with all of her chairs. They were gorgeous, but, yes, it took a long time and cost a lot.

    • Bethany, I am not very domesticated either, but we all have talents which would be useful. As a teacher you could easily offer tutoring in exchange for what you needed. Teachers make quite a bit of money now tutoring struggling students so your skills would be very valuable.

      Thank you, I am loving the improved seating area, I would like to add more color in there, a few more plants…it will come together but for now will be a work-in-progress.

      Weren’t those yarn woven chairs pretty? I’m not sure I would have the patience or be willing to spend that much to restore an old chair, now the seat belt idea, that’s my kind of project.

  6. Wow Lois! Sometimes when I hear all you do in one day I am tired just from the reading! You are amazing and VERY creative. And I so love to hear when good deeds return others. I continue to believe that people are basically good and that given a chance most people will return favors and be helpful. Keep up all your amazing projects! ~Kathy

    • Kathy, yesterday felt very slow and relaxing to me. I had time to visit with friends, my son and his family stopped for a bit as well. I have been painting for the last few days so it felt good to be outside again. I too believe most people are basically good and find that belief reinforced through the random acts of kindness I see daily,

  7. I think bartering can work with people of the right mindset (like your readers). Other people I know would just want to amass more, to be sure they always had something to barter/the upper hand. That’s where it’s a problem. There’s also people who don’t value their skills – or their skills are commonplace. I have a little pride that I can sew – by hand and machine, as it seems that’s not as common as I expect. Likewise with ‘making from scratch’ – it seems normal to me, but I know from my reading that some people have never tried to make pastry, or mac and cheese, or even clothes washing powder or something like that… Good luck with the clothesline chair – I love seatbelts being reused!!

    • Sarah, I think the thing about bartering is that you can choose if you want to exchange and deal with a particular person. If someone would try to amass too much I would find myself not interested in doing business with that person. I am sure those individuals wouldn’t have much to offer me in return for my services which is another way in which a barter system would self regulate the process.

      Sewing is a lost art it seems. I think you would do fine in a barter economy, Sarah.

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