If you’ve been reading from the beginning of this blog, you’ll remember that I’m selling my house, and that my recent escapade with bolting tenants left me shy of furniture to stage it properly.

It only made sense, therefore, to seek out a few appropriate pieces to augment my current supply, and to do this, I browsed my favourite furniture store, The Side of the Road.

Oh, sorry … did I capitalize that?  I sometimes do, because it makes it feel more quaint and charming.  Kind of like when I call Value Village, Boutique VeeVee.  But what I am in fact referring to is … the side … of … the road.

This store has enormous appeal since it satisfies one of the enduring obsessions of my life:  keeping stuff out of landfill.  I don’t know exactly what that says about me but … there you are.

So imagine my joy when, walking on Long Point with my faithful hound Maserati, I found a wide, low dresser with many drawers, translating to lots of storage, which would fit perfectly in the living room below a picture window.  It was at the very side of the road, the incontrovertible signal that, “This stuff is free for the taking!”

Excitedly, I raced home, hooked the trailer up to the car, and returned to the scene of this unexpected opportunity. Yes!  It was still there, and with it, an accompanying beveled mirror of substantial size, in perfect condition.  With the strength of a longshoreman, I hoisted both into my trailer and was off.  I don’t need the mirror at the moment, but when I eventually downsize further, I’ll want to find a new home for this jewel of a dresser, and the mirror might be needed.  Also, a perfect 3’X4′ mirror just shouldn’t go into landfill — that would be sickening — so on the way to the house, I dropped it at the church for safekeeping.

Once home, I ascertained that the dresser was a bit too tall for the window sill, so speedily cut three inches off each leg with a handsaw.  The top was quite scratched, but not beyond  redemption.  In the end, I decided to paint it a light creamy yellow, which I did in short order.

The painting completed, I surveyed my new dresser.  It looked … very serene.  Too serene.  Never one to miss out on the opportunity for a creative endeavour, I grabbed some old paint and, calling forth my inner Jackson Pollock, went to town on that dresser top.

First, I watered down some rust coloured paint, and with a cloth, dabbed a cloudy wash of colour over the base coat.  After it dried, I seized some dark green, and applying small amounts of paint to an old brush, began pouncing the colour onto the surface in a highly abstract manner.  Next came just a bit of white, then a more pronounced version of the rust.  At last, my creation was finished, and I stood back, gazing at it with satisfaction.

Now, the wonderful thing about this kind of re-purposing adventure is that you literally can’t go wrong.  Did you overdo it on one of the colours?  Dampen a rag and grab some paper towels, then wet and blot to your heart’s content.  Still not satisfied with the result?  Start all over with your base coat and it’s a whole new canvas.  Frustrated, hot under the collar because it just doesn’t live up to your Debbie Travis expectations?  Drop the whole kit and caboodle back at the side of the road where you found it, and you’re none the poorer.

But usually, you end up with something one-of-a-kind and interesting and uniquely your own creation, and you’re that much the richer for the journey taken.

The motivational writers of our day often speak to the abundance that is available in life:  that you can manifest anything you want, including palatial homes, luxury automobiles and vacation properties in sun-drenched locales.  For me, abundance is much simpler than this.  It’s the chance to live as sustainably as possible, and, in an attempt to leave a shallow footprint, to reclaim what others discard, thus helping both myself and the earth in the process.

This isn’t necessarily new age dogma:  my grandfather, an early farmer in Grey-Bruce County, believed that waste was the greatest sacrilege against God.  I often think of him when I’m in the midst of a major re-purpose.

And never forget, anyone can throw money at a problem,  But it takes a really creative and imaginative mind to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

I live in an abundance of my own making, one which stretches me and fulfills me and pleases me.

I invite you to join me there.

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