Inspired Shoestrings: Treasures From the Dirt

For those of us who don’t shop at Pier 1 or Crate Barrel with any sort of regularity (if ever), here is a series on decorating with imagination – decorating on an inspired shoestring.  Shopping at Salvation Army (or better yet, shopping from your own basement) may not be incredibly glamorous – but it’s incredibly satisfying.

Inspired Shoestrings: Part 3 – From the Dirt

I really love dirt.  I’m sitting here in my living room, feet up on the recliner, rather caked with mud from the garden.  And I don’t mind.  Summer is about getting outside and having fun!  If it was about cleaning, we wouldn’t love it so much.  There’s my plug for getting dirty.  Don’t think about it.  Just do it.  One of the most fun activities of this summer has been playing in the old garden with Riley, covering our legs in dirt, dumping it out of pails, and watching the fluffy brown cloud of old compost and soil go floating away from us.

I don’t know about where you live, but in New England, gardening can be just as much about archaeology as it is about vegetables and herbs.  I was inspired to make a little centerpiece out of what we dug up in the new garden: the footprints of previous owners. 

It’s amazing what will get trapped under layers of grass and soil.

A few treasures couldn’t even be identified…  But there was a lot glass, pieces of pottery, and a couple of old army men who had lost limbs in some battle years ago.

Each thing has a story.  Why throw this stuff away?  I found an empty Ball jar and stuck ’em all inside it.  What a cool centerpiece!  If I had all kinds of time right now, I’d cut out little mismatched letters from the newspaper and glue them on the sides of the jar.  Words like “treasure hunt,” “dig,” “garden,” and “lost” could be fun. 

Alas, there’s no time.  There’s barely time to write this post!  So here are a few photos of my junk jar.  Maybe you’ll think about your garbage can differently too – what goes flying in there that might actually look crazy and awesome on your table instead? 

Hm.  What if you have young children who constantly leave tiny toys here and there and forget to pick them up?  Maybe you could make a LOST TREASURES jar for the table that mysteriously becomes full of stray toys…  It would make excellent dinner conversation.  “Hey!  My Polly Pockets!”  “My matchbox cars!”  Yeeeeeeeeesssss.  There they are.  🙂

Whatever your motivation (even just curiousity or nostalgia like mine), a junk jar full of history or lost toys or scraps of paper proves that you don’t have to break the bank to make something interesting for your table or bookcase.  You may not have to look any farther than the dirt in your own backyard. 

Happy digging!


12 thoughts on “Inspired Shoestrings: Treasures From the Dirt

  1. What interesting things you have dug up. I have been told that people have already dug up the treasures that laid buried at an old foundation on our property in New Hampshire. But who knows…there still might be something left to discover.

  2. I’d say I never find anything that cool except that when I was digging the front garden beds this spring I found a Mexican $20 gold coin. Elijah was beside himself at the treasure. I haven’t seen it since, I’m pretty sure it’s disappeared into the depths of his toy box to be found as treasure again one day.

  3. Hollie – I think maybe it was Kimberly or Melissa who dug with you, but I remember the excavations and how excited you guys were every time you found an old medicine bottle. Wish I’d done it too.

  4. Quite possibly the single best up-cycling project I have seen! You would be hard pressed to find objects that people would consider less useful, yet you have managed to do something creative with them. Who doesn’t love a thought provoking center piece? Very impressive!

    • Thanks, Veronica! You’re so sweet. The jar keeps getting more and more full too as I find nails and plastic bits around the perimeter of the house. Yeah, roofing projects…

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