Thursday, August 2, 2012

Turn trash into treasures

Skip Bolen © 2011Lifetime Entertainment Services
Necklaces made out of pop can tabs. Store signs serve as headboards. Purses are fashioned out of magazine covers and jewelry is made from old typewriter keys. These are just a few of the creative ways people are turning trash into treasures. 
“We live by the saying ‘one person’s trash is another’s treasure.’ In fact, on our television show, we travel across the country to find reclaimed trash to turn into treasure for our store,” said Tracy Hutson, Los Angeles interior designer and co-host of Lifetime Television’s “The Picker Sisters.”  “However, you don’t have to travel far to find items worth transforming into beautiful pieces.”

As part of each episode of “The Picker Sisters,” Hutson and her co-host and best friend, Tanya McQueen (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”), crisscross America in search of rare relics and materials that can be used to create unique pieces for Hutson and McQueen’s home décor pop-up shop. Whether it’s a tarnished fuel tank sitting in a farmer’s field or weathered wood from an entire barn, the designing duo meet with the owners - many of whom have their own interesting stories - and negotiate a price. Once in their possession, the Picker Sisters take the item and transform it into something unique. Of course, they are talented and creative interior designers and TV celebrities with a team of producers backing them. Knowing the task of recycling junk does not come as easily to the rest of America, the Picker Sisters teamed with Glad Force Flex Black Bag to create the following list of ideas for turning everyday trash into amazing treasures: 

*Recycle the glass yourself. Instead of tossing leftover wine bottles into a recycling bin, remove the labels and wash the bottles. They can be transformed into a water carafe or if you know someone with a glass cutter, empty bottles make great lights. Just cut a hole in the bottom and fill the bottle with a set of miniature lights. The hole at the bottom will accommodate the light’s plug. The Picker Sisters recommend using the bottles in a cluster with fresh cut flowers and candles to create an eye-catching centerpiece. 

*Old towels make great dust cloths. Instead of tossing out your old bath towels, cut them into smaller squares. If they’re cotton towels they can be used as dishcloths, dusting cloths or in the garage for greasy hands or polishing the car. 

*Put greeting cards to work. Tossing a beautiful greeting card into the trash is a waste of paper and talent. Instead use the cards to create place cards for a family gathering or dinner party. Just cut the cards into 4-by-3-inch sections and fold them horizontally. Then monogram the cards with a metallic pen. Need a place card stand? Take some old wire, cut it into 6-inch strips and bend into shapes to hold the cards in place.

*Give your dining room chairs a facelift. They might look old and worn but chances are you can get a few more years out of your wood chairs. Scratches and stains in the wood will make the chairs look old and junky. So sand the finish and apply a new stain or paint to the wood. You can also reupholster the cushions. The seat on the chair should be easy to pop out once you remove the screws holding it in place. Take your new look a step further by creating window treatments and throw pillows from the new fabric used for the seat cushions.

*Display things of interest. Instead of stuffing old magazines, books or illustrations that you find too interesting to toss into a drawer or box that nobody sees, figure out a way to display them. Frame the illustrations and hang them on the wall or use an easel to showcase a book and set it on a mantel or shelf. Got a magazine that relates to an event you attended? Consider putting it in a shadow box along with a ticket stub or other memento related to the event.

For more ideas or to connect with The Picker Sisters, Tanya and Tracy, visit Lifetime Network For comments or home and garden tips, email gina.joseph@macombdaily.com

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