Week 32- Brian Weeks

Posted: November 7, 2011 in Brian Weeks, Week 32

For years I had a subscription to a great magazine called ReadyMade. It featured tons of ideas for repurposing even the most mundane household items and creating new items that are fun, funky, and functional. 

One of the most interesting ideas I saw was a guy who had taken about 250 vinyl records and used them to shingle the roof of his garden shed. More than two years after he had completed the project, he happily reported he had yet to have a leak or a break.

Alas, ReadyMade is no more. The publishing company decided to shutter their doors this spring; the last issue being the June/July 2011 cover date. Most, if not all, issues are available on eBay. I highly recommend it as a source book for inspiration should you be able to put your mitts on a copy.

It seems I always have to tell a story in order to tell a story. Because of my love of all the ideas I found in ReadyMade, I have been inspired to repurpose a lot of discarded items I’ve stumbled upon in my travels. Case in point would be my weathervane/vinyl bird feeder I made a few months back, and the windchime I made from old silverware over the summer.

This week’s project is a bit more straightforward…

I LOVE kitchen accessories from the 1930s-1970s. Fiestaware, Depression glass, Pyrex, Fire King, Russel Wright pottery – so beautiful and functional. 🙂  One of my obsessions in the kitchen are metal bread boxes. There aren’t a lot of modern kitchens I’ve seen that still have a bread box, let alone a sleek aluminum or steel model. It very well could be a mark of a bygone era. Perhaps that’s why I’ve seen so many at thrift shops over the years.

I found a great white one at the Salvation Army for only $5.00. No rust or chips in the paint, and no dents. The only thing missing was a handle.

I found some high gloss marine-grade oil-based enamel paint (imported from Holland. Who knew that was such a high-demand item it needed to be imported?) at a thrift shop for just $3.00 in a lovely shade of burnt orange that coordinates with a lot of stuff I already have.

After taping off the chrome edges, I painted the bread box, and cut a sheet of self-adhesive cork to fit the bottom of the box. The paint took three days to dry completely – pretty intense stuff, but you could crack a walnut on the finish.

So what did I do with the bread box, you ask? Well, even though I did paint it in a color that would look at home on my orange marbled Formica kitchen countertop, holding a loaf or two of Wonder Bread…

I decided to use it as a desk organizer. My current desk does not have a drawer large enough to accommodate my stapler, tape dispenser, scissors, and all of the clutter and whatnots that I hate to have laying about on my desk.

It’s kind of hard to see way in the back, there, but I’ve also upcycled an old spice container with an interesting design into a business card holder, and in front of that are the lids to a pair of old tin sugar and flour shakers. I simply inverted the tops and use them to hold paper clips. The shakers themselves hold my pens, pencils, and Sharpies on my desk. The sunshine yellow color is a nice compliment. 🙂

I also painted my floor lamp to match with the same paint, and covered the shade with some fabric from my first blanket (technically a sleeping bag – two of them, that zipped together) that Mom won as a Tupperware distributor in the summer of 1977 when she was still pregnant with me.

The only thing I need to complete this project is a handle for the bread box. I’m looking for a simple chrome handle that would have been there when it was manufactured. If I see the right handle on another box, no matter how beat-up the box is, I’ll buy it. Until then, it’s not quite finished, but it serves its purpose, and I love it.


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