Favorite Freebies

There are plenty of things in my apartment which were gotten for free, whether left behind by a previous tenant or obtained for the princely sum of a dumpster dive or a carry-away from the curb. Here are three of my favorite finds that did come from either a dive or a curbside.

Munising Bowl

Munising Bowl

This Munising Bowl most likely dates from the 1930s or 1940s, based on the signature. The company was founded in Munising, Michingan, in 1911 and closed in 1955. There are a lot of these around, check out eBay, Etsy and online antique dealers. The prices range widely depending on condition, patina, and age, and I’ve recenlty seen them as low as $10 and as high as $275. This came from a dumpster that my landlord rented to clean out her garage. Unfortunately she had been using it as a mold for clay bowls, so it was rather dirty, and much of the original patina was stripped. But it’s very beautiful, and a wipe of mineral oil brings out a translucent woodgrain.

24 Hour World Clock

I don’t often need to know the time in Iceland, but if I did, I have the tool. And it’s not an iPhone app. This Mastercrafters 24-hour world clock has a rotating map of the world; look for the city you want to know the time in (or at least the time zone), and follow down to the clock and it tells the time there. It’s a bit difficult to get used to the 24-hour format, especially as it is a standard analog clock with hands (remember those?). This was a second lucky find from my landlord’s dumpster, and beyond a little all-surface cleaner, it needed no work. It squeaks a bit though as the map goes around.

This crate was found outside my studio when I was in architecture school. It must have been there a long time, but I  have no idea how old it is. There is writing on the side (the top as it’s positioned here) that reads “Glass” and there is illegible printing on the long sides as well. I picture it being used for beer, but milk is another possibility. One interesting part of this is the pattern of diamond cutouts on the three sides. I don’t know if they were original or if someone else has used this as a shelf and cut them out for decorative purposes. Here’s another view with an older accessory configuration that shows the cutouts a bit better.

I think of this a being very wabi-sabi, so I keep the book entitled Wabi-Sabi by Leonard Koren on this, as well as his other books. In keeping with the wabi-sabi theme, I also keep books on Zen, such as those by Stephen Batchelor and Shunryu Suzuki there as well. Others too, that fit the theme, like Small Is Beautiful, Slow Is Beautiful, and so on. A couple of books on Jungian psychology and on religion by Huston Smith round out most of what I keep on this particular shelf. In addition to being an awesome curb find, this might actually be my favorite single thing that I own. I don’t want any other pieces of distressed wood with printing on it, this one is perfect. It matches in an un-matchy way the rest of the eclecticism of the interior, and the theme helps it keep from being seen as simply something that was found and thrown into the space. On top is a small flower vase in green and a sake bottle in orange, and above it is an abstract landscape painting of my own.

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