Curbside Connections

Minimizing Waste – Maximizing Creativity

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ReUse Connection!

I met ReUse Connection on Twitter in March of 2010 and I’ve been stalking RC since! It was love at first tweet!

“ReUse Connection is an online, knowledge-sharing platform for people from all over the world to share how they reuse materials and items.”

Ian Moise, father, dedicated eco-entrepreneur, and founder of ReUse Connection, says he “Would love a world where natural resources are used sustainably – where material goods are designed to be re-used.”

Well, I would say that 71,000+ followers (as of the writing of this post) on your facebook page is a pretty good start with that whole “world” thing.

Since participating on ReUse Connection’s page, I’ve seen the most brilliant reuses for just about everything from shower curtains to old train cars. This designer makes furniture from old refrigerators and used car seats!

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The actual website for ReUse Connection is in beta testing right now. Ian says, “When we launch, users will be able to exchange ideas on how to reuse materials: One user can post an item – e.g. skateboards – and then other users from around the world can post solutions – e.g. chairs or bracelets. Everyone can then join the discussion.”

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ooh, ooh, I wanna play!

Item: Wine corks

Solution: Jewelry Display Board

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So you see bloggers, I URGE you to go to ReUse Connection’s Facebook page and start sharing! GO!! NOW!!


Homes Made from Recycled Materials

A couple of years ago I experienced Garbage Warrior,  a documentary about Michael Reynolds, an architect and visionary on a mission to live off the grid by building energy-efficient and self-sufficient homes from, well, other people’s garbage. He calls these homes Earthship Biotectures and I want one!

Hypnotized by his journey, I began rethinking what I want my future life to be and it goes a lil somethin’ like this.

Like my new BFF Ana White, I want to build my home and most of the furniture in it; however, I want to do it with 100% recycled materials. Then, I would will (still working on the law of attraction thing) capture the entire adventure in the form of a television show WHILE creating a home schooling curriculum based on everything we do!


I’m thinking of using a shipping container (or two) as a craft room that will be detached from our Earthship Biotecture!

You know you want to click on the pictures!


shipping container homes, homes made with shipping containers, homes made with recycled materials

I envision mini me reading books about art and entrepreneurship in the structure we build together using plastic or glass bottles.

Hold on a minute….won’t the plastic bottles break down as some point? Exploring the answer to this question will certainly birth lessons in science, technology, math, reading, writing, and the environment!


GASP! How about using concrete pipes to host slumber retreats for mommies who need to get away for a day?

Walls made from old tires or earth bags (more on this soon), construction times cut in half, utility bills of less than $50 a year – what’s not to love!

This post does not and cannot possibly cover all the goodies I’m finding in the alternate housing aisle. So stay tuned for detailed posts on Earthship Biotectures, shipping container homes, and homes made with other recycled materials. You’ll be astounded at what I’m discovering!

Now that I’ve found all these flippin’ options, I have to reorganize my vision board, recalculate my timeframes, and get busy!


I Have A Crush on Ana White!

A burning passion to create things using my bare hands started decades ago. My father, an engineer, was always building something when I was growing up. My mother, Tanzanian-born and raised, was taught by her village to NEVER throw anything away – that everything can be reused.

After all, when life hands you Mt. Kilamanjaro to stare at from your front yard everyday, you make babies who want move mountains!

Daddy’s projects were plentiful; however, one of my all-time FAVORITES was the custom-built van he made in the summer of 1989. I was 14.

He bought the empty shell and mcgyver-ed a lawn chair to make the driver’s seat so we could drive it home. My sisters and me slid and giggled in the back of this van all the way home. For 3 1/2 months during that summer, my father fearless worked on that van every day after work. By the end of the summer we had a fully-carpeted conversion van complete with EVERYTHING from separate radio systems to mood lighting to an automatic fold-out bed.


*the fam was taking too long to send me the actual pictures so I grabbed these from the internet. They are VERY close to the real deal.

Twenty-two (22) years after the summer of Van-ities, I find myself following closely in my father’s footsteps. However, it’s not a van I want to build. I want to build a home and all of the furniture in it!

Thanks to Ana White, I feel like a giggling 14 year-old again and I want to move mountains!

For those of you who don’t know her, Ana is the bomb dot com!

She is a mother and wife living in Alaska and is the proud owner of one of the most popular furniture-building blogs on the interwebs today!

What makes her site so special? I’ve been doing this forever, you say.

She, like most of us DIY bloggers, started out with a dream, not knowing what to expect. And now, within two years of her first blog post, has accumulated over 41,000 followers on her Knock-Off Wood Facebook page and has surpassed the 1,000,000 mark on her website (at the time of writing this post).

In addition, Ana shares everything she does – for FREE – and then has the nerve to create a Brag section specifically set up for you to post your finished projects (using her plans, of course).



1. Have the desire or need (and not necessarily the skills) to build a piece of furniture, a loft bed for example.

2. Go to Ana’s website (!

3. Using her detailed search filters, find the plans for what you want to build (i.e. loft beds).

4. Drool over the detailed sketchings and instructions.

Don’t worry. If you can figure out the difference between a nail and a hammer, then you can follow her plans to build whatever your ticker desires – except a van. That will require a PRO – kinda like my daddy.

5. Convince significant other (also known as your “creative” self) that you can do it, and then do it.

6. Post your finished project to the Brag section of her site like these builders did.


Hold on to your hammers and glue guns! 


She and her husband just broke ground for their MomPlex – a duplex they are building for his mother and her mother to live in – together!

Are you starting to understand why I dedicated this entire post to telling you why I HEART

Of course, being an environmentally-friendly blogger, I will be using Ana’s website to build projects using recycled materials. I’m so excited to show you what I’ve been working on. So stay tuned!

and keep building!


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Weekend DIY: Hanging My Daughter’s Art

Mrs. Ana White, your plans are certainly growing on me! For this particular project, I was inspired by your Easy Clip Art Rails. Because I live in an apartment, permanently attaching rails to the walls could either cost me or be the bain of my existence so I created a variation on Easy clip Art Rails.

Working with tiny clothes hanger clips and a glue gun, I made this with my little one.


I hot glued the pins to the walls, then created Jordan’s Art Gallery.

The best part is she can change her artwork whenever she feels like it and I don’t have to worry about nails, tape, or anything else that will work my nerve.

Thank you Ana.

Here are some other ideas for hanging your child’s art on the walls!


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Weekend DIY: Trundle-like storage made with Cardboard boxes


Our  trundle-like storage solution is a very temporary solution to a very real problem, uh, storage.

We live in a one-bedroom apartment and our 4 year-old sleeps in our bedroom. Our closet somehow fits all of our things, with the exception of those things that mini me needs to reach on a daily basis.

Solution – put it under her bed.

Because I am in the process of using one of Ana White’s plans to build a loft bed, I don’t want to buy any storage bins or dressers until the loft bed is built. I think the final project will tell me how and where everything else will need to go.

I pulled apart some boxes, taped them together, and used modpodge to adhere fabric and buttons.


Here are some other under-the-bed storage and organization ideas!



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Wine Crate Furniture

 Wine crates, made of 100% pine wood, are plentiful, functional, and oh so pretty!

 Rearranged horizontically, these wine crate shelves give a different look than the unit below. It doesn’t really matter to me. I LOVE these crates!

Putting them on the wall to make a shelving unit is pure genius. If I didn’t live in an apartment, I would have done this long time ago.

 I’ve already used wine corks to make a jewelry display board, why not use the case, right?