Michelle Farnsworth
(Michelle Farnsworth)

I am a dumpster diver. Picker. Junk collector. Whatever you want to call me. I do that. I am that person who will scan the boulevards for cool junk that someone else has discarded. I have no shame in pulling over and loading it up into my truck. I love finding something gorgeous, well at least in my opinion, and taking it home. Many times I don't do anything but clean it up, and it becomes part of my home decor.

But where did I get this love of curbside recycling? Well, before anyone thought it was cool or anyone really thought of doing it, I was learning the tricks of the trade from my grandpa. My Pappa came from a dirt poor background and worked hard his entire life for everything he had. Pappa was a handyman. The real deal. The man that you could call to shingle your roof or add a room to your home. Usually he took his pay in a good slice of pumpernickel bread and a cup of black coffee. (This practice usually made my grandma slightly upset,"Dad, you have to take the money!") I know that he would've worked for free his entire life if he could've. Money and material possessions meant nothing to him.

I loved riding around in his old jalopy truck and accompanying him to his next house. During our journeys, we would always keep our eyes "peeled" for something good discarded at the curb. I suppose it was considered low-class and perhaps people thought we were homeless or suffering. But our reality was the furthest from that scenario. It made perfect sense. Why not pick something up and salvage it to be used again? Pappa could fix anything. Washing machine with a burned out motor? No sweat. A light fixture that needed new wiring? A five minute fix.

A dresser with a drawer that wouldn't glide? With a little work - good as new.

I wish my Pappa was still with us to show him how the world has embraced his way of living. How I have embraced that way of living. Nothing makes me happier than finding something that I can transform and up-cycle.

Now I have transformed my love of discarded items into a new way of decorating my home. I call it, "Salvage Modern Country Chic." The bones of my home are modern and then I sprinkle in my salvage finds. From an old piece of marble sitting on a steel frame to make an end table, to an over-sized, industrial easel to hold a family photograph. These are just a few of the items I have rescued to find a place in my home. I think it's ruggedly beautiful.

Many people ask me,"Where did you find THAT?" Well, it all comes back to keeping my eyes "peeled" when I'm on my travels and making the effort to search them out. But an easy place to start is any antique store. Our local Antiques on Main is a great place to find unusual items that can be repurposed. Go online and find things for sale. You never know when someone may be selling an old sink that would look gorgeous in a new construction home or adding a little flare to a remodel project.

You might notice a few new sections in Be Magazine:

Be Original will be a place where we showcase something or someone doing original things in our community.

Be a Foodie is going to encompass all things food. In the past year I have had the pleasure of meeting many talented individuals that are involved with food: Writers, bloggers, farmers, chefs, and just every day people that have their finger on the pulse of all things delicious.

As the Be Magazine team and myself start our second year, we will make bringing you original, informative and fun content our number one priority.

Be Yourself. Be Original.

Michelle Farnsworth loves travel, writing, photography, daily devotions, gardening, making jewelry and finding old treasures. Her greatest accomplishment is her two sons, who bring life, love and laughter to her each day.