Non-Consumer Mish-Mash — T-Shirt Rugs, Non-Consumer Photos & Omiyage

by Katy on June 15, 2014 · 16 comments

It’s time again for Non-Consumer Mish-Mash, where I write a little bit about this and a little bit about that.

From Stained T-Shirts to Useful Rug

I have a new favorite decor blog called, whose tagline is “Creating treasure from trash.” A recent blog post features a small round rug made from crocheted old T-shirts. The pink and white colors are super adorable for a small girl’s room and totally within my skill set. (I can crochet, I just normally see no need to do it.)

There are always old scrappy T-shirts in Portland’s free boxes/piles, and this would be the perfect project to make use of these unwanted garments.

Click HERE to read the blog post.

Mini Non-Consumer Photo Essay

Today I took my son thrifting to find some of the things he needs for his upcoming summer in Japan. (Black slacks, white dress shirts, etc.) Of course, I came across a directed savings bank:

Cadillac Bank

I bought a packet of assorted lettuce seeds last week and noticed that the larger amount cost 10¢ less. Guess which one I bought.

Lettuce seeds

Of course it would take eighty 10¢ savings to cover the cost of parking at my son’s high school graduation ceremony.


$8 Parking

We picked up our Japanese exchange student yesterday at the Portland State University dorms, where the students were abandoning their belongings left and right. It took every ounce of self control possible to not cram the mini-van with all the perfectly good (and re-saleable) stuff. This student’s girlfriend chose not to be photographed, as she “was still hungover from last night.”

Ahh . . . college.

Dorm move-out

What’s in the box? It killed me to not rummage through the dumpsters, but I did bring home this perfectly fine floor lamp. It will be featured soon in its very own blog post!

Dumpster lamp

Omiyage Japanese Host Family Gifts

I am in the final countdown with all the millions of details for readying my son for his month in Sapporo. (Are you noticing a theme?) And since he’ll stay with two different host families with a total of six kids between them, I am working hard to figure out the very best host family gifts. Ideally the gifts will be useful, locally made or edible. Also, not heavy or breakable. So far I’ve bought faux-retro Oregon tea towels for the mothers, and boxes of See’s lollipops as whole-family gifts.

I am not one for giving useless knick-knacks or anything designed to simply decorate a stranger’s home. We’ll see what I come up with over the next few days.

I do this every few years, so I try to not reinvent the wheel. And yes, Japanese host family gifts are very much one of my Compact (buy-nothing-new) exceptions.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathleen June 16, 2014 at 2:49 am

I made a t-shirt rag rug a few years ago for my bath room. The technique for cutting the shirts was different, creating loops. I threw the loops in a pillowcase, and then as I crocheted I just added loops. The project was fun and really created “something out of nothing.” The project is here:


Megyn June 16, 2014 at 6:03 am

May I just ask that you stop equating pink=girl. I have a son who LOVES pink and would love to have that rug in his room. From what I’ve read on here, you seem to be a pretty open person. And I’m a firm believer that changing the way we talk about colors is super important. Please, in the future, if you find another adorable item for a kiddo, just say child over assigning gender.


Katy June 16, 2014 at 8:45 am

Excellent point! Colors do not have gender. Thanks for the reminder.



WilliamB June 16, 2014 at 6:03 am

“I am not one for giving useless knick-knacks or anything designed to simply decorate a stranger’s home.”

I imagine, after all you experience with Japan, that you realize how un-Japanese this idea is. ;-}


PoppyEcho June 16, 2014 at 7:25 am

free stuuuuuuufffff! I want to look in that mini dumpster too!


Katy June 16, 2014 at 8:58 am

The student in the photo said that each dorm also had an area where students simply left the stuff they didn’t want.



Kristen June 16, 2014 at 9:53 am

Maybe parking is just really expensive here on the other coast, but $8 doesn’t seem too shabby. I’m happy if I pay less than $20 for city parking!

(One of the reasons I rarely venture into cities. I hate finding and paying for parking)


Katy June 16, 2014 at 10:12 am


And here I was feeling all bad that I hadn’t tried to find parking in an off-site area.


Jennifer N June 16, 2014 at 10:16 am

I’ve been saving a bunch of my husband’s old tshirts for a long time so I can make a t-shirt rug. Maybe now that my schedule is finally starting to clear up after this coming Saturday, I can finally get on that! I need to add it to my summer bucket list… you know, once I actually write down my summer bucket list ;-).


A. Marie June 16, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Ahhh, the happy days when I used to roam the streets around the local private university (read: party school for rich kids) scooping up treasures…but now that I’m older, less physically mobile, and more into getting rid of stuff than acquiring more of it, that phase of life has gone by. (Pardon the old-fart reminiscing, but that photo of the student with the full rolling cart of stuff really brought it all back.)


Dawn June 16, 2014 at 3:03 pm

I made t-shirt rope yarn out of a bunch of castoff t-shirts and have crocheted some of it into swiffer covers. Washable and kind of scrubby due to the texture. Love it! I want to make a rug too.


Amanda June 17, 2014 at 7:06 am

I like the shirt rug idea. I recently made peace with downsizing my fabric collection. Then it occurred to me that my growing family needs blankets and I love quilts. So I’m making a whole bunch of quilts. No fancy patterns, just squares of the fabrics I love. I’ll get a house full of cool bed covers, blankets for the cost of backing, and a fun summer project.


Jess June 17, 2014 at 8:56 am

The university I went to instituted a dump and run at the end of the year where students who were moving out could put clothing, household items, stationary, etc. they didn’t want to take along and it was made available to local charities. I definitely still have a lamp and rug I grabbed from one of the boxes in the hall one year. And my brother got several shirts to help replace his wardrobe after we had a house fire.


Rosa June 17, 2014 at 9:15 pm

That is excellent. It seems like a university, which by nature has a lot of storage space in summer, could do well allowing students to donate working objects & then reselling them cheap in the fall.

We furnished several apartments from university moveout days. There is a sturdy plywood box with handles on it I got from a private college dumpster (no idea what was originally shipped in it) that still holds all my gardening stuff and doubles as a porch table.


Manda June 17, 2014 at 10:08 am

I love the idea of a designated space for students to put unwanted items. I wish neighborhoods and such had places like this as well. We use freecycle quiet a bit but nothing beats driving by and seeing that free item by the curb and it just sings to ya “take me home!”


Elle June 24, 2014 at 11:11 am

When my daughter was at Boston University the school had bins in each dorm for students to leave their unwanted items. The University donates a huge amount to charity each year. How great is that?

My daughter did some shopping in the bins one year and came away with a down comforter she used for the rest of her college career. Not sure how ethical this was, however, I have donated so many valuable things from cleaning out my deceased parents homes I think it balanced out in the grand scheme of things.


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