Made In The U.S.A.

Buy not. Do, or do not. There is no buy.

In Adventures on February 21, 2009 at 7:21 am

My friend Adam says that in response to economic difficulties and a growing family and also because it’s fun, he’s been making a lot more food this year. He’s always been a pizza chef. Makes his own crust, too. This year he’s branched out to bread baking. Frequently a day a week. Last time I was over, he displayed a few loaves that were resting and rising.

He is a doer, not a buyer.

It must run in his family, too, because he and Maggie (the wife) are great finders of stuff. Eames chairs, barrister bookcases, light fixtures, rugs… all sorts of great decor around their house has been appropriated from alleys or rummage sales or dumpsters. It really is a skill I envy, and it not only saves money it makes for a better at-home environment out of sheer interesting surroundings. And I bet they feel good about it, too.

They should, because if buying stuff made in China is at the worst end of the spectrum, making your own stuff out of raw materials has to be at the exact opposite ideological end. Buying American is just somewhere in the middle, I suppose.

While I’m not that much of a do-it-yourselfer, I do admire Adam’s ability to buy less, make more. There’s a lot to be learned there. I just have to learn it.

I did put a bit of his ingenuity to the test today when I built a towel rack for my guest bathroom. I’d been putting off the purchase because I wasn’t sure what sort of MITUSA option I’d have for hanging hand towels. The Salvation Army stop I made a few weeks ago yielded nothing. But I did develop an idea.

I figured that an old wooden clothes hanger hung on a nail would work nicely as a towel bar. Plus, its quirky nature would dovetail nicely with the random assortment of junk that I’ve used to rehab my guest loo. I’ve been keeping my eyes out, but to no avail.

Today I hit eBay to see if any where available. Sure enough, the compact nature of a vintage Setwell pants hanger (the pressing kind) would be just right for suspending the towel. Best I could do was two bucks plus $7 shipping. It seemed a little extravagent for a makeshift solution, so I didn’t pull the trigger.

Instead, for giggles, I raided my own closet.

I took a regular wire hanger designed for pants, and removed the paper crossbar. Hooking the two wire ends together I created the right shape, but in the wrong direction. A few pliers bends later and voila: the perfect compact clothes hanger made myself out of available materials.

I hit the basement for a hook solution and settled on an old doorknob and a rusty nail. Perfect function, perfect form. The whole apparatus looks good, too. (Depending on what your definition of “good” is.)

I reduced, I reused, I recycled, and I didn’t buy nuthin in the process.

That’s a big day for me.



  1. Cool. Post a photo!

  2. […] Bill has a great, Simple, and surprisingly good looking towel rack for his bathroom […]

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