Tuesday, February 20, 2018


If you follow me on social media (specifically on Instagram), you've probably seen my #CarleesTreasures posts. They're pictures of the assorted items I've found while out and about - usually during my runs/workouts or while walking around with the pup. It originally started when my body decided to revolt against me and somewhat sidelined me from my normal runs. I knew I had to listen to my body, no matter how much it sucked; I was obligated to take it easy and let off the gas!

I needed something to look forward to, especially since being forced to walk for exercise reminded me I wasn't running and it took twice as long. Around that time I noticed a "treasure" on the ground and knew what I was going to do. I had an epiphany... lightning had just struck my brain! Looking for discarded items was a perfect way to spend my time while I wasn't putting the pedal to the medal and grinding through my workouts. Taking joy in the little things and looking for trinkets brought a smile to my face (and I definitely needed that when the frustration and self pity were sky-rocketing!).


Let me clarify — not everything on the ground is a treasure (even though some say "one man's trash is another man's treasure"). I don't pick up edible items. Something I wouldn't give to someone as a 'gift' (whether that is a bottle cap, spit out gum, a dirty diaper, etc) is not coming home as a treasure. I also tried to keep things smaller than the size of my palm (mostly because where I was storing my goodies would fill up way too quickly if I had tons of giant finds). Items that qualified were buttons to bouncy balls, pennies to pins, lighters to Lego's, beads to bracelets and everything in between.


It's been about a year and I knew I needed to do something with all the treasures. We've been simplifying/ downsizing lately but there has been an overwhelming pile of goodies on our dining room table I haven't been able to part with. I couldn't just throw everything I had been collecting away, so I decided to try and do the next best thing... MAKE ART!

The treasures may have been taking over our dining room table ;)

I used four large canvases that the hubby had in the garage and decided to attach (i.e. hot glue) everything to them. The thought was I could then display everything I had found during the project (whether that be in our garage or in a gallery). Because, if you know me, you know I am pretty OCD about organization, I obviously had to arrange the treasures by color. I was originally going to try and make a rainbow (ROYGBIV), but the space wouldn't allow it to turn out perfectly. Even still, I'm pretty proud of how it turned out (especially since everything is technically trash). Not only did I have some pretty awesome individual finds, but the final product to display them all looks pretty awesome if I do say so myself!

The red and orange items I found throughout the year.

The yellow, pink and purple treasures I collected.

I would say the most frequent treasure I found was definitely a Nerf dart!

The white, silver and black treasures had some of my favorite items.

It might not be a perfect rainbow, but I love the way it turned out!

PS In case you were wondering where the canvases ended up, they're now hanging on the walls of the Backfence Society Clubhouse in Vista, CA. You see, this local non profit is dedicated to positive community engagement through art. They have a program called "Only Losers Litter" and I thought my project aligned PERFECTLY! I spoke with Sarah (a tattoo artist out of the shop the hubby and I go to, and the founder of Backfence Society) and she wanted to display them. The hubby joked and said it's my first official art show. I wouldn't go that far, but I'm still pumped! And if they happen to be included in an upcoming art show you better believe I will be sharing about it with you ;)


I didn't glue everything I found to the canvases because I found money throughout the year and wanted to give it to an organization doing good things in the running community! In the end what I collected totaled $34.21. I decided to donate it to Girls On The Run, a non-profit dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams. Running is used to inspire and motivate the girls involved; encouraging lifelong health and fitness, and building confidence through accomplishment. At each season's conclusion, the girls and their running buddies complete a 5K which gives them a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. The result — making the seemingly impossible, possible, and teaching girls that they can.


Now I can't say I'm done collecting #CarleesTreasures, but I don't think I'll accumulate such a collection in the future ;)

What was the coolest thing you've ever found on the ground?


Flecks of Lex said...

What a cool idea! I love how you decided to turn this into art. It's really clever and unique!

Kim Prytherch said...

I'm so glad you turned it into art. I always look forward to your treasure posts!

Daniell Vecchione said...

Turned out awesome!

Sarah Linehan said...

So fun Carlee! <3

Jill said...

This is so cool and looks awesome! I can't say I have ever found anything nearly as cool as your treasures. I've found quite a few questionable items, which end up staying on the ground. In my neighborhood, I come across tiny frogs in the spring and summer and fortunately have yet to squash one!

Stephanie Harlow said...

Love the final project!!! So creative!!!

Abby said...

So awesome love that you found a great home for them.

Shannon said...

How neat! I always wondered if you kept the items or what.