When N. and I were first married, we bought a leather(ish) armchair from Ikea. I say "ish" because it was a combination of leather and bonded leather -- and what leather there was must have been about Z-grade -- and it just really didn't hold up well. After a few years it wasn't looking very pretty, so we wanted to slipcover it, only to discover that it was a very slightly different size than the non-leather Ektorp chair. It was just a tad too large. So to squeeze a slipcover onto it, we had to pull the leather(ish) covering off to make it just small enough to fit.
Anyway, I hung onto the nicest bits of leather, thinking I could make a throw pillow out of it, or some baby shoes or something. Fast-forward a couple of years, and it was still sitting in a bag. We came across it during our move, and feeling like trying to sew something cute out of leather scraps was not high on my list of priorities, I tossed the bag in the trash.
Of course, the VERY NEXT DAY, it occurred to me that we needed a wreath over a doorway that lead to a little hall, and that bag of leather scraps would be perfect for a wreath! Well, I dug through trash cans and couldn't find it, but N. found it in a trash bag in the garage -- and the only other thing that was in there was packing peanuts and crumpled paper and plastic from moving boxes, so we didn't have to worry about it being stinky or gross to get to.
I cut the leather into strips and petals/leaves (carefully cutting across the stitching where I could, so it would show) and hot-glued it to a straw wreath form, and here is the result!
I'm pretty sure it is N's favorite of any project I have ever made. His response was, "Wow, that looks like something someone would pay money for!" -- which is pretty high praise, indeed, right? :-) And he has subsequently complimented it several more times. It goes well with our eclectic-rustic look, and I know he's glad it's not too feminine.
I have to say, it looks a bit better in person, but you get the general idea. Not bad for something from the actual trash heap! :-)