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So Vain 

I have a new Vanity!!!

Ok, like most things I own it isn’t “new”, just new to me. I received this desk as a hand me down gift from Mr. Smith’s aunt. 


The sewing machine from it still works by the way. 

 

I got it sanded this spring but work stopped as soon as the heat hit and we were off running around the country. 



I finally got around to working on it in earnest these past couple of weeks. 


The verticals supports and panels weren’t sanding out as well as I liked so I opted to paint them. 


The top and the drawer fronts however  were a glorious grain so I decided to stain them as close as possible to my bedroom furniture. 


We (my mother and I) lined the drawers with contact paper to protect them from the cosmetics that will go inside.

Beemer helped too


The hardware that was in the desk to begin with matched our furniture pretty well so I just cleaned it up and reattached it. 


Before I set up my inordinate amount of makeup on the desk I placed a plastic sheet (it’s actually from a poster frame) on the desk to prevent makeup getting embedded in the wood grain. 

I finally got to take all of my makeup out of bins and put it in real drawers in a proper vanity.


And yes that is a mechanics stool. 

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Kid Stuff

Just a couple small projects this week. First up my childhood friend the rocking horse. I never gave it a name. Or a gender for that matter. Comment what it’s name should be, I think it’s about time it got one. 

This poor, 26ish year old horse has spent the last 14 or so years in a garage loft and it shows.

My grandfather built it for me before my legs would even reach the pegs. And my grandmother painted the beautiful designs. 

As you can see the varnish has yellowed over the years. In fact you can see where my little hands wore off the varnish so the blue paint shows its true color around the hand holds.

I wanted to get rid of as much of the yellowing as I could while still keeping the lovely paint that my grandmother did, so I just did a wet sanding with a 150 and 220 grit sanding pad 

Now it just looks a little more antiqued than before, but still beautiful. I will eventually need to replace the tail, but for now it’s found a home in our dining room for our friends children to play on. 

Next up a project from Mr. Smith’s childhood. 

It’s not quite as pretty but it’s a bit more practical. It was his childhood toy box and before it was his it was someone else’s… I’m not sure whose, but obviously it’s pretty old and it’s pretty sturdy. It’s made out of scrap, solid wood, tongue and groove. 

And as you can see here a 6 year old Mr. Smith painted it. 

We freshened up the paint a bit using the same red and chalkboard as I did on the bar. As you can see it’s also going to need a new bottom. 

It also desperately needed new casters as the bearings in these had seized up. 

New casters, new bottom reinforced with a center strut thanks to some scrap paneling and wood…
I think Mr. Smith is excited about his newly remodeled toy box…. Or at least the toys

And it has found a cozy home in the breakfast nook. 

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We’re all Mod here

Words and things…. Ok fine, I don’t feel like writing so this is mostly going to be a story in pictures.

Sad old table…

Lots of sanding…

Oh look two different types of wood…

Ugly black legs

Let’s paint them blue and orange to match the entertainment center

My best friend tung oil

See why it’s my best friend 

Pretty table with pretty entertainment center

The End…


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New Beginings

We started on a couple of new projects today. They are going to be in the works for a long time, mostly because we are still working on getting settled into our new house. 

One of them is this old mid-century modern dresser that was passed down to me from my great grand mother.

  
 We actually have the set but the dresser is going to be our new entertainment center, believe it or not.

I just removed a couple of the drawers that are a little worse for ware. 

  
See it’s better already,

Used a hole saw to cut a few holes for components in the backer board. Or let Mr. Smith do so, since hole saws terrify me after my father almost lost a finger to one. 

  
And voila 

  
I plan on painting the top, sides,  and bottom boards, as well as the vertical support in the middle. Then I’ll  refinish the drawer fronts and feet and stain them a darker wood color to match the other furniture in the house. Im still not sure what color I’ll paint the exterior. I might go with the same TARDIS blue the side table is. What do you think? 

I’ll save the other project we started on for a later post. It’s going to be quite a doosie in the long run. 

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An Empty Chair

I’m about to bring down the mood and I would like to apologize for that in advance. However I was abruptly reminded of how ones life can change in the blink of an eye recently. My fiancé and I have known one another for 8 years, we’ve been together for a cumulative 4 and in that time we’ve essentially become a part of each other’s family.

Three weeks ago my fiancé lost his mother and father in one fell swoop. One phone call completely changed our lives. It’s still early days and I’m not sure how we pick up the pieces or where we go from here. My parents have been my rock, but for my fiancé being an only child and living far away from any extended family I’m amazed at every second he manages to make me laugh and giggle.

It’s reminded me just how much we need each other in our lives and shown me how unconditionally we love one another and our families.

I do have a project this week, I was planning on sharing it last week but couldn’t bring myself to write about it. My future mother in law was one of my biggest supporters, she always shared my posts and always had encouraging things to say. When my fiancé (you know what, I’m going to call him Mr. Smith for the sake of stream lining) and I moved in together there was a chair that his parents gave to him that we though might work well with the desk I refinished last year.


It was in pretty rough shape, the varnish was peeling, the stain was uneven and it was rather scratched and marred.


I stripped and sanded it, the whole time sending update pictures to Mr. Smith’s mom. She was rather surprised the chair hadn’t ended up in the garbage after all these years but you know me and solid wood furniture, where there is sandpaper there is a way.


After sanding I did a final run down with fine steel wool. You just can’t appreciate woodwork until you’ve used steel wool on it, it’s like the butter on the bread.


Then it was on to staining I used a combination of ebony and mahogany to get a warmer finish then plain ebony. It being on maple wood vs. my desk’s mahogany it’s still much cooler toned but I knew I wouldn’t get an exact match. It was more that I actually had a chair that fit in the narrow space under the desk unlike modern desk chairs.
 I was so excited to see what her reaction to the finished blog would be its one of the many things I’ll encounter throughout the rest of my life that will remind me she isn’t here anymore. Not to mention all of the myriad of other things that we won’t get to enjoy with them. They won’t be there to help us move into a new house, and guide us through all the perils of home ownership. They won’t be witness for our little courthouse wedding, or compare new cars and try to decide who would win in a drag race (without ever actually racing lol).

Every blog I post will remind me she isn’t there cheering me on. But as Mr. Smith has reminded me that’s no reason to stop, we go on, we do the things we love and the things she loved, we remain the people she loved and we remember.

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Caulk (hehehe)

I’m finally, really, like for realzies finished with the bathroom. If you missed the first part be sure to click here. When last we left, it looked pretty good but lacked a backsplash and therefore lacked some functionality. I had to wait three weeks after painting the bathroom before I could do the tile work in order to let the surface fully cure. But yea! Hooray! The wait is over. So first I measured out and cut the tile. I took the easy/cheap way out of this by getting tiny little square tiles on a sheet. I say cheap but these were one of the most expensive things in the bathroom at $10 a sheet. Luckily it only took 3 of them and it means I didn’t have to buy or rent a tile saw.   Next we used tile adhesive to stick them to the wall and the tiny bit of counter. Unfortunately I’ve fallen flat at pictures for this step but it’s a pretty basic process that only requires one specialized tool called a notched trowel.   After a couple days drying time it was on to the grout. I’ve had the pleasure of laying tile before so the grout was the fun part. You just mix it per the instructions on the bag until you have kind of a peanut butter consistency (having an old hand mixer is really nice for this part) then just use a float to start mushing it into the spacing and scraping off the excess. You have to be careful not to work your grout too much or it will become stiff and crumble. After letting the grout sit for about 20 minutes (or however your mix directs you) you simply start wiping the grout down with a very slightly damp sponge to get off excess until your left with just a slight film. Let that film dry then just buff it off with a soft clean cloth. After a couple days of letting the grout dry it was on to the final finishing touch. All those raw edges of tile and grout needed to be polished up. Caulk will work just fine. Caulking is pretty easy if you know what you’re doing and a horrible mess if you don’t. Trust me, I speak from experience.  You simply run a small bead of caulk along the edge to be sealed then get your fingers wet and with very light pressure run it along the bead to smooth it out. After all that just let the caulk cure and use a grout sealer to protect the finish and prevent mold and mildew. Officially done! If you missed how i made my mason jar soap pump you can find it here  Don’t mind my half blue half beige outlets. But check out my new plate covers, beadboard to go with the ceiling. Woohoo fancy!

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Cheater’s Chalk Paint

Back to those darn chairs, shall we?

I love the look of chalk paint particularly when used with dark wax. I just don’t love the price tag. A quart of good quality chalk paint can cost upwards of $30 add in the cost of the specialized wax and brushes and you’re looking at a $100 project. I figured I could either do it far cheaper or fail miserably at trying.

So first and foremost I cleaned up my chairs, chalk painting claims not to have any prep work. No sanding etc. but if you are working on old dining room chairs I suggest at least giving them a scrub with some Murphy’s Oil Soap just to get the grime from years of family dinners and years of furniture polish and wax off, or not even the best paint will stick.

After that I just started painting away with my favorite primer, which happens to be a really cheap ceiling paint. Ceiling paint is very thick, and very flat so it likes to stick to things and dries rather quickly, it also has good tooth to it. Tooth is the texture that helps other things stick. It’s like painting a canvas with gesso before starting a painting.

After the primer was dry I went in with the color. I did end up buying a quart of this color (it was a custom mix to match the fabric) just because I love it so I know I’ll use it on other projects, but I could have gotten away with just one $3 sample pot. Even at a quart it was only $15.

After getting the paint done I decided to tempt fate and go for the waxing. I decided to try to tint my own wax, I used Minwax finishing wax in natural (aka clear) which is around $10 for a can and a chocolate brown paint I had lying around. I simply took a scoop of the wax and a drizzle of the paint and very thoroughly mixed the two. As you can tell my measuring was very precise.

EEEEEEEWWWWW

I just used a cheap chip brush to mush the wax on, waited a minute or two, and buffed it off. The finishing wax is technically a matte varnish so it will dry hard and help protect the paint finish on the piece. That also means you have to work in small areas at a time so you don’t allow it to dry all the way before buffing it off. The now tinted wax will stick in recessed areas like corners and carved details and any cracks and scratches that the piece has accrued over the years. You could also distress the piece before starting if you wanted it to have a little more character. I discovered that if you happen to have a patch that dries a bit too much before you get a chance to buff it, it can be salvaged. Just put some wet wax overtop of it, wait a minute, and wipe again. It will soften the dried wax and take it back up.

Keep in mind you don’t have to tint your wax a chocolate brown you can tint it whatever color you like. A darker version of the color you’ve already painted the piece would look amazing I have a feeling. Go crazy and do lime green wax on a bright pink piece. Actually I would really like to see that. Or you could tint the wax with white paint and put it over a natural wood piece to give relief to carved areas.

From this to that to finally done!

Yes I realize in the long run it is a few more steps than chalk paint but it also only cost (even with brushes) around $35 in supplies versus the inordinate amount that doing it with chalk paint would have cost me. So the pros, at least for me, outweigh the cons.