The Sea of White is Now a Sea of Color

Just a quick update. The Kid and I have been our best to get these projects completed. We’ve been hampered by a spate of rainy and cold weather, subsequently we purchased a kerosene heater for the garage. It does the job of heating, but the smell is almost more than either of us can tolerate for more than a few minutes at a time. In fact, we took the day off yesterday as both of us battle migraine headaches. Headaches, I believe, came from over exposure to the smell. We are going to look into replacing the heater with something else.

The other thing that hampers us is that now it is winter, the sun sets so early. And along with that cold and windy weather comes an overcast sky, making working in the garage tenuous. The Kid has come up with an ingenious solution:2014-12-20 18.54.20Here are some more photos of the garage as painting continues:

 

2014-12-20 18.53.54Much of the white has bloomed into one of six shades of glorious pink. Have I ever told you how much I love pink? Could have something to do with being surrounded all my life with the opposite sex?!?

2014-12-20 18.53.43What didn’t turn pink was transformed with that recent discovery of Blue Mosaic – a deep but vibrant shade of blue that’s not quite navy. Its tough to pick out with the garage being kinda dim, but the two pieces are a buffet (far left of the pic) and a coffee table (you can see towards the right, its oblong top peaking out behind the pink cabinets in front). those two blue pieces have wood tops that have been sanded and moved into the house for staining and polyurethane. When finished will look like this two drawer dresser.

2014-12-20 18.53.54One chest of drawers (also known as a 5 drawer dresser) is a request piece. The body is an Ultra White with high gloss finish – actually called a mirror finish. And they aren’t kidding. Every time I look at it I think it was just freshly painted as it is looks so shiny! The Kid in the background is actually painting this piece’s drawers, five wonderful shades of pink.

Okay, for a “quick” update, I got kind of wordy! LOL

julie

Sanding Here, Priming There, Gluing Over There

I think that we’ve fallen into a groove. We are working on about five or six projects, and every day we do a little bit of work on each. You know how it gets, you have one project that has been strengthened and glued and now has to dry and set. So, you go to the next project and again, you get to the point where you have to stop and wait. We’ve gotten to the point that we have five or six ongoing projects and we quickly bring each one up to the same point every day.

The Kid Puts New Fronts on Drawers

Working On A Dresser

Right now, we’re working on getting everything to the priming stage. Planning has to be done to make sure that you’re not sanding on one project while you’re waiting for primer to dry on another. Sometimes it means that one project doesn’t get worked on because it is ready for a stage that will conflict with another. And for whatever reason, it seems to take more time this way. Seems, anyway.

So Many Projects In Process Makes for a Big Mess!

What A Mess!

On top of it, working on so many projects at once, the garage gets so crowded. We keep moving tables to give us access to one project, just to turn around and move it back to regain access to the first thing. And I keep tripping over the compressor cable and the extension cable threaded between the tables for the sander and the circular saw and the jig saw. I took a few minutes and swept up the tool counter of all the saw dust. Whew! Whenever I am overwhelmed, I always seem to revert to organizing or cleaning. :-)

I did begin work on a special project. I don’t know exactly why I decided to do this, but it is something I can work on outside of the garage. Not only fun, but it is something that I think The Kid might like. He is way into MineCraft – this online gaming and building program, where everything is in 8bit graphics. He has been playing and programming ‘mods’ (don’t ask me, I don’t exactly know) for this game since its inception, I guess. Something like 5 or 6 years. Had briefly toyed with the idea of a Halloween costume, but he was too old for trick-or-treating before I thought of the idea.

This is what a pile of gun powder looks like in the game:
imagesSo, I am making him a “real” 2D version of gun powder. I think I am going to either mount it on a base and he can set it on his desk or we’ll hang it on the wall. This is it, so far:

DSCN2950And just wanted to show you, he has a tiny version of the gun powder on his key chain:

photoWell, that’s today’s update. I’m close to revealing quite a few makeovers and re-do’s. I hope you come back to see them.

julie

Working for a Livin’…

So, maybe I forgot to mention, but I am currently not working. As some of you may know (or not), I have a full time job that I usually do as a nine-to-five. I finished my contract the week before Thanksgiving, so, I have had more time than usual to work on projects.

A week before, me and The Kid had put the final touches on five projects. And we both took a well deserved break. In fact, we went to the movies three days in a row. And that’s unusual for us, we’re generally home based kind of people.

But, we’ve picked up several pieces and once again, we’re up to our elbows in furniture again. Let me give you a quick rundown of in-process projects:

Number One: We ran across a beautiful nine drawer dresser at a second hand shop. What I have found lately, is people want the tall chest of drawers and not the long style. But in looking at this piece, what I hoped to do was separate the single piece into two pieces.

Dresser with Dotted Lines

Also, I have been working on a little project of my own. I picked up a sweet little wood children’s desk and am transforming it into a vanity.

DSCN2852I had a mirror left over from somewhere and I am lowering the middle ‘pencil drawer’ down, to create the look of a vanity. Its been kind of fun. The whole thing needs some serious TLC, this thing has been used to almost death! But once this gets its bumps sanded out and the typical pick ombré paint style, this is going to be sweet!

Third project is this beautiful buffet. Well, it isn’t beautiful now, but it has the best bones. Some little person(s) had a great time pasting stickers and letters all over it.

photo 2I “almost” didn’t get a before picture. I had it sitting on its top to protect it from any dings or gouges just from being in the garage.

This is one of those pieces that I can envision well, and would love to keep it, but since the house really cannot take one more piece of furniture, I am going to paint it in the same colors as the little 2 drawer dresser that I did a while back:

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Number Four: DSCN2903I picked these headboards (footboards?) a while back. In fact, at one point in trying to clear the garage, I couldn’t give these away. I just had too much to do at the time, but now, with a little time, this is going to be really cool.

Number Five: DSCN2859The easiest and quickest project, this one is already done. A couple of coats of my trademark “blush pink” and this one was done.

Number Six:

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Not sure what I am going to do with this. I got this in an auction, initially thinking I would use it in my house, but now I’m not so sure. I got it into my head that I would do the blue and natural combination, but The Kid pointed out that it was in pretty condition already. I did some veneer repair and it might be possible to just strip it and then restain it. Guess time will tell.

Number Seven:

This was a quickie project, one I have wanted to do for a while. When sewing (yeah, can you believe how long its been since I had a chance to do any sewing?), I like to do scrap piecing but this always requires many trips to an iron. It would make things so much easier if I had a small ironing surface next to me.

A while back (a really long way back) I had purchased an ironing “set” – an iron storage bag, an ironing board cover and a table mat – all in the same cheerful fabric. The ironing board cover was short lived and the other two pieces went into a cabinet. Recent rummaging uncovered the table top mat and my brain immediately to the television trays that we have and how there is a whole set not being used in the basement.

Long story short:

DSCN2885And I actually carved out a little time to sew Sunday morning and it really came in handy. And if I need the space, it is still collapsible and can easy be store out of the way.

Things have been going out the front door almost faster than we can complete projects. Its great! :-)

julie

Done! Done! Done! Done! and Done!

Wow! And a grateful sigh.

After a final push yesterday, The Kid and I finally finished the five projects that we have been working on. I wrote up the sale ads before I sat down and did the “before” and “after” photos… it took a while to find all of the original pictures of the pieces before we started working on them.

So here they are in all their glory (and unfinished states).

I stumbled onto a new site in which to procure furniture. We have a local company in town that does online auctions for business and people who need to liquidate businesses and estates. They have a pretty good website and at this point, not too many people know about it, so you can still get reasonable prices on certain objects. I find that most people going to the site are looking more for business items, so the furniture and decorative items tend to not have a lot of bidders. And to protect that source for as long as I can, I am not going to tell you their name. :-O

The first three items were purchased from this company. There were two matching dressers, one three drawer and one with five drawers. One drawer on each of the dressers had those faux decorative panels on one drawer on each of the dressers. Thankfully, they weren’t glued on and were easily removed.

5 Drawer Dresser

All the dressers then were sanded and primed. I love the use of a primer and since I knew I was going to do a lot of pink, I had the primer tinted pink to make the job of painting that much easier.3 DrawerThe three drawer dresser had some serious chunks missing from the top, so I opted to replace it. The great thing is that being a well built (not to mention all wood), the top was easily removed with the removal of just four screws. Then we just used it as a template for the replacement top.

Another of the antique dressers needed a new top as well. We bought it from a woman who had owned it for many years and had plants sitting on top of it. At one point the water damage to the original top was beyond repair and she had someone replace it. Only it was replaced with laminate fiberboard. UG-A-LY!

2014-11-08 19.19.11The resulting top for this dresser was cut out, sanded and routed into the exact shape needed. It got one coat of oak stain and three coats of a clear polyurethane with a matte finish (with light sandings in between each coat).

2014-11-16 16.02.01We purchase 2 6′ lengths of a nice oak, 1″ x 12″ and glued them together. We used a special tool to put wood dowels in the pieces to give them strength, we’ve done this multiple times including here. I think we spent like ten dollars on this tool, but it has paid itself back many times over now.

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Midnight Mosaic Antique DresserI stumbled across the blue in a advertisement for deck repair (would you paint your deck this color?) but immediately fell in love with it. The photo above looks a bit more purplish than it actually is, the color is called Blue Mosaic. The brass color cup handles were in my inventory of hardware and just went on so easily and they just are perfect.

On occasion there are pieces that I love so much how they turned out that I want to keep. I spent a couple of days trying to figure out if I could change the color scheme of my master bedroom plan so that I could use this piece. Alas, it is not meant to be. I love this piece.

A third dresser bought at auction is this older, albeit less expensive piece. It is still all wood and I imagine that the child who gets this piece could conceivably be outlived by this piece. I try to always only work with all wood pieces, no sense in putting a lot of time and effort into restoring or making over a piece that will just fall apart.

Dresser with Indent HandlesYou can tell that it is less expensive when it was first sold, as the drawer handles were actually carved out of the drawers, rather than added later. I thought about filling in the handles, but then thought it would be perfect for small hands and there wouldn’t be the chance that the drawer pulls would come off. We painted the top section of the front the first drawer color to make it appear like there was a drawer there. I thought about adding handles, but I think it would throw the look of the whole dresser off.

The last dresser was given to me by a wonderful guy who contacted me through Craigslist. We never got to meet, but exchanged several emails over a week. In the end, The Kid and I picked it up from his driveway, where he left it for us, since he had to leave unexpectedly. I regret not being able to meet and thank him properly, but hopefully he is watching the blog and will see this: Hi, Eric! And thank you!

When I was able to get a really good look at this dresser, I realized that someone had spent some time trying to remove past layer(s) of paint. They had done an admirable job thus far, and I looked it over and considered just how much time and effort would still be left to restore it. There is a fair amount of ornamentation on this piece which equated to a lot of hand work and in the end, just opted to paint it with the same pink ombré scheme that I have come to love so much.

4 DrawerAnd in the end, I opted to use white ceramic knobs on all of the pieces. I love those knobs… they are simple yet elegant and not cheap. And easy for small hands to clasp.

We moved all of the dressers into the foyer and let me tell you, two days of this and I am ready for them to be sold so I have my entry way back!

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This has made a huge dent in the third garage still. Today’s plan is to move what is left to the other side of the garage and prepare the space for storing my sports car for the winter. The car cover came on Friday, which was the last thing I need to properly store my baby. Once it turns cold and wet (or snowy) my car no longer is practical for driving.

The first thing I plan on doing, however, is to go and take “before” photos of all of the projects left. I think I have finally learned my lesson, since scrounging all emails and websites hoping to get the ‘befores’ for these posts were a real pain and took a few days.

Hope you’re all staying warm and comfy this weekend.

julie

 

Big Push to Clear the Garage, About 5 Projects at Once!

Temperatures in the midwest (all over the country actually) have dropped sharply with the advent of this ‘arctic air blast’. All I know is one day I am driving home from work with the windows down, temps about 70 degrees with a slight breeze, and overnight, there is a light snowfall, winds are brisk and daytime temps don’t break the 30 degree mark. Brrrr!!

What the bigger picture means for me is that I need to get the third stall of the garage cleared, get the car washed/waxed/detailed and then safely tucked into the garage for the winter. Me thinks it is going to be a cold one!

So, to that end – getting the garage cleared out – means getting some projects done (and sold) so that we can reclaim that space. Here is what the garage looks like as we try to tackle multiple projects at the same time… all with some urgency:

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I picked up this cute little trunk at an estate sale. It had a name and some flowers painted on the top, so am really just in the mode to sand the top, prime and then repaint the entire thing. I would LOVE to keep this, as it matched all of the cabinetry in my sewing/craft room, but I don’t think it is possible to square that much space out from the room!

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Dresser Number 1: This five drawer dresser is a solid piece of furniture and has a matching 3 drawer chest as well. These are slated for the pink ombré style and hopefully will be sold together.

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Dresser Number 2: As indicated this one will be finished in the most beautiful shades of pink:

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I use all of the darker shades of pink from the left card and the bottom (Scented Valentine) from the bottom of the card to the right. The cabinet color is the top and lightest pink (Barely Pink) which paints oh so beautifully over the white primer.

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I haven’t quite decided on this dresser… the drawers have ‘cut away’ handles, which I am not fond of. On occasion, I have been known to fill these in with wood filler, but the depth of these are probably too much to fill. I am giving some consideration to doing another suitcase dresser (you can see them here and here), although that process takes considerably more time than just paint. We’ll see how the rest of the projects are going before I decide.

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We needed some room to work tonight, so all of the primed drawers have been piled up on a table in my “paint booth”… no spray painted needed for the next few days, so I am taking advantage of the unused space.2014-11-08 19.19.11

Two of the dresser cabinets required new tops. It never ceases to amaze me how much damage a person can inflict on the top of a dresser. But, honestly, it is so much easier to replace the dresser top than drawers and sometimes it is all that is needed to make on older piece look brand new. We procure two 1″x12″ of pine and look for boards that don’t have too much knotting or overt grain patterns (above). Once in a while, I even just stain the top if it looks nice enough. The boards are fitted together, glued and clamped.

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Once the glue had dried and clamps removed, the board is cut to length (essentially cut in half). Then using the tops that were removed from the cabinets, the exact shapes are traced and a jig saw is used to cut them out. You can see one on the floor and the other on the table. Next step is to route a nice edge and then some sanding.

2014-11-08 19.19.00Here is the mirror and frame for one of the dressers… this is bound to be part of a pink dresser.

2014-11-08 15.23.53A shot of the “other side” of the garage… where my sports car needs to hibernate for the winter.  Doesn’t look like it, but we’ve really made a big dent. And once sold, it should be a nice little chunk of money. The Kid is hoping to use the money as a down payment for his real “first” car. It is giving him some real incentive to keep him working.2014-11-08 15.23.16We started this out on Sunday, things neatly lined up – being accessed, planned and prep’ed. If you’re wondering about the carpets, I collected them from CraigsList. They make standing in the garage much nicer, they help to soften noise and it allows me to run out there without shoes on, if I need. Plus, for some odd reason, The Kid is much more willing to vacuum the garage, rather than sweep. Go figure!2014-11-08 15.23.10Check out my work space! Isn’t it lovely? I so enjoy working here now that things are clean, organized and equipped.

Much work still to be done, but we’re making progress!

julie

 

 

 

My Recycle Project: Blue Corian, Singer Sewing Base and Metal Chairs

Whew! We’ve finally completed this project. It has been a long time in the making, but I finally was able to get it done with the help of The Kid.

DSCN2792So, you can see the starting point here, but I will give you a quick catch up. Months ago, I picked up several pieces of blue Corian countertops, including a smallish rectangular piece that I think was the counter surface for an island. Wasn’t quite sure of what I was going to use it for, but when something like that pops up on CraigsList, you get it while the getting is good.

I had the sewing machine base from one of our abdandoned house hunting trips and had spray painted it white, sort of as a primer. But once I saw the countertop, I knew it was a match made in heaven. Literally, all I had to do was set the top on the base and I could see something really unique.

Initially I was going to just make and sell the table, but I figured it would be cooler if there were a set of chairs to go with it. I kept an eye on CraigsList and almost like it was scripted, a set of four popped up. Now they needed work (of course they needed work, else they wouldn’t be on CraigsList for free) and I opted to pick them up, thinking I could get two good ones if I used the other two for ‘parts’. As luck would have it, three were salvageable.

DSCN2734After removing the seats, I then spray painted everything with high gloss white spray paint. This was not an easy task. It seemed every time I thought I was done, I would turn it upside down or stand at a different angle and would see areas that I missed. I think I have them completely painted now.

I used the seat that came with the chairs as a template and we used more of the Corian countertop for the seats. The Corian worked much like any hard wood, and we were able to route the edges and drill holes to attach the seats to the chairs.

DSCN2774The one thing that we did notice, however, is that working with the Corian results in a LOT of ‘saw’ dust. The workshop looked like it had snowed!

DSCN2775I didn’t want the seat to sit directly onto the base of the chair seats; since the previous seats were actually upholstered, the flat pieces didn’t exactly line up right with the exposed hardware on the chair.

DSCN2770By having and using the right tools for the job, the project went very well. Here is The Kid using our newest addition to the workshop, the drill press. SUH-weet!

DSCN2790Here he is in the final assembly. Note the nice, smooth, rounded edges. And interestingly enough, by routing the edges (top and bottom), it actually gave the edges a polished finish. Nice, happy accident!

DSCN2789By using some spare hardware(found when reorganizing the garage a week ago), I was able to give it a little more ‘polished’ look. And gave the necessary height for sitting at the table. The final detail was to add rubber ‘feet’ to the chairs, to protect the floors that the chairs would sit on.

DSCN2780More about the table: we had previously cut and glued a 1″x8″ on the back side of the table. Then two supports were added to the top of the sewing machine base, allowing the table top to be bolted onto the counter surface. This could be beneficial for the person or family that buys it, allowing for easier transport. Did I happen to mention that this stuff is heavy! And it has a nice solid feel as well.

The Kid’s help was immeasurably helpful in completing this project, and heck, I just like hanging around with him. :-)

DSCN2779In between helping him, I was also prep’ing an additional 5 or 6 more projects… here are the drawers all being sanded and hardware holes being filled. The Kid has been tasked with putting the first couple of coats of primer on all of these now that I have gotten the prep work out of the way. All of these pieces of furniture are all wood and it makes the chore of preparation that much easier. Oh, and by the way, real wood pieces are light. I think a lot of people mistakenly think something is more ‘solid’ or more ‘wood’ if the piece is heavy and that generally is not true. What weighs so much is the glue and the layers of particle board or composite wood. Most of these pieces I can move by myself if I take the drawers out ahead of time. Another thing I really like is that some of the older pieces come with wheels attached and you gotta love that!

So, a few more photos as I close this post. If you recall, the third stall of the garage is where my sports car (you can see it in the background of this first photo) is stored once snow has fallen. And I’ve heard that there is an “arctic blast” predicted for the end of November, so I have to get projects done and sold (and delivered) very soon.

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DSCN2797Off to get this listed for sale on CraigsList. My kitchen is red (as you may know) or I might be tempted to keep this one for myself!

julie

 

 

 

31.5 x 39

The Finish Line!

Okay, I can say that this project is done. Well, done enough. I’m about two weeks over schedule, but we persevered and I think its close enough. Its really a project with no end, I will always be adding and subtracting as we work, to make it work best for us. But the basic structure is there now. And in a pinch, we’ll be able to get at least two cars into the garage.

DSCN2605I have some ideas for the other side of this garage… I want to move out some of the “stuff” and then reorganize the trash and lumber barrels along with the standard trash can and recycle tubs. I’m planning on buying a new table saw, as the one we have has a guide that can’t seem to stay tight, subsequently, you can’t cut a straight line. And once we get rid of the existing one, I will have the room on that wall that we need.

DSCN2609Look at that… its a whole empty wall!! That is just too inviting. Ha!

DSCN2599So, there’s a shot of the work counter. We added extra direct lighting on the underside of the shelf. The space above will hold minor stuff that doesn’t get used much, as its not really easily accessed. Lots of room for more tools, too!

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Everything is so nice and clean right now. I love it. But I suspect it won’t last long when we dive head first back into projects.

DSCN2602I actually changed out the shelving on the end, again to take advantage of the height. Scored the cabinets off CraigsList for $15!

DSCN2604Did some organizing and cleaning, like yesterday’s post said, we set out a ton of stuff on the curb yesterday and it was gone in less than an hour!

DSCN2600Another photo of the organization, lots of open space for more stuff. I am really happy with the paint station, I expect to utilize this often. DSCN2608This is the emptiest that I think I’ve ever seen the garage. From the day that the movers backed up to the garage, this space has been cluttered and unorganized. And it is so funny, considering just how much time I spend out there an how much work I’ve done here.

 

DSCN2610Here is a shot of the garage with one car… just a few things have to be moved and a second car could fit easily. Now I will just have to work on the other side! Ha!

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At least I have it narrowed down to a manageable few projects. At least for now. :-)

Well, now that I feel like I accomplished something, I am going to post this and then going to enjoy the last few hours of weekend. And then its back to work. Some day I am actually going to relax on the weekend. Ha! Who am I kidding? If I don’t have at least three times more to do than I have time, I get worried and start looking for more. OCD or ADD or something.

And speaking of, I haven’t check CraigsList in a few hours…

julie

 

Garage Remodel: Workshop

As you may know, I have been putting in a lot of time and effort to making my garage a better place to work and be able to park my vehicles inside. I have started a new job and it seems that a lot of my time and thinking are spent there and not at home and in the garage.

We did quite a bit of work this weekend, but still not finished. DSCN2562From this photo, you can see that I was able to get at least one car into the garage. We’re smack dab in the middle of tornado season and I just finished paying off my little sports car, so I was happy to have it garaged.

DSCN2563I did pick up the grey cupboards and got them installed, along with the butcher block counter that came from a free work table. I loved the countertop, but didn’t want the open space below, it was much too easy for things to just get jammed in there and look messy and dirty and filled with saw dust.

The top wasn’t long enough to cover both cabinets, so I made an extension. I cute 2 x 2’s into 30″ segments and glue and screw them together. Then I used a concoction of glue and saw dust to fill into the spaces left from the slightly rounded edges of 2 x 2’s and let them dry. The pieces all assembled were a tad too shallow to match up with the existing countertop, so I glue the pieces to a sheet of 3/8’s luan, which actually stabilizes it as well. I bought another tool that I’ve been wanting, a belt sander, to make the job of smoothing it all a tad easier.

DSCN2564The piece was laid end-to-end with the butcher block and then glued. The entire top was bolted to the lower cabinet and inset to keep a smooth surface. I opted to cut off the corner as I could easily envision bumping it with my hip every single time I came into the garage. :-)

This week, The Kid has been tasked with sanding the existing butcher block top down to bare wood and then I will put a few coats of polyurethane to give it a nice hard surface that should endure. And it should look pretty sharp too. I am hoping that by the end of next weekend, this will be completed.

DSCN2572At the right end of the work surface is a 10 foot high storage. The space not easily accessed holds less used items and the center I made into a paint station. The paint rollers are stored on a dowel placed end to end inside the cabinet and one cubby hole below holds brushes of all kinds and roller pads. The lower cabinet will house the shop vac and all of its accessories as well as some other materials that just are unsightly. Still room at this point to use to store tools and materials.

At the right of the photo in the smaller garage stall are two (free) shelving units, one holds tools boxes and the other holds the one gallon paint cans. The quart cans, the sample jars and spray paint are all house in one of the existing cabinets the line the back of the the garage.

DSCN2571At the end of the white shelving units are a little workstation. I picked up this smaller sized cabinets I picked up free from CraigsList a year or so ago. On top is a piece of salvaged Corian countertop and then collected drawers are utilized to create storage for much used materials, like sandpaper for the sanders.

DSCN2570This is a quick shot of the third stall, currently packed with projects and more materials. Once again, from CraigsList, I got the carpet squares free and it pretty much carpeted this side of the garage. It will serve as a nicer place to showcase finished items and they can be parked on once winter comes. Heck of a mess, right? I know it is driving me crazy to not have more organization here!

I did manage to get the dead trees in front of the house replaced as well. Hopefully these will fare better than the previous ones, I even used Miracle Grow potting mix to plant them.

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The Kid has been working on his own project as well, this is going to be a metal forge. A couple of weekends ago, he and I walked along the train track near the silos downtown and picked up pieces of coal that had escaped from the coal cars. We ended the night getting what we needed, but was escorted off the premises by two of Kansas City’s finest. I guess that trespassing around large train cars is bad or maybe dangerous… but I guess I can understand it from the railroad’s point of view.

Once The Kid has made some progress, I will let him do a guest blog post to explain what he is making and how to do it. Again, for him it is good skills to have and to know that it isn’t something that he would want to do for a living. I keep telling him that he is better off working with his head than his hands and his back.

Just as soon as this garage project is done, I will have photos up here. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Oh The Things You Can Do With Paintsticks

Those humble little paint sticks. So useful for stirring paint. And for so many other things. I had a brief email conversation with a woman who had used paint sticks and adhered them to the side of a cabinet, gave it a quaint little finish, almost like siding. It was awesome.

I got to thinking about all the uses of those paint sticks, and more specifically, all the things I have used them for. They work wonders as shims, propping up furniture so that you can paint down to the bottom of a piece of furniture, heck, I’ve even used them for fly swatters.

I wanted to share with you something I am working on now. I am putting together a tall, skinny cabinet and needed a top for it. After scrounging in my wood pile, I just did not have something that would work and I bristled at the thought of yet another trip to The HomeDepot. I looked around the garage and what did I see?

DSCN2539Yes, my trusty bucket of paint sticks. And then brilliance struck. I would make a solid piece of wood using paint sticks. So one by one, I spread glue onto the sticks and positioned them together. They are actually made of two paints sticks end to end and then side to side, and staggered so that the ‘seam’ of the two sticks wouldn’t line up in a row on the finished piece.

I could have sworn that I had taken a photo of them while the glue was drying, but cannot find it now. But once the glue dried, I removed the clamps. As you can see in the picture, the surface – front and back – was a bit rough.

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I measured out the length that I needed. I marked it with a pencil and using a circular saw, The Kid trimmed both ends. I figured it would be easier to sand the thing if I was only sanding the section that I would be using.

DSCN2518Here is the rough piece and the ends that were cut off. Not too much excess. Still trying to figure out what I can do with the leftover pieces. Hmmm….

Top Made of Paint Sticks

Then the sanding began. This was not for the faint of heart… if I do something like this again, I will definitely be more careful with lining up the sticks. Also, I wouldn’t use quite so much glue. I think sanding off the glue was the hardest part.

Top RoughAfter much sanding, it started getting smooth. I must have gone through 6 sheets of sand paper working on this. At this stage, I used some wood filler on some of the gaps and divots and areas that needed more sanding. I figured that as long as there was still filler on the board, I would know where to continue sanding to make it all even.

DSCN2535Finally, it is smooth on all sides. I don’t know about you, but it looks like a solid piece of wood with some really great grain. Heavier than all get out, but I am still in love with this.

DSCN2536The Kid came out and did the routing on three sides. Just so minor sanding and then it was ready for the first coat of stain. I used a very light stain, as I don’t want to cover up that beauty, just keep it sealed. I ran out of the stain after the first coat though, so will have to finish this later.DSCN2537

Here is a shot of the end of the wood… I just love the way that looks!

I just wanted to point out the wonderful ways to use those paint stir sticks. It is a regular habit for both me and The Kid to stop and pick up a few on each trip to the store. I never feel like I am ‘stealing’ anything as I buy a butt-load of paint from them and they offer them free to their customers.

I’d love to see what you’ve made with stir sticks. They’re really handy!

julie

 

No Drought In Kansas City

As many of you know, I am a transplant to Kansas City from Northern California’s Silicon Valley. We celebrate ten years in the Show-Me state next month. Even so, I always pay attention to the weather and wild fires out in California, which I still think of as ‘home’. They’ve been through some devastating drought conditions which have led to major wild fires. I feel for my peeps on the west coast.

But drought is one thing that Kansas City has not experienced. Well, at least not this year! Everything is greener than green and if you follow my blog, you know that my strawberry patch…

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…and The Kid’s pumpkin patch…

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….are growing like gang-busters. As I understood strawberries, the plants really don’t mature until the third year and then you can expect some decent harvests. Well, mine are only in their second year but have already harvested many quarts. And this even with me leaving about a third on the ground to help fill in light patches!My HouseI have a larger than standard lot, as our house is on a semi-cul-de-sac. I don’t know what else to call it. It is a corner where one street turns 90 degrees and becomes another street, but the corner is set back and we have a wide half-round area in front of my house and two of my neighbors. This makes for larger backyards, which good or bad, means we have more lawn.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 6.34.56 PMHowever, the way that our property is naturally graded, all run off from the eastern neighbor flows into a little stream through our back yard and then into a underground culvert that then feeds into a (very small) lake in the neighborhood just south of us. Thankfully this ugly culvert is in the back of my western neighbor and he has done a great job of camouflaging it.

One might reasonably think that this should work well and most of the time it does. However, when we have had multiple days of heavy rain (as we have recently), it doesn’t seem to work and we get a lot of standing water in our backyard. Or as I call it, “A River Runs Through It”.

DSCN2486The small leafy patch just to the left of the tree (behind the river) is the Kid’s pumpkin patch. Lots of rain is working a minor miracle on the plants… the vines have gone gangbusters and there are hundreds of blossoms! I think we can safely expect a lot of pumpkins… not the biggest, but I am expecting numbers! So, the standing water isn’t a big deal (although it does make it tough to mow that part of the yard), but mostly it keeps the grass beautifully green and nourishes my tree line.

All of Kansas City is just so healthy and green as well. For once, I can honestly look at Kansas City and call it beautiful! I don’t dislike KC, but there is nothing to compare with San Jose/San Francisco area and the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre mountains and everything in between. I really miss California!

Me and The Kid have been slowly been working on some new projects – The Kid now more than me since I’ve gone back to work. Last night we sold the purple vanity (yay!) and I think I have a buyer for the umpteenth pink ombre dresser that I finished an evening or so ago. That leaves just the two-tone vanity left to sell and I will officially have my entry way cleared!

photoI am also about a third or so complete on a 8″ x 10″ cross stitch project, I just picked up the canvas and some thread and started stitching! I am thinking that I will make it into an iPad case when I am done. Or something. Ha! I always have to have something to do with my hands even when I am too tired to refinish furniture and just am sitting on the couch watching ‘Nurse Jackie’. (Don’t get me started talking about binge series watching… that’s another whole different post!)

Thankfully, today is Friday and the end of my first week on the new job. I am really liking it, as I have a super team and an even more super (super-duper?) manager and I am coming up to speed really quick. Which is great, ’cause I really don’t like being the ‘new’ person. I see me doing this for a while. I hope!

julie

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