Showing posts from 2009

There Must Be 50 Ways to Choose Your Color

Well, my next home project is painting. Something I've planned to do for ages. After being here in my rental apartment for 4+ years, the paint's seen better days. It wasn't designed to last--my landlord paints after every tenant, and the average tenant's stay is probably 1.5 years or something. I asked him ages ago if he'd mind if I painted my own colors, and he said "whatever makes you happy" with a tentative "Uh, what colors are you thinking of?"
The answer was I didn't know. And, a year or more later, I still didn't and had gotten no further in my plans. Finally, after deciding to forego buying a condo immediately, in a trip to Home Depot to help a friend pick cabinets for HER new condo, I picked up a few color samples and promptly marked most of my walls with them, precluding me from NOT painting. It was a good strategy. Looking at those stripes, I got desperate last week.  I called my brother, who offered to help me, and he's com…

Quick and Easy

Saturday, I had one of those days where, because I had nothing concrete planned, and so many options, I had difficulty committing to anything. This led me to actually complete a project I've been meaning to do for awhile--recovering the seat of a chair. After completing it, it's rather embarrassing how long it's taken me.  If you've never done this, it's really easy.  The subject in question was a chair I acquired at an estate sale in my hometown before leaving for the big city (or, the suburbs of Bethesda, MD) and my first apartment.  It's a cute Gustavian sort of chair that serves so little purpose in my bedroom other than holding discarded clothing. But, that is neither here nor there. At some point, I am planning to use it as a desk chair (which I did at one point when I had a desk). I had originally recovered it in a nice purple jacquard. However, I was tired of that. I decided to recover with leftover fabric from my shelf project.
Here is the chair seat an…

Happy Memorial Day! Projects...

I hung around here for Memorial Day, and when I say hung around, I mean it. I didn't do a whole lot, despite Leslie's list of activities for me to do (Rolling Thunder, Memorial Day Concert, Parade). I stil have most of today to redeem myself, I suppose! I did, however, get a few things done around the house, including finishing my dresser finally. I also spray painted two Ikea lamps and managed to offload some old stain and paint on a Freecycler. This is good because it saved me a trip to the Hazmat collection site next weekend.
I took about 100 photos of the dresser, but none of them turned out great. As you may recall, I was deciding between spraypainting the feet gold and staining. Well, the stain won out by default because I couldn't actually remove the feet as I thought I could. I also was able to sort of finish the part of the inside of the drawers that showed. At least now it doesn't stand out.

As for the lamps, there's a reason no one ever said that IMpatienc…

Dresser, with renewed handles

I hope Colleen hasn't had to resort to stripping herself! Here's the promised "more!" I spray painted the handles a metallic gold, which I'm quite pleased with. They turned out better than I expected. What's left are the feet. Opinions, please--do you think I should spray paint them gold or stain black?
Dresser Before:

Dresser After:

Handles before:

Handles after:

On other news, I leave Wednesday for London! I won't be blogging whilst there (going to be more or less low tech...too darn expensive to use my iphone, so unless I find a way to get a phone there for cheap or have internet access somewhere, I'll be off line!), but I'll be taking lots of pictures and notes to blog once I return. It's really funny how times have changed...I was feeling concerned about not having much cell service or web access...meanwhile, as I said to someone the other day, people existed and managed to make plans pre-internet and pre-cell phone. Heck, when I lived in Engl…

The (almost) finished dresser

Here it is! Handles have to be painted so I only put some handles on. I'm not sure if it will stay where it is though I have to admit that it does fit perfectly under the window!
I'll get into the flaws--there was the sanding before poly issue (not sure if I mentioned), I also missed stripping & staining in the strip of wood between the drawers so it kinda stands out. I also have yet to do anything to the legs.
More later!!

Scariest part of staining

I'm getting ready for the scariest part of furniture finishing--the topcoat! First of all, you have to lightly sand the surface, which is mentally upsetting, and then I constantly worry about lint and brush strokes in the poly finish. I had to go buy a new can of the poly this afternoon because I wanted semi-gloss to match the nightstand (I had some leftover satin). And, I bought a quart because the pint looked too small...I know I'm going to have a ton left.
While at the hardware store, I bought spray paint for the hardware--metallic gold. I'm not sure about it. I was torn between that and black satin. Well, I can't use that today anyway. Not an indoor activity! The store didn't have the little brass feet for the legs. I didn't stain the legs yet anyway.
Update, 9:12 pm: Oh boy. Big Duh moment. This is why I hate this step. I erroneously sanded BEFORE the poly, versus between coats...something I only realized after applying the poly to the first drawer when th…

Waiting for Coat 3


Butt Naked

My dresser is, thankfully. Though, so am I in a way, or will be...I'll explain, but first the dresser.
I'm nearly there. The existing finish is finis. (Well, except in the part where the drawers close that I thought didn't show...yeah, surprise!) I had planned on staining it this past weekend, but I was too pooped out and didn't get up early enough on Saturday. So, that will come.
My other obsession is finding a way to clothe myself. This is an exceedingly difficult task, seeing as everything is made to fit aliens. Or something. i.e. NOT ME. The two main things I need are: shoes that don't cripple me when I walk (or even just sit) and a raincoat. Seems simple, right? No. I've ordered almost every trench coat available in plus sizes, and I was beginning to give up hope. I returned three to Nordstrom on Saturday. Today, I got a few more in the mail, and at least these weren't completely awful. Still, I'm not writing poems to them and don't feel they'…

Day off Watch 2009: Drawer Day!

To prevent Colleen from going through withdrawl, I give you this:

I took today as my day off, and figured it was good anyway since it's Good Friday. I'm stripping the drawers today and sanding (by hand!) the dresser. The nice things about the drawers is that they're small enough to put on my dining room table (with my vinyl tablecloth that I use as for crafts as dropcloth!). If all goes well, I'll be staining tomorrow!!!

Strip for Me, Yeah

Made lots of progress yesterday--got the whole main part of the dresser done. I had to scrub a little with a stripping pad (essentially steel wool shaped as a square), but this stuff works really well.  All that's left are the drawers and legs.

There were certain areas that needed a second coat (seen on the top right and top center). I found that it was hard to realize at times how thick I was spreading the stripper, and that that tended to especially happen at the edges. Putting a thick coat on is critical--like frosting on a cake. There are still some whitish areas, that I'll probably be able to remove by a light sanding. Here's a view of the stripper once it's had it's chance to work. When it gets all bubbly like that, it's time to scrape.

Stay tuned...

Impatience rules

Remember me saying I'm impatient yesterday? Still am. I applied a coat of stripper this afternoon, but didn't apply quite thick enough or leave it on quite long enough. Still, most of the surface is removed from the one side. I'll reapply some to the bottom section and then sand out the rest. The top left side has some stripper acting on it as we speak (you may notice the glossiness on the top surface of the photo below). I need to get ready to leave for a cocktail party at my boss's house!

Friday Night Strip Show

I am nothing if not consistent. I tend to be impatient and impulsive. And, today was no different. At work, I received my shipment of Soy Gel, a soy-based stripper. When I got home, I couldn't wait to apply a coat. I didn't eat, I didn't take a load off, I applied some stripper to the dresser. I learned my lesson, though--I started with a small patch. I'm planning on doing this project slow and steady!

Update: The stripper's only been on 1 hour or so, and it's already removing the surface! I'm excited!

Oopah! Make Your Own Greek Yogurt

Here's something the makers of Greek yogurt don't want you to know: it's just strained regular yogurt. There, I said it. Secret's out. I love Greek yogurt, but what I don't love is spending 4 times as much per container. What I discovered this week is that it's super easy to strain your own yogurt.
First, get a few papertowels, a few coffee filters, or some cheesecloth and place in a strainer. Put yogurt in the strainer over a bowl, and place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. That's it. At the end of some time in the fridge, there will be lovely, cheaper, Greek yogurt (and some whey down in the bowl, which you can discard or use as an extra boost for smoothies).
I tried plain yogurt the other day, and this batch is coffee. Seriously--yum.

Dresser Down

So, when most people want to upgrade their furniture, they go to a nice furniture store and buy a good piece of quality furniture that they would be proud to show to their visitors. But what fun is that? Not me. I sell my Ikea furniture and then buy something that was probably thrown in the trash. Yes, that's right, I bought a new dresser. After a bit of a email scuffle with a craigslist advertiser who had a similar set to my nightstand,I found one that reminded me of it at Eastern Market today. Thing is, it's not as high quality as my nightstand. I am trying to keep my eyes on the prize because I'm sure it will look good once it's refinished. See, the thing is, this dresser needs serious refinishing in addition to some glueing. And, if you recall my last experience, I'm not stripping it myself.

Close up of some of the "quality" finish:

It set me back $40 plus $40 for delivery. Delivery consisted of 2 guys WALKING it (with the heavy mirror) back to my house…

Washer Solution

I figured out pretty quickly with my new washerthat I was going to need a way to prop up the lid. I decided today to get a dowel rod. Alas, I went to Frager's Hardwareto get one. The guy was very helpful, as they usually are. He recommended some rubber feet. What he didn't tell me, prior to cutting the 5/8" rod was that there was a $2 cutting charge. A $2 charge, for a $2 rod. So, what I thought would be a few bucks was a few more than a few. $5 total. Oh well, it works like a charm...

Ta Da!

Put the handles on the drawer project I started on my day off. Now, they're done. Thanks to dad for my "distance learning" session to help me get the handles right. The diagrams I'd drawn were actually a bit embarrassing. I'm sure I would have figured it out eventually, but it's nice that he could just quickly figure it's nice having contractors in the family at times like this!

The flash is making the color look slightly more transparent and emphasizes the flaws...and apparently, the bottom drawer's open, but you get the idea. I do, however, think it looks better in person!
A few helpful hints:

Take the stuff OUT of the piece before doing anything to it. It'll be easier. Trust me.

Don't forget to sand between coats of polyurethane (or "poly"). I ALWAYS forget until I'm into a few strokes of the second coat. 

Be patient, and take time for a third coat of poly. You'll be grateful later. Just ask my TV stand.

When applying t…

My Drawer Project


One Coat:

Two Coats: