Decor, DIY, Furniture, Home and Garden, VIntage

Table and Tray Progress

And now for some results of the magazine table and TV tray makeovers. Don’t forget to read the first and second pieces of this saga.

I got out the Polyshades stain I bought and dipped an old t-shirt rag in it to wipe it on the magazine table. As I was applying it the first thing I noticed is that it didn’t go on as dark as I had hoped it would, and just made the dark spot on the top even darker. Also, it didn’t seem to go on very well. I got my glasses and looked at the can and on the back it said…”Apply with high-quality brush.” Oh, for heaven’s sake. I didn’t have my glasses at the store and thought I was buying a wipe-on stain. Arrrgh. That’ll teach me, I guess.

Stain not dark enough to cover spot.

So I went back to the shed and got out my old can of Special Walnut wipe-on Minwax stain and poly in one that they don’t make anymore. It is SO much easier to apply stain and poly by wiping them on than by using a brush, where you get all the brush strokes and have to keep a “wet edge” the whole time. I wiped the Special Walnut all over the table, including on the parts I had already put the Espresso color on. Here are photos of that result.

Blargh! It was not dark enough to cover any imperfections and didn’t stick very well to some places. At this point I considered this project a FAIL.

But wait! I decided to go see if I had anything else in the shed, and what do you think I found? A brand new can of this Varathane wipe-on wood stain in Ebony! That should be dark enough! There is also a can of Varathane wipe-on stain in Kona, which is a nice dark stain as well. Dries in one hour! Aha!

Dries in one hour! (It really didn’t, but…)

I left the magazine table to dry overnight and got back to it bright and early this morning. After scuffing the table up with some fine steel wool and wiping it off with a tack cloth, I got out the Varathane and started applying it with an old t-shirt scrap. (Keep in mind that at this point I’m sort of making things up as I go along to try to salvage the table.)

Scuffing up the top.

Hey, the ebony stain mostly covered the spot on top!

Will it cover the scratches?

It mostly did cover the scratches!

After I gave the table one coat of ebony stain, I decided to let it dry and come back for another coat. The front sides of the table that were sort of an orange color didn’t take the stain very well even though I scuffed them, and the inside walls and outside ends didn’t take the stain very well either. Here’s how it looked with one coat:

With one coat of stain. Better than before.

You can see how it didn’t take the stain very well on these pieces.

I let the table dry while I went on some errands. When I got back I put another coat of stain on. Here’s how it looked after the second coat of stain:

Eh, still about the same. Not great.

Meanwhile, during the second coat’s dry time, I started on the TV tray. I chose the Varathane wipe-on stain in Kona for the tray. It is a nice dark brown. I started on the underside of the tray:

Underneath first.

Once I stained the underside and legs of the tray, I let that dry and then flipped it over and stained the top side, and touched up in areas on the legs that needed it. It looks good and the next step for both projects is the wipe-on polyurethane to protect the wood.

Not bad.

I decided to try the wipe-on poly on the magazine table to see if it improves the look of it. There are a lot of weird spots where the stain is darker or lighter than other parts, and I’m hoping maybe the poly will at least even it out so it will be all one sheen. I had about half a can of the poly and needed more to apply multiple coats on both projects, so I ordered it and some more tack cloths since the items have to be sanded between coats. Since I am using oil-based stains, I will use this oil-based poly.

The stain on both projects needs to dry for awhile and tomorrow I have a hike planned, so I won’t get back to these for a couple of days.

Will the magazine table ultimately be a success or a fail? Will the TV tray turn out the way it’s supposed to?

TUNE IN NEXT TIME TO SEE REAL, ACTUAL END RESULTS (I hope)!!

Cool Stuff, DIY, Home and Garden, Projects, Success!, VIntage

Character

For the last year or so I’ve been trying to spiffy up our fenced side yard (or garden, if you live anywhere but in the U.S.). This year The Hubs had put up a tall fence made from large pallets he got for free, and last week he applied some used motor oil on the boards to help preserve them. Did you know that would work? Reuse and recycle! It doesn’t harm anything, but is obviously not something you would want to use on wood that was going to go in the house.

The Hubs changes the oil in our cars himself so he had plenty of used oil. You can also see our dandelion farm in this photo.

Now we have 4 different styles of fence in our side yard, but since I am going for the vintage “rustic” look I guess it sort of works.

One of the things on the “Honey-Do” list was to put up a bunch of things I wanted on the fence to give it more character. Today was the day for that, so after going to Home Depot to get supplies The Hubs got to work. Yesterday I had laid out each thing on the ground where I wanted it on the fence, so there was no decision-making today and it all went fairly quickly.

First he hung up some old windows he got last year. You can also see the metal “Dandelion Farm” sign, and an old trowel he came across when he was rototilling for the vegetable garden this spring. The 50-gallon drum is covering what’s left of a tree that we would like to get rid of. It was about 20 feet high and very bushy with branches all the way to the ground and The Hubs cut it down, but it is coming back so if it is covered it will be less likely to grow in again. It is a very determined tree.

Old windows.
Window and stars, and cherry tree
Lil’ Kitty
You know Bigfoot. I’m not sure why this stump is still here, but now it’s covered with ivy.

I got the little metal kitty from a company in Vancouver, WA called Rusty Birds. They have all sorts of cute animals and other metal art. The Bigfoot was made by The Sis-In-Law, he is about four feet high. They have a life-size one at their property!

Gazing ball, squirrel, container for squirrel corn, old gate, Dandelion Farm sign

The gazing ball above has been around for like 20 years, it used to be sort of forgotten under the myrtle tree and it survived for many years there. This is the first time it’s really had its own spot. There is space on the fence for many more fun things, and I will be on the lookout for anything that I think will fit in. In fact, I am planning to order this shortly. Isn’t it the cutest?

Kitty Biscuits!!

The fence has much more character now, and the patio is getting there with my new bear and container garden. None of this is perfect, of course, and there is still much to be done. I don’t do much yardwork because I’m allergic and The Hubs isn’t much bothered by the aesthetic of the yard, so we have a dandelion farm and 4 kinds of fences. But I am making the best of it, ha.

The Hubs made this fire pit for me. It is also rustic.
The neighbor won’t cut down his blackberry bushes so they come into our yard. We left these because some birds live in this section.
DIY, Home and Garden, Success!, VIntage

Dandelion Farm

As I noted in a prior post, I bought this sign the other day, intending to put it up on our front fence to give the neighbors a giggle (The Hubs doesn’t mow the lawn every week, and our “grass” consists mostly of dandelion greens.)

The Hubs doesn’t especially like this sign, so I showed him a stencil available on Etsy that says “Dandelion Farm” and said I could get the stencil and make a sign with a piece of wood and some yellow paint. He said there’s no fun in that, and that I should make my own stencil, and that it would look better if the letters weren’t so perfect. Now, I am not a person with much drawing talent. I can draw rectangles, and I need a ruler to do that. I said HE could make a stencil, because he is an artist. So, he went out to the shop and came back with a roll of white paper and an old fence board and promptly went to work.

The Hubs, diligently making a stencil

After he finished cutting out the stencil, The Hubs brushed most of the moss off the front of the old fence board and laid the stencil on top. I kept the letter “middles” off to the side so they wouldn’t get lost, and started painting the letters that don’t have middles. I just sort of dry-brushed the paint on (DecoArt Patio Paint in Fiesta Yellow). The Hubs made sure I knew that there shouldn’t be “globs” of paint if I wanted the sign to have a weathered look.

I painted the letters without “middles” first.

After going to pick up a motor and some car parts very graciously donated to The Hubs by Marnie’s Hubs, I got to work on the sign. Since we didn’t have any spray adhesive (and I don’t think it would have worked with the rough fence board), I just held the edges and letter middles of the stencil down and painted around my fingers. Well, and on my fingers.

Here is the finished product. I like all the letters except the M. I should have re-done it before I painted it.

The finished sign

Here is the sign hanging up on the side yard fence. The Hubs wouldn’t let me put this one on the front fence either. He says the neighbors are all trying to make their places look nice and this would look too primitive. (Unfortunately we aren’t trying to make our place look nice, because we can’t afford it yet.) He said we could put it up on the side fence at the top so people could still see it. I think it would look adorable on the front fence and would like to add some other vintage-y looking signs and things, but they would all have to be bolted to the fence somehow so nobody would run off with them! We live next to an elementary school and near the high school, and while we don’t get a lot of kids walking down our street we do get a few crazies and I have had an incident with my doormat, so we don’t typically put decor at the front of the house. I have a few things on the back porch (which is actually on the side of the house) but mostly decorate the fenced side yard.

It does look a little primitive, but still cute.

I have a bunch more things to hang on the side yard fence. I’m hoping The Hubs will help me put all those things out in the next couple of mornings before it gets too hot out. I’ll post photos when the fence is decorated!

Home and Garden, Want

Trying Again

Since my large succulent plant in the top of the strawberry pot died, I have replaced it with a new plant. I found this plant at Lowe’s, where they still had a number of succulent plants left. I have decided to name it, and am calling it Frank.

This is Frank.

You can see that the other succulents are doing very well, as are the thyme plants.

Baby plants are growing.
Thyme plants are quite fluffy.

At the vintage show the other day someone was selling succulent plants in decorative planters and each plant had a name. The names were printed on labels made with an Dymo labelmaker like this:

And the labels were stuck to nice metal garden labeling stakes like this:

I decided my plants should also have names, so I went looking at label stakes on Amazon and I think I’ve settled on these:

Now I just have to come up with names for the other plants! Comment with any ideas you might have!

1940s, Adventures, Antiquing, Books, Cool Stuff, Home, Home and Garden, VIntage

Friday Adventure

Yesterday Marnie and I went on an adventure in the countryside around Molalla and Silverton, Oregon, and saw and bought some fun stuff. We started at the Hometown Barnhouse Vintage Market, and then went on to some estate sales and antique stores. At the vintage market I got an old Nancy Drew book and an old Hardy Boys book to add to our collection and an old strainer with a green handle to hang on my kitchen wall. I have a collection of vintage kitchen utensils with green handles, because my kitchen has a green theme. Marnie was able to find some nice plant pots for her growing succulent collection.

The countryside.
Friday’s haul

At a barn sale, I got the tray above and a beautiful mirror with beveled edges in a dark wood frame. It belonged to a dresser at one time so there is nothing on the back to hang it with, but I’m hoping the Hubs will be able to come up with a solution so I can hang it in my office. This is the barn that had the sale, the man said it was built in 1908. It still seemed very solid.

Isn’t this the neatest?

He had a wonderful dresser for just $40, but I have nowhere to keep one.

I was talking to the man at the barn about the barn we used to play in when I was a girl and told him about the owls, and he showed us his barn owl. Marnie got this awesome photo of it.

Marnie gets the best photos.

We went to what used to be an antique mall in Molalla, but is now just a very small part of the building and the porch with a couple of small rooms inside. We were disappointed that they had downsized so much because we had enjoyed shopping there after our hikes when we were out that way.

At an estate sale in Silverton I found a few modern books that I’ve been interested in, so that was nice since they were only $1 and $2 apiece. I was just talking to Lara and Marnie about how I never seem to read anymore, so I bought more books…now there are at least 7 or 8 on my “To Read” list. I suppose I had better get started!

Part of the fun of going to estate sales is seeing the houses, and this one was no different. It was in a new neighborhood on a hill and looked like a small house from the front, but when you went inside it was a good size with a view of a good chunk of Silverton out the living room window.

We did follow some signs to a “hoarder’s sale” way out in the country, but the driveway was narrow and long and when we got up to the house there was nowhere to park, so we came back down and didn’t bother with that one.

We came into Silverton and went to a thrift store and then had strawberry milkshakes from the bakery and lunch we got at the food cart pod. Marnie had spring rolls and I got my lunch from the Costa Rican cart, enyucado and fried plantains. I had never had enyucado before and it was delicious. It is a fried croquette made of cassava, and was filled with ground beef and spices. I forgot to take a photo of it before, but here is a photo of it after I eated it. I brought most of the plantain fries home and The Girl expressed great interest in them so I may not get to eat them after all, ha.

The antique stores in Silverton didn’t have much that interested us, Marnie got a decoration for her succulent garden and I got an “Oregon” sticker to replace my “Onward” bear sticker which is peeling off the van window. I saw a sign like this at one of the stores and it was $22. I checked online and found it for $12.98. I was hoping to get a more artistic one, but after thinking about my stash of sign-making materials and looking at the price of stencils, I decided this one was fine. The Hubs has a nifty plasma table that will cut signs and things, but it isn’t working so he couldn’t make a sign for me. I will hang this on the fence in the front yard and hope no one runs off with it!

Home, Home and Garden

My Little Garden – Did it Survive?

My poor little garden…it went all wonky while we were on our backpacking trip. The succulent with the pink flowers croaked completely, and two of my lavenders lost half of their plants.

Croaked 😦
Pink lavender plant
French lavender plant

I think the Hubs may have overwatered them while we were gone. It got very hot and he probably just thought he should douse all the plants every day, but the lavender and succulents don’t need that much water. I cut out all the dead stems from the lavender plants – the ones that are left on the French lavender actually have some new growth on them so I left them to see what would happen. And actually, last year the lavender plants did the same thing. I will definitely not water them much in the coming weeks so they can dry out and sort of get back to normal.

The rosemary and rosebush, however, both look very healthy and happy. I will be buying a new succulent plant this week for the top of the strawberry pot.

In the meantime, though, I will share with you this wonderful concrete statue I got at the estate sale last week!

My little bear – please ignore the dandelion farm.
Here is how he looks on the patio.

Isn’t he adorable? He weighs about 300 pounds, ha. The Hubs says he will never move it again! I think Little Bear adds a lot to our patio area.

I’ll update again when I get the new succulent plant for the strawberry pot. The other succulents and the thyme plants are doing great in the pot, so I hope a new succulent will grow happily there.

Cool Stuff, DIY, History, Home, Home and Garden, Home Care

Light Switch Time Capsule

When we were remodeling our bathroom and took down the sheetrock, we found two different families’ names inside the wall, written on the back of the sheetrock of the opposite room. One was from the 1950s, and one from the 1970s where it looked like the kids had written the names and ages of the parents and kids. The oldest boy (16) had written his name away from the others, ha. We really enjoyed seeing the names and added our own with the message (referring to the bathroom remodel) “We did the best we could!”

So here’s an even better idea — someone has set up a light switch cover template with a tiny font you can use to write a message for the future occupants of your house to find after you leave! You can find it here in this article from Makezine.com. Wouldn’t it be even more fun to leave a note behind EVERY light switch cover? 😁😁

Photo from “Light Switch Time Capsule” on Makezine
DIY, Home and Garden

My Garden

At our house, the Hubs and the Girl are in charge of the vegetable garden, and the Hubs is in charge (very reluctantly) of doing most of the yard work, since I am allergic. My part is a container garden of herbs on a little corner of the patio. I can almost always remember to water my happy plants and for the past couple of years they have been growing pretty well. Today I got my new succulent plants put in, and they will be a nice addition to the space.

As mentioned in prior posts I decided to plant some succulents in a strawberry pot, and after cleaning and disinfecting the pot yesterday, today I got to work getting the plants in.

Sand, potting soil, pot

First I mixed two bags of Miracle Gro Cactus, Palm, and Citrus Mix and about 2/3 of a bag of Perlite together in the wheelbarrow. I started by filling the strawberry pot with about 2 inches of sand, hoping that will help with drainage since I don’t have any good gravel or pottery shards to put in the bottom. Then I used a red Solo cup to scoop the soil into the pot, because that was one of the few scoop-shaped thingies I had in the house.

As I went along, I pushed soil into the little “mini-pots” around the sides of the pot. When it was full, I planted the large, pink-flowering succulent in the top. This plant was just labeled “hen and chicks”, but it is quite different from the ones I usually think of as the hen and chick variety.

The flowering succulent in the top of the pot.

After planting the largest plant, I put thyme plants in two of the “mini-pots”. The rest of the hen and chick plants came last, and I squeezed them in the spaces as best I could. I am a little concerned because they were all sitting in very wet soil in the pots they came in from the store. And I hope they don’t fall out of their “mini-pots” before they take root! Below you can see the finished product, and how it looks with the rest of my garden.

The final result

My little garden – not much to look at but easy care and smells awesome

My silver Spanish lavender is a great bee-attractor right now, so I put a little bee waterer in the pink lavender plant in case the bees get thirsty. The bees living here in the Pacific Northwest are probably not having problems finding water right now, but this will be nice for them if it ever gets hot this summer. The other plants are a French lavender (lavender is my favorite!), a Tuscan Blue rosemary which I just repotted into a much bigger pot (I am anxiously waiting for it to do something spectacular), and a mini rosebush the Girl gave me for Mother’s Day last year. It is going great guns even though it was drowning all winter long! The Dr. Seuss-y plant with the pink pom-pom is a Dreamland Armeria. All the plants like full sun and don’t need a lot of water, and that works great for my little corner.

So, will the succulents survive and thrive? Stay tuned for later reports!

Pink lavender and bee waterer
Pink lavender
French lavender
Silver Spanish lavender
Mini rose
Armeria
DIY, Home and Garden

Cleaning A Used Clay Pot

Strawberry pot before cleaning.

As noted in a previous post, I got this nice strawberry pot at an estate sale for $2.00. It was dirty and still 1/2 full of potting soil, and since I don’t want to plant my adorable succulent plants in someone else’s dirt (and bacteria, God forbid!) the Hubs dumped out all the old dirt and I set out to find the best way to clean a used terra cotta pot.

After reading an article and watching a video about cleaning terra cotta pots, I decided that I would start by using an old nylon dish brush and some warm water with Dawn dishwashing detergent to clean the outside and inside of the pot. I also could have used a scrubby sponge to scrub off the green and black spots, but I wasn’t trying to get it looking perfect. I like a little grunge, as they say on HGTV’s Home Town.

Cleaning the pot

To disinfect the pot after cleaning, I filled a bucket with a gallon of water. The video and article I saw both said to mix 1 part bleach to 9 parts water, but I noticed my bottle of concentrated bleach had instructions to use only 1/3 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water (which is 1 part bleach to 48 parts water, I think. Isn’t it? Mathing – sometimes I got it, sometimes I don’t.), so I added the 1/3 cup bleach to my bucket of water. I scrubbed the pot inside and out with the bleach water, being careful to get in all the little planting holes on the sides.

After cleaning and scrubbing with bleach water. Still a nice chippy vintage vibe!

After cleaning and disinfecting the pot and rinsing thoroughly, I am leaving it in the “sun” to let any bleach that might be left on the pot evaporate. I say “sun”, because we are having an atmospheric river such as the state hasn’t seen in 80 years, and we aren’t sure if the sun will actually come out at all this month! The video I watched said that to make sure there is no bleach left in your pot when it’s dry you should sniff it, and if you smell chlorine you should rinse it again and let it sit some more.

So, tomorrow after sniffing my strawberry pot to make sure there is no trace of chlorine left, I will plant my new plants! Now, off to decide which plants to plant where!