Well, not many interesting things have happened here in the last few weeks. I have bought more things for The Grandbaby for when he arrives in July, we haven’t gone on many hikes for various reasons, and I haven’t been doing much around the house. We are, however, definitely wanting to get ready for summer!
So on Sunday we went to Al’s Fruit and Shrub Garden Center in Woodburn and bought two magnolia trees for the yard. I was thinking we would put both of them in the front yard but now The Hubs has suggested putting one in the side yard, so now I’m not sure what we’ll do, but he definitely wants to plant one today. They are the “Vulcan” variety, with dark pink blossoms. I think they will add a lot of beauty to our yard!
Also, I have received many yard decorations from my friend Linda, who with her husband is selling their house and downsizing into their R.V. I had planned to have The Hubs help me with the decorations last week when the weather was nice but he was busy, so now that will have to wait because it’s going to rain again for awhile. As soon as the sun comes back we will get out there and put up all the decorations and bird feeders. I may paint some of the stars and other decorations. Right now they are a sort of chartreuse color.
Here are some updates on my little patio garden. Most of the succulents are doing quite well and making all sorts of little baby succulents:
But I’m really not sure what this one is doing. Is it still alive? I think so, but it’s hard to tell.
The rosebush seems to be going great guns and enjoying the very wet feet it got throughout the winter.
This little plant has bounced right back:
I thought this pink lavender plant with the bee waterer had died, but it is coming back. I will clean the bee waterer and add some fresh water.
This lavender plant seems to have died, but I think it seeded some new little plants in the pot.
The rosemary and silver lavender plants seem to be doing well, although I do think this lavender plant needs to be in the ground or at least a bigger pot. I’d like to set up a little bed with the rosemary and lavender plants at some point.
These pretty little flowers just grew here all by themselves.
We will have to get after the blackberries coming over from the neighbor’s yard. He refuses to cut them back for some reason. We did have a very large blackberry patch in our yard due to the neighbor’s blackberries and it was nice to have the berries, but they were out of control and we don’t want them back again!
That’s about it for this update, will do another update when we’ve gotten the yard all spruced up!
Today I finally got out my sander and primer and started on the bench. I sanded it all over with my little Mouse sander, wiped it down, and then started priming.
I used this primer that I got at Lowe’s awhile back. It didn’t work great for the kitchen chairs, but I found it worked just fine for the bench. It is interior primer, but like I said in the last post the bench is going to be under the porch roof, and any “rustic-ness” will be fine anyway. I beg to differ with their statement “Hides previous color in one coat”, though, although it may be that the statement just applies to walls and not wood furniture.
While waiting for the primer to dry, I ate some of one of my favorite Fall snacks, Mellocreme pumpkins!
At this point I still wasn’t sure what color I wanted to paint the bench. I had originally planned to paint it a sort of off-white to go with the other things on the porch, but after priming it and seeing how many flaws showed up once it was white, I thought that might not be such a great idea. Then I texted Marnie and she said use brown and white, and I thought, “I’ll paint it brown and dry-brush white over the brown!”
The primer dried quickly because the bench was sitting in the sun, so I went back out and got my container of Sherwin-Williams Urbane Bronze in their sample formula. I bought a sample of Urbane Bronze and a sample of Priscilla, a nice pink, the other week. They are both colors I’m considering painting our house with, if we ever get to paint our house. I figured I’d buy samples and paint them somewhere on the house so I can see which one I think would look better. Right now I’m leaning toward the Urbane Bronze, as mentioned in my last bench post. It’s a grayish brown or a brownish gray. So modern!
I painted the bench all over in Urbane Bronze and let it dry for a couple of hours. Then the Hubs came in and said he had welded a triangle on my shepherd’s hook that I got at the estate sale a couple of weeks ago. The triangle gives you something to pound on to get the hook into the ground.
When I found it at the sale, it had this bird feeder on it. The feeder contains a suet block, a chunk of suet usually with seeds and other things for birds to eat. I had gotten 3 nice new suet blocks at the same estate sale, and The Hubs chose this one to put in the feeder today.
Hopefully the birds will discover it soon even if it is in the sun a bit!
Another thing I did while I was waiting for the paint to dry was this:
Philip came and snuggled up on my lap for a little while. I couldn’t resist showing you this adorable photo of him!
So here’s what the bench looks like with one coat of Urbane Bronze.
Because the paint is just a sample formula, it doesn’t cover extremely well. Also, you can see some start/stop brush marks. Note how I put the feet up on boxes so I can paint the lowest parts of the feet without getting the brush in all the icky stuff that fell off the bench when I sanded and cleaned it. I used the same boxes for the kitchen chairs when I painted them. I mean, how often do you find four boxes that are the same size to use for this application? I’ll keep them as long as they hold up! I went back and painted the back leg and went over some of the brush strokes and it was much improved.
I was planning to do the dry brushing in white today once the paint dried, but now it’s like 90 degrees out and I do have work-work to do, so I’m waiting until tomorrow morning to do that next step. Progress, though! Stay tuned for the next porch bench post!
Don’t forget to read the other installments in this saga — (1), (2), and (3)!
First…my oops. I couldn’t see into the magazine pockets of the table while I was staining it outside. I had brought my flashlight out to shine into the pockets to see if I missed any spots, but its batteries were dead and I didn’t go back in and get another flashlight. When I brought the table in to the house, the light illuminated a couple of glaring spots that weren’t stained. So when I should have been applying poly, I had to spend more time staining. Arrgh!
After I stained the entire inside of the magazine pockets I checked the table and found other places I had missed, so I went after those spots. Many of them were cracks and crevices where I had to use my thumbnail in the rag to push stain into the ridges and crannies. This was made easier, however, by the fact that after rummaging around in my sanding/refinishing bin I found a whole box of gloves that are a more normal size than the yellow ones I bought. Yay! I really need to take a good inventory before I start a project, don’t I?
I went to the TV tray to start with the poly on it but when I looked at the top there were areas where the honey oak color was peeking through the kona stain, so I wiped more stain on it and left both projects to dry AGAIN. Sigh. It’s weird, because the top of the tray was pretty much bare wood, and I don’t know how that honey oak showed through. It’s hard to get rid of, that honey oak.
I went out to check the projects AGAIN, and saw that the top of the table just didn’t look right. I got out the stain AGAIN, and used a slightly different method to do the top — I glopped on a ton of stain and just wiped it from end to end with the grain of the wood without leaving any stops in the middle of the top. The stain is fairly fast drying so doesn’t give much wiggle room when you are trying to get a smooth surface. WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT?!
Since by the time the stain was completely dry it was the end of the day already, I didn’t get poly put on the projects that day. Finally on Monday after my errands I put the first coat of poly on the projects. In the meantime the projects were sitting in The Hubs’s small office, which I’m sure crowded him a bit!
When I finally had time again to work on the projects, I started to wipe the poly on the TV tray. I did the top first and did the legs when I did the second coat on the top. I planned to put three coats total on the TV tray top for durability since I anticipate it will be used for food and drinks. I did a first coat on the whole magazine table, except I forgot the inside walls so I did those when I did the second coat on the top. For the magazine table, I’m only doing two coats on the top and the shelves, and one coat on the rest of it.
When applying polyurethane, you are supposed to sand with 220 grit sandpaper or fine steel wool between coats. The can of poly says it should dry in two to three hours, so I waited three hours before sanding, wiping off the sanding dust, and then adding another coat of poly on both projects. I used some synthetic extra fine “steel” wool that I had and that seemed to work well. The table and tray both do look better with the polyurethane on them.
Last, I put the third coat of poly on the TV tray. Once it was dry I folded it up and put it away until we need it! It turned out well and I look forward to using it someday. I put the magazine table to use right away in back of the couch where the magazine basket used to sit.
Next project will be the kitchen table. I have to wait to start that until The Hubs has his days off, since it’s a big piece of furniture and I will need help moving it from the kitchen to the patio and back again. I’m trying to figure out whether I want to take the table top off the leg to be able to get at it better, but haven’t decided on that yet.
Here are the before and afters!
Takeaways from these two projects:
~ Have better tools to prepare furniture for refinishing if I ever decide to bring home something with a lot of detail again. These tools here would be very helpful. Each one has a different grit of sandpaper and it looks like you could really sand out those small spaces with these.
~ Bring your glasses when you shop, so you won’t waste money buying the wrong thing.
~ Check the supplies you already have carefully to see if there is something you can use there before buying something new.
~ Get gloves that fit, if they exist. It’s hard to get into small spaces and do detail work with giant floppity gloves on. (And check your stash to see if you already might have some gloves that fit okay.) Remember to actually WEAR the gloves the whole time once you get/find them.
~ Sand a lot more than you think you need to. I think I should have sanded the magazine table before I put the stripper on just for good measure, or maybe I should have just skipped the stripper altogether for this project and all its nooks and crannies. For the kitchen table project I will have to use stripper since the tabletop is painted and I want to get the paint off, but I think it might not have been necessary for the magazine table.
~ Practice furniture redos on items that were free or cheap and that you aren’t too invested in, because things don’t always turn out the way you want even when you follow instructions.
~ Even if your project doesn’t turn out quite the way you’d hoped it would, be glad that you learned something!
I got outside about 8:00 yesterday morning and started sanding on the magazine table. I thought I would just do hand-sanding with pieces of sandpaper and sanding blocks, because it was still early for many people and I didn’t want to wake anyone up with my loud electric Mouse sander. But, when I looked in my sandpaper stash, it turned out I only had one small piece of 100-grit sandpaper and the next one up was 220. I was using the 100-grit on the top shelf of the table, but it wasn’t even doing a very good job, and it especially didn’t seem to help on the edges of the table. I had to go to Lowe’s to get some wood conditioner so I put sandpaper on the list too. While I was there I bought some Minwax Polyshades stain and poly in one can, in the shade Espresso, because I wasn’t sure if the old stain I had in the shed would still be good.
When I got back from my shopping I got out the Mouse and started on the top of the table. I sanded it smooth, but the big dark spot wouldn’t sand out. I hoped the stain would be dark enough to mostly cover the spot.
Although the table has two “good” sides – meaning that it’s finished on both sides instead of having one side you would put against the wall – one of the sides is more dinged up than the other and has the deep scratches seen here. I’m hoping that the stain will cover these as well so they don’t look so glaring.
For now I plan to use it as an end table in the living room with one side against the arm of the couch, and I will put my magazines in it instead of in the two-tiered metal basket I’ve been using for years for magazine display. I love the basket, but I think it’s time for a change.
Since I was sanding the magazine table, I decided to go for sanding this folding/TV tray I got at a garage sale as well. It once had a honey oak finish (can be seen underneath), but it looks like it was left outside and the finish is worn away on the top and the legs. I debated painting it with an off-white chalk-style paint and then stenciling the top, or just staining the top and painting the legs, but at this point I’ve decided to stain the whole thing the same color as the magazine table. The top is such nice wood that I thought it would be a shame to paint over it. It must have cost someone a pretty penny at one time! (I mean, have you priced TV trays lately? Even on Amazon the costs are prohibitive! Plus, the stencil I liked would have cost $22 with shipping.)
I sanded and sanded and sanded some more. There are all sorts of nooks and crannies in the magazine table and it was hard to get at many of them. I also found some stripper that was still hiding here and there and had to use my steel wool dipped in mineral spirits to get that off. I usually don’t sand with gloves on, so I kept forgetting to put my glove on when I was using the mineral spirits. Oops! Of course, if they made chemical-resistant gloves that would fit my short little fingers…
Once I thought the table was sanded enough, I started on the TV tray. That one was easy and zoop zoop it was done. I used the tack cloth to get the sanding dust off of both projects and then I was ready to stain the magazine table.
How do you think the projects will turn out? TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR RESULTS!
I got this cute little table for free on Facebook and it is in rough shape, although not too dinged up except in a couple of places. The woman who gave it to me just left it outside on her porch in the rain for me to pick up, so that didn’t help its condition. The Hubs said I should refinish it instead of painting it, so I’m giving it a go. It will be a “practice run” in anticipation of refinishing the top of our kitchen table.
It’s called a “magazine table” because it has the pockets on the sides where you would put magazines or newspapers (if anyone subscribed to the paper newspaper anymore at home).
Here is the table before cleaning (I did take some change, an earring, a lot of dust fluffs, and an old baseball card out of the magazine pockets. The Boy was glad to have the baseball card!)
First, I gathered my supplies. I chose to use Citristrip as the finish remover for this project, as it doesn’t have toxic fumes to worry about. You need a brush to apply it and a plastic putty knife to scrape the old finish off. Since it is a strong chemical (even though it is citrus-based) I got some gloves and wore safety glasses while applying the stripper. I used the instructions from a blog called DecorHint as a reference for the job.
After cleaning it with a damp rag, I set the table on some cardboard and brushed on a thick layer of Citristrip with a chip brush.
Next, you let it sit until it dissolves the old finish. Since the finish is fairly thin, in some places it was already working by the time I coated the whole table. I scraped off some of the stripper on the bottom shelf and one of the sides and the finish came right off.
I tried the top and the finish wouldn’t all come off, so I re-coated it and thought I would let it all sit for about three hours. To be effective the stripper has to stay wet, so I checked on it occasionally to make sure it hadn’t dried out. You can use plastic wrap to cover the stripper to keep it from drying out, but I decided to just monitor it and see how that went.
I went out after two hours and checked the table, and it was pretty much ready to strip at that time. At least most of it was. The top seems to have a different finish than the rest of the table, so there will be more sanding there. It should be fairly easy because it’s mostly a flat surface. The edges of the top will also need more attention.
After scraping most of the Citristrip off, I wiped the table down with paper towels and cleaned it with a cloth dampened with mineral spirits. Here is how it looked after its mineral spirits bath. There is a bit of gunk still lingering, but it will be removed in the sanding step.
Sanding, and hopefully finishing, will happen tomorrow. I have another little project I’m going to interject as well while the magazine table is drying, I think.
On Monday I decided to do a craft project that had been languishing in the “projects” bin for who knows how long. I had an old cookie sheet and I wanted to decoupage it with old sheet music to make a tea or dinner tray. It is the perfect size. Now that I don’t have to be planning for the PCT, I can get some projects done!
I got out the cookie sheet and found the Mod Podge, and looked at my sheet music stash. There were not nearly enough pieces of old sheet music to cover the tray, so I took the biggest page and photocopied it on my printer. I made seven or eight copies. The sheet music was a nice yellowed color that showed up a little bit in the copies, and I thought that would work fine. I didn’t want a bright white look.
I ripped the music copies into long strips and started in sticking them to the cookie sheet. I started on the back side, 1) so I could see how I wanted to do it; and 2) because I wanted to fold the sides up from the bottom so the top would look nice; and 3) in case I didn’t like it at all and wanted to go a different direction.
I used outdoor Mod Podge for the tray, because I imagine it would be more durable in case of spills, etc. Mod Podge is a glue and a sealer, you use it to stick your paper or fabric to your surface, and then brush it all over to seal.
It stuck really well and I went on putting my paper pieces on the cookie sheet. I tore off some smaller pieces too. I decided to do the sides first with lengthwise strips, so they would be completely covered. The paintbrush I used is a lesser-quality one I had in my painting bin.
I made sure the sides were completely covered and that the paper overlapped the edges so I could flip it over to the top side. While you are decoupaging, it is a good idea to keep a wet cloth nearby for wiping your hands and another cloth to dry them, as the Mod Podge does get all over your fingers.
Here is the back decoupaged and with one coat all over of the Mod Podge. You are supposed to put a few thin coats on to seal the project.
While I waited for the back and sides of the tray to dry, I put another coat of white craft paint on this “Adventure” sign. I got it at Target awhile back, along with an “Imagine” sign. The “Imagine” sign came already painted pink on the lower half and is hanging on my office wall, but the “Adventure” was a dark yellow which doesn’t go with my office décor. I thought of painting it green, but since I’m going to hang it on the green wall it seemed like white might be better. I like words and I like to have them all over the house, ha!
Here’s the “Adventure” sign on the wall. It looks much better now.
I had to photocopy and rip up some more music sheets, so I did that while I waited for the bottom of the tray to dry. My method of pasting small pieces of paper all over instead of using one large piece used a lot of Mod Podge, so I decided to let the tray dry overnight before I attempted to decoupage the top side. In the morning everything was still tacky, so I decided to wait another day.
Since the way I did the bottom of the tray seems to have added way too much Mod Podge, for the top I brushed a thin coat of Mod Podge on the backs of the paper pieces themselves to stick them down, instead of putting it on the tray first and then having to put more layers on to get all the pieces to stick.
Then I brushed a light coat of Mod Podge over the whole top and edges of the tray. I hadn’t decoupaged in awhile, and I often do take the “scenic route” when crafting, especially when I have made up the craft on my own.
And finally, here is the finished product, all ready for tea! What do you think?
I didn’t paint the chairs last Tuesday, but instead waited until today (Saturday) to paint them, partly to let the primer cure a little more, and partly because the weather is only going to be in the 70s today instead of the 90s and paint works a little better when it isn’t so hot. Phase 4 begins as follows:
Remember when I said I was going to primer the underside of the chairs and then do the top parts? Yeah…I didn’t. I just set the chairs right side up on their boxes and painted everything I could reach. And you know what? I missed some of the underneath parts and I’m not going to paint them at all. To be honest, I’m tired of waiting and just want to get my chairs back in the kitchen where they belong, so I don’t want any more delays (i.e. waiting for paint to dry). The paint I’m using is Sherwin Williams Pro Classic Semi-Gloss in Whitetail, which is the same color as our kitchen walls.
I painted this side of the chair and checked to see that there were no drips. Then I waited 2 hours for it to dry before turning it over and painting the upper side. While I waited for the paint to dry I recovered the chair seats with the new green Scotchgarded outdoor fabric. It should look nice with the white and I’m expecting the fabric to last a long time since it is easy to clean and meant for outdoor use.
To hold the new upholstery on the seats, I used a staple gun I hadn’t used before. Last time I recovered the seats I just used hot glue which worked fine, but this time I wanted to try the staple gun.
At first I couldn’t figure out how to close it after I loaded the staples. I took it to The Hubs who informed me that I had put the staples in upside down. It didn’t occur to me that it would be different from a regular stapler, duh! The staple gun worked okay, except it didn’t shoot the staples in all the way and I had to pound them in with a hammer. I tried many ways of holding it and changed the setting that is supposed to change how deep the staples go, but nothing fixed the issue. Also, sometimes it shot out two or three staples at once.
After I cut the fabric I noticed that it had many fold marks, so I got out the iron. I ironed it with an old flour-sack towel over the fabric to see if that would work just in case the fabric wasn’t ironable, but I finally just ironed on the fabric and it worked fine. I used the linen/cotton setting with steam. I forget what the fabric is made of.
This is what the underside of the seat looked like after I stapled the fabric down. Then I suddenly realized that I had covered up the holes for the screws that hold the seats to the chairs. Oops! I thought I might have to take the fabric off and start again, but The Hubs assures me he can get the seats attached to the chairs without a redo.
After a few more rounds of painting/drying, I finished painting the chairs today. I haven’t attached the seats for real yet, I want to wait until the paint is completely cured. Here is one chair, in all its glory. Ta daaa!! They aren’t perfect, but they’ll do. Now to schedule a time to work on the table!
Here’s a reminder of what the chairs looked like before:
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
Me: <Opens paint. Rust from top of paint can falls into paint.> “Now I have to get more paint.” <Goes to Sherwin-Williams. Gasps at price of paint. Is happy that paint is 40% off right now. Talks to paint store people.> “Hello. I’m glad I only paid $5.00 for each of my chairs, since I’m spending so much money on them now.” <Expresses concern to paint store manager that my chairs still feel tacky after drying for 24 hours. Talks about putting two coats of primer on because old chair stain was bleeding through.>
Paint store manager: <Gets paint ready to shake.> “You know, you should have used oil-based primer for that. It will seal the stain.”
Me: “Well, too late.”
Paint store manager: “And you only need one thin coat of primer. Most people think that you need to completely cover with the primer, but it is just so the paint will adhere better. Just a thin coat will do.”
Me: <Is sad.> “Good to know, thanks.”
Paint store manager: “It’s just that the primer might peel off since you put on a thick coat.”
Me: <Has downcast face.> Okay. Well, thanks, guys. <Goes home. Tells Hubs that chairs still feel tacky.>
The Hubs: “Oh, well, you should probably wait to paint them. I’d wait at least a week.”
Me: <Schedules time to paint chairs next Tuesday, in case they’re ready by then.>
After the wood filler on the chairs had dried, I sanded those areas smooth and scuffed up the chairs with my sandpaper to help the primer adhere better and to smooth out some damaged edges. I concentrated most on the tops of the chairs and parts that are more noticeable, and just smoothed out the dings on the bottom rungs. (Oops, some of the wood filler came out of the largest space I filled where the veneer was missing, so I filled it again, let dry, and sanded more.) Then I wiped the chairs down with a wet rag to remove the sanding dust.
As soon as it got light I went out to the patio and got the primer. I picked the two hottest days of the week to work on these, so I wanted to get the primer done while it was still cool outside! It is predicted to be in the 90s today as it was yesterday, and when I went out in the afternoon yesterday it was just stifling.
I decided to put the chairs on the patio table to paint the lower parts, with a sheet underneath and the chairs set up on boxes so the sheet won’t get in the paint. With the primer I’ll paint the top parts of the chairs first and then flip them and paint the underneath parts because I’ll be sanding the primer when it’s dry anyway. When painting, I’ll do underneath first in case there are any drips or boo-boos.
I finished the first coat of primer at 7:30 a.m. and decided to wait two hours to sand out any brush strokes and put the next coat of primer on. The chairs already look better with just the primer on them. I was concerned that the details of the chairs would sort of fade out once they were such a light color, but I see the details actually standing out now that they are white instead of dark wood.
As I started to put the second coat of primer on, I noticed a few areas of the old wood stain bleeding through the primer. I put a second coat on those areas and let them dry to see if the second coat would cover it, and it didn’t. So, I went to Lowe’s and bought some Kilz 3 Premium which is supposed to be good for painting over wood. I put a coat of Kilz 3 primer on both chairs and they are drying now.
Tune in tomorrow to see if the Kilz primer does cover the bleed-throughs, and how the first coat of paint turns out!