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Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Table has Turned

My eat-in-kitchen needed a little love. The chairs themselves weren’t in bad shape, but the fabric on my cushion had seen better days. PLUS they didn’t really coordinate with my new kitchen….or each other….or quite honestly anything that has ever existed, ever.

As you can see, we do a lot of projects on this table, but somehow the chairs seem to get the brunt of the damage. But the table doesn’t come out unscathed either.

My first plan was to recover my chairs in different fabrics that coordinated. Then I put my signature vinyl over the top so paint (and food) stains won’t stick around for long. However, I had to do something about the table. I love the look of the wood, but paint, applesauces, glue (and many other substances) always get stuck in the grooves, making it next to impossible to clean completely. So I used the same resin treatment as I used on my side table, (skipping the paint step) and spread it all over the table top.

And this is what happened.

As you can see the table surface is quite a but shinier than before.

*No flooring was hurt in the making of this update.


Unapologetically Colorful

I was recently approached by a coworker that dabbles in reading my blog. He said he can get on board with a lot of what I do and it looks good…but it’s just so colorful. I had to ask him “What about me says that my furniture should be dull?”

I’m loud, I laugh more than I should and I never make eye contact without a smile. BUT..but but but, I took this as a challenge. To me he wasn’t just saying that my style is colorful, he was telling me that I couldn’t do anything else. (It’s quite possible that he was just stating that he thought my furniture was bright, but I can’t just let sleeping dogs lie.)

So, I resolve(d) to complete a restoration project without putting my funky spin on it. Let’s see how I did…

This is how it started. Sad, lonely and separated from the glass that fits inside.

First I shop vac’ed the spider webs and lightly sanded the areas where the finish has worn down, but wasn’t completely gone. I know it’s dirty, but this was mostly evident around the wooden rim at the top. I wasn’t planning to put on new stain or polyurethane, but I wanted the “worn areas” to look a little more uniform, so I sanded it a bit to create a sort of sunburst affect.

Once the sanding was done I removed the metal flower plaques and scrubbed the wood with Murphy’s Oil soap. I was still left with quite a bit of dust so I pulled out my Pledge, which cleaned out the nooks and crannies that my fat sponge missed.




You can still see (now that it’s clean) that there is a big worn spot on the bottom level, so I sanded it a bit more to try to make it even and wiped it down again.

Now I did something that is ill-advised, to say the least. I sanded the metal…with an electric sander. I know, I know, it’s super dangerous, but I didn’t have any apple-cider vinegar and it probably wouldn’t have helped much anyway because I sanded off the bronze finish, not rust. I didn’t get sparks though, so that’s good…I haven’t burned down the house yet.

But look at those flowers shine! Next I used my go-to restorer, “Restor-A-Finish.” I didn’t want to stain or use any poly because I didn’t want it to look too finished; I like my naked furniture to look like it has gone through some hardship.

Once the restor-a-finish dried, I nailed the improved shiny flowers to the side, cleaned and replaced the glass top and stood back to admire my work.

It looks pretty good right? Well, all except for the fact that it bores me to death. I know that I did this to prove the point that I can do more than just paint and make things bright. And here is the proof. …But I don’t want proof anymore, I want a table that I like. Sooooooooo

I decided to bust out some Mod-Podge (are you the least bit surprised?) and slathered is all over the bottom level. Then I took a box cutter and scissors and cut around the outside so the fabric fit perfectly on the bottom. At the end of the day, it looked like THIS…

What can I say? If it comes to being vindicated or being in love with my work, I will choose love every single time.

So About this Woman…

My uncle, brother, myself, my sister, my Aunt Ruth. Circa 1989.

I realize I haven’t been updating Space-Lift as often as usual, and it actually has been weighing on my mind. I’ve been slightly preoccupied and in a little bit of a funk regarding the woman who taught me everything I know. I was surprised to find out that she isn’t doing so well. I say “surprised” because I honestly didn’t know what was happening to her. I just assumed she would get better. My mother would keep me updated with the fact that she has started Chemo or finished radiation, but she never mentioned how it was actually impacting my aunt. And I suppose it’s my fault too; I didn’t ask. I didn’t call. I didn’t visit. In my mind, I was staying out of the way. I only hope in her mind she didn’t see it as abandonment.

Olivia's 2nd Birthday. June, 2011.

She had other wonderful girls in the family helping her, staying on top of her medication and treatment schedule, making her food and being there. I kept thinking I would visit after her operation, then I thought I’d visit after radiation finished, then I decided to wait until after Chemo. I just kept thinking my presence would only be a nuisance. With all of these “good intentions gone wrong,” it’s turned out that I hadn’t seen her from December 26th, 2011 to April 5th, 2012. That’s over 3 months! I just kept thinking, “As soon as all this mess is out of the way, I will talk to her. I’ll tell her how worried I’ve been. I’ll tell her that I’m so glad she is better.” But the thought never crossed my mind that it’s possible that I could be waiting for over a year for her to get better, or it may not happen.

Aunt Ruth, my sister and me. Circa 1987.

I’m not giving up yet though, but I need to be realistic about it because I’ve been in denial for a while. My uncle had a brain tumor 15 years ago. He had an operation. He healed. No chemo, no radiation. That’s been my one and only casual relationship with cancer. I was so lucky that time, but I’ve been naive to believe that is the normal progression of this illness, because I’m beginning to understand that it can be very messy. That’s not to say she is mentally out of it and there’s no sign of her coming back; that absolutely is not the case. She does sleep a lot and her medication makes her delirious at times, when she’s awake she is lethargic and detached, but when she opens that damn mouth of hers I know she is still in there. From telling my uncle she’ll cut off his feet if he doesn’t stop squeaking his shoes to insisting that room service bring her more jello so my Olivia can eat some too; she is still there.

My sister, Aunt Ruth and Uncle JR. Circa 1991.

This became blatantly apparent to me one day when I was with her alone. Nothing great was on T.V. in the middle of the day so I defaulted to HGTV. We started talking a little about the show “Income Property,” and gradually made small talk about renovation. She didn’t talk about it the way she usually does. She made broad statements that any novice would make, but I kept talking because it’s the first time I’ve been able to segue into describing my house to her (which she, regretfully, has never seen.) Then I start talking about all of the furniture she gave me. I told her that I wanted to start on the round glass top table, but I don’t know what direction to take it so I’ve just let it be. She lit up, and for the first time I heard her say something with conviction, “That’s just what you need to do. If you don’t know, don’t touch it. You’re just going to mess it up and make it worse.” Then I told her about the Handy Man’s bed that she gave me, and how that is the project I really have a vision for, but it’s such a huge undertaking that I want to let it simmer. She was so happy to hear that I love that bed as much as she did. She could recall every place that needs wood glue and kept insisting that I use glue and not nails (yes, she still thinks I’m 15 at times.) I told her about the dense cushion I wanted to use and my ideas for it’s function and I could see the look on her face that she use to get when we would think of decorating a room. She would look past me at a non-existant point in the distance and purse her lips. She use to do it with a cigarette in her hand, but the hospital frowns on that.

I can’t say what the outcome will be. All I know is as long as I can still access the woman with the countless ideas, then there is still hope.

The Family Sledding. December 25th, 2007.

One Hat, Three Occasions

My mother recently bought my daughter, Olivia, a floppy, white hat. It would be perfect for Easter, except for the fact that it is completely lacking in the frills category. Everyone knows that Easter hats should rival Kentucky Derby hats! Even though I am not THAT good, I am good ENOUGH to kick it up a notch.

Supplies: Plain Hat.Hot Glue Gun.Handkerchief or Cloth Napkin.Ribbon.

Step 1: Start with the flower (because if you mess up, it’s not like you’ve already made room on the hat for it.) Take the fabric and make it into a long thin tube. I had cloth napkins that the sellers left so I just folded one into a triangle and started to roll it up into a skinny straw.

Step 2: Once you have it in a long strip, take one end and start rolling the tube into a spiral-ball from one end to the other. Once you have it halfway rolled, put a line of hot glue down the rest of the fabric then continue to roll. Once it’s all rolled up, put a final bit of glue to secure the end. So, yes, essentially it’s just a spiral, but once it’s in “hat context,” it totally looks like a flower.

Step 3: Set aside your spiral flower for now and bust into the ribbon. Just cut a long piece, hot glue all along the hat where it meets the bill (is it called a bill when it’s not a baseball hat?…or a duck?) Then place your ribbon to circle the hat, leaving some ribbon to trail at the end. Personally, I cut my ribbon ends to make one of those fancy little V’s, but you can just make a diagnal cut if you’d like….we’re not picky here.

Step 4: Place a huge gob of hot glue on the back of your spiral flower and then a bit on the hat in the location you’d like your flower. I put mine a little off center in the front, but if your a fan of symmetry then smack-dab in the middle is just fine too.

What I really love about this is that hot glue isn’t a permanent adhesive. In fact, if you pulled hard enough I guarantee you could rip this flower and ribbon right off in about 45 seconds. In some instances this could be seen as a bad thing, but not to THIS GIRL! Easter is one day a year, but this hat will fit for at least another 6 months. So once April 8th has come and gone, this ribbon and flower will also have come and gone. This hat can be re-ribboned and re-styled for our trip to the South in May, and probably again for our trip to Florida in June. From Easter hat, to southern belle topper, to a floppy beach hat. Three hats in one for only $6!

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