Trash-picking success!

After the past two years, and taking a glance at the news this past week, I am having a little trouble not letting the world’s troubles creep into this space.

I am going to try to come up with a podcast later this week to say some things about how we, you and I, can ponder our own lives and the course we should take, as things look ever less reliable out there in the world. All in keeping with the themes of what I have always said here…

If I manage it, I will put up a post here and on Happy Despite Them to give you a link. I have no idea if readers of this blog would be interested in a podcast, but what I have to say seems easier to say than to write.

Meanwhile, I have a little project to show you that I am pretty darn proud of in the Department of Checking Projects Off the List. Sadly, I don’t have the greatest ability to take photos of this piece of furniture that I rescued, because the “after” is black!

I worked on it in the pantry so as to be a bit out of the way…

Here is an in process post from my IG story:

Below is the “before” — there is a handle that you will see further down, but there were no knobs. I saw it on the side of the road somewhere and it’s getting to be years ago that this happened… of course my husband stopped for me, but he was a bit reluctant, supportive as he is, because truly, Dear Reader, our garage is sometimes… full of random stuff that I’m going to get to some day (and also featured things Habou, my mom, picked up, so you can feel his pain).

And truly, it did sit out there for quite a while. Like I said, years. It was handy, because you could pile things up on it…

I kept going back and forth about it because it is solid and even has dovetail joints in the drawer, but the finish is plasticky veneer. The top was bad with the veneer peeling off, and he did sand it down last year when I had a spurt of activity over it that came to nought, but it was still not in good shape.

I have been trying to be good about getting rid of the things that are not in my plans (and this happens to everyone, whether paying full price or thrifting or trash-picking — not everything you get is going to work, and sometimes things just appear in the garage, who knows how!). I’ll tell you — list something on Facebook Marketplace and people will relieve you of whatever it is! The garage looks way better these days!

So I’ve been increasing my credibility with the Dubious One… I actually sold two IKEA nightstands that I didn’t want anymore due to their not sparking joy — not as much as things I find by the side of the road!

So I did need a nightstand — I was anticipating a house full of people and needed to attend to the bedrooms. One day I just decided to make this happen. In part I was motivated by the can of black paint I had gotten from the clearance shelf at Lowes. For $9 I have a gallon of $53 furniture-and-cabinet black paint to upcycle things to my heart’s content. (I’ve already painted a free bedstead and touched up my kitchen island!) My plan had been to spray paint, but with my find, I didn’t have to wait for Spring! Always check the clearance rack! This is what I purchased — not an ad, just for your information!

So for sure, this bit of hardware is very nice indeed! I unscrewed it and got to work on the pieces.

I will say that the first bit I rubbed with Barkeeper’s Friend was the one that cleaned up the best overall, but it all came out looking so bright and classy!

I had some glass knobs left over from the set I bought and used as finials for the curtain rods I conceptualized (read: my husband executed) in the kitchen, a while back. They are probably a smidge too big but I think they are pretty! I’m deep in Use What You Have territory here.

I wanted to get this up into a room where there was actually light (as opposed to the pantry, which is out of the way for painting but is pretty dark). I did the touch-ups right here in the morning sun.

And look! There are little brass caps on the front feet of this piece too! Gave them a little rub and they look pretty schnazzy, I think!

The thing about this particular kind of paint is that it covers very well and as I suspected, the poor surface of the top is hardly noticeable once painted and things put on it. The truth is, I could have put a lot of energy into getting it closer to perfect, but it’s not worth it to me for a piece of furniture that will a) be covered mostly and b) barely register on anyone’s consciousness in a room they are likely to approach in near darkness anyway. Once it’s in place, it just is. It’s not a living-room piece and even if it were, it fits right in with my chippy existence!

The “before” pic of the top is as far as we got with finishing the top, other than a bit more hand sanding. This is fine for my purposes, i.e. getting this thing out of the garage and into a bedroom!

By the way, I am not a fan of painting furniture, however minimally paid for, that has good wood. I don’t agree with the “someone was going to throw it out so who cares” point of view — it depends on the piece! Some people do throw out things they should not, and beautiful wood is what it is!

And I really so far have not seen anything I’ve liked that has been stripped with Easy Off — the new trend with furniture flippers on social media. I think it looks terrible! It makes me want to cry! I’ve been doing furniture hacks a long time, and I have my own methods. But if we’re talking about lame and/or peeling veneer on low-end items, or other fatal issues, paint it is.

Here I’m “styling” it a bit differently to give you ideas of how to overcome the imperfect top (if not the impossible photographical situation). The floor in here is dark green, by the way, and obviously could use a touch-up!

Despite the photography issues, not doing justice to the cuteness here, really, I hope that anyway, you do get the idea. Most of the furniture in my house is obtained this way, and maybe seeing the simplicity of the process might help you if you are unsure of how it’s done. As Mr. O’Reilly says in Fawlty Towers, “Lick o’ paint! Lick o’ paint!”

bits & pieces

  • I’m a bit scandalized by people telling other people to throw food out just because it’s past its sell-by date! Use your common sense, people. Canned and otherwise properly wrapped, stored, and cooked, food lasts a long time, generally speaking. Read up on it and also make your own observations.
  • It’s true: people used to whistle a lot, and really don’t anymore! When I was young I could whistle a tune pretty well, but I never even came close to the skill of the loud warning or alerting whistle using two fingers or just your tongue. My stepmother, who was 4′ 11″ (in heels), could summon my father from his third-floor office at the university from the lawn below! My one regret is not being able to whistle really loudly!

from the archives

liturgical living

  • Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Lent, and a good time to laugh at ourselves for how difficult things have been so far! The hardest four days of the year, in my opinion! One gets so flabby, spiritually and in every other way! Despite all our best intentions, we have already to begin again! If you’re patting yourself on the back, well, then your work is cut out for you in beginning again!

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