Wednesday, September 10, 2014



                                                                                and the flag was still there.......

As ever,
La Verne
still salvaged

Monday, September 1, 2014

Paint minus the "t"

**Spoiler alert**

This post contains graphic descriptions of things unrelated to anything involving wood construction or painting. It does pertain to rebuilding in the ortho-integumentary sense. According to Wikipedia, the knee joint, joins the thigh and the leg on two separate articulations, one being between the femur and the tibia, and the other between the femur and the patella. It is the largest joint in the human body. Some males might disagree, but they are not party to this post. Wiki further states that the knee joint is "vulnerable to both acute injury and the development of osteoarthritis." So, so true.

The knee joint courtesy of Wikipedia

I've known some physical pain in my life. I'm sure others have known greater, and I defer to that. I have never been struck by a train, fallen from an airplane, had a heart attack or a stroke, or crashed a motorcycle with my face. I have however, had 4 impacted wisdom teeth (each with 5 roots) pulled at a single sitting. "Tooth hurty." I've given birth to 5 of my 7 children without anesthesia, the last being an eleven-plus pounder, in 2 pushes. "Child's play." At 7 months pregnant with my 4th child, I stepped onto a ladder at 2nd floor level that became airborne, and landed on my head and spine. "Two months of mental illness and a healthy nine-plus pounder (three pushes)." I tore my medial collateral as the anchor in a tug of war. "Three months in a leg immobilizer..." I had a swath of BC removed and the 6 week daily radiating of that quadrant. "The cure was worse than the disease...think seared raw steak."
THEN, I had 3 knee injuries in less than a year that left me barely able to walk. "Think crawling on broken glass." The MRI showed, end stage osteoarthritis and macerated meniscus. "That is equivalent to chewing a piece of meat, and its texture just before you swallow." During that time, I've said "Oh my Jesus" more than a thousand times a day. Not every doctor softens to crying and begging for a new joint. And NOW I UNDERSTAND WHY!
Knee replacement surgery is not for the faint of heart. Nor for the weak kneed, or people addicted to easy times. It is the DEVIL. My daughter, Bethany described me afterwards as "Doing Awesome". I rather think of it as "Some kind of Shock and Awe." It's brutal! After 28 days, I was waiting for the bad times to get better, but oxy and its kin only provide so much relief.
People ask, "When are you having the other knee done? Do you ask a woman on a birthing table after she's just delivered, when is she having her next child? I have learned to sleep when sleep comes, rather than expecting it throughout the night when phantom pounding radiates throughout the leg. The leg must have a good memory of sawing, chiseling, hammering and sewing, and wants that recollection kept.
My range of motion numbers are good, and my physical therapist is a bulldog. I will eventually find a place where this procedure seemed like a good idea. I know that my past labors' pain gave me fruitful produce. I hope this follows suit.
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August 6th..(2 days after...)                            

This morning...

I have many people to thank for their help during this adventure. First, God, of course and the many people that prayed for my full recovery. My orthopedic surgeon, his staff, the great nurses, therapists, cleaning people, food servers, roommates and aides at MetroHealth Medical Center, my neighbors and friends who brought me meals, took in my mail, and cut my grass. Thanks to my children who kept vigil, bought groceries, built handrails, took down doors to accommodate walkers, hooked up showers, cleaned my house, picked up prescriptions, and drove me to therapies. To my sister, Therese, who trekked from Maryland to feed me, launder my belongings, beautify my yard and take me along so she could partake in Michael Symon's Lola. I appreciate it all immensely.

I'll quit whining now and have some "T"ea with my pain.

As ever,
La Verne
Hopefully Salvaged

Monday, June 30, 2014

My green phase.......

I've been doctoring a lot lately. Not by choice. It seems all my professional people have retired or are on medical leave, so they have advised that I break in new people. Not being a "doctor" person, I find this off-putting. Their fingers click away as though I'm telling them something different than the volumes that went before them. My mantra is always the same...fix my broken knees! Enough about that.


This blog should have been posted a week ago, but lacked photos. It still lacks photos, but I'll go with what I have and change them out as they become available. Starting off with a little plant stand that my friend Lynn was looking to re-home. 

It is now a sage distressed and all the screws are tightened.Don't you love hydrangeas? This is from daughter Alisa's last years crop and this year is even better.

A coffee table and two end tables transformed in a custom mix of grey and green tones.  I bartered work on these for some old college lockers. More on those in a few weeks. They require some major carpentry and that part of me is on hiatus.

 This little item was found on the curb. Nice Jacobean structure, but badly cigarette burned and scratched. Unless you have spectacular vision, this seems like a "pass-me-by"".

It had a beautiful inlay. Who even does that on furniture anymore? It had been water logged and had raised panels, and virtually no color remained.

I sanded the top and scraped any loose varnish. It is not wise to sand too deep. An overzealous hand will tap into the next layer and ruin the surface. Cleaned thoroughly. 

I painted an undercoat of a diluted Van Dyke Brown and put a wood conditioner on top so that the stain would spread evenly. The richness reminds me of a mahogany. 

 I then topped it with the green-gray mix ever so lightly. I wanted the deep channels to remain chocolate-y.

 If you could only see it in person. Maybe someone will have mercy on me and shoot me a photo. 

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This table reminds me of the old poem, The Touch of the Master's Hand, by Myra Brooks Welch, wherein an auctioneer can barely get three dollars for a dusty old scarred violin, until a man enters from the back of the room and plays as the angels might.The instrument then is auctioned for several thousand dollars. It ends with....

"And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin, is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin. A "mess of pottage", a glass of wine; a game - and he travels on. "He is going once", and "going twice", He's "going, and almost gone." But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd, never can quite understand, the worth of a soul and the change that's wrought, by the touch of the Master's hand." 

My comparison is just to say that a little love and elbow grease can save a multitude of craftsmanship from the crusher.


My friend Michelle also had this desk from her husband's family that she painted white and stuck in the garage. She was hoping I could turn it into a kitchen island. I removed the feet thinking I could put them back on the new base, but they were not wide enough for the casters.[The blue base cart I'm working off of is something Alisa found on a curb.]

First I had to glue several of the drawers-nice tongue and groove. Note to self: Get some longer wood clamps.

This desk has marvelous detail. It reminded me of art deco or a 1940's movie markee.

This is upside down. My friends, Lynn and Tom, had a 9 FOOT plywood board that I cut a new base off of and screwed on movable 4" locking casters. I jigged the edges to make a plateau effect.

Note the back is finished also, so it can present anywhere. It rolls like a dream. The casters may have come off of a hospital or a morgue gurney.

It doesn't even look like the same top.

I built a new shelf for storage and primed in a brown paint.

This color is called Lemon Smoke and was given to me by friend, Lisa. I wish you could truly suck in the flavor of this color. My borrowed camera went back to its owner for a fishing trip to Gloucester, Mass. The menfolk from Ohio catch eatable fish-unlike the Arizona "catch-and-releasers".

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Much deeper in person!


I will give you a few days to chew on this and then tell about my trip to "West, By God". It is full of elves, fairies, angels, Samaritans, paint, cows, fish, gum, tires, rain, movies, prayers, games, but no cell towers.

Talk to you soon.

34 days and counting...
As ever,
La Verne

Friday, June 6, 2014

Plan B

There is nothing quite like being invited to stay at someone's house to attend Max and Blair's wedding shower and then messing the house up. Badly. I have this problem with always being busy. I thought I could relax, but no, It seems I can't. Fortunately, the shower was at Blair's Family House, which had no mess.


I didn't bring any tools with me so we had to hunt in the garage and make several trips to the HD for supplies. The trouble is, NO ONE ASKED ME to fix their table. My sister uses table cloths that cover any imperfections. It's like the Bible story, getting the speck out of someone else's eye when I had a plank in my own.

This corner piece of the table where the veneer had pulled away was bothering me. When we all gather to play Telestrations (FUN GAME-buy it), it was not a good surface to draw on. Hence the bee in my bonnet.

Therese had refinished the table years before, but at that time the leaves were not with it so they still had the original stain still on. The table came to them by way of the basement when they bought the house. 

I added a newly made veneer piece out of some kind of wood that was stapled to the bottom of the end cap. I sanded the glue off and used a razor and cut through both layers of wood for a tight fit.

Trouble is....after stripping, sanding and staining, it looked like crap! Far worse than it did when I started.

In the sanding process, I went through another layer of veneer which showed through the crossgrain. Yuck.


I watched FROZEN for the 6th time, thinking, thinking, thinking, then decided to go in another direction. When I think of my sister, besides her being loving, generous and funny. I also think of the BEACH. I could rescue the table if I made it look like something one would find at the beach.

I had picked up a 50 cent Oops cream colored paint in a little pint version and painted the top and the leaves. Next, I sanded again, tacked, and used a special walnut version of MW over the entire table and rubbed it dry. [See the seam on the end cap? That is where I pieced the replacement veneer]

I LOVE IT. Not sure how the family is taking it though as there was (and probably still is) S A W D U S T everywhere.  

The grain of the wood took on a whole different appearance. 

Therese is going to sand and second coat it as I had to get on the road again. Time to go home. What do they say about fish and guests after a week?

I love it when a (non) plan comes together.


Among the gifts we brought for the shower was a homemade First Aid Kit. I bought an old metal document box at Salvation Army for $1.99 and painted it up with the Red Cross symbol similar to this box I saw on Susan at Homeroad's blog. 

metal first aid box

 Check her out at:

Below is my interpretation.......

{The blotchiness of this photo is sawdust)

I filled it with all sorts of rescue remedies, mostly for Max's sports injuries. While at the outdoor wedding shower, a guest got stung by a bee. The kit's Benedryl was put to good use immediately.


Update on little Adam:

Since his two hospital stays, he has improved rapidly and miraculously. He is this moment jetting to Finland and Denmark with his family for his Dad's work conference and family vacation. Thank you all for your prayers.

As ever,
La Verne

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The "reveal"

Today's post is more about love and family than it is about furniture and competition. Sure there was a friendly rivalry between The Salvaged Boutique and Hope and Salvage, but to dive first into that reveal would be burying the lead.


My young, grandson, who turned 1 in October, was diagnosed a week ago with Kawasaki's Disease. After a 5-day temperature of 105 degrees, and tentative diagnosis of Roseola, the doctors at Nationwide Children's Hospital, gave Pete and Angie a new axis to spin their world on. Adam came home from the hospital yesterday for the second time, after receiving 2 transfusions of ivig. KD is an autoimmune, orphan disease of unknown origin that has good recovery if caught early. Some of the complications are heart disease and arthritis. Adam was the picture of health on Easter.

In two weeks time, he was this sick little fellow.

Photo: That was fun.  Wish we could just go home. :(

His joints were swollen and he could not walk. A rash covered his whole body and his lips were cracked and blood red. His eyes were pink. And his skin kept peeling. Every 15 minutes they gowned and checked his vitals. Adam the Terror was missing...


At the same time, a family member was in a toxic situation, and rescued by a sibling a thousand miles away. Deus ex Machina, stepped in, and with tough love, removed the obstacle of the "not so good street" and tossed the life ring. Still a work in progress, but at least now there is a horizon!


These things, and other serious matters, consumed my mind and my heart this past week, not the rescuing of furniture. However, "today is the day, my mountain is waiting" ...


My computer, (which contains all my staging photos), has its idiosyncrasies and chooses to work (or not) at will. Serendipity prevailed and today is a working day! Here is a look at the before of my antique, upcycled, file cabinet before the start of the competition

We each started with a 1918, Berloy, single stacking steel file drawer, and had carte blanche to refurbish as desired.

My first trip was to Habitat for Humanity's ReStore for supplies. I found a large oak drawer marked $10 with a 25% reduction on everything in the store. Checking the receipt later I noticed that instead of $7.50, they only charged me .75.  [Will have to ante` up on my next trip.] The drawer tipped sideways would be the crux of my base. I had gotten some industrial casters for $6. each from a salvage guy on Craigslist. A friend had given me an old wooden lawnmower box, that I knew would be perfect for making the lower storage box, and the rest of which I planned to use to cover the exterior of the pieces, interspersed with lath boards, which have become sort of a signature for me. Total expenses for this project was less than $25.00.

My studio, the day after Easter, hence the fairly clean background.

I knew it was going to become a utility cart and somehow, I would work in some storage baskets.

I started laying out my lath boards and tried not to cut until I was certain, as there is a scarcity of them in the Cleveland area right now.

I sort of taped pieces into place to get the feeling for someone "else" thinking this was a wonderful, usable cart.

I started to sand the old paint off and realized that Stripeeze worked faster and leave fewer scars on the metal. Toxicity be damned, as I am already on borrowed time.

Son Ryan helped me attach the casters. Always dry spin before attaching to see if there is enough space to spin freely. I used old yellow pine molding from a tear-out I found on Craigslist, on W. 78th, to trim out the openings

I used Bondo to patch holes from drawer dividers before painting interior with leftovers of an Oops paint.

Not being sure how the cart was eventually going to be used, I poly-urethaned with Minwax. I hope to enter this cart in the Minwax competition (currently running). The theme is "I did that because...". 
My statement is...

Minwax is one hundred years old this year, and the company refers to "quality craftsmanship" in the advertising of their products. Although I've had some issues with their "high build" urethane, overall, I can depend on their product, and they are quick to rectify any problems. Well, "quick-ish". 

UPDATE:  I TRIED to enter this piece in the Minwax competition, however, they never posted it to their site for judging. So, I add to my observations about Minwax, "dependable-ish".

Originally, I had intended to go with a glossy red and a fancy script for a coffee cart, BUT, I don't drink coffee, therefore do not feel I should promote it. The turquoise-y color fell into place as it was the color that the lath boards had been painted some 90 years ago.

I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. Many hours passed listening to books on tape, while I measured and painted away. I've found that visiting dogs can adjust to the constant whine of a compound miter saw and like tolerate it. 

I always wonder why so many bloggers show every possible angle of their item. And, here I am, Miss Copycat.  

Bethany helped me stage the cart for possible uses. It was hard not to get a glare on the microwave glass. The shadows on the side were inescapable. Well, you would know why if you saw the room. Think clown car.

It spins like a top and is extremely versatile. I made it modular so the top could be removable. I fit the shanks into small grooves so that it just lifts off. 

The wire basket holding the 'bagels' has hooks on the back and can be shifted as needed. 

Liking the sleek lines and the "lucking" out on all fronts.

In the interests of 'keeping it real', I did not strip the top back of the cabinet due to lack of time when emergencies arose, but I intend to, because I am really fond of the industrial look. I hope to be able to show this at the Westlake Antique Show on July 20th. Beyond that, I don't know. I seldom keep anything for myself, but this one, I may. I still have two other file drawers that are awaiting only my imagination.

I used the end of the box and attached it to another wooden box I used for small wood storage and it was the perfect size to slide in and out of the front. (see below) I added felt sliders.

To see the reveal at The Salvaged Boutique, click Upcycle Challenge Reveal {The Party Cooler Cart}  Kathy and her crew did an awesome job on their Party Cooler Cart. Neither of us like deadlines, but were equally excited about the opportunity to work together. Thanks, Kathy! We had some remarkable similarities, even though neither had a glimpse of what the other was doing aside from the teases.

  versus     hope and salvage sign


The above is only a furniture reveal. My real revelation is that I was blessed with the very best family in the world. My children and their spouses are the best parents I could ever dream of. No Mother's or Father's Day tribute could adequately elaborate all the lengths they go to for their offspring and each other. We all took turns sharing* little "Big Sister Emilia" age 2+ during this emergency (*as well as the in-laws).  

Right now, my cup runneth over...

Ever grateful,
La Verne

Linked to The Sunday Showcase No. 245 at Under the Table and Dreaming

By Stephanie Lynn


Beyond The Picket Fence