Monday, February 25, 2013

Early Monday morning Sunday song

The readings were good, so was the music, but what I most remember was Fr. MacNeil telling the joke about hitting the donkey in the head with a 2x4 to get his attention. He's told it before and always gets the laugh.  Maybe I needed the lumber. I was scraping paint off my dining room floor, adding more paint to it, gluing legs, attaching table tops, and working on the big project, so I missed the midnight post.

Today the song I chose is Today, by New World Son.  It's a tune I hear on 95.5 now and again, and immediately pull over if I'm driving, to listen. It's about letting God take the lead, without the 2x4.

Give a listen. Catchy.  You'll be hummin' it.


Calling it a day on the sofa table.  I talked my hand out of adding anymore spices to the mix.

Before refresher, flaky, peeling, neglected.

This table was an easy rescue. 

Salvaged and restored at a consignment shop, soon to be listed on Craigslist.

Loved how the grooves took the glaze. 

Little toe action.

It will soon be listed on Craigslist.


I finally finished the snaggle-toothed edged table and attached the top.  I was waiting for divine intervention to tell me another solution.  I did get rid of the blue on it.  It reminded me too much of young girls trying to get people's attention by dying a section of their hair some unusual color.

Looking good.  Reinforced the section between where I took out the swivel movement.  Solid now.

Listed for sale on Craigslist.


We had a great turnout for Liam's game on Saturday.  He won.  No photos of his shots, assists, driving down the lane, menacing the opponents (who play on his team in other sports). Plenty of little faces in this rooting section. Only 6 family members were missing from this impromptu gathering (out of 30-ish).

It was hard to tell whose was who's as the little people kept getting handed off (sports talk).

The kids liked the action-hated the buzzer.

No 2x4's needed here....everyone was paying attention.

As ever,
La Verne

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I'm more than just Irish

You may have gotten the hint from the diversity of flags I made for the grandkids at Christmas. My Dad's side was Swedish and Norwegian, and of course, there is Pete, who is ALL SWEDISH. He's got the flag, the trip to the homeland, the language, but, the only Swedish furniture he has is from IKEA.  Enter the Swedish chair!  I was poking around in the garage when I got really tired of painting WHITE things and found this cool chair.  Need I actually say it's a Ken-chair?  Here is a before photo:

I have been itching to paint something Mustard Seed ever since I changed the drawer coffee table to black.

Well, tonight was the night, while watching library videos of The Mentalist, I painted, distressed, waxed and buffed this chair. No fabric on the seat yet, so not officially done until tomorrow.

A close-up of the distressing. [Did not use sander]

The turquoise does not show as well here and I may go with a darker shade, but I really love the character of this piece.  Look at the sheen.  Mmmmmmmm.  I know Sweden is going to want their chair back.


The Claire dresser is completed, just curing overnight.  She was looking for one to fit into her closet as the wall space was already inhabited by a couple of beds and a desk.  This is the before:

This is a l i t t l e dresser

Just a simple pine thing with no definition.

I cut lattice wood and glued it to frame each drawer.

I didn't have enough clamps so weighed it down with paint cans and the largest food cans I had in the pantry.

This is how she turned out.

It looks like a different dresser.

I painted the knobs as close as I could match to her wall color.

Scratch a finished one off the list.


This is just a gratuitous picture of the walleye I had for supper that Larry's dad caught in Lake Erie.  Delicious.


A little before reminder of the sofa table with the hygiene problem:

Photo of what it looked like after the base coat,  [See Claire's dresser behind it.]

I'm not sure if I'm really done with it. It feels like something is missing.

I may just paint it a basil color and glaze it again.

It is certainly 100% better, but needs more color.

It's as though I'm a kid again and discovered the box of 48 crayons, why color with just the box of 8?

There are a couple of projects that I HAVE to finish tomorrow, pillows I've promised and general clean-up of sawdust and scraping paint chips off the floor, then a day of family fun, and a day of rest.


Back when I was a kid, there was a show on TV called, Queen for a Day. An older woman with short tightly curled hair, pointy glasses and some sort of belted dress would be chosen from the audience to receive a washer and/or dryer and got to wear a crown and a sweaty old cape and sit on a throne.  If I could be queen for a day, I'd rather hand wash my clothes and get a new chop saw and some longer wood clamps. Priorities, you know.

It's only about 5 days til my big announcement on March 1st, at 12:01 AM. I hope you can stay awake for it.

As ever,
La Verne

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I did not fall off the planet

I've just been plenty busy.  The real grandmother went on vacation this week with her sisters, so I've been busy with the twinks after school learning about fractions.  Whatever I said I had in the hopper, add four more or so.  Nothing is finished, but I will give you a bit of a preview:

This was the camouflage base. I've been playing around with the old pine flooring.

I sort of drew up a pattern (like quilting-but not fabric).  Here it is half painted.

Painted and distressed but not completed.  Tomorrow will mount to 'base' board and then to actual base.

This was a treasure of a sofa table-love the lines.

Scrubbed with dishwasher detergent and sanded it good-(this is still a before). Really need a good bath.

All the flaking came off. Looking better, just the base coat.  You will love it tomorrow (or so).

Claire's new dresser.  Shopped for months online for exact dimensions.  I can't wait to show you how it will look next.  NOT just getting a paint job.

What could this be?  Cinderella WILL be going to several balls.


Just wanting you to know how great Craigslist is, and the people you meet there who become good friends and great networking resources.  You meet them again and again, and they point you in directions you never would have taken otherwise. Thoroughly loving my new life. Next week the real grandmother returns to safeguard the kid-lings and the "back-up" grandma goes back to painting.

Till next time,
La Verne

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Intercepted on the way into church

It's hard for me to claim having been to church today, because I was, and I wasn't. As I was switching my phone off, in the parking lot, it rang. Was I supposed to let it go to voice mail? I knew what it was going to be about, a young person making the wrong decisions when there were clearly more right roads to take.  I answered. I listened. I shared. We talked most of what would have been mass time.  A dilemma was averted, but it was hardly church. I looked online to see what the readings were that I missed and I chose this for my Sunday song.

The gospel, about "not living by bread alone" is in the later verses of this tune written by Karen Lafferty, formerly of the Maranatha Singers; and this song is sung by an un-credited children's group, unlike the 40 others I listened to before choosing this one.  Centuries ago, I taught a Children's Choir and this was one of our favorite songs.  We sang it accompanied by simple piano, in a round, and it was one of the offerings we presented at the Padua High School singing competition. I could impress you with our excellence by saying that we came in first in that competition.  However, to be honest, we were the only grade school that entered.  The rest were high schools.  There was something about the pure, soulful innocence of those 50 or so kids that convinced the judges to pick us, over the polished vocals of the older students.  I do not think any recordings exist of those days, as anything I would have hung onto perished in our post-Christmas blaze of 1997.  I closed my eyes today though and pretended this was my my heart.  It is, of course, Seek Ye First.

"Seek ye first, the kingdom of God, and His righteousness. And all these things shall be added onto you. Allelu, alleluia.  Man shall not live by bread alone, But by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Allelu, alleluia."


I'm not clear on what is the exact definition of the phrase, "hot mess", but I'm going to show you a photo of an object that I think, is, a "hot mess".  Probably no explanation is necessary, but I will bore you with one, anyway. Especially, since I promised finished projects (even though the time I had defied that logic) and I have none.  Here is one of the ones that I said would be CRAZY-with issues.

This camouflage coffee table probably has a really good back story, like living in a kid's tree house, or secret garden, or boyhood home of Rambo, but  all I really know is that it is a gift from my good buddy, Ken.  He could have transformed this piece into something amazing, I'm sure, but gave me first crack.  And, the vision I have uses all my former life skills, including, filleting fish .

Someone spent a good amount of time painting, this way and that, on the sturdy, bamboo base.

As you can see, the top is laminate over pressed board, which has swollen from moisture. I separated the base from the top and dispatched it IMMEDIATELY!  Sometimes, things are just trash.  I am giddy over the plans I have for the new top.  Think quilting, but without fabric. The base will be stripped and painted, and attached to a new face tomorrow.  Stay tuned.


I wanted to share with you a tip for re-doing the insides of dresser drawers that are scratched and you are contemplating putting CONTACT paper over it.  DON'T.  DO IT.  Take a little denatured alcohol on a rag and wipe over it.  It will redistribute the shellac enough to cover the scratches, and you won't have harmed the universe by unnecessarily cutting down a plastic CONTACT tree.  Here is a before view:

And after:  It literally took me 30 seconds and look at the difference.

I also want to put in a plug for our community Habitat for Humanity ReStores.  The one I frequent is on 110th off of Lorain, but I hear good things about the Akron and Medina stores, [although they have fewer hours.] It is open 10-4, Tuesday through Saturday. Builders, construction trades, and other kind people donate their goods and time to fill these shops with excess building materials, tear-outs, and other miscellaneous that have to be seen to be fully appreciated.  And for prices so reasonable that they are almost giving it away.  Take for instance, this box of shoe tacks I purchased for $.30.  There must be over 400 tacks in there and I used them on the bottoms of the above drawers to tighten them up. Winning! (I swear, I hardly ever watched that show.)  I know you think shoe tacks should be used for shoes, but who goes around wearing shoe mold on their New Balance?

This is a close-up of the box. and if that isn't an understatement..."honest value".

Next tip:  I cleaned the old hardware on the sapphire dresser and see how dull it looked?   

I got my secret recipe bottle out that I used on the wood pulleys and look at the difference.

I loves me my chemicals!


Okay, enough learnin' for tonight.  Talk to you soon.

As ever,
La Verne

Friday, February 15, 2013

Flying without a net

This post is neither about flying, fishing nor acrobatics.  It is about having more confidence in yourself than you have a right to, and plodding on without a compass in a sea of quicksand.  That said, here are today's presentations:

A friend asked me to perform some magic on her son's desk.  I don't know the history on it, but his name starts with an "H" and there was a deeply carved "K" on the top, right near the front writing surface. That eliminated refinishing the top in a wood finish and painting the rest of the desk black, which was the request.  Bondo is the best woodworker's aid in having to fill holes-better than any wood filler out there. And it worked.  The "K" is no where to be seen.  There is a sculpted wood trim around the edge that took the stain nicely, and I though that would be the token wood finish.  Here is a before:

And after.

The lighting makes it appear to be a deep brown, but it is a deep charcoal, called Stealth Jet by Behr.  

The more I thinned it the better it went on with barely a brush stroke.  One of these days, I'll gift myself with an electric paint sprayer, but until then, this will be my method.

This is a really neat desk-a lot of trim molding and even the back is finished.

Truer to the color, but still much darker.  I sprayed the handles in quick succession with a pewter hammered paint, followed by black, which gave it a nice mottling.  Now, it has to cure for a few days and it will be out the door.


The next piece was something I got (happily) talked into at a house sale.  It originally had a top that spun around which made no sense.  As it spun, it show the unfinished rectangular base. Still, I thought it a workable piece.  First of all, we took the spinning mechanism off to use on a project down the line, then I had Paddy tighten the legs. Next, it was painted the same stealth color as the desk.  [Use the colors you love]  I distressed it a bit, stained it and coated it with a poly.  The top was a bit snaggled so I Bondo'd it, sanded it, and glued the loose parts-firm as anything.  Then it sat, until Alisa said (not even having seen it), "Why don't you Pottery Barn it?"  That mean't attaching a faux leather with 3M' Super 77 adhesive (this is not a paid testimonial).  Let me show you the BEFORE before I go any further:

See, not bad from the front, but then.....

Look at the alligator teeth on the left side.

This is the look now, and yes, I did put a smidgen of the sapphire paint on the sides, as there was no one nearby to rip the brush out of my hand and stop me from doing it.  I may change it....

Okay, now look at the top.  I fit the fabric so it covered the edges in a couple inches, marked the inside and sprayed the 77.  It is a strong adhesive and you don't have much 'play' time.  It also needs to go down in the exact spot, unlike wallpaper that can shift around a bit.  Then I took a plastic food spatula and worked the top of the 'leather' from the inside toward the outside.  Like 'buddah'. It turned easy and layed down pretty well on the other side.  I used very few staples, just at the corners.

[See how nice the blue tall boy looks behind it.  Forgot to list it the other day, if you were looking for it.]

Next I measured where the brad tacks would go and marked each.  Do you ever notice that whenever you try to put tacks on something you have to throw every third one away.  Well, nuts to that!  I used an awl and gave it a couple of hits on each mark before I put the tacks on.  Only ruined 1 tack and that was before I went with the new method. I figure the tack is too long and narrow to take that much hammer abuse, why not let the awl act as a pre-drill. This will be on C'list tonight.


I have a million things to do the next few days so I won't post until Sunday night, but I think my next projects are going to be really CRAZY.  I looked at a couple of pieces in my garage that are just begging, "ME, ME next!" And believe me they have ISSUES!  I am in great need of FUN.  Real fun. Not the 'fun' kind.....

"If you're lost and alone, Or you're sinking like a stone, Carry on.  May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground, Carry on".  [One of my new favs from the musical group, fun]

'Night 'yall.
La Verne

PS  That remark about flying without a net....whatever project I'm involved in, I plunge ahead as though I have all the knowledge and skills necessary for the task.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  [Ouch, that cliche hurt my fingers to type]  Every day I dive headlong into things I have no business even attempting, but most times-they are successful.  I bet a net would be fun.