Friday, September 25, 2015

Life on a tilt

Does the dust ever quit? Sawdust I mean. It's everywhere. My sister just parted with my dad's old industrial finish sander. It's the same one I used on her beach dining room table last year. It sands in less than half the time, and creates twice the dust. I can only use it every other day as it is so heavy my hands need a day to recover from lifting it.

This past Christmas I handcrafted these little sailboat ornaments in lieu of actual presents. Most everyone I know is aware that bucks are always in short supply here and scrap wood and creative ideas are plentiful. Each one had the name of the recipient painted on the stern and their birth date on the sail.

I wish I would have taken a money shot of a finished one, but this is all I've got.


Friend Bob surprised his son Jake with this headboard I painted with the Union Jack for him.

This was a heavy dark pine headboard from the '70's that fellow artist Ken gave me.

As an afterthought I stenciled and hand painted a Def Leppard sign to go above his bed as he is a FAN.


I needed more dressers when the relatives moved in so pulled this paint storage chest in from the coat room. It was a ReStore buy for $15.00.

G'daughter Rachel chose the colors and helped me paint this colorful piece. It now lodges in her bedroom full of Arizona clothes. Wait til we get a real temperature drop and some folks are going to have to go clothes shopping.

I love this dresser. I had planned to do something outrageous with it but no time. Rachel decided there were too many scratches on the top, so.....

Downstairs it came for a re-do. This only shows the subtle difference, but that same girl stripped this piece and restored it. By herself. 


When I got this little chair with the broken caning I thought if I watched enough You Tube videos I could bring it back to life and pick up another life skill. Truth is getting shorter and there is not enough time to learn that many new things.

I rebuilt the seat with wood and padded it. Tune in next week to see how I distressed and upholstered it.


Kat's brother Mike found this vintage green cabinet in a hoarder's house that he was restoring and asked if I could refurbish it. No problem. It ended up looking better but still had no personality.

I removed all the hardware and wire-brushed it, planed the bottom of the door and mostly stripped the drawer fronts. Now it looks like this.....

I sanded down until I exposed a deep green and some of the old pine, but leaving some of the chippy-ness of the sage color.


This desk was another $15.00 find at ReStore. I cleaned, painted, and stenciled it for a new look.  One of the teenagers took it over. Yes, sawdust on the top.


Mike gave me this old oak dresser that was left behind in another house he was working on. I refinished the top and drawer fronts and painted the rest of it a dark linen color that was a combination of Oop's colors. There were not enough matching handles so I went through my stash and miss-matched for an eclectic look.


This next one was a fun piece. If you remember last year I took apart a curb-find oak dresser and was going to use it for firewood but my daughter stopped me.

 I cut the top off the dresser and it became the new vanity for Craigslist friend Gina. We headed down to ReStore and found these old radiator parts and I fashioned them into THIS. I got some angle iron from HD and added a lower shelf of old pine flooring.

Gina's dad mounted a vessel sink on top for an industrial look. Here are a couple of finished pics.

I hope she is enjoying her mega sweet new bathroom.


Lastly, this little ragged piece was begging to return to whatever decade it dropped in from.

Alas, Tommy needed a hanging cabinet to keep his manscaping equipment in so I re-fashioned it. I cut off the top and bottom and snagged a bamboo side to use as a top for it. I still hope to add some black pipe with elbows underneath for a towel hanger. Thanks Ken for the many surprises you always send my way.

My most favorite and dreaded amusement park ride as a kid was the Tilt-a-Whirl. I was thrilled at the prospect of riding on it, yet wanted to throw up at the same time.  It gave me a headache and threw me off kilter. Such is my world at present; exciting yet roaring out of control. If only I had a corn dog.

As ever,
La Verne

PS I still have a plethora of projects that I worked on (on my year away). Now that I have a computer resource in residence I should get back to a regular schedule of posting. You know I'm kidding, there is no regular about me.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Lets start with Marilyn.....

Picture heavy.....worth the buffering wait!

Several months ago, a friend called and wanted to surprise her daughter with a Marilyn Monroe dresser for her birthday. A thousand online dresser views later via Craigslist and E-BAY, thrift store hunts, and a shout-outs to friends, this came the closest to my specifications. The top drawer on most dressers is the smallest. But, Marilyn's head required at least 9 1/2 inches. I could cut off her stubby polished toes but could not slice her face. I wanted no separations between the drawers and settled on this vintage piece from a Cleveland thrift store.

After refinishing the wood parts that I wanted to preserve, and painting the shell black [shows up gray until lacquered] I was ready to tackle applying the poster.

A better camera would show the real glitter of this glamour dresser, but I was pleased with the results.


A curb find from my friend, Ken...this desk had a bottom drawer with no back. No problem-made a new one.

Pardon the views, just turn sideways if you need to see if standing upright. This is how I work on it for gluing and clamping.

Soon off to niece Meredith's house.


Lilah wanted her Formica-topped pine desk with broken knob to have a new look.


 and....After. Color is Scotland Road for a Scottish family.


I got a couple of these metal storage chests from another Craigslist friend, Stephanie. I thought they would be great for blankets and could hide them in plain sight. 

For the first one I chose my go-to first aid logo which I wrapped around so it would look good from any angle. Check back in a few weeks to see what the other becomes.


This dresser came to my house in early May. Kathleen was hoping to pick up some tips on distressing and refinishing it herself to become the vanity for her bathroom. Well, it became a fixture in several rooms in my house until this week. She developed some pretty severe shoulder problems and could not work on it past day one. 

Fortunately, day one was stripping the top. Winning.... 

In person, the glass knobs sparkle. The direct sunlight hides the blue-green-grey highlights.


This mid century dresser was a gift from friend Traci. Originally I did not have much hope for restoring this piece. It smelled musty and had some veneer problems. Besides, it was HEAVY. When I finally took it apart I understood why. Really good furniture have dust boards between the drawers and this had it in spades. Plus, the bottom drawer was lined with cedar and had a hinged lift up panel for storing sweaters and such.

I stripped off about 5 layers of lead paint. 

Finally, I just used a razor blade and chipped it off.

The drawer fronts and top I stained and poly'd. The rest, [after I had my brown base], I painted a medium gray and then Indian Red and distressed for some surprise color.

 Before working on it I suggested this dresser to about 10 people. All declined. Just like The Little Red Hen, I decided to keep it for myself as my dressers were given up in the relative relocation.


I love the color of this little Ombre` chest. Ken found it and I thought it would be more interesting minus the top drawer (which is in my studio filled with little Oop's paint). I lined the shelf with luan and the drawers with a Chinese wallpaper. (Sorry no before picture)


When you stumble across an odd shaped piece of wood that is ready to be pitched in the wood stove, consider first the possibilities as a non-heat source. 

It turns out this was really a watermelon!


These chairs were painted white and a gift from Cindy who/whom I met on Craigslist. She wanted to buy a chair I had posted. In the end, I traded the chair for these 2 which I ended up painting and upholstering for my niece Meredith. Cindy also gave me two paint sprayers. I was definitely the winner.

Her father called me later and entrusted me with the restoration of his childhood chair. He gifted it to her for her birthday. 

The condition of the rush seat would not hold another child's bottom in its current state. I heated some boiled linseed oil and penetrated both sides of the seat. Then I wiped it with a tung oil. What a transformation.

Friend Lynn added "Dad's" childhood nickname.

My friend Ken (again) found me this Mid century table that had contact paper stuck to the top glass.

I was not able to get the marks out of the glass so removed it and instead attached my signature lath boards.

The table now graces Bethy's guest room as a side table.


One morning Ken (friend of all, especially the planet) texted me on his way to work that this credenza was sitting on the curb in Lakewood. He warned that he could hear the trash trucks in the neighborhood. 

Believe me, I am NOT FAST anymore, but I beat the garbage truck by taking the freeway and racing through 5 suburbs. I had trouble wrangling it into my van so the owner helped me. I bought her breakfast.

It found a new residence in Kim's dining room. I painted the top to look like zinc. While I was at it I took apart and refurbished her Grandma GG's round table. I took out over 40 superfluous nails. 


One day while in Habitat's ReStore I came across this broken mailbox. Even in pieces it was in better shape than mine. Neighborhood pranksters used it for target practice with a baseball bat (unlike a cricket bat).  

I thought I could restore it to look like a miniature of my house. I reconfigured the door, added batten strips and painted it overall. 

 Feel free to send mail anytime.....

Thanks for taking the time to glimpse some of my recent projects. More coming soon

As ever,
La Verne

Okay just one more. This coffee table left my studio Sunday for an Italian man cave.

Joined the link party at Bliss Ranch.