Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bookcase...the end.

I've come to the end of my furniture refinishing for now - two weeks was long enough. Besides, how far can one can of red paint go? Mama's bookcase - after and before (see photo below). Everything old is new again.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Maple Table Complete...whew!

Ten days ago I started work on the maple table and today I'm finally done. This has been a labor of love that included a lot of trial and error. I thought I could use MinWax Polyshades Maple but it looked terrible so I had to strip all that off, wash the table, sand the table and begin again. I finally bought some MinWax Wood Finish Maple stain then a coat of Johnson's Paste Wax on top. There is also a leaf that isn't shown in this photo of the table in the waxing stage. I'm calling the table good for the next 50 years.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Green Again - Grandpa's Chair

Well, it took some doing but the little green chair is done. First I painted it a "better" green but it looked like an Easter object - matte and pastel and wrong. I finally realized that the best outcome for the little green chair would be for me to put it back to the way I remember it; the way it was before I started altering it. So, I painted it a better bad green. I sanded some edges for wear to honor it's age of more than 100 years and I sprayed it with satin polyurethane. Here it is, drying outside in our March sunshine.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Green Chair

When I was growing up, we had a chair that Mama said her father carved by hand. She was proud that it was fit together without the use of nails.  It was green (Mama’s favorite color). A really bad green... so, when I was old enough to use a hack saw on the wrought iron bed (aaarggh) and was able to open a can of paint, I painted it black. Next, I painted it beige. I took it with me when I moved out at age 21 and at some point I was inspired to strip it back to the wood. Stripping was not successful though so for the last 27 years it has been stored in Jay’s garage.

I am determined to actually USE all the old family heirlooms in the new house so the chair is in my studio now awaiting its remake. I tried my favorite stripper on it but no luck. So, I’ll paint it, and in honor of Mama and as penance for my furniture sins, I’ll paint it GREEN again.

There are some numbers on the bottom of the chair - I won't paint over them - but what does it say? 1892? My sister didn't remember the chair at all but after I told her Grandpa carved it, she suddenly remembered standing beside him as he worked. Jay says now we have an idea of how old my sister really is.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cool red, warm red

Fifty years ago my first table came into my life*. It is maple, drop leaf. I painted the legs red. I did art projects on it in my Broadway apartment when I was in art school in Seattle. We ate a thousand blackberry pies on it when we lived in the beach house in Magnolia. My two children sat at this table while I spooned homemade baby food into their mouths and they painted their first watercolor art here and scribbled with crayons on paper and onto the table in Leschi. It went with us to the farm we bought on Vashon Island. It has been with me all these years in Renton and is about to take up residence in the breakfast nook of our new home in Black Diamond.

The only problem is the red - it is too blue. Today I began painting the legs a warmer red that will complement our Rustico Cotta tile floor. The photo above shows the old red and the new red. After the paint,  I will flip it over and refinish the table top. I won't remove stains and nicks that show it has been well used but it really needs a good cleaning after its participation in many annual pasta making parties.

*When my former husband, Bill Iles was twenty and we were dating, he worked as a delivery person for Van's Furniture in Kent. I was able to purchase this table because the original owner bought a new dining table to replace it. Originally, there were two ladder-back chairs that eventually fell apart but recently I found two beautiful vintage maple ladder-back chairs on Craigslist.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

First week of my sabbatical

It was just a week ago that I declared myself to be on a sabbatical from painting. I have unsubscribed from art blogs - even Daily Paintworks - and I check into Facebook only occasionally. Today I subscribed to a gardening blog. I have some new favorite things to share.

REALLY good book to read for fun (thank you Aunie):
REALLY good advice book for furniture projects:
BEST stripper I've ever used:

My current project:
This little bookcase sat in the living room of my parents home on "M" street. It was piled with TV Guides, the phone, phone books, a little vase of plastic flowers and whatever else anyone dropped there while passing by. Then, it was with my mother in her assisted living apartment until 2004. I brought it home and it has been in my studio ever since, once again piled with miscellaneous items. Now that I'm on sabbatical, I have time to give it some attention. This week I stripped it and after washing it with a neutralizer I'll repair scratches, prime it and paint it...maybe green, Mama's favorite color.

Monday, March 9, 2015

March 2015 Update

I'm on sabbatical...FINALLY. Read more about it here.