Friday, November 21, 2014

Finished Another Piece of Furniture

Earlier this year, I finished my very first piece of refinished furniture: a bench from Nicole the Knitter. Just tonight, I have finished my second piece of furniture: a Domestic Sewing Machine cabinet, from a former roommate of Nicole the Knitter.

I got it in late 2013, when her roommate dropped it off at my house. It lived in the garage until tonight. This is what it looked like when I got it. The roommate was getting rid of it because it took up a lot of space in the garage and he didn't have time to refinish it like he wanted to. He actually got this from someone who was going to throw it out.


As I said before, it's mahogany. Once the lid was opened, the polyurethane or clear varnish on it, was flaking off. There may have been water damage at one time, on the top and down the center of the back.




The machine inside was a Domestic Rotary machine, series 153. The piece originated in Cleveland, OH and was built sometime in the 1950's.  It had ALL of the attachments and even the owner's manual. I wasn't interested in the machine, though. I already have my own machine, and I knew I'd be getting my mom's machine at some point.

The plug end of the cord was frayed and it needed to be replaced before I even felt safe in plugging it in. I figured it wouldn't be worth the cost, to me, to get it repaired and tuned up. I had it up for sale on Craigslist and even at a yard sale, but after a month no nibbles, I gave the entire machine, plus the attachments, to a thrift store.

I knew as soon as I saw it, this piece needed to be painted, because I wanted to try something different from the bench, which was a case of re-staining.

I used Behr Marquee in an eggshell finish to paint it. The "outside" (lavender) is Composer's Magic (from the Opulence color line), and the "inside" is Prussian Plum (from the Dynasty color line). Behr advertises the Marquee paints cover in one coat, guaranteed. I didn't find that to be the case, as I needed two coats of each color. However, maybe that's the difference between coverage on drywall and on wood.
Because I wasn't going to keep the machine in place, I measured out the top opening and got some 3/4" thick plywood and a bunch of brackets. I flipped the cabinet upside down, cut the plywood to fit inside the opening (thankfully, this was completely square) and bracketed it in from the bottom. Now, it's solid all the way across. I'm pretty sure I could sit on that part of the cabinet and it would support me!

Yep, that's actually argyle printed Duck Tape on the cabinet. I picked up a couple rolls of it when I worked at AC Moore. I knew I was going to find a way to use it with this project...because really, who doesn't like argyle? It actually is on the top and bottom of the cabinet, on the front, back and sides. I didn't put any on the top front though, because I liked that expanse of lavender when the drawers are closed (see above photo). I actually put 2-3 coats of Minwax clear polyurethane over it, per some advice from my father-in-law. That tape isn't coming off anytime in the near future!

I bribed Nicole the Knitter with supper last night to help me lug this thing upstairs from the garage to my crafting room. I put the drawers in and the top pieces on after we got it up here. I decided to swap out the original drawer pulls with some new Art Deco inspired glass knobs. I did reuse the original hinges and screws on top though. I used spray primer and paint to redo those. For some reason, the handles didn't like that paint and dried very unevenly. I thought that was odd, because I did them all at the same time and at the same temperature.

My supervisor, Orion, approved of the new knobs. She checked them over for me, as I was installing them. In this picture, you almost can't even see the plywood I fit into the opening. I had painted the top  with 1 coat of the Plum, put in the raw plywood, and painted it 2 more times.


Inside the drawers, after they were painted, I sprayed in about 5-6 thin coats of Minwax aerosol clear polyurethane. This was leftover from a previous project (which was also the case of the silver spray paint I used for the hinges). Then they each got an additional two more coats of poly brushed on. I wanted to make sure the inside of the drawers were very well protected.

I realized as I worked on this piece, that with the plywood insert on top, this would make a great little desk for a kid, or even a simple desk for an adult. Or if you worked a little longer with it, you could fit a mirror to it, change the top pieces around, and turn it into a vanity for a girl's bedroom. It's definitely a versatile piece of furniture.

I took my time with this refinishing and I'd wildly proud of how it turned out. There were places I should have gone a little more lightly with the poly, and you can see them if you look closely. But this is a solid piece of furniture that I'll have for a long time.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tegucigalpa Tuesday

For some reason, I've been thinking about this photo I took, the more I hear about the missing beauty pageant contestant and her sister, from Honduras.


I took this photo in August 2007 when I went to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, for work. We were only there for a few days, and at the time, I was working for a children's medical charity.

This little girl was waiting for an appointment with a doctor at the clinic. She had been born with a cleft lip and I think a cleft palate.

I loved this photo. She's just standing there, resting her head on her mother's pregnant tummy. Her mother didn't even notice me standing there, or at the very least, she didn't care about the weird white chick taking their photo.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Visitor To My Backyard Today


I was in our backyard this afternoon. I threw a bunch of stuff into our garbage can and started to mow. I looked over at the garbage can about 10 minutes later and saw this chubby thing climbing out of the garbage can, glaring at me. He hopped up the neighbor's fence and climbed the utility pole. He was panting and weak, and almost fell a couple of times. Shane thinks he was dying.

All I know is that it scared the hell out of me when he came out of the garbage can. I've always heard to not trust a raccoon when it comes out during the day. He finally came down and went into the neighbor's yard a couple hours later, but he didn't look a whole lot better than before. He had his tongue sticking out for a while when he was up there.

Lesson learned: I moved the garbage and recycling cans, and secured both of them with bungee cords. I am thankful that it didn't come popping up out of the garbage can at me when I was right there, throwing stuff in!