Balance Beam

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In an effort to start back doing more of the things I want to do so I can still enjoy doing the things I have to do for my business, I am going to start blogging again. I might not do every day but several times a week I should be able to do. ESPECIALLY with ridiculousness like Amanda Knox going back to Italy knowing them people don’t want her over there. And did yall see that Social Security is going to be deplete in 15 years? And Prilosec and drugs like it are killing folks by giving em heart and kidney disease! Any day now one of us is going to die in a monsoon the way this weather has been kirking up and yall…there are over a hundred dolphin deaths out here recently because they opened up a spillway and let in a lot of freshwater without thinking of what it would do to the ecosystem. Like…WHERE.ARE.THE.MARINE BIOLOGISTS? SHOULDN’T SOMEONE SOMEWHERE HAVE SAID SOMETHING???????????????????

Got into a debate about Creole gumbo versus Cajun gumbo recently and literally just stopped talking and said, “Okay.” I’m good on my gumbo.

Speaking of gumbo, I have new hours at my store so I don’t kill myself trying to do it all. It wasn’t doctor’s orders it was husband’s orders. Dude was like…why are you killing yourself?

AND I FELT THAT!

I tried to return my hair to natural and was on the journey for 7 months and then decided nerp…not for me. And I relaxed again. I just didn’t have the time it seemed necessary to dedicate to transitioning. And…I caused a LOT of damage trying to transition and had to get a good cut to level it all back out again properly. So I’m rocking a layer cut that looks like nothing in my day-to-day topknot. LOL! You know…cuz I don’t have time to comb relaxed hair either.

I’m making things pretty and having an amazing time doing so. Check out my Instagram to see most of my projects. Let me know if you need any help doing something on your own. I can help you out via messages or phone! WHOOT WHOOT!!!!! www.Instagram.com/ThatGumboLife

I’ll be 50 years old in September and I’m starting to really feel this getting old thing. Aging is just wrong to women. I can’t take this hot stuff. It is honestly taking it out of me.

I’ve moved my store to a bigger location and I’m always looking for real estate for my next move. It’s super cute and I enjoy being there. I just don’t want to be tied to it every single day. Work life balance is key for me to have what it takes to choose happy. If I don’t have it…I’m just grumpy. I was either busy or exhausted. Those were my two modes.

EW.

What’s been going on with yall? I honestly miss all the different perspectives on topics that come up in the news and in my life so I’m going to try blogging again. Not every day but certainly a few times a week when it just builds up so much I wanna snap. LOL! And I miss writing daily. Massaging that muscle really helps me.

Things I did today...

My two tough pieces are coming along nicely.  :)

Kroehler MCM Piece: I 100% love learning something new!

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The amount of damage on this piece is ridiculous.  I tried very, very hard to figure out a way to not paint this but the water damage done to it is going to make that impossible.  So I plan to do a version of this with paint and stain trying to keep as much of the details as possible.

The bottom two drawers have water damage that can only be painted.  The top drawer, however, I decided to replace the veneer for a fresh stain since it wasn't too bad.

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I removed the old veneer.

Then I cut new veneer and glued it on.

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I cannot wait to finish this piece since I'm going to have some fun with it.  Now that I know how to do this...I think I'm going to take this refinishing hobby to whole new levels!

The Eating Holidays are Coming!!!!

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It's that time of year again when I want to completely redo everything to get ready for the holidays.  I just get into the thought process that people are coming so I need to be ready.  LOL!  Not like people aren't always visiting year 'round mind you.  Year 'round is okay for what it looks like...but when them SAME people come for the holidays it has to be mo'betta.  Don't ask for a rationale behind this way of thinking because there is none.  Seriously.  None.

But I know you probably feel me and are looking around your dining room to see what you need to do too.  LOL!  Cuz that's how we roll.

This starts with me bringing home this piece.  It was soooooooo heavy and we just loaded that sucker up any way we could.  Just slid it all cross the back of the truck.  We got it home and maneuvered it to the garage where it stayed while I worked on it.  It was a challenge because whenever I needed to move it, I couldn't without The Robinator and his schedule made that hard to be consistent.  But I finally finished it.

I stripped the top layer of the finish off and then lightly sanded it.  Then I put two coats of Minwax weathered grey stain on the top of it.  For the base, I painted it with Dixie Belle's Haint Blue.    It's the loveliest neutral color with just the tiniest bit of blue in it.  So much so that you only see it as blue in perfect lighting conditions.  LOL!  I'm talking blinds closed and ceiling light on.  Any other times it looks white.

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Because I'm going for a rustic farmhouse look in there, I distressed it lightly.  I only did that after we decided to keep it because it was too heavy to take it to my shop.  I mean...this thing is crazy heavy and we're just not built for moving stuff that can't get scratched up.  We're more of the college students you find on Craigslist kinda movers where we just pray for the best and get the worst possible outcome.  Who knew I needed so much additional storage though?  I certainly didn't and now, I have much more.  I have a whole drawer dedicated to linen napkins so I'm not scrambling looking for 8 that match and end up having to use two sets of 4.  *sigh*  And who knew I had enough small placecard holders and napkin rings to fill an entire drawer?  Not me that's for sure!  But I do.  LOL!  So yeah...next thing is to find a rug I can live with, get some cushions made for those two barrel back chairs and some kinda window treatments which don't make the room feel stuffy and I'll be ready for the eating holidays!

Solid Oak Round End Table Refinished in Annie Sloan Country Grey with Stained Top

I'm totally beginning to have a thing for round coffee tables and end tables.  Not plain ones mind you...but some with a bit of oomph.  What is oomph you ask?  Hell if I know...I just know it when I see it.  

When I found this table it had a busted leg.  Totally ew.  Turns out, broken wood pegs are relatively simple to fix though.  You take a drill and drill through the broken peg until the hole is completely cleaned out.  Then?  Add some wood glue and bang in a new wood peg.  You can get a pack of like 10 of them for under $2.  Crazy huh?  When I think of all the things I've encountered with a busted wooden peg and it could have been fixed for like TWENTY CENTS???????  

LAWD... SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

So...this was pretty basic.  Like...seriously.  When you use Annie Sloan chalk paint you don't have to sand it so I only sanded the top because I wanted to stain it and to stain something...ya gotta remove the current finish so the wood can absorb the Minwax Dark Walnut stain.  There was just no way I was painting over that gorgeous inlaid top.  It was just so neat to me that it was laid in quarters like that.  The beading along the side was a detail I wanted to make pop so after painting the base in Annie Sloan Country Grey (my favorite color it seems)  and under the top, I rubbed dark wax under the top.  As a protectant, I really like General Finishes High Performance Top Coat in satin.  I think I did two coats on the top.  Anything vertical I've learned to use a polyacrylic spray so that's what I did there.  The piece came out so lovely and man is this thing SOLID!  It won't move unless you actually move it.  A simple bump won't sent it sprawling into the wall to make a knick in your paint.  WHOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO!

You'll find that round end tables are pretty versatile for the space you're looking to fill too.  Squares and rectangles are pretty...um...finite.  I guess that's a good way to put it.  If not...pick some words, put them together and VIOLA!  Hopefully you know what I'm trying to say.  LOL!

1940s Double Glass Door Bookcase

This piece was seriously rusted and busted when I found it.  Poor thing was all creaky and hadn't been looked after in forever.  Folks are always looking for bookcases and having one with glass doors is pretty cool because you don't have to dust the inside as often as you're used to.  

So...I went to work.

We blew it off with the leaf blower and then wiped it down inside and out with a mild dish soap in a gallon of water making sure to wring the towel out super well so the wood wouldn't be "wet" if you know what I mean. Once it was wiped down I just looked at it for a few days trying to come up with a design for it that kept it as um...stoic as possible.  Just seemed this piece didn't want to be "happy."  LOL!  It's pretty serious about that life.  THUGS RISE UP!

The back of it was pretty busted so I removed it and added a piece of fabric to it using spray adhesive.  Then I took the doors off and soaked the hardware in some rust remover solution.  Next I sanded the whole thing down (did the doors by hand), stained the top, shelves and bottom with Minwax Dark Walnut stain using a brush on the top (it was pretty bad with water rings and whatnot) and a rag inside so I could get all the corners and whatnot pretty well.  

I painted it in Benjamin Moore's Chelsea Gray (love this color) because it coordinated really well with the Waverly fabric I used for the back and followed that with General Finishes Pitch Black glaze wiping it off quickly on the sides but letting it set in a bit longer along the details of the top front and doors.  Once I put it all back together, I finished the top, bottom and shelves with a polyurethane to protect the surfaces.  I kinda like the thought of the painted parts getting a bit more weathered looking.

I like it.  It makes me happy to look at.  And isn't that really all that matters?  That you're happy with what you're doing?  That you're content in the knowledge that you can set your mind to do something and then you can make it happen exactly as you saw it in your head?  And then...what you saw in your head is actually really pretty?  Yeah...I like it.  There is a bit of odd satisfaction in being able to find something unloved and busted and bringing it back to life in such a way it makes a statement.  Just says a lot about so much.  Yup.

Holla.

Vintage Drexel Triune Coffee Table COMPLETED!

This piece just might be my favorite so far.  Seriously.  The lines and heft of it are just so perfect that it makes me smile. I know every inch of this table as I've stripped it and started over twice because I love it so.   I just had a vision for it you know and I knew I could make it look like exactly what I wanted it to look like.

The brass hardware is original and took 3 separate scrubbing cleanings to get all of the old grime off it with Brasso, 0000 steal wool and using cheesecloth as a polishing cloth.  The scratches on top have been mostly buffed out and the deeper gouges were filled in with stainable wood filler so the top is smooth to the touch.  I love this piece so much, I would want it to have a custom glass top cut to put on top of it for protection.

The finished piece has been stripped with Citri-strip, sanded by hand with a 120 grit sandpaper along the base because of the carved details and sanded using my new Porter Cable electric palm sander (The Robinator is awesome!) on the top.  Then it was stained twice with light sanding in between coats using 220 grit paper and Minwax Red Mahogany stain.  Finally, two protectant coats of Minwax Polyurethane in clear satin were applied (first coat with a good bristle brush, final coat with sponge brush) with a light 220 grit sanding after first coat dried for 24 hours.

I cannot express how completely I love this piece.  The closest online comparison of it that you can currently buy by Drexel is this cocktail table for $1,929 and it's in cherry, not rare mahogany as this one is. Drexel Cocktail Table  

They call them cocktail tables now and that cracks me up.  LOL!  I guess people are more fond of cocktails than coffee these days.  LOL!

This piece already has a home, unfortunately, as someone I love claimed it when they realized I wasn't going to keep it.  They have excellent taste and recognized the quality of it immediately too.  I have been doing a soft discouragement campaign using the techniques of saying nonchalantly, "You know you don't have to buy it. It might not match your stuff now cuz it came out so dark.  Don't feel obligated to follow through just cause you said you were going to." But that hasn't worked.  *sigh*  LOL!

I am having SO.MUCH.FUN doing these pieces I'm finding!  GO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOTTA KEEP BUSY! Isn't it gorgeous???????

Vintage Mersman Round Coffee Table

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I was looking for something I could try the shabby chic look on and glaze.  Since I only paid $5 for this piece, I wasn't scared I'd screw it up. LOL! And hey...even if I did screw it up, I could always strip it and start over right?  Right!

One of the things I really enjoy is doing the research on a piece and finding out who made it and when. I always get excited when a piece has the manufacturer's name on it.  

This table is from the 1950's and has a nice bit of solid heft to it. In the 1950's, laminate furniture was popular and this piece had a laminate top.  Because of this, I sanded it and primed the entire table before painting. Then, I distressed the base with sandpaper and put on a coat of polyurethane.  Next I used General Finishes glaze in black on the top and the shelf to give them a distressed look too.  I haven't decided if I want to glaze it again or not but once I do, I will do another coat of polyurethane after a super light sanding.

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Whatcha think?  This is my first attempt at distressing with sandpaper and glaze.

Annie Sloan MIRACLE Chalk Painted Kitchen Table!!!!!!!

I fell down a rabbit hole recently on Pinterest regarding Annie Sloan chalk paint.  I got really excited and then Angela shared with me the china cabinet she did and that pretty much sealed the deal for me.  I wanted to do something with the paint.

Our dining table is in the dining room so we needed a kitchen table.  Of course I'd identified one.  For whatever reason, I didn't pull the plug on it immediately and The Robinator kept asking me when we were going to get a table.  I'd decided I wanted to use a bench against the bay windows so the view wasn't obstructed and well...I just kept dragging my feet because I couldn't find exactly what I wanted.  I wanted it to be fun but still neutral.  Crazy I know.

This is what I liked:

But I wasn't crazy about the white.  The walls on the main level are taupe with white trim.  Too much white will make it BLAH...in my opinion.

The Annie Sloan pics on Pinterest made me feel like...YAAAAAAASSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!  I WANT THAT!!!!!!!!!  Pinterest Annie Sloan Table

Okay...so I needed a table.  

The Robinator was a good sport and went with me to a place that sold old furniture.  We were walking around when I found a table with crap stacked on top of it.  It looked horrid but it was REAL wood.  I asked the owner how much and when she said $50 I agreed INSTANTLY.

We brought it home but my shoulder was hurting so badly...he wouldn't let me start.  But I went to the place where they sold Annie Sloan chalk paint and picked out the color, Provence. I figured it would give me the pop of color I was looking for while still remaining relatively neutral.  

I decided I wanted to stain the top so I chose Minwax Dark Walnut as the stain for the tabletop.

I woke up this morning chomping at the bit to get it done but my shoulder was still messed up.  Because he's kinda awesomely fantastic...The Robinator sanded it for me and then I got to work.

These are the steps:

1.  Clean with Clorox cleaner and damp towel.

2.  Let dry.

3.  Sand top only (going to stain the top) with coarse sand paper.

4.  Wipe off dust.

5.  Sand again if needed.

6.  Wipe off dust.

7.  Sand with fine sand paper.

8.  Wipe off dust.

9.  Wipe down with damp towel.

10.  Let dry.

11. Stain.

12.  Let sit for 15 minutes.

13.  Wipe dry with old, soft t-shirt.

14.  Stain again if you'd like it darker.  (I didn't.)

15.  Paint rest of table with chalk paint.

16.  Let dry for an hour.

17.  Paint again.

18.  After 5 hours, add Annie Sloan dark wax to top.

19.  Wipe off excess wax.

I didn't buy the clear wax for the painted part because I didn't think I'd like it but I think I now want it so I'll go get it tomorrow and add it.

The table looks awesome.sauce.

In my opinion.

Would you try something like this?  I now want to paint and stain whatever I can find.  LOL!  I have identified the next piece I'm going to do and I am super-dooper excited about it!  I've found the chairs I want to use but not the bench so I might have to get it made. 

I want to use coordinating seat cushions and Sheffield valances in the space so that will be cool!  Buying new furniture made out of real wood can set you back a grip since the days of MDF being easy and much cheaper options.  I don't like MDF.  I'm a grownup.  I want my furniture to be made out of real wood.  So...either I'm going to have to upcycle old pieces or  spend ridiculous (to me) amounts of money to get good quality products.  With a little elbow grease and some vision...I'm pretty excited about the prospects ahead of me now that I know I can do this.  I know what my next two projects are going to be and Shelly has me penciled in to do something for her, but my project after that is a guest bedroom where I want to do two twin beds with an American flag motif.  

I'm all excited and whatnot and so is The Robinator.  Dude keeps passing by the table marveling that we only paid $50 for it.  LOL!  I love that.  

GOBBLE.GOBBLE!!!!!!!!