Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tried It Tuesday - Restore Wood Furniture

The other day I was sitting in the living room looking at our piano. It was badly in need of a good dusting, but I was feeling too lazy to get up and do something about it. Instead I was scrolling through my Pinterest boards with my feet up. I remembered that I had pinned a homemade furniture polish a while back, so I found it and my curiousity got the best of me; pretty soon I had the camera out and was taking photos of all the water stains and scratches on the old piano, and mixing up my oil and vinegar in a bowl with a rag.

I followed the directions, using 3 parts of oil ( I used olive oil but I believe any oil will work) and one part vinegar (I used regular white, but the instructions said it's possible to also use other vinegars like apple cider or rice wine vinegar). See that big ring at the front of the photo? Water damage from a plant pot . . .

I dipped a rag into the mixture and buffed the piano in circular motions, working from top to bottom. The husband came into the room when I was about halfway done and I excitedly made him come and watch. "Look at this! See this mark? Now watch . . . it's gone! Cool, huh?"

See that big spot? It looks like water damage - the finish is completely gone. You can also see a lot of small chips, scratches and scuffs all over the surface.

Same spot after the oil/vinegar mixture had been applied. The water damage has completely disappeared! I can still feel a different texture to the wood when I run my hand along it, but that is the only way I can find where the damage once was. It has completely blended in to the rest of the wood!

Within about 30 seconds I was back to relaxing on the couch and the husband was on his knees, buffing away at the lower portion of the piano. He said it was so my pregnant self didn't have to crawl around on the floor, but I think he was having just as much fun as I was with it!

The piano had a greasy shine to it for about 24 hours. We could see it being absorbed into the wood in dry areas, and for a few days afterward it had a blotchy appearance when the sun hit it - spots that were still shiny with oil and dry spots that had sucked it right up. I gave it a quick wipe down with regular furniture polish and it seemed to even things out and restore an overall shine.

Even after the oil has been absorbed, the piano still looks amazing! All of the scratches, scuffs, chips in the finish and even some splinters that had broken off from the bottom due to some rough moves over the years - all virtually disappeared! Obviously it hasn't filled in places where pieces of wood are missing or chipped, but the piano is a uniform color all over and looks almost like new! The wood looks glossy and healthy; it was in such rough shape that I was considering completely refinishing it or even *gasp* painting it, but now it looks so beautiful that I cannot imagine ever changing it!

The only place that I didn't have complete success was that big water ring on the top. It has faded dramatically, but is still quite visible.

 It's quite dramatic damage though, and I didn't expect that this particular spot would completely disappear. I think I will do another round or two of the oil/vinegar on the area over the coming weeks and see if I can get a little more improvement.

Friday, January 25, 2013

3 Projects, 6 Months

I have a confession to make.

I have taken over the garage.

And not because I am so handy that I have turned it into my personal workshop.

An entire section of the garage is piled high with unfinished projects. Projects I keep meaning to get around to but somehow never do. And every time yard sale season comes around, I add a few more "projects" to the pile . . .

It's at the point now where I have told myself I am not allowed to bring home anymore finds that need work until I finish some of the ones I already have. I think it's time my husband got his garage back!

To keep myself accountable, I chose 3 projects and I am giving myself a deadline of 6 months to finish them and have them functioning in my home. If they aren't done in 6 months, I need to let them go and pass them on to someone else who can find the time to restore them.

Project Number 1.

This dresser has an amazing story; it was purchased by my grandparents when my mom was born and used in her room growing up. When my mom got married it went with her and she used it in my brothers' room, and then it became our dress up storage when my sister and I came along. When my sister was a teenager she claimed it for her room, and took it with her when SHE got married. It was in one of her children's rooms until they recently moved and I inherited it. When I refinish it, it will become my daughter's dresser. The same drawers that once held my mom's baby clothes will be housing all my daughter's little dresses and jeans . . .  how special!

Project Number 2

I told you I was taking over the garage! Yes, that pile on top of the table is all mine too.

This kitchen table was purchased for $75 on a Facebook swap site - it's nothing special, just your run of the mill oak pedestal table that a lot of families have. It's also in really bad shape and covered in crusted on food and crayon marks. I have grand plans of stripping and staining the top and painting the base. Our current kitchen table is in even worse shape and is very flimsy. This piece is so solid; I can't wait to finally move it into the dining room and say Adios to our terrible Ikea piece of junk!

Project Number 3

This piece was hard to photograph . . . its currently lodged somewhere in the middle of that giant stack of "projects" on top of the table. I picked up this huge, ornate looking frame at a yard sale. It had a plastic painting of moose drinking water out of a pond, but I saw the value in the frame itself and threw the tacky art away. I am undecided on what I want to fill the frame with, which is why it is still sitting in the garage. Part of me wants to have mirror cut to fit and hang it over our piano, and the other part of me wants to turn it into a chalkboard and hang it vertically in our kitchen somewhere.

6 months! I'm holding myself to it - I have 6 months to complete all three of these projects or I will pass them on to someone else. All 3 of them are favorite pieces of mine, so I know there is no way I will be able to let go of them. Hopefully this is the kick in the pants I need to get out there and actually work on them!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

35 Week Pregnancy Update

35 weeks down. 5 to go.
Overall I have been feeling great during the day. I have no aches or pains, no heartburn during the day. Generally I find I have enough energy to make it through a busy work day and still stay awake until about 9:30 or 10.

Nighttime however, is a different story. Climbing into bed is really difficult; it takes me several minutes to actually get in and get comfortable. Heartburn rages at night so I take Tums before going to bed and usually get up once during the night for more. Because of the heartburn I can't lay down flat, so I sleep propped up on 3 pillows. My tailbone aches at night, but my hips feel like someone is punching them so I can't find a comfortable position and end up tossing and turning all night. I get up at least twice to pee, and sometimes just to walk around or lay on the couch for a while to give my hips a break. There's really not much sleeping on and according to the husband when I do sleep, I snore so loudly that he is left wide awake.

Some of my maternity clothes are now too small. All of my dresses, a few pairs of pants won't stay up anymore, and a few shirts are just too tight. I refuse to buy more clothes now that I am so close to being done so I am trying to make do with what I have.

We are beginning to get very excited about baby's arrival. What I am most anxious about this time around is that the baby is healthy. We had a very unique first trimester; I had a miscarriage at 8 or 9 weeks along and didn't suspect that I was still pregnant until I was 14 weeks along...(I know that sounds crazy, but after a miscarriage you just don't think it's a possibility. Doctors say I most likely lost a twin or it was only a threatened miscarriage but I have had a miscarriage in the past and it was exactly the same.) During that time period where I didn't know I was still pregnant I wasn't taking my vitamins and I had a few drinks on my birthday. My doctor says not to worry and that the baby will be fine, but in the back of my mind I am still carrying a lot of guilt over that. This week I have had 3 different people tell me about babies born recently with Down's Syndrome which of course in my crazy hormonal brain has me thinking that this is a sign our baby is going to have it and God is trying to prepare me for it.

When worries about the baby being healthy start to creep in, I try to stop them immediately and pray. Pray for the baby's health and for me to be calm and trusting, pray for a safe delivery and again over and over . . .a healthy baby. I think that when it's born, before I want to know what sex it is I will want to know that it looks normal and healthy. I've been carrying such guilt and I want to be able to finally let it go and just rejoice in our little miracle.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The White Stripe

The baby's room is almost complete!

We started by painting the walls in one of my favorite paint colors - Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter. In this room it does take on a bit of a taupey/warm tone, but it is a soft grey.

My goal was to decorate the nursery without spending much, so after the walls were painted I hemmed and hawed for a while about what I wanted to do. I finally decided to paint a band of white around the room to add some interest. For the white, I chose Benjamin Moore's Cloud White which is another favorite I've used in the past.

I had the husband do all of the calculating, measuring, and taping. He's good at math and I am hopeless; it's just easier if I stay out of the way of any projects that use a measuring tape. After he taped off the room, I used an old gift card to burnish the painter's tape to make sure it was well adhered to the wall.

My number one tip for achieving crisp paint lines - brush away from the tape. What I mean by that is, I place my brush right onto the painter's tape and brush over the edge toward the middle of my stripe. That way paint is always being spread away from the tape edges, and not being pushed into/under it. When I am painting the top portion of the stripe, I placed my brush onto the painter's tape at the top and brushed downward; when panting the bottom of the stripe I placed my brush on the bottom strip of painter's tape and swept upward. Once all the edges have been brushed this way, I go in with a roller to finish up the middle.

After painting the second coat, I removed the tape right away while the paint was still wet. Another little tip - pull the tape toward the wet paint. When pulling the top row of tape, I pulled downward toward the wet stripe I just painted. When pulling the lower strip of tape, I pulled upward, again toward the wet paint.

We ended up with really crisp lines and no need to touch up! I was thrilled with what an impact that little quart of paint made in the room, the stripe was just what it needed.

The furniture was purchased three years ago at The Bay, when I was pregnant with Brook. We also re-used the crib bedding; I love it and it was in perfect shape, and we were trying to do this room on the cheap.

I bought some picture frames at the local grocery store for $14 each, and then filled them with images from a Winnie The Pooh paperback that was mine as a child - it was free at the gas station when my dad pumped a tank of gas, and somehow I still had it even though the cover was falling off. Normally I feel wrong tearing apart a book, but this one was really falling apart. And come on, it came from a GAS STATION in the 90's . . . I think that fact alone gives me permission to give it a new life as artwork!

I still need to add some finishing touches and organize the closet, but it's starting to look like pulled together!

Monday, January 14, 2013

You Think You Have Problems

You know how sometimes you get into a funk and just wallow in feeling sorry for yourself?

That is where I was this weekend.

Heavily pregnant.



Behind on laundry, my least favorite chore. I folded a huge mountain and had a bad attitude the entire time.

We slept in and missed church, and my soul really needed the pick me up I get from going.

Arguing with the husband.

Toddler was in fine form, having meltdowns and tantrums.

Stressed about finances.

Everyday life was just beating me up. And I was feeling quite sorry for myself.

And then this happened.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bits and Pieces

-I have six weeks until my due date. Seven weeks max and this baby will be here. It is starting to seem very real and I am getting VERY excited!

-The nursery is finished for now. I'd still like to add a tiny table beside my rocker for putting a drink and a book on, and a carpet. But if neither of those things happen I will still be ok with how it looks and functions. It is the same furniture and bedding that Brook's nursery had, but it feels very different to me which I love. I think I love this tiny nursery more than I loved Brook's actually.

-The husband has been trying to make dinner every now and again. He is supposed to be taking over a lot of the household duties after the baby is born, so he is trying to practice now. It's been . . . interesting. He tries very hard, but he insists on finding his own recipes instead of using my tried and true favorites. We've had a few interesting meals, all of which contain tons of apple cider vinegar. I think I've used half of a bottle in the last year, and he bought 2 bottles at the store a few weeks ago and both are almost gone. I laughed when I saw he was using it again for last night's dinner, and I am really hoping he will start cracking open my blue cookbook and use some of the recipes that are our favorites and step away from Pinterest.

-I'm at the stage in pregnancy where I am too uncomfortable to sleep much. My hips hurt, I am congested, I get heartburn if I lay flat, and I have to get up at least twice to use the bathroom. Last night I tried sleeping on the couch, thinking it would be softer on my sore hips. I got to get up all night long with a little girl who was having bad dreams and the cat kept walking all over me. Back to bed it is.

-Nesting has begun. Not so much the "ZOMG clean all the things!" part of it, but I have been making a lot of freezer meals and spent an afternoon making huge batches of muffins that are now stacked neatly in the freezer as well. I hope the cleaning bug kicks in soon . . .

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Looking Ahead

I love the feeling that washes over me at the beginning of a new year. I'm not one to make New Year's Resolutions, but I still feel such a strong sense of new beginnings and motivation seems to abound. A fresh burst of energy seems to naturally come with the first days of a new year; and I mean to take full advantage of it!

Personally I don't make New Year's Resolutions, but I DO make goals and plans for the year. And this year I am especially itching to create my list and hop to it. This year looks to be a quiet one for us; yes we are welcoming a new baby at the end of February but other than that we really have no big changes or events lined up . . . no vacations, no weddings, no big purchases planned. And I am really looking forward to it.

In 2012 we had a very eventful year. We began in a rough place . . . we moved to a new house (moving not only your house, but also your business is incredibly stressful!) and lost a pregnancy all in the same weekend, just before Christmas. Our spirits were pretty low as we started the year. It didn't get much better with some unpleasant surprises like our kitchen pipes bursting and both our vehicles needing repairs at the same time. I felt like we were just limping along for the first half of the year. Things turned around in the summer after we took our very first real family vacation; we must have needed a reset. The fall and winter were much better, but overall 2012 was full of rollercoaster ups and downs and a lot of big events and just generally being so busy I felt two steps behind at all times.

Looking ahead to a year that seems to be shaping up to be quiet and uneventful is just what this family needs. I am excited to be able to just enjoy our growing family, catch up on "life", and have the funds to complete some projects around the house. It's going to be a good year! A quiet year. Oh please, be a quiet year!

With all that said, I am eager to set some goals and begin working toward them for 2013!

-Finish decorating the nursery. We're almost there!

-Build two small raised garden beds and grow my own veggies this summer

-Expand my back flowerbed, plant a few new bushes and shrubs. 

-Makeover our amazing, but very blue, covered deck and spend lots of time enjoying it

-Continue to save money toward our future kitchen renovation

-Finally purchase window treatments for the main living areas of the house

And the last two I guess are more like a traditional resolution rather than a goal, but I am including them anyway

-Complete the Couch to 5K program

-Spend a lot less time on the couch and more time living life

I hope to finish a lot of work on this big ugly house of ours this year. So many rooms still need a coat of paint, and we are tossing around the idea of starting our bathroom renovation, or at least the first phase of it. I am so eager to make this house our home!

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