Saturday, October 13, 2012

Craigslist Find: Extremely Long Vintage Dresser

You know that book that goes something like..."If you give a mouse a cookie..." then you have to do a whole lot of other things..

Well this is one of those things.

I love my HP1020 Laser Black Ink Printer. It's printed over 1000's of pages for my dissertation drafts over the years. It usually sits in my dining room floor. I felt like we needed a place for it to a nice home that it deserves.

So, my bright idea was to buy a huge dresser that I can hide the printer in (Mind you, this printer is really tall and wide and no modern dresser fits this type of printer in a drawer).

Couple restless nights later, I found a vintage dresser that was over 70 inches. It had drawers and cabinet space of the printer. I can't find the original picture anymore because it was so long ago (It's been about 4 mos on this project). But it was pretty heinous.

After lots of sanding, priming, and coats of paint, it looked like this.

The paint color was "metal" or something by Waverly.
Chief busted out the middle divider so that the printer would fit.

Tito watching the Asian Handy Manny at work.

It was ok, but just wasn't loving it. My whole philosophy on turning my house upside down is to not live with something I can tolerate, but to live with things I actually love.
An aside: my first year of college, a young man asked me out on a date. I told my HS bible study teacher about him and described him as "I don't love him but I can tolerate him." The wise sage told me to stay far away from finding a partner you can tolerate and to look for someone you really love. What a wise old soul, huh.
Same thing applies to dressers.
So I ripped it apart, sanded, and re-painted with a color I didn't expect to like, but actually fell in love with. Much like life.
But I skipped the process of priming, thinking I could just wing it and sure enough it was peeling by the next day. So this time, the whole family sanded the whole thing down to its bare wood and did it right the third time around. Much like and learn.
So here it is now:

With sunflowers we grew from seeds. Attached gold hammered knobs.
It's a huge dresser. Hello Kitty's face on the pumpkin.
There's my printer!!! with a paper drawer underneath.
Notice I still use my 1999 discman. Drilled holes behind the dresser and linked it to my ipod player on top w a minijack.
Lined with something spunky inside.

The hard part was moving the dresser. We had to load it in the jeep and drive it as close to the house as possible. Then lined the floors with plastic vinyl and slid it across with towels underneath. About three times. I'm very thankful Chief is still married to me. 
Lesson Learned:
Love it, or get rid of it. If possible.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Houndstooth Reupholstered Chair

Our new reading chair

I was searching Craigslist and found someone who was selling this old chair for $25. It was made in the 1960's-70's. It looks gross, but it had solid construction and was made in North Carolina, which is always a good sign. 

I'm such a sucker. I went for one, but ended up buying both their hideous chairs. 

It took me forever to gut the chair. I basically ripped out every seam and staple.

And then ended up with this...

After I gutted the chair, I ordered a Houndstooth fabric. It was versatile enough to use in any room. The fabric cost me waaaay more than the chair. But it was really worth it because I always end up not loving end product if I don't really love the fabric.

The fabric was so thick I had to hand cover these buttons because the conventional kit wouldn't work. One reason why this project took so long. 

My $70 sewing maching busted after 4 years. When I took it to the shop to have it serviced, they said, "Oh please. Just buy another one." Made sense since it cost $150 to get it fixed. So shout-outs to Chief and Amazon Prime. You guys are awesome.

And my mom was in town to help with the piping.


 Finished! (not really...but good enough)

Lesson Learned:

Somethings are trash. Somethings are not. If only it were easy to know the difference.



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Craigslist Finds: Sodor Island

I worked at a group practice back in Los Angeles. During one of our last lunches there, my supervisor/mentor whispered into my ear, "Get ready for Thomas." Little did I know, she was foreshadowing the inevitable transformation into the Thomas-the-train-obsessed boy that our little boys will face.

It's like listening to a 12-year-old boy's voice grow deeper.
It's like realizing your kid's jeans are flooding 2 inches and wondering, "When did this happen?"
It's the quiet but shocking realization your baby is not a baby anymore...but a little boy.

I don't have 75 bucks to drop every Target trip on Thomas. So I scoured Craigslist and found a lady who had collected almost everything.

We talked on the phone. She was sad to sell. But it's not really about Thomas. It's about how our boys are growing up so fast. Her son said to her, "Mom, I'd like for you to get rid of my Thomas table. I'm ready for a Lego table." It was one of those defining moments for her that her little boy wasn't so little anymore. I felt the same.

So we made the deal happen. We emailed a few times even after the transaction, which I never do, because it was really a sentimental exchange. She was inviting me into the Thomas world as she was exiting.

This is just the first batch of trains. Disinfecting...

The previous owner laid out and nail gunned the tracks in one of the several official TTT (Thomas the Train) configurations. Really??? I didn't know that existed. 

I added more rails and all of the little shops.

Engine wash

The Honey Factory

They buzz around...

Tidmouth Sheds!!!

The bridge moves up and down

Cranky the Crane? Idk...

James is vain but lots of fun... (Trees from Nara's Party)


Lesson Learned:

I never knew how much I loved playing with trains.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Rummage Sale Treasure

Thanks to my friend, Yoonha, the fam heard about a rummage sale in Princeton sponsored by the local hospital. We dug around here and there. Chief wanted a projector & screen probably so he could continue his FIFA career in style...but we ended up walking away with this.

It's an architechtural drawing of the Cologne Dome in Germany. It is one of the most extraordinary cathedrals in the world. The project started in 1248 AD. Fully completed by 1870s. Talk about a long project.

It needed some work. Not of fan of the birch framing. Very dusty. 

Painted the frame black and cleaned up. Fit well above my piano and chevron rug.

Lesson Learned:

1. I'm quite unsupportive of Chief's FIFA career.

2. Rummage sales can be a lot of fun.



Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Greenhouse

Los Angeles
Buy potting mix.
Buy plants and containers.
Done in 20 mins.

New Jersey
Till the soil.
Pull weeds.
Remove stones.
Shoo deer.
Shoo vicious squirrels.
Fill groundhog holes.
So many dang bugs.
Done in 2 weeks with a backache.

Both are enjoyable, but the animals and critters are really hard to control. Deer fencing works, but if I were going to pay for deer fencing on someone else's land, might as well get a greenhouse so I can garden throughout the winter.

So Grandpaly and the family made it happen.

Bought lumber and parked out in the field

My laborers unloading, aka mother-in-law & father-in-law

Chief wondering, "When will this end? I'm a white-collar man. My body can't handle this manual labor..."

Needed to pull the grass. So heavy I tell ya!

"Nice job, guys. Keep it up." he sips on his pouch.

The frame is up. Took us a whole day just to pull that corner of grass.

The vinyl is going up. Made the mistake of buying 6mm vinyl which only allows 45% sunlight. Changed to 3.5mm which allows 85%. 

Chief working late into the night to till that new jersey soil.

Has a door and everything. Hope it works. 

What was I doing? Cutting wild flowers and taking pictures. Something to that effect.

We will see if this works...

Lesson learned:
I really appreciate farmers.



Sunday, May 6, 2012

Craigslist Finds: My Free Playground

One man's trash is another man's treasure. So true...especially re the stuff on Craigslist.

This lady was giving away her wooden playground set. I wrote her a very convincing email and she chose us over the tons she received in 1 hour of her posting and let us haul this hidden beauty away (I had checked out playgrounds like this for about 8 months now so I told her the details of how I plan on hauling this massive thing away. She felt convinced I meant business. I sure do, when it comes to Craigslist.)

Testing out the product at their house. I think the lil guy approves. 

We rented a Uhaul truck. This thing was massive. 

Very heavy, I tell ya. 

Have you ever gotten nervous after taking something apart because you may not remember how to put it back together? 

Somebody is ready for a, please. 

Grandpaly was the mastermind behind this project. Out there at the crack of dawn with his cigare...medicine. 

Chief sanding away the old wood, revealing fresh red oak. 

I think the set was 15 years old or so. Had to get rid of some rusted parts. 

 Put in new chains

Added some new color. Can you see the top vs bottom bar?

Oh, so patient...

And FINALLY! After three full days of hard work!
(Still a lot of detailing left to do. Need to sand some more, weather proof it, add safety sand paper here and there)

A happy kid in NJ

Lesson Learned:

Never despise the old or unattractive. You'll be surprised.