Good humor makes all things possible.
-Charles Schultz-

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
-Shakespeare-The Merchant of Venice-

Monday, June 11, 2012

The cat and I have divergent talents

Yes,  I neglected to photograph everything before I started, but you've seen plenty of old furniture before.  
Insert your own appropriate memory here.

Last week I finally dragged my dowdy old dresser into the garage and took off the handles.  See how the unfinished wood inside the drawers looks nice and dark?  Hold that thought.

Is it really the safest?  Well, 3M makes Post-Its, and they're pretty safe, so yeah--probably.

I lightly sanded and primed everything, filling in a few dings with Dap spackle first.  I decided to strip the  top entirely and stain it, or just seal it if I liked the color.  This 3M stripper did a fine job--it took a few coats with scraping in between, and all that Navajo White paint came off.  But instead of nice dark bare wood, it was really light; almost like maple or ash.  I remember it originally being dark so it must have had walnut stain on just the top so the whole thing would match.  Whose idea was that?  

My groovy DeWalt hand sander looks apprehensive about all my projects.  Lillian refinished that little drop leaf table.

Anyway, since I had already chosen to paint rather than replace the brass hardware, I elected to sand the top smooth and stain it with some leftover black Minwax stain.  It took three coats to darken the pale wood, and then I sprayed it with clear sealer, painted the body and drawers with my special not-quite-white blend Rustoleum Ultra Cover,  reassembled the whole thing, and dragged it back inside. 

Anyone see a little smoochy-face there?  Just me?  God, I'm such a romantic.

Later we hefted the ugly television on top, but here's how a dresser should look.  No old tv anywhere.  
The dresser lives in the corner of the room, so I can push the bulky tv back further. 
Nobody sees it but me, and I like to watch for a while until I fall asleep, so I deal with it.

That's Annie, Sam and Lillie in a picture taken almost twenty years ago.

I'm very happy with the result.  I can (and probably must) live with it for another few decades.  I actually painted my pine bookshelves first (purchased unfinished when Annie was born and stained golden oak), and also a humble gray end table that was most recently Lillian's (one of a pair from a neighborhood garage sale twenty years ago) but I haven't taken their picture yet.  

My poor bedroom is a wrecking yard these days.  Be patient.

Kitty demonstrates the Y in DIY:  She has to catch her own lizards.

Not to be outdone by my species-specific skills, Lottie sneaked another big cranky lizard into the house while I was occupied.  I intercepted them before she could turn him loose in Lillian's room.  I did let her admire him in his plastic prison for a while before I dropped him in some ivy across the street; but she was miffed for the rest of the afternoon.


  1. Perfection. I love your dresser. I did not get the creative DIY craft gene. Just the anxiety. Phooey.

  2. Jenny, that looks amazing! You really have a knack for that kind of thing!

  3. That turned out beautifully. You really do have a great way with old furniture :-)

    I refinished a few pieces of furniture back when I was single and had actual time & energy, and one thing I learned about wood: it darkens with age. I have a beautiful oak dresser I refinished with a clear stain. It started out beautifully light in color (I like light wood), and now it's quite dark. That might be why the inside of the drawers were so much darker than your newly cleaned top.

    1. When I built my house (well, I bought it before it was built, anyway) and picked out cabinets I chose birdseye maple--it was so pale and perfect! Ten years later it has darkened to the color of dreary old plywood. Very disappointing, and I'm tempted to do like every other homeowner and paint them white. By the time I can afford that maybe plywood-color will be all the rage on Pinterest.

      Also, thank you everyone! I'm a little sloppy, but still proud of how things are turning out.