I was so reluctant to start this part of the project that I took about a four week hiatus between finishing the table top and starting the pedestal. My reluctance was well-founded. The grooves and rounded feet of the pedestal made it 5x more difficult to strip than the relative ease of the tabletop (including the beveled edge and skirt). After letting the gel stripper sit for 25 minutes (Achievement Unlocked:
Superhuman Patience), I used my flat-bladed putty knife on the flat planes and 3M Scotch-Brite abrasive pads to clean around the contours. The latter technique takes some elbow grease and, at least initially, the paint and primer smears into a scary, gray sludge that spreads everywhere and makes you think your work is ruined. As you keep scrubbing, though, the stripper/paint/primer mixture starts to bead up and fall off.
Here are pictures from 3 hours (2 rounds of stripping) and 6 hours (3.5 rounds of stripping):
What’s wrong with the center picture? I’m not wearing safety goggles. I have gotten stripper on just about every limb at some point or another, but it never occurred to me to worry that it might get thrown into my eyes. Unfortunately, this happened over the weekend while I was vigorously dabbing stripper into the rings of the pedestal. Once I realized what had happened (thoughts: “oh wow that’s cold … maybe it’s not going to hurt … oh NO, IT DOES! IT DOES!!”), I dashed inside the house and approximated a chemistry class-style eyewash. My eyeball felt bruised, it hurt to blink, and my eyelid peeled three days later. So yeah, if you do this at home, be sure to wear goggles!Continue reading "Refinishing our kitchen table: Stripping the pedestal"...
I had heard great things about the product Strip-eeze, but our Home Depot doesn’t carry it. Instead, I bought the same orange can of stripper I bought last time. For those of you following along at home in hopes of repeating this process (really? maybe you should go back and read the first post in this series), at this stage I had available:
- 1 can Klean-Strip gel stripper (orange can)
- 1 pair gloves made out of stuff I hoped wouldn’t disintegrate when exposed to stripper
- 1 metal paint pan
- 1 paint brush for applying stripper
- 1 metal-bladed putty knife
- Sand paper, coarse and fine
- 1 electric hand sander (the kind that let’s you cut rectangles of sandpaper to fit)
- 1 can mineral spirits (used to rub down the furniture after it’s been stripped and sanded)
- 1 tarp (to protect my work surface)
- 3M Scotch-Brite abrasive pads
We have been very fortunate to have inherited a lot of great furniture from Chad’s mother over the years, including a solid oak table and chairs that Chad claims was “the only table I ever ate at [growing up]!” The table itself is well made but I once felt its style ran too far toward “country” with its spindly arrow back chairs. I saw great potential in the table itself, however, since its style matched the style of 70% of the tables being sold at Pottery Barn at the time with the unfortunate exception of a natural oak finish. The aforementioned on-trend tables were all painted some variation of distressed black, and I became obsessed with the idea of refinishing my farmhouse table and chairs.
Because of Chad’s attachment, I thought it best to wait until he was out of town for a conference to tackle this project. I still remember standing in the checkout line at Home Depot, beaming from ear to ear with a basket full of supplies. An older gentleman tapped me on the shoulder to ask me what kind of project I was undertaking, no doubt taking in the can of paint stripper and assorted refinishing supplies. I explained that I was refinishing my kitchen table, and he very kindly told me that he would recommend against the can of paint I’d picked out: a gloss black enamel. I thanked him for his advice and paid for my purchases, hoping he wouldn’t notice I wasn’t heeding his advice.
I spent the next five autumn evenings out on our apartment balcony, stripping, sanding, and priming the table. I diligently followed every step to the letter, pouring elbow grease and excitement into my project. I couldn’t wait to show the final result to my husband who, so awed by its beauty and my frugalness (ignoring the $100+ I spent on supplies), would finally agreed to get rid of any number of items he’d been thus far unwilling to part with. But when it finally came time to paint the primed table, I knew I was in trouble. The paint was gloppy, uneven, and … shiny. I had seriously underestimated the gloss level of gloss paint. I was so dismayed by the way the paint looked on the table top that I didn’t even bother to paint the primed table leaves or the table skirt. So for the past eight years, I’ve suffered a self-inflicted panda table whose presence could only be tolerated thanks to a series of tablecloths.
I’ve never felt right about replacing the table since it was structurally sound. But I was too discouraged by the failure that resulted from my over-exuberance (and an unwillingness to listen to the guy who tried to warn me about my paint choice) to try again. It was once we moved into our new home with a highly visible breakfast area that I decided I wasn’t going to let fifty pounds of solid oak (and at least five pounds of drippy black enamel) defeat me.Continue reading "Refinishing our kitchen table: Introduction"...
We started watching “Glee” during its first season. While the amazing vocals and song selection were an initial draw, we quickly fell in love with the characters and their caricatured flaws. We thrill in its campy over-dramatization of high school, the clumsy love triangles and social struggles. And while I have no doubt that parents object to some of the themes (making the choice to have responsible, pre-marital sex and surprisingly consequence-free experimentation with underage alcohol consumption), the show largely promotes positive themes most parents probably do like: tolerance, positive self-image, and rising above the temptation to bully.
At its heart, Glee is character-driven (enough that you can generally overlook its occasional shortcomings in terms of story). During the first season, the character who is clearly posited as its female protagonist, Rachel, is a sophomore, struggling to find her place in a school that is – at least, obvious to viewers – too small to accommodate her. Each season represents a school year, and so the end of season three sees Rachel – and several other high-profile Gleeks – graduating. With the presumptive “loss” of several core characters (Rachel, Finn, Kurt, Santana, Puck, Quinn, and Mike Chang), fans were worried that the show would lose much of its magic. After having watched the season premier for season 4 – twice – I’m happy to say that isn’t the case.
Critique and spoilers to follow.
Next to leisurely tours of wine-country, cruising is probably my second favorite form of vacationing. On the days at sea, everything is planned out for you: activities, food, and sleep (primarily defined by those periods when neither food nor activities are available). And with a toddler, the benefits of reliable, on-board childcare during dinnertime can't be beat.
This year, Chad talked me into a 15-day cruise from San Diego to Hawaii, our longest voyage so far. We spent four days at sea followed by five days visiting Hilo, Maui, Honolulu, Kona, and Kauai. Another five days at sea with a brief stop in Ensenada, Mexico (no doubt required to offer Duty Free shopping) saw us returning to San Diego. Even though we only spent a total of five days in Hawaii, I think it was a great way to spend a first visit. We got to experience several different islands and will have a better idea of where we'd like to concentrate our time the next time we visit.Continue reading "Hawaii / Disneyland 2012"...
Back in August of 1994, I can remember standing in front of a carousel of comic books in our neighborhood grocery store, debating whether or not to purchase X-Men 33. I had long since lost my heart to Rogue of the X-Men due to the awesomeness of the 1990s X-Men the Animated Series, even going so far as to pause our VCR at certain frames so I could sketch them. Nonetheless, I was daunted by the prospect of purchasing my first comic because I knew my collector’s spirit would be committing to a lifelong monetary investment (which likely made XTAS one of Marvel’s more lucrative investments). I actually left the store that day empty-handed but for the next seven days was haunted by the idea that all copies of the issue would be bought. As you might have guessed, I did return to purchase the issue, breathing a huge sigh of relief to find several copies still available.
If you’re one of the young women lucky enough to be a teenager in today’s world where “geek” doesn’t necessarily equate to “social pariah,” you might be surprised by the fact that my love of comic books didn’t exactly make me Ms. Popularity. Eager to find another girl I could “geek out” with and not feel like an aberration of nature, I decided to write to Jennifer, the author of one of the letters published at the end of X-Men 33. (This was before the Internet exposed the dangers of information sharing, and comic book companies still published the full addresses of their fans; I imagine that this resulted in many young women receiving unsolicited letters from incarcerated persons which is why this is no longer standard practice.)Continue reading “Meeting Jennifer, my penpal of 16 years”…