Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dresser/Changing Table

This old dresser lived in my sister's room for as long as I can remember, and had a matching mirror that I think ended up in Phoenix. Also, I'm pretty sure this is the dresser that I carved my name into when I was little (or that may have been a headboard - either way, if you're going to carve something into the furniture don't do your name, it makes it harder to blame someone else). 

This is one of two dressers that were left behind when the rest of the family moved to Phoenix. I always meant to refinish it when I was living in the condo, but never got around to it. When I moved out, I didn't bother to take it with me because the drawers are short and shallow, and with Noah being so tall I knew I'd be lucky if I could fit 3 pairs of his jeans in one drawer. Left behind once again, it's been hidden in my brother's closet ever since.

When we started putting together the baby's room I needed a dresser, and this one happens to be the perfect height to use as a changing table as well. My brother helped me pack it in the car, and when I brought it home, Noah sanded and sanded and sanded through the thick layer of peeling varnish until it looked like this:

I thought the biggest improvement was removing the ultra ugly hardware. I had thought about re-staining the dresser but the wood is soft and easily scratched and I didn't want to deal with more ugly varnish, and since the hardware wanted to be remembered forever, I decided paint would be the best way to cover it. 

Big difference, eh? I looked everywhere for new hardware but the only knobs and pulls I liked were the antique looking glass ones that cost about $5 each at Home Depot. I figured I could even live with the same style made out of acrylic, which I figured would be cheaper - not so, $5 a piece at Target! So for $75 plus the cost of paint and primer we could have had a new dresser. Only problem was, it was an old dresser and even it's shiny new coat of paint wasn't enough to make me want to run out and spend $75 on hardware. 

I searched and searched for other options, then I remembered Craigslist. I knew it was a long shot but I typed in "glass knobs" and as luck would have it, I found someone in St. Paul who was remodeling their kitchen and had 8 handles and 9 knobs on sale for $20. An entire set of actual antique glass knobs and pulls for only $20! I called immediately and Noah and I went out to pick them up the next day.

Of course they weren't in pristine condition. They had suffered from the same fate as so many kitchen knobs and handles. (Why doesn't anyone remove their cabinet hardware before painting their cabinets?) Luckily, being made of real glass, I was able to soak them in warm vinegar and the paint came right off. We bought some brass bolts at Home Depot to replace the missing and mismatched ones that came with the knobs, and now you'd never know we didn't pay $75 for our spiffy "new" hardware.

The last little upgrade was lining the drawers with a roll of wallpaper I picked up in the free bin at a garage sale. Now I just need to fill them with cute little clothes...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Old Lamp, New Lamp

So part of getting ready for the baby involves getting the rest of the house in shape since it will soon appear as a background in countless family photos. Ryan gave me this old lamp which has been in the family for years. Still works, but the brass base was dated and the lampshade was dusty and hard to clean. I found this cool Liberty of London lampshade at Target but didn't like how it looked with the wooden base, so I decided to paint the whole thing yellow. I think it turned out pretty well...

...and the funniest part is, I picked a shade that was the exact same shape as the original one without even knowing it. Now I need to start looking for some yellow curtains.

Lamp with old shade (on left) circa 1985.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ring Stacker

I can think of a million sewing projects I've started and given up on when things got a little too tough. Christmas stockings, a winter coat, a windbreaker...zippers are and always will be my nemesis. Anyways, I found this pattern at heatherbailey.com and had to try it out. 

Of course, shopping for fabric was the best part (as always), and that fabric sat uncut for a number of weeks before I finally decided to tackle this project. Sometimes I think cutting out the pattern is the worst part, and then I remember that my printer and sewing machine have formed an unholy alliance to make my life as frustrating as possible (does my printer really need to eat 20 sheets of paper at once? and then force me to clean the printer heads again and again until I finally run out of ink?! and does my sewing machine really need to go haywire every time I change one of the settings?! No button holes or zig-zag stitching for me...) I'm not aware of any other appliances that have joined this alliance yet, but I'm keeping a close eye on the toaster.

So yeah, despite my grudge against the sewing machine (or it's grudge against me) I managed to complete this project which was only slightly harder than the letters we made in Home Ec class back in junior high. (Do they still teach Home Ec?) I think it's cuter than the plastic Fisher Price ring stackers, definitely more cuddly, and machine washable! Now on to the next soft toy...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Veggie Garden Update

My vegetable gardens are up and growing so I thought I'd post some pictures. The tomatoes and peppers are the same ones I started indoors months ago. Everything else was started from seed out in the garden except the broccoli. We picked that up at a garden center. I've always thought it was supposed to be hard to grow, but it's doing so well I might have to try growing my own next year.


Buds are starting to appear...


Tiny head of broccoli!


Green Bean

More beans! I need enough to make some pickled green beans this year.






Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Last night I replanted the window box on the front of my house. It’s in full shade so it’s always hard to find pretty things to plant in it, which is why it makes me kind of sad to replace the pansies that have been in there since spring. I love pansies! I dig up violets when I find them growing in the yard and replant them in my garden. To me they’re just tiny pansies that I don’t have to pay for. Thrifty, right? Anyways, I picked all the flowers off the pansies before I dug them up and made this sweet little bouquet. Then I took them out of the window box, and as I did last year, ended up transplanting them in my garden. It seems cruel to let a good pansy go to waste just because it got a little too tall…