Saturday, November 19, 2011

Home Improvement and that 1:00:00 10K Wall

Tomorrow, I am planning to run the EWEB Race to Stay Warm 10K.  I know I am super-serious about this race because I passed up the opportunity to buy the T-shirt for $25 extra dollars.  I am once more chasing my 10K 1:00:00 wall.  At Nation's, I was 1:00:05, so I can taste a sub-1:00 10K.  If I can avoid the cramps and keep well fueled, I'll be good.  I hope.

Meanwhile, I have been sort of busy on vacation.  In addition to sleeping very late, staying in my jammies until irresponsible hours, reading two books so far, and reactivating my dormant Netflix account, I finally decided to be responsible enough to clean the bathroom and mop the floor.  Such is the sexy life of the Vagabond, who has not yet located a well-recommended cleaning service here in Eugene.

I have a few actual big projects, though.    

Several months ago, the Pilgrimage class held a Parking Lot Sale as their big fundraiser.  It has brought in over $4400, and I scored a leather couch and this.
Its general vibe is Man-Cave Spec-TACK-ular.  The price was right ($4) and the wood was solid, but I knew from the moment I saw it that it would get refinished like nobody's business.

I like the look and character of wood, and I didn't want to bother replacing the smoky grey tempered glass, so I decided to strip the finish and thought of going to bare wood and re-staining, perhaps in a driftwood grey.  You know, all beachy and boho in my discombobulated house.
The large square block is the top of my pulpit-bookcase.  While I'm still waiting for the shelves to turn up and considering if it should be a pulpit-winerack-bookcase, the stripping cream worked like a charm on that piece, and it came out perfectly.  I stained it a lovely reddish brown, and a little polyurethane later, it is simply glowing with coolness.

Three further applications of goop to the coffee table later and I had concluded that the previous stain job was just never going to get me to bare wood. The stain had penetrated unevenly.  Not only was the stain uneven, but to get to bare wood, I'd either need serious patience, or decent power tools.  I have little patience, and my power tools consist of a drill.

When I did previous projects, I had a nearby father who owned several lifetimes worth of power tools.  And I always suspected he snuck into his workshop between visits and did touchups on spots I missed.  With no dad here to do that, it was all me and my coffee table.

This was after much sanding and goop applications.  It was never going to be stainable again.

So I set up for Plan B in my dedicated home improvement space:

Why, yes, that IS my dining room.  I have since de-cluttered the hutch a little.

And everyone needs good lighting for the sewing machine...
Like the kitchen.

This is hard-core home improvement, people.  All you slackers with dedicated workrooms and garages... fear me.  Martha Stewart already does.  And that weeping sound you hear is my poor sainted mother wondering how she gave birth to a child who thinks it is proper to sew in the kitchen.

I wonder if my mom realizes I laid out her quilt on my kitchen counter?  That is a HARD-WORKING COUNTER, there, babies.

Then I went to Lowe's and picked out several delightful colors of paint.  I had gotten a nice fabric to replace the magazine sling with.  Bye-bye ugly leather-and-canvas man-cave thing.  I have a print now.  As always with paint, it took several trials to figure out which one would actually WORK in my space.  The lighting at Lowe's is totally different than here.  So what looked like a soft driftwoodsy grey there was gun-metal here.  And that cranberry red was actually hot pink translucent.  (Ew.)

I settled on what had been a beigey brown there that actually is a grey with brown undertones- exactly what I was shooting for but didn't look like it.

It may also be that the paint guy is clueless and screwed up.  But it worked.

The primer was $8.  But I was able to get a sample size of paint- those little half-pint sizes you can get for $2.94.  So total for the project was under $10.

And here is our "new" coffee table.

Ever put up a photo and realize that you didn't clear the background of said photo AT ALL?  Like this.  

The couch and the table.  Ahhh.  

Cue the whining from all those who will tell me how I bastardized the beautiful wood and destroyed the character of the man-cave classic.  I'm just pleased that now I have a coffee table I can live with that fits the house.  Next up- replacing the Ikea Poang footstool with storage cubes and demonstrating the power of design to my poor addled husband who doesn't understand the grievous visual impact of clashing wood.