Monday, August 29, 2016

Saved From the Flood: Operation Dine Together

I feel like there is a fine line between sentimental trinkets and hoarding semi-precious crap, and its my job as a parent to help my kids learn the difference.   I just had to talk the 6 year old out of a candy wrapper because she thought it would be a perfect blanket for her fairy house.  She also has a collection of assorted sticked outside...again for the fairies.  I can't tell her that I'm the fairy, and as I am also her mother I don't want random pieces of trash and janky sticks hanging around.  If I were a betting woman I would guess the crack team of "creek turtles" will make off with her things outside...again.  We've been trying to catch them for months.  I digress

In our Texas house we had a massive kitchen island.  An 8 seater that we could have easily sat 12.  We had a smaller formal dining area, but didn't really need an actual large table for all of us since we usually all just ate at the island.  When we moved here to Louisiana our rental was beyond tiny for our 7 person family, but we just made do with our table (and it dwarfed the tiny eating area there...a feat for sure).  In this house we had planned on upgrading to a bigger table, but then put that off until our house sold.  Who wants to buy a new table just to have to move it out of state.  Now that we have decided to stay, our search for a table to fit us all, was back on.

As many of you are aware I am allergic to paying full price for anything.  Even on the rare occasions that I buy brand-new I wait until there is a sale, coupon, clearance, or its being discontinued.  I prefer finding awesome things at thrift shops, craigslist, Facebook groups, or literally picking it out of someones garbage pile.  It saves me a ton of money, gives my home a cool eclectic look, and gives me a reason to dig into a project.

I don't know if you've seen the extensive flooding in southern Louisiana here lately.  The devastation has been unbelievable.  In the spring, northern Louisiana had some serious flooding as well.  The property damage was also huge.  We were so lucky that our house didn't have any flooding, but I know people in the Monroe and Shreveport areas weren't so lucky.  This table came from a house in Monroe that had 3 feet of standing water in it during the spring floods.  I was able to get it for super cheap.  Which was great since it was from a house that had been under 3 feet of standing water.  Did I mention 3 feet of standing water?  

The previous owners had invested thousands of dollars on this table set.  It was a very high quality piece, but like most mass production pieces of furniture there is always areas where they cut costs.  On this piece it was the actual table top.  Absolutely every piece of this table was solid wood except for the table top (veneer and MDF) and some of the mounting pieces under the table.  In short the table top was complete garbage, but the rest of the frame was awesome, sturdy, high quality wood.

As always The Babe is down with posing for a photo opportunity.

It was only where the edge of the MDF was exposed, and there was no veneer, that it was vulnerable to water.  As you can see that was fairly devastating for the integrity of it.

The leaf was the worse piece.

Oh did I mention is came with 8 chippendale style chairs that are 100% solid wood, and absolutely beautiful?

The detail on the bottom portions of the table were gorgeous, and I wanted to save as much of that as I possibly could.  Spoiler alert...we save it all.  Because we are awesome, and humble.  We are humble, awesome people...clearly.

The table came from a doggy home, and this was the only piece that showed any kind of pet damage. Thankfully I was about to match the stain to at least camouflage the damage done by the pooch.  I've had experience doing that before.

With all the damage to the tabletop we knew when we bought it that it would need to be replaced with something new.  We had planned on doing a plywood top.  Ultimately we will be doing a super cool finish so the plywood is just a base.  I did really like the curves of the original top though.   So after we detached the top we flipped it on top of our plywood, and traced it to cut with our jig saw.

I absolutely loved the under edging of this table, and was super hopeful that I (and by I, I mean Señor Hotness) could remove it undamaged so that we could put it back on the new top.  Thank fully it all came right off, and was completely mold free.

And who said that a cute witch couldn't ride a push broom.

The Babe was eager to do her part to help out. 

I just want to address the elephant in the room.  Señor Hotness and I are twinning it with the project flip flops.  I'm not sure that that is the safest footwear to be wearing, but thats what I always wear during a project unless I straight up go barefoot.

The Babe wasn't loving the sound of the jig saw.

When we finished, we primed the bottom of the plywood to create a barrier for moisture to help prevent warping in the future.  While I'm not anticipating being impacted by a flood (who ever is) we do still live in Louisiana which means it is beyond humid here...pretty much year round (the mosquitos are horrid).  So better safe than sorry.

Ok so remember how this table sat in three feet of standing water?  Keeping that in mind I thought it best that I take the base pieces apart to fully clean everything.  That's when I came across this lovely bit of fuzz.  (Disclaimer: I was wearing a respirator mask, and plastic gloves at this point.  Don't play around with mold.)

So I mixed up mold cleanser in my pressure pump sprayer.   As per the instructions I used a bristle brush to really scrub it into the wood, and then let the cleanser dry on.  All the stained areas of the table cleaned off completely.  The only areas that had any remaining mold were in the unfinished areas of wood which were the parts that fit together, and aren't seen.

Luckily I had a special mold killing primer.  I only used this after I had thoroughly cleaned, and sanded the area.  The areas with the mold were hard to get to, and therefore hard to fully sand out the affected area.  Make sure that any primer you use to seal mold is MADE for mold, and contains a fungicide.

I was really wanting to preserve the original finish so I was super careful when I painted on the primer.  I only painted it on the raw unsealed areas which, luckily enough, was also the only remaining moldy areas.

All properly cleaned, sanded and sealed you can't even tell that I had that completely disassembled.

The underside pieces weren't all solid wood.  The parts that were, were made to slide to accommodate the leaf which we weren't going to be using anymore.  So instead of trying to make them work we opted to go with new parts.  Señor Hotness engineered a thick wood piece to make it all the proper height.

It fits wonderfully, and now we have a new sturdy piece to support our new top.  While Señor Hotness was getting this put together I was staining pooch scratches on the legs.  I took one of the legs with us on a Lowe's run, and was able to stain match this pretty closely.  Which turned out to be Red Chestnut from Minwax.  It blends so seamlessly you can't find the scratches unless looking.  

TA-DA!  Isn't it beautiful?  We also stained all the new undercounting pieces that are slightly visible from certain angles.  This is an 8 foot long table now, and will easily accommodate the 8 chairs.  The new top is top secret for now, but stay tuned for details on how we are going to finish out, not only the top but also chairs.

And lest you think we neglect our children when in the throws of project completion.  This is how we did homework that day.  

Here is a run down on the cost of this little project.

Table and 8 chairs--$100
High Quality 4x8 sheet of plywood--$32
Minwax Red Chestnut Stain (8 oz)--$5
Lumber used for new under supports--$51
Grand Total--$188

So because I was willing to take a chance on what most would view as garbage I will have a fantastically awesome, and quality piece of furniture to add to our home for less than $200.  I will be honest and say it took a ton of sweat equity, but for something of this caliber it will be completely worth it in the end.  So don't be worried to take a change on something dicey, and get out there and make something pretty.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

So It Begins...Again

I'm talking about a new school year of course.  We were among the lucky few to have started almost two weeks before all of our comrades on Facebook.  Right at the moment it kind of stunk, but likewise we get out much earlier than all of those same Facebook peeps.  I just thought I'd catch up on what's happening with our family.

I present to you the Snarky Teen.  She recently gained a more firm footing in teenageness (if that's a word), when she turned 14, and started high school.  Then I decided to compound everything in her life by putting that kid in braces.  She is feeling her way out in the world, and you guys this kid is a hoot!  Which of course she gets from me.

Then there is the Tween.  She is a newly minted member of the local Jr. High.  She is beyond crazy for sketching, and is super happy to be part of the young women group now that she's 12.  I'm pretty sure she's also secretly jealous of the Snarky Teen's newly acquired braces.

Ah, the Moody Eight Year Old.  Don't let that freckled nose, and smiling face fool you.  This kid is drama!  She's also absolutely fabulous.  Since she turned 8 she has officially become one of the BIG girls.  She loves the perks of being a big girl, but sort of hates the new improved 'big girl' chore load.

My Destructo Girl isn't so little anymore, and isn't bent on the very destruction of any and everything in her path.  I think she may be coming out of her destructive streak.  I may have to give this kid a new nickname.  She is sassy, and deceptively cute.  She is in love with her new teacher, but was so sad that her kinder teacher wasn't moving up with her.  She is developing nose freckles.  They're kind of the best.

Then there is The Babe.  She isn't such a babe anymore, and no matter what the sign says she isn't 7th grade material just yet.  She turned 4 this summer, and this is her last year at home.  She has become the bossiest kid EVER.  She makes a lunch with the sisters every morning, and enjoys her boxed juice as if it was the finest beverage on the planet.  She also regularly tries to lie to me about her age hoping that I'll get her enrolled in school sooner.  Sorry, no can do babydoll.  I enjoy our morning snuggles to much to give them up before I have to.

So beware. Madness is rampant here.

But that's not all...

Last but certainly not least is Señor Hotness himself.  He's the newest member of the University of Louisiana Monroe's online degree program.  So yeah.  I'm dating a college kid.

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