Finally!

I finished restoring a dresser last Thursday.

Because,
well,
I’m 29, y’all.

That’s way too old to still be storing my clothes
in a three-drawer crappy plastic bin from Wal-Mart.

I was taking Le Pooch for a walk,
and sauntered past a dresser ditched by the side of the road.
I come from a loooong line of dumpster diving trash pickers,
so naturally,
I stopped to take a look at it.

It’s maple,
probably from the early 70s,
and still in (fairly) decent condition.

There was no way I could drag it home by myself,
though I did allow momentary visions of hooking The Damn Dog up to a sleigh
and hollering “MUSH!” over her head.

Now,
the last furniture liberation project I had was back at my old Inglehood place–
On a dark and stormy night,
I convinced The Boyo to help me get an enormous dresser
(I had to ditch the drawers, since they were so beat up)
made of particle board, weighing in at about 200 pounds,
covered in rain and mud,
into the back of his Kia,
with me perched on it, since the rear door wouldn’t shut,
up the very steep hill and two flights of stairs to my apartment.

He’s a trooper.

And,
consequently,
when I dropped a hint that there *might* be another dresser down the street
that *could* use a little love…
he was…um…reluctant.

(gosh, and it wasn’t even raining!)

Not to mention the fact that most of his belongings
are in the back of our old friend The Kia,
since he’s in the middle of a move,
so if liberating was to occur,
it would have to be with our four arms and legs.

I asked him to just come look at it with me;
and somehow,
we ended up carrying it home two blocks.

At night.

In a city that doesn’t really believe in street lights.

There may have been a couple of smashed fingers along the way,
but all in the name of home improvement, my friends!

(oh hai, Boyo! I love you!)

That last project,
fondly called “The Behemoth”,
took me nearly three months start to finish–
it was the first piece of furniture I’d ever mucked with,
and there were a few…miscommunications…regarding paint and polyurethane and primer and…
yeah.

I ended up finishing the whole thing incorrectly,
and had to sand it ALL back down and start over again.

It took forever.
And there may have been tears.

But it turned out bea-yew-ti-fully!

Picture this without all the accoutrements--pretty, oui?

So when I picked this dresser up,
I knew that I didn’t want to be quite as anal about it,
especially after the look of consternation Roommate Jessie gave me
when I gave her an estimate of three weeks to get it done.

Rather beat up...and 70s...but look at that maple!

Oh, the poor thing!

(I had to create a workspace on the back patio with a tarp,
a couple of bungee cords and a handy patio umbrella.)

I love me some big-ass tarp, y'all.

I started poking around for ideas,
and came across Centsational Girl,
who made this lovely piece of magic:

Patina Dresser

*gasp!*

Seriously?

You can water down paint without it,
I dunno,
mangling or otherwise causing your furniture to implode?

SWEET.

I ran down to Home Depot and picked up two sample paints by Behr,
one in Pool Table Green,
and the other in Realm,
watered them down just enough to make the paint thinner,
and mixed them together to get a true peacock blue.

They are flat finish,
which weirded me out at first,
but ended up looking lovely under a satin finish poly.

The great (AWESOME) thing about using watered down paint
is that your brushstrokes don’t matter as much.
When I painted The Behemoth,
I agonized over making the top absolutely perfect,
which is difficult using an eggshell finish latext paint.

This time?

I just slapped the stuff on there–
and it was actually fun!

I wanted this piece to be a bit imperfect,
a bit rough,
and I really wanted the warm maple tones to show through.

(I had a bit more repair work to do than I thought initially,
which involved judicious amounts of Elmer’s Wood Glue,
and since I am clampless,
strapping tape–and it worked okay, but clamps are on my “I should have these around because they’re kinda handy, yo” list.)

The other great thing about using watered down paint
is that it dries faster,
which meant that I was able to paint all nine of the drawers
AND poly them in the same day.

DUDE!

Apologies for the fuzziness...as is my wont, I often worked on this after dark...

It took me five days to finish this sucker–
including the Cephalopod detail on the side and drawers.

Oh, and here's our dresser presenter of fluffiness, NAMI!

Isn't he cute?

So preeeeetty!!!

Five.

Days.

Now,
my back isn’t happy with the speed in which I knocked this out,
but it does mean that I won’t have a messy project going now that
Her Fluffiness the Corgi is living here.

Instead,
I’ll have a cute dresser to pose her next to.

‘Coz,
really,
that’s what matters.

(Dear CentsationalGirl: Thank you. Seriously–you are magic.)

Supplies Used:

I used a Purdy paintbrush for Latex paints for this project. Purdy’s are expensive as heck, but totally worth the spectacular results.

I used this pearlescent paint from Modern Masters for the Cephalopod detail,
and painted it on with my water color brushes.
It is a bit…truculent to work with, but turns out pretty.

The polyurethane I used was Miniwax’s Satin Finish.
I may hate poly with the fires of hell,
but it makes for less-easily-destroyed furniture.

I wasn’t able to finish The Behemoth with a coat of poly
(shiny finish black furniture = Chinese lacquer = SHUDDER),
and it’s constantly in danger of getting scratched.
That won’t be a problem with this dresser.

And because I believe in torturing you with THE CUTE:

Aw, precious love!

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Today I:

Got inspired:

1) Marina Bychkova of Enchanted Doll
(caution: the nude doll gallery on her site may be slightly NSFW)

I collected porcelain dolls when I was little,
but they were *nothing* like these tiny wonders.

Her artistry absolutely takes my breath away–
the tiny, meticulous details of the casting process,
her ethereal painting style,
the minuscule, faerie-fingered-embroidery and beading,
and the SHOES,
oh Lord,
the SHOES…!

To get the tattoos on her dolls,
she actually carves the design in the porcelain,
and then fires the paint into that design–
brilliant!

I can spend hours browsing her gallery
and reading about her creative process on her blog.


(I might do a watercolor inspired by one of her dolls…)

2) Style Me Pretty

One of my favorite stumbleupon sites–
always fresh, chic, interesting ideas to play with for future brides–
both in general and floral design.

They tend to be a nice balance between the amazingly awesomely wackadoodle OffbeatBride, and the boring, bleaaaah of The Knot
(tho’ i think they could still use a few more tattooed/pink haired/
colored dress brides, but hey, that’s probably just my hair dye talkin’).

And…
they create inspiration shoots with things like this:

*lurv*

3) Lawrence Yang, whose use of colors and blending kinda
make my heart hurt a little, they’re so nifty…

Honestly,
the last couple of weeks have been SO INSANELY BUSY,
I haven’t had the time or energy to devote to painting,
or even to my simple bleach-pen t-shirt designs…
There was the Kansas City reception of McGranaghanClanness at the end of July,
(i was only two sheets to the wind, i swear!
the humidity just makes me look…um…nevermind
),
I started my salsa performance class at my dance studio
(serious hours of practice and anal perfecting of
*everything* are staring me in the face),
then Santa Margarita with The Boyo for CORGI SNORGLING:

*snorrrrrgleeee*

I’m going to Oregon this weekend with The Boyo for his mom’s gradjitation
(she got her Master’s in Special Education–go, Wendy!!!),
and then it’s my birthday weekend,
then moving Boyo out of the shitholefromhell apartment,
then picking up Her Fluffiness, Nami the Corgi,
then
then
then

OY.

It’s probably a good thing I don’t have a job right now!

(In all actuality,
I probably need to give myself an hour or two per day to just sit and focus on art–
watercolors,
t-shirt painting,
sewing,
all the little things that have been poking me to get created…
sometimes, it’s hard to remember that creating art is just as vital as
cleaning my room, if not more so…
God bless those Puritan Workhorse genes…)

Today I:

Almost swallowed a cockroach in my breakfast cereal.

There may have been induced vomiting.

Which is not really the most pleasant way to greet the morning,
ya know?

In light of this,
and in an attempt to forget the sensation of phalanged crunchery,
I present you with pretties taken on a walk down the Pasadena Arroyo:

All Artwork Copyright of Rebecca S. Rea, 2010
All Rights Reserved