Saturday, January 18, 2014

harmony house credenza

Confession: I bought this Harmony House credenza a year and a half ago. I was so excited, too. It was covered in water rings, had damaged and missing veneer, was splattered with pink nail polish, and needed repair. It was only $9.99 at Value Village and I had a 20% off coupon, making it an incredible steal. Even more incredible now that their furniture prices have gone up.

I was at the register paying for it while a guy was circling it in the furniture area. If I'd been five minutes slower, it would have gone to bidder number two. As it was, he jealously watched the salesperson put a "sold" tag on it and mentioned to me that it was a nice piece, but needed a drawer repair. "I know," I said, "thanks!" I recently spied it's twin on eBay for $575, though in perfect condition.

My goal was to restore it to its former state and resell it, but the original legs were missing. I searched out new legs for it at BRING, found four that almost matched for $1 apiece, and decided that they'd fit the bill. (I'd eventually need to cut off the brass capped ends to make the lengths match. It seriously pained me to do it, but couldn't be helped.)

I poked their threaded rod through a cardboard box to stand them up and start the stripping process.

The messed up drawers and top got stripped at the same time, first with green stripping gel, then with a sanding sponge.

The back of the top had lost its veneer, exposing the particle board (!!!) used for the top, so I ironed on and trimmed some new veneer along the back.

I also had to re-nail the masonite board to the back using little penny nails.

Finally, I started the staining process.

First coat.

The sides had too much damage to the veneer, and sanding too much more would have utterly destroyed it. I took a deep breath and decided to paint the sides and front frame with grey chalk paint.

Here's a nice angle of the freshly finished top.

This shows the stained veneer strip matching up decently to the rest of the edging, the re-nailed back, and the painted side.

Water-ring free top!

The brass hardware needed to be cleaned and refinished.

I don't recommend soaking in the salt/lemon juice mixture recommended on some blogs. All my brass plating sloughed off unevenly.

I used Rub n' Buff to recolor it until I can afford electroplating.

A little bit of sanding at the edges for texture, and some dark colored wax over the finish on the sides.

Finished, with legs reattached!

This is the first time I've refinished a piece this large, and I really like how it turned out. In the end, I moved it into my house rather than trying to resell it. I assume the painted sides, refinished hardware, and inexpert drawer repair make it less valuable (although certainly more attractive than the "before" photo).

Also, now that I know the top is made of particle board, I wouldn't feel right listing it as simply "wood" as the owner of the $575 eBay version does. I mean, technically, that's correct, but I'd expect it to be a plank, not sawdust + glue covered with beautiful veneer. Apparently, this is standard practice in the industry, but if I were the buyer, I'd be pretty surprised to make that kind of a discovery for nearly six-hundred dollars.

Counting the price for the credenza plus the legs, stain, stripper, and sanding sponges, I think I have about $50 into this piece. I think in its current condition I could probably sell it for more than that, but I'm going to hang onto it for awhile for storage. It looks kinda awesome in the spare room.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading!

p.s. you can make these photos larger by clicking on them! take a look at the first one, especially, to see the years of damage that had built up.

linking up to:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

paul bunyan christmas boxes

You've already seen some of the things I packed into this year's Christmas boxes, including the Paul Bunyan Towel-endar . . .

. . . the saved mammoth sunflower seeds . . .

. . . and the woodsy snow globe ornaments.

So let's look at some of the other stuff that went in the boxes with these goodies. Here's some coconut candied peanuts. I packaged them in triangular treat bags and added gold ties and vintage-style labels. (I should have chosen tree nuts to stay on theme, but I had a momentary lapse)

And here are some bar coasters I printed with a log slice pattern (for fun, some also had a bark pattern on the backs).

These little Paul Bunyan books (Paul Bunyan Comes West, originally published 1928) were my favorite, though. I'll talk more about them in a future post, but here's a sneak peek at them after I bound  them but before they were wrapped and put into the boxes.

I packed everything into a treat box with a window on the top. You'll notice I also enclosed a box of packaged tea and a little parchment paper package of birch branch paper straws.

Then I added some colorful paper shreds I reused out of a Pijon Box delivery. They use a lot, so I had plenty for twelve boxes.

I tucked the Paul Bunyan towels in on top of everything . . .

. . . then sealed up the boxes (bought during last year's post-Christmas clearance) with the towel wrap showing through the window.

Finally, I used some recycled brown paper to print some wrapping paper using the same block I used for the coasters. I tied the packages shut with baker's twine and added more wood veneer tags on top. These ones say, "Paul Bunyan says, 'Merry X-Mas'" in gold pen.

Positive feedback from family and friends! I had a lot of fun, and some frustration, and a few late nights putting everything together this year, and even got boxes in the mail in time for Christmas for those I wouldn't be visiting. Now to start planning for next year . . .

Friday, January 3, 2014

snow globe ornaments

To go along with the Paul Bunyan towelendars and some other things (to be discussed in my next post), I made these cute snow globe ornaments with tiny bottle brush trees and a ton of glitter (both opalescent and silver). I inserted the trees with long tweezers and attached them with hot glue.

I found the bottle brush trees and clear ornaments at Ben Franklin Crafts here locally, which turned out to have ample supplies of both after the other chain stores sold out (also better pricing than JoAnn).

I tried this with both plastic and glass ornaments, and each had some pros and cons.

Mainly, I had more problems with hot glue strings sticking all over the inside of the plastic bulbs, but this also meant that the trees were more secure once they were stuck in place.

The glass bulbs didn't have as many problems with glue strings sticking, but I also had more trees come loose from the bottoms of the bulbs. In addition, I had one glass ball break, so buy one or two extra if you have a set number of people on your gift list.

Again in the pro column (for me) is that the glitter is statically attracted to the inside of the glass, so there's a bit more of a "falling snow" effect on the sides of the glass ornaments than inside the plastic ornaments.

I finished these off with baker's twine loops and tags cut from wood veneer. I purchased a large piece (2 x 5 feet) of wood veneer at the recycled building store for $3, and it cut easily with kitchen scissors. To prevent ink from running in the grain, I drew the year on with pencil. As a bonus, it has a nice handmade look to it.

I'll link you here to my inspiration for this project, last year's Prep & Landing snow globe project from Disney's Family Fun Magazine. I ended up foregoing the bases and using bottle brush trees after seeing a few similar projects on Pinterest, and was happy with the decision. I think my additions of the twine and wood veneer tags are what make them really stand out as a nice tie-in to the Paul Bunyan tales though.

Did you put together any fun Christmas ornaments this year?

Thanks for reading!

p.s. Did I mention that you can make these photos larger just by clicking on  them? You probably already knew that, but I thought I'd mention it.

p.p.s. Did I also mention that I cut our cedar Christmas tree out of our yard this year, Clark W. Griswold style? Yeah, that totally happened.