No one burned down your she-shed, Shannon.

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GailD

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Maryn, a goose neck lamp, bent to focus light solely on your needlework, wouldn't be okay?
 

Maryn

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That's how my sister and her husband do it. They have dinner, some conversation, then separate for the evening to their respective viewing choices and lighting levels.

Today in the newspaper I saw a restaurant's patio with glass geodesic domes containing a single table apiece to allow winter service during COVID. We have a nice patio and my first thought was, Me want! Maybe that's what Shakey needs, eh?
 

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I finished my dragon tea box! Will upload a photo soon to share.

I won't be using it right away, though. I didn't account for the varnish -while completely dry- still smells very strongly. That's not going to play well with the tea. So I'm trying to weather out the smell. Same with the other renovated box for jewellery. I had already put my jewellery in it but when I took out a necklace today, it smelled strongly of the wood-stain. I'm not sure what's the best way to get the smell out that won't affect the varnish or colours, so for now I'll be putting them outside in the wind when it's dry. *Sigh* It's going to be ages, probably, before the smell disappates, I just know it.

The third box project is put on indefinite hold. I tried to clean the hinges, but apparently the box was once varnished while the hinges were on and the hinges were bronze-plated, and likely iron underneath. So while trying to remove the old varnish, I accidentally removed much of the bronze plating and now it looks aweful. I'm shelving this project until I figure out how to fix it, but currently I'm out of my depths.

Aah, those lovely unexpected ideosyncracies of renovation projects... :Headbang: Yeah, I'm definitely done with boxes for a while. :ROFL:
 

Maryn

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Are the hinges fancy-pants hinges, or just everyday stuff? Because replacing them is certainly the easy way out, assuming they're a common size.

For a time I scooped up those carved jewelry boxes from India so popular in the 1970s, with a vague notion that I'd stain them cool colors, but now that I actually need one (thanks, Etsy!), I'm a little scared to try it. Which is silly, because geez, what if I do ruin a $4 box I bought fifteen years ago?

Man, I cannot wait for it to be late enough to open the wine. Stressful times even though I'm trying to chill.

Maryn, nearly done painting acorns a few at a time
 

Friendly Frog

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Very every-day hinges. There are indentations cut into the wood for them, so I'd have to replace them with something of near or identical size. But thinking on it, they do look fairly standard-size.

Huh, I've been so focused on renovating that I never considered just replacing parts. Well, it seems obvious now. :ROFL:

I bet that if I go digging in dad's work-and-tinker-basement I might even find a replacement as I'm not sure whether the DIY-shops aren't subject to the lockdown... Huh.

Thanks Maryn! I'll toast to your health (since it is late enough here for wine) and that you may find calm (and wine) soon. :)

Stain the box, stain the box. Go wild with colour. If you have several you can try just the one and not lose much. You know you want to! What could possibly go wrong? <-- famous last words :D
 

Maryn

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The wine was lovely and made a poorly chosen movie bearable.

We are down to the final four acorns, all waiting because I had to glue their caps back on. Finding the glue was an adventure. Since I didn't collect all that many, I think I'll mix them with some tiny pine cones I gathered, probably just stick 'em in a glass dish, or maybe polish a silver one. I don't think I have enough to surround a candle, which was the original plan.

Next up, the big pine cones, which I will attempt to make look like they have frost or snow on them. There are a great many methods, but I'm smart enough not to add glitter to my life. I thought I'd try the one where you paint the tips with glue and before it dries, sprinkle large-crystal salt on it. I don't know if I have the patience, but we'll see.

I don't have any pine trees, and apparently other crafts people were pouncing on the cones in parks. Luckily we visit cemeteries, where they lie undisturbed, so I got around two-thirds of a grocery bag full and already baked them and any critters they may have housed.

I'm sorry my simple craft efforts have hijacked Shakey's thread. How's the shack doing?
 

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I'm just going to share my latest two projects as I promised:

https://flic.kr/p/2k4RVv6

This is my new dragon teabox. The box was new but kind of bland and the wood was a bit too fragile-looking for my taste, as I didn't think it'll stay looking good after a while in the teacabinet. (I wasn't wrong, it splintered terribly when I was sanding it for painting. There are a lot of splinters still in the paint, which the pic fortunately doesn't show.) The dragon is of my own design. It's a pretty generic, simple dragon, but I have been drawing these since highschool so it's a design I knew I'd still like in years to come, and one I could pull off after pretty much not drawing the last few years. I used left-over paints from my model-building years. I had to mix the red because the red paint I had resembled dried blood too closely. I'm pleased with the mix, even though it still is darker than I intended. And then varnished the box so the paint job hopefully lasts long enough for me to enjoy it. Not that I can get any company for tea any time soon... (eff you corona) so it doesn't matter much I still need to get the smell out before I can use it...

https://flic.kr/p/2k4RVwd

This is my newly renovated jewellery box with its unrenovated sister-box next to it because I stupidly forgot to take a before-photo. It's been sanded, stained and varnished. The broken lock has been resoldered (my first attempt!) and cleaned with wire-wool. The one broken hinge has been flattened, repaired with a nail of similar colour and has new screws.


And now I'm going to shut up for a while because I have been equally - if not more - guilty of hijacking Shakey's thread. :eek:
 
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GailD

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You've done a beautiful job on those boxes, Friendly. They look wonderful!

Shakey did ask what projects others were engaged in. So, yanno, she did ask. :D

Maryn, I trust you're feeling more relaxed now. Have you tried South African wine? Tres superb. :D
 

Maryn

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I have indeed tried South African wine, for which you can thank James Michener, who incorporated it in one of his books, although now I have no idea which one. But I still remember the characters' difficulty in growing the right kinds of grapes in unfamiliar terroir. (Look at me, talkin' like a wine snob! It's the growing conditions: climate, soil, terrain.) And then finding a winemaker who could produce something anyone would care to drink was another hurdle that took decades. Hm, now I want to figure out what book that had to have been. Like my reading pile is so small I can easily fit in a massive reread.

Anyway, yes. I especially keep an eye peeled for Southern Right wine, which makes a donation for right whale conservation for each bottle sold. Win-win!

I forgot that Shakey asked. Duh. Makes me wonder what else I've forgotten!

In that case, maybe I'll get a photograph of my painted acorns. They're a low-skill project, which for me was just right--and also revealed two colors that had gotten thick and clumpy and needed throwing out.

Frog, tell me more about how you stained your lovely boxes. I have a few wood boxes that are nice, but they might be nicer in a deeper wood tone. I'm mostly interested in how you prepared the wood for the stain, I guess. Was there an existing finish you had to strip off, and if so, how did you do it?

I've only stained raw wood before. It was a relief to finally donate the learn-as-you-go bookcases where the bases were way too dark because I didn't shake the can often enough while applying the stain. They only bothered the eye for forty years or so.

Maryn, a poor newlywed at the time
 

GailD

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Maryn, I think the book by James Michener you may be thinking of is The Covenant. His research of South Africa was impeccable though, in recent years and in light of information that was suppressed by the Apartheid government, there are some challenges to the accuracy of some information in it. Not much, but some.

Please consider yourself warmly hugged for buying Southern Right wine!!! *happydance* South Africa makes world-class wine but it may be difficult to get in the U.S. It's expensive - $10-$100 per bottle. I don't think your current administration has made it any easier by slapping huge surcharges on it. But if you want to spoil yourself with something very special, SA wine is it. :)

Okay. So, you've read the book, tasted the superb wine, now it's time to visit us! :D

Gail,
on a one-woman mission to get y'all over here.
 

Friendly Frog

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Anyway, yes. I especially keep an eye peeled for Southern Right wine, which makes a donation for right whale conservation for each bottle sold. Win-win!
Oooh, sounds enticing. I'm putting it on my 'keeping-my-eyes-peeled-for-this'-list!

I forgot that Shakey asked. Duh. Makes me wonder what else I've forgotten!
Same here. On both counts. :e2paperba

In that case, maybe I'll get a photograph of my painted acorns. They're a low-skill project, which for me was just right--and also revealed two colors that had gotten thick and clumpy and needed throwing out.
Please do if you can find the time. :) I'd love to see them.

Frog, tell me more about how you stained your lovely boxes. I have a few wood boxes that are nice, but they might be nicer in a deeper wood tone. I'm mostly interested in how you prepared the wood for the stain, I guess. Was there an existing finish you had to strip off, and if so, how did you do it?
I took off all hinges and locks, rubbed the boxes down with a moist cloth and once dry, started sanding.

The brown box was showing its age (upon thinking, it's very likely older than me, maybe even by a decade or two) and had been used a lot, so if it had once been varnished, that layer had already rubbed off. The inside was bare wood, so I didn't do anything there, other than sanding down a stain of old spilled glue. I only stained the inside because I didn't think I'd get as clean a line as the original colouring had.

The outside had been stained, but the colour had already worn off here and there. I sanded the outside down by hand. The colour came off real easy, probably because of its age. I used a heavier grain (80) for the most part and only a lighter one (200) at the very end. I don't know the type of wood, but it didn't scratch easily, so I had that going for me. Then I wiped off the dust with a moist cloth, let it dry and that was all preparation it needed before staining.

The teabox was new and untreated, with a plywood top and bottom. I sanded the top a little because I thought that would make the paint adhere better and regretted doing it almost immediately. The top splintered slightly, and the more I sanded, the more appeared to show up. I may have stopped sanding too early, but I was convinced I would not get all the splinters out and decided to chance it. Some new ones did show up during the painting phase, and like the darker bases of your bookcase, I am likely to notice them for years to come, even if others don't...

For future projects I think i'm going to forego sanding bare wood if it has a smooth finish to start with, no matter what the tin of stain or varnish says. Maybe it was just it being plywood that caused problems, as the first box was full wood, but I don't have enough experience to tell. The third box also had a plywood top and never splintered at all, even if it scratched more easily.

The third box, not featured in the photos because still unfinished (the only with the ruined hinge) was unstained, but had definitely been varnished. I managed to sand off the varnish as well, but it was harder going that the dark box. By then I discovered we did have powertools that could handle the small surfaces, and switched to that. With the power tool I even got out a dark water stain on the top, so that was an unexpected bonus.

I didn't use chemicals or strippers simply because I didn't think I'd need them and have no experience with them. If the sanding hadn't worked, I may have looked into them, but ultimately didn't need to.
 

Maryn

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Thanks for the how-to on the sanding. Much appreciated.

I have some experience with chemical strippers, especially paint remover. It's a slow process, but really satisfying. My childhood furniture (white dressers and student desk with Formica tops and pink drawers, so not me even then) became my bedroom furniture (all white, simply the easiest), then our kids' furniture (white dresser, primary colors drawers), then our teens' furniture (all black, Formica ripped off, painted themselves with inadequate prep, so every scratch showed all these bright cheery colors). When they left home for good, we took one piece at a time and stripped off all the paint before repainting them for use in the kids' former rooms, now guest rooms suited for the adults they are.

Call we weirdo--don't think I can't hear you!--but I liked the smell of the paint remover. I'm one of those people who also likes the smell of gasoline and rubber cement, and it's in the same family. You paint the stripper on in a well-ventilated area, go away, and come back to find most of it bubbled and blistered, which you can scrape off with a plastic putty knife. If you're smart--I am!--you save the used stripper, lift out the biggest ribbons of removed paint, and use it over and over. Interior corners are almost impossible to get fully clean, no matter how often you reapply.

The finished pieces are nothing special but perfectly adequate for guest rooms. Some are gray, matching the bedspread, and the others are black, but this time with proper prep. The student desk is too small for comfort, so we donated it.

Maryn, no student
 

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Thank you for your insights in paintstripper, Maryn. I expect they may come in handy sometime next year when we'll be attempting for the first time to strip window shutters.
 

Maryn

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That sounds fairly unpleasant but probably necessary.

I remembered to take a picture of my acorns. Simple project even a kid could do.

jctMqgK.jpg
 

GailD

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Love the colorful acorns! :) How did you keep them from tipping over while the polish was drying?


Blue polish on acorns looks very exotic
But blue polish on fingernails - somewhat necrotic.

:)
 

Maryn

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I tended to paint no more than a dozen acorns in three or four colors at a time, letting them dry standing at an angle on their caps, the stem causing them to tip. I had more problems with accidentally touching one when I set another near it than with toppling over, although that happened a few times, too.

I read somewhere that nut-bearing trees, including oaks and their acorns, have three-year cycles with lots of nuts, fewer, then hardly any, followed by lots again, assuming the trees get the amount of sun and water they need. I don't know where in the cycle acorns are, but it was pretty slim pickings this year, so maybe next year I'll do better in terms of quantity. We were very aware that fewer nuts from the hickories and black walnuts hit the roof, startling us or even waking us, compared to last year. Do the cycles of all the tree sync? No idea.

Maryn, debating between dusting and vacuuming
 

mrsmig

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I LOVE your acorns, Maryn. The shades of blue against the brown caps are perfect, and the blue bowl is just the right setting.
 

Maryn

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I think if I do this again I might want to make the caps shiny, although I don't know how. Painting them with clear polish seems like it would take forever. I bet there's some kind of spray lacquer, though.

The blue bowl and the plate it sits on are from the Olden Tymes, when I could go to thrift stores and buy what pleased me. The two pieced don't match and I prefer it that way, actually.

Maryn, who did not dust or vacuum but bought a comforter online instead, which took longer
 

mrsmig

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Did it take as long as it took me to buy a damn 8x10 foot tarp this morning? Because that took nearly two hours.
 

Maryn

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If you were local, I'd know which store you bought it at.

There's a home improvement store here, local, that's got good stuff, different than the chains, but is run so poorly it would be hilarious if it weren't frustrating.

I brought an item to the cash register with a label securely taped to it. "Manager's Special: Last One! $138.99." There was no manufacturer's label on it, and while I had the money, they would not let me leave with the item until they determined its UPC code. It took nearly 45 minutes to buy the damned thing. I wanted to yell at them that this is the part they do on their own time.

Maryn, who has not returned
 

mrsmig

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Nah, I bought it on the 'Zon, and it was my own fault. I compare prices and sample reviews when I'm choosing an item on the site, and inevitably end up confused and frustrated. However, I did learn something yesterday: for many manufacturers, the sizes of their tarps are determined by the size of the fabric BEFORE they add the hem and grommets and other features. So what's marketed as an 8x10 tarp may actually be more like 7.5 x 9.25, or something equally odd. It didn't much matter to me since I'm just covering a pile of garden supports for the winter, but the reviewers who needed a specific size were NOT happy about it.
 

Maryn

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I can't blame them. It's like learning a two-by-four is not two by four. The very ground beneath one's feet cannot be trusted.

Seriously, in what world does it make sense to give dimensions of a product other than in its finished, ready-for-sale form?

Maryn, who would run things differently were she in charge
 

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...or wrist watches saying they're waterresistant to 5 meters when actually that means they are only resistant to the stray drop of water that may land on it when you wash your hands... Froggy is not bitter about that one, nooooo, not bitter at all... Wow, Maryn, those are some cool acorns! I'm almost jealous about your selection of blue nail polish, though. Oh, and spray lacquer most definitely exists. I've used it for the painted frog as well. Although finding a good way to spray something as small and round-shaped like acorns can, I reckon, be a bit of an challenge.
 
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