Wednesday, July 18, 2012


This year we planted some cherry tomatoes and serrano peppers in a pot on our back patio. I think Chris said he tried to plant some mint too, but it didn't come up. We got three serrano peppers earlier this summer, but that was it. We've gotten lots of cherry tomatoes.

When I was growing up my dad always planted a huge garden. I don't think I appreciated it enough. I think I saw it as work with no reward. Gardening meant dirty fingernails, digging, planting, watering, weeding, itchy legs and bug bites, sweating, picking and a full day or two of canning at least the tomato yield. I remember complaining when my dad would send me out to pick a couple of vegetables or to water the garden for him when he was busy with work and didn't have the time. When it was very hot and dry, he wanted it watered several times a day, which is hard to do when you're at work all day.  I look forward to the day that Chris and I can have a big garden in our backyard. Maybe my future children will be the ones that complain about picking or watering, we'll see, but I am thankful for this little garden today.

I love to wait until we have a few red cherry tomatoes and pick them all at once for a salad. I've done that the past two nights. Chris likes to eat them like candy on his way in or out of the apartment! I have to tell him to stop so we can have enough for salads! He thinks I am nuts.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

4th of July project

I was very excited to have a day off of work on the fourth of July. It was a great day to work on a little table project!

Chris and I had visited my family a couple of weeks before. During our visit, we acquired an end table from my dad. He had pulled it out of his garage and offered it up. It's not unusual for him to have random pieces of furniture and other household items in his garage, which I believe drives my stepmother crazy. As with most random things in his garage, the table had been left by a tenant that had moved out of one of his rental houses. My stepmother always says the stuff people leave is left for a reason, it's usually junk! He and my stepmother had actually used the table to rest a paint bucket on as they worked to paint and prepare the house for the next tenants.

The table was a mess. It had paint splotches all over it. When Dad offered it to me, I initially refused. It was too far gone. Then he mentioned that I could probably refinish it for little to nothing. That got me curious about trying. When my sister arrived later that afternoon, I showed it to her and asked her opinion. She said that she could tell it had a laminate top, but that the legs were all real wood. Since it wasn't all real wood, she recommended trying to paint it. I decided to give it a shot! What can I say? I look up to my handyman father, homemaker sisters and crafty friends. I would love to learn some of those skills. I don't think I was blessed with a natural artistic ability, but I am trying to learn patience with these kinds of tasks. As with many things, practice makes perfect, especially when you don't have a God-given knack for the project.

The weekend following the visit with my family included a trip to Lowe's for a Dremel tool, spray paint, stripper spray, sandpaper, a sanding block and gloves.  About $70 later, not knowing what we were doing at all (besides reading a short tutorial online about refinishing an authentic wood furnishing), we felt prepared to give it a try. Hey, at least Chris got to buy a Dremel. He was very excited to add a tool to his collection, and it actually made sanding the table legs much easier. We tried to wait until the temperature outside dropped below 100 degrees, but after holding out several days, we had to settle for it dropping below 110! The first opportunity was fourth of July.

Can you tell he's excited to get started?
Before we touched it!
Letting the stripper chemical work.
Stripping off the old finish.
Mess of a table top!

While we were working, we saw some kids playing in the dumpster. What better way to spend 4th of July, right?


Dremel made the leg sanding easy!

Yep, we chose to paint it red.

The laminate didn't paint as evenly as the wooden base and legs. 

You can tell it was spray painted, especially on the laminate where the paint puddled a little. It was also a "satin" finish paint, so it turned out kinda shiny. 

We tried to rub out some of the shine later with a soft rag after it had dried for the most part, but it didn't work. That and letting it dry outside actually added to the imperfections on it.
Overall it was a fun project. Though it turned out far from perfect, I was pleased with the results. It was good practice. I learned that natural wood takes paint better than laminate. It's now sitting in the strange sized corner in our bedroom with our tiny television on it. With stuff sitting on the top, you can't tell it's not perfect! It's definitely not going to serve as a conversation piece in our living room. We'll see if the next finished project is worthy of that!