A weekend project

A weekend project

It was a beautiful weekend here in Va Beach, bright and sunny but not yet hot–perfect for getting a few things done out-of-doors.

First up on my list was our picnic table. We purchased it at a steal two years ago and let it age a bit. Last summer I purchased the supplies I would need to stain it a beautiful red color, but, alas, it never happened. I moved around that can of stain until I got sick of seeing it and eventually it disappeared.

So this weekend I hunted it down (in the back corner of the garage) and set to work. To my surprise, it didn’t take nearly as long as I anticipated.

First, I sanded the surfaces to smooth out the wood and get rid of dirt and other junk that had collected there. Then I wiped it down to remove the dust and pollen and it was ready to go.

It took two coats of stain/protector pretty easily, I just followed the instructions on the can. The first coast took a little longer as it soaked up a lot of the stain, the second went on in a matter of minutes.

Right now, it’s curing and I can’t wait to get a final shot of how it turns out. For now…

Picnic table before

Picnic table after

P.S. A tip that worked really well for us last year–place a few flattened carboard boxes on the ground beneath your picnic table and then mulch over them. They do a great job of keeping the weeds from growing and they will naturally decompose into your soil!

And to top off the day, we also picked up a few hundred feet of fencing from a neighbor replacing their pasture fences. I think this will come in handy some day…

Truck load of fencing

In the works

In the works

I know I’ve explained that we’re unable to do much “home improvement” because we’re still in a rental at this point, but I’m determined that doesn’t mean I have to sit idly by.

I’ve taken on a few small projects (small because that’s the size that fits in my schedule at the moment) while I dream about bigger ones that we can tackle in the future.

For now, take a look at some of the things I’ve been up to lately…

Birdcage in progress.

The original green color wasn’t bad, but I purchased this cage at a flea market ($4) for use on our porch, which is decorated in a completely different green color. So I bought a can of spray paint/primer in one and changed it up. At first, the spray paint looked pretty bright and yellowish, but after a few coats it began looking exactly the same color as our little bistro set.

On the porch.
*The greens in the photos above look a little off, but they are seriously really close in person.

Wall mounted rack in progress.

I picked up this rack at a flea market as well ($1!) and knew that with it’s leaf design it would look perfect in our bedroom, plus I needed something long and narrow to place above the dresser mirror so this was perfect. However, although I don’t mind the brushed nickel look, it really needed to be more of an oil-rubbed bronze or hammered bronze color to fit with the rest of our decor.

Now, it’s the perfect spot to hang some vintage necklaces (of course, I only have one right now, but I think it’s a good excuse to find some more =) ).

Necklace rack.

I found these dressers at an antique store ($150 for both) while I was living in Millersburg, OH. They are from the 1950s, well built with dovetail joints, and they have a nice blonde finish. Although they’re certainly not in mint condition, I think the wear and tear gives them character. However, I wasn’t a huge fan of the gold hardware. So here I go again with that spray paint…

Tall dresser before and after

Doesn’t that completely change the look of the dressers? It brings out the darker tones in the blonde finish, and I’m falling in love with these pieces all over again…

Another dresser before and after

Well, that’s a wrap for last weekend’s projects. This weekend I’m planning a few more outdoor improvements, but I’m not leaving the spray paint behind!

A quick fix

A quick fix

While Husband and I dream of someday owning a house, for now we are in an incredibly awesome renting situation…a 5 bedroom, 1940’s custom built farm house in the country, and, most surprising of all, at an affordable price.

Our house

The fact is that we would totally buy this house if we could, however, it has already been promised to a family member of our landlords’ (yes, that’s plural–there are 5 of them).

So while we try to patiently wait for the right time to purchase our own home (remember that whole rhythm thing?), and while we purpose to enjoy the house we have for the time being, we are slowly but surely making purchases and improvements that we will be able to move with us when the time comes.

For instance, last winter, we bought a leather loveseat at a liquidation sale of a discount furniture store’s seconds location (talk about getting a deal!). Every month or so we make a few improvements, sometimes just a little purchase from Pier 1’s clearance rack, or, like this week, mounting a surfboard on the wall…

Understand that I’m not just married to a chef, but a surfing chef. And one who has definite opinions about decor. Since we hardly use the second floor of this house (except for guests), I thought I’d let Husband do whatever he wanted with the stairwell…

My little project this week is the shower caddy–simple, I know, but it will bring me so much pleasure to have it finished.

We registered for this “brushed nickel” shower caddy when we got married because I was just so excited to have found one that wasn’t white or chrome. The first 8 months we owned it, we were living in a fully furnished beach house and had it in storage, which means that this has been used for exactly one year. But it was already super rusted and getting icky orange/brown gunk on our toiletry bottles and running down the shower wall.

Rusty shower caddy

This photo was actually taken after we used steel wool to take off the worst of the rust.

After using steel wool on the rust, we laid it on newspapers outside and took a simple can of “paint and primer in one” Rustoleum (antique copper color) to it.

Rustoleum paint

At first, the paint struggled to stick to the caddy evenly:

Painting shower caddy

But after a few days and a few coats of paint, it was looking quite nice. We brought it into the mud room to cure and lose the paint fumes before adding it back to our bathroom.

Just in time for our string of out-of-town summer guests (oh, the perks of living at the beach…).

Finished shower caddy

Oh, and don’t mind the lovely flower-power laminate in the shower…actually, it’s in the entire bathroom–walls, ceiling, everything. But, the house we’re in right now is a rental, so there’s not much we can do about it.