Saturday, September 7, 2013

Easily Change Hardware Colors; Dining Room Makeover Part 2

The sideboard and drawer pulls before restoration

Today has been another long, busy Saturday. In fact, the whole week was exhausting and rather upsetting. My youngest started back to speech therapy at one school and began pre-school at another. Besides the tedium of driving and sitting around waiting, I am so sad to be home without a baby or one on the way. Who is a stay-at-home mother with no children home during the day, other than a chauffeur? It occurred to me that, once those self-driving cars recently invented become available, pretty much everything I do could be accomplished by a machine. If they would invent a robot that could transfer dishes to the dishwasher or laundry to the clothes washer and dryer, I could basically be totally replaced. Jerry said, "Don't worry; I could never afford a robot  like that!"

Besides the pre-school thing, it was also my week to carpool the high school band kids, our son and two neighbors', which I was up doing until after midnight last night. After just one week of driving morning, noon, and night and missing most of my workouts, I can barely squeeze into a pair of shorts I could pull down without unbuttoning at the start of summer. It's just so frustrating! I need a really fast pedal car so I can burn some calories while I drive! I did accidentally dry those shorts in the dryer last week and my other clothes aren't tight, so I'm holding out hope that's all it is.

Then, I had some trouble in my store. I sold my Cissy trunk set a month ago and the buyer was very upset that I shipped her in the trunk, even though I said in the listing I was going to do so. Everything I read about Cissy dolls says you should ship them with bent knees to protect the knee joints. There is a rumor going around that you should also wrap their eyes very tightly, but one of the expert doll sites, I think maybe This Old Doll, says that will damage the weight in their eyes and cause them not to function. You are supposed to lay the doll with bent knees on padding and cover with more padding, but not wrap anything around them tightly. The postal worker I spoke to when I first started my store advised me the key to protection during shipping is to choose the smallest box possible and make sure nothing moves when you shake the box. I did all these things, using the clothing in the set to cushion the doll, since those dresses probably contain at least 5 yards of material and that's much more sustainable than bubble wrap. Even though the doll is apparently undamaged, the buyer still left a nasty note on my feedback about it. So, that was upsetting. Then, a customer who ordered her doll over a month ago and left feedback saying she was beautiful suddenly decided she hates it and wants to return it. She sent an email saying all kinds of awful things about my work. That was quite depressing as well. I've been in a sort of funk ever since, and I haven't really felt like working.

It's too late to return the doll, though. I run a shoestring operation here; if I gross a $500 profit in a year I consider it a great one! The only way I can afford to buy things for my store is by selling what I have. So after 14 days without any mention of a return coming, you can bet that, unless you can accept payment in the form of broken dolls, the money's gone!

So, anyway, sorry for my little rant. Now you see why it's been a while since my last post. You may have read my previous dining room post, in which we "antiqued" the chairs using chalk paint and metallic wax. The recipe for that homemade chalk paint is here: http://mandalineartfulliving.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-antique-furniture-dining-room.html. This week, Jerry painted the sideboard using the same recipe and today I applied the silver wax. Our dining room is open to our kitchen, so I wanted the furniture to tie in with the kitchen cabinets better than they were. Our cabinets are a creamy ivory with some light brown glazing to make them look antique, and they have drawer and door pulls that look like pewter.

The kitchen cabinets, adjacent to the dining room
The sideboard and china cabinet have knobs and pulls that I suppose were once brass, but are now blackened from age. The color was too dark for the new light finish. You also couldn't see their pretty embossed acorn pattern. The Rub n Buff metallic wax I used to accent the furniture can also be used to change the color of metal hardware, picture frames, pretty much anything.

The pulls rubbed with metallic wax
You start by cleaning the piece. Then rub the wax on lightly with your fingertip or a Q-Tip of makeup sponge. Buff with a soft cloth, and you're done. You can finish the pulls with paste wax if you want to make the silver stay on longer. I will say, this metallic wax is what I used to finish the rocking chair in my Time's Passage post and it's not rubbed off yet, 15 years later. I didn't finish that with paste wax, either. But, drawer pulls are going to get more daily use, so I'm finishing them.

The sideboard is gorgeous now. I think the key to this technique is to go back and forth, rubbing on the wax and wiping it back, then knocking back the contrast with paint until you have a pleasing textured appearance. Jerry sealed the top with gloss polyurethane. It might not be the most authentic look, but we decided since this is a dining set, we'd better make sure to protect the tops. We will finish the rest of the pieces and the lower part of the sideboard with paste wax. Once the poly finish dries, we will move this into the house and go on to the table and china cabinets. I will keep you posted and also add photos when the room is finished. I may paint a new piece for the wall in there as well.

Now the dining room suite coordinates with the kitchen cabinets.
Right now, however, I'm going to head for the bathtub and bed. Other than painting the sideboard and walking five miles today, I planted 60 bulbs in the natural area, more daffodils and some tulips, and some gardenias. Then I worked on the vegetable garden. We had such large eggplants they pulled the plant onto the ground with their weight, as well as an abundance of tomatoes and herbs, so I made my Eggplant Parmesan (actually Carla Capalbo's from her Everyday Italian cookbook) and homemade bread for supper. I don't make this often because it takes about three and a half hours and dirties every dish in the kitchen, it seems. You have to drain the eggplant, bread it, fry it, make the sauce, grate all the cheese, layer it like a lasagna, and bake it.

It was totally worth it, though. There was total silence at the table for a good 15 minutes while everyone started eating, and we barely had one serving left over. It makes me feel good to see the kids enjoying such a healthy dish, and there is a great satisfaction in making a meal almost entirely from my own garden. So, maybe I can't be entirely replaced by robots! Even though you can buy frozen meals, they certainly don't taste like food taken from the garden to the table in just a few hours. Maybe I will feel more like working this week. At least I won't be driving as much. I will post again as soon as I get something finished.

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