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Projects! Projects! Projects!

California has fake fall. The last few weekends we’ve been fighting triple digit temperatures, which has left me less than motivated to get things finished around my place. BUT! Things finally cooled down, and I set to work on two major items:

First things first: Pantry Inventory.  I’m challenging myself to a No Spend November– this is either a genius move or a terrible mistake. Especially since my birthday is in a just a few days…. But I feel like I need a rocket boost to my frugal habit building. So in preparation, I did an inventory of my pantry to see what I have laying around. Then I can “shop my shelves” for a good portion of the month.

Second, and more involved things, second: Furniture refurbishing! When I was in grad school the first time, I picked up a little side money buying cheap furniture and fixing it up to sell. It was genuinely one of my favorite hobbies, but I haven’t had enough space here in LA to set up shop. Now that I have a balcony, I kiiiind of have enough room for smaller projects.

This desk was my dad’s when he was a kid, and he passed it down to me when I was a little girl. I loved this desk! It felt so grown up and literary. Of course, the insides are covered with my tweenage graffiti and the paint on the outside is flaked and discolored.

I want to make this desk something I love again– transform it from a hand-me-down to a real heirloom piece of furniture. It’ll take some time, but I got started on stripping down the paint from the drawer exteriors.

Here’s how the desk started out. You can see that the latex paint from probably 1990 has already stripped off or faded in some places. In others, there are bits of wood glue or tape that have stuck on. And, of course, the busted piece down there on the right side.

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Here’s the process. Orange goo!  I use Citristrip Gel because it’s less toxic than other paint removers. I still use rubber gloves and safety goggles to apply and wipe off because it is caustic and can burn skin. Otherwise it’s really easy to use. You just paint the gel on and let it set for at least 30 minutes. Then it just sloughs off on its own. I sometimes use a plastic scraper to get the tougher bits, but you could just use shop towels.

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And here’s the current state of things. I still want to sand down the edges on those front pieces and refinish them with a really rich wax. Then I want to paint the body a deep slate blue or gray with a matte-satin finish. I’ve thought about replacing the hardware, but since I’m cheap I’ll probably just end up soaking the brass in some vinegar overnight so it can brighten up.

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Featured Image from Annie Spratt via Unsplash.com

 

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