time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life - brian andreas

Saturday, February 5, 2011

labor of love

I'll just say it...
I am NOT creative. 

It's surprising because I come from a long line of creative women.  My mom's family is bursting at the seams with creativity...poem writing, floral arranging, repurposing, thrifting, cooking, baking, and decorating...the list goes on and on.  And don't even get me started about my own mother, who is literally the creative guru of the world...anyone who knows ANYTHING about her knows that I'm not exaggerating.  I once saw her repurpose a purse into a dress, shirt, and Snuggie with just a needle, thread, and zipper...pretty impressive (I do not condone making or buying Snuggies for any reason, btw).
On my dad's side of the family we have more talent...sewing, gardening, cooking, writing, and of course the sheer wit of my father (he constantly reminded us how 'wiley' he was when we were growing up...it's much more endearing now). 

Back to my lack of creativity...when I saw this vintage buffet on Craigs List for $25, I knew she was a must-have (Dylan, though supportive, did not share my vision.  I think his exact words were, 'what the hell did you just buy?!'):

isn't she lovely?
Even with 3 broken drawers, cracked paint, 4 loose hinges, and most of the hardware missing...she had potential. 
Did I mention the 28 coats of paint??
I got to work. 
I slathered on layer after layer of Citristrip (my new best friend) and scraped until I literally had blisters on my thumbs.  Because the previous owner decided to paint lime green paint directly on the mahogany, it sunk it pretty deep.  That, combined with the 27 other layers of white paint made for some late nights of scraping. 

upside down


this is how the entire piece looked after the first layer of stripper (i know, it's hard not to think of a joke/comment about strippers.  dylan did every time it was mentioned...for the span of the project)

Next came sanding...and sanding...and sanding.  The green dust COVERED every square inch of our garage.  By the way, the sanding had to be done at night after the kids were in bed...I'd like to apologize to my neighbors, the Farrs, for the sanding until midnight or later.  It won't happen again...until I get my next project.

sanding...don't look at my roots, i desperately need to get my hair done

late one night after sanding i was frustrated, so made no bake cookies...and ate them right out of the pan...how pathetic

I primed and it was soon (by soon, I mean never.  I complained mentioned repeatedly to Dylan how slow the whole project was going, and that I just wanted it to be over...I'm a touch dramatic at times)time to pick a color.  In my head I knew it would be most practical to paint her a neutral color: 'Espresso Brown', 'New Black', or even 'Pencil Point'.  But in my heart, I knew I wanted to paint her 'Retro Avacado'. 
My heart won.

Some might say this project didn't require much creativity, but for me it was a stretch.  I had to envision her as I knew she could be...not a dirty, chipped, broken piece of crap.  So as far as creativity goes, this is about as good as it gets for me. 
Does it count as a labor of love when half of my time was spent in frustration?  I think so...
because I sure love her now.


ps: we bought a couch today, wahoo:

crate and barrel: hideabed, microsuede, perfect lines, comfortable.
6 months old, 1 owner, no pets, no kids. craigslist. $350.00.
she had me at crate and barrel.
Oh, and if you're wondering what that treasure is poking out from behind the couch, it's this little find:

...and by little, I mean a 7-foot tall brass beauty, courtesy of the Goodwill. $7.49.


  1. awesome job Tracy! Your whole family (including you) are very talented! It looks like you guys have such a cute place. I love the new buffet & couch. We got a crate & barrel couch at a yard sale and WE LOVE IT! hope you enjoy yours :)

  2. ok i love everything about that. i want it. and i LOVE your new couch. (thanks for the picture, jerk). anyway. the buffet is perfect. lovvvve it. xoxo

  3. Looove it. Good color choice. It turned out beautifully. Now we just need to find a good place to put her in your new pad. And the lamp? I can't believe it. Did you get it at the Distribution center? We really need to go. I mean it. For real. I have not had very good luck there when I have gone alone. And the couch is perfect. Very versatile.

  4. Great job! When I saw the furniture in it's previous form, I thought "that is really ugly!" When I saw what you did with it and I LOVE IT! And congrats on the other new furniture as well!

  5. OH my gosh. You are astounding. That is amazing. I didn't even know you were doing that, sneaky sneaky.

  6. Love it! When I saw the drawers at your house, I had no idea what they would become. Hard work paid off for sure. And don't worry about the sanding...I honestly had no idea you were doing it. Feel free to spend more long nights sanding in the garage.

  7. LOVE IT! Just found your blog by the way...mind if i read? Well done! And i don't want to hear another word about your lack of creativity! You have it all!

  8. Are you Freaking Kidding me? there aren't words. my heart longs to find your finds. ah. Seriously so stinkin impressed.

  9. That piece turned out AWESOME! You are so funny to say you aren't creative because you totally are. You find things like that and can vision their potential! That's totally creative. Thanks for sharing all your fun finds and projects. It give me some fun ideas!