Monday, October 15, 2012

Mandy's Misadventures in Stripping

Did the title get your attention? It was meant to... but I think we all know the kind of stripping I'm talking about.

So about 2 weeks ago, I took my Grandmother's table in an effort to refinish it for her. The table was a bit odd because it always felt a little sticky. My thought was that it had a varnish rather than a stain on it. It seems I was right. Luckily, it being varnished helped while I was stripping it. In my experience, varnish strips much more readily than stain does.

one side stripped, pre-sanding.
I was so pleased with myself. "This is going to be so easy!" I practically cackled. So after the stripping, I sanded down the same side. It looked lovely, such nice naked wood anxiously awaiting a stain.

Why did I only strip and sand one side at a time? Good question... because I didn't know which stain would match the varnish color. Since the pedestal of the table was the same varnish color, the table top had to match. So with one half of the table displaying the original varnish, I found that "provincial" was the correct stain to use (as you can see towards the top of the sanded half).

So then I stripped and sanded the other half of the table

see how easy the varnish stripped off?
After I sanded and cleaned the other half, I got busy on the stain... Only, the stain didn't take evenly. Aside from which, even after 2 days, it was still wet/sticky.

By this point, things were not going as easily as anticipated. So what did I do? I stripped again.

But nothing came up.

So I sanded... and EVERYTHING came up. Everything, as in, the entire layer of veneer that was on this table that I didn't know about until that very second. I stopped sanding when I noticed the dark spots.

"Oh shizzle" I thought... "I just ruined my Grandmother's table."

So that's where we stand right now. I didn't take any pictures of the ruined table, but I'm pretty sure it can't be saved... not for staining anyhow. I'm trying to convince the Gramma to take my table, but she's being ridiculous and wont agree to it. Although I don't think she truly understands that I don't care about my table, and if she has it, then I have an excuse to find a new one.

Anyway that's the story of my misadventures in stripping. Hopefully we will find an answer to this crisis on Friday when Gramma finally comes to see the extent of the damage done.

And while I'm here, I want to catch you up a few things:

1. the Blue house I was obsessing over has sold to someone else. Probably someone with far less vision. Tear...

2. The Pumpkin cinnamon rolls were just OK  I think maybe letting them rise overnight was a bad idea. They seemed a bit heavy for rolls.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


This week I went to look at a house for sale in South Windsor. It was on 5.5 acres and it had a pond. The house was small and looked dumpy from the pictures, but it warranted a look for $189,000.


And the disaster of it all was that it made me realize how nice our current home is. We may not have granite, but at least it's a level counter top that no-one has put their cigarette out on. Anyway friends, this led me to understand that while I have no problem moving into a house that needs a bit of a facelift... I would really prefer not to start from absolute scratch. It would be great if we moved into a house that didn't need ALL of the flooring replaced IMMEDIATELY. Anyway, the thing is, my Sporting Mister got all obsessed with the pond place. He did not go with me to look at the house, do he didn't believe me when I told him how bad it was. Again, obsessed with the pond that he thinks he would have played hockey on all winter long.

Anyway, we had a big "discussion" about the pond place and how much we can afford and blah blah blah. Cut to the fact that he had no clue mortgage rates were around 3.25%.

We are now refinancing our current mortgage and I have convinced him we can afford not only the home below, but also some renovations on said home. So, yeah... I'm obsessing over it.

Aw. What a cute little cape... it's so small and cute and "charming" and small....

SHAZAM! It looks like that cute little cape had a tumor the size of a... well, of a whole other house.

It's got 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2.5 acres, fireplaces, basements, and, check out that 3 season porch. Did I ever tell you how badly I wanted a screened in porch? I can't really understand why a screened in porch is not as basic to a house as a bathroom is. Anyway....

Here's what I really like (aside from the porch):

1. It's at the end of a cul-de-sac on a quiet street... no lines on the road.... local traffic only.
2. There is a neighborhood, so if we have kids someday, we don't have to drive them 5 miles to the nearest house. However, it's got 2.5 acres of private loveliness, so we don't have to listen when someone gives the neighborhood children whistles.
3. As far as I can tell, the kitchen and dining room are one humongous room. I really like that because it's not as wasteful as having a fully separate dining room.
4. It has a finished basement. I actually have mixed feelings about a finished basement. On one hand, it's a space for my craft room that is separate from any bedrooms. Its also a nice separate space from the main level where football fans can get rowdy without alarming the sleeping babies, or perhaps more accurately, dogs. However... finished basements are lost storage spaces.
5. The price. At $282,000 it's far less than other comparable houses.

Let's take a stroll through the inside.
The front entry is a bit crowded with those steps right there, makes me wonder if it would be easier to just close up the wall on that side and leave it open on the other. Gotta love that ancient doorbell thing on the wall. Oh, and all the wood trim. I'm fairly certain that would get painted white immediately.

If you walk in the front door, you can go left into the fancy pants living room.
This would be either a nice library, or a family room of sorts. There is technically a better space for a family room in the basement, but I'm not sure how well that would function with little kids? Well, whatever we did, ditching the wallpaper would probably be our first move.

If you continue away from the front door you'll turn right into the massive kitchen/dining room area.
While it appears that this is actually 2 separate rooms, I would like to make it known that I would not keep them that way. I would continue the wood floor into the kitchen, get all paint-y with the cabinets, and who knows, maybe take that wall of cabinets that you are staring at right now, and give them a good twist, so that they fill the wall next to the french doors.

I kinda love this layout. Not sure why there is a TV in the dining room.... but we have one in our kitchen, so maybe I shouldn't criticize. There are a lot of options here, especially with the nice fireplace amping up the cozy factor.

Don't worry, I'm pretty sure I would never paint a brick fireplace....

If you noticed, the screen porch is right off of the kitchen/dining room.

It's so drool-worthy... this room (depending on its size) will absolutely sell this house.

Ok, calming down... back in the house, you can also visit the 4th bedroom/living/office on the first floor.
I would prefer that this be a library or office space. The only problem is, my Mr. plans on being messy in his next office, and generally speaking, messy offices without doors on the first floor make me a crazy person. Lets call it a library/guest room for now. And what do all library/guest rooms need?

Crazy Murphy bed. Oh yeah.

Upstairs are the master and two other bedrooms.

It appears to be a good size (king bed and a small couch fit comfortably). The only problem here is that I don't think there is a sweet master bath or walk in closet. I wouldn't change too much in this room, I love the wood floor and even the color on the walls. I also like the slight curve in the ceiling and the shutter style closet doors.
These bedrooms are perfectly fine for kids.. in fact, they look exactly like my bedroom growing up in Willi town.

Back down the stairs we go... down, down to the basement, which seems to be divided into two areas.
The laminate floor area is not shown in other pictures, but I think it could make a great craft room, don't you? Because it's pretty important for my craft room to be hidden from almost everything, including human eyes, 98% of the time.

But the basement space lends itself well to a cozy family room, and it even has a little natural light from the regular sized windows. Can't hate that! Plus, if it gets too hot with the fire going, you could always walk outside and sit a spell on the patio area.

Ok, so if you want to admit that you are obsessed too, that's ok with me. I think this place has great potential and I'm looking forward to checking it out, hopefully soon. Keep your fingers crossed for me, ok?