Tuesday, January 8, at home in Arizona
After three days of snow followed by days of rain and fog, southeastern Arizona is BACK!
Today is Arizona-sunny and promises to be warmer than anything we experienced this past week.
A casualty of the snow, rain, and cold . . .
I go outside to the front porch and find our tallest cactus broken in two!
The photo shows the top half of the cactus’s former height. I suppose the cactus took in so much moisture that it became top-heavy and snapped.
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Weather delay . . . .
The application of sealer/stain on the inside of the cedar fence is delayed by the precipitation. We need to let the sun completely dry out the boards before finishing that job.
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Happy crew . . . .
Reggie and Roger are happy to be outside in the sunshine again. They like the warmth that radiates from the fence.
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As for me . . .
I have several furniture refinishing projects lined up, items from the thrift shop that need to be restored. Anticipating that, I buy a sturdy, long, foldable table from the thrift store ($5).
The table is already broken in which makes it perfect for a work surface. More about the table some other time.
If I may digress here . . . .
As you know, in addition to thrift stores, I also frequent resale shops. These are for-profit stores dealing in used furniture, accessories, kitchen items, equipment, etc. The quality, condition, and prices are usually higher than at thrift shops.
I have a favorite resale store.
It’s a favorite for obvious reasons (inventory and prices), and also for what I learn every time I go there. Invariably the refinishing guy is busy on his latest project. I’ll call that guy, George.
I walk up to George and he says, “Remember this, Sue?” pointing to an exquisite roll-top desk or a table with a surface so perfect and smooth it’s like deep, dark, still water.
“Oh my gosh! That’s the table with all the stains and gouges!”
“Not any more,” he says, beaming.
Anyway . . . .
George amazes me how he transforms beat-up furniture into treasures. George’s love of wood is life-long and his knowledge of refinishing extensive. I watch him work methodically, painstakingly, lovingly and I ask a lot of questions. He answers thoroughly and patiently. Woodworkers have lots of patience.
Gee, I’m rolling with the adverbs in that last paragraph!
Every time I see George I ask questions about stuff like sandpaper grade for different purposes, types of stains, best refinishing products to buy, etc. Nothing like top-notch, personal, and free education, I say!
I ask him about the side table I bought that some . . . uh . . . person wrote on with black marker. He says I should sand it and hope the marker ink isn’t too deep. I haven’t done anything with it as of yet, other than covering up the marker with a placemat.
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Okay. I buy a bench for ten bucks at a thrift store.
I’m not looking for a bench and I don’t know where I’ll put a bench, but, hey, it’s a bench. One can always use a bench somewhere, right?
Besides, I’ve paid more for bad restaurant food.
I bring this sorry-looking bench home and set to work sanding its top by hand. (This was several weeks ago.) Eventually the sanding is done.
Yesterday I clean it up with tack cloth and apply walnut stain.
The photo above shows the bench while the first coat of stain is still wet. After it dries, I plan to sand it gently (with 220 sandpaper — Thanks again, George!) and apply a second coat. I haven’t decided whether I’ll put a polyurethane finish on it.
Having only two dining room chairs, I continue to search for two more. Preferably for only a few bucks apiece (I’m spoiled.).
In the meantime, this bench sits at the dining room table.
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Funny how one thing leads to another . . .
My growing interest in refinishing brings me to the decision to buy a power sander. Sanding by hand is tiresome! I tell George my decision and what I plan to use the sander for.
“What sander should I buy? Keep in mind I have small hands and wrists. I don’t want something too heavy for me.”
Without hesitation George replies, “Makita. The one that takes rectangular pieces of sandpaper. I’ve had mine for many, many years.” He describes further, and, as soon as I get home, I go straight to Amazon.com.
I find the sander that George recommends and place the order. Follow this link to Amazon and meet my new friend: Makita Finishing Sander
I already used it to sand smooth the patio’s support posts for painting, after I removed the old lattice.
I love this thing!
And you know what else is great?
I have a new hobby to learn while furnishing our house on a budget!
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Want to see a few recent thrift store finds?
From the resale store, six hand painted dinner plates . . .
. . . along with two matching bowls, all for $10.
I wanted nice dinnerware (never owned any, always had Corelle and was content with it). I don’t need six plates and two bowls but that’s how they were sold as a set.
They do look nice on the open shelf among the kitchen cabinets and they make the plainest meals appetizing. Remember me saying once. . . . “My meals taste great but they look like hell.” Well, not on these plates.
Okay, where was I?
A day later I’m in a thrift shop and come across two more of the same pattern for a dollar each and add them to the set. I’ll never run out of dinner plates, especially since I no longer have a husband to throw them at!
Just kidding . . . .
Curious what cups may be available in this pattern from ALCO Industries , I find them on ebay. Too pricey for me. I also find my dinner plates and bowls and I’m stunned — They’re priced several times higher than what I paid!
Two more finds I’m happy about . . . .
The primitive art, wooden rabbit (right) is a sweet addition to the porch and only cost $8.
On its underside is stamped “Beaver Creek, Beaman, Iowa.”
I give Rabbit a rubdown with Murphy’s Oil Soap to freshen him up. In spring I’ll place him somewhere he can peek out from among plants.
Rabbit is sitting on the top shelf of a baker’s rack that will hold plants in pots on the porch come spring. The rack was also priced at $8.
Almost every time I go to a thrift shop I come home with another pretty flower pot for which I paid 50 cents or a quarter. I have quite a collection put together. It will be fun to “pot up” plants, outside at my work table, on a sunny, spring day.
Oh boy, another hobby!
NOTE: Do you have a hobby that you enjoy or a hobby you’d like to try? Tell us about it! Remember, if you have a product from Amazon you’d like to recommend, let me know about it in comments and I’ll share it with readers. When signing in to comment, please indicate generally where you are located. Thank you! — Sue
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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRODUCTS FROM AMAZON!
Blogorino “weather” in New York State recommends:
(The jacket comes in sizes that will fit dogs weighing less than 7 lbs. up to 110 lbs.)
“My Siberian Husky was tremendously upset by and afraid of the noises from thunder, fireworks, gun shots, groups riding loud motorcycles driving past our home, etc. All those noises were heard on a regular basis where we lived, and nothing I tried helped until I bought the ThunderShirt from Amazon.
“At the first sign that something would be causing any of those noises I would I put the jacket on my dog, and she would act as if nothing unusual was happening. Instead of panicking, panting, shaking and trying to hide she would calmly sit or walk around.
“If you read what they have written about the product on Amazon you will see that they say it works for 80%+ of all dogs. Perhaps that explains why it has as been given 4 out of 5 stars ( 80%). I think one key to our success in using it was my not waiting until my dog was in a full blown state of panic before deciding it was time to put the jacket on her.” — weather
“The Makita is easy to use. I like that I don’t have to buy special sanding sheets. I can purchase a pack of sand paper for less money and fit them to the bottom of the sander. In future posts I’ll show the results of my sanding with the Makita.” — Sue
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