One hobby leads to another

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

Happy crew . . . .

Reggie and Roger are happy to be outside in the sunshine again.  They like the warmth that radiates from the fence.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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

Of course.

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!

~ ~ ~

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

~ ~ ~


Blogorino “weather” in New York State recommends:

Thundershirt Sport Dog Anxiety Jacket

(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

RVSue recommends:

Makita Finishing Sander

“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

~ ~ ~


RVSue and her canine crew is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

~ ~ ~

This entry was posted in At home in Arizona and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

108 Responses to One hobby leads to another

  1. Cynthia in San Clemente says:

    First! Yes!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yes, and a very FAST first! CONGRATULATIONS, CYNTHIA!

      I hope your back pain is gone and Lucy pup is well . . . 🙂

      • Cynthia in San Clemente says:

        OK, now that I’ve actually read the post (and it is a nice, long one) I can comment properly 🙂 Lucy pup seems to be doing pretty well – she has had one more tremor that I’ve observed, but it was pretty minor and she didn’t seem too upset by it. Unfortunately, my sciatica is getting worse. I’m going to start looking for a good chiropractor and get started on some physical therapy, since I don’t want to get hooked on the opiod drugs the doc gave me and the “weak” drugs are useless. Thank you for asking about both of us!

        All your thrift store finds are great! Isn’t it nice to find things you enjoy using and looking at while knowing you didn’t spend an arm and a leg for them? I actually like the bench at the dining room table. We had a house once where I looked from the kitchen through the dining room to the sliding glass door that went outside. I put a bench on one side of the table to minimize the visual mass so I could see the back yard better. Interesting about the cactus. I wonder if it was excessive moisture or the weight of the snow. Glad you have your sunshine back!!

        I just ordered the recommended Thunder Shirt for Sam. He gets pretty anxious when we are traveling in the motorhome so we’ll see how it works out.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Aw, shucks, I was hoping you’d report the sciatica gone. Smart and strong of you to stay away from the addictive drugs, as tempting as they may be when in pain. May you find a good solution, Cynthia.

          The cactus didn’t break because of the weight of the snow. It wasn’t a particularly heavy snow and the cactus is under an eave. That cactus grew very quickly, since I moved in, and I think that might be part of the reason, along with the big pads at the top filling with water.

          I’ll probably leave the bench at the table. It’s a lot easier to find one good chair than to find a pair. And the choices are more interesting, too.

          You’re such a good mom. Let us know if the Thunder Shirt helps Sam. Thanks for the order!

          CONGRATULATIONS, WEATHER! You sold a Thunder Shirt! 🙂

          • Barbara (Nashville) says:

            You may want to try acupuncture. It helps in a lot of different ways. One of my friends has developed Parkinsons. While it won’t get rid of the disease, it does help with his tremors. A good acupunturist can work wonders

            • Cynthia in San Clemente says:

              Thank you Barbara – were you suggesting acupuncture for me or Lucy or both – LOL? I’ve read that acupuncture could be helpful for sciatica pain, so I should explore that. Lucy had another tremor that lasted 7 minutes this morning (after I wrote my post yesterday). Interestingly, each episode has been at about 8 a.m. so I’m wondering if it’s some type of metabolic disorder. Back to the vet for more tests I guess.

        • Lisa, Dad, Tommie and Buddy in FL says:

          try CBD oil. You can ingest it or get a balm for application right on the joints. It is used for multiple problems and has many benefits. It is also very low in THC, but I would let your employer know if you are subject to drug testing. I also have a friend who claims the ketogenic diet has helped tremendously with her pain. Best wishes.

  2. chuck brooks says:

    oh my…….2nd

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, chuck! Good to see you here!

      Is pookie okay? Hope you don’t mind me asking….

      • chuck brooks says:

        the year was bad for us…we lost Pookie but now have Coco to keep us company…..thanks for asking….BTW…we have had the same sander for many years and love it….

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Interesting and great to see that you are invigorated with a new hobby…and it might be one to eventually earn ya a few pesos too!! One kin get old stuff, refinish and sell for a good enough profit anyway. I wish you the best in this endeavor!! What fine lemonade you are making, my dear!!

    Well, I have lots of hobbies…too many. So instead I will share what happened in the Barber’s shop yesterday where I was waiting on hubby to get all niced up again. A HUGE man comes in…his head BARELY clears the door…not fat, JUST HUGE GUY!! He sits down in a chair which I was wondering if he could fit…kind of looked like a man sitting in a child’s chair…and calmly put away his hat and coat in his backpack. Then he got out his KNITTIN!!! I kid you not. The other guys are looking around a bit funny but NO ONE says a word. As I left I spoke with him a bit on his project and hobby…heehee. I think he was happy I did!! Love days like that…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      What a delightful encounter, Elizabeth! I love it! Thanks for taking the time to add it to my blog. 🙂

    • Diann in MT says:

      Oh! So human!

    • Pat McClain says:

      I remember many years ago, a man won a magazine’s contest for embroidery. He had lovely embroidery sketches all over a topcoat.

      • Elizabeth says:

        I had a great uncle who was a cook on a ship in the Pacific during WW2…he wrote to his mom to send him crochet hooks and supplies as he was going stir crazy during his off hours. So she did. At the end of the war he came home with all kinds of the most exquisite crocheted tablecloths etc.

        His sister, my grandma, was one who could look at photos of clothes and then make the pattern and the clothes…so their family was good with their hands.

        My husband did learn to crochet a bit as we were waiting for our firstborn to be born…I learned from my mom too then…then we put all our squares into a nice blanket for our son when he was born…being she taught us, our work was similar enough to go together ok. I do not find it odd for men to do this…but other men do sometimes…heehee…

    • Linda in Minnesota says:

      Rosey Grier, the football player known as The Refrigerator back in the 60s, did needlepoint. He’s also the person who sang It’s All Right to Cry on Marlo Thomas’s LP Free to be You and Me. That man is comfortable in who he is.

    • I don’t remember who told the story of her big manly husband who was disgruntled with her bringing home a tiny dog. One rainy day, in middle of the night she heard him baby talking to the tiny dog and bring it into bed with him. I told that was so sweet. I may not be quite accurate in remembering…but it was on RVSue’s comments.

  4. Glo says:

    You sure do find some great buys there. You make furnishing the home from scratch, with thrifty finds sound like a great deal of fun.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It is fun, Glo! I think I’d be intimidated if money were no consideration and I walked into a store with all-new furniture and accessories. I know I wouldn’t buy things that mean as much to me as the stuff I’m finding in thrift shops and resale stores.

      I don’t know why they mean more to me. Maybe because I make them fit somewhere, and, of course, fixing them up is “investing” myself into an item.

  5. Sue in Colorado says:

    I have a friend who says she’s going “rabbit hunting” when she goes thrifting or antiquing. She usually comes home with a rabbit of some kind.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Interesting, Sue! I’ve spoken with fellow “thrifters” and some of them are on a search for a very specific item, like your friend hunting rabbits. One man was looking for a certain knob to fit one of his wife’s pot covers.

      A wonderful thing happens sometimes, and I’ll probably write about it at some point, in my usual detail. . . . I’ll think of something I’d like to have for the house and then I go to the thrift store and there it is and it was never there in previous visits!

  6. Columbus Calvin says:

    You have a knack for finding those nice wild things done in wood. The rabbit will add to your environment. The dishes are another nice find.

    My major hobbies are reading and cycling. My reading nowadays is mostly nonfiction in a wide variety of subjects. I recently purchased something for the cycling that I’ll have to look up. It’s a new kind of luggage rack with a high weight rating and the ability to fit bikes that can’t use ordinary racks. I’ll look up the correct name and information when I get home. (I’m gone for a few days to help a friend move.)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Please do that, Calvin. Several readers of this blog are cyclists and probably would be interested in that rack.

      Ah, yes, reading… One of my favorites, too. I go through stages of fiction, then all I want is nonfiction, and back and forth I go. Right now I’m building a small library about gardening in the desert.

  7. Alice-S. Fla says:

    The bench looks great ! Your having too much fun finding all those good things. I like thrifting to. The best here is the hospice and hospital thrift stores. Also, if your on facebook you can check for on line garage sale. We have a few. Usually the city name online garage sale. There is one by county also. There isn’t shipping involved so I think you might do a little better than ebay. But, make sure you meet in a public place. Our sheriff allows sales to take place in their lobby. There are other places that do the same. Glad to see your doing well.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I didn’t know about online garage sales, Alice. Thanks for mentioning them here and also for the safety tip. There are many options these days for finding good, used items. I always welcome another! 🙂

      Have fun thrift-shopping!

  8. Je Wis Sue, you ott to go to Pinterest website and check out all the neat stuff they have on Hobbies and Wood Working, I’ve been saving a lot of Ideas to put to work later as I go while working on the Garden Railroad and such, my Lady Friend pointed out the website to me, and like WOW, Thanks Babe, thats where I’m at unless RVSUE comes up, ya I’ve missed y’all and all, well back ta lookin’,,,,, have a great day and hug the Pups from us,,,,,,, Rn Pn G

  9. Jan - C. Florida says:

    Benches can also be used at the foot of a bed….holds throw pillows and extra covers and gives you somewhere to sit when putting on your shoes.

  10. Fred says:

    Sue – since you like discounted items, you may want to to go to the First Saturday sale at HF Coors (Ceramic Dinner Ware) in Tucson. It’s a blast and good prices. Fred

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Fred!

      Never heard of that before…. Thanks for the info. I already have enough dishware and Tucson is kind of far for me. I bet there are readers who would be interested in going. It does sound like fun.

  11. Don in Okla. says:

    My hobby is restoring old John Deere two cylinder tractors. I have restored my dad’s tractor that he bought new in 1944 and would like to be working on a 1949 “R” JD. Just don’t have any place to work on it since moving back to the Okla. Panh. and no shop.
    As a quick aside, what is a rough guesstimate for the population of your town? And I understand if you prefer not to quote such as a privacy matter.
    Take care.
    Don in Okla.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      What a great hobby, Don. In our travels somewhere, don’t recall where, I saw a collection of restored tractors, some John Deere, some others. I wish there were some way you could continue your hobby.

      I’d rather not mention anything about “our” town, simply because it can lead to comments speculating on our location. I know you understand.

      You take care, too, Don.

      • Don in Okla. says:

        I sure understand. I’m looking for a place to live when I’m no longer needed here so I’m kinda checking out some places. My job took me to Ohio south east of Columbus. Beautiful but the winters were kinda tough! Then a transfer to Corpus Christi where the winters were wonderful but the summers were way too humid. Even thought about getting a place in both locations and traveling between!! But then I see all the rigs from Minn, Wisc. and Iowa headed thru the Panh. towards AZ and would like to check that out.
        Take care and thanks for your blog. Very enjoyable.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          You’ve seen on my blog what winter in Arizona is like. All that snow gone in a couple days. Warm days and blue skies break up the colder stretches and we’re at a higher elevation than other regions of AZ which have a shorter “winter.” (In quotes because it’s not a REAL winter, if you know what I mean.)

  12. Carin says:

    Gosh I wish we could meet. I’m a thrift store junkie from the 60’s.
    I love thrift stores and I dig for things too.

    If you are interested in emailing – let me know. I will send it privately. And I understand your privacy requests.

    Love all your finds! I found a roadrunner carved and cleaned it up and it looks like a million bucks. (Well maybe not).

    Anyway – love your blog. Really enjoy the boys too.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Carin,

      Let’s keep meeting here, okay? I avoid striking up email or in-person relationships with my readers. Eventually I’d be in a bind having to turn people down after accepting others. Not a position I want to be in. Besides I’m at my best on the blog; in person, not so much.

      I enjoy hearing about your thrift store finds, too. The carved roadrunner is something I’d grab!

      • Carin says:

        I totally understand. Keep showing the thrift store finds! I’m jealous.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I knew you’d understand. 🙂 I appreciate the friendliness that prompted your request.

          More thrift store finds coming up!

  13. LeeJ in Northern California says:

    What a worthwhile hobby you have discovered….I’ll chime in on a product that is indispencible cable to me when I refinish furniture. Barkeepers Friend! It has oxolyic acid in it and it will remove rust stains..and one of my favorite uses is to lighten dark stain on wood. I had a 1960’s square lamp table that had the plastic faux carved piece on each of the two doors…hopelessly out of date, but it was heavy solid oak….so. I removed the plastic trim, used Jasco stripper and got it down to bare wood but it was still way too dark. A refinish addicted friend told me to make a paste of barkeepers friend and apply with a sponge and let it sit for a half hour then wipe it off….wow! It went from almost black to a beautiful honey oak. I had to sand the piece after it was completely clean and dry as the dampness had raised the grain somewhat. But I still use that beautiful square lamp table to this day.
    This friend later got me a wonderful job that lasted several months refinishing the oak trim and doors in a early 1900’s bank that was being made into office spaces, I did that job alone, just the wood and I, lol. I ended up stripping the very dull brass teller cage grills, brass lamp covers… did you know the easiest ever brass cleaner is lemon juice and salt? Just dump a cup of lemon juice and a half cup of table salt in a plastic bag, put in the piece of brass. It is so easy and fast! When it is cleaned up, almost instant, polish with Brasso…..
    Oh, thanks a my juices are up and I want to refinish something!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’ve got me stoked, LeeJ! All these great tips! I’m making a copy of your comment and emailing it to myself so I can find it in the future.

      Wow, what a great job assignment. I would’ve loved that. You know what’s great about this refinishing hobby? My thrift store shopping expands to include items that previously seemed hopeless. It’s fun turning something ugly into something beautiful. I got such a charge out of my bench project — that moment the stain goes on and the dull wood becomes rich. Ahhh. You know that! 🙂

  14. EmilyO in southern NM says:

    Sue, if you leave those cactus paddles there on the ground very long, they will root and in a very short time. Or move them to where you’d like to have them grow. I have a “hedge” of cactus along the north part of the property and every two years I “trim my hedge” using my metal rake to pull the paddles down and dispose of and to keep a neat look. I am constantly pulling up “little sprouts” in the yard especially in the shade under the tree and bushes. I can’t wait until spring is here and I can get outside every day and lose this 5# I have gained this winter.

    Love all your finds at resale and thrift stores. I am now looking for a man’s pair of shoes that I can cut off the left heel and super glue it to Jim’s left shoe he wears. His left leg is 3/4 inch shorter than his right due to his hip replacement years ago and special shoes, with lifts made are very expensive. His home health nurse suggested the cutting off a heel from an old shoe, so am going to try that. Thought I would mention this in case others are in the same boat as he is (the insert kind did not work at all). So glad you are enjoying your desert life.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Emily,

      I’ve been waiting for someone to advise me on those cactus paddles as I was pretty sure they could be planted. I guess I just lop them off and stick them in the ground, covering up part of the bottom so they stand up.

      I might put them on the street side of the fence. Cacti are good for “breaking up” the expanse of wood since they have a definite outline. Thanks, Emily.

      Great idea about cutting off the heel of a shoe to make a lift, instead of buying expensive ortho shoes. Readers, those with hip replacements, take note!

      I hope you find what you’re looking for.

      • EmilyO in southern NM says:

        Even if they lay on the ground, they root. But think Al (Bayfield Bunch) just stuck them in the ground at his former AZ digs as you suggested. They are like weeds.

  15. Love, love, love wabbit and bench. Reggie and Roger look healthy and warm next to the fence. My hobby is looking for sale items or thrift store shopping. I too collected flower pots and just today transplanted several into bigger pots in back yard. BTW I often wonder about your bed from resale store…what does it look like?

    I’m definitely buying the sander. Tomorrow I’ll order it.

    • P.S. I went to a discount store called Last Chance and found beautiful off-white slip covers for love sofa and regular sofa…what a find, both for less than the price of one. I plan to use late spring and summer. Looking for big bright throw pillows for them.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Slipcovers! That’s a fantastic score, rita!

      • Linda in Minnesota says:

        My big throw pillows did not match my new decor so I covered them with pillowcases with the ends of the cases tucked in. Voila! Perfect accessories.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, rita,

      If this warm weather continues, I’ll be in our back yard potting those Mexican petunias I have in jars on the windowsill. 🙂 Putting this post together took up a lot of today.

      I’ve shown a portion of my bed’s headboard. It is a traditional style, painted ivory. The foot board has a couple bad gouges in it and there are chips in the paint here and there. I’m going to sand out the gouges and chips as best I can and rough up the entire surface. Then I’ll apply paint in a similar color.

      I haven’t shown much of it because it’s heavy. When I pull it out from other stuff I have stored, in order to work on it, I’ll write a post about it with photos.

      I’m thrilled that you’ve decided to get the sander! 🙂

      • Barbara (Nashville) says:

        Can you use wood putty to fix the gouges rather than sanding them all the way down? Then you can sand after that.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I bought some wood filler in case I need it. It’s tricky because the worst gouge is on a sharp edge. We shall see . . . .

  16. Don in Alaska says:

    Thanks for asking about hobbies.

    I write. Not just at work, I’m a technical writer by trade these days, but also for fun and (a little) profit in the fiction market. It is low cost and can be great fun. Certainly keeps the old noggin running full tilt…

    I have great fun with Amateur (HAM) radio. Chatting with folks in exotic locations all over the planet can be a lot of fun as well. Since I like to tinker, working on older radios goes with the hobby. I’ve run across more than a few fellow RVs that also have their ‘ticket’.

    Thanks for posting the photos of your current woodworking projects. There is something very soothing about slowly working with a piece of furniture – and bring back to life.

    Looking forward to the next set of photos!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Interesting comment, Don. Hobbies reveal a lot about us, don’t you think? I’m glad you’ve found what is fun for you. Maybe someone reading your comment will get the motivation to try one of them.

      I wish I learned how to “tinker.” It’s a great skill. I saw a roto-tiller down at the thrift shop I would’ve bought if I possessed any skill at tuning up engines.

      I did fix a few clocks by tinkering. Such a rewarding feeling! I imagine that’s how you feel when you get a radio working again.

      I admit I wasn’t looking for “soothing” when working on the bench. I just wanted a nice bench. Ha! Hey, I’m new at this. I’m not ready for zen sanding yet. 🙂

    • MB Dillard says:

      HAM radio is something I’ve wanted to try since I was a little girl…..for the exact reasons you stated above. Have fun!

      My grandfather was a “tinkerer”. As long as he was living, we threw away very little. Our first thought upon something breaking? “Grandpa can fix that!”. 🙂

  17. Jill says:

    Sue, look at that rabbit and see if it might be Beaver Creek Beaman Iowa?
    Beaman is about 15 miles from me!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I looked again and see that my short-term memory let me down again! The underside says exactly as you wrote (I fixed the post.) Thanks for letting me know, Jill! Good to hear from you again. 🙂

  18. Linda in Minnesota says:

    I recently revived an old hobby of hand stitching doll clothes. Except now I am making them for Calico Critters. Amazon sells Calico Critters in case anyone is curious about them.

  19. MB Dillard says:

    Hi Sue,

    I love the story about your new hobby. George is indeed a treasure. I love things made of wood, earth and natural textiles. Another reason I love the American southwest. I would like to learn to make pottery or maybe learn to weave. I’ve made ceder walking sticks and enjoyed watching the layers of color appear as the bark disappeared. But you’re right…sanding is hard work. I like your sander. I also do some embroidery. I’ve even sold a few “medicine bag” type things. I have been getting back into that lately…for fun and gifts. But….I am going to have to get some “real glasses”. The dollar store ones aren’t quite cutting it! LOL!

    Pretty dishes are important. Doesn’t have to be a set. Just a pretty coffee cup that makes you smile first thing in the morning…..a special bowl for some soup or salad. Of all the things I have gotten rid of….and it’s be a LOT!…..I kept my dad’s china teapot. It just makes me happy to look at it. And there’s just something special about pouring tea from a pot sometimes.

    Have fun with your projects. There is a certain kind of satisfaction that you get when you look at something you have made or refinished yourself. If we are indeed made in God’s image….then we are deep in our souls, “creators”………

    Right now, I’m “creating” and empty space. I’m taking down a barn that needs to be gone so that I may put a shed in it’s place. It’s amazing how difficult it is to tear something down even when it is trying to fall on it’s own! LOL! Oh well….you got a sander. I got a bigger crowbar and a short handled sledge hammer! MORE POWER! I’m gettin’ dangerous!

    Love to you and the crew from me and mine.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Fun reading your post, MB!

      Yes, get some “real” glasses. Those off-the-rack spectacles will only take you so far and then it’s time. 🙂

      Taking down a barn with a crowbar and a sledge…. Great visual! Ha!

      Thanks for the love, same to you!

  20. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    I’m going to get that sander soon. I kept one of my old kitchen cabinets that I am going to refinish and use in my sewing room. The drawers are a good size for my quilting gadgets and the bottom can store quite a bit of fabric. The top is the perfect height for cutting. The sides are kind of rough, so need some repair prior to finishing.

    Haven’t tried this before, but always wanted to do some woodworking. My dad mad all kinds of things when I was young. Replaced a lot of table legs with us kids. He had a lathe in the basement that just fascinated me. My brother also made some nice pieces when he took shop class in school. He made end & coffee tables for mom and a nice microwave cart for himself later on.

    Of course I still have my other hobbies of quilting, counted cross stitch, adult coloring, crocheting and reading.

    Since you are stationary right now, are you ever going to reveal you secret hobby that you were considering a while back? Just curious.

    Thanks for the great post. Love all the thrift store finds.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Barbara.

      You’re going to be very proud of your cabinet once you’re done.

      Okay, I have to mention this because it gave me a chuckle…. When you wrote about your dad and his woodworking, I was really into it, and then “Replaced a lot of table legs with us kids.”

      I saw a table top resting on the heads of four kids. Ha! 🙂

      The hobby was mosaics. Not practical when on the road. I have the materials and a how-to book. Maybe I’ll get into it one of these days, after potting up plants, landscaping, thrift shopping, decorating the house, sewing pillow covers, finishing the painting of the patio area, refinishing furniture, playing with my boys, and a bunch of other fun stuff. 🙂

      • Cynthia in San Clemente says:

        Sue, I just saw this comment about your interest in mosaics. Thought you might want to go to the website of Marlo Bartels at and look at his art. When we used to live in Laguna Beach I saw his mosaic art all over town. I liked it so much I made an outdoor cube shaped table for our patio. Jim built me a plywood box, put rollers on the bottom of it and then I broke up a bunch of tile that we had left over from home improvement projects and covered the cube. I can’t remember if I used sanded or non-sanded grout, but whichever I used was the wrong one for outdoor use. The table was beautiful for a few years but eventually succumbed to the damp weather and rain. Anyway, Bartel’s website has some beautiful inspiration on it for when you have time for that hobby!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hi, Cynthia,

          That man takes mosaics to a very high level! Wow! I enjoyed viewing his work at that link. I especially liked how his mosaic art is part of practical features in public places. Thanks for the link.

          Aww, your mosaic table didn’t last. I bet it was beautiful.

          I have the time for that hobby. My difficulty is having the focus to immerse myself in a creative project. I flit from one thing to another, not hard to do with refinishing and thrift shopping and what-not. The days fly by.

  21. chas in pa says:

    Nice job on the bench.I do a lot of the same thing and accumulate them and sell them at our towns arts and craft fair which brings 10000 tourists.I make a few hundred bucks profit which probably is 2 bucks an hour but I like repurposing.

    Lately I like finding old rusted cast iron stuff like pumps or sausage presses and sand and repaint them flat black.I pick up driftwood boards and barnwood and use a small electric hand planer to skip plane them and urethane the wood and mount on the cast iron baseThese I have sometimes sold these for a 50 to 100 profit at an antique mall on consignment.Fun hobby.They look good also.The hand planer is cheap .50 bucks I think.

    • chas in pa says:

      Clever idea, chas, with the cast iron and wood projects. And you make money, too. Part of the fun is the search for items to “repurpose.” You’re also providing something for people to enjoy. That’s winning all around!

  22. Jolene/Iowa says:

    Hi Sue,

    I love all the great finds you have gotten. I also love how homey your house is becoming and love the touches you are doing! Love your dishes!

    Interesting about the rabbit you found. I grew up not far from Beaman, IA. Interesting to read about the different things they have put out when I googled them.

    I love your new hobby and the things you have done so far have turned out great!

    Hobbies…I enjoy quilting. Right now I am making wall hangings called Log Cabin Crosses. Most of them have been gifts so far and I have some more of these to make and then I may sell some of them. I have so many different things I have made craft wise over the years. I really enjoy it.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jolene,

      Curious to see, I web-searched Log Cabin Crosses and found one on Etsy priced at $500. I love quilts…. the time, care, and artistry that goes into them, the way they look, and the way they feel as a bedcover. It’s not something I would ever try, but I’m glad there are people like you who enjoy quilting.

      Nice to know that others like what I’m doing with the house. I’m not striving for the magazine-cover “look.” I want a comfortable home that embraces me and my boys.

  23. weather says:

    Aw-w, it’s so nice to see Roger and Reggie out soaking up the sun’s warmth again. We may see snow scenes as beautiful, yet neither of them are the kind of dog breed that can enjoy being out in cold and snow.

    Your bench looks beautiful already, what a great find! French Country style real wood furniture is expensive. The sander you bought paid for itself just by refinishing that one piece. A bench like yours would easily sell for $90 in the better used furnishings stores in my area of Central NY State. ( see I slipped that in here 🙂 )

    You mentioned only kidding about throwing plates, though I can imagine that may have been tempting at times. One day my baby boy was napping upstairs when his father came into the kitchen and casually announced that he had invited his family to our home for dinner, and that I should expect them to arrive in a couple of hours. His mother was at times openly critical of me and anything that I did, so he knew I would not have invited them myself.

    My response was to ask him what he would like me to cook,and what dishes he would prefer I use to set the table. Then I put a large tablecloth on the table, placed everything he’d mentioned on it, grabbed the four corners of the tablecloth and picked everything up- kind of like how Santa Claus carries a big sack of presents. I then threw it all outside. After hearing the sound of breaking dishes and glass I smiled and asked him what his next choice was.

    For some reason I still laugh when I think about that. Honestly, though, it’s not something I’m proud of today, the poor guy was really nice most of the time. We were both just too young and inexperienced to know how to lovingly establish and respect boundaries.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, weather,

      I’ll appreciate my bench even more after reading your comment. 🙂

      Your reaction to your husband’s announcement is perfectly justified. I have similar “stories” from my first marriage. The one where I threw a potted rubber plant out a second story window as he stepped out the door below is my all-time fave. He hollered, “XXXXX, you could’ve killed me!”

      Sometimes it takes bold action to communicate clearly.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Oh my…brave lady!! I was never smart enough to do some such!! Well, there are those who have made it their lifelong habit to be nasty to me (still so doing to this date)…but this last one I told my husband that if I outlived him, they have made it perfectly ok for me not to even inform them if he died. He agreed that was true. When I was young and married at age 20…so naive…so optimistic. I even felt THEN that if I treated them well, and was kind…they would somehow perhaps like me….hahahaha…joke was on me. NOPE…over 45 years later…NOPE!! The parents are dead now however and while I feel the Bible commanded I help him honor them…there is no verse I know of that says the same of sibblings. Ahem. Thank you for the laugh ladies!! LOVE IT!!!

  24. Ruthie in Fontana says:

    My Dad worked for 40 years everyday for his family of eight. Sometimes he got to do what he loved. Working with wood. When he “retired” he began making furniture. First he had to make his wood shop and get the proper tools. Buy the time he was 80 he made over 30 beautiful piece’s. He made me a card table sized oak drop leaf pedestal. A cherry wood blanket keeper and a room full of cabinets for my office. When he turned 85 he had a stroke and his last project he helped me make a oak swing for my patio. I love all of the things he made and will not ever sell them they will be given to my Children. My hobbies are all on the computer, music, making greeting cards, and reading blogs!

  25. Pamela Campbell says:

    Thank you, Sue –
    I’m enjoying the descriptions of all your bargains! Smart shopper, you are! Oops! Sounding like Yoda. Good for you!
    Warm Regards.
    Pamelab in Houston for now.

  26. Claudia Meyers says:

    Hey Sue! You can certainly save your cactus. I put mine in water and in a few weeks you will see tiny roots. Be patient it will survive.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I didn’t know about putting the paddles in water. Thanks, Claudia. I’ll do that with the two paddles and with the stem/stalk/whatever in the photo.

  27. Judy J. in S.C. says:

    Well, here goes another hodgepodge post from me. I get excited about everything and just want to share a little bit it this and that! 🙄 Sue, what do you think about buying solid color cups or mugs to go with your pretty new plates? Each one a different color, to coordinate. Can you tell I love bright colors?!

    I’m loving your refinishing projects and so hoping you’ll keep sharing hints. When my hubby gets better, I have projects for him. We used to get the best buys in old wood furniture. This was years ago at the many auctions we were addicted to in Ohio. I have several old living room tables which need help. My grandfather used antifreeze to refinish; no idea why but it worked.

    My hobbies: reading, (Thanks, Robin, for your blog!) gardening, camping, travel, etc. Hubby got me a ukelele so I’m ready to tackle that. Yes to do a little quilting and an in love with Jolene/Iowa’s log cabin crosses. Many thanks for sharing the directions and pics. My favorite is your blue; just striking!

    Thanks to all for praying for both hubby and self. Great ideas from Elizabeth and Weather to encourage hubby’s appetite. He’s eating well now but hasn’t gained an ounce yet. Appt. with another specialist tomorrow. I must make myself stop now. Thanks for putting up with my smorgasbord of words. 😉

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Judy,

      Enjoyed your comment very much. The color mix of mugs is a great idea. I already have more than enough mugs (I showed one in a recent post). They are tan like the base color of the dishes. The color matching the dishes never occurred to me because I never use both at the same time. I take my coffee to a comfy chair.

      I’m happy to hear your husband is eating well again. Best wishes for the appointment tomorrow!

    • Jolene/Iowa says:

      Hi Judy,

      Thank you! I have also loved this pattern. I have had a lot of fun making them. If you are on Facebook you can find me by clicking on my name here and that will tell you how to find me there. Send me a friend request if you want and I have a photo album of some others I have made. With this pattern it is all about color combinations to make it pop! I have some greens ones I have made, one with a dark purple cross with other colors with it that is great for Easter and I just made one out of neutral colors that my friends have just loved!

      • Judy J. in S.C. says:

        Headed to fb right now. One of my favorite parts of quilting is picking out the color combinations. Don’t they call the material in quilt shops fat quarters? Another mystery. Is it because they give you more than a quarter yard?

        • Jolene/Iowa says:

          Judy, when you click on my name here on Sue’s blog it takes you to my CBD oil business page but on that page you can find out how to find me on Facebook or email. I look forward to connecting with you on FB.

          Quilt shop fabric can be sold many different ways now. It used to be just by the yard but now they cut in fat quarters which is an 18″ x 22″ piece of fabric, they cut squares, they cut strips. I usually still buy mine by the yardage needed but have bought fat quarters before as well.

          • Jolene/Iowa says:

            Judy, another way you can find me on FB is to find the group RV Tips and Helpful Hints. I am an admin of that group and you can find me listed or answer the questions and put that I told you to ask for help to find me.

  28. Susan is Oregon says:

    While looking at your photo at the top I did a double take on Roger. Wow, he looks just like a white bull with its head lowered. Then I did a quick image search on “white bull” to confirm what I was seeing. One of the images on the page was of a white bull terrier dog at the 2016 national dog show. That made me realize…Roger must have a white bull dog ancestor because while his head is different in shape his overall heavy muscled body mass is very close to that white bull terrier dog. There is a reason they are call bull terriers, they really do resemble the body of a bovine white bull.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m intrigued by that possibility, Susan. I’m going to research the white bull terrier. It would be interesting to know what temperament characteristics Roger has that are typical of the white bull terrier. I’m quite convinced he has some French bulldog ancestry. Roger is a wonderful mix, both physically and in personality, unlike any dog I’ve ever known.

      Those first few days I resisted Roger. Reggie and I left to camp in the wide open spaces. I think we were gone about a week. I don’t remember for sure. During that time I wondered about the little, white homeless dog, whether he had found his permanent home with the woman at the RV park. I’m glad I went back there to make sure he had. He gives me laughter and teaches me gratitude.

  29. jazzlover says:

    Morning Sue, just had a good post but guess I took too long cause it went away with “captcha”. Was mostly about your prickly pear cactus being edible, pads, flowers and fruit and how they have been a staple for the indigenous people of the desert for a long time. And did you paint the base of your new bench blue or is that the color it was, and last, do you plan on putting a clear sealant on the rabbit to protect the wood from the sun and maybe bring out the grain in the body?
    Be Well.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, jazzlover. You be well, too.

      I’m sorry you lost your writing. If that happens again, try refreshing the page before giving up. What’s odd (when I’m not writing from the admin page) is I’m shown captcha before I begin writing. I fill in the answer, then I write my comment. Thank you for writing again!

      I didn’t change the base of the bench. It’s almost black and in good condition.

      I brought Rabbit home before my interest in refinishing. I thought about possibly sealing and/or staining the surface but didn’t do anything, not wanting to ruin his “softness” by applying the wrong thing. Rabbit won’t be in the sun and rain on the porch, and someday I’ll know what would be best for him. 🙂

  30. ApplegirlNY says:

    That bench really is nice. Love the stain you chose to go with the black legs. Will you finish it in a semi gloss or a gloss?
    So happy to see Reggie and Roger out in the sunshine. I think you may have had more snow this year than we have. We’re expecting bitter cold winds over the next couple of days, but no snow, and that’s OK with me!
    I cook, garden, and read. I really should resurrect some of my hobbies from days gone by, it sure would make the winter nights go by more quickly. Knitting, needlework, and painting. Like many things, getting started is the toughest part.

    My son is home, I don’t remember if you guys got that update. He’s doing pretty good. Pain still is a bit of a problem, but he’s such a trooper, and his wife couldn’t have been better through this difficult time. I am grateful she is the person she is. Thank you for your continued prayers. I think they will begin with some skin grafts next week.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Applegirl,

      To answer your question about the bench…The stain I used has a gloss to it so I won’t add anything else.

      Interesting that we’ve had more snow than you. I wonder if we’ll have more. I have a feeling you won’t make it to spring snow-free (like scot-free 🙂 )

      You’re right… “getting started is the toughest part” in many situations.

      Okay, about your son. Thank you for the update. I’m glad he’s home and has his loving “army” surrounding him with love and support. Kudos to the young woman your son chose to marry. Times like this true character is shown. “You’re welcome” regarding prayer. We will continue, dear one!

  31. Terri in Tx., for now says:

    Howdy! Enjoyed reading all the comments this morning! Check out the Buy, Sell, Trade websites in you area. I have been using them to sell stuff. It is much better than having a garage sale and I think more money can be made. There are all sorts of things listed for sale! When we moved to the country I wanted a long, country style table. We went furniture shopping in Houston and could find nothing. I was even told by one saleslady that tables like that were not “in style”. Well, we were driving to another small town one day and we saw a shop which just had all sorts of wood-pecan, mesquite, etc. The owner had gorgeous furniture in there as well as raw wood. I looked at my husband and said I bet you could make a table! So, we bought a slab of pecan and a year later I had the most beautiful table! I love it and its going to NM with us! Did you know Mesquite is just beautiful for furniture? You wouldn’t think so to look at the trees!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Terri,

      How resourceful and patient of you both! Love the story of how you “acquired” a beautiful table. No, I didn’t know that about mesquite — another analogy of hidden beauty to be found if we look for it. 🙂

      Thanks for the tip about online garage sales… I’ll check that out.

  32. Hi Sue!
    Lovely story and piccies. I love refinishing wood and have had a Makita handheld for many, many years and projects. I just wanted to be sure you knew that you can buy the large pages of sand paper and cut them in quarters with old scissors or fold and tear them. Good luck with all your finds and projects! You might like to see photos my trailer. I attached the link.
    Julia in Chatsworth

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks for the suggestion and the wish for good luck, Julia! That’s exactly what I’m doing and what makes this sander a great choice!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Note to all: I rarely allow links to sales promotion on my blog. Since Julia’s link shows an RV rental which may be of interest to readers, I’m allowing it.

      Very nice, Julia! 🙂

      • Julia in Chatsworth says:

        Hi Sue,
        I also wanted to tell you the best stains and color is “Varathane” Golden Mahoghany. (color getting hard to find but really pretty)These are oil based. And use an oil based pre -stain conditioner for even results!
        I used it alot inside the trailer. Thank you for noticing my Airbnb. I thought you might like it:) I will look for the link, as I am terrible at Whats it called media self promotion…
        It is a 1954 Spartan Manor, a 24′ (not including the tongue) vintage aluminum trailer. I am an extremely proud owner!!! I didn’t think I was leaving my full name on your blog, usually I am ” Julia in Chatsworth”


      • Julia in Chatsworth says:

        Hi Sue,
        I looked for the link, but don’t know if its up or where to find it. Oh Well.
        Also I just love thrifting, and the “Tiny Tiki Trailer Zone ” was restored and furnished with> you guessed it> almost ALL craigslist an 2nd hand items, some of which were repurposed. I really love having stuff nobody else can get, because there’s only one for sale!!!


  33. LeeJ in Northern California says:

    I recently obtained my second Instant Pot….this time I got a 6 quart Duo. Amazon sells them, this one was a gift so it didn’t get purchased through you, sorry. But a more versatile appliance it is for sure!
    I have a vintage steamed pudding vessel, shaped like a tall skinny bundt pan,that has a clamp on lid. I decided to try making Boston Brown Bread in it. I used the recipe from my 1962 Betty Crocker cookbook, my favorite BBB recipe….I steamed it in the IP for 40 minutes…and it was perfect! I used to hate the steaming process because I had to watch the pot so the water level didn’t get too low, keep water hot to resupply the steaming vessel. Using the instant pot is such a time saver!
    So blogorinos….here’s my indorcement for another amazon product!

  34. Rusty and Piper says:


Comments are closed.