Thursday, July 30, 2015

The horse in between

Between projects and in stolen hours I've been working on something for myself. Last year I went to France with this idea that I would go to a flea market and find a 100-150-year-old toy horse at a reasonable price, and I would come home with a big stupid grin on my face. Bwah ha ha ha ha. Not.

What I found were merchants anticipating my arrival and the three horses I managed to find were so ridiculously expensive that I was stunned. And they weren't even the type of horse I wanted.

I wanted the horse shown below.

This old playground horse was the best horse I found. For several thousand dollars he could have been mine. I would have been over-joyed to bring this horse home. But alas.......

Much to my surprise, this old playground horse appeared on ebay. Should I do it? Hmmmmmm

Back home in Oregon I looked briefly on ebay, France's ebay, as well as Denmark's for a horse. But seriously? People were so (shock!) dishonest! My Made-in-Bali rocking horse was being touted as a 'Victorian antique' and listed from $999 to $3500. 

My Made-in-Bali rocking horse........ hmmmmmm.......... what if.............. I bet I could.........? And so I did.

The wheels were turning and I couldn't stop myself. I was imagining my horse getting older and older!

I was winging it. First I sprayed it white. Then I sprayed it black. Then I painted over it with Paris Grey chalk paint. Next time I'll paint after the carving is done.

Once the paint had dried, and armed with a mini belt sander and mini re-cip saw, I went to work. That crazy, carved mane was first. I sanded down as far as I could, then it was time for the saw. heh heh heh. Chunks flew everywhere. Big chunks! For being tiny, those tools have some real power.

There was almost two inches of wood to remove. I just kept at it with my mini-recip saw until the blades gave out. They kept bending, I kept straightening them out, over and over until they just pooped oit.

Almost there. I had to use a small triangle sander around the face. And in tight spots I used my mini belt sander. Have you seen them? They look like a Sander-on-a-Stick. Love that thing.

When I sanded the platform I found unexpected aqua paint.

Finally the wooden mane is gone. (I can't believe how much work that was!) I cut a trench down the back of the neck to hold the new mane.

For the new mane I used actual mane from my mini horses. This whole process wasn't as easy as I'd hoped. I had glue all over the mane and my fingers. it was a gooey mess. This old horse came close to having dreadlocks.

The circle is to remind you how much carving had to be removed so you can be awed by my tenacity!

I glued some burlap on and sanded it down to simulate the layers old horses have. I wasn't happy with the burlap, it was too prominent and made the horse look like a middle-ages war horse.

I tore most of it off.

Less is more. 

And, finally, the finished, deconstructed horse.


Before and after

Okay then. I now have my "antique" toy horse.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Thinking about making a bench.......

I love this bed.

I have had this headboard and foot board for a few years now and I absolutely love them. But using them for a practical purpose proved to be a challenge.

The colors are perfect.

The layers of paint and the patina from age are too lovely. I adore the peach coming through the green and yellow. 

But what to do with it?

Benches seemed to be the only thing but there were two sticking points that kept me from doing a bench.

•  The uncomfortable straight-up-and-down back

•  Cutting the foot board in half to make arms.

I didn't want to cut any part of this bed.


As I said, i think it's too perfect.

Anybody who saw the long-ago post where I tried to decorate with this bed is probably now thinking, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah already. So what's new?'

When I tried decorating with the headboard and foot board the result was a disaster. And that's being kind. It was beastly awful. That's being kind, too. You can see my crazy attempts here.

My mistake was wanting all my treasures on display. I couldn't cull anything.

In the end I used them as a decorative headboard and foot board on our bed, even though it's a king and this set is for a double bed. It was a challenge getting it all to work because there was nothing for the pieces to attach to and we already had a brass headboard.
Heh heh heh. Stubborness won out and I made it work.


 I used cardboard boxes, wood planks, brackets, 4 x 4s, clamps and a good dose of ugly. It stayed that way for a couple years. It was a rickety solution at best and either the headboard or foot board would fall sideways. One leg of the headboard wiggled off the wood plank and punctured down into the cardboard box. Putting it back together was hard. It was heavy and awkward trying to maneuver everything without moving the bed. And the bed was way too heavy to budge.

But the bench idea was always in the back of my mind. Finally, I came across a woodworking blog showing the foot board in front, upside down.

Why didn't I think of that?

So I attacked the bench idea with Mr Bad's help.

On the left side of this photo you can see one of my engineering marvels.

We used the blanket chest as a stand-in seat and brainstormed how to get the back rest to a comfortable angle.

After I took the blocks off it started looking pretty good. I
don't know when I'll find the time ....

but when I do, I think I'll build a bench.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Back in the saddle again - the primitive little kitchen cabinet

 I used up all the seat in my 2nd-hand recliner within weeks. I was sitting on springs. Okay, so that's why it was for sale on Craigslist. I get that. The hunt began for used-recliner-number-two. I never thought of myself as a recliner girl but having to elevate both legs changed all that. My feet and ankles would look like Fred Flintstone feet. 

I set myself up on the sofa with pillows, cold packs, remote, iPad and waited for the swelling to go down. Then I couldn't get up. There wasn't room to prop myself up on my elbows. I couldn't swing my legs over because my broke femur caused too much agony. My walker was out of reach. And while I was wearing a Life Alert, I didn't want to call and say I was laying on the couch and couldn't get up. Seriously.

Suddenly I was Recliner Girl and on the prowl for #2.


With a friend, I went to look at this little cutie. (No overstuffed, over-big recliners for me. It had to be CUTE!)

We went to look at this (dark areas are wet from test cleaning):

And wound up looking at this as well:

My motto is: Ask if there is anything else they might consider selling. 


The little cupboard was up in the seller's garage attic. I couldn't go up there because of my walker but my girlfriend did and she took pictures. I asked them to bring it down for me. Want want want.

The baby-boy-blue was bad enough but someone had put wallpaper on all the panels and someone else had tried to tear it off. The old, exposed glue attracted dirt and bug parts and was kinda disgusting.

Dawn and hot water took off the wallpaper and glue. Clorox cleaner took off the rest of the dirt, and sanders smoothed it all out.




The cupboard has already sold!.

And the recliner got a new home:


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