Late Summer Update

September 14, 2011

As we wind down in to fall, Katie and I are finally getting back to our plan of working on the yard. Earlier in the year we had a decent wind storm that took a big branch out of our cotton tree.

So we did what any rational person would do, and ignored it for the next several months while we worked on other projects. The yard got bumped this year after our vegetable garden went in, and really, who wants to take apart a giant branch when it’s 104 degrees out.

So as it has cooled down, we decided to attend to the most neglected part of our yard, including taking the branch apart, weeding the gravel pit, as we so fondly call it, and “recreationally burn” our firepit. With kindling. From our yard. Yeah.

So we broke the branch down

And we burned.

And weeded

It’s nice to get our yard and our space back. We’ve also been tucking in our plants and preparing for cold weather, harvesting in our garden (home grown tomatoes are the BEST), and we’re hoping to squeeze out one garden before the end of the season. Of course we’ll keep you posted about that.

Finally, Katie is hard at work on the little table, which is coming along nicely.

Happy fall!






A Weekend Project

September 5, 2011

We’re all about the quick and dirty projects that beautify your home. We found this little stereo cabinet for $5 at our local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. We use it to store overflow cookbooks and other small objects, to reduce the clutter in our dining room and kitchen. We bought a $4 piece of art paper at our local art store, a little spray adhesive, and voila!

One of the projects we have started is taking apart a chair. Neither of us have done much upholstering, but this chair was too good to pass up. After cramming it in to our tiny car, we got started pulling staples out. The plan is to take apart the chair piece by piece, cut new fabric pieces using the old ones as a template, and put the chair back together. The chair cost $9.99 at Goodwill, and we found several yards of fabric at goodwill for $5.99. Total investment so far is about $16.

Here is what the chair looked like initially:

We love this chair for it’s shape and of course the awesome buttons. Once we got the chair home, the staple-pulling began. Lots. and lots. of staples. We started pulling off layers of fabric, batting, and cardboard support. The piping came off and we stripped it down to the core frame, burlap support, and usable foam.

The batting scraps have gone in to our suet feeder to help birds with nesting. The fabric pieces we’ve carefully taken apart so that we can begin cutting our new pattern.

Since this is an on-going project that we have not yet completed, we will post updates along the way. The next step is to cut out the fabric, acquire new batting, and re-cover the buttons pulled out of the chair. Then the re-assembly can start!

Two-Level Table

March 29, 2011

One of the things that we’re trying to do here at Suburban Experiment is accumulate some furniture that doesn’t look like it belongs to a college apartment or dorm room. For me, that means trying to stay away from things made out of particle board. Unfortunately, real furniture, the kind made out of wood, is expensive. This has led me into the land of thrift store furniture and refinishing. My first project was this nice little two-level table:

Two-Level Table, before

Our lovely little table, direct from the thrift shop.

This isn’t a great picture, but you can get an idea of what it looked like. A pretty standard, medium-tone finish, that was pretty badly scratched on the table surfaces. That upper level of the table is covered in what I originally thought might be a formica in a avocado green-harvest yellow gradient, with a gold greek key pattern stamped around the edges.

So I stripped the original finish, and went after the ugly finish on the upper level, only to realize that it was not formica at all, but actually a piece of finished and stamped leather. Then I painted:

Two-level Table, stripped and painted

This shows the paint job without any embellishments. Or drawer pulls.

This paint color is called “cantaloupe smile,” which is just a fantastic name, and it’s a great sunny, cheerful name. Which is good, because a section of my garage floor is now also this color. Just a note: never set your paint can on the surface you’re actually painting. Especially if you’re inclined to lift the object you’re working on.

After painting, I went in and added a piece of fabric to the top level to mimic the effect of the original table decoration. I just glued it on with decoupage paste, and am trusting to the varnish to help make it stay in place.

Two-level table with fabric

This gives a better idea of the color, and shows the fabric on top.

Two-level table, inside of drawer

I also used the same fabric to line the inside of the drawer. After that was all said and done, I put a layer of varnish over the whole thing, and I used some Brasso on the drawer pulls and the wire lattice in the side to reveal that they are actually made out of metal, and not just oddly shaped tarnish. The finished result looks like this:

Two-level table finished

Two-level table finished, front

Two-level table finished