Nothing dirty about the title. Calm down. Simply means boxes and shelves. I acquired a life-long fascination with antique oak furniture right after Hubs and I got married, decades ago. First finding an adorable dresser at a garage sale for 5 bucks. I didn’t know then just how bad this hobby would suck me in. Or how much my tastes would change. From its very inception, I was drawn to a certain furniture type, even though we were on a shoestring budget. Shoestring meaning pretty much zero dollars to spend on anything besides heat, food, gas, rent and insurance. Tough way to start an antique lover’s career.
|Dainty little claw feet on my Deacon’s bench and curved glass china closet…|
But I would eek out a small corner of our meager budget the first few years to find pieces I could afford. Not always the pieces I coveted or drooled over. The ones I found (could afford) always required a lot of work. Many were covered with several coats of paint, or missing key components, but that never stopped me. I bought curved glass china closets missing doors, tops or glass. John was willing to do the repairs to make the piece complete. I did most of the stripping (ha), sometimes using a darning needle to remove paint from a corner or the deep grain. If the piece was too light in color to suit us, Hubs was the stain guy. I always did the finishing, using polyurethane or tung oil. John was impatient with a small brush. And sloppy. We all have our gifts.
|No claw feet, but this piece sucked the break right out of me when I spotted it…|
This was during the 70’s and 80’s when dipping a piece was popular. Huge tanks of stripper, allowing you to plop (and pay for) the whole piece in a vat. Like a school of piranha gleaning a fresh kill. But when your budget is a few dollars for an abused antique, dipping was expensive and frowned on by many. Hard on the wood, joints etc. Neither John or I minded working on a piece for a few weeks. It always gave me a huge sense of satisfaction after I brought home something with multiple layers of vile paint. Discovering the beautiful wood grain underneath.
|Sinclair Fidelity Meats now holds all my throws…|
From the get-go, I liked oak that was rather dainty. With curved glass and claw feet. Reflecting back, I didn’t realize my tastes were changing. Twenty years later, I found myself liking my furniture darker and buying more rustic pieces. Huh? Yup, in my late thirty’s I got hooked on boxes. Wooden boxes. Nothing beautiful, petite, or even oak. How did this happen? To me, the dainty oak collector? The sheer magnitude of this box/advertising obsession wasn’t fully realized until we were unpacking at the new house. Many of these bits and pieces of bizarre collections have been in storage for several years when we were forced to live a minimalist life style in order to sell our house. Remove all but a few pieces, giving the house a larger appearance, concentrating on the house, instead of all the stuff in the house. Gone were my broken, metal toy trucks and cars, all missing paint, headlights or other parts. Advertising paraphernalia that once graced my oak furniture. Green glass measuring cups, matchbooks, old dolls, depression glass, all packed away in a storage unit. Making me depressed.
|The truck Hubs has had for 65 years…|
Part of this venue change in collecting was because of the pieces I already had. You just can’t keep buying wardrobes, dressers and china closets forever. Unless you have limitless room and funding. Sigh. I loved the furniture I had, and the antique bug was still rampant. But I needed other things to collect, and my big pieces of furniture had already been upgraded to the next level. Shannon was in college, a single mom to the exquisite Ariana, and most agreeable to my hand me downs. As I found fancier pieces, her home seemed to need what I was trying to get rid of. Allowing me justification to buy nicer pieces. With a couple more coins in my wallet, I actually bought some pieces that didn’t need to be stripped and refinished. Gasp.
|Advertising Tootsie-Rolls shipped to Jackson, Mi…|
Now after about 60 plus days in our new crib, the ever elusive shelves to my final curved glass secretary have surfaced. For our first month here, all 3 sets of shelves were missing. I had saran wrapped each set of shelves together, but had no idea where they were. I thought they were packed in a slender picture/mirror box. Only the china closet shelves had some substance to them. Curvy, with a beveled edge and plate grooves, both sets to the curved glass secretaries are non-descript. Rectangular and rather plain. At the time, it was just too much work to keep searching for the shelves. Most of the house was looking fairly good. But I was sleeping on the couch and John (sicker than a dog) was in the spare bedroom.
|Procter & Gamble Mottled German Soap box ready for shipping…|
Our next goal was to knock out a wall between 2 bedrooms. Heaven help us, one room was painted red and navy, the other pink and purple, complete with a castle and dragon on one wall. Those two rooms, now one, needed major commitment from us after the wall came tumbling down. We started with a 2 gallon pail of Kilz, which is a primer/stain coverup combined. Let me tell you, one coat of Kilz does not a dragon slay. Try 3 coats of Kilz, then 2 of blue. Plus the whole ceiling was adorned with Sponge Bob, SquarePants stickers. Which were really, really stuck. Did I mention how adorable those stickers looked? Requiring a few choice words, gnashing of teeth and 2 coats of ceiling paint. As we were painting with a vengeance, we ordered carpet. Still it was 3 long weeks before we got to sleep in our own bed together.
|The dragon and castle after 2 coats of Kilz. Ugh…|
The last elusive shelf set was in a big plastic tub by our Christmas stuff. There was a stack of several plastic containers marked Christmas, another stack marked canning. I hadn’t gone through either, cause I wasn’t canning or setting up Christmas yet. But I assumed all those tubs contained what was sloppily labeled on the outside. Wrong. We had to be some kind of messed up in August when we totally botched this. This particular tub had two 36 packs of Northern bath tissue, and an unopened box of 135 kitchen trash bags. I knew I had that extra box of bags somewhere, but had given up finding them and just spent $13.99 for a new box. Sigh. We now have lots of garbage bags and toilet paper. All the necessities to make our home complete.
|Ta-da! They have retuned to the fold…|
Today I’m gonna run a sink of soapy water, and wash my Waterford crystal. Haven’t gone through that box yet. It’s been sitting in the same spot for 9 weeks. I couldn’t unpack it cause I had nowhere to put the stuff, without those stinking shelves. I hope none of it is broken. So far, I’ve found a couple of broken ornaments, 2 of my Lladro statues and 3 pieces of blue Delft. All broke. Guess we won’t be lining up any how-to-pack-before-you-move-seminars-in-the-near-future.
|This used to hold 4 dainty rolls of toilet tissue. For 72 rolls, I’m gonna need a bigger box…|
I was about to toss the broken Blue Delft pitcher when a semi-crafty idea hit me. Honest, I was as surprised as you. This happens to me so infrequently, I tend to act upon it to keep my once-in-a-decade-string-going. Thought it would be a novel idea if I beat the living snot out of that pitcher. Break it up into small pieces. Bring it along as a craft project for Graham and I to do together. It was a bust (ha-ha). We made salt dough, then using a rolling pin, shaped what I hoped was a trivet. Graham wanted to do a couple of ornaments with smaller pieces of Blue Delft stuck in them. Salt dough has to be in a low oven for hours. I should have paid closer attention. When they were finally dry (baked), the shards of Delft had sorta heaved themselves right out of the dough. Bummer. Should have known it wouldn’t turn out when the words, “crafty and project” were in the same thought cloud in my head. We ended up throwing all of them way except one. I kept one ornament even though it has a couple of pieces of Delft poking up.
|Some shards might get me, but I love the mitten Graham and I made…|
Not only is the house really starting to ‘feel’ like home, there have been several precious impromptu moments sealing the deal. In the period of just a few days, 6 year old Graham came over to spend a day with us. It no longer took them 3 hours to get to our house, try half an hour. Peyton 11, came for an afternoon. We frosted cookies together for a treat she had to bring for Honors choir rehearsal the following day. Adam and Graham came over for spaghetti supper and watch Thursday night football with us. Josh was delivering a Christmas gift to one of his clients, and stopped for a surprise visit. Then there’s the basketball games we’ve got to attend already this season. But there’s a whole blog post for next time. Promise.
|Peyton’s take on mitten and bell cookie decorating…|
Oh, crap, can’t let you leave without a word about toilets. Yeah, we’re going there. We’re about to start remodeling our bathroom. Looking at tile patterns, shower fixtures, doors, vanities, lights, towel bars and a rugged tissue holder for those pesky 72 newly found toilet paper rolls. Only thing we plan on saving is the toilet. It’s a nice Kohler. We bought a new seat and lid before we moved in. Foolishly, I picked out one that has some kind of pneumatic gizmo, allowing the seat and lid to lower s-l-o-w-l-y. Without a noisy slam. Don’t know about your place or bathrooms, and don’t care, but around here, our lid and seat are in the ‘up’ position about 90% of the time. Reason? I ‘go’ much less frequently than with whom I share this home. Problem, when I have to go, I’ve already put it off for 2 hours. Pretty much because I hate going to the bathroom. Except for all the luscious smelling, foamy soaps from Bath and Body Works. Anyway, by the time I need to go, I must wait an excruciating 30 seconds while the seat descends. S-o s-t-i-n-k-i-n-g s-l-o-w. But noiselessly of course. I’m doing a dance, and it’s not very happy while I wait. What a dumb purchase. Hope my decision skills suit me better on the remodeling job. I’m flushed with excitement at the prospect…
|Used to keep fire wood in this one. No fireplace, I do believe it might work for the toilet paper issue…|