Monday, June 30, 2008

Trash or Treasure....

Today the Bag Lady wants to talk for a moment about garbage.

Those of you who live in the city probably don't give much thought to where your garbage ends up. You take your garbage to the curb and never give it another thought. Well, when you live in the country, there is no curb-side pick-up. You take your own garbage to the dump. Oh, excuse me, landfill. Actually, out here, it isn't even called a landfill anymore. The landfill site is full, so there are now two enormous dumpsters with a ramp in between them. You drive up the ramp and unload your garbage into the dumpsters. It's called a "transfer station" now. Common household garbage goes in the dumpsters, but anything else is supposed to be put in various other designated areas. There is a place for old cars, another place for old appliances, wood scraps, etc.


The Cowboy ordinarily takes on the chore of "going to the dump". The Bag Lady is not allowed to go to the dump. The Cowboy has put his foot down because she has a tendency to bring home "treasures" that other people have discarded. He was okay with this at first, because she brought home a really nice table the first time, which she stripped and repaired and painted. They use it all the time. But some of her treasures haven't been to his liking, and the day she brought home an antique couch that she had dreams of restoring to it's former glory, he made her turn around and take it right back! That's when he took over dump duty.


But the Cowboy has gone back to work this month, and the garbage was starting to pile up, so the Bag Lady was allowed to go to the dump! And the Cowboy forgot to tell her not to bring anything home! With trembling hands and quickened heart beat, she tossed the garbage into the dumpsters, then hastily made her way toward the other section to do her "shopping"! She drove slowly through the piles, scanning the contents. There were twisted pieces of metal that used to be a bed frame, an old lawnmower, a bicycle with no chain. In another section, there was a pile of interior doors that looked in very good shape. She pondered those for a few minutes - with the addition of folding legs, they would make a perfect table for cutting out fabric. But wait, what is that? Her eagle eye spied something lying on it's side, with the back toward her.


Quick as you can say 'scavenger', she was out of her truck and inspecting what at first she thought was a dresser, but quickly realized was a china cabinet. Someone had attempted to give it a facelift with a can of "suede" paint, (she knows this because they left the can in one of the drawers). They must not have liked the results, and decided to give up and get rid of it. Faint-hearted, that's what the Bag Lady calls it! She will admit though - it was butt-ugly!

She tried to judge the width of it to determine whether it would fit in her truck. Then she pondered the size of it and wondered if she could manage to get it in the truck by herself. A measure of her determination? A test of her courage? She huffed and she puffed and she strong-armed it into her truck. Oh, the guilty pleasure she felt! A shiver of anticipation went through her as she thought of all the stripping she could do!

She got it home and huffed and puffed and got it out of her truck, then huffed and puffed and dragged it up the steps onto the deck. Where she promptly collapsed in a heap. When the Cowboy arrived home from work, he eyed it suspiciously. The Bag Lady had the grace to blush, and stammered out that it was a china cabinet, and she had big plans to fix it and make it pretty. His only comment was "Well, it sure is ugly now!"


So, are you dying to know what it looked like? Are you?


Scroll down...





Here it is!

Told you it was butt-ugly!


The Bag Lady set to work. She got out her trusty Poly Super-Strippa and scraped all the ugly paint off. Then she sanded and sanded and sanded some more. She even resorted to using a dental pick to scrape the paint out of the little design carved into the wood.


It took her almost two days to get all the paint off. Whoever spray-painted it was very thorough, she'll say that for them! (They even painted the hinges.)

There is a little flip-up lid in the central part that hides a removable silverware tray.

The tray was lined with felt, which was filthy, so the Bag Lady took that apart and made a new bottom piece with new felt.


Before:


After:

The cabinet had also suffered some water damage, and some of the wood veneer had lifted, and the plywood backing and the bottom shelf had warped. So the Bag Lady replaced those pieces. The glass was missing from the doors, and all the knobs were gone.


She knows you are dying to see how it looks now, and she would love to show you. But she isn't quite done. She needs to take the doors in to town to have glass put in them. She could do it herself, but someone ran into her stash of glass (not someone who lives on the ranch) and broke it all.

So check back tomorrow if you'd like to see how the cabinet turned out!

31 comments:

Crabby McSlacker said...

Wow, you are so industrious! And you got the thing into the truck and into the house all by yourself? It looks so heavy and unwieldy. You must be STRONG!

Can't wait to see what it's going to look like when you're done.

Leah J. Utas said...

Well done, dfBag Lady. Good for you for rescuing the cabinet. And most entertainingly written, too.
Can't wait for Part Two.

the Bag Lady said...

Crabby - strong of body, weak of mind? Not sure how strong I am, but I was determined...

dfLeah - thanks! If I can get the glass put in today, I'll post the finished product tomorrow!

Tink said...

This is so cool! I've always dreamt of finding old treasures and restoring them. Unfortunately, I don't have the patience or the know-how. I can't wait to see what it looks like when you've finished it.

the Bag Lady said...

Hi, Tink! It's not all that difficult, but it does require patience. I'm pretty sure that's what happened with the original attempt - they thought they could just slap a coat of spray paint on and it would all be good. They didn't do any prep. The secret is in the prep work.

MizFit said...

I am dying to see it.
longing.
COVETING.

but not the work.

perhaps I could hire you?

Miz.

the Bag Lady said...

I dunno, I'm pretty expensive! (I can drink copious amounts of beer....) :)

Missicat said...

WOW! I am sooo impressed at folks who can look at "junk" and see potential...
Hmmm, that sounded sort of philosophical didn't it?

the Bag Lady said...

Missicat - you are waxing philosophical today!!
(Sometimes the Bag Lady sees potential that isn't really there, though...)

Anonymous said...

It is not ugly! The paint is ugly, yes, but not the bones of the piece. The cute little drawers and the clever little silverware cubby! Glad it's you doing the work and not me, though.
When I was living in Raleigh, North Carolina I lived near the university most of the time, where furniture recycling is a way of life. When people moved they put anything they didn't want out on the street a long time before monthly "large trash" removal so the neighbors could pick through it. I still have a 30" high set of metal shelves I got that way, along with several decorative flower pots. I wore out the ugly polo shirts. I refinished and rewove the seats on several chairs and gave them away, because I have more furniture than I can use already.
In the 1970s Kentucky passed a bill requiring counties to provide garbage collection. No more burning your own! (I remember when my mother thought I was old enough to strike the match and light the garbage in the pit. Thrilling.) So we have curbside collection weekly. (Can you call it that when there is no curb?) But the county landfill was closed about a year after I moved back, so there is no where to take things like that cabinet. Or to collect them....

Mary Anne in Kentucky

Clare2e said...

I was going to say what Mary Anne did. The 20-30's style bones are beautiful (good eyes!) and deserving of the new raiment you're giving. I can't wait to see it!

the Bag Lady said...

Hi, Mary Anne (in Kentucky, with no curbs) - I thought it had lovely lines, too, and now I feel bad for calling it ugly! But I am SO glad that whoever owned it before (and sprayed the ugly paint on it) decided to trash it!

Hi, Clare - it is looking really good, and I'm anxious to show it off, but I really want to have the glass in it first! The "reveal" will be tomorrow. Promise.

Mark Salinas said...

Wow! Excellent job! Nice post!

the Bag Lady said...

Thanks, Mark!

Reb said...

Oh Sis! That is a lovely piece of furniture! I am sure you have done a good job of restoring it to it's former glory too. Can't wait to see.

Scrumpy's Baker said...

I love it! It has great art-deco lines. I can't wait to see what it looks like.

You need to see Wall-E. I know you're not a big movie go-er, but he is a sweet little robot who is assigned to clean up the earth. But he grows a personality and finds little treasures to keep for himself.

the Bag Lady said...

Reb - thanks! I'm really hoping it looks good - how embarrassing would it be to give it all this hype, then screw it up....?!

SB - I do like the lines of this piece. I'll keep that movie in mind, too!

Gena said...

Our county always has free dump day. We waited and stockpiled big items all year, then loaded them up in the truck and the trailer and headed to the dump!

Very nice with the cabinet! Creativity goes a really long way!

Hilary said...

Baggie! I'm so impressed. I can't wait to see your ugly duckling turn into the beautiful swan.

Fitarella said...

that plane ticket better be in today's mail BL! I wanna sit on the deck, drink a cool one, play with the animals, lasso someone and help ya paint the new china cabinet!

cynthia said...

I can't wait to see the finished piece! Kudos to you for seeing the treasure in someone else's trash! I wish I had that talent!

bunnygirl said...

Even in its "ugly" state, I think it's gorgeous! Just look at those art deco details!

*wipes drool from chin*

You can expect my arrival at any time, and it's not gonna be for spinach!

the Bag Lady said...

Gena - our landfill site is open 3 days per week, so if I decide to clean out the fridge, for example, I have to wait and do it when the dump is open, not just when I feel like it!

Hilary - thanks! I hope everyone thinks it is a swan....

Fitarella - didn't it get there yet? Damned mail service!! :)

Cynthia - thanks! I'm not sure if it takes talent or just bone-headedness!! Thanks for stopping by.

BG - You'd love it here! You could run for miles and miles and never leave the place! (and the spinach is still here...)

Sagan Morrow said...

You are so cool. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product!

My parents used to take me and my sister to the dump when we were little as something to do... we'd get all excited about it. It's a shame that that excitement usually diminishes as we get older!

the Bag Lady said...

Sagan - some people never grow up, though! I can get excited about going to the dump....but usually only when I find cool stuff to bring home!! :)

Geosomin said...

Wow...that is a gorgeous piece of furniture. I love art deco furniture-the curves and swirls...you have great taste!
I can't wait to see how great it turned out...from the attention to detail on the drawers I'm quite excited. Did you strip it and stain it? What kind of wood is it...I'm so curious.
It's nice to know I'm not the only picky fixer upper out there :) I just have problems actually *finishing* projects...:)

the Bag Lady said...

Geosomin - I found the secret to actually "finishing" a project! Blog about it! It really motivates you!! :)
Tune in tomorrow - I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

Susan said...

My goodness! I admire your determination and strength! You've got gumption... that's a endangered virtue these days!

I am eagerly looking forward to seeing your handiwork with the rescued cabinet! :)

the Bag Lady said...

Thanks, Susan! I hope it looks as good as I think it does.... :)

Latin Lupe Lu said...

WOW! Could you PLEASE come to my house and refinish some things for me? I could use some help painting the outside of my house as well. That cabinet looks like it will turn out great. You are very handy.

the Bag Lady said...

LLL - Sure! You pay the airfare and supply the beer... :)