Refresh Your Shelf

Kitchen Shelf 28

So this isn’t really a how-to, more of a what-I-did-when-quarantined kind of thing. This little shelf used to belong to my mother as a child. I think her dad or her grandfather built it for her. It used to be white, and she painted it red some time before I was born. Then it was mine for a long time (well it’s still mine). When the Pie and I moved in together I painted it black because it needed a new coat and that was what I had on hand. Since I painted it, it’s always been in my kitchen. I always keep my oils and vinegars on the top shelf, and the other spaces serve whatever needs they serve at any given time, no matter what the kitchen it’s in.

Kitchen Shelf 3

But it needed a new coat of paint (a lighter one, I thought), and Gen. Zod has developed a weird tendency to bite chunks out of my cork trivets when he comes over so I wanted to make them a little less accessible to tiny sticky hands.

Kitchen Shelf 1

So. You may remember that I told you that while I was quarantined I made little wire baskets for stuff. Well, I also made BIG wire baskets.

Kitchen Shelf 4

I custom sized them to fit each shelf (because it’s handmade, each shelf is at a totally different height). They ended up being bigger than the mesh I had so I had to put three sides together first and then attach a back as a separate piece.

Kitchen Shelf 5

Which involved a tremendous amount of wire winding. My hands were quite tired and sore the next day.

Kitchen Shelf 6

I made the baskets so they were a snug fit into the shelf so that they couldn’t be pulled out easily.

Kitchen Shelf 12

All the baskets complete. But that’s not all I’m gonna do.

Kitchen Shelf 11

The shelf is in dire need of a re-do. Years of glass bottles filled with oils and vinegars have stripped away some of the paint on the top. And in order to get paint to stick to that it’s going to need a serious cleaning.

Kitchen Shelf 13

So a scrubbing was in order. If you don’t get all that oil gone it will come up through the paint. Like magic. Really annoying magic.

Kitchen Shelf 15

While it dried I quickly spray-painted all the baskets I made.

Kitchen Shelf 16

I’d previously been using the Krylon ColorMaster and Indoor/Outdoor because someone recommended it for use on plastic and metal. I’d always had a bit of difficulty with adhesion but I thought I was just doing it wrong or something. But when I was looking for green spray paint I found this Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch stuff that goes on like a double coat AND LET ME TELL YOU IT’S AMAZING.

Kitchen Shelf 17

So amazing that for the shelf I bought it in a white primer, gloss coat, and sealant.

Kitchen Shelf 23

The shelf needed a good sanding down from top to bottom. This is the bottom. The underside of that bottom shelf was never painted. Then I clearly forgot to spray the second-from-bottom shelf.

Kitchen Shelf 19

Gren watched through the garage door.

Kitchen Shelf 20

Kitchen Shelf 21

All sanded. Then it needed another good cleaning. As did I. I was covered in black paint dust.

Kitchen Shelf 22

Shelf all painted.

Kitchen Shelf 24

And in situ.

Kitchen Shelf 25

And with the basketry in place.

Kitchen Shelf 26

The General is going to have a hard time eating my trivets now.

Kitchen Shelf 27

Team Project: Beeswax Art

Beeswax Painting

I still had a huge amount of old beeswax sitting around, leftover from way back when we made teacup candles.  Just blue, though.  Three shades of blue.

Beeswax Painting

I also had a 24″ x 24″ piece of hardboard that I bought back when I had a different sort of idea for the tree branch coat racks.

Beeswax Painting

Beeswax Painting

We can’t waste these things, right?  Well, here’s what the Pie and I came up with together, and I don’t think I would have been able to do this solo. This was our initial plan. A beeswax painting of an ocean scene, a fishing boat attached to a fishing net.

Beeswax Painting

Some hemp string will stand in for rope, and this onion bag will be our net.

Beeswax Painting

But first we had to prep our “canvas”. I took the board outside and sprayed it with Gesso.

Beeswax Painting

Then we needed to prep our supplies. We took the three colours of wax, ripped up the sheets, and jammed them into 3 large canning jars.

Beeswax Painting

Then we plopped them in our canner.

Beeswax Painting

Of course, being full of wax sheets, they floated and tipped over and some of them got some water inside them (which will actually be important later on). So we had to wedge them in place with other jars filled with water and a round wire rack on top.

Beeswax Painting

We brought the water to a simmer and slowly the wax began to melt. As it opened up more space in the jars, we tore up more wax and dropped it in.

Beeswax Painting

Beeswax Painting

And while we were working on that, we also laid out our work area with lots of newspaper.  And I mean several overlapping layers.

Beeswax Painting

Finally we were ready to pour some wax. We wrapped dish towels around the jars to protect our hands.

Beeswax Painting

The initial pour was a little nerve-wracking because we didn’t know what we were doing.

Beeswax Painting

The second one was a bit better, and we started trying to move the wax around a bit before it hardened.

Beeswax Painting

Eventually we ended up with a solid layer covering all the white stuff.

Beeswax Painting

We didn’t end up liking the texture we’d put into the wax with our hands, but we did discover two interesting side effects. We discovered that when we poured the wax at the same time we got these cool marble patterns.

Beeswax Painting

And remember that water that got into the wax? Well it showed up again when we were at the bottom of the jars, and resulted in these neat bubbles.

Beeswax Painting

We decided to do a second layer of wax, now that we kind of had an idea about how this was supposed to go. While we waited for it to melt, I laid out where I thought our fishing net and line would go. It was easy to warm up the wax with a hairdryer and then simply press the net into place.

Beeswax Painting

The original plan was to make the fishing boat out of origami and then just press it into the warm wax, but we changed our minds and decided on an aluminum boat — because many of them are made out of aluminum in reality. Fortunately we had a few tin cans in the recycling and a nice pair of tin snips.

Beeswax Painting

We elevated one side of the canvas so that the wax would flow in the same direction. Gren helped.

Beeswax Painting

Then we poured, using lighter wax up where the sky would be and darker wax in the deeper part of the ocean. We poured some over the net as well to make it look partially submerged.

Beeswax Painting

A close-up of the marbling and bubbles in the boat’s “wake.” Those bubbles are full of water, not air, so we needed to pop them and dry out the water.

Beeswax Painting

While the wax was still warm, we cut it away from the stuff that spilled over the edges of the canvas using a sharp knife and a hairdryer to keep the wax pliable.

Beeswax Painting

Then I heated up a section of the wax and pressed in our little aluminum boat.

Beeswax Painting

The finished piece.

Beeswax Painting

We will be spraying it with a sealant to protect it from scratches (there is already a corgi foot print at the top of it) and then we will mail it home in time for Christmas!

Beeswax Painting

Hole in the Wall

Hole in the Wall
Normally we have a little rack here where we hang the clothes that are not quite dirty enough to wash but worn enough that we can’t justify putting them back in our drawers.  One week we got a little lazy and overloaded the rack.  And it fell off the wall, taking the screws with it.  Leaving these holes.
Hole in the Wall

It’s strange how such a little thing can alter your whole life.  Because we don’t have the rack at present, the Pie and I are putting our clothes on the backs of chairs in our room.  This means that some of the things we normally keep on the chairs are now in our closet.  Which means that our closet is full, so some things that are normally in the closet are on top of Gren’s crate.  Which means that things that normally go on top of Gren’s crate end up on the floor.  Our room is a certified disaster zone, all because of a stupid $15 clothes rack.  It’s utter chaos.  CHAOS, I tell you.
Hole in the Wall

Gotta fix it to achieve equilibrium.

Patching small holes in gyp-rock or plaster walls is an easy process.
Hole in the Wall

First, take a box cutter or other sharp knife and cut off the bits of plaster that are sticking out from the wall.  Sand the rough edges so everything is flush and level.
Hole in the Wall

Use a filling putty like this Dry-Dex and a flexible putty knife to apply the compound to the holes.  Depending on the depth of your hole, you may need to add a little bit of compound at a time and allow it to dry between applications.
Hole in the Wall

I like this stuff because it goes on pink and you know it’s dry when it turns white.
Hole in the Wall

Lightly sand the dried compound, then wipe the dust off with a soft damp cloth.
Hole in the Wall

Prime it and paint it. We always save the dregs of our paint for just such an occasion.  You can just put it in a yogurt container and it will stay fresh, though you will probably have to stir it well.
Hole in the Wall

When you are putting up stuff that is going to hold other stuff, it helps if you can get your anchoring screws into a joist. If you use a stud-finder this is an easy task (the last time I put this up we didn’t have a stud-finder). And the bonus of this particular model is that it also tells me when I’m about to drill into a power line, saving me from auto-electrocution. Handy.
Hole in the Wall

And now our life is back to normal.  PHEW! Balance restored.
Hole in the Wall

Office Reno

My parents bought the house they live in now about twelve years ago, and the house is about twenty years old now.  In fact, it’s the first new construction house my parents have ever owned.  So new, in fact, that when we all moved in back in 1997, it wasn’t quite finished yet.  Like it didn’t have a back porch.  That sort of thing.  It also used to be a rooming house, so there were some weird things going on.  The room that is my dad’s office was designed to be a laundry room, and when they bought the house it was actually being used as a kitchen.  As it was pretty low-priority in the scheme of everything else that goes on in my parents’ busy lives, it remained in more or less its original state.

UNTIL NOW.

This is the before shot, when my dad and I were clearing out all the furniture and stuff.

You can see the artful sponge painting that outlines where the laundry sink used to be.  And the place where the faucets come up and out of the wall.

This dryer outlet and vent also needed to go.  As did the b-awful linoleum.  I hate linoleum.

So out came the mouldings and the overhead lighting.

After checking to make sure the fuse was dead, out came the dryer/stove outlet.

Make sure you check it more than once before you start cutting wires.

This rubbish bin was filled and emptied many times before the job was done.

The vent will get cut flush to the wall and filled with expanding spray insulation.

The faucet pipes were capped and sealed with solder and the plastic frame removed. 

We will put a piece of gyp-rock over top and patch that sucker, same with the one on the floor.

Just screw it in place, using shims as a backing, and trim off the excess.  Fill the holes with Durabond-90 or other crack filler and you’re good to go.

All the other holes and cracks got filled as well.

There were plenty.

Now for that ugly awful floor.  This was my especial project and it took me FOREVER. 

Whoever put the lino down GLUED it, which is not something you normally do.  And they didn’t just lay down lines or dots of glue.  No.  It was like they took the can of glue and spilled in on the floor.  But not all over the floor.  This part came up super easy, so we thought it would be more of the same. 

PAH.

I spent about seven hours with a pair of gloves and a putty knife peeling up the rest of it. 

And let’s not forget all the glue that stayed on the floor.

Which my dad spent three days scraping off.

It was a sticky business.

Back to the walls.  On with the primer.  Note you can still see the terrible, terrible sponge painting shining through.  Took a couple of coats of paint to get that hidden.

Next the crown mouldings went on and were lined up.

Nailed and glued in place.

You can use wood filler to artistically cover the spots in the corners where it doesn’t quite line up.

And to cover your nail marks as well.

Now for the floor, which we replaced with a nice floating bamboo one with interlocking pieces.

You can see the grooves here.

Make sure to measure out everything ahead of time.  It helps to label your pieces and to draw yourself a little map.

You will need to cut pieces to fit the vagaries of your room.

Dad glued down the first section.

Make sure to follow the instructions on your glue.  This little grooved applicator enables the glue to spread under pressure.

You want to make sure your pieces are super snug together, so a rubber mallet is very handy.

We noticed that the glued section was making cracking and popping noises, so the next sections were nailed in place as well, with the nails going through those little grooves I just showed you.  It cracked the grooves but kept the things on the floor, so there you go.

The moulding on the floor will cover up that wee gap there.

Then you paint.  Again.  Always a good time.

See?  This is after it got a nice shiny coat of enamel.

You can scrape up your spills by covering a scraping razor with a piece of cloth, and then you won’t scratch the floor.

This is mid-cleanup.

And after everything was moved back in again.  What a difference!