Often when I'm having trouble with something, I'm reminded of a movie I saw as a kid when I was probably about 8 or 9. It was called, Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows.
The "angels" were girls from St. Francis Academy and the Mother Superior was always being given fits by one of the young nuns in the bunch. From my recollection, they had a lot of misadventures. The name of that movie comes to mind often, not because I'm angelic, but because trouble follows despite my best intentions sometimes.
This time the "trouble" began with an impromptu run through of the neighborhood on trash day about 2 1/2 weeks ago.
This round-topped table caught my eye despite the fact that it was barely visible underneath some broken rattan furniture and other sundry and unattractive trashy counterparts. Despite cobwebs underneath and around the legs, which were thick enough for a scary Halloween display, AND the fact that it seemed to have been used as a lizard latrine (those darn lizards!), it finally submitted to being wrangled partway through the back door of my car - just barely, but not without giving me a little attitude in the process. Thankfully, I have tweaked my own attitude with time, proving in this instance to be a match for it.
Unfortunately, as I was shoving and coercing this heavy circle into the car, it stubbornly dug into the leather seat and held on for dear life. There it was half in and half out. About this time, it dawned on me that the top was made of pressed board and topped with formica or some other laminate. Ugh. However I also noticed I had an audience of two; the man whose junk it was and the man who had been riding his a bike across the street who had stopped to ponder my curious behavior, and both seemed openly intrigued by what they were witnessing, perhaps wondering if I had what it took to pull off my attempted haul.
Now, the man from whom I was pilfering junk was quite the gentleman when I started to pull the table from the pile. He even pointed out some of the other "stellar junk" he was ditching. He told me where he'd be - "over there" - if I wanted help. Thing is, I truly figured I could handle it, thanked him kindly and put muscle to table. Even if I had wanted to toss it back and leave when I discovered it's shortcomings, the matter of principle, or perhaps sheer pride cemented my decision in place. This filthy little bit of roadkill was coming home with me and I was wedging it into the car one way or another - whether I wanted it or not! Finally, after repeated failings, a slight adjustment to the geometry of my awkward wedging efforts caused it to slide right across the seat. Victory!
Sidenote: My geometric shortcomings have been with me since 9th grade when The Colonel (I don't remember his name, we always called him The Colonel), with his trademark magenta chalk, failed to sufficiently train me in the ways of this invaluable skill set. Actually, I'm severely math challenged; it wasn't his fault, I just don't get it. I moved on with my life, never to bother overcoming my failure in this area. Unfortunately, it has come back to haunt me on many a decorating day, of all things. Why didn't they tell us that's what geometry was for? We always wondered aloud about why they would make us do "this stuff". We couldn't see what possible use this teaching would have in our futures. Maybe that was the Colonel's shortcoming... failure to inspire a "want to" or an understanding of the "why", despite that pretty colored chalk he was so fond of.
So back to my story... the table slid across the seat and I slammed the door in triumph, leaving the man on the bike with nothing left at which to gawk. He got back on and rode on down the sidewalk. Show over.
Upon my return home, it became obvious that one side of the pressed board tabletop had been exposed to water, which had, of course, caused it to swell, and it was doing that crumbling thing wet particle board is notorious for. A sad revelation. This little baby is heavy duty though, and sturdy as a horse, not to mention I'd been wanting a little round table, so we weren't going to let a little unsightly particle board ruin our budding new relationship and the possibilities that lie ahead. I accepted this shortcoming, after all, I have so many of my own.
Let me tell you though, as if you didn't know...sanding crumbling pressed board is a downer. If you haven't tried it, it's kind of a lesson in futility. Crumble begets crumble, so I did as much as I could without destroying it. What it needed was something to hold it together so it could be sanded without falling apart, something like paint. Since it would be sanded between coats anyway, I realized what needed to be done... get painting! With another decision made, all that was left was to choose a paint color.
But what to choose...what to choose? An age old question.
I didn't know, but I didn't want that to hold things up, so while at Home Depot for a couple of other things, I just decided on a color called Blue Fox by Behr, got a sample size of it and glory be, I found two gift cards in my purse, each with a bit left on them, which allowed me to score everything for FREE. I relished the moment and the girl at the checkout shared my joy. Very kind of her.
Embracing Quirky Imperfections
The technique I used on the particle board amounted to globbing as much paint as I could around the edges and in all the resulting holes on the bad parts, and then I let it dry. Believe it or not, it actually worked pretty well! I was able to sand down the rough pieces that were still sticking out, recoat them and sand again. It isn't perfect, because the part that had gotten wet was swollen, so it was thicker in some places than others, but it's not that noticeable. And face it...it's a "rescue table". Imperfections tell its tale. Sometimes you just have to embrace reality and consider the quirkiness of a piece as a unique character quality.
The decision was made to paint the top in the new blue and paint the rest of it white, because I needed a break from aqua on this one. It seemed that this color scheme would be nondescript enough to entertain a black and white design of some sort once I figured out what that would be.
Looking for a Homespun American Graphic
My plan was to find a round graphic with a homespun American feel of some sort - a business logo or company name, maybe related to a farm or manufacturing. It's a humble utilitarian table, I felt a hardworking practical embellishment was in order. A scrolly French graphic wasn't going to cut it.
That search proved futile. For days I looked everywhere. I wasted hours and hours. I wanted the graphic to be round, or at least for the lettering to curve, and nothing suitable was coming my way. So I came here to ask if any of you had any ideas.
Pat and Angie to The Rescue
Kudos to Pat at Corn in My Coffee Pot who assisted in my time of need. She took the hunt on as a challenge and directed me to several possibilities. Check out her blog when you have a minute! Then when Angie at Knick of Time Interiors posted some old milk label graphics, Pat saw them immediately and sent me a message alerting me to her post and the opportunity to use one of the labels as a pattern for my table design. My undying gratitude goes out to Pat!
I quickly went to see what Angie had posted and was thrilled to find my search was indeed over! Please go over and check out Angie's site too. She has countless great ideas and often offers adorably quaint images that can be used for whatever your heart desires. I have several other graphics from her that I'm saving for a couple of other projects, and I can't wait to see how those turn out as well. The milk labels she offered were perfectly suited to the feel needed for my table top, and on top of it, they were round! Now I was in business, I just had to choose which to use. I loved them all! Many thanks to Angie!
Once I decided on a Milk label, I realized that the blue I had painted my table wasn't going to work with the color on the graphic, which I wanted now rather than black and white. I truly do not like wasting time repainting or having wasted paint, but it had to be done, so I decided not to think about that and just got to it and painted the top white to match the base.
What Not To Do
Basically during this project I learned a whole lot of what NOT to do:
Finding the graphic was just the beginning of this little adventure. It was obvious that I would need a way to enlarge the graphic in order to transfer it to the table. I have no overhead transparency projector and no lettering skills with which to just copy an idea, so it was going to have to be a transfer.
Angie at Knick of Time came to my rescue AGAIN and recommended blockposters.com for enlarging the image onto several sheets of paper. (#3 above)Bless her heart, she saved the day! Once I had the image, I reversed it and saved it as such and then uploaded it to the blockposter.com site. After cutting the white edges off the sheets of paper where needed, I taped them together and carefully measured so the image was exactly in the center of the table (if you can believe I am able to measure anything exactly.) I made sure I had the best side of the table edge to the front and taped the design down so it would be secure while I worked. In my quest to center it, I failed to notice I had accidentally rotated it just slightly so it looks a tad off kilter when looking at the table square on. Ah well, more quirks, more character.
Believe it or not, I not only remembered to reverse the image, I also remembered to do a test on a piece of painted wood. (#2 above) The plan was to transfer the image by getting the paper slightly wet and burnish the design so the ink transferred to the table top. I took a tedious route for transferring the image because of a mistake I made with my print out, which came to light during my test. Thank goodness for the test! What I discovered made me realize I should work letter by letter, making sure only to wet the parts I wanted to transfer. This took a long time because of my mistake, probably two hours.
Meanwhile, out of fear of messing things up by removing any of the paper along the way before everything was done, I let it sit while I continued the process. Once finished, I walked away and did something else and didn't come back to it til the next day. Dumb move. The paper dried completely stuck the table. (#6 above and the image below) I was able to scrape it all off, and then I sanded it to remove the rest of the paper and as much of the smeared ink as I could.
It became obvious that the color of the remaining ink was not going to cut it as a finished product even sanded down to look worn. (# 7 above) I saw painting in my future. The rusty spots on the graphic which I had transferred with the lettering, weren't going to look good with the graphic repainted though. They had to be painted over with more white.
Live and learn. So I did.
Just to show you the trouble I kept bringing upon myself, I spent the day painting the letters with old craft paint that was getting globby. I don't recommend it. It made for lots of mistakes and repainting, and touch ups upon touch ups. (# 7 above shows the project partially done). Better to spend the time and just drive to the store and get some more. Despite all the trouble, the finished product made me very happy. It still needed something though, and it occurred to me to paint the base and legs red, but I knew I didn't have enough of the red paint I had mixed from two colors of old acrylic craft paint. I was running out. Then it occurred to me that a dipped leg effect might really do the trick and bring out the red on the top.
And I think it did. Now I'm in love with another little road rescue that I have no where to put. Aint that always the way! I still feel it needs the words "Made in the USA" on it. Also, when it came to the dipped legs, I didn't think my technique through very well. I should have measured and then taped them off. At that point, I just wanted to get on with it and be done. So I measured and drew a pencil line (what was I thinking!) which I had to keep painting and trying to fix as my paintbrush wiggled and often went astray. Tape is the way to go. But now I'm done with redoing it. What's done is done. So I gave it two coats of wax and voila!
The legs are not really that bright. Here's another shot with truer color. I took this one right before the dark skies broke loose with a storm, which didn't let up until the next evening:
After all, where angels go...
I just wish I had a cute little farmhouse kitchen where I could use this little sweetie, because I just think it's so adorable! Even Casey gave it her thumbs up! In the end, it will hopefully be a shop display table and who knows what its future will hold.
At the moment, I'm suddenly feeling the need for a nice cold glass of pure fresh milk! Hope someone remembered to close the fridge door today!
I'll be sharing this story at:
Treasure Hunt Thursday @ From My Front Porch to Yours
Be Inspired @Elizabeth & Co.
Cowgirl Up @ Cedar Hill Ranch
Sunday's Best @ My 1929 Charmer
Mop it Up Mondays @ ISBMTF
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors
Inspiration Friday @ At the Picket Fence
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Share Your Cup Thursday @ Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Creek Cottage
Time Travel Thursday @ The Brambleberry Cottage
Wow us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm
Knick of Time Tuesday @ Knick of Time
Metamorphosis Monday @ BNOTP