Tuesday, July 09, 2013

The Magic Junk Wand

You might think the lazy days of Summer have taken me by the hand and led me to a sunny seaside place for a relaxing toes-in the-sand vacation. Ha! No...the only lazy ways for me this Summer have come in regard to my blog. Yes, work on projects has ramped up with the Summer heat and humidity, so something's had to give, and that something has been Quirky Vistas. 

For shame!

My only nod to the seaside lately has been this beach bum dresser that came by way of the curb.
For weeks and weeks, junk adventures have led me down side streets galore, mostly on the way to and from work, where the discards of South Florida seem to be lined up and waiting just for me to pick and chose what will make it home to the bedragled collection awaiting a Fairy Makeover Mother to wave her magic junk wand, fix their foibles and dress them in gowns of glory, so they can dance in the eyes of whomever will one day fall in love with them.

How can I leave these potential beauties hanging out there with the lumbering sounds of the trash truck inching ever closer. How can I turn my head and drive on when a promising little Cinderella is crying curbside?

I saw this dresser on the way home one evening, but there was man in a truck there at the time who looked like he was getting a TV that had also been left out. A woman who appeared to be the owner was standing there talking to him. I didn't want to join that junk scene (I don't like people around when I pick stuff up and yet, there always seems to be someone right where the good stuff is!), I figured I'd go back by in the morning when things were a little less active in the vicinity.

So early the next day, I headed out, and wouldn't you know, right across the street from the awaiting chest of drawers was a fire rescue truck with lights twirling, as well as three police cars lined up and making the scene even more dramatic. Come on! Someone was on the sidewalk and the rescue crew was attending to them. I was not about to stop with all that happening. Last thing I needed was to be part of a scene already drawing gawks from passers-by. With my luck, someone looking over at that would ram into me. This was on a pretty busy street. No, I was going to have to drive around and around waiting for them to wrap up their rescue and move on. It took a while of driving the nearby streets for other treasure, but finally they all left. It was time to get the orphaned dresser, and my junk mojo was waning. When I finally got to it, I discovered that the top drawer wouldn't open. Ugh...I didn't want to stand there messing with it while the passing world watched, and probably the owners too, so I decided to hop back in my car quickly and just let it go.

Of course I got most of the way home and realized I really should have gotten it. (Head. Bang. Wall.) I mean a drawer can be fixed... duh. If not, I could always throw it away at home. Back I went. I know. I'm hopeless.

It's becoming obvious that I have to go to every junk pile at least three times. I rarely pick things up the first or second pass by, and in the world of free junk, being indecisive is tough on the gas tank.

After all that, my goal was going to be to get that thing home, clean it up, fix the drawer, slap some paint on it and call it done... and make it snappy!

But not so fast! When picking this cheap little thing up and hauling around to put it in the car, I heard a... [Crack!] ...and felt the side wood come undone. Oh, brother. Now I would have to add stabilizing the weak construction of this thing to the drawer fixing and painting. I started to think I should have left it after all, but I'd invested too much time as it was and it was on its way into the back seat, I was not about to put it back now.

As you may have noticed in one of the pictures above, there was other stuff that came home with me that day too. I had plenty of cleaning to do all before the rain started falling. Good thing I was working fast.

After scrubbing these drawers in and out as well as sanding, next came glue and nails. Oh, and don't forget sticker removal. During that process, many unkind thoughts passed through my head about people who let kids put stickers on furniture. I also went a little crazy with the staple gun. (It may have had something to do with thoughts of those who let kids put stickers on furniture.) It seemed the only way to hold the separating wood together and wood was coming apart everywhere. I wasn't going for pristine construction work here. This was a cheap dresser and we were going to use it to house more of Casey's stuff that's been overflowing onto her bedroom floor. We aren't concerned about the inside of the drawers and whatnot looking rigged. After all, I am the rig queen. What do we expect?

I worked in hyper mode and by 1:00 I was finished, except for figuring out the knobs. I was very pleased.

I didn't want to put the round wood knobs back on because they are just too ordinary, and painting them with little designs would have required a plan as to what to paint. Plans take time.

Time is the mortal enemy.

Casey's other little dressers have rope handles. Another quick version of a rope handle would keep things consistent, but I couldn't find that great idea someone did that I wanted to copy. Dang! I always forget to pin things.

So I made do with shells. I almost used shells for her other dressers, but never had a good way to secure them with what I had on hand. This time I didn't care. Lack of a killer glue didn't stop me, nor did my lack of 8 of the same shells. I did have two each of four kinds, plus I had some rope and a hot glue gun on hand.

A supply on hand beats two (or more) in the store, (or any I might have to procure by other means). Never underestimate the power of supplies on hand! It helped me beat back my mortal enemy. You can't put a price on that! (and if anyone hassles you about all your craft stuff popping out of drawers and bins, piled up on counters or shoved into closets, remind them you are beating back the mortal enemy of time by having supplies on hand.) Supplies are power!

The top two shells were pulled in close to the drawer, but by the next drawer down I decided to let the rope extend out a bit so it could actually take some of the stress of the pull rather than putting all the load on the glue holding the shell. After all, these were held on with hot glue. I don't find it to be known for it's strength, so I had to try and give it a little help.

We'll see if it holds. If not, one day I'll remember to buy the heavy duty stuff. Not a big deal. This was quick to do (after threading the rope through the hole. I finally quit making myself crazy, got out the drill and made the holes slightly bigger. Again, duh.)  Each rope end was tied into a tight knot so it would wedge into the shell opening that had been filled with glue. If you do this, have something on hand with which to hold the shell. The hot glue makes the shell burning hot.

The pearlized shells on the bottom drawer here add a little glam to the shabby.

And that is how I took IN the trash...

...waved my magic wand...

...and ended up with a cute and shabby little beach bum. 

Princesses are highly overrated.

We fell for a beach bum.

 I'll be out and about visiting some of these parties this week :

Give Me the Goods Monday
mop it up mondaysFunky Junk's Saturday Nite SpecialFurniture Feature FridaysFrench Country CottagePhotobucket    

Sunday                          is the day to share
Ivy and Elephants



  1. What a great fairytale! I'm glad you finally dragged it home, your hard work really paid off...it so stinking cute! I LOVE the shells!

    I've never had the nerve to take any curbside treasures, not that I see much in my area. But last week I saw that my next door neighbor had put out a small end table with a "Free" sign on it. With a little paint, it would be great with my front porch furniture. I finally waited until they weren't home and then made a dash for it! I'm hoping she won't recognize it when I'm finished with it. Or she may say, "What the heck did you do to my table?"!!


  2. You have such a FUN LIFE...I WANNA come spend the summer with you..OOOOOOOOO NO, maybe not-it just may be HOTTER where u r..maybe I could stop by during the Fall? lol


  3. Liz,
    funny, funny story! For all the trouble, it turned out fantastic! Very clever using the shells as handles! I would never have though of that. I never seem to have any luck finding anything on the side of the road, my BF was the lucky one in that department.

  4. Wowza, what a curbin' haul! Love this story. That dresser is looking mighty fine and well worth the effort it took to bring it home.

  5. Darling little beachy dresser! The shell knobs are the perfect accent!

  6. Well it was the dresser that almost wasn't...huh?
    Love that after all that waiting to get it into the car...you didn't make it wait to become beach-fabulous.
    So cute...love the shell nobs. Pat

  7. Wow Liz,
    I am so glad you took three attempts to save this treasure. It looks so cute and I love the shell knobs on it. Your wand was very magical on this one. Great job.

  8. Cute. And I'm not getting to the beach anytime soon either.

  9. How fun. I need to go do some junking since I don't have cash to go thrifting right now!

  10. I never find stuff in the trash. Perhaps I'm not looking in the right places! I need to find socializing groups and emergency vehicles....that must be where the good stuff resides :) Beautiful re-do on your bum...I mean chest....I mean....ah, forget it. You know what I mean!

  11. Wow! What an amazing re-do! love the shell knobs! Thanks so much for sharing at The Scoop!...hugs...Debbie

  12. Loving your beach bum, Liz. Can I borrow your magic wand???
    I want those Vans, too.

  13. what a cool idea in using those shells. Very nice addition for sure

  14. You made a dumpy dresser become magical! It really needed fresh white paint and something unexpected like that! Great job!
    PS I pick up with whomever is watching--just smile and wave a pageant wave. Make it fun!

  15. What an amazing story - felt like I was there with you lol - I do the same thing- and I'm always a little paranoid that the owner is watching outside their window lol
    Those shells are amazing - GORILLA GLUE - you have to get some of that stuff - it's magic!!!!!!!

  16. I love a good Cinderella story. I have never thought of my craft stash fighting off enemies of makeovers, but it certainly makes sense to stay at home and finish a project instead of running off to find some item. The shells look great as drawer pulls.

  17. I love curbside finds! You did an amazing job! I’d love it if you could link this up to our party, Give Me The Goods Monday! {1 party, 4 blogs}
    Have a great week!
    Jamie @ Better With Age

  18. Beach Bums are so much fun! Love it's rustic charm. No I just hope high tide doesn't come in and wash it away. lol! Great job Liz! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

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