I’ve been a little out of sorts for the past few days. Nothing I could put my finger on. Just grumpy and monosyllabic. I’d have been downright cranky, had I the energy to give to it. Yes, it’s been hot, but this wasn’t my usual heat-related funk. It had a different flavour.
I tried sleeping for 12 hours straight and that helped a little. But while I could see the edge I needed to get myself over, sleep alone wasn’t going to pull me through. I needed something to do. Something physical. Something that I could start and finish in one day. Something I could see completed.
When you work, as I do, it’s rare that you see a finished product that’s of your own making. Lots of contributions made to the greater good, no doubt, but seldom something that you can lay claim to. And that’s what I needed. Something I could start and finish, by myself.
We inherited lots of old but serviceable furniture that we’ve mostly gotten rid of. A couple of pieces – homemade jobs strung together with random pieces of wood – have been living on the terrace for a couple of years now. One a horrid brown, the other a more appealing green but a green that didn’t really go with my master plan.
With a pot of white paint, a smaller pot of blue paint, and a sander, I got to work. I wanted to transfer my unsourced distress to the furniture and clean them up while making them look shabby. There’s a logic there somewhere. It’s not something I’d try on good furniture, but this table and bench seemed willing to be my guinea pigs.
Now, I’ve seen JFW do this and he spends ages on his pieces. I don’t have his patience or his attention to detail. I’m all for immediate satisfaction and a quick return on my time. There’s good and there’s good enough and good enough would be better than what I had.
The bench was first. It was in that green that seems to have been mass produced in Hungary in the 1950s. It’s everywhere. I’ve unearthed a couple of spice racks in a similar shade in the barn and it’s a common enough sight at the local markets for what’s now being labelled ‘mid-century’.
I sanded off the rough stuff. Slapped on a couple of coats of white paint. And then took the sander to it again to get some of the green showing through. I’d wanted to try my hand at stencilling but only had blue paint, so I held off.
I was pretty pleased with the result.
Next up was the horrid brown table with one gammy leg. I had himself cut off some inches as I don’t trust myself with an electric saw and while it’s now shorter than it was, it works. The sanding on that was a lot more difficult, so I hit it in patches. Then slapped three coats of white and instead of taking the sander to it and letting the brown come through, I smudged some blue drips (my version of a speck of blood) and added a chicken to look at it longingly.
Neither piece will stand up to close scrutiny, but they’re both way easier on the eye than what was there. I sweat bucketloads in the doing, cursed the living daylights out of an annoying horsefly that saw me as lunch, and bashed my little toe in the process. But do I feel better? Way better. Grumpiness gone. Lethargy gone. The dark mist has lifted. Let the weekend begin.