Thursday, July 28, 2011

My loverly teeny-tiny apartment garden

So far so good......
 My little tomato plant :)

 And some of my spinach plants (there are actually a ton of smaller planters around the apartment).  Oh, and yeah. I threw a wine bottle in there for decoration.  What?

Those are my only two plants right now.  Tomatoes and spinach.  I'll be all Popeye on ya'll before anyone can remember all the words to his theme song! Ha!! (Betcha have that song stuck in your head now, huh?)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Apartment Gardener

So, I've been buying more and more organic lately.  After learning about all that crap in the food we eat, I feel embarrassed I didn't start sooner!  The thing is though, organic is E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E! Like, a whole, whole lot more expensive.  But, I do what I can here and there to trim so that we can buy the organic stuff and be good to our bodies.

That being said, the more and more I read about our food, the more and more I find myself really, really wanting to garden! BUT....I live in an apartment. A little two-bedroom-tiny-enough-as-it-is-no-room-for-a-garden-apartment.  And the dogs use our patio all the time, so converting the patio to a garden is out too, even a portion of it since our puppy isn't yet trained to not dig up the dirt.

All that doesn't stop me though! No-sir-ee-bob!  I want some garden fresh fruits and veggies and by George I WILL have them! So I bought some of that fancy organic dirt.  I was going to try to compost my own, but I'm kinda impatient and I need to get those seeds in dirt like, now.  And I bought some organic seeds.  Just a few varieties to start out with.  Spinach, rosemary, raspberries and tomatoes.  As I said, since I don't have a house, I had to get creative with my planting efforts! I've been converting anything (really, anything) into planters.  Candle holders we don't use anymore, old butter Tupperware dishes, pretty much anything I can put some fancy dirt and a few seeds in.  One plant here, another there, and so on.  I've lined my windowsills with the ones I've planted so far, and I'm even planning a trip up to goodwill this weekend to pick up a few more anything-can-be-planters.

I'm hoping this project goes well, I've never had a green thumb, but I'd really like to be able to grow something of my very own and eat it! (if this works out, watch out when we PCS and get into a house next year!!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dresser is DONE!!

Just got back into town, and arrived to find the dresser knobs that I ordered! *yay* So of course I assembled them as fast as I could and moved the dresser into place!

For some reason, all the pictures are photographing much shinier then the dresser actually is, even so much so that I get a reflection of the orange couch in the background. Weird.  Tried different lighting, positions in the room and even different camera settings, but to no avail.  So here are the pictures of the dresser, mind you the knobs are actually black, and the dresser does not act like a mirror.  Nor can you see the brush strokes on the dresser! Oh well, I'm really happy with the way it came out! Can't wait to piece the rest of the room together!!!

Again a before:
And an after:

Monday, July 04, 2011

Dresser-parts 1, 2 & 3

So this was officially a bigger project than I first anticipated.

That being said, I'm pretty much done.  Waiting for the knobs I ordered to arrive, then I can get a finished picture up.  I ended up ordered the knobs from Amazon.  After browsing both Lowe's and Home Depot, they didn't have anything I just LOVED. Plus, even their standard knobs were over double the price of the same knobs on Amazon!! Plus, I get free shipping being a student and all.  So, I'm hoping to get them before we head out of town on Thursday.

On to the process.  First I needed to sand. I figured a pretty basic scratch up should do the trick, but it got detailed pretty quick.  As I said, the dresser is old, and it needed a good bit of TLC put into it for me to get the finish product I desired.  I also used some wood putty to fill in the holes, and gashes the dresser had as well as those country bumpkin-esk swirly things on the two top drawers.  Here are some pics of the sanding and wood filling.  Notice how bad the water stains were on the top, I thought sanding would help, but it only made them worse. 

 Water-marked galore, huh?
 Filling in the swirls was pretty easy.  I used Elmer's wood filler, and sanded after use.  I used two coats here.

 All the drawers.
 More pictures of the water-damaged top!! Most of these marks you couldn't even see before sanding!

Notice the deep gash up the side that I had to fill in with wood filler....

Yeah, like I said, the dresser was in pretty bad shape.

I was planning to hand sand, since I try to do these types of projects for as cheap as possible, but since the sanding got so intensive, I ended up buying a power sander.  I do like to build my tool set as I work on these, so I like to think of it as an investment. :)

Next up was the priming process.  I wavered over which primer to use, oil-based or not.  The oil-based dried quicker, but I was worried about the coverage, since I had so much I wanted to cover.  So I chose non-oil-based primer. 

I originally tried painting outside, since I figured I didn't want to breath in fumes for the few days that I'd be painting, but apparently, wet paint+outside=bug trap.  Yeah, I got lots of little friends to help me in my painting, maybe they thought I wanted some texture? Ha, so yeah, moved it inside, and didn't get any pictures of just the priming, since I had to do it in painting shifts.  Plus, I added an extra layer of primer to the top to hide any extra nicks or dings or water-marks. 

After I got it fully primed, I painted.  I usually wouldn't paint the inside of the drawers, however, they were really dingy inside, and I wanted it to look like a piece I would have bought already black at a store. 

Two coats of paint, to be sure I was getting even coverage and a good solid black.  The hardest part about the painting process was getting the brush strokes even.

Here are a couple of the dresser after it's been painted, and the top coat applied.  At first, I wasn't going to do a top coat, but I figured I wouldn't pay to get a manicure and not have them top of my nails with a top coat, so why would I put all of this time and effort into redoing the dresser to be just right and not protect my paint with a top coat?
I used a fast-drying polyurethane by minwax.  I know there are other kinds, and I looked for the rub-on kind, but didn't see any.  The top-coat required a natural bristle brush which was also a bit hard to find, but I did eventually find one. :) After cleaning with the top coat, I ran into a bit of a snag. You're supposed to clean this stuff off the brush with mineral spirits.  I hadn't planned for that, and didn't have any.  Luckily, they carry the stuff at wal-mart and my WONDERFUL husband ran out and bought a bottle for me.  At 10 o'clock at night.  Yeah, I love that man!

Yeah, there's wine in the background.  There might have been some wine involved in this project on a few phases. ;)

Now, all the protective coat has been fully applied, waiting for it to fully dry (dries in 3-4 hours for touch and 24 hours for light use) and for my hardware to come in. Here are a few pics of the dresser in it's final drying stages before the hardware comes in.
The top two drawers have fully dried, so they're back in the dresser to save on some space. :)

Here you can see the bigger drawers behind the dresser.
A close up of the interior of the bigger drawers.  Yeah, I primed, painted and top-coated those as well. Just for good measure. :)

And one of the whole sha-bang. Now if only I had my hardware to put it all back together!! Can't wait!!!