Last year, my sister and I went on a road trip to see our old Aunties, precious women we just don't get to see often enough, because, well... scattered families. We live a long way away from each other. We had a lovely time with them, not rushed, staying for several days with each, before heading to see our brothers and then Mum & Dad on the way home. A big old loop of a journey, with lots of sister time chatting. It was great.
Anyway, after the Aunties, we went on to visit our brothers. One of my brothers had this old oak dressing table in his garage - not like him, as they are not into older style furniture. I asked him about it, and he said it was his sister in law's and they just needed to get it to her. Well, since we were going that way, we put it in the back of the car, hoping that she didn't want it after all. Both of us, independently. I said it was mine because I spotted it. My sister said it was hers because it was her car.
In the end, we did end up with the dressing table - Karen did anyway, because she had some cash in her purse. Drat. But.... after several months, she decided that she didn't need it after all. She sent me this picture and asked if I still wanted it.
I began the sanding process, which took ages because some drawers were easy and some were dark and hard, and I had to take it back quite far to even them out a bit. I then shelved it for a year while other things happened. Life does have a way of intervening sometimes. My son broke his hand and later his foot and needed a bit of care, so he came home to live with us while he recovered, I was busy with life and the garden and other things, yada, yada.
But, she came out of storage last week and I got back into the sanding. I managed to get it pretty even but the truth is, it's not a top-class piece and the grain in the different parts is quite varied in texture. The sides are made of old tea chest, with an oak veneer! You can see the printing inside the cupboard. I kind of like that though, it's part of the story of the piece. But it did make sanding trickier than I'd hoped. And where the handles had been was pretty roughed up.
I loved the first try! It was what I wanted - a light, fresh look with all the lovely grain still visible, but not those dark brown lines that you get in oak. I do love oak furniture, but not the way the old stuff was given that dark varnish that went into the grain. So I continued, and that's where it all went wrong. The grain in my dressing table is so varied that some bits were just much nicer than other bits. The top drawers were really nice but the bottom ones were just not quite as nice and the front legs were yukky, really.
I was really disappointed, but then I realised that I could just go whiter and it'd be fine. And it was. It wasn't how I'd envisaged it, but it was at least even. But then I sanded it before giving it a coat of varnish to protect it from life. Sanding made it splotchy, drat it to high heaven - and it also used a lot of sanding paper because the paint was coming off (of course). I was a bit less than bright and happy about the whole damn thing at this stage. Whose idea had this been? Painting the whole thing black became appealing.
I finally, after two days, decided that I'd sanded and fiddled with it enough and it was fine.
The moral of this tale is very Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: expect the unexpected.
Life sometimes surprises us and that's OK. Now, I wonder what's in that box under the house?
love Heather x
"Let every situation be what it is, instead of what you think it should be."
There is beauty in everything.