Thursday, 10 March 2011

these hands can

This morning, my hands ache, my triceps ache, my shoulders ache and those little muscles between the backs of my ribs - are they called intercostals? - well, whatever they're called, they ache, too. Yesterday, I spent about four hours working on this beauty.
This gorgeous Welsh dresser is the most fabulous thing of many fabulous things I've received from fellow Freecyclers. Freecycle? If you're not already a member, check it out! There are local groups all over the place, and once you've joined you can offer or ask for all kinds of things. I've given away things like baby stuff, sporting equipment, empty jars and bottles and a portable CD player; I've received a tent, raspberry canes, fabric remnants and this dresser. The aim of Freecycle is to keep goods from ending up in our ever-growing mountain of rubbish. I've even seen cars on offer!

Anyway, so I picked up this dresser on Tuesday. I couldn't believe my eyes! I was just hoping for something with a few shelves I could use for extra storage...I never imagined the guy would open his garage to reveal a fifty year old solidly-built oak dresser with pretty detailing. I stupidly asked if he was sure he wanted to give it away! Luckily for me, he did.

So yesterday I set to work on bringing it back to life. But before I started, I tucked into one of these babies:
Okay. Truth be told, I might have eaten three of these gooey, pillowy cinnamon rolls. My lovely friend who keeps this blog sent me the recipe and it is the bomb (by the way. check out Kate's blog - she's a fabulous cook.). I did find the caramel a little salty, so if you make them, reduce the salt to half a teaspoon.

After I recovered from my self-induced sugar coma, I set to work. Out came the power tools. Oh yes. I love my power sander. Two things: power tools are great for perfectly flat pieces of wood, but when it comes to old stuff, nothing beats good old glasspaper and a whole lot of elbow grease; secondly, when you're sanding fifty years of woodstain, wax, grime and dust off of secondhand furniture, wear a face mask. I didn't, and I won't tell you how I know, but I inhaled a lot of dust.
It was round about at this point in the sanding when the postman knocked with a sweet little parcel sent by my friend Kate of the afore-mentioned food blog. Like everything she does, it was wrapped with such care. What a joy in my day to recieve a package wrapped in brown paper and string! Inside was this book, one of many which was specially printed and distributed throughout the UK in celebration of World Book Night. I was lucky enough to also be given a copy of this book by another Bood Giver - we're reading that one for Book Club this month. What a great initiative to get people reading again.
After opening my parcel (and possibly having another sneaky cinnamon bun), I got back to work. Sanding the top of the dresser was hard work. It probably took two hours. But, oh, how I was rewarded!
It came up so beautifully. The woodgrain just sings. I can't wait to massage a few coats of beeswax polish into it. I'm in a quandry now, though. I had planned to paint the dresser and the hutch (which I did not have time to make a start on yesterday), possibly this colour. But the oak is so pretty I am now wondering if I should just wax the whole thing and leave it. What do you think?

As an aside, I spent an hour playing with fabric scraps yesterday morning while the little ones built dens. I used the tiniest scraps of fabric left over from a log cabin cushion cover I'm working on to create a secret something that may find its way into a package for my lovely 4 Seasons Exchange partner. I may not send it, because it's not really Spring colours, but just in case I do, I won't give too much away here now. Rosie sure liked it.
Well, that's it for this novel of a blog post. I'll share more pictures as I progress on the dresser. Do give me your opinion on whether I should paint it or simply wax it.

And then go have a look at what's going on in other folks' creative spaces at kootoyou.


  1. That is stunning. I've dreamt of a welsh dresser for my kitchen for ages, but as I am in Wyoming, chances of finding one are slim :) It really is beautiful, and so amazing that you got it for free. Great find!

  2. Oh my what a is beautiful. Go Freecycle!

  3. lovely!
    i would say enjoy for now, paint later if you are moved to!

  4. That is amazing! Freecycle works better in Devon than in Wiltshire, that's for sure!
    I'd wax it, it's beautiful. Change the knobs for coloured ceramic ones if you feel like a bit of colour on it.

  5. (and thanks - blushing slightly...x)

  6. What a lovely dresser! Painted or waxed it will be wonderful!