Thursday, January 11, 2007

Supplementary to the Previous Post: The Infamous Basket Weaving Incident

When people make light of basket weaving, it is because they have never tried it. Oh, the weaving, maybe they've done that, pshaw! Anybody can weave a basket, especially if you leave the term "basket" loosely-defined, as these instructions do:

So your basket looks like a hose that got tangled in barbed wire? That's okay! There's no wrong way to create your basket! It might take four hands, eighteen clothespins, scissors, twine, chewing gum, and dynamite, but there is no possibility of error. And if you end up having to soak the basket reed every two minutes just to be able to MOVE it, don't worry! No problem! There is no wrong way to bathe your basket!

Thanks to directions that do not take "baskets" seriously as a concept, weaving one is actually pretty easy. That's obviously why people compare easy things to basket weaving, rather than basket dying. Basket dying can cause personal injury. For example, the dye. They make you use your own blood. No, seriously. They do. I have proof:

If that basket isn't sitting in a bucket of blood, then what IS that stuff? But that isn't even the worst of it, no, dying your basket IN YOUR OWN BLOOD is not the worst of it. To compound the humiliation of the investment you have put into this basket, they give you faulty plastic gloves. They know the temptation to swirl your hand around in blood is just too much; how often are you given that opportunity? Assuming you're not a wanted criminal, probably not often at all. So they know you're going to end up doing this:

And when you step back to look at your beautiful pink basket that was supposed to be red but that's okay, you realize that not only has this basket cost you hours of your time, thousands of mangled clothespins, gallons of water, that last stick of dynamite that you were saving for something much cooler, and blood, sweat, and tears (blood more literally than sweat and tears, of course), BUT it has ALSO dyed your middle finger red. Most middle fingers say other things but this one says SACRIFICE.

We never made fun of basket weaving again.

Furniture Finishing: The Saga Continues

The staining of the table top is complete and if I've learned anything from this fine, flat piece of wood, it's that I don't know crap about finishing furniture and I should I ever quit my day job, I should not consider carpentry a viable career path. Or furniture rejuvenation. I'm not even sure furniture rejuvenation is a career path, but if it is, I certainly shouldn't be allowed to follow it.

I've been staining with a special "staining sponge" my father purchased and I love it. Something about dragging that little piece of terry cloth up and down the wood makes me so happy. It distributes smoothly, fluidly... languidly. As a staining accessory I feel it was worth every penny. Unlike the tack cloth which I feel should be renamed ATtack cloth, because it's very sticky and it latches on to your hand with a certain ferocity when you remove it from the package... but I digress. I love, love, love the staining sponge. Sadly, it turns into a rock when you leave it on the balcony over night.

Luckily there are two in every pack. Since I wasted the first one, I've been trying to conserve the second. This means washing it out in the sink every night. It may or may not be legal to pour stain down your sink, even in small amounts, but I forgot about the environmental impact when I saw what it was doing to my fingers.

This actually looks much better than the infamous basket weaving incident where my whole middle finger turned red, but I still look like a hobo with permanently grubby nails.

So, The table top is done leaving me with just four legs, four braces, two chairs and a bed to stain. I'm looking forward to the bed because it comes with this handy IKEA warning label:

I looked at these pictures for awhile and found two possible translations 1) "We know you're thrify (And we at IKEA appreciate your business!), so please use your own blood to grease this piece of metal" or 2) "If you keep washing your staining sponges in the sink, your fingers will eventually ooze black liquid. Good luck with that."

Sunday, January 07, 2007

being handy

My father came to visit after Christmas and I took the opportunity to do several things:
1. Hear stories about my father from his sisters (He kept making Barbie have sex in my dream house. I was so mad I ripped his fingernail off.)
2. Wash my car (because apparently seven months is too long to go without washing your car).
3. Go shopping for furniture.

The furniture shopping had to happen for two reasons: because I am not strong enough to carry furniture to my car by myself and because I am too poor to actually afford furniture. The latter was why we ended up at IKEA. And I now have a bed, a table and two chairs. Awesome.

(IKEA dad, (anonymity protected by pigeon))

Now, I told a friend my father came to visit and he left me with a load of unfinished IKEA furniture and a rather suspicious electric sander he said "wow. your dad must really hate you." Not so! This is quality unfinished furniture! And Dad bought me all the tools I'll need to make it quality finished furniture. It was halfway through the Lowes shopping trip that I realized what guys spend the majority of their money on: crap from Lowes. Had I been there alone, I would have purchased some stain, some sand paper, and some of the clear stuff to put on it when it's done. And I would have had to ask what the clear stuff was. But with my father in tow I came home with the electric sander, two kinds of sand paper, stain, clear stuff, normal brushes, foam brushes, staining pads, a tack cloth (tack cloth?), a drop cloth and cleaning stuff (what, we're not just throwing it away when we're done?). So, for the next week I am going to chronicle "The Staining of The Furniture", in an attempt to motivate myself to actually walk to the balcony, open the door, sit down and stain the furniture. If this doesn't bring the readers in, I don't know what will.