Childhood Memories and Hidden Treasures

When I was growing up in my parents’ home in Illinois, rainy days often meant climbing these worn stairs to our third floor attic, where we built things with Lincoln Logs and Erector Sets, played Monopoly and checkers, and traded baseball and football cards. Each time I go back to visit, I invariably climb those same stairs, opening the heavy pine door and stepping back into my childhood ….

What I realized this last time back is that my parents’ attic reads like our family history, only in objects rather than words. What to most people would be little more than yard sale junk holds many memories for me, and, mixed in with old blenders, Christmas decorations, and kitchen utensils….

there is always the cherished antique or two, such as my great-grandmother’s spinning wheel, still looking like it could go to work — provided anyone knew how to use it! I didn’t have room for it this trip, but someday I hope I have the opportunity to save and display it.

Until next time,

Take your own trip back in time!

Bruce

A Holiday Indoor Planter

About this time each year I get out this holiday planter I made from inexpensive 1″ x 6″ wood and stained using Minwax Water-Based Stains. Some years we use it for holiday cards, while others might find it filled with evergreen bows, red ribbons, or even a string of lights. Its easy to make, as you can customize the size to wherever you might place it, then assemble it with brass screws.

I’m no artist, but even for me drawing the outlines for the pine trees across the back was fun. As an alternative to the cutout trees, you can glue onto the back board either festive wrapping paper, a collage of last year’s cards, or holiday self-adhesive stickers.

Hope you give it a try!

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

Easy Furniture Upgrades

 

Even thought they grew up in a house full of antiques, my sons have both furnished their first apartments with help from Ikea — which might not be such a bad idea, given their lifestyles! They also picked up some unfinished furniture bargains, which prompted their father to pass along some ideas for “upgrading” their furniture….

Not knowing exactly what beverages they might be serving, the first thing I suggested to my sons was strengthening the clear, thin factory finish on some of their furniture. Even they had to admit that rubbing on a coat of Minwax® Wipe-On Poly with a soft cloth was as easy as the name sounds.

Next, I showed them how simple it is to unscrew the plain wooden knobs and replace them with some sleek, modern pulls.

My youngest son Blake likes wood, but also likes the look of a black finish, so Minwax® Polyshades® in “Classic Black” gives him the best of both. One thin coat allows the grain of the wood to show through the black stain; a second coat (shown above) provides more black color mixed with the protective Polyurethane, but less visible grain, so he could select which look he likes best.

Some of the high-end furniture we saw had some expensive brass and steel trimmings, but I showed him this drawer I had used on a recent television show, and how we could get the same look on his unfinished furniture just by attaching some inexpensive L-brackets from the hardware store to the drawers. Quick, easy, and chic!

Older son Eric was planning to buy several unfinished wooden cubes to use as bookcases, liking the idea that he could make them fit just about any space simply by re-stacking them. I pointed out that if he attached feet to the bottom cubes, raising them off the floor, they would look even nicer.

Those plain cabinet, armoire, or entertainment center doors can also be upgraded, this time by tacking on thin strips of molding. (Tip: cut them at the home improvement store using their saw.) For a splash of color, I suggested staining them first with one of the Minwax® Water Based Stains.

And if you like the Arts and Crafts style, but can’t find any Stickley, you can get much the same look with a drill, a 3/8-inch bit, and an oak dowel — and some Minwax® Wood Finish™ “English Chestnut” Stain — even on a plain picture frame.

So, what can start out as an inexpensive, unfinished piece of furniture can turn into a showpiece for your home or apartment — with just a few little tips like these.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

 

 

Another Case For Wood Conditioner

I would nominate this chest of drawers as one of the best examples I have seen of turning ordinary, inexpensive pine into something very special. (And not just because my wife Leigh Ann did it!) Her secret: use plenty of Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, followed by one of the lighter colors of stain, in this case Minwax® Wood Finish “Early American.” She finished it with two clear coats of Fast-Drying Polyurethane – and this is how it looks six years later!

Until next time,

Don’t forget the Wood Conditioner!

Thanks!

Bruce