Friday, September 30, 2011

Day 292/365 Reconstructed Hope

Remember this? Two weeks later, the weather is finally dry enough and warm enough to paint and stain.

Out with the orange, in with the flat black. Three coats of flat black paint, plus two coats of red mahogany stain on the lid.

And voila....

I left the cedar back and interior unstained.

Twenty dollars, four years stuck in the garage, and a bit of black paint and stain and here's the finished product...ready for more quilts.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day 291/365 Hope Chest

So it all started with the earthquake...which knocked over boxes of books....which meant I needed to set up a table to re-sort boxes of books on ....which meant I needed the room occupied by seven tubs of gourds...and those gourds sat on top of *this*....

A Lane cedar chest, in all it's 1970's orange with white vinyl glory. I had forgotten about buying it at an estate sale, at least four or five years ago.

We see a lot of Lane cedar chests in these parts, being that the company was established in Altavista Virginia in 1912. They struggled for a few years, until World War I came along and Lane scored a government contract to build pine ammo boxes by the thousands. After the war, the company used the new mass production techniques to build cedar hope chests. A "hope chest" was a traditional gift for a young woman with the idea that she would make quilts, embroider linens, sew her wedding dress and trousseau and then stash them all in her Lane cedar chest. With the beginning of World War II, Lane pitched their advertising to departing GI's -asking them to buy a hope chest for the girl they left behind. During the 1950's, the Lane Company gave a miniature cedar chest to every young woman graduating from a Virginia high school (stil have my mother's, and see one at almost every estate sale).

After building thousands of cedar chests in hundreds of styles, Lane was absorbed in a hostile takeover in 1987, with the new owner filing for bankruptcy in 1992, and the last American-built Lane cedar chest rolled off the lines in 2001.

This one has obviously seen better days (or maybe not - I'm not sure if burnt orange and white vinyl looked good even when it was brand new).

At any rate - I've bought another wooden blanket chest to sell at the booth, so I get to keep this one -first step is to remove that gross white vinyl padded top.

Ick. Ick. Ick.

A sneak peek at the beautiful wood -it's a cedar back.

And the bottom - that circle in the middle is literally a tight plug known as the Aroma-Tite.

When I peel back that icky vinyl, this is what's left of the 40 year old padding.

It flakes off easily, leaving no residue at all.

The inside is pristine - and the cedar aroma just rolls out of it.

The Aroma-Tite plug from the inside.

The famous Lane signature.

So now I've got it cleaned up and ready what? Right now I'm planning on painting the base a deep matte black, and then staining the top a deep mahogany. Anyone with a better suggestion?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day 290/365 You Know Things Went Horribly Wrong....

When the wedding cake ends up in one piece at the dumpster.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Day 289/365 Feline Fuhrer

Sometimes at an estate sale, you find things that you never knew or imagine exist.

And you just can't pass them up.

Like this vintage (1950's?) photo.

Someone loved this kitty enough to take a portrait, blow it up to 8x10, frame it and then keep it for approximately 60 years.

I can't decide if his name was Adolf or Charlie.

Or if he goose-stepped with one paw raised, or toddled along in a bowler hat twirling his cane.

Or maybe he wiggled his eyebrows, chewed on his cigar, and hung out with Harpo and Chico.

Yes, I bought him. No, I have no idea why. Everyone needs an 8x10 of the Fuhrer, don't they?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day 288/365 Eight Small Men

Being from Appalachia means having quilting women in your family. That means having large amounts of quilts on hand, made by Mama, Grandma, Aunt Sadie, Great-Grandma, and in this case, myself.

When living in Minnesota, this is a good thing, since it's nothing to have five quilts on the bed at one time. However, relocating to Virginia means *not* having even one quilt on the bed for nine months out of the year.

So where do you put them?

You put them here....

Because sometimes the best places come in pieces and have to be taken apart and reassembled...

Hooks, shelves and sides need removing....

The mahogany base needs cleaning...

Lion feet need polishing ( they hide wooden caster rollers)...

Skeleton keys must be fished out of the bombay drawer...

Top cap and beveled full-length mirror are removed for transport...

And whatever you do, don't lose the pegs... because the entire piece is pegged together (quality craftsmanship from 1890).

Once it's home, reassembly starts upstairs. First the base with the lion feet, casters, and drawer. Then the back and first side are pegged in and attaching screws replaced.

Then the third side...

And finally the top cap is lifted onto its pegs...the mirror door rehung...

And it's ready for...

All of this...

Which just barely fits, and it appears I already need another armoire*.

*Armoire....a freestanding closet, originating in the castles of the wealthy in of the first exported products from America to England, due to plentiful wood in the Colonies..originally a decent sized armoire was based on the 'eight small men' system (in other words, a decent sized armoire would be able to hold eight small men. ) This system was probably invented by the lady of the castle.