Silver spray paint made an old lamp shade new

Before and After

It’s been almost two weeks since I deposited my daughter’s furniture at the crash shop. Apparently my DIY mess is difficult to undo. I created a sticky goo from my sanding, paint removing, re-painting frenzy that is impenetrable, and withstands sandblasting. I’m wondering if NASA might have a use for the chemical compound I created. Apparently their only choice is to remove the goo with a razor.  This sounds labor intensive. I’m afraid to ask how this new development will affect the cost.  My dear husband may soon regret not purchasing the Pottery Barn Teen dresser and bedside tables.

Incidentally, there are about 1,000 shades of white car paint. When you see a white car, it’s not actually white, its “Crystalline”, or “Sugar Silk”, or “Hanna”.  I did sweet talk Victor into letting me bring home his paint samples so I could match the

The perfect color of white

The perfect color of white

color to Camila’s bed. He was very nervous to let them go, but I assured him I would bring them back promptly. As I worked my way through the 1,000 whites, I was really hoping the natural choice would be Mercedes’ Arctic White, or Tesla’s “Pearl”.  No. The best match was “Sophia” from Mitsubishi.  For a moment, I hesitated. Let’s look at that Mercedes sample against Camila’s lacquered white bed one more time. I debated; pride was messing with my head. Darn it, I just can’t lie to myself, Mitsubishi it is.

As I wait in hopeful, somewhat weary anticipation for the furniture, I focus on other parts of her room that need attention. The curtains are ordered, she needs throw pillows, a desk chair, and new lamp shades. “Hey wait a minute! I can spray paint the dingy gold brocade lampshades silver!” I’m either setting myself up for one more miserable failure and closing the door on DIY forever, or just maybe, I will meet with triumph, and rebuild my shattered DIY self-esteem. Get ready Pinterest, this is going to be worthy!

Voila! This project was remarkably easy, and took all of about 10 minutes, start to finish.  I dare say, they look fantastic! They even met with my daughter’s approval. My pride intact, I wait for her furniture to emerge from the shop in its full Mitsubishi White glory!

DIY Redemption


It’s time to update my eleven-year-old daughter’s room from little girl pink. We start in earnest by purchasing a white lacquer bed, and rug on Overstock.  Her new bedding dictates the color scheme; gray, white, and Aquarius blue (in the 80’s we called it teal).

My Daughter's new bed and rugIt’s starting to take shape, slowly, very slowly. My daughter points out that when her friend Riley decided to update her room the project was initiated and complete in a week.  “Well honey, you know that’s not how I operate. Jamie has a full-time job, so she gets things done faster and more efficiently than I do.”

Next we tackle the hodge-podge of brown-varnished furniture.  We show my husband photos of the Pottery Barn Teen dresser and bedside tables Camila picked out.

“That’s nice dear, but I’m not sure why you’re showing me this. Her current furniture is perfectly fine.”

I know better than to try and convince him otherwise. “Well, Camila, I have no choice, Mumsy’s going to paint your furniture white.” Camila looks at me as if I said I was planning to climb Everest.

“What? You are going to paint my furniture?”

“Yes, of course, you know, DIY. It’s easy.”

“Mom, up until very recently you didn’t know what DIY meant.  I think it may be harder than you think.”

Determined, I head to Five Corner’s Hardware. I consult with Faye about my project. She provides expert advice, and loads me up with all the necessary supplies. I ready our deck off the main room, transforming it into “my workshop”.

One of my best selfies

One of my best selfies

In full regalia; safety goggles, respirator, pink rubber gloves, and a do-rag for just the right Rosie-the-Riveter-meets-Tupac-effect, I set to work. Sanding away, brown dust flying, sweat beading on my brow. I begin to feel alive, my forearms fatiguing, my back aching.

I start the first layer of white paint. The drawers take on a slightly pinkish hue. Perhaps I didn’t wipe them down enough? Now to the bedside table; the paint mysteriously does not adhere. I’m undaunted.

My husband comes home that night. “What the heck happened to our porch?”

Classic "Do Rag"

Classic “Do-Rag”

“That’s my workshop. I’m painting Camila’s bedroom furniture to match her new bed.”

“What? Why? Do you really think that’s a good idea?”

“Of course, you know, DIY — Do It Yourself.  I’m saving you so much money. I could’ve gone out and bought all new furnishings. I’m so resourceful, plus, I’m reusing and recycling, saving the environment. It’s going to look great!”

“How can you be saving me money? I had no intention of buying her new furniture. Her dresser and tables looked just fine before. And when am I getting my deck back (AKA: Sacred Sanctuary)”?

I sigh; there is no point in explaining. His brain can’t possibly comprehend why an eleven-year-old girl wants matching white bedroom furniture.

The next day the paint is still not adhering to the bedside tables. The dresser drawers appear to be white when I brush on paint, but dry in a distinctly pinkish hue. It’s back to the hardware store, leaving with a chemical to strip off the stubborn varnish. I slather on the gelatinous paint remover. The fumes make me  light-headed.  So much for saving the environment…

I work like a madman, possessed.  “DIY or Die, DIY or Die!” The words running through my brain in a circular motion like a hamster on a habitrail. I glance at my watch. Oh crumb, time to get the kids from school. But I can’t stop. Just one more coat of paint on the drawers, a few more scrapes with my scraper. I’m officially late. I run out of the house, my hands, jeans, and boots, splattered in white paint and a disturbing brown goop.

Days turn into weeks. Seven trips to the hardware store, a deck destroyed, two pairs of shoes and jeans ruined. My family continues to discourage, but nothing breaks my DIY spirit. Maybe I need to buy a blow torch? Perhaps I can fashion a pulley system to the roof-line of the deck and lift the furniture into a vat of paint, submerging it. I keep expecting “Pinterest worthy” furniture to emerge from the rubble, like Pygmalion’s statue from the stone.

I continue down the rat hole. My family starts planning my intervention. Fortunately my husband and I have a dinner scheduled with friends at a delicious restaurant. It’s been on the books for months. I reluctantly shower and make myself presentable. I am relieved for the dim lighting in the room. Hopefully no one will notice my stained hands and fingernails.

I mention my DIY project during cocktail hour, expecting a chorus of DIY horror stories. This will be a cathartic time to commiserate.

“When I updated my daughter’s room, I found a guy to shellac her furniture white. It looks amazing and he only charged me $200”, Mandy pipes up.

“Why not just take it to the local auto body repair shop?” suggests another of my pals who’s in the know. “They can spray it down for you in seconds. And think about it. It’s car paint; practically bullet proof.”

I go from sipping my wine to taking large gulps, as I feel my entire reality shifting. Everything I’ve known and believed in for weeks has been a lie. I’m a fool. I drink my dinner.

The next morning I wake up, my mouth is gummy, my head pounding. I see a note I scrawled for myself the night before on my nightstand.  It’s in lip liner. “Call Werner’s Crash Shop”.  Fortunately I have a poor enough driving record to have a few friends at Werner’s. I talk to Jenna, “Oh yah, just bring your furniture down. Victor can spray it in between jobs.”

I throw pride aside and ask my husband to help me load my Jeep. The dresser and two bedside tables just barely fit. I drop them off first thing Monday morning. P.T.G.I.D. Pay To Get It Done!






tile bathroom I was a child of the suburbs outside of Portland, where everything was shiny and new.  But for as long as I can remember, I have loved older homes.  I suppose it’s the character and aesthetic I find so appealing. But purchasing a pre-depression era home typically involves renovating the kitchen, and a complete build-out to achieve the elusive master bedroom inclusive of bathroom and closets.  We were on our final renovation about eight years ago to gain a master bedroom.

Our painter was a born again Christian, which I suspect was due, in part, to his A.A. affiliation.  He was certainly a nice guy, and the most reliable painter we’ve ever hired. Dennis was a talker, and he talked a lot about Jesus. Not in a proselytizing manner, but in a “The big J.C. is my B.F.F.,” sort of way. He knew Jesus on a very personal level.  He might off-handedly remark, “I prayed to the good Lord Jesus today to ensure I could get the right paint color for you, and there wouldn’t be a big line at Daily’s Paint Store.”  I was initially taken aback by all his Jesus talk.  As anyone raised Catholic knows, we would much rather talk to his Mother, Mary. After all, she birthed him in a stable (yikes!) and raised the little tike. Raising the Christ Child could not have been easy.  Who do you give the time out to – Father, Son or Holy Ghost? When you are the mother of God, you are certainly never allowed to take the Lord’s name in vain.  That would have been really damaging to his self-esteem. As  parents, most of us constantly second guess ourselves.  Did I overreact? Did I underreact? What is the best way to address this issue? Imagine if you are raising the Christ child with his stepfather? The pressure to be a good parent must have been immense, two millennia before PEPs or parenting books could offer any guidance!

I was also a little confounded by the thought that Jesus had the time or the inclination to be concerned about my renovation.  I figured he had more important things to be concerned about. But I must be honest, imagesCAYJ7YPZ imagesCAXUDO4Zeventually I warmed to the idea.  I started to believe that Jesus  was playing a very personal role in our project. He not only cared, but had a divine opinion on whether I chose “Dessert Sonata Ombre” or “Late Tuscan Summer Corn Harvest” for my walls. By the time I had to choose bathroom tile, I was entirely convinced he wanted me to put the intricate mosaic tile behind my bath that would harken back to the holy lands he walked 2000 years ago.  Replicating the marble tile from a villa in Rome for the floors became a forgone conclusion.  Eventually my husband pointed out that Jesus was NOT paying for our renovation.  I reminded him that I had passed on recreating the Sistine Chapel on the ceiling.

As we were winding down the project, Dennis showed up on a late fall day that was threatening rain.  He insisted on painting the outside, which on a traditional Spanish style home consists of light colored stucco and very dark trim on the windows. I questioned the wisdom of such an action, on a day there would surely be rain. Dennis assured me that he had prayed to the Good Lord Jesus that it wouldn’t rain, so he could get our exterior window trim and walls painted, and move on to his next project. He felt certain the Good Lord Jesus would answer his prayer. “Very well”, I sighed.  It was simply too difficult to argue against such ardent faith, and the Lord had done such a nice job guiding my renovation thus far.  So paint he did; cream stucco, dark trim.  He was efficient, and after a couple of hours he headed out.  Suddenly, the skys opened up, and a torrential down pour made a chocolate ripple tie-dyed mess of the freshly painted exterior wall.  I grabbed my phone and called Dennis.  “Are you are aware that it’s raining cats and dogs right now?” Silence on the other end.  “Dennis, what in the world was Jesus thinking?”

My home décor style is somewhere between “dumpster chic” and “eclectic-ancestral chic”.  I love that you can add “chic” to any word, and it makes even my junk show sound cool.  When my husband and I moved from his bachelor pad to our current home 14 years ago, we didn’t have any furniture.  Mainly because I wanted to start fresh.  His home had a decidedly “fraternal” look to it.  A black vinyl sofa, wicker end tables from Cost Plus, University of Washington pennants proudly displayed as if they were Picassos, Delta Chi brick-a-brac, and monolithic stereo speakers and subwoofers as tall as the ceiling.

IMG_3178We lived in a sparsely furnished home for many years, which was perfectly conducive to the huge parties we threw before kids were even a twinkle in their daddy’s eye.  We slowly accumulated furnishings over the years, and took full advantage of our proximity to Vancouver, BC.  In the late 90’s my husband liked to refer to their currency as the “Canadian Peso”.  It was a 40% discount on the dollar, so I loved scouring the antique and junk shops for furnishings.  My mother-in-law has also been a great resource over the years.  When she moved from the house my husband grew up in, she sent a lot of things our way.  Including an extensive collection of painted portraits of my husband in grassy fields blowing on a dandelion, or looking dreamily up at the clouds. These one of a kind paintings, by an almost-famous local artist, represent each year of his precious boyhood. I considered creating a shrine or grotto to house this priceless artwork.  I thought better of it, and they remain tucked away in our boiler room in hopes that archeologists might discover them a thousand years from now. Surely they will theorize about the domain he ruled over and the mythical power this young Norse prince wielded.

The portrait tribute to “Little Lord Fauterloy” aside, there is a solid marble Grecian statue I particularly like.  It borders on “Liberace Chic”, but I find it irresistible, and I have it prominently displayed in our foyer. I’m not sure which Goddess she is, but I’m guessing Venus, the goddess of love.  She certainly cast a spell on my son at a very young age. I caught him copping a feel when he was about four.  I decided to capitalize on this teaching moment and explained to him, “That is what implants feel like, and son, it’s important to know the difference.”


© 2018 Napadaisical
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