On the fifth day of Christmas

Nothing happened.

So, I’ll have to tell you what happened on the fourth day of Christmas.

On the fourth day of Christmas, we went to see our friend LD.  We met her best friend, C, and then C had to leave and we took LD to lunch.  Following all the abbreviations?  Keep up.

While we were up there, we exchanged gifts, and we delivered her sewing chest.  I’m still pretty sure that this sewing chest was made for LD’s mother by LD’s father, when LD was a wee bairn.  It was covered with fabric and at some point, it had not been stored well.

LD had a huge coffeetable and when she started using her walker, the coffeetable was very much in her way.  So, she decided to get rid of the coffeetable and use the sewing chest as a table.  Much smaller.  Oddly, by the time she decided to get rid of the coffeetable, she wasn’t having to use the walker anymore, so that just goes to show you that you’ve got to strike while the iron is hot, or your story doesn’t make sense.

Anyway, she bought many (many…no, really, way too many) yards of vinyl to cover the chest so it could be a good coffeetable.  When I was up there in October (yes, I am ashamed that I didn’t go up there for 6 weeks, but you know, I couldn’t get this bloody table finished, so I just didn’t go) she asked me how I would cover the chest.  And, I said “I don’t know, but if you’ll let me take it home, I’ll figure it out and bring it back to you all done.”  And, we talked about how to finish the trim and I loaded it in the back of the Prius and off I went.

I wish I had taken before pictures.  When I got home, I realized that I had a box with legs and handles that pretty much looked like it was made out of old barn wood.

What was I going to do with that?

Rob and I both loved the lid, so my first decision was not to cover it, but rather to let that rustic wood show off it’s curves and grain.  But, it wasn’t good enough to stain and varnish, so it got painted and antiqued.  We used a gold water based paint and a mahogany water based stain.  That worked, so I did the same with the legs and handles.


Then, I covered the sides with the brownish gray vinyl and hated how that looked against all the antiqued wood.  It was very flat in color and that wasn’t going with all the other movement.  So, I took a tin of brown shoe polish and I rubbed it all over the whole thing, very thick and let it fill all the little crevices in the vinyl and I ended up with something that looked much more like leather. 

Rob built a tray for the inside and we added two runners to hold it, giving her two levels of storage.


The brass hardware was in terrible shape, so I cleaned and polished and cleaned some more so I could reuse it.  Rob found perfect, old fashioned and plain handles, for the tray. 


The vinyl goes all the way down the inside…not sure why, but when I was thinking of it, that was the easiest way to give it a good finish line.  Basically, the edge is hidden, so all mistakes disappear.

We coated all the wood with several coats of polyurethane so it would be water resistant and people could put glasses on it without worry that the antiquing would come off. 


So, that’s how Rob and I turned a box made of raw wood into a lovely chest that she can use as a coffeetable.  It’s small enough that if she needs to go back to the walker, she can still get around the room.

We also gave LD an apron.  Not sure why this has been the year of the apron. 


We found the apron really cheap after breast cancer awareness month and I added the embroidery.  So, the joke about the smoke alarm; Linda and her husband published a small cookbook to help pay for his chemo.  When her son was growing up, they lived in a house and Linda said that every time she cooked, the smoke alarm was so sensitive that just the heat of cooking would set it off.  So, they named the cookbook Dinner’s ready when the smoke alarm goes off.  So, I embroidered “I hear the smoke alarm” on her apron.  It was very hard to find embroidery floss to go with this store bought apron.  Alone, the apron looks pink, but if you put it up against something that’s really pink, it’s really a bit of a salmon color.  But, I found a sewing thread that matched the little swirly leaves in the background and I used three strands of that and pretended it was embroidery floss. 

Hey, it worked.

So, that’s the fourth day of Christmas.  It was a lovely time.  LD had checked with me last week because she wanted to give Sydney earrings.  She asked “stud or dangle” and I said we’re just starting to let Syd wear dangles so a little dangle would be perfect.  When Syd opened the box, she teared up and cried (any my heart grew two sizes that day).  There were two pair of delicate, slightly dangly earrings in there.

And 4 pair of 3 inch hoops that were a gag gift.  Oh, we all got a big laugh out of that.  My eyes probably got as big as those hoops when Syd pulled them out and I looked at LD out of the corner of my eye and she was literally rolling with laughter.

Smiles and laughter enjoyed by all.  That’s what Christmas is all about.  It’s not about measuring or accounting or exchanging equal gift cards.  It’s about sharing a bit of yourself.  When you find someone you can do that with, you can let Christmas into your heart.

Be well and have a wonderful Tuesday.  Lane


Rebecca Grace said...

Lane, your story just warms my heart. Who knew you were an Expert Parent, Master Quilter AND an Artisan Upholsterer and Faux Finish Afficionado? That sewing chest looks fantastic, and I love how you finished the inside just as beautifully and professionally as the outside. I've paid PROFESSIONAL upholsterers who have taken less care in pride in their work than you did (only hired them ONCE, though!). Merry Christmas and Happy Tuesday to you!

One Minnesota Quilter said...

Very thoughtful.


Becky said...

Lane, this is why I hold you dear in my heart. This is just a wonderful story and what you and Rob did for her is fantastic! You (and Rob) are a treasure!!

Love to you!

JoAnne said...

The chest IS gorgeous! You and Rob make a good team. Thanks for the lovely story.

Hazel said...

With all the sadness in the world right now ,your story just confirms there are good and wonderful people in this world ,you are certainly one of them .
I would have loved to have seen
your face when those big hoops were opened LOL .

Anonymous said...

You're so right, that is what this season is about. You and Rob did a wonderful job on that sewing chest. Sounds like a good time was had by all. Thanks for sharing.

Kath said...

That was a lovely story Lane. You are not only kind but very clever too. I was very impressed at what a fine job you did on the chest.

qltmom9 said...

Very sweet.


lindaroo said...

Catching up on favorite blogs...
I love what you did for the chest, and for your friend, LD.
My son made me a TV chest out of old barn wood. After staining, then a water-paint wash, he sanded it down a bit to expose the grain. Then we finished it with car wax! The finish is very warm and natural, just slightly glossy, and very durable. Another trick to add to your Jack-of-all-trades tool belt!