Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Trash to Treasure: Garden Bench!

You know how it is… you’re sitting around one day, having coffee with a friend (me), and you say to her: “I really like the garden bench Jon built for you. Wish I had one.” And that friend (me) says, “Yes! You could certainly use one!” Be careful what you wish for, my dear friend RoseAnn. J

That was on a Thursday morning about a month ago. The very next Saturday, hubby and I leave to run a few errands. As we’re driving down our street, 2 houses down I see my neighbor has put an old garden bench out at the end of her driveway, a signal to all of us who live in my little city that it’s a freebie. It’s adorable- dirty and a bit worn, but adorable!! It looks like a little picket fence with birdhouses on either side- a bit whimsical Victorian.  I immediately text her and say “I want it! Put it back from the street, please. I’ll pick it up when we get back.” She tells me it’s wobbly and in bad shape, and I say please let me check it out first.

yeah, it needs some work!
A couple of hours later, hubby and I walk down and look at it. Yes, it needs some minor repair and a lot of TLC. Hubby looks at me and says “What are you going to do with this?” He knows me well enough to not try talking me out of it; he just can’t figure out where it will fit since he built one for me a few years ago. I just smile, and we carry the bench between us and get it to our house. I take several pictures of it and send them to RoseAnn. “Look!” I say. “I found a project for us to paint. What do you think?” She replies, “I love it!” I smiled. She had no clue it was hers. So I text her again: “Will it work as a garden bench for you?” And I get a response: “Yes!” and “Yea!”  And I smiled again. J

On Sunday, hubby helps me tighten some areas on the bench by putting screws in to replace nails. It takes him about 15 minutes. Then I grab some sandpaper and a rag and start sanding and wiping. When that’s done, I apply the first coat of primer. The bench is starting to look very cute! Another good coat of primer, and the bench is ready for RoseAnn to lend her artist’s touch. 

primed, waiting for RoseAnn's touch
RoseAnn comes over on Monday morning, paints in hand. I love to watch RoseAnn paint. She is an artist, my friends, a real live, honest-to-goodness artist. She can paint anything and it looks like it’s supposed to!! That doesn’t always happen for me, plus I must have a pattern- very little freehanding from me! She’s studying the bench, and we’re discussing various ideas about how to paint the birdhouses. She takes a pencil and starts doing some light sketches on the birdhouses. I grab a chair and watch her work.

She spends the day painting her bench. Once she sketches the idea on the birdhouses, she grabs her paints and starts freehanding. The sketching was just to get the idea cemented in her mind; the painting will be its own process as she works. Honestly, sometimes I think it’s more fun to watch an excellent painter paint than actually paint myself! When RoseAnn gets in her zone, there is no stopping her. She will paint for hours until she is done. I watch for a while, and then get up and go do a few things inside. I check on her now and then, but mostly I leave her to it, letting her creativity flow with no noise or interruptions from nosy little old me. I offer her food and drink, but she’s content to just paint and paint. By midafternoon, she’s done, and it looks absolutely beautiful. 

I still need to paint a white coat or two of regular paint (remember, it just has primer on it) and then it’s done. I do that during the next week and by the next weekend, it’s finished. Everything is dry, and it’s ready to go to RoseAnn’s where she can put on a good coat of varnish to protect it.  On Sunday, hubby and I load it in our van and drive it over. In one week's time, trash to treasure!

Oh, and in case you're wondering, here's a picture of the bench hubby built for me several years ago. It's well-used and loaded to the hilt, lol. Inside that cabinet door on the bottom is a pullout drawer filled with potting soil. And yes, that's a black rat on the work space under the shelf... fortunately, he's not real, just a Halloween decoration that I liked so much I've kept it out all year!

hubby builds me the best stuff!
This was such fun! I love the idea that the Universe was listening to RoseAnn’s conversation with me that day, and that I was on the ball and able to answer her request so suddenly. RoseAnn is one of those people who works so hard and does so much for everyone else; it was the greatest pleasure to do something for her. The bench now has a home on her front porch, and it just looks perfect!

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