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Island Getaway

There can be no house project more fun than one that involves your favorite color. Or one that gives new life to a tired, old piece of furniture. My island makeover combined both!

I’ve already shared pictures of the color transformation from dingy red to distressed teal. This week I put two top coats over the teal for protection. Each stroke that sealed the teal was so satisfying. I didn’t know if I liked the bright color at first, but the addition of the brown glaze and top coat worked wonders on it. Now I’m in love. 😍

My brother-in-law Michael was in town this week. While Luke was napping one day, I randomly got the itch to tackle the island counter. So I went at it with a sander. Michael and my daughter helped some, too!

This is what it looked like before I started sanding.

It didn’t take long to realize what a mess we were making. And what a BIG project I had jumped into. And jumped I had, for once I started slinging brown dust all over the kitchen, it needed to be tackled and finished as soon as possible.

One night I sanded for three hours straight. My mom gave us a handheld sander for Christmas, so I alternated between that and basic sandpaper.

Whenever I got tired of vibrating, I went at it again with the sandpaper. I really felt like I made a lot more progress the old fashioned way, so I did that the most.

I tend to gain momentum as I go with a project, so as the hours dragged on I got wide eyed and crazy as I furiously sanded away the layers, determined to get rid of all the nasty brown gunk.

At the end of the prolonged stretch of sanding, I collapsed on the ground and laid there in exhaustion. I’m sure I was a sight since I was completely covered in dust and had a vest wrapped around my face. My mouth was so dried out and dusty I couldn’t swallow. I was seriously parched, like a desert wanderer. Then I tried to close my mouth, and my jaw wouldn’t shut! What?! I think I was mouth breathing for so long with my jaw jutted forward that it didn’t want to close! Surely I’m not the only person who mouth breathes inside of their mask/vest! I also had a cold, so my nose was unavailable. I bought real masks the next day for the rest of the project.

Then I looked sideways and saw a thick film of dust covering the entire kitchen. Yuk! The stuff on top of the island must have been like a thick, factory spray-on gel stain. It was gross. Once I recovered, aka got my mouth to shut and stopped vibrating, I vacuumed the whole place.

Two days later, Thomas helped me finish the sanding job. Every few minutes, he would move on to a new piece of sandpaper. I don’t know if it’s possible to wear through it that fast, but I think it made him feel better to have a fresh sheet. After about thirty minutes he asked if anyone has ever passed out from sanding. Haha, I said “I pretty much did the other night!” Not consciously, but bodily.

All sanded down and ready for stain!

We picked up the dust with tack cloth, a trick I read about online. It made our hands feel sticky, but it really worked. And- then- I GOT TO STAIN IT! Definitely made the tough sanding feel worth it. That part was fast, too. We decided to stop at one coat. I was trying to match the island top to the existing shelves.

The next day I put three coats of Polycrylic on top, et voila! A BRAND NEW ISLAND! With a real wooden top! The wood looks gorgeous and natural compared to what it was before. The stain filled all of the dings and scratches from years of hard use, giving it great character.

I am so pleased with how it turned out. I didn’t know if there would be good quality hardwood under the thick gel stain. I was afraid it might be a cheap, furry composite that wouldn’t stain well. But as I sanded it down I could tell it was good wood. Hooray! It took the stain beautifully.

And, with the final stroke, my back seized up in two places. I couldn’t breathe! Thomas used our handheld back massager to loosen up the knots. Youch! I sound like a little piece of work, don’t I?! Who needs more help, the island or me haha? Those cramps were bad, but I think my worst and weirdest project injury came in 2014 when I pulled my eyeballs! I know, it couldn’t get any weirder than that. It took me two weeks to paint the inside and outside of my kitchen cabinets (no kids then!), and I think I pulled my eyeballs while looking up under the shelves and staring at pure white for too long. Oh, they hurt! They were tripping out for days and seeing spots, and I thought I was going blind for a bit. They’re fine now and ready for more projects!

I said I would only be doing posts about God for the rest of January. I know this is cheating, but since this post doesn’t contain any self reflection, I’m going to relate this to the way God reworks us. Sometimes we seem all beat up and dirty, worthy of being thrown out, but he can transform a broken person with a wounded heart into a new creation- beautiful, valuable, and useful again. Isn’t that amazing? I’m so thankful he is willing to use me despite my past. God is good!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

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