When The Muse Won’t Cooperate, Sand The Crap Outta Something

Though I still have hopes of releasing Heart of Gold (the sequel to Sister Golden Hair) before Christmas, my muse is going to have to step up her game. The words are coming at a painfully slow pace, and it’s driving me nuts. My frustration level is pretty high, so I decided to take it out on an innocent piece of wood.

My mother’s silver chest has been sorely abused over the years. The silver it once contained is long gone (don’t look at me, I have no idea where it all went) and the chest itself is lucky to be alive, so to speak. When we moved into this house, I put it outside on a tool chest on the enclosed back porch, just until I could get things organized inside and find a good place for it. Of course, things got piled up on top of it, and I forgot it was there. We’re in the process of renovating that porch now, and last weekend I found the silver chest. It was in sad shape.

Juli Page Morgan, bestselling author of Romances that Rock

Filthy doesn’t even begin to describe it, and even serious scrubbing didn’t get off all the grimed in dirt and crud. So today when the writing came to a standstill, I hauled the chest out, determined to do something with it.

Since scrubbing didn’t remove the yuck on the surface, I went to work with the sander. This wasn’t too hard of a decision because my mother, God love her, went through a phase in the late 1960s where she subjected a number of our belongings to a paint treatment called “antiquing.” I’m not talking about the distressing treatments we see today, but some strange way of layering paint that was supposed to make something look old, antique. It didn’t accomplish its mission, but women in the 60s were applying this technique to their furniture in droves. My mother “antiqued” our kitchen cabinets, a couple of dressers, a console stereo cabinet, and the silver chest. If my brothers and I would have stood still long enough then I think she would’ve “antiqued” us! I thought it was incredibly ugly, so I didn’t mind sanding it off.

Juli Page Morgan, author of Romances that Rock

Here’s a close up of the “antiquing” paint technique. You can see a little bit of the original finish on the bottom right.

I’ll admit that I was kind of hoping that finish my mother applied would just sand right off and leave the original finish behind in good enough shape to keep. But between the “antiquing,” the dirt, and the rough sand paper, the original finish wasn’t looking too swift.

Juli Page Morgan, bestselling author of Romances that Rock

After the first sanding. Kind of looks like a map, doesn’t it?

Can we just pause here to talk about the fact that I didn’t change my clothes before I started this? I have a bad habit of getting an idea and then jumping into it immediately, and today was no exception. So I was doing all this while wearing white shorts and a black tank top. Do not do this. Put on something old before you start kicking sanding dust all over the porch.

Anyway, since the original finish was kaput, I went whole hog and switched out the rough-grit sandpaper for a fine-grit and fired the sander back up. (My hands are still vibrating from it!) I ended up with a nice, smooth finish, and that’s where I’ve stopped.

Juli Page Morgan, author of Romances that Rock

After the second sanding. Continents shrunk as the faux finish came off, but the original finish is coming off, too.

Now that I’ve gotten this far, I don’t know what to do next. I could keep on sanding down to bare wood, then stain it or print off one of those cool graphics and transfer it onto the stained wood, like this. This would involve sanding by hand, though, and I don’t know if I have the stamina to get all the finish off it. Or I could paint it. But I have no idea what color to use.

What do you think? Sand, stain and transfer? Or paint? And if paint, what color? Help me out here, because my DIY muse has apparently gone on vacation with my writing muse and I’m at a loss.


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10 Responses to When The Muse Won’t Cooperate, Sand The Crap Outta Something

  1. Pingback: After You Sand The Crap Outta Something, Paint It | Juli Page Morgan

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