With the right parts, a little hutch is easy to make. The base is a small set of drawers (7 1/2 inches wide, about 5 1/2 inches tall) from a craft store. The top is an old drawer. I found three of them at a yard sale a few years ago and knew I'd use them someday. (The configuration of this drawer is a little different than the drawer I used in the finished hutch, but no matter.)
Take the lightweight wood back off the base. This is satisfying, inexact work. Just gouge a hole in the back with a screwdriver or some similar sharp instrument. (Don't hurt yourself. Or anybody else. Or the counters, or the floor.) When you've got a decent-sized hole, wriggle the back out. There's two reasons to remove the back: one, these are pretty cheaply made, and the drawers usually don't line up properly because they bump into the back. Also, you'll need access to the inside of the base.
Here's what the back will look like. Center the top on the base. Mark where it goes on the base with pencil. If you're not good at eyeballing things (I speak from experience) make two lines, marking both the inside and outside position of where the top will go.
At this point, if Mr. Oodles were involved, he would be getting out a level, the electric drill, an extension cord, a hand saw and a variety of power tools. He also would make sure there was beer on hand to reward himself afterward. This is why sometimes we do little projects when Mr. Oodles isn't at home to micromanage.
If you're going to do this my way, all you need are four thinnish nails and a hammer, and maybe some wood glue if you'd like. You should have more than four nails if you're bad at hammering. Put the top to the side for now. On the base, tap in the nails until they go all the way through, then pull them out. This creates pilot holes for the nails. Tap gently, or you'll split the wood.
Here's what the pilot holes will look like. (This is the most boring photo I have ever taken in my life. That includes accidental photos I've taken of my desk when I set the camera down without turning it off.) If you'd like, you can put the shelves back on, reach up through the pilot holes with something sharp and thin like an awl (or a tapestry needle), score the spots on the top where the nails will go, and tap in some little pilot holes. Or not. It depends on your confidence in being able to nail these two parts together.
Working upside down and through the back of the base, nail the two parts together. The nail closest to the center is a little tricky because there's very limited space to work inside the base. No one would think less of you if you used wood glue and just the nails closer to the edge.
You can leave the drawers as they are, or remove the little wooden handles. I popped them out with a pair of pliers. Sand away the extra glue, and fill the holes with wood filler. (Wood filler fixes pretty much everything.) When the wood filler is dry, sand it smooth. Then look through your button collection to find two pairs of shank buttons to use for knobs. This part is pretty fun. Mark on the drawers where you want the new knobs to go, and make a little indentation with an awl. (Or some pointy object. I tend to use whatever tool is easiest to find, as opposed to the one I probably ought to use.) After the drawers are painted, glue the knobs on.
Not to sound jaded, but sometimes I think I've seen every vintage thing that exists - if not at a sale, then at a show, if not at a show then on someone's blog or in a magazine. So when I see something I've never seen before, it's kind of thrilling.
So even though I carried the tattered box around with me at Saturday's sale, I ended up putting it back. The grinding sound my car was making was still echoing in my ears, and I knew a repair bill was in my future. This was no time to be frittering away money on extremely cute blocks that could be fashioned into quilt patterns.
And a sale that would have earned three aprons (nice staff, good social interaction and a box full of party stuff for next to nothing) got dropped down to two aprons because I suffered from a bitter disappointment. (Here's an explanation of the apron rating system if you need one.)
I planned to return to the sale for afternoon markdowns once Mr. Oodles got home and loaned me his wheels. This gave me hours to regret my frugality. I only hoped that the watering can I wanted was still available.
Finally Mr. Oodles came home, and I went to the sale, and the first thing I saw was the watering can. Hooray! Except the bottom half of its tag had been torn off, meaning it had been sold. More disappointment. (Do I deduct another apron for a second disappointment? Or is disappointment in and of itself a deduction regardless of the number of items? I had no idea how confusing this system could be when I invented it.)
I picked up a picture frame. Big deal. And then I saw the box of wooden blocks. Still available! And now less expensive! (All of the aprons have been restored, and one is added for The Thing I Really Wanted Still Being There.) That makes it a four-apron sale:
And now it was less expensive! Add another apron!
This post is about a going out of business sale. No, I'm not having one. I went to one. At an antique store. There's something a little exciting about a sale at an antique store, because you know there will be tons of stuff. There's also something a little sobering about going to any store closing. I don't know the circumstances, so I'm going to assume the owners decided they had made a large enough fortune selling antiques, and so they were retiring to Switzerland. I hope - indeed, I plan - to do the same someday. Meanwhile, I'll be using these watering cans in a garden-themed display in my showcase at the antique mall.
It's early in the season, but so far, it's been a good year for ornaments. I bought the pretty pink purse, too.
These placemats were impossible to resist, even though I'm not a placemat person. They make me wish I hadn't sold all my pink Fire King swirl plates, because they would have looked a-dorable on these.
Most of what I bought, though, was green: a bunch of Poland ornaments with green pine trees, a nice old jar with a green lid, a green wooden high chair, and a Boy Scout first aid kit. I also bought some plate racks (difficult to show well in a photo) in the loveliest shade of green, and a book rack, which already has one coat of paint on it. (Green.)
Hey, let's rate this sale on the apron scale, but first of all, a word about the last sale. My buddy Martha did an excellent job rating it. She really gets the whole rating system. (Read the comments, and see for yourself.) However, what Martha didn't know - in fact, what I did not know - is that I would be able to return to this sale, and something happened which had a dramatic effect on the final rating. I'll have to leave it there for now.
On to this sale. First of all, it was a little far away (Groton, for my local friends), so that's minus one apron. But it was worth the drive, so that's plus one apron. Still, we're at zero.
The prices were excellent - half price, except when the woman running the sale would shrug her shoulders and say, "I don't know - a buck?" - which was even better.
Definitely an apron.
Also points for a friendly staff.
And an apron for me, because I felt as if I'd bought exactly the right amount of stuff. Sometimes (well, often) I get home and wonder what I could have been thinking for buying something. Other times I come home and kick myself for not buying something. But this sale left me with the feeling I got exactly the right amount of stuff at a good price and didn't leave anything I really wanted behind.
Four aprons: I see more sales in my future!
This morning literally got off to a bumpy start. I had planned a little out-of-town adventure for myself, but halfway to my destination, my car started making a terrible sound - kind of a bumping, grinding sound. I'm very good at ignoring car noises (my car has 173,000 miles on it), but this was a turn-around-and-go-home noise. So I did.
The second sale I would have gone to if I hadn't been going out of town, because I like the person running it. I found one box there, which was chockablock full of party supplies. Party umbrellas and nut cups and birthday candle holders, that kind of thing.
I saw my dear friend Cindy, and a few people from town that I haven't seen all winter. I chatted with the mother of one of my daughter's friends - the friend is one of my favorites, as well as one of my daughter's favorites - and I believe I offered to let her come live with us.
Could've been worse. And the person running the sale clued me in on when things will be marked down to half price, and if the car really just gives up (I think it's a wheel bearing, which is not as bad as it sounds) it's close enough to hike to.
And although there wasn't a ton of stuff, the sale was close by and started early. I liked what I did get, and the prices were reasonable. So how does this sale rate?
I think two aprons are appropriate.
There are very few things in life more thrilling than sorting out a jumbled up box of Christmas ornaments. Skydiving might be more thrilling, but there's a significant chance of injury or death. Sorting Christmas ornaments is a much better option. Especially for those of us who don't like flying, falling, high places, and anything that potentially involves riding in an ambulance.
I'd have bought that shoebox just for the graphics, but it had some OK ornaments inside. Not the world's biggest fan of knee-hugger elves, but they sell well, and there was something else in the box lid that I wanted:
Spun-head pixies! I'm going to do a better job of keeping count of the spun heads this year. I suppose I might as well shoot for a hundred again, although given last year's experience, it will be a reach. Anyway: #2 and #3 have arrived.
I was thinking just last Christmas that I'd like to find more of these plastic birds, which sit on top of a tree branch and do a great job of filling in odd spaces. I think my collection just doubled with these three.