Weekend Project: COSCO Cart Refinish

I belong to several vintage groups. It’s interesting to see who falls into which camp: Those who love to “distress” and antique wood furniture and those who would like to kill the people who distress and antique wood.

One item though that no one seems to care about because, let’s face it, a lot of them are hideous, is COSCO. Carts, chairs, you name it, people want them to refinish. At the last Vintage Pyrex swap (It’s a thing) I picked up one from one of my friends for cheap but while it was in pretty decent shape with no surface rust, It was not happy. The metal had this wood type finish to it and the frame had a yellowish tinge. It definitely had no life.


I knew I needed to do something. Cue Pinterest. Pinterest was full of ideas but after perusing the pictures, I decided what I wanted to do.

This weekend, since it was extremely hot and I knew I didn’t want to go anywhere, I decided to refinish the cart to a more happy color that i could enjoy. Most people know I love purple and turquoise. Purple didn’t seem retro enough so I decided on turquoise.

Tools for the job (not pictured: Painters’ Tape)


I had to break the cart apart….the screws and nuts where not having it and I had to hammer them out but eventually I got it apart.Then came spray painting the frame into a nice chrome (I can’t stand gold)



Next was spraying the panels….and that was fun with a shedding mimosa tree and bugs…so I had to spray and touch it up 50 times. I also learned that you should assume 2 extra cans of spray paint for every one that you assume you need. The fact that it was metal and required so much paint was surprising.


Then we put it together and found that the trouble I had with the nuts and screws earlier was because whoever had actually put the cart together didn’t care and used the wrong size so the bolts were stripped. I ran down to Ace hardware with 5 minutes to spare before closing and we finally got the cart together…after a lot of force.

Of course this required touch up so i yet again had to tape up but this time left it together because those screws can go to hell.


Finally complete.


This shall work nicely.










My Apologies

Wow. I am ashamed that the last blog post written was 3 years ago. It’s been a journey reading back through the blog and seeing where we have come. I know most people will write a blog apologizing profusely for not updating, but I’m not. Life happened, I found other creative outlets and writing fell by the wayside. Not that I was ever good at it but it was cathartic in a way.

Much has happened in 3 years. We added a dog, we fulfilled a life goal of buying a house (and I’m living out my 8th grade dream of row house living like Hairspray. Achievement Unlocked!) and we’ve changed a car or two. We’ve been blessed to have been welcomed into a community of people who are inspiring and wonderful. We’ve hit a new simpatico in our marriage but we still judge the hell out of people who can’t perform simple driving tasks. In that sense, some things haven’t changed.

I’ve made it a goal this year to come back to the blog and write.It’s July so I’m about 7 months late but better late than never I guess. So let’s see what happens. It may not be good, in fact it may be terrible, but it will always be honest.


Gluten Free…The Way to Be?

I’ve struggled with weight for a while now. I figured once we moved to Baltimore and things settled down, the weight would start to peel off but it hasn’t. It’s been a very frustrating issue. Hubs has been frustrated because he has watched daily while I get more and more depressed about it. I’m in Baltimore and my job is awesome. I’m not under a substantial amount of stress and I don’t pig out or eat out much. Why the hell can’t I lose weight?

I have tried pretty much every diet on the market including Weight watchers, Jenny Craig, Atkins, South beach and even Juicing (which actually did have some success but I just don’t enjoy spending most of my day on the toilet and it made issues I’ll discuss in a minute worse) All ended with the same result: I lost a little weight but it would just come back. I even went to and continue to go to the gym regularly but the weight wouldn’t go anywhere.

A few weeks ago, I saw a fight on Facebook about this book called “Wheat Belly”. Being a fan of the movie “Fat Head”, I had heard about the book but never thought much about it. So, I decided I would look into it. Now, I will admit that most of these books arguing for or against specific diets are all biased in some way but I have decided that no one knows what we really should be eating or there wouldn’t be so many different cases for or against a particular way of eating. Thinking about it this way allows me to read all sides and figure out which works for me.

“Wheat Belly” makes the case that all gluten and wheat is bad for you. The whole wheat causes your sugar to skyrocket, confusing your pancreas into releasing more insulin than it should. Most of the fat build up occurs around your mid-section (my biggest problem) and the author, who is a cardiologist, provided many cases where his patients would go on a diet full of whole grains, be physically fit and active and still not be able to lose weight. Reading the book got me thinking. When I would go on diets, the first thing I would do is stock up on whole wheat foods like pasta and breads. Maybe the guy was onto something. (For a long time now, I’ve struggled with a lot of migraines. I’ve also struggled with digestive issues, IBS being the worst one. I’ve managed to control it but it has been getting worse as of late. I haven’t been able to eat ice cream or anything with a milk base for almost two years. Froyo is ok but it can only be one or two bites before I’m on the bathroom floor in pain. It’s frustrating. The only thing that I haven’t tried eliminating from my diet is wheat. Eliminating dairy somewhat helped but the issues are still there)

I decided I was going to try to eliminate gluten and wheat from my diet. Hubs got on board so I figured maybe it would be possible to maintain. Last Monday, we made the change. I was at my heaviest I have ever been in my life and in just the last week,. I didn’t have a single migraine and they are (at least) a once a week occurrence. I’ve hardly had any of the IBS issues or gas pains that are a part of my daily life. I even feel more energetic. Hubs is feeling the same way as well. The best part? I’ve lost close to 10 pounds.. in a week! So, it looks like we are going to stick to this for a while. Stay Tuned.

To Quilt is Human, to Finish Divine

As much as I love collecting, arranging, selling and admiring my Pyrex, Hubs has said it is not a viable hobby because it doesn’t keep me occupied for long. I personally think he is afraid the nonstop marathons of Duck Dynasty is affecting my brain (Hey, I only watch it when it’s on TV, jack!) and he may have a point. He had to bring up the fact that I have all this scrapbooking paper, rubber stamps and other craft miscellaneous that, basically, was a waste of money because I don’t use it. I highly disagree and know at least 2 people can confirm I have personally made them a card. So there.

Anyways, we went up to the armpit…Ok…New Jersey, a couple months ago because my in laws were visiting my cuz in law, Robin.  Sue (AIL) had this absolutely gorgeous quilt that was at least 75% purple….and we all know how much I love me some purple.  It suddenly hit me. Sitting next to the craft supplies that Hubs CLAIMS I don’t use, was a huge box of fabric….I could make a quilt! I had always wanted to learn and I had the two quilt masters sitting in the room with me. Seriously, Sue and Robin do not mess around when it comes to quilting, as I found out the next day at a quilt shop we found while out thrifting. They take it quite seriously. (A few weeks later, Robin is trying to show me how to cut fabric and it was all she could do to not take over…You know it’s true, Robinista).

I decided that since I love Halloween and it was upon us, I wanted to do a quilt for the holiday.  Imagine how devastated I was to discover I had no Halloween fabric (not really. It’s the Perfect excuse for a Joann trip!).  I journeyed to the Joann in Parkville because, honestly, Cockeysville is a sad little Joann. (Actually this applies to most of the Mid Atlantic) and stopped in the vestibule in shock. The store was HUGE! I had so much fabric to choose from. (A little known fact about me is that I get really anxious when I have a lot of choices to pick from. Cheesecake Factory is the perfect example. The food is amazing but the menu is 15 pages long so trying to decide what to eat is difficult and it makes me break into hives. Not joking) After a mini breakdown from all the fabric I could use, I finally narrowed it down to 12 fabrics containing a nice mix of solids and prints.

Then I journeyed backup to the armpit to learn how to cut fabric with Robin.

All ready to go.
All cut up and ready for piecing
All cut up and ready for piecing

Next came piecing the fabric together. Unfortunately, the crappy Singer had other ideas and the bobbin broke. Thankfully, Mr Awesome bought a new one. After obtaining the new machine, I finished out the piecing.

First pieced panel done
Strips all laid out
First pieced panel done
First pieced panel done

At the last minute I decided to add a border with the skeleton fabric and it really made it pop.

Cute Skeletons
Cute Skeletons

Then came the binding. Thank you Youtube for your excellent instructions


Voila Finished.



I’m already planning the next one.

In Queso Emergency, Pray to Cheesus

It’s safe to say my frustration level is high. We have committed ourselves to getting healthy since we have so many issues to look forward to if we don’t but it’s been challenging. I don’t want to diet because diets don’t work. It has to be a life change. The problem is, which change should we make?

I’ve been researching several “diets” trying to determine which one is the way to go. On one side you have Paleo, which allows you meats and vegetables and eliminates most carbs. People who follow this eating are showing dramatic weight loss and seem to be healthier and have a lot of energy….so they claim. On the other side, you have the plant based diet that eliminates meat, but keeps grains and vegetables. It has the same results and according to “Forks Over Knives” , animal protein spreads cancer and they paraded the usual case studies to back up those claims. Then it just continues on. The common refrain between both is to not eat dairy….ie cheese….please just kill me now.

What the hell are we supposed to do?  The Government agency responsible for telling us how to eat is clearly bought and paid for by Monsanto and the data they used to determine the food pyramid was based on a lazy scientist who threw out data that didn’t support the conclusion he believed in and all we do as a nation is get fatter- Which is something I also don’t understand. Today you see people all over the place biking, walking, jogging and most still don’t seem to have the weight go anywhere. In the 40s and 50s, you didn’t see women doing that, yet they were, for the most part, trim without a lot of exercise. Why is that?

So, here I am, trying to lose weight and Hubs is trying to lose weight but it’s been slow. I’ve cut out most sugar and snacking, try to walk a little bit each day and try to drink 64 oz of water and the weight doesn’t go anywhere or I just get fatter. The only thing left to cut out of the diet is carbs and dairy….milk isn’t an issue because I want to rip my intestines and stomach out every time I drink it, but cheese is damn tasty. There is not much better than a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup.  ….my head is going to explode. I guess we can try it…for a week…and see how it goes. It’s just frustrating that with all the information out there, you can’t even make a simple decision about what to eat to be truly healthy.

What would Cheesus do?


Annie Sloan, Where Have You Been All My Life?

Hello Fall!  I’m so excited to see you, It’s been a busy time around the Allen household. Fall cleaning is in full swing and I have forced myself off the sofa to start  some projects that I have been talking about but have yet to follow through.

A month or so ago, I was checking Facebook and I noticed Jen Lancaster (a hilarious writer, I highly recommend) had posted several photos of painted furniture and was singing the praises of this stuff called Chalk Paint. Being crafty and in the construction industry, I immediately gravitate towards new items, in hopes they may eventually make my life easier (Forbo, you are NOT one these products).

Turns out it is some paint by Annie Sloan. Apparently she has the market on this stuff and it was slightly pricey (approximately $40 for one can. Also, being a believer of complete systems, I bought all recommended brushes and wax)

I journeyed down to Ellicott City to check out A Journey to Junk that carried the paint (I won’t lie, I was actually down there to hit up the Antique stores for some more vintage pyrex. P. S., That was a bust). I have been suffering from extreme writer’s block for a year and I thought sprucing up the desk might free up some compositions.  Happy as a pig in mud probably sums up my reaction seeing the display. There are SO many  colors and you can mix them to make more colors- my obsession with lots of color was on overload. I chose Paris Gray and Antionette since I’m a purple whore and the two colors together created a subtle shade of it.

Then the painting commenced.


The paint went on surprisingly easy and just one coat really made the desk pop and gave it that antiqued look that pottery barn charges hundreds of dollars for.

1st Coat
1st Coat

It dried quick so I could get a second coat on pretty quickly.

2nd coat
2nd coat

Then came the wax. Word of caution: The paint did not have much smell ( I do recommend running a fan) but the wax smell  was more potent than I realized and I ended up sick with a monster migraine.  The wax really brought out the color though.

(Yes I’m aware a pull is missing. It has been since I bought it. For $20 bucks..can’t complain about missing hardware)

Overall, I was extremely happy with the ease of using the paint and the finished product. I didn’t have to sand or prime anything,, I think the hardest thing I had to do was get the paint out of cat fur. (hey, it was her fault. She just HAD to rub against the corner. You try to control a cat. I dare you!)  The most awesome thing? It only took about 5 hours of my Saturday. WIN!