About that card catalog

Well, it’s finally almost fully finished and being used exactly as planned.

This is the story of my card catalog. After being washed down with stiff old towels cut into rags and Murphy’s Oil Soap, most of the grittiest dirt came off.  I was pretty sure I was not refinishing it and I’m glad I didn’t.  Sure, there are still some pencil marks and dents but it’s clean, useful, perhaps even charming with signs of years of use in the Cincinnati Public Library.  I love it.

I have it situated between the two windows of my room (man cave, studio, dressing room, whatever it’s being called).  I am not sure it’s the best spot aesthetically but it’s fine for now.  It’s a room with many different purposes that don’t always work together. That said, do I need curtains?  Because the windows look so naked.

Anyway, on top there are some knitting and photography books and this mega vase that I bought to store unused yarn ends.

One thing I’ve started to do is fill in the front of the drawers with yarn labels.  I haven’t done them all and will likely move them around for color purposes.  And I might end up tossing some out (how many Cascade labels will I need on there even if I knit with a lot of it?) as I use up more of the unique yarns in my stash.

So what’s inside? Well the whole bottom half is dedicated to knitting.

There are my needles.

And yarn, of course.

A lot of the drawers on top are still empty, except for the ones that have been set up to hold all of my jewelry.  Since most of jewelry is costumey and large, it was all shoved into a jewelry box and it was so hard to find anything.  I lined all sixty drawers of the card catalog with foam board so that the surfaces were level.  And in the row for my jewelry, I picked up a bunch of different organizers from The Container Store.

Sure it’s great that all my knitting stuff is in here.  But really, using the card catalog for jewelry storage has changed how I wear my jewelry.  I forgot I owned some of these things but I can find them now and actually use them.

This was such a great find and it makes me happy to see it every day.  It’s just so useful and so neat.

And now to find a use for the twenty plus drawers that are still empty.

Weekend Project

Two weekends ago we gave away the bed in the guest room and we’re getting things together so that I can have a room for me in our house.  Remember my card catalog? As soon as we find someone strong enough to help Mike move it, it will be ready to use in my new space.

But for now, I was concentrating on this great little $5 wooden desk that Mike picked up for me from Penn State’s Lion Surplus.  They had tons of these desks which are solid wood except for a laminate top.  Mine was mostly in good shape except for some places where the wood was scratched.

I took it outside to start sanding and in about five minutes, it was pouring so I ended up working in the garage for the rest of weekend. Sanding was much easier than I thought it would be, but fortunately, this desk didn’t have much surface to cover.

I chose a bright, sunny yellow color and got started.

This is what it looked like after the first coat.

Maybe it was my painting technique but I did four coats of paint just to play it safe.  And I am so pleased with how it turned out.

Chica already seems to like it.  It’s placed perfectly for looking out the window.

Best Craigslist Find Ever: Card Catalog

For so many years I’ve wanted a card catalog. I’ve periodically checked the salvage store at Penn State, eBay and Craigslist. I wanted this piece of furniture to store jewelry, knitting and sewing supplies and anything else that fits.

Two weekends ago I was watching American Pickers and remembered it’d been a few weeks since my last search and I found a card catalog on Craigslist and it was just in Bellefonte!

The seller was like me; she searched forever once she got the idea that she needed a card catalog.  She ended up finding two in an auction from a library in Cincinnati and actually rented a van and drove there in a storm in February to pick them up.

Ultimately she decided she only needed one and that’s why it was for sale. She said she had two other inquiries that seemed kind of spammy and had it listed for well over a week before I saw it. How it stuck around for so long, I don’t know.  My internet searches made it seem like so many other people were looking for card catalogs. I feel so lucky!

Last weekend my boss helped us pick it up in his truck and carry it in (it is so heavy even with all 60 drawers removed).

Look at how wonderful!

All week it sat in the garage with the drawers pulled out in boxes and today Mike and I put the drawers in and removed the papers from the fronts so we could decide how to proceed. It’s mostly in great shape.

But the sides need some work.

All week I’ve been talking to people and researching how to refinish furniture and I know it could take a really long time, especially with all those drawers and removing all the hardware. Plus, I’ve never done this before and I’d hate to ruin what took me so long to find.

I think my next step will be to clean it up with some Goo Gone and see if those smudges and stickers come off. I don’t mind if it’s slightly weathered looking on the sides because the front is so amazing. I’m hoping it looks a little better after getting cleaned up.

Any advice is appreciated!