In my high school, there was a girl named Kacey.
She was imposing, and fully, forcefully, occupied all the space her body inhabited, like a warrior queen. She was neither self-effacing nor apologetic. Kacey was quiet but not shy. She had a gaze that could quell both the boisterous and the boneheaded. Even someone as illiterate to the subtle as me could interpret her silent condemnation.
I admired her. She was kinda my hero.
Kacey was an amazing artist and her mom was a decorator. The inside of their house was a revelation. It looked like a spread in House Beautiful.
But the furniture and accessories didn’t fall into any one category. There were pieces from various periods, ethnicities, and design philosophies. They also used repurposed found objects; this was the first time I’d ever seen a trunk used as a coffee table. I asked the name of this style.
Kacey’s mom explained that meant using many different styles to make a harmonious whole. I loved it. And I loved the idea of repurposing well-worn items to new uses.
The Kid has an apartment with a small patio containing a hammock chair. I offered to get a table for the space.
But there were a few, very specific requirements.
It needed to be tall enough that The Kid could easily reach it from hammock height. It needed to be impervious to weather. It needed to be either heavy enough to not blow in around in a storm, or easy to bring inside.
I also wanted it to be unique and look good. Purchasing something purpose built that had the qualities needed would be very expensive. I would make like Kacey’s mom and create a table from various parts.
There’s a thrift store nearby that I love to visit. I’ve bought a really cool lamp for the living room, books, old Corning Ware which I collect, and other items I find that are interesting and cheap, even if I have no idea what to do with them.
I have a wooden stool in my kitchen that I painted years ago. I also did one with an Argyle design for The Kid’s kitchen for Christmas one year. They come in handy all the time. During a visit to the thrift store, I’d scored another for $8 ($40 at Target). I put it away until I figured out what to do with it.
Then I had a thought. The stool would be the perfect height for that outdoor table. Then I found a large tray to top it, about two feet across with a ridge around it. I planned on just gorilla-gluing it to the stool.
But then Petey began collaborating on the project.
He had a much better idea than glue. We went to a hardware store and he helped me choose the right product to make both parts weather-proof. But instead of glue, he suggested Velcro.
But not the regular Velcro that’s on jackets and children’s sneakers. He showed me industrial Velcro. This stuff holds fifteen pounds per square inch. And the entire tray didn’t weigh three pounds.
Then Petey really stepped up and helped me with measurement, placement and assembly. It turned out great; The Kid loved it. It fit perfectly in the back of the car for the ride to its new home. But if it hadn’t—Velcro; it could’ve been broken down for transporting.
The total of supplies came to around $30. A quick google for something similar shows the cheapest version online starts at around $80.
So, if my math’s right, I think my project might have earned me fifty bucks…?
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