It was Nick’s birthday last week, and I was stumped as to what to get him. I had planned to get him a wallet, but of course, there’s no Bally store in Canberra. There are no Rhodes & Beckett stores either, so I was fast running out of ideas.
Seeing as he’s a huge Game of Thrones fan, I had already planned to get him the game, but I also wanted to give him a more personal gift – something he could use and show off. Our house is already full of stuff, so there was space constraint issues as well. Five days to his birthday and I was still stumped. On a trip to the tip (one of the cool things Canberra does have) with a friend, I spotted what looked an antique tea trolley and had a brainwave – I could make Nick a bar trolley!
The guy who runs the tip told me that the trolley was probably from the 1920s. I was a little skeptical as the flat parts of the wood were definitely ply. It looked like it hadn’t aged well; someone had left it out in the elements was the more likely scenario. Even if I pulled it apart, redid the joins and reinforced the shelves it was never going to hold more than a few bottles of alcohol.
I settled on a baby change table instead, rationalising that if it could hold a baby, it could probably hold a few bottles of alcohol. Talk about priorities, eh? While my cousins are settling down to have babies, I’m hosting cocktail parties…
Total spent = $20.
That was the easy part. I had to get rid of all the white or it was just going to look like a nappy change table – and I did not want to give guests the impression that we were trying for a baby! So I dismantled the whole table and started sanding back the white paint. It took the better part of 2 days, even with a hand sander. White dust went everywhere. Absolutely everywhere! Our courtyard and everything in it, cats included, was covered in a fine white film of dust. I was starting to wish I had papered over the white instead of sanding it back.
(sorry I don’t have more pictures of the process, it was two days to Nick’s birthday and I was nowhere near done with this mini project – and starting to stress a little). I wanted the wood to look like a little like reclaimed timber, so I left a thin layer of white paint on in some areas.
I applied a water based dark chocolate stain, and rubbed off the excess. I must say, I’m not thrilled with the finish. If I have time, I’d sand it back and start again. On a side note, whatever you do, do not use the stain and varnish in one – it has got to be one of the most awful products I have ever used.
Two sets of lockable castors later, I was done – almost. I reassembled the table, applied a second coat of stain – and then realised that I’d forgotten to put the trays back in. *sigh* I used cut outs from a vintage wallpaper for the top tray. I’d found it a year ago and was just waiting for the right project to use it on.
There’s never enough room for glasses, so I also put in a wine glass rack for the second tray.
Furnished with some boutique beers from one of Nick’s best mates – and that’s a pretty cool birthday present, if I do say so myself.
We celebrated with a Mexican fiesta theme – hats and stick on moustaches for the guys and red flowers or mini sombreros for the girls – and of course, tequila for all!