Oh my. This project has been a seven year "should I or shouldn't I dilemma" for me. Believe it or not, we found this antique washing machine in one of the sheds when we purchased our acreage. I didn't know what to do with it other than to clean her up and bring her in the house, which I did, but holy smokes, she was a rusty eyesore. Everybody kept telling me, "don't refinish it, you'll ruin the value".
So, I didn't do anything with her, except wonder what it must have been like in the early 1900's to actually have to wash clothes with this thing. Wouldn't you know it? In Suzi Barnes' book, Silk Stocking Row, which you can learn all about at her blog of the same name, I found a picture so I wouldn't have to wonder any more. (I hadn't imagined, however, that it would be quite as pleasant as portrayed!)
When I got tired of looking at her in the house, I moved her outside on the deck, but that wasn't doing anything for me out there either. I thought she'd look pretty with flowers, but it was impossible to set a planter on her because of all that heavy metal everywhere.
(Note to self - take a closeup picture next time instead of enlarging and distorting)
So, I made a decision. I knew I would never part with her, so keeping the original form really wasn't that important. I was more interested in making her last another ninety-five years... check out the patent date!
And... I wanted to adorn her with flowers. So, I set about taking off the heavy metal. I was able to relieve her of about three rusty bolts and I couldn't budge the rest. I asked for help from the husband. He got the metal off all right, but here's what he left me with!
Oh my gosh. I will spare you the tale of splinters and bruises and how many times I hit my finger with the hammer to get her all put back together. But I did it. All by myself!
Then I went to the local hardware store and purchased a gallon of Marine Varnish. As soon as I opened the can, I knew my project was not going to turn out the way I envisioned. The varnish itself is very dark in color and I knew it was going to really darken the wood, and it sure did.
It made quite a drastic difference in the color, but once I had given it two coats, I can't say I was disappointed with the transformation.
The next step was to figure out how to put flowers in the tub. Since the bottom of the tub was too damaged by warp to set anything inside of it, I used my trusty old chicken wire to fashion a basket.
After that, I simply lined the chicken wire with burlap, wrapped it around the edges and planted my flowers.
And so it was that little Miss Washing Machine was transformed, from this....
It was a great deal of work, but I am glad that I decided to extend her life. I think we're both happier now.
I'm also linking this project up with Prior Lives Party AND Bobbypins Boardwalk Bragfest ! I hope you'll visit both of these blogs and check out the wonderful things they have to offer plus the other projects they are so kind to share.
Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!