It took 4 years, but this past Christmas, I rectified this situation. Here's how it all went down.
First step - craigslist. App. 1 week left until Christmas.
This adorable bench/toy chest caught my eye immediately, and luck would have it that it was still available. It is bigger than the one I freed, and doubles as a bench. Awesome.
Sanding off the adorable Noah's Ark scene came first, which I found to be emotionally actually quite hard; to deface what I imagine is some sweet little old lady's work, not simply because of what I can only imagine to be true, but also that (assumably) she did a fine job of adhering her image on this chest I imagine her little old husband built. Of which, I am hoping she/they can rest soundly knowing that the previous (and possibly intended) children enjoyed for many years. It's purpose for them was well served. For that, I thanked her many times in the process and am here on the interweb showing my gratefulness and appreciation for her art and thoughtfulness.
I have been experimenting with metal leaf, the more economical version of gold leaf, but hadn't yet had the pleasure of trying it on wood. There was a little experimenting on the back and then throwing myself into it, only to have it not behave as it did on the reverse.
This was not a deterrent, though a little frustrating at first. The hap-hazard way it chose to adhere gave it areas of interest that would not have happened if it had gone on smoothly.
I filled my house with metal leaf flakes. Every time the doves flew in the cage a gentle snowing of flecks of gold fell about the house. The vacuum collection tube has never been prettier.
Starting work on the waves gave me some respite from leafing.
Sun scene complete, work on the sides commences.
Getting closer still. Countdown to Christmas - 2 days. I'm going to make it!
A little more line work and the letters of my niece and nephew's first names adhered to the sides.
All done, all done!
Guess what? Now I am addicted. You can look forward to more projects like this one from me. Until then, I will wish you a joyous and successful new year, filled with imagination, adventure, line, color, and texture.