Worth It

A sweet friend and I decided to trade this old nightstand for her vintage bench.

My friend wanted the nightstand to be navy blue with gold handles, and I got to work sanding and painting the piece, but every time I thought about putting those dated, tarnished, mirrored brass handles back on the piece, I was filled with dread!

Since we had no budget for new hardware,

I did some Internet research and found Bar Keepers Friend (BKF), which works wonders on many things, so I picked some up and started scrubbing.

One handle was particularly tarnished and after a great deal of scrubbing, I realized there was a gorgeous brass metal underneath! It almost looked like brushed gold! It was beautiful!

I was stuck with a dilemma. The BKF had cleaned up most of the tarnish, and the handles would be acceptable the way they were… but if I wanted a real transformation and uncover the shiny brass, I would have to put the work in and scrub all 10 handles.

As I sat pondering on what to do, the piece spoke to me.

“The hard work will be worth it!”

Yes, it would take a while, ruin my manicure and be a pain, but it would be worth it in the end.

Several hours later I had 10 shiny brushed gold handles and the piece looked amazing!

I couldn’t help but find a parallel to our lives in these handles.

As we journey through life, we become tarnished with sin, heartache and pain. It’s easy to leave the tarnish there thinking it doesn’t matter, but if we’re not careful it can ruin us.

It can be tempting to think that the tarnish is too much, that we should toss it out, and try to make something else work; but we can’t forget there there is something beautiful still there. Underneath our pain is a shiny, beautiful soul.

A soul that is worth it.

And putting in the effort and the work to repent, forgive and find that beauty again is always worth it.

But we can’t do it alone.

Phillipians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.”

Through the atonement, Christ takes our tarnished lives and makes them shiny again, because we are worth it. It takes work on our part, and it’s not easy to repent, to forgive ourselves and others and to move forward, but it’s worth it, because we are worth it.

Just like these handles gave this nightstand new life, if we put the work in, no matter how long it takes, through the healing power of the Savior, we can find peace and uncover the beauty that is in all of us.

Painting Low-Traffic Furniture: The Easy Way

Every piece of furniture is different so this isn’t a fail-safe formula, but it’s great for most low traffic items like end tables, armoires, beds, accent chairs, sofa tables etc.

Sanding the pieces even a little helps the paint stick, but isn’t necessary for low traffic items. Again, every piece is different so use your own judgement about whether to sand or it. High traffic item like kitchen tables turn out better with more prep work and more durable paint.

Steps:

1. Clean the piece with water or mineral spirits and let it dry.

2. Paint Zinnser Shellac base primer with a disposable brush. It’s super runny so make sure you have a heavy drop cloth or plastic on the floor.

3. Paint with a flat or Satin sheen paint. I love sample sizes of paint from Sherwin Williams because they are cheap and come in a pint size.

5. Paint one or two coats for desired coverage.

7. Glaze and or distress as desired.

9. Top coat with Polycrylic. It gives the piece a smooth finish. I like Minwax or Stays Clear from Benjamin Moore

10. I recommend letting the piece “cure” for about a week before you set items on it.

Chippy Goodness

Do you ever worry about the health factor of old “chippy” paint?
I fell in love with this antique chair that I found on the FB marketplace, and thrilled over its flathead screws and aged layers of paint. The layers of paint were at least 1/8″ thick and I thrilled thinking about all the people who had spent time painting this chair to match their decor.

But as soon as I put it here on the porch, the kids started sitting on it, and I began worrying about the layers of paint that kept chipping off into their hands!
And when I considered the lead-based paint of the 30’s, and the shocking lack of hand washing my children naturally do, I decided to sell this chair.
Thank goodness there are lots of other gals out there who love old furniture too, so this lovely piece could find another home!
🌿Tip: You can seal in the lead-based chemicals from old paint with Shellac or Poly. Just be aware that it may change the shine and color of the current piece.
🌿Tip: BE CAREFUL! Always Wear protective face respirators and gloves when scraping, sanding or painting over old paint!
What old piece have you fallen in love with only to realize it wasn’t quite what you expected?

DIY Farmhouse Star

If you don’t have access to a saw for cutting wood, try making this simple Star out of wooden rulers or yardsticks!!

1. Cut wood to 18″x2″ strips that are about 1/8″ thick.

2. Paint or stain the strips if desired

3. Arrange the strips into a Star shape

4. Apply wood glue to connect the strips

5. Secure with clamps and let dry for at least 45 minutes.

6. Remove clamps and enjoy!

There are many places you could use these! We’ve loved them as Christmas tree toppers, wall decor, arranged in garlands and even as wedding decor!

The Little Lights

The other night, my little girl opened up about her trouble falling asleep. Occasionally she’ll come into my room in tears because she’s awake and no one else is, and it has really concerned her.

She sleeps on the bottom bunk, which is extra dark, and in our family, the bottom bunk is the least desirable bed to sleep in. I imagine that more often than not she’s sitting sad and alone in that dark room with just her thoughts.

My heart broke for her because I know it takes a lot of courage for her to come to me. I prayed for inspiration… and then I started thinking…

I’d been wanting to make a lighted garland for a while, but hadn’t gotten to it because I was unsure where to put it. But after my girl expressed her concerns the little lights in my creative mind turned on!!

So here is what we did!

I made this garland out of an old bed sheet and some lace curtains, and tied the fabric onto a string of little lights. We were lucky to find an outlet next to the bed, and I hung the garland underneath the bed slats of the top bunk. She can turn it on and off whenever she wants, and my sweet friend even recommended a timer so it will turn off after she falls asleep.

She loved it and happily said that when she’s awake she can turn on the lights without bothering the other two girls, so she can read some books! (I also kinda love that she’s turning to books when she’s bored!)

That night she fell asleep right away, happy and cozy under the lights, and it felt like a big win for this momma!

Stay tuned for a tutorial on how to make this super simple garland.

Now the other two girls want something special over their beds too, so I’ll be putting together some big plans for a sweet little girls room.

Faith and Furniture

This mirror has been left in a packing box, tucked way back in a closet for 4 years. It has nagged at me, but I’ve never known what to do with it. Lately, I’ve been trying to use it as a free-standing mirror, but it’s just not working out. I think it’s time for some paint, and maybe a new location on a wall.

But this mirror got me thinking…

Furniture is a lot like faith.

We first get it and it’s exciting and shiny and new… but if we don’t care for it, problems sneak in. A nick here or a scratch there, and eventually that piece becomes less needed in our minds.

How many times have we stuck a piece in the corner, garage or attic and forgotten about it? Having it is good, but it’s easy to forget the importance of it.

When we do find that piece again it almost becomes a burden, and something that was so wonderful at one point, now requires tedious, time consuming repairs and fixing.

I’ve had this happen many times, with furniture and with my faith… and I gotta say, taking the time is worth it.

Whenever I refinish a piece, I’m amazed at how wonderful it looks in the end. Yes, the work is messy and frustrating, and always takes longer than I think it should… but it’s worth it because when the work is done, I’m left with a piece that is better than it was to begin with. A piece that is stronger, updated and ready to serve it’s ultimate purpose of supporting me!

My faith is like an old piece of furniture because it gets better and better as I work on it and care for it. It looks completely different now than it did when I was a child, but the scratches and dings of sin and doubt are beautiful reminders to me of how I’ve grown.

I’m reminded that the One who heals all our wounds was a carpenter himself. And as we turn to Him, all of our scratches and dings can be strengthened and repaired. And our ever evolving pieces of furniture can be better than they were to begin with, full of hope and strength as we put our trust in Him.

Our Holiday Home Tour

This Christmas season has just flown by and I can’t believe it’s almost over!

Just wanted to share some of the Christmas decor we’ve done in our new home this year!

This garland is from a company called Grandin Road. I wanted some texture in the garland so I added some eucalyptus sprays and sparkly sprays.

I made the Merry Christmas blocks 3 years ago with my sweet sis-in-law! The other side says “Happy Halloween”.

Most of the ornaments on our tree are handmade. But we also have a bunch of fun white pieces we’ve picked up over the years. I built the tree crate last year, and love using it to hide the cables and tree stand.

I also built the star this year!

The high cupboard above the oven is a little difficult to reach so it stays empty. I think it’s only purpose is to hang a wreath.

This tablecloth was an old curtain that I found in the discount section of At Home a few years ago. Confession: I can’t remember why, but one year I cut a square out of it… but if I fold it just right, it works as a table runner and you can’t even tell!

Several years ago I was really into quilting. I had a lot of fun making the Santa Clause wall hanging and this felt like a good spot for it.

We’ve had this nativity for 16 years and I’ve always struggled with finding a good spot for it until now! It finally has a home on the table behind the couch.

My sweet grandmother made that little throw blanket about 11 years ago for my son’s birth. Confession: I haven’t told him that it’s his because I’m afraid he’ll want to keep it on his bed, and I really like it here!

This is one of the views when you walk in our front door. This shot was really tough to get! The wall color pulls a lot of yellow. Im still working on my photography skills.

This Room is designed to be the formal dining room. But my hubby was adamant that it should be the piano room. I’m glad I listened to him because this is a nice spot for music. Confession: I find myself playing the piano in here more and more often when I should be cleaning and wrapping presents.

I gave the front porch some flea market-style Christmas love, but had to bring it all back in when it started raining. A white rug on the front porch was a terrible idea as well, but it was fun for the picture!

The master bedroom has become the wrapping station. Right now it’s filled with boxes and tape and paper!

The girls bedroom is very dark and long. It’s tough to get a good photo. All of the kids have mentioned they don’t like how dark the bedrooms are, so I plan on painting sometime next year. Can you spot the real life in these pics?!

Last night one of my girls said, “So is this our home now?” I laughed so much, but I kind of understand. We’ve moved 5 times in the last 10 years and the idea of staying here long term still hasn’t sunk in! This feels like a nice resting spot that we’ll leave in a few months. I have to keep telling myself that this is real!

Thanks for taking this little tour with me! You’re always welcome to come for some hot chocolate and games!

Wishing you a wonderful, safe Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The “Well Loved” Project

A kitchen table and chairs are arguably the most interesting and used pieces of furniture in a home. This is where some of the best family bonding can happen. Where young minds create and learn, and where we replenish our bodies with food. Think of the stories a kitchen table could tell! If you’re going to spend a little more money on furniture, this is where you should do it because of how much use these pieces will get.

I recently took on my largest custom project for one of the most darling clients! She wanted her table, and six chairs painted white, as well as new fabric on her bench. They recently moved into a beautiful new home, but the table and chairs clashed with the floor.

Here are the before pics.

As you can see, there was a lot of normal wear and tear on every piece. Scratches, dings, and sadly, some movers had broken the connectors that held the leaf on the table. But that being said, I could tell that this family had taken excellent care of their table. In fact, they loved it, and it had special meaning to them.

And when I crawled under the table to look at the damage, it began to speak to me.

“I love my family,” it said, “and they love me. Please fix me so that I can serve my family again.”

(I’m not kidding when I say that furniture speaks to me… I know it’s weird. I also know that I’m crazy.)

A feeling of sadness came over me, as I felt the pain this table had about being broken. My heart reached out to it and I wanted to help!

“Yes!” I soothed… “I think I can fix you!!”

I brought the furniture home and began by sanding all of the varnish and stain off every piece. I hadn’t told my clients that I would be sanding off the scratches, so I couldn’t wait to show them how new the pieces were looking! I was also able to do the repair on the table.

My client didn’t want any distressing, so we opted to go with spray paint to give it a smooth, modern look. I tried to use my paint sprayer, but couldn’t get the consistencies right, and it made a horrific mess on my garage floor. I got frustrated, and opted to go with some cans of spray paint instead.

Unfortunately, what was planned to take 3 weeks, took 6 weeks since I got pneumonia during the project and had a hard time recovering. The spray paint didn’t help either.  Pneumonia knocked me out and I’m still struggling with respiratory problems. Through it all I learned how harmful paint chemicals can be. More on that to come.

But with help from my hubby, we were able to finish the project and deliver them today. We assembled the pieces at the home, which helped eliminate transportation damage.

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I just love how the woodgrain came through on the table top, giving it a refined yet slightly rustic feel. I used a varnish topcoat for a smooth strong finish.

My client was so happy! The furniture looks amazing in her home, and matches her white trim and cupboards perfectly! Seriously, I’m always blown away with what white paint does to furniture! 

For some reason the lighting makes the fabric pull greens in these pictures, but it is actually a gorgeous blue/teal, and goes really well with her decor. 

The orange glow of the chair before really dated the style of the chair.img_8448

A coat of white paint updated and refreshed the look!

I’m calling this the “well loved” table and chairs project. Not because it was overused, but because I could feel how much this family cared for each other and for their table and chairs. It was as if each piece truly loved “serving” it’s owners and I hope it will be happy for years to come!

I really do believe that furniture is humble. That most pieces are designed to serve, and if we show them a little love they can live on happily for generations to come!

Another Before and After Piece

While we were in Utah for Thanksgiving my mom and I refinished her hutch. She liked the green, but felt like it was too much color for her room.

We mixed Annie Sloan’s Old Ochre with Sherwin William’s Pure White to create a custom white color.

We weren’t concerned about the consistency of flat paint and chalk paint, and we didn’t prime this time. The paint went on smoothly and covered very well.

We finished it with General Finishes topcoat in satin. It was my first time to try it and I really liked how smooth it went on.

The white is now a fresh happy updated piece that matches the rest of her neutral simple decor!

It was a fun little project to do while we celebrated time with family!

The “Not Me” Console

We’ve established that furniture speaks to me… right? Ok, good. (We’ve also established that I’m a little crazy too… right?)

This little Pottery Barn console was a great FB Marketplace find. It was in pristine condition and the owner had taken perfect care of it! I was going to use it in my hubby’s office with lots of dark woods, but then we chose some different furniture, and I had this extra piece. I decided to paint it white and place it behind my sofa.

But when I began sanding it, and realized it was 100% mahogany, I suddenly heard it scream at me. Most pieces are happy to get new life, but not this one.

“NOT ME!” It screamed.

“I’m not one of your cast-off’s needing to be refinished! I’m one of Pottery Barn’s best! I’ve been kept in perfect condition! Look at me! Not one scratch! And I would work in thousands of homes! I’m just fine the way I am, thanks!”

I stopped my sanding for a minute. Was I ruining this piece?

Most furniture these days have some MDF or cardboard hiding in the back or underneath. And if not, they’ll have a gorgeous hardwood top, with cheap poplar undersides.

But not this piece. It was mahogany everywhere.

It was beautiful.

Whether or not painted wood is better than stained wood is a matter of opinion. And yes, this piece was just fine the way it was… but if it wanted a place in my house, it needed to go through the change.

I sanded on.

And it pouted.

I began painting it white, but didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. So I started painting it blue.

“Really?” It complained. “I hope you know what you’re doing!”

I painted on.

The drawers were fun to figure out. I sanded off the original stain, painted a layer of white, then sanded off the white after it was dry. I left just enough paint on, then stained it with a weathered gray stain, and got this fun distressed look.

I absolutely love how it looks now!

The console was very happy when it was all finished. In fact, it’s quickly becoming my favorite piece in the house! But the whole experience got me thinking…

I’m so often just like this reluctant console.

I go along in life, thinking things are just fine. I’m happy! I can handle my own craziness. But then life happens and I get hit with a curve ball. I’m suddenly forced to change, to deal with something new and unexpected and I don’t like it.

Not me! I complain.

I’m a good person! I try to do everything right, I try to help others, and take care of my kids… I don’t intentionally try to hurt anyone, and I’m happy just the way I am! Why do I need this trial? Why do I need to change anything?! When things are going well, why do we so often get hit with trials?

It’s easy to ask an old broken piece of furniture to change. It needs to be fixed anyway. But it is hard to change a piece that is in excellent condition the way it is. In fact, many of you may be thinking that I ruined the piece, and that it was fine the way it was! And I would agree with you!

But this piece didn’t fit with my décor unless it went through the change.

I think God’s plan for us is like that too. Yes, we are fine the way we are. But maybe He knows we could be better. Maybe He needs to refine us because we can’t see the other side of the trial and the joy we could be feeling. When I look back on my trials, I realize I wouldn’t know the joy I feel now, had I not experienced those challenges. And to be honest, who knows where I’d be had I not submitted to change.

Change does make us better.

Trials do help refine us.

The console would never have known the beauty it is now, had it not undergone the sanding and distressing.

There will come a time that we’ll all scream, “Not me! I’m fine the way I am, why do I have to experience this change?”

But if we can have just a little faith that there is a plan for us, and can endure some painful sanding and distressing, we too can come out more beautiful than before.

I hope that wherever you are, and whatever trial you’re experiencing, that you’ll feel a little relief today and know that you are loved