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!

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

Repurpose an Old TV Armoire 

It’s so easy to look at a piece of furniture that was designed for one thing and not be able to see another purpose for it. Take the TV armoire for example. Back when we all had big box TV’s, this piece of furniture was incredibly popular because you could load your TV and VCR combo player, and stack all the boxy movies on the shelves or drawers, and close the doors to hide it all! So now that technology has given us the ever expanding flat screen TV, entertainment centers have become buffet-type cabinets meant to go under the flat screen. 

And now there’s a surprising surplus of old TV armoires! I’m not kidding! Run to your local thrift store and see for yourself!

There’s actually quite a lot you can do with an old TV armoire! At their core, they are pieces of furniture designed to be a storage solution. And with a little creativity, they still can be! 

I have two old TV armoires! We purchased one for the TV in our bedroom years ago, and I use it now for blankets, sheets and table linens! It sits here as a decorative piece in my living room! 


My 2nd armoire was given to me by a dear friend who needed it gone! I was thrilled! I’m using it for my office station to store all of the binders, books, bills and school paperwork that tends to clutter my counters. I also keep our laptop and charging dock there. In fact the holes in the back of the armoire create an excellent place to hide the charging cables! 

Before:


The piece was originally black, and it has a fun story:

When my friend’s home flooded a few years ago, this piece sat in 4” of water. It’s MDF legs swelled up and the paint cracked off. The insurance appraiser said it couldn’t be fixed, and he’s right. There is no good way to repair MDF. Since the legs are still structurally sound, I painted and distressed the area. It’s unoticeable with it’s coat of new white paint. 


To create more organized storage, I found crates at IKEA and used them to create some shelving. 

The paper organizer is from Target and there is one for each child’s school papers. When I have more time I may build legitimate shelves for this spot, but this is working great for now. I cut a board to go on top of the crates to create another shelf! All of this new shelving hides the cardboard backing piece that has a large hole in it. Eventually, I’ll attach a new piece of thin plywood there and cover it with wallpaper. 

Here’s another brilliant idea: my friend installed a rod at the top of this armoire so she could use this piece to hang all of her table cloths. Just think, with a curtain rod in an old TV armoire, the piece could be used as a true closet for clothes! 


My favorite part about armoires is that they provide a beautiful way to hide the mass quantities of stuff we have! We have a lot of people in our home, and there’s just a lot of stuff that goes along with it ! I absolutely love being able to close these doors and hide the clutter. 

Your turn to share! What ideas have you seen for old armoires? 

Barstools

I’m thrifty when it comes to furniture, you all should know that by now… I have such a hard time paying full price for something that I know could be found at a flea market, yard-sale or the buy/sale feeds. So when we moved into this house and decided we needed barstools I began hunting for the perfect stool!
I wanted quality and style and something that would last our family a long time. And I fell in love with the unique nickel finish on these stools from Ballard Designs that a gal was selling on FB. I searched for different styles, but kept coming back to these. So I decided to get the two from her and purchase two more directly from Ballard, that way I’d still be saving a little money.

But after buying them I realized they had backs that were not removable and Ballard no longer sold them in this finish with backs! I even called and asked where I could get more with backs. They sell them with the backs in different colors just not the nickel finish! I begged them to backorder, start selling them again, or somehow point me in a direction where I could get them. They were quite rude about it actually… “google it” were her exact words… I will definitely think twice before ordering from them again.

Still, I purchased the two stools without backs and thought we could get away with mismatched stools. Unfortunately, the mixed stools drove me crazy. Furthermore, the kids would spin and the backs would bang against the counter. I hated that.
So I decided the backs had to go! My bestie’s hubby was a total saint and cut the backs of the two old stools off for me.

The parts that needed cutting.

I removed the wooden seat and he cut and grinded them smooth like this:

I made him some cookies in exchange, which was totally not enough. My boys screwed the wooden seats back on and loved using the power  screwdriver.

I am so happy with 4 matching stools!

I saved about $400 by thrifting the two stools, and am so grateful for good friends with saws!!

Changes

Just when I thought we were going to be moving to another state, my husband’s company switched gears on us, and offered him a position where he’ll be working from home! Since he’ll be in this position for 5 to 10 years, we decided to put our roots down here in Texas and buy a home! 

We fell in love with a cute little craftsman, put an offer on it and then learned that school in that district started two days later! We thought we had 3 weeks of summer left, but not wanting our kids to move during a school year, we frantically enrolled them and they started with everyone! (You should have seen us at the mall the night before school started! We had one hour to do our back-to-school clothes shopping!) 

Here are some pics of the new house from the listing agent! 




We fell in love with the green space and view in the back yard, the extra details, the white kitchen (I can’t even! Aaahhh!!), and the media room! That’s what sold the kids! (If you know us well, you’ll know what movie bums we are!!) 

Since we still have the rental home for another month, we left it staged and brought half of our things over. We are now living a very temporary lifestyle, with only half of us in our beds!  I travel back and forth every day to do laundry and move our things over! We don’t have any dressers moved yet, and I never knew how much I’d miss dressers to keep clothes in! 

Stay tuned for more projects and pictures as we get settled! 

Home Office Redo

I’ve been so excited to create a home office space for my hubby! We found some furniture at a consignment store, and painted the walls Benjamin Moore’s Evening Dove!

Take a look:

Before:


After:

DIY – Chalk Paint – Part 1

I’m starting a 3 part series on chalk paint! The do’s and don’ts and the how to’s! I’ll be dispelling the myths, and offering some handy tips to make your projects go smoother! Chalk paint sticks to slick surfaces well and distresses beautifully. It’s also easy to obtain fabulous layers with different colored paints and waxes. It’s not the perfect paint for every project, but it comes in handy at times. 

 Did you know that you don’t have to spend a lot of money for chalk paint? In fact it’s incredibly simple to make it yourself when you use Calcium Carbonate powder. (I’ve tried the Plaster of Paris method, but feel like it never gets mixed well, and stays grainy.)
Here are the steps:


1. Mix 2tbs hot water with 4tbs calcium carbonate powder. 

2. Mix for a “pancake batter” type consistency. 

3. Add 1 cup of latex paint. “Flat” sheen works the best, but “eggshell” is fine too. 

4. Mix well! 

Store paint for up to a week in an airtight container. 

If paint is too thick, add water. If paint is too runny, let it sit open for a few hours. 

Paint your favorite project and seal with polycrilic or wax!

Easy! 

You’ll be surprised at how much it covers! This desk required less than 1/2 of a quart of paint! Try buying sample sizes! At $8 or less, you’ve just saved almost $35 from the big (unnamed) manufacturer’s fancy paint! 

Do you have a favorite color that only the big chalk paint manufacturer makes? Check out Pinterest for a list of those colors in Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore colors. 

Now it’s your turn: What are some chalk paint fails you’ve experienced? Has every project been amazing? Do you love chalk paint? Or do you kind of hate it?! 

The Tornado Couch

This month, instead of taking my usual trip to the Canton Trade Days, we made the drive out to Canton with Mormon Helping Hands to help the tornado victims.

Knowing how much I love furniture, my son found me a couch! And I’m sharing it here because it really changed my perspective!


I couldn’t believe the damage that the tornadoes caused.

It was just shocking! There was a total of 7 tornadoes on the ground and they killed 8 people. Hundreds of homes were destroyed, and lives were changed in an instant.

This family’s home was lifted 6″ off the ground and set back down again, destroyed. We found an entire wall, luggage, clothing, pictures, and the refrigerator all smashed and ruined underneath gigantic felled trees!

It made me realize how fragile life can be!

Helping clear the land and working so hard felt good, and I left wishing we could do more.

I was also reminded how giving service to others often lightens your own load!  It was nice to take a break from my own problems and help someone else!

I have to admit, there was a small crazy part of me that thought about refinishing the couch…  But it was just too damaged. So I’m calling it the tornado couch. It taught me about service, it taught me about gratitude and it helped me be a little bit more aware of the needs of others.