Nov 26, 2014

Our Thanksgiving Table and Hutch

Hello, everyone!

I finished setting my table early for Thanksgiving and took some photos to share. This just may be the most organized I've ever been for Thanksgiving! 

The first thing I did before setting the table was to put this potted rosemary on a bench by the window where everyone can enjoy its wonderful fragrance. It smells so good!

If you notice pumpkins seem to be the theme for my Thanksgiving decor, you'd be absolutely correct.

Pumpkins everywhere!

My Thanksgiving table is casual and colorful this year.

Wooden candlesticks


Pine cones

And leaves.

Prickly pods for place cards.

Towle Old Master flatware handed down from my mom.

The hutch peeking over the table.

I'm not sure what I'd do without my hutch to decorate for  holidays.

I snuck in an early Christmas present to myself. Can you find it?

Sunny sunflowers.

A bird and nest snuggled into a stoneware creamer.

A pretty wine cork moss ball from my sister in-law, Caroline.

My first ever dried hydrangeas.

And a few of my mother's china plates that say "Thanksgiving" perfectly. 

And now it's time for me to wish you all a very


I hope you have a most warm and special day with your families, loved ones, and friends.

Nov 16, 2014

Taking The Plunge - Refinishing Dining Room Furniture

Every year around this time, as I start to plan my Thanksgiving meal and table, I'm reminded of how many special occasions have been celebrated around our beloved old dining room table and chairs, and I realized I've never shared their transformation with you and how I took the plunge to refinish them.

This sturdy maple table and chairs has been in my family for about 75 years. This is how it looked when my parents bought it shortly after they were married. My brothers and I grew up eating dinners on it, and after my mother passed away it found a place in my home where my children grew up eating their dinners on it also. Imagine all the hundreds of happy birthdays, graduations, engagements, Easters, Thanksgivings, Christmases, and New Year Eves that we have celebrated at this table. 

Such happy memories! 

About five years ago, when I mentioned to a friend that I never really cared for the original reddish maple finish but didn't want to replace our table and chairs for sentimental reasons, she recommended that I paint them. The thought had never even occurred to me before, and at first I thought it didn't seem quite right to paint over our vintage furniture. After thinking about it for a few months, I convinced myself that living with furniture I didn't really like was just silly, for any reason. 

After searching around the internet and finding out our furniture wasn't special or rare from a collector's standpoint, I started looking for painting ideas and instructions. I discovered from a google image search that black is a traditional color for Windsor chairs. I also discovered my first home decorating blogs and that there was a whole new world of decorating fun out there in something called blog land. I found this post by Rhoda at Southern Hospitality about how she spray painted her own dining chairs with store bought black spray paint, and she made me think, hey, I can do that too!     

I was so nervous to try such a big project, though! What if I made a mistake and messed it up? I bought all the supplies, and then they sat around for weeks before I finally got up the courage to start. I worked on two of the six chairs each week throughout the summer, cleaning them thoroughly and wiping them down with liquid sandpaper. 

I used one can of Rust-oleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover 2x (the only spray paint I'll use now) for two light coats of paint on each chair, and one can for the bottom of the table. (7 cans total.) I also used one of those $4 spray can triggers for easy even coverage. It was so scary to pull that trigger the first time, but by the time I started on the second chair, I was gaining confidence and starting to feel like a pro. Other than the time and some significant elbow grease, it was way easier than I thought it would be. 

My husband and I took turns sanding the top of the drop leaf table and the four leaves down to bare wood with orbital and palm sanders. 

We left some of the deep sanding marks on the top to make it look like an old farm table, then I stained it with English Chestnut stain and finished it with many coats of satin wipe-on polyurethane. Who knew there was such beautiful grain pattern and color variation with the rustic country look we coveted hidden under that thick shiny red maple stain color? 

It was love at first sight, and such a gratifying transformation, all for around $100. 

Since we spend hours at our long family dinners talking way into the night, my husband and I picked out these big comfy wicker chairs and thick chair pads at Pier One Imports to cushion our old-timer buns at the heads of the table, and we now use the original wood chairs for side chairs. 

When the kids come over we add more chairs and leaves to the table (which seats up to ten), as needed. The black Windsor arm chairs are comfortable and useful all around the house when we don't need them for meals. We use one at the small writing table in the family room, one at my husband's desk upstairs, one in the guest room, and one in my husband's man cave. The traditional Windsor lines and neutral black color seem to go with everything in our home, and they make great extra accent chairs.  

The matching hutch to our set was painted a bit later with a brush and regular black paint. To see some before and after photos of the matching maple hutch, click here.  

 I just love before and after pictures. Here is our traditional dining room from the early nineties. My grandmother's Minton china filled the china cabinet, lace curtains with a poufy flowered valance lined the window, and a thick wool rug cushioned the floor. 

And here is our more eclectic dining room today, minus a wall. The china cupboard was moved to the kitchen where it holds everyday dishes, a sheer white curtain lets the sunlight shine in the window, and an easy-care indoor/outdoor rug anchors the table and chairs. We use our more casual, light, and airy dining room for every meal now.


Here are the old dining room table and chairs from the other direction, looking towards the front door. My first chore as a young child was waxing all those spindles once a week.

What a difference! The black spray paint on the chairs and the poly table top have held up well to wear, and no waxing required.

I'm so glad I have old photos of how our table and chairs used to look. They hold lots of memories of happy family times together. I'm also so glad I took the plunge to refinish and update these pieces to fit our own tastes and who we are today. The new look doesn't take away from our memories of the past, it just adds a new layer to the history of our furniture and our family. 

Thank you for stopping by today to take a walk down memory lane with me. I hope you have a wonderful week!

It's time to party!

Our Home Away From Home
The Scoop
Cozy Little House
Upcycled Treasures
Vintage Inspiration Party
French Country Cottage
Rooted In Thyme
The Charm Of Home
My Repurposed Life
Liz Marie Blog
Miss Mustard Seed
A Joyful Cottage
House of Hipsters
Between Naps On The Porch

Nov 14, 2014

First Snow of November!

Hello there! 

I've been taking a short blog break and am super happy to be back today. I'm one of those bloggers who blogs spontaneously whenever I feel moved to grab my camera and share something I think you might like to see. It's so wonderful to feel that creative urge, and mostly it strikes fairly often. 

Since Halloween I've been cleaning and organizing my home for the upcoming holidays, though. No creative urges going on here while cleaning and scrubbing and organizing closets. 

But today we had our first big snow here in Boise, and the first thing I did after looking out the window this morning was grab my camera.

This view is looking across the street from our front window. Isn't my neighbor's gray house so pretty covered with snow? LOVE the snow! It's been snowing all day long, and this is the most we've ever had in November. 

Here's our little garden shed wearing white. I spent Tuesday morning cutting back the daisies and lavender just in time before the temperatures dipped into the twenties the next day. No more fresh flowers now!

Tucker absolutely adores playing in the snow. His fur is so thick, I don't think he even feels the snowflakes on his back.

Tomorrow we'll take him snowshoeing with us. Snowshoeing is one of my favorite activities, and I can't wait to get out there. 

These are the red berries that grow over the gate in our side yard just outside the dining room window. Some of you have asked me what they are. Twenty-four years ago we had a cold snap of -25 degrees that killed all of the Pyracanthas in our area, so when we planted more berries I made sure to plant ones that were even hardier! I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure this one we planted is a Cotoneaster. It has little white flowers in spring and keeps its leaves and bright orange berries all winter long. 

Here's the view from my phone camera looking out my craft room window just now. I'm so glad I'm done with my housework and chores because I'm feeling another creative urge coming on!

Happy Snow Day!