Tag Archive | home decor

I heart craigslist, part 1

How do I love thee, craigslist? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when I find a deal that’s just right

For the woeful grammar and hilarious typos.

(With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning.)

When my family moved into the log cabin in the Fall of 2011, there was already a table in it, so we put our little kitchen table into storage, along with 75% of our stuff.

When we moved into the cabin in the Fall of 2011, Konik was not quite yet 2 years old and was still in a high chair.

When we were preparing to leave the cabin last fall, we realized that our seats-4 table was going to have to accommodate 5 and, soon enough, a 6th person. No way, no how. Craigslist to the rescue!

Mr. Gren found a solid wood table with double turned legs and three leaves for $30. Caveat: it was in rough shape and desperately needed refinishing. But not enough to scare us off! When we moved into the house, Mr. Gren put the table back together and we ate at it for months, albeit with a tablecloth to hide the ugliness and protect little arms from rough spots. Finally, in May, I was feeling well enough and the weather was dry enough that we felt like we could tackle this project.





As you can see, the finish was gone, the veneer on the side was chipped up beyond repair, and some of the “medallions” on the legs had fallen off (although the woman who sold us the table did have a few in a baggy that she gave us). First things first: removing the remaining veneer with a putty knife and a chisel file. Correct tools for the job? Not really. Eventually, we did get every last scrap of veneer scraped off, but not without a few banged-up knuckles.

Little helper

Little helper

Once that was done, we had to sand any remaining varnish off before painting time. Then, Mr. Gren had to reattach the middle pair of legs. Even though they were original to the table, they were too tall and made a hump in the middle of the table. He sawed off and sanded the feet until they were the right height. We also had to match up and glue on the missing leg medallions. So hard to wait through all that when I just wanted to paint! All necessary evils to get to the good stuff. The dry, dark wood took three coats of white paint for a good, bright finish.

The sun was going down, but you get the idea.

The sun was going down, but you get the idea.

All three leaves in

All three leaves in

Do you see that thing? I didn’t measure it exactly, but the table stretches to about 8 feet. Banquet at my house!

After the white paint, things got fiddly again as Mr. Gren meticulously measured and taped out 12″ diamonds from one end of the table to the other which we would paint in a pale blue. In order to keep the measurements correct when we painted, he could only tape out the two outside rows at first, leaving the center blank. Once the paint dried inside those diamonds, he could finish taping out the diamonds down the center. It was tedious work and I love him for it. I love him for other things, too, like washing the dishes, changing light bulbs and killing spiders.


You may be able to tell that the skirt of the table is also the same pale blue as the diamonds. We wanted it to be a very subtle shade — enough to give the table visual interest, but not a bold slap in the face. When all the blue was dry, I gave it three coats of clear polyurethane for protection and to make clean-up easy. I have four kids; I know it’s not going to look pristine forever, but I can at least give it a head start.


The back diamonds look discolored, but that was just the light in the dining room. It was really hard to get a picture where the blue showed up!


As long as my children stop using those horizontal pieces as footrests, we’ll be alright.


I kinda like blue in the dining room.

I am in love with this table now. Forget odes to craigslist; I need to write an ode to my beautiful table! Every meal feels classier now. Except… notice the mishmash of ugly chairs? Stay tuned for part 2…

The unglamorous side of crafting

When my daughter, Granota, was nearly 2 years old, I made curtains for her room in a cute polka dot cotton lined with blackout fabric. But, there was one fatal flaw. To my eyes, they looked like curtains, but to a little girl, they looked like a jungle gym. We caught her one day in a leap from her bed into a full-on Tarzan swing, polka dot curtains clutched firmly in her chubby little hands. A few strands of thread were no match for our little swinging monkey, and the curtain ripped away from several of the rings. Too disgusted to take them down, I told myself, “She’ll just do it again anyways” and used that excuse to justify leaving the curtains in this sad state for a year and a half.

Finally, after being woken up at 6:30 too many times, I decided that today was the day to repair the curtains. I have a basket full of different items that need a repair of some sort or another, and usually, they take me less than twenty minutes to do. But it’s not exciting, it’s not glamorous, and I have lots of other ways I’d rather spend those twenty minutes. Really, I should just sit down and fix things as they get ripped or lose a button instead of throwing them into Sewing Purgatory. Maybe someday I’ll have enough willpower to do that.

    Hand-sewing is not particularly enjoyable for me. It is one of those necessary evils as far as I’m concerned. I will probably never make a couture gown (I won’t rule it out completely, but just don’t be astonished that you don’t hear my name mentioned alongside Chanel or Givenchy). I’m hoping someday to get good at embroidery; being such an ancient and delicate craft is appealing to me.  Right now, I’m putting it off until I find something worthy of embroidering. I have some ideas and, who knows, I might even get around to them before the end of the year.

When I took the curtains down, I saw that the thread had held strong around the rings, but the fabric had ripped out, which meant I had to darn it first before I could reattach the rings. Yay, more hand sewing. I missed lunch for this, but I had to get it done before Granota’s nap. “Nap” being mostly a figment of my imagination and wishful thinking.

Well, I didn’t finish before naptime and Granota squealed with delight when she saw the wide-open view she had through her window, minus one curtain. What is this fantastic vista that she was so excited about? The roof of our neighbor’s duplex. But hey, it was unobstructed. She may grow up to write real estate ads.

The curtains are back up now and Granota promises that she knows better than to pretend they are jungle vines (She also wanted everyone to take special note of her kitty cat calendar. Which is turned to January). So there’s one thing off my to-fix list and my sense of accomplishment shot right up there to… ambivalent.