When Monday hit this week it was like looking down the barrel of a gun. There were several 12+ hour days with Chris back at school and nothing in particular for me and the kids to do. I found some crazy house cleaning list on Pinterest that I thought we could tackle because we’re having Bailey’s rescheduled birthday party on Sunday but the list is safe and sound on our fridge for another week because that is NOT how I wanted to spend our last week of summer! We celebrated C’s 33rd birthday on Tuesday and I was computer free for a few days so of course I thought I would instead take on a simple little project that’s been on our list for a while now!

A year ago when we moved C’s mom, Terri, painted our dining room table for me because the finish on it was pretty old+damaged. I loved it but Chris wasn’t a huge fan and the color did sort of take over our small house. So I thought that if I distressed it a little and used some stain it would tame it a bit. Here is what I started with Wednesday morning when Terri took the kids for three hours so I could get this done.

Wednesday was the day I was waiting for my new computer to come in and I really thought this would be an easy morning project. So I quickly sanded it down a bit (INSIDE which was a HUGE teal-dust-everywhere mistake!) and used a rag to put some walnut stain on top.

It. Was. Horrible.

I posted the final photo on my Instagram (find me as Jodified!) feed and a lot of people agreed that it wasn’t awesome.

So I ran over to Maplewood to ask my favorite antique store their opinion on the idea I got of sanding off ALL the paint on just the table top…. they loved the idea so I went home and started sanding again. INSIDE! Ugh! I will be wiping teal dust up for years I think! No one was around to help me get the table outside so I asked my new neighbor’s Laclede Gas guys to help me and they graciously carried it outside for me!

And I started sanding.

Gray was yet again my little photographer and he actually understands now what a focal point is and how to line it up with his subject! It was so much fun to see him “get it”!

When I saw this shot he took I was really proud of him! That’s good focus AND he doesn’t over shoot! This was the only shot like this that he took!

Of course MOST photographers don’t work in their underwear but he looks so cute in his little boxer briefs I let him run around outside like this everyday!

I had to stop around 4pm on Wednesday because my new computer had arrived and I needed to get it all set up plus make dinner and do the whole mom/wife/house keeper thing!

I don’t know if you can tell in that shot but it stormed Wednesday night which was great, I’m sure, for all of that exposed wood!

At this point on Thursday my arms ached so badly I wanted to give up and call it quits! There were LAYERS of paint and old varnish+stain and it was an arm workout to get it all off!

I worked for four solid hours while the kids ran around and played. Luckily they played really great together and I was able to be totally preoccupied!

This morning was GORGEOUS and it was nice to start the day with no sander in my hand! Instead we ran to the hardware store to buy stain and staining supplies so I could get that part done!

Let me just pause here and say that I really like how the blank slate I’d spent HOURS creating looked and I was TERRIFIED to stain it. I’ve never stained raw wood before and knew if I screwed it up there was nothing else I could do besides paint it again.

I got advice from our neighbor, my mom and C’s brother, Jack. Everyone said wipe FAST and furious so I just went for it!

THANKFULLY it went on SO easily and evenly! The wood just soaked it up and I didn’t even really have to do anything! In the end it looked, well, too good. Not perfect because I totally missed paint in places (especially at the edges of the leaf in the middle) but still nicer than I wanted so I let the kids try to beat it up a little!

They LOVED this part!

Who knew mahogany is such a hard wood! They didn’t do much damage but by lunch time we called it DONE!

You can see all the little spots I missed but that’s ok. And I know teal legs and a stained top might make some of you totally gag but now that it’s in my house I love it! I love that it once belonged to a family I babysat for and I love that Terri and Jack worked so hard to paint it and I love that I worked so hard to take the paint off and I love that it was the first house project I’ve done in months and I love that it’s different. It’s just the right amount of color pop for me! And just the right amount of funky… I doubt anyone else has a table like this in their house and I love that too!

I love that it’s going to get messed up with cup rings and smashed in food and art projects. We have a LOT of hand-me-downs in this house. In fact, except for our mattresses and one couch I can’t think of a thing we’ve bought new. And mostly I just use things as is because I love the story my pieces come with and I’m just lazy like that! So I think this will have a special place in my heart because of all the work I put into it!

It wasn’t the best way to spend the last week of summer but it worked. We got through the rough transition of Chris being gone all the time and had fun while doing it! I didn’t kill the kids and they still like me! This table isn’t everyone’s taste and it’s not perfect… but it’s perfect for ME and that means it’s perfect for US!

Happy last week of summer everyone!