Wednesday, July 20, 2016

refinishing the dining room table

This is what kept me busy while the biggers were at camp: refinishing our dining room table.

In 2007, right before we had moved away to Gburg, we had purchased several items from Unpainted Furniture using the big bucks I had made at my first nursing job at the hospital - our armoire, dining room table and chairs. That table has treated us well over the last nine years. However, our kids have not returned the favor...

The table is made of a soft wood called alder and the kids have been steadily gouging away at it. Ezra seems like the biggest culprit but I think all of them have banged their silverware down into it over the years. Initially I put six coats of polyurethane down when I first finished it. Two years later when we bought two tall kid chairs, I added four more coats of poly. It seems ten coats was not enough to protect it. Plus, the color was yellowing and I just hate yellow wood.

Because we were going to be gone for two full weeks in July I thought it was a good time to refinish and let it have time to really cure. Halfway through Noah and Evie's trip to Rainbow Bible Ranch I got started. Terry was at youth group and I was sanding away for the afternoon and evening. The littles and I even had to go buy more sanding discs.

It didn't take as long as I thought it would. 

I put one coat of Weathered Oak down, hoping to imitate my $10 coffee table finish...

Like an idiot, I put two more coats of Weathered Oak on and ended up with a blue table! 

The next day I put two coats of Special Walnut down. I hated it!!! I didn't want a black table. I wanted a light brown table with gray undertones. Obviously, my plan failed. 

Here is the overview. Gray, gray, gray, brown, brown = bad.

I did not want to be stuck with a table I despised, having to look at it and be reminded of my disgust every single I decided to start over. I let it sit overnight and then started sanding it down once more with the orbital sander. It was incredibly slow going. 

Even though the tabletop was dry to the touch, when I'd saw off a layer, it was pretty wet underneath. The sanding discs kept getting coated with gummy stain. I went through a lot of them.

I would lift up my sander and chunks of stain would just go flying everywhere.

I made a huge mess.

I kept at it through the darkest moments when I thought I'd never get there, berating myself the entire time, and I finally overcame all the stain. 

Boy was I glad to see that bare wood again.

While contemplating the dark black stain and the steps I had taken to get there, I realized that I loved most the color I had put down in the very beginning - one coat of Weathered Gray. After we returned from camp on Friday night, I took the plunge... 


Getting some poly down...

Finally, before our trip to Wyoming, we brought it inside. 

Right now we have the original two leaves in the table because Nathan, Ana and their kids are here. But this is a good comparison to what it was before.

It was a shock to see how much lighter it was, but I love, love, LOVE it! I don't regret starting over at all. It's even better in real life so come and see it. 

cooling off

The morning we dropped the kids off at Rainbow Terry had gone for a run. It wasn't as oppressively hot as it has been the rest of this summer, but he thought the last sprinkler he ran through felt pretty good...

So when he got home he set up his own cool down sprinkler system!

Rainbow 2016

We had a week off after the Middle School bike trip and then Noah and Evie went out to Rainbow Bible Ranch together for the week. It was Evie's first time staying for the whole week and Noah's third time. They were able to be the first on their horses when we dropped them off the evening of Monday June 27. There weren't as many of their church friends attending that week, but this way they had a break after the bike trip and the weather was much cooler than it had been the previous week.

It sure was quiet around the house, but I didn't sit around. I finished my pew and refinished our dining table and the boys played outside with me.

 When we went out there Friday afternoon for their rodeo, Evie was one of the first kids to barrel race. 

She was so slow!

She was rather adorable when she rode the horse back because since she is so small that horse jiggled her all over the place and her hair was flapping. 

Noah improved greatly from last year when he had been somewhat afraid of the horses. 

Unless you tell those horses who is boss they are rather slow. Mr. Larry spurred a lot of them on behind the riders. 

After barrel racing came a goat exercise where they had to ride down the corral, jump off their horse, grab the tied cloth off the goat's horns, and tag/tackle the flag holder.

Most of of kids knocked her over.  

Evie's turn. It was funny to watch the kids have to chase the goat down. 

Inside after dinner the kids sang for us, Larry gave us a summary of the week, and some of the kids recited Bible verses. 
Evie forgot how to smile while at camp apparently...

Noah is a whiz at memorizing. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Noah's retainer

Ever since the dentist recommended braces for Noah a few years ago he has been ultra concerned about his teeth. We put them off last year and reevaluated this year. The orthodontist recommended a retainer for two or three years before braces need to go on. He was super excited, as you can see. 

Making a mold of his teeth back in June.

Several weeks later the retainer was ready.  

Too much mouth? I don't care. I want to remember everything! The purpose of the retainer is to hold the space in between his teeth so that when they fall out they can still utilize the area instead of having it filled by the bigger teeth coming in. 

our church pew

Spoiler alert: Look at what I did.

Back in April when Terry had just finished the marble shelf, we both felt like we were on a roll and might as well start another project that had been in the garage all winter - this church pew from old First E-Free, which was where our church had previously been located (and where we met and got married) before they moved to the south of town. Russ and Terry bought a few benches when the YMCA, who owns the building now, were selling them. Russ cut them down and refinished them. He was so kind as to shorten one for us. And then it sat all winter. Finally we asked him to come over and cut out some arms for us since we didn't like how boxey it was.

All we did was use a Sharpie marker to trace the shape we wanted and Russ used a sawzall to cut it out. 

The wood is a very thick and solid oak so it was difficult to cut through. We were so thankful for all  Russ' help on this project. 

And yet again, the pew sat in the garage, waiting for my motivation to begin. We needed an orbital sander for one thing to knock down the rough edges left by the sawzall. This was the best "before" picture I could find.  

It fits three kids or two adults. The sawzall had worked so hard to cut through the oak that it even burned scorch marks into the wood. 

We finally bought a orbital sander in May or June and then returned it since Terry's dad let us use his  and I got to work on June 22. It was a long afternoon of work but I finally got most of the finish and yellow stain off. 

I was the most proud of how smooth I was able to get the arms.  

10 sanding discs!

Evie was at a VBS the next day and I felt brave, due to the motivation to finish this project, and therefore took all three boys to my least favorite place, Menards, in order to buy a board. We needed it to make a shelf under the pew for shoe boxes.

I put a coat (or two, I can't remember) of Weathered Oak stain down because I was going for the color I put on my $10 coffee table

Next I added a coat (or two, I can't remember) of Special Walnut and thought it looked too yellow. So I added some more gray. And then I didn't like that because it looked purple!

Finally, I put one final coat of Special Walnut over all and was done with stain. Then I put two coats of poly on the sides and bottom of the pew and four on the arms and seat. 

After a day or two in the garage we brought it in, let it sit overnight, and placed it at the front door with towels under it to make sure it wouldn't stick to the carpet. 

Boom baby! We love it! Plus, it's a little piece of our history from the church where we grew up and met. And, well, it's beautiful
The boys keep their shoes in those baskets (Evie's is in the closet) and they will also put their winter things in there later.

I love progressive before and after pictures. They're so gratifying :D