I don’t know anything about my father’s family, he was adopted and after he and my mother separated when I was five we never had much of a relationship. It’s a complicated and sad story and is not the point of this blog post at all. I only mention it because I think it may be one of the reasons I value the extended family on my mother’s side so very, very much.
My extended family from my Mom’s side is big. My grandmother had 10 children, 9 of whom survived by the time I was born. Those aunts and uncles married and had kids of their own and we all got together at the holidays at Grammy’s house for a big meal. It was noisy and chaotic and awesome.
The table is made of walnut and originally belonged to my great grandparents (my Mom’s father’s parents). They bought it in the 1930s or 40s (no one seems able to say for sure) and eventually passed it on to my Grammy and Grampy. As things tend to do in our family, (and maybe all big families?) this table eventually was passed down to one of my mom’s siblings, and possibly then another, but at some point it made it into our home.
It was Mom’s sewing table (and she sewed a LOT), where I learned how to quilt, the table where we put our Nintendo when we got it (like, the very first Nintendo system dudes) to play on a teeny tiny little television. It even became a diaper changing table when Danica was a baby. I went from sitting on the board beneath the table with my siblings and cousins, using the knob in the middle as a steering wheel to play imagination games while our parents played cards around us, to changing my own daughter’s diapers on it. This table means so much to me, I can’t even explain…
Then my Mom gave it to me.
By the time it reached me it had been through a lot. It was dinged and scratched. The “steering wheel” had been kicked, scuffed and even chewed on by a dog or two, and the table top had been painted dark brown to try and hide some of the water rings and such.
I decided to refinish it.
I had never refinished anything before in my life.
I was terrified.
What if I screwed up? What if I wrecked the table that probably meant just as much to other members of my family as it did to me?
But I swallowed my fears and did it anyway.
It took me a very long time, and I should have taken before pictures, but I think I’m finally finished.
I stripped all the paint off and then sanded, and sanded, and sanded. A couple coats of stain (Cabernet by Varathane) followed, then three coats of glossy varnish (with more sanding in between, just for fun!) and a final coat of semi-gloss varnish for the top itself*. I think it’s gorgeous.
Also, for those of us who loved it, here is the steering wheel:
And here are Jo and Dani putting their fingerprints all over the top because they know it drives me crazy:
As for why I’m sharing this on my blog, well, I may have mentioned that I have a pretty big extended family. I wanted a place I could put these pictures for everyone to see. Despite my fears, I think I did a pretty good job here. I’m proud of the results and want to show everyone else for whom this table isn’t just a piece of furniture that I’m taking care of it and giving it the respect it deserves.
Oh, and for everyone who is like “Um, it’s just a table.” well, now it’s a really pretty table. So there’s that.
Now I just need to find some chairs to go with it and tidy up the room its in 😉
*Jo and Dani helped out too but I think it’s fair to say I did the bulk of the work.