Right? Isn’t that how fairy tale marriages always go? But in real life . . . maybe not.
It seems like I haven’t been here to chat with y’all in forever and yet, the time has flown plumb away! Did you catch that? “Plumb away.” I’m sounding right Southern y’all.
I’m enjoying my blogging break, trying to take time to fully breathe and take in my surroundings instead of constantly rushing to the “next thing.” I find it hard . . . to be still, to rest, to wait. Mr. OTN is fond of saying, “Just do the next right thing.” Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what that is. Right now, it is continuing to write for myself. One day that writing for myself may be shared here with you. I hope so.
In the meantime, here are a few things I learned in the month of October:
I learned that choosing colors for this house is nothing like choosing colors for my old house. We have a lot more shade here and the colors I put on these walls look totally different than in a light filled home. If you are following me in Instagram you’ll know that I’ve been painting from room-to-room. It is such a good feeling to make everything new and fresh.
I learned that though the “greige” color I previously painted in my living room was nice it wasn’t right for me. Every time I looked in this room I felt like something was missing, so I spent a lot of time moving things here and there and still . . . it was lacking something. COLOR! I learned that color makes me happy as I finally chose and painted Benjamin Moore’s Beach Glass on my living room walls. I am at peace 😉
In a trip back to Washington State I learned that staying in the guest cottage we once owned feels strange. Wonderful but strange. Knowing that we gutted and restored nearly every surface of this cottage made me feel proud and happy, but also made me wonder why we’d never spent the night here when it belonged to us. I’m thankful to our friends John and Debbie who bought our old house and let us come back again for a visit.
I learned that going through my in-laws pictures can be fun as I came across Mr. OTN’s high school graduation picture. How young he looks here. Cute too. I wonder if we would’ve dated each other if we’d met in High School. 🙂
I learned, as we’ve been taking regular day trips into the mountains this Fall, that one can find the most amazing treasures in the most out-of-the-way places. I also learned that when we are driving down the highway at high speed and I yell, “Stop!,” Mr. OTN is a very good sport, even when he has his own destination in mind and limited time to get there. He is so good to me. I do think I would have dated him in high school.
Finally, with all of the traveling and exploring we’ve done this past month I learned that some of the greatest beauty lies right down the street from home. The colors of Fall are gorgeous here in my neighborhood!
I hope and pray that no matter what is going on in your world, you will take the time to stop and feed your soul by capturing moments of beauty around you. They are everywhere if you’ll only take the time to see.
Blessings dear ones,
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Hard words to utter, especially coming from a fixer upper kinda gal like me, but the cost of moving cross country was enormous and we were trying to lighten the load.
“Absolutely NOT!”, Mr. OTN stated emphatically. “This is a family treasure and we can fix it.”
This? A treasure?
A big hole in the seat, water damage from being left out on the porch, joints coming apart where the screws had rusted through. But he was right, it is a treasure to me. As I shared in a previous POST, this was the chair where I spent many hours as a young girl, rocking and dreaming about places far away. The rocker was in the old lake cabin my parents purchased over a half century ago, and it was old even then.
So at hubby’s insistence, along she came with us on our journey to the South.
These are Mr. OTN’s step-by-step instructions for Recaning a Vintage Chair. Though I had my doubts (the hubby has never showed much interest in being involved in my furniture hobby) he ended up having a lot of fun bringing this old girl back to life.
Materials used with links to purchase are shown at the end of this post. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase through my links.
Step 1: Remove old caning
Mr. OTN began by cutting away as much of the old caning as possible, followed by tucking hot water soaked rags down into the crevices to soften the old glue and allow for easier removal of the rest of the caning and the old wooden stays.
In this picture you can see that Mr. OTN used clothespins to tuck the rags down into the channels.
Once the glue was very soft he used a caning chisel to scrape away remaining glue, caning, and stray bits of wood. This required persistence and continued hot water soaks. To speed up the process we found my portable garment steamer to be quite helpful!
After allowing the chair to dry Mr. OTN cleaned up the remaining glue with his Dremel tool. Using the correct attachment for the Dremel is critical if you as you do not want to change the width of the grooves.
Step 2: Repairing the chair
This chair was coming apart at the seams due to heavy water damage . . .
. . . and we quickly realized that the screws that held the arms in place were rusted through completely.
Mr. OTN decided to use a wooden dowel instead of another screw for the repair. First he drilled a hole large enough for the dowel, drilling from the back of the chair all the way through into the arm.
Then he painted some wood glue on the end of the arm where it would attach to the back and also inside the hole.
Wood glue is your best friend on any woodworking project!
He inserted the dowel from the back of the chair through into the arm, trimmed the dowel flush to the back of the chair, added a little wood putty and sanded it smooth once it dried.
I stepped in here and cleaned things up a bit, using bleach on the black stained areas before painting the chair with two layers of paint. I used a Behr (Home Depot) clearance paint that we found in the garage of our new home (a no name paint) followed by a Behr knock-off of Annie Sloan’s Provence mixed according to my recipe for Home Made Chalk Paint.
Step 3: Caning
Mr. OTN began by cutting the caning to size plus 2-3″ of overlap. He then soaked the piece in hot water for approximately 30 minutes.
The tools he used for this part were clothes pins (a substitute for caning wedges) and a rubber mallet.
He pounded the halved clothes pins into the grooves in the chair, being careful to keep the cane as straight as possible.
Just like stretching a tapestry he put a couple of clothes pins on one side (back), stretched the cane taught, and put a couple of clothes pins on the other side (front). He did the two sides in the same manner.
Strips of wood spline are used to hold the cane in place. Mr. OTN cut four lengths to size, angling the cuts so they would match at the corners. Then he soaked the strips in hot water for 15 minutes to make them easier to work with.
He applied a generous amount of wood glue in the channel and laid the first piece of spline in place.
Next he pounded it down with a rubber mallet. Once the strip was firmly in place he removed the clothes pins. Make sure and remove the wedges before the glue dries.
Here is the second strip in place. Notice the nicely mitred corners 🙂
After adding spline to all four sides, Mr. OTN trimmed off the excess caning as closely as he could with sharp scissors . . .
. . . followed up with a box knife to trim off stragglers, and a sand paper block to smooth off rough edges.
And now, here are a few pictures of the final reveal!
Thank you Mr. OTN Cutie, for the wonderful job you did on restoring this family treasure. YOU are my treasure 😉
Links to caning supplies (not linked are common supplies such as scissors, rags, small paintbrush, rubber mallet, drill, sandpaper, etc.):
As I sit here on this dark, damp, Saturday night I’m thinking to myself that this isn’t the place I’d rather be.
After a day of running errands in the pelting rain and puddle hopping to no avail, I sit now in my favorite chair in the den, bare feet resting on a worn leather footstool, shoes set out to dry.
Writing spontaneously tonight I have no lofty ideas, nor great accomplishments to share, other than finding a cute coral-colored, gold-lined raincoat to bring a splash of color to a grey day. Thank you Mr. OTN for being my shopping buddy today 😉
The flames in the fireplace chatter and the warmth reaches out to touch the sides of my legs. I hear the ticking of a distant clock and the clink of ice cubes as Mr. OTN raises his glass to drink from the iced coffee I made for him this evening. We take care of one another, hubby and I 🙂
He is sprawled out on the couch, reading. Big dog Sasha is in her usual place at his feet, half hidden by the beaten up old trunk that serves as our coffee table. Little dog Cozy wanders restlessly in and out of the room a few times (always missing her mama) before finally settling down at my feet.
Being with my hubby and the pups brings me great happiness. This new(ish) home isn’t as busy as our lake house was, or as noisy as the house our children grew up in, but it is still filled with life. This last week we had out-of-town company, old friends and new, and they were just the beginning of a month of visitors yet to come.
But tonight our home is still and we are at peace in our togetherness.
Our den is like a cocoon with warm caramel colored walls to surround us and a plush oriental rug in rich creams, browns, reds, and greens beneath our feet. The oversized leather couch (large enough for two to nap, one on each end) is filled with plump pillows. Tables, lamps, and comfy side chairs make this room a favorite place for good conversation.
Items old and new adorn the twin bookcases flanking the doorway to the living room behind me. Treasures saved from both our childhoods and collected on our travels together.
The mantle is topped with an antique mirror from our old house on the lake. It was the first piece we bought for that house and it’s also a perfect fit right here. Simple Fall decor adorns either side of the mirror and rustic old corbels rest on the hearth.
Baskets on the floor hold reading materials and cozy blankets, and there are large floor pillows for pulling up in front of the fire. The den is our most used room during Fall and Winter.
It’s peaceful here tonight. Darkness encloses our home in the trees. The rain has slowed to a drizzle. I feel safe, warm, and dry. I also feel loved. Loved by my hubby, the pups, and loved by God.
So where would I rather be on this drizzly Saturday night? When I began to write this evening I thought that I’d rather be in a tropical place, walking barefoot beside the sea on a clear and starry night, warm breezes blowing around all me. But I’ve changed my mind. After all of this reflection I realize that there is no better place to be than right where I am!
Wherever you are as you read this I hope you’ll take time to realize the beauty of living in the now before it slips away.
Sometimes I get SO distracted. As I began creating a Fall arrangement for my dining room table I decided that I must have one of those large acorns for the arrangement that would go on my kitchen counter. I traveled to the kitchen and began arranging that bowl and soon realized that I needed one of the white pumpkins I’d placed there for the small terrarium on my kitchen table.
It didn’t stop there. From those three arrangements I took some velvet pumpkins up to our guest rooms and, lo and behold, I noticed that the tray in the blue room had tarnished handles!
Downstairs again , I pulled out the silver polish.
Note: This is seriously the best silver polish ever. It literally melts tarnish away.
Realizing the bottle was running low I decided to use it up. Thus began the gathering and polishing of more silver pieces, and then some more, and then some more, until I had polished every piece of silver on the main floor of my house!
In the end, my three Fall arrangements were still a shambles.
Last week I shared a bit of my heart with you HERE and honestly, I can’t begin to express how blessed I am to have readers like you, who responded with such an abundance of encouragement.
I shouldn’t be amazed . . . but I am . . . by how much God cares about our feelings. He made us for each other, to love one another, as a way of showing His love for us.
With all of the encouragement I received I honestly began to feel so bad that I had made y’all feel bad (especially since some of you are struggling with much harder things than I am) that I started to write something funny today to make everyone feel better! Then I realized that the right thing to do is to just say THANK YOU!
Can I brag on God a little more? Do you remember my mentioning that I miss having friends who live near enough to message and say, “Do you want to meet for a cuppa’ Joe?” Within a few hours of my post appearing on Facebook I received a comment asking that very question. That message came from an acquaintance, a friend-of-a-friend, someone I’d met only once at a lunch where we’d sat at opposite ends of the table.
So though I felt a little bit embarrassed, and a little nervous, and a little bad that I made anyone feel sorry for me, because honestly I’m not an attention seeking type of person, I said, “Yes”.
Do any of you remember how easy it was to make friends when we were little girls, when all of the complications of being grown women didn’t get in the way of connecting quickly? This was like that! I believe that this is just the beginning of a great good friendship.
Another way God encouraged me this week was at the grocery store where I was greeted warmly by a woman from the church we’ve attended these past two Sundays. After feeling like a stranger in our new town for the past year you can imagine how good it felt to see a familiar face and to be recognized by someone.
Within the last few days I feel like God has been stripping away sadness like tarnish from silver and I have renewed hope for this new adventure we’re on.
The last thing I want to tell you about is the most important, and what I believe was the catalyst for change. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie War Room, but even before I penned my sad post, Mr. OTN spent time in his “war room” praying to God on my behalf. He prayed as hard as he’s ever prayed, even begging God for answers (begging God is not something he’s very comfortable with but he was desperate. You see, he has been feeling the sadness too and even wondering if he made the right decision in moving us here).
Shortly afterwards, while sitting on our screened porch, he received a very real (repeat VERY REAL) assurance from God that everything is going to be okay.
Hubby chose the church we would go to that very Sunday, saying that he had a good feeling about it. I must say that this is the friendliest church I’ve ever been to and after a couple of weeks there I’m feeling cautiously optimistic. I know, where’s my faith right? Lord???
As I sit on the screened porch this evening with the fragrance of Gardenias drifting across my yard, I’m aware of the many ways God works in our lives to encourage us. Sometimes it’s the little things, like the smell of flowers or hummingbirds at the feeder. Sometimes it’s through the people He sends our way.
In my sadness I think I may have missed some of His smiles lately. Like I said, sometimes I get SO distracted.
I HEART y’all VERY much!
P.S. You know life can’t be too bad when one has so much silver to polish. 😉
I have been know to link to the following Inspirational Parties:
Wednesdays A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Wednesday Prayer Girls Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesdays A Little R & R Whole Hearted Home So Much at Home Mom’s Morning Coffee Women with Intention Coffee for Your Heart Capture Your Journey
Thursdays Serving Joyfully/Thriving Thursdays The Deliberate Mom/Shine Blog Hop I Choose Joy Live Free Thursday Thought Provoking Thursday Imparting Grace
Fridays A Look at the Book Christian Mommy Blogger Fellowship Fridays Blessing Counters Missional Women Faith Filled Fridays Faith & Fellowship Bloghop Grace & Truth Linkup Grace&TruthSharingRedemption’sStories Dance With Jesus The Weekend Brew
Saturdays Still Saturday The Weekend Brew Saturday Soiree Recommendation Saturday Make My Saturday Sweet
Sundays Spiritual Sundays Sunday Stillness