Eat your heart out, Pottery Barn.

Recently a  friend sent me a link to this song which, she wrote, reminds her of me.

I was touched. This song was a gift because I hadn’t really thought about myself as the person she sees in me. Not only was it a pleasant surprise, it was a huge encouragement.

Now that I think about it, this past year my life has looked nothing like it used to- and it’s felt far more like fun than like hard work, probably because of a ‘can-do’ attitude. It turns out that I can be a stay-at-home mom. I can wear silly hats and costumes and be a children’s worship leader/entertainer. I can navigate my way through a herd of water buffalo and highland cattle (?!) who are licking my car in a drive-thru safari park.  Yep, that happened.

It turns out, I can also dabble in furniture restoration.

One of the perks of my new-found autonomy is that I’ve allowed myself to go Pinterest crazy as we furnish our new home. So when someone was getting rid of this desk and asked if we wanted it, my answer was, ‘Yes, please!’

Desk Before


The desk was gouged, covered in water rings, and smelled a little funky. And there was bubblegum stuck on the bottom. But one thing I’ve learned in my web-surfing is that when upcycling furniture, go with things which you like the shape of and are in functional condition. Cosmetic problems like color, and shine, and (sometimes) smell can be fixed. Much like life, no?

It seemed like a good excuse to try making my own chalk paint. So I mustered up my courage and started sanding. I settled on the baking soda-based recipe after spending about five minutes- the current length of my attention span- unsuccessfully searching for plaster of paris and unsanded grout at the hardware store. As I sanded, slapped on the layers of paint, sanded again, varnished, and waxed I learned a few other things about myself:

  1. I should remember that I can more often. In reality this desk has been sitting, stained and smelly, in my house for about 8 months. Why on earth didn’t I do this sooner?
  2.  I probably need to work on this whole short attention span thing. Because the first layer of paint, where I estimated ratios and brushed away as quickly as I could, was not good.
  3.  I probably need to work on this whole short attention span thing because it turns out I’m a closet perfectionist. As I began to enjoy the project, I found myself actually wanting to go over every corner, sand down the rough spots again, apply another coat of paint or stain. I was having fun.
  4.  In the end, good enough is good enough. This desk was never going to be perfect, no matter how hard I sanded. Now when I look at it, I like it for its unique imperfections. It’s the same desk it always was- but some fresh air, a new color, and a little polish has given it a whole new outlook. Much like life, no?

Chalk paint desk

Not bad for $5 and a bit of elbow grease!

Ok, so it’s been a long time since we shared. What are you discovering you can do lately?


2 thoughts on “Eat your heart out, Pottery Barn.

  1. Wow! Great upcycling :-)
    So, I’m discovering I can run a business as well as my house. And, that I can create three tiered decorative/novelty cakes myself (having always left cake decoration to Bryn) that are allergy friendly but good enough for ‘normal’ people! If you’d told me a year ago….!!
    Big smiles. Xx

    • That’s awesome! B has a friend who is gf- might be asking for recipe advice at some point… Birthday party planning was a fun challenge!

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