February’s Projects…Month Six!

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It was stashed in the corner of a thrift store covered in dust and sitting in the midst of a miscellaneous collection of unwanted furniture. Oh no…it was calling my name!

What would I do with it? Where would I put it? There had already been too many pieces of furniture that had whispered my name, I gave into the call, and then brought them home.

Douglas and I had been visiting our son, Nicholas, during his first year in college (2013). Nicholas had discovered thrift stores and realized he could find good deals on clothes if he just took the time to look.

During our visit, we told Nicholas we would buy him a few things if he wanted to take the time to go shopping with us. He was on board and we visited several thrift stores in the downtown area. It was at the last store when I saw IT. A cute maple-stained table with a simple design. Not too big, not too small, but just right.

I showed the table to Douglas and he liked it. He was as aware as I was that we already had too many pieces of rescued furniture in our home and asked me where we would put it. I didn’t have an answer. “You don’t need it,” I told myself and walked away.

On the five hour drive back home, the image of the quaint table was plastered in my mind. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I told this to Douglas.

“We are not driving back to get it,” he replied.

So, I called Nicholas and explained to him about the table, where I had seen it, what it looked like, and asked if he could go get it. The store had already closed for the day, but Nicholas assured me he would go over to the store during the following week and get the table if it was still there.

Until I got the call from him, I had an anxious knot in my stomach. I was afraid someone else would get the table before he made it back to the store.

My fears were for naught because he called me about mid-week and told me he got the table! This cute little table now sits in the corner of my sewing room!

Project 1 – Hallway Table

The thrift store table was the inspiration for a table Douglas made me for my classroom in 2014. Following the basic design of the maple-stained table, he adjusted the measurements in length and width to fit a certain spot in my room.

The table worked great in my classroom for the next two years. When I became an instructional science coach, I no longer needed the table at work, so I brought it home.

It has been in several different locations in our house but now is in the entryway/hallway. The current location is adjacent to my sewing room and I keep my quilting rulers on top of it.

Over the past several months of the School Year Challenge, I have completed several painting projects (chalk painting, spray painting, and painting with a brush).

Staining wood is another method for refurbishing furniture that I want to learn how to do. At the time Douglas made the table, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to paint or stain it. So he used stain-quality wood. However, I never made a decision on how to finish it.

This hallway table was the bonus project for January, but it is going to be the first project for February. My plan is to stain it and apply a protective clear coat on the top.

Project 2 – Clarity

In addition to the painting projects, I’ve also done several sewing projects (a Christmas tree skirt, apron, camera strap, pajama bottoms, and pillows).

I have slowly come to realize that I would much rather be working with fabric than with paint. So as I tried to figure out what other project I wanted to work on in February, my mind went to fabrics.

Many refurbishing projects still to be done around the house are fabric related but there are a few reasons I haven’t done any of them yet.

First, I have no idea what type of fabric I want! This is in reference to the type of a fabric, color, and pattern. Thankfully, the fabric on each piece I have acquired somehow has coordinated with all the other pieces so it isn’t like my home is completely uncoordinated.

Second, fabric is expensive! While some are small projects, like recovering footstools and seat covers, others are large projects such as reupholstering couches and chairs. Douglas and I have been trying to meet some financial goals so budgets for the School Year Challenge projects so far have been fairly limited.

Third, it has been difficult for me to settle on any final vision for the main room where this furniture goes. The room is large (18′ x 32′) and has a large fireplace in the middle with a sliding glass door on either side. The panoramic picture distorts the room a bit, but you can see many of the pieces that need to be reupholstered ( mid-century-ist flowered sectional, chair seats, 1970’s gold couch, and green chair to the far right).

Painting the rooms in our home is on the to-do list, too, but Douglas and I don’t know what color(s). We have also talked about doing something to update the fireplace. When it is all done, we want the furniture fabric, paint, and any other renovation projects to all work together.

Before the end of the School Year Challenge (May or June), I want to begin working on reupholstering the furniture.

With so many current unknowns on what this will actually look like when it is done, the second project for February will be to gain clarity on what Douglas and I want our largest living space to look like at the end of any renovations we do.

My plan is to use a combination of online resources, print resources, and real people to research and gather ideas.

Planning and Accountability

My Project Wall is up and ready to serve as a reminder for what I want to iccomplish* in February.

The monthly view for February is filled out in my planner for all obligations and appointments I need to attend as well as for the personal goals and projects I want to iccomplish*.

The first full week of February has been time-blocked to the best of my ability. It was challenging for me to make specific time commitments for certain tasks but I at least I got them all written down.


There are a couple of things that needed to be included in the budget and $70 should be enough for those items.

Stain and a clear top coat are the only two items I think I will need to complete the table. $20.00 should be enough to cover the cost of both items.

Fabric swatches will be the rest of the budget. Spoonflower is a website that has thousands of custom designs that can be printed on fabric, wallpaper, and wrapping paper. They have about 30 different types of fabric and one of their purchase options is swatches that are 8″ x 8″.

The remaining $50.00 of the budget will go toward fabric swatches if my search for clarity leads me to find out more about the texture of different fabrics.

Only 24 days left to get my act together…ready, set, go!

Read the previous post in the School Year Challenge.

Read the next post in the School Year Challenge.

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