I used to think in my early twenties that I would either make a go of the world, let go of my black and white, get elbow deep into the muck of the world, or move to Vermont...
I used to think in my early twenties that I would either make a go of the world, let go of my black and white, good vs. bad thinking, get elbow deep into the muck of the world, or move to Vermont... read more here

Author Archives: Lisa

Plumbing Pipe Table – A Table for Twelve!

Plumbing Pipe Table – A Table for Twelve!

I am pretty impatient when it comes to projects.  So this summers table project is like a miracle of perseverance…  It all started 4 years ago as serendipity would have it, when out of the corner of my eyes I saw something moving out the window and watched as one of our very tall and large cherry trees fell over in our backyard.  I couldn’t believe it was happening, there was no storm, no wind, it just fell.  Thankfully no one was out there.  It fell right beside our chicken coop, happily not on it.

Well there were three more cherry trees in the same mound, large and tall.  We knew we just had to take them down.  A tree service came and took them down for us and then we had them milled into boards and sold some of the boards to make up for the cost of having the trees taken down.  The rest of the cherry boards have sat and rested for 4 years.

Cherry tree that fell down among cherry trees we cut down.

 

Stack of boards milled from our Cherry trees.

 

My husband Kevin thought it would be great someday to make a farm table from some of those boards.  I thought it sounded like a nice idea, but also like a lot of work and a lot of time.  Time is not something we have a lot of at the moment.

As many of you know we have 7 sons ages 15 to 2.  Over this past year it has grown increasingly obvious that we have outgrown our kitchen table.  It seems as if every night either Kevin or I (depending who is last to the table) is without a seat.  We used benches as a way to eek out a few more spots at the table, and if we had visitors I would often just add another smaller table we had to the end.  Knowing the kids were only going to get bigger, not smaller, I diligently searched Craigslist for a fairly inexpensive but bigger and thinner table to replace it.  Each time I thought I had found the right table, it ended up already being taken or located ridiculously far away.

The turning point came in early June when after feeling exasperated by my Craigslist search, I google searched table base ideas. Really if we were even going to consider making a table the base of it was key for me.  With so many little boys and now bigger boys pushing on that table I knew the base needed to be strong and well put together for it to be sturdy.  I found the brilliant idea (on Pinterest of course) of using plumbing pipe for a table base.  You just screw the pieces together and then use screws to attatch it to your table top. I thought to myself for the first time:  “OK, I think we can do this…”.

So at the beginning of the summer we started this project and just a couple of days ago we finally finished it.  Kevin did most of the structural work and I did all of the finishing work.

It was an exercise in patience.  Lots of starts and stops, backtracking, waiting for time, playing with kids and living life instead.  By the time we were ready to put the base on the table top this past week, I had had it and was ready to quit!  We really don’t have a lot of time for a project like this, with so many kids and their needs (like being fed at least 3x a day) and so forth.  So we would work for 15 minutes here, a half hour there, etc.  For someone who likes to do projects and do them quickly it was a challenge to put it mildly.

Here are some photos I took along the way…

Planing the Cherry boards.

 

Chiseling the supports for underneath.

 

My little inlay like method of filling the cracks.  I took the chips of cherry that Kevin made when chiseling out notches for the bottom braces and pushed them into the cracks with glue on them.  I later took a chisel and chiseled them off to make it even with the boards.

 

Sanding out in the sugar shack with all the mosquitos… (Kevin said they didn’t really bother him, but whenever I went out to check on the progress they loved me!)

 

Re-working the bottom braces as we measured wrong and needed to make them farther apart to fit the pipe leg base we were making.

 

And more sanding…

 

Really the top of the table is what took the majority of the time.  After all the sanding and filling, I used General Finishes Water Based Top Coat for the finish.  I had been really unhappy with the minwax I have use in the past, so I researched water based finishes and this one had great reviews.  I would definitely follow the directions they use on their website for application, and not just use a foam brush.  The finish came out great and wasn’t hard to apply at all once I got the hang of it.

The plumbing pipe part took measuring, buying the black iron pipe at Lowes (we decided to make our base with the standard sizes they had, though we could have had them cut and thread the pipe to suit our sizes.  Kevin thought it was just easier to go with the standard sizes.)  After buying the pipe Kevin cleaned off the oily residue they have on them with Naptha, then we put it together and I used 2 coats of black rustoleum spray paint to give it a more cast iron look to match our wood stove.  If you want more info about what plumbing parts to use, etc., we loosely based our design on this tutorial.

And here it is finally finished!

 

From the top with all our chairs and some pretty hydrangeas from our yard:

 

 

Facing the livingroom… 

 

…and facing the kitchen.

 

We now have three extra spaces at our table instead of one too few and can fit 8 chairs and two benches at it.  We still have one son away at Cross Country Camp, so the whole family hasn’t quite eaten together at our new nice and long cherry board plumbing pipe table.  I am so so so happy with how it turned out and I am even more happy that the whole process is OVER  and we can now just enjoy it.

With love from Vermont,

~Lisa

New every morning.

New every morning.

This summer living in our house are 2 adults, 2 teens, 2 tweens, 1 elementary schooler, 1 preschooler, and a toddler.  Can you see how many different “agendas” that might create? Yeah half way through summer I am laying to rest my quest for balance.  As much as I have striven for it, life is just having none of it.

These are our daylilies right behind the adorable children… (one of my favorite pictures from when we had just 4 little Laverty’s.)  The previous owners of our home planted these bulbs and they grow into a little natural rail to our front porch in the summer. They start blooming around the 4th of July and keep going all through the month of July and into the beginning of August.:

Kevin has been known to share the interesting fact that they are edible and as evidence plop an entire bloom into his mouth and then chew and swallow it in front of our visitors (only the bright orange daylilies are edible by the way, not any other kind). We’ve stuffed daylily blooms with chicken salad for the occasional “tea time”.  It looks so fancy and our humble little flowers turn into an elegant and tasty treat!

But what I’ve learned to love the very most about this beautiful, fiery colored summer flower this last month is that just like their name says, they are “day” lilies. They bloom for just one day.  By the time the day is done they are closed up, wilted, and done. And then like magic, the next day another bud on the stalk takes it place and breaks out in bloom.  This pattern continues day after day after day for about 6 weeks.

I usually don’t pick the daylilies to put in vases because they don’t last long.  I’d prefer to put together a nice bouquet that will last for at least a week, but this summer the zinnias I usually rely on for picking flowers didn’t get planted till much later, so I didn’t have a lot of choice about what to cut and bring in.  Desperate for a little color and freshness one day, I decided to try the daylilies.

I went outside, clipped 3 fresh blooms off the stalk and put them in water in this little blue canning jar/vase:

Then the next morning when they were instead 3 drooping spent flowers I threw them out and started again.

There is something about enjoying the blooms each day on our kitchen table and knowing that by end of day they will be done.  It reminds me to enjoy the present and that things don’t last forever, even bad things (like cranky kids x7 who want what they want right now or my own sometimes irritated/overwhelmed moods), and most importantly that I too can be “new” every morning.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is thy faithfulness.  ~Lamentations 3:22-23

Here’s to a new day friends!

With love from mid-summer in Vermont,

~Lisa

Choosing Each Other.

Choosing Each Other.

I often think, when I see Jesus on the cross, about the pain of Mary… Why didn’t God just come into the world alone?  Why did he use one of us?  He could have redeemed us from this often difficult world all by himself without pain and a mum, but he didn’t… He knew thatContinue Reading

The Sun Peaks Through – A Wedding and a Funeral

The Sun Peaks Through – A Wedding and a Funeral

Life was so divinely orchestrated yesterday, I felt like I was a character in a movie.  First I attended the funeral of a good friend who at 76 passed away last week.  She shared my love of Jesus, was a model of childlike faith, perseverance, and how to be a loving spouse and mother. IContinue Reading

Life… It’s an Act of Faith & Love

Life… It’s an Act of Faith & Love

So I sent six of my children off to school this morning on faith…  Yesterday, unfortunately like in so many places on different days in our world, our high school and many surrounding schools in town were in lockdown because of threats of violence at our very large high school.  My oldest son spent theContinue Reading

From Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday, VT Maple Sugaring 2017

From Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday, VT Maple Sugaring 2017

Our maple sugaring season here in Vermont tends to overlap some with Lent each year.  This year it happened to coincide perfectly.  We missed one run of sap in late February, our trees weren’t tapped as we had too many other things on our plate to get them in by then.  But by Ash WednesdayContinue Reading

My Mother’s Blue Eyes

I haven’t really thought about the light blue of my mother’s eyes since I last saw them 18 years ago.  Closer to my memory is the sound of her laugh, the harmony of our voices singing in alto side by side in our pew at Mass.  I often feel like I hear her now whenContinue Reading

Mom, the Pats Won the World Series

Mom, the Pats Won the World Series

Ummm and yes that was my title till my lovely husband corrected me.  Ha ha!  Properly humbled. Hi Mom, I thought it might be a good idea to write down some of the stuff we were talking about this morning.  Well the biggest thing of course is that the Patriots won the Super Bowl lastContinue Reading

Calm in the Storm…

Calm in the Storm…

Years and years ago I was 23, I lived on my own in a big old apartment with french doors that had skeleton keys and I worked three part time jobs to pay for the luxury of my very own personal space.  I ate ramin noodles and ice cream most days and learned to beContinue Reading

A Prayer for My Son, A Prayer for Our World…

A Prayer for My Son, A Prayer for Our World…

We have this little box with a sliding lid that we keep prayers for dinner in.  I made it years ago when the older kids were younger and we were just starting a tradition of saying a blessing before dinner.  Some of the prayers the kids made up over the years and others I collectedContinue Reading

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