Sunday, November 11, 2018

We proudly present the arrival of Finley Dianne

Finley Dianne born on October 30, 2018

Many of you may already know that we erected Ionia's first Little Free Library in honor of (my mother) Dianne who passed away of cancer a couple of years ago. Today we would like to PROUDLY introduce you to her namesake (and her fifth great-grandchild) Finley Dianne.

Finley arrived on October 30, 2018, weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces and 20 inches long.

Don't forget to visit the Little Free Library where the books are always FREE. It is located on the corners of Welton and Railroad streets (behind the Health Department) and right across from the river trail in beautiful historic Ionia, Michigan.

To learn more about the Little Free Library Movement please visit

Ionia, Michigan's First Little Free Library


Ionia, Michigan's first Little Free Library, Charter Number 53859 is lovingly dedicated to the memory of Dianne Yurisich Laird, (7-21-1942 to 4-11-2016) and was established in July of 2017. The Little Free Library has been in operation since that date and continues to provide free books for all ages.
Dianne was a long time resident of Ionia and shared both her love of reading and her giving heart with family and friends throughout her lifetime.  

To honor Dianne's memory, her family, Elizabeth (Beth) Moore (daughter), Erin Robinson-Woods, Caitlin Robinson, Cydney Robinson (granddaughters), Jack Wickham, Seth Woods, Rozlin and Liam Vasquez (great-grandchildren), Sally Pierce, Kathleen Mitchell (sisters) as well as other family (Justin Kohler) and friends were all instrumental in making this community project happen in her memory.

To learn more about the Little Free Library Movement please visit

Friday, February 1, 2013

Refinish an Old Knotty Pine Dining Table: The Story

Seventeen years ago, I purchased a big sturdy knotty pine dining room table with four chairs at a furniture store in my town that was going out of business. I think I paid 4 or 5 hundred bucks for the set and it has served my family well (although we are constantly pulling extra chairs up to it to seat all of us) over the years. As you can imagine however, it's seen a lot of miles, three daughters, and four grandchildren later, the soft pine wood top was more than a little worn and the once white chairs with pine seats had yellowed (I tried EVERYTHING to keep the white, white, but as the years passed the chairs were impossible to clean). Here's what the table looked like after all seventeen years worth of use:

and here is a close up of the top of the table in all of it's scratched up glory (and yes, that is a part of a birthday cake in the photo, I didn't think to take any staged photos before the refinishing began):

At any rate, once our kitchen/dining/living room remodels got underway, I decided that it was a great time to create an even BIGGER mess in the house by also refinishing this table and chairs (as well as a coffee table, two end tables, two side tables and a media center, but that's a whole lot of other stories!!).

I started the project by slathering on a TON of of paint/varnish remover like so:

and since I was working inside I used that orange citrus remover to prevent killing myself and my animals in the process of refinishing...

After I scraped off the old finish I got out an old palm sander that I had for probably the same number of years I owned this table and got to work... but frankly sanding sucks and so did that palm sander, so then I ran (ok, ok, I DROVE because it's FASTER and I am too outta shape to actually RUN) to my local Menards and bought this bad boy (one of my new favorite toys!!)

This little gem is a finishing/orbital/palm sander all rolled into one neat little package and I am IN LOVE...thus the refinishing of TONS of furniture ensued after the purchase of the Black and Decker Complete Sanding Kit (retails at about 60 bucks), you can read about it right here. I think this sander changed my life... no kidding!

At any rate, I sanded the table and the chairs like so (yes that is my kitchen remodel project in the background before it was completed)...

Then I mixed my own concoction of light walnut and mahogany stain (I wanted a darker finished to match the rest of the wood furniture in my house) to do the table and chair seats, hauled the chair frames outside and spray painted them white... and TA-DA!!!

I think this baby is ready for another decade at least, don't you?  In fact, I'm so proud of my "new" table and chairs that I am entering the following link parties:

Miss Mustard Seed
Liz Marie
The Shabby Creek Cottage
House of Hepworth's 
Redoux Interiors
The Shabby Nest
DIY Showoff
Funky Junk Interiors
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