Uh Oh. Here We Go Again. 🙄

I have one of those ideas in my head that I should ignore.  But I don’t think I’m going to.  Uh oh.  Here we go again.

me, two years ago just before Christmas when I decided to build bookcases in my dining room.

It has been exactly 2 weeks since my house has looked like the bottom of a dumpster. I’ve been out of a major mess, (after finishing my new, old dining room floors) for exactly 14 days. That mess involved floor sanding, floor finishes, paint trays, paint brushes, stained clothing and plastic hanging in my doorways to contain the sawdust blizzard to one room.

I am always in a mess.  Not sometimes, not usually, – always.  Mainly always anyway.  I’m definitely in a  mess more often than I’m not in a mess, as anyone who has ever come into my house on any day other than the day a magazine is shooting here will tell you.

And actually even then it’s a mess, but it’s not my mess, it’s the photographer’s mess.

Let’s review just a few of the messes I’ve gotten myself into over the past couple of years shall we?


A Look Back at Some of My Extraordinary Messes


This is my backyard mess from building my pizza oven.


This is the mess from building my library/dining room bookcases 2 Christmases ago. It’s actually the clean up of the first mess (putting in the bookcases), before the starting of the second mess (cutting and installing the trim and crown mouldings).



The redoing my kitchen mess.  I remember it fondly.


The more recent “I’m just going to pull up one floor board to see what’s under here mess.”


The “I really like what’s under those floorboards, I’m gonna rip up ALL THE FLOORS IN MY HOUSE!!!“, mess.

This is just a small sampling you understand and doesn’t include less significant messes like tearing out walls.

Now, with Christmas just moments away I’m considering getting into another mess.  It’s my dining room table.  I love my dining room table. I had it custom made from antique barnboard. The entire tabletop is only 2 boards.  One of those boards is  27″ wide!

My dining room table at Christmas a few years ago. The photo is desaturated a little bit, so the table is actually more orange in real life.

But when I had the table made I thought the man making it would leave the original patina.  I mean, that’s why you buy 150 year old pieces of wood, right?  But he didn’t. He sanded that wood down to a glossy new finish and I’ve been disappointed with it ever since.  He did a beautiful job finishing it and building it. It’s a masterpiece.  It just isn’t exactly what I wanted. I wanted a table made of old wood that looked old.  But I didn’t convey that well enough. Also.  It’s orange.  That’s the thing about pine.  Finish it in any way other than a water based finish and your lovely pale pine goes orange.

From the day it landed in my house I’ve said I was going to refinish the table eventually.  And now I don’t think I can stop myself from doing it.  I want to strip off the finish and stain and bring it back to a natural wood.  Right now.  Moments before Christmas.  I blame it on my new/old dining room floor.  I love the floor so much and it’s the look I’ve always wanted for my dining room table.

I just don’t want the mess.

Have a good weekend!


  1. Jacquie Gariano says:

    I say go for it. What a wonderful gift for yourself for Christmas and consider how wonderful it will look on Christmas morn for BKF.
    My late husband and I did our kitchen over totally one year. The guys were great. They stripped the kitchen to the walls and then left to work on the cabinates at their shop and left us with a microwave to cook with but no sink or stove. We did still have the refer, thank goodness. A week and a half went by before they were back. They did such a great job we decided to add a new room off the living room as a family room. Tore out the wall and started in on the remodel. 3 weeks before Christmas. We had a sheet of plastic between the living room and the remodel. In Spokane, WA in Dec. Finished 5 days before we were expecting a family of 16 people for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner, etc. It was beautiful and we did have a great time, (after the mess). But it was touch and go during that time of “the remodel” So I say go for it.
    Also as a mess gift, (it helps to drink) I give you our family recipe for “Killer Eggnog” This is from my dear friend Ardys Haupt by way of her Aunt Marty Schumacher.
    Beat the yolks & whites of 1 dozen eggs separately. Pour together and add:
    1 pinch baking soda
    6 oz. rum
    about 4 cups of powdered sugar
    Beat into stiff batter
    add 2 qts half & half
    2 qts rye, bourbon, or brandy

    Stir and let set in refer over night
    Stir well and store in bottles ( I use screw tow bottles)
    Shake well before serving.

    Makes a lot. We frequently give some as gifts in fancy bottles.

    Forgive me Ardys, for giving away the secret, but I felt Karen needed this.

  2. PMMK says:

    My reaction to the first pic was, “OMG, it’s almost Christmas. WTF is she up to now?” But orange pine??? No. Just. No. The orange has got to go. Just do it!

  3. Marna says:

    You may make a mess, don’t we all, but YOU end up with something FANTASTIC! Can’t wait to see the end result! :)

  4. Lisa says:

    To with the the mess,it’s meant to be !😉

  5. judy says:

    is there any chance the craftsman did not finish the underside? I would rather switch to that if possible than shave off more of the present surface. If 90 million readers already suggested this -sorry…

  6. Idaho Girl says:

    May I just take a moment to say that you’re my favorite crazy person?

  7. Hillary says:

    Christmas isn’t for 2 1/2 weeks. You’ve got tons of time. And you’ll be so happy with the results! I can’t wait to see it.

  8. Raymonde says:

    You still have enough time! Go, go, go!!! :-)

  9. M J Korbol says:

    There’s not a doubt in my mind ~ YOU are doing it & I suspect at this very moment in time ~ you go girl‼️ I absolutely love your humorous, adventurous & creative spirit Karen❣️

  10. Lois says:

    This is what happens when you prepare for Christmas in November! Just saying😉. It doesn’t pay to decorate, bake and shop early so a girl can lolligag in December 😂. Have fun with your project. I am up to my armpits working on the basement reno because I took that stupid November Christmas challenge…haha!

  11. susang says:

    here’s a xmas decoration for your girls house

  12. Ann Brookens says:

    Hey, wasn’t this the whole point of the Christmas Pledge: leave December free to refinish your dining table before the festivities? It’s two weeks away…you have plenty of time! We believe in you, Karen! Have fun! Keep us posted! Make a mess!

  13. Darla says:

    I understand completely! It has to look out of place with the new floors.

  14. Stefanie Barrett says:

    Your photos inspire me and give me hope as we prepare to put new hardwood floors in our upstairs where EVERYTHING as to be boxed and moved. Hopefully our after photos will be as nice as yours! Thank you for inspiring me every week. Merry Christmas!

    • Karen says:

      thanks Stefanie! And good luck with your floors. That’s a HUGE pain to do anything like that on the bedroom floor! ~ karen!

  15. Jen says:

    I’ve often wondered if you were happy with the patina. Seriously! A beautiful table but of course you have to fix it now that the floors are done. This is a relatively small mess, if you think about it.

  16. Lianne says:

    Why seal it at all – why not leave it like the floors? Or stain it with the vinegar/steelwool formula?

    Love that strip gel that scraps off like a breeze – it’s so efficient. I vote do it!

    • Karen says:

      Yes I’ll be using something like circa 1850 or some gel remover. The floor actually does have a sealer and matte coat on it. So I’m proclaiming it raw based on the fact that it has no stain on it and nothing that changes the old patina at all. Which really isn’t the definition of raw, lol. But yes, that’s how I’d do the table as well. Possibly just wax. ~ karen!

      • Suzannelh says:

        I covered a walnut table with bowling alley wax, when my kids were young. It doesn’t turn white when it gets wet and very tough. When it got worn in places, just added more wax. Buffed with sheepskin drill topper disk. Gorgeous.

      • Karen says:

        Thanks! ~ karen

  17. Get a Festool sander with the vacuum attachment. You can take it down, in place, in under a half a day, ready for finishing. We use them for in-house and anything marine. Check out the Festool fan clubs all over social media. We even took down a marble countertop and cut the ogee, in place, in a 350K kitchen with no problems and no mess.

    I live in a constant state of construction, so I know how drug-like it is. We are restoring a 4 Square farm house on 20 trash filled acres. Go for it!

    • Karen says:

      I have a Festool sander. :) Love it. Didn’t get the vacuum attachment because I didn’t think I’d be doing that much sanding in my lifetime. Blink, blink. LOLOLOL! Yeah, I always think whatever project I’m doing is the last project I’ll need to do. Ha! ~ karen

  18. Megan Geiger says:

    I do believe we have the same sickness, as in I just stripped down my mantle instead of decorating it sickness. You just need to destroy the house a little to make it better, which is why my husband always threatens to bolt the furniture to the floor. I love the way your house looks so you should go for it but if you can contain the sickness wait till the new year. New Year new table.

  19. Katt Philipps says:

    Orange and cookies doesn’t quite sit right. I say go for it! Santa’s cookies need a better-finished table!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Art of Doing Stuff