Vintage finds: Mid-century chair, curtains, & more

Kid size roll top desk

I am long overdue for a vintage finds post! We have acquired several new things around here worth talking about.

First, this cute little roll top desk and chair for Elise. It came from Dan’s grandparents’ house, and he remembers playing with it as a kid, but I believe it was his aunt’s as a child. The finish is a bit rough. I had to perform furniture surgery on the chair and the drawers, but I think I’m going to leave the rest of it as is. Elise is so excited to have a little desk to work at. More on that in a later post, maybe.

Mid-century modern barkcloth curtains

I also saved this pair of mid-century modern barkcloth curtains from my grandma’s house. Sort of “atomic” in style? They have a bit of faint age- or sun-staining, but I haven’t tried to wash them yet to see what comes out. I might try them out in one of my workspaces? They are short, and I only have the pair, so they wouldn’t really fit anywhere else.

Mid-century modern upholstered chair

I love love this this mid-century modern chair we inherited from Dan’s grandparents. Problem is, I don’t really know where to put it. Something has to go in order for it to stay, and I can’t seem to make that puzzle work right now. It needs new cushions, but I don’t want to invest in that until I can figure out where it’s going.

Vintage stool with brass legs

And last, but not least, I scored this brassy stool for $1 at the Goodwill Outlet. A dollar! It needs reupholstering for sure, but I’m planning on using it in the upstairs bathroom if/when we ever finish that stupid room.

Summer kids craft: Painted stepping stones

Summer kids craft: Painted stepping stones

Who’s ready for an outdoor kid craft? Elise had been asking to paint, so I came up with this simple project to keep her busy one afternoon. She talked about it for days afterward, so it must have made an impact!

Dollar stepping stones from the hardware store

We found the rectangular stepping stones for $1 each at the hardware store. They are about 8″x16″, but different sizes and shapes are also available. For paint, we just used latex leftovers I had from other projects.

Painting concrete stepping stones

We watered down the latex paint to something like two parts paint, one part water. I found the darker colors you could water down quite a bit and still maintain the intensity of the color. The lighter colors, we didn’t thin quite so much.

FYI: this was just a fun kid art project, and I am not concerned with how the paint will weather. If the stones fade or peel, we will paint them again. If you wanted to do this to an actual patio or sidewalk, you should use special concrete paint. (Valspar makes a good one.) Fair warning.

Painting concrete stepping stones

To keep things simple, we painted one color per stone. Elise did most of the work, and I came up behind her to brush out the drips and cover the edges.

Rainbow painted stepping stones

After they dried, we set them in the ground in front of the playhouse. They ended up being a bit uneven, which I didn’t notice until I was taking photos. But they aren’t a tripping hazard, so I think I’m just going to embrace the imperfection of it all.

Painted concrete stepping stones

I sorta wish we could paint a million of these and make a Candyland-like trail through the backyard. Wouldn’t that be fun? #yeahthatsnevergonnahappen

Rainbow stepping stones

Summer kid craft: Painted stepping stones

#STL250 cake hunting update


Have you been following our STL250 cake hunting adventures on Instagram?

We’re up to 126 cakes as of Saturday, just over halfway to 250 cakes. We’ve seen so many, but we still have a long way to go. Elise starts Kindergarten in just one month (!), so we’re trying to collect as many as possible before then. Wish us luck!

109-Skyview 120-CID 122-Union-Station 126-Ameren

Curb appeal: Painting concrete porch stairs

Painting the stairs to match the porch

Little by little, I’m still working on our house’s curb appeal. It’s a never ending project, really. I finish one thing, and then something else surfaces. There are large projects we still need to tackle like the front sidewalk, and nevermind that brown splotch of dead grass. We have these crazy two-foot-tall weeds that just will not go away. Had to bring out the weed killer.

But here’s a small project that I finished in two painting sessions of less than an hour each.

Painting concrete porch steps

So now looking at the photos, some of you may not even realize what has transpired here. Sorry the before and after is not so dramatic, but this has been on my radar for quite some time. Our concrete porch stairs were a pre-made set of steps we got from a local manufacturer. We installed them three years ago when we repaired our concrete porch, but they’ve always looked detached. Like an add-on.

Painting porch steps - Before

My goal always was to paint them the same color as the porch, and I finally (finally!) made time for that. I bought another gallon of paint in the same color (Valspar’s Mossy Aura in their non-skid concrete paint), cleaned off the stairs, and knocked it out.

Painted porch stairs

I was planning to use a small roller, but ended up just painting the whole thing with a brush. There were a lot of edges and details and it didn’t make sense to dirty the roller for such a small surface area.

The paint said to wait 24 hours between coats (which I did), but I found in the heat and the sunlight, it dried a lot faster than expected. In fact, during the second coat, it started drying before my eyes and I couldn’t tell where I had painted and where I hadn’t.

Cracked front walk

Oh, hey, hello, dead weeds and cracked sidewalks. We still have a lot of to-do left on the to-do list. I hear the city is planning to re-do our street’s curbs and sidewalks this summer, so I am waiting to see how that goes before we start ripping into our front walk.

Want all the details on painting concrete?
Travel back in time three years to when I painted the porch >>

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Tree ring planter and backyard update

Hollow tree log planter

This is our sixth year in this house, and my fourth or fifth season for improving our backyard. (I don’t think I did a single thing to the yard last year. Did you know when you have a baby you get a year off from yardwork? It’s a fact.)

I’ve talked about the state of our backyard before. I plant things, they die. This is what happens. It’s my specialty.

This space has been an uphill battle for years, and it’s still not a place we can spend a lot of time in (no privacy fences, no deck). Yet every time I clean out a load of weeds or pull invasive vines off the fences, I feel like we’re making some sort of progress.


But the one thing that has made the most difference this season? Filling the space up with things that aren’t actually alive. The girls got a playhouse for their birthdays, my mom gave me a bird bath, and my dad gave me a tree ring “planter” he cut from a log. (More on that below.)

None of this is revolutionary or fancy, but they’ve dotted the yard with focal points and kind of takes your eyes off all the plants that don’t look like much from far away. Our yard is deceptively large, and small plants don’t make much of an impact.

Hollow log

Anyway, about that tree ring planter. My parents had some large trees taken down at their house, one of which was completely hollow on the inside. My dad cut the log into chunks and voilà, planter.

Tree stump flower planter

Elise wanted to bury a treasure inside, so we filled up a can (from some fancy hot chocolate) with rocks we found in the yard and set it in the log before topping up with potting soil. I don’t really know what we were doing here, but fun is fun.

Rock collection as treasure Kids backyard treasure Burying backyard treasure Planting flowers in hollow tree

Tree ring planter