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Sewing needles, a kitchen table, a walking baby…and input needed!

Does today’s post title sound like a hot mess?  Yeah, that’s my brain lately.  Jumping from one thing to another….and can’t focus on one thing longer than 2 seconds! Ha! ;)

But, I can’t help it.  I have been on a Halloween costume roll (and yes, all Halloween Costume Tutorials can be found HERE)…..but I have been sewing with spandex for a costume that I got really excited about, but dang it, my machine was being so stubborn and would NOT stitch correctly.  And believe me, I tried EVERYTHING.  I cleaned it, oiled it, adjusted settings, tried different stitches, etc. Grrrr!  I know some of you can relate….right?!?!?!  I finally found a solution, after hours of aggravation. Ack!  But I’ll tell you what I figured out when I share the costume —- and it’s a much easier solution than you might think!


You’d think that since my machine was making me cranky, that this would be true:

Haha!  Sometimes that’s true.  But not not lately.  Because who wants to clean house when your favorite hobby is giving you fits?! Ha!

Instead, I had to switch creative gears so that I didn’t toss something out the window.  So, Steve and I tackled a project in the bathroom.  And another in the front coat closet.  And are working on a big new kitchen table for our dining room. Haha! Nothing like piling on the projects!! ;)  Oh wait, do you remember me saying we bought this house in Oklahoma last spring (that was brand new) so that it wouldn’t need any new projects?  And so we could take a break after completely overhauling our last house??  Yeah, we thought we didn’t want so many projects to work on. (Here’s a list of projects and links of projects from the last house:  We painted the outside of the house, painted the inside walls and ceilings, replaced the fireplace, ripped out all the existing flooring on the main floor and installed hardwood, installed new exterior lights (I had no idea how easy this was until I installed these), re-painted some of the interior chandeliers, installed board and batten in the dining room, overhauled our entire kitchen (wow, that was a dramatic story that turned out SO WELL!), trimmed out every single window on the main and upper level (holy smokes, that took some time!), layed tile (in the powder bathroom, fireplace, and kitchen back splash) painted stripes on Connor’s bedroom wall, transformed a coat closet into a mudroom, painted and stained our oak banister, stained our oak bathroom cabinets, and a whole lot of other home decor projects that made this house our home-sweet-home! ) <—–Wow, that is quite a list!


However, once you start living in a space, you realize there are things you’d like to change to make it a little more perfect for you.  So, we’ve been sawing, painting, and drilling lately.  And we’ve realized that even if there’s nothing crucial that needs to be fixed, Steve and I just like making things.  It’s kind of our thing that we have really grown to love doing together.

Even if things break while doing them (just like my cranky sewing machine…).

***This picture was taken from my INSTAGRAM account here

And yes, that’s a broken screw.  And the other end of it is in the wall,

right where I needed to attach that towel hook. Boo.

Just a few days ago, we finally finished the base of our new kitchen table that we’ve been building.  We decided the rectangle table that we have now (which only fits 6 chairs), has seen better days.  But have you priced real wood kitchen tables lately??  Especially ones that seat 8 or more?  Wow!  We couldn’t find something that we really wanted for less than $1500.  In fact, the ones we REALLY wanted, were more like $3000.  I mean, come on.  Doesn’t that sound like a bit much?

So, after spending a fraction of that, we got to work making our own table!  And finally finished the base a few days ago.  (Well, except for the diagonal support beams….that will make it look a little more farm-style.)

***This image was also taken from my Instagram account.

We decided we wanted an octagon shaped table this time because, for one, it fits the space better, but it also makes dinner conversation so much easier.  I love actually seeing everyone at the table.  (Round works great for that too…but octagon edges are easier to DIY, than round.)  We just finished the table top over the weekend as well (which is strips of wood glued and screwed together), and woweeee, it’s looking so pretty!!!

Here’s the dilemma.  We keep going back and forth between staining the whole thing…..or only staining the top and painting the legs.  We have dark hardwood floors and kinda wanted to break up the dark feel of the room, so we decided to paint the base/legs.  And keep the stain on the table top kinda lighter.  And more of a grey brown barn-wood color.  I know you woodworking purists would say that we should absolutely stain the entire thing…..what a waste of beautiful wood!  But, our original plan was to stain the top and paint the base, so the top is poplar and the base is pine (because pine is cheaper…and since we were just going to paint it, no need to spend extra on nicer wood).  However, those two woods will stain differently.  But, we could still make it work, I guess, by mixing stains.

But here are a few pictures of inspiration.  Kind of.  The table top won’t be rough at all…..because I don’t want any sort of cracks for food, since this will be our one and only table.  And it will be clear coated about 10 trillion times, so it will still be nice and kid friendly.  Also, we probably won’t rough up the legs at all or add stain to the edges for detail…..we’re thinking we’ll just keep it pure white.  (But who knows….plans change all the time around here!)

But then, I see pictures like these monochromatic stained tables…..and fall in love with the simplicity of it all.

Or hey, maybe since we have 2 wood types, maybe we can do 2 different stain types…..that would be kinda cool too.

Oh gee, it may take until next year to make these decisions because I obviously haven’t nailed down what I want……and my brain needs a nap!

But what do you think?  What would you do?  And what are you into…..and loving lately?  Do you have any new dining table must-haves?

. . . . .

Anyway, besides all of these hardly-important table decisions, life is still busy around us.  And Oliver, who is almost 15 months, finally decided it’s time to let the callouses on his knees heal (because this kid has been a crawling maniac) and finally started putting those feet to work.  And yes, it’s still exciting when your baby takes his first few consecutive steps, even when it’s baby #4! (So excuse my squeal-y baby-talking voice in the video. Ha!)

***This video was also posted to my instagram account.  Head over there to view it.

Anyway, I’ll be back tomorrow, with a fun little something I’ve been sewing.  It’s not the spandex fabric that has been giving me fits (because that’s not done yet)….but something pretty hysterical for babies!

Oh, and when we finish the table, I’ll definitely share how we made it.  And all the tricks we figured out while putting the table top and base together.  Can’t wait!!! :)

Talk to you soon!


Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
Sewing needles, a kitchen table, a walking baby…and input needed!
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  1. Kimberly T. says:

    What a fabulous table top! Stain, definitely for the top, let that beautiful wood show through. As for the legs, I like the white look, but I also like the two different stains. That’s a great look, too. Maybe pair two different stains on the table with white painted chairs.

  2. lindsey says:

    my vote definatly goes to painting the legs white and staining the top – that is how i would do it if it were for me anyway – your both sooooo clever – and wow how cute is oliver – love that cheeky smile – he looks so pleased with himself – my little boy (george) is just starting to walk too and let me tell you it is still exciting even though he is baby number 8!!!!

  3. CreativeKhadija says:

    Pretty cool. Indeed very interesting :)

  4. Robin says:

    If you have a wood floor, paint the bottom and stain the top! Make sure to put a hard lacquer finish on the top.

  5. Heather says:

    He’s so cute, literally watching himself walk!

  6. K Hahn says:

    I like your sign about a sign of a broken sewing machine is a clean house. This happened to me recently. My machine was in the shop for 10 days, but I cleaned and organized my sewing room/guest room.

  7. JOanna says:

    I think go ahead and stain the table, top and legs. IF you don’t like it, you can always paint over it. Paint and stain aren’t always forever. I like the monochromatic stain personally.

  8. Paulette S. says:

    Hi Ashley! I’m loving chalk paint right now, in country white. And I love photos 1, 2, 3!! Your table is going to be gorgeous! Yes, I hate to put paint on good wood. LOL My dad has always worked with wood and beautiful stains. But I love paint. And I think it’s a nice compromise to do part in paint and part in stain. I’ve got a rectangular pine table with 6 chairs thats been around the block a few times. I’m wanting to do the legs and ? skirt of the table in chalk paint and perhaps do the top in a walnut-ish stain. I’d like to do the chairs too (6), but I dread the prep for the darker areas. And I’m in the middle of a display cabinet for my daughter’s kitchen that is turning out great!! It’s a tall dark narrow office cabinet with shelves on the top and tiny bit of crown molding. I thought it was all wood, but it’s really press board with real wood vener, which I guess is fine since I’m painting and scuffing it up. I hope to share soon on my blog when it’s finished. I can’t believe your baby is 15 months already! My new grand baby is 7 months and has learned to crawl recently. They just grow so incredibly fast! Thanks for sharing all of your fun projects. ;)

  9. Impressed says:

    That is beautiful table. I like the plan of lighter bottom and stained top. In any case, that is a beauty!

  10. Diane W says:

    White wash the legs and stain the top a grayish beachy color… and im thinking to use a ball point needle for spandex fabric…

  11. Jennifer K says:

    We just re-furbed our table with white legs and a weathered grey stained top. The only complaint…we didn’t do it sooner! With the dark floors we recently installed, the old table was swallowed up and did not look right in the space. Plus it has survived the 6, 4, and 2 year old splendidly! See for pics…not a professional photographer, just a home improvement addict!

  12. Brenda says:

    Yes!! I’m excited for your table tutorial…we have also priced out circular and octagonal tables, and holy cow $$$. So we’ve just kept with our smaller 6-person table for now until we have time to figure out how to make one ourselves (I’m not sure when we think we’ll have more time, but whatever). What are you going to do about chairs? Ours are old and rickety and pretty cheap looking, because when we bought them years ago, cheap was all we could afford. I’m hoping that’s another project you guys are thinking of tackling, and subsequently sharing with the rest of us ;)

    1. Erica Guadagnoli says:

      check craigslist for furniture! I got a set of 6 beautiful, wood dining room table chairs and painted them white.. they look great.. we need more than 6 so that is why I painted all the chairs so they would all coordinate ;) sometimes you can get some great wood chairs for very cheap and they just need a little tlc or a coat of paint.

    2. Brenda says:

      I know, we have looked at Craigslist but we want to use stain instead of paint on the chairs, so finding 8 is harder to come by as a matching set…plus, we want the stain on them to match the stain on the table, so we’d prefer to start with raw wood (that’s the same type as the tabletop) instead of stripping down chairs that have already been finished. I’ve looked at a few tutorials for chair-making, but I’m always up for more ideas from my favorite bloggers :)

  13. Rachel says:

    Paint that bad boy.

  14. Patti says:

    Since you can paint over stain but not in reverse I say stain the whole table. Then, if you don’t like it, you can paint over the bottom.

  15. HW says:

    I love the pictures with the white legs and dark top. I painted my kitchen chairs and table legs a dark red and the top of my table is a light brown and I love it! So tossing that out as another idea, too.

  16. Gina S says:

    I’m a wood purist, so I’m voting for no paint. I like the two-tone option, or mixing the stains to get a consistent stain. If your floors are dark and you stain it light, you’ll still have a nice contrast. Another option is to ONLY stain the top – and just polyurethane the bottom. That way the natural, light beauty of the bottom shows through in contrast to your floors. I’ve done cabinets in just polyurethane with no stain and they turned out lovely and light.

    Either way, that is a BEAUTIFUL table!!

  17. monica says:

    just know that table legs get kicked and bumped by shoes a LOT and white ones will show lots of scuffs and dirt. And the top of your table gets wiped off regularly but the legs not as often, so the dirt and scuffs stay on there a lot longer. We have a table with no stain, just varnish, and the legs look filthy most of the time.

  18. Sherron says:

    Go for the two-toned.

  19. Betsy H says:

    a whole OTHER (but kind of not) option. Whitewash the bottom (so it’s like it’s painted, but you still get the wood grain and “variation’ without any distressing, and I believe it works just like stain) and stain the top!! I think it would look closer to your inspiration photos… and if you white wash it and don’t like it… then just paint over it ;)

    1. Robin says:

      I vote on this one too! If the kids bump it with their shoe, chair legs, etc the scuffs just blend in with the whitewash.

    2. Kiran says:

      Ditto! With lots of kids (especially little ones) you really want a durable, low maintenance finish. White wash on the bottom and stain on the top will give you the look you want without the long term work.

    3. Erica Guadagnoli says:

      I think that is the best idea! especially with kids!

    4. jolynn says:

      My vote too!

    5. Heidi says:

      Love the 2 tone idea to start with, but whitewashing would be just gorgeous! Got my vote for sure…

  20. Emily says:

    Your tabletop is BEAUTIFUL!! It is going to be gorgeous stained, I can’t wait to see it.

  21. Anonymous says:

    paint the legs white and stain the top dark

  22. Jessica says:

    I really like the idea of painting the legs white. . .especially with your beautiful dark floors. That’s my vote!

  23. Amanda says:

    Some chunky, fun metal legs would look awesome on that table. In fact, I think I want one!

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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