Grandpa found a solid wood chair at the flea market and gifted it to us this past weekend as our computer chair upgrade. Our previous garage sale find has little comfort and Pioneer Papa was happy to have a go at a new chair. Grandpa helped the pioneer boys do a little paint touch-up, which they enjoyed. Then I confused the poor boys and suggested we antique it after he left (which I okayed with Grandpa). They did enjoy the sandpapering, and were quite good at it. Finally, the chair looked a little plain to me, so I opted for a traditional stencil. I copied the pattern from a trusted book, cut it out with a exacto knife, gathered a little paint, brushes and cotton balls, and we put the evening to good use. The pioneer boys were enjoying the stenciling so much they decided to add a little more and they free-handed designs on the armrests and back of the chair. They were feeling very artistic, so we went with it. Now we have a unique, thoughtfully gifted chair, that three generations painted together, and I am proud to sit in it for many years to come.
I love to think about how people used to keep their things and repair them and update them with paint. I think they cared about their items because of the time invested. This chair is just an object, yes, but as I brush my hand along the arm rests, I’ll remember the evening we spent detailing this chair, how chubby my pioneer boys fingers were, how heavy they were with the paint, how happy they were to use the hose to wash away the spilled orange on the grass, how inspired they felt designing the armrest, how happy Grandpa was to share the time with them. I see why pioneers cared about the things they had, their items were built by hand, with true grit and love. A log in a home represented a swing of their axe and their own design, the quilt was scraps of pajamas and so life’s moments stitched together to remind them of their life stories, even their underwear reminiscent of that trip to town for the fabric. I think investing time into making the things in your home uniquely beautiful is, well, beautiful.