I need your help. I have two picnic tables that need to be finished for an outrageous idea I have.
I want to be a front yard person.
What if we were front yard people? Remember when I shared ways my neighbors were offering hospitality without cooking? The water fountain, Little Free Library, and our Front Yard Friday gatherings made me wonder, what could I do? I racked my brain trying to think of ideas, spent way too much time on Pinterest, and finally remembered to just ask God.
Last week, two unfinished picnic tables were delivered to me and plopped down on the patio. I ordered the tables for extra seating for a backyard BBQ Susie and I hosted yesterday. I didn’t think much of the tables when I ordered them online, truly they are quite ordinary.
Until I saw them. And, I knew.
These simple wooden picnic tables belong in our front yard. We live on a lively street. Walkers, joggers, and bikers pass by our house hourly. We are just up the street from two schools and children pass by to and fro, school busses churn up the hill in the afternoon, and at any given moment there is someone walking their dog or gawking at the over abundance of deer that live in our neighborhood, too.
All these people.
We have a grand old magnolia tree in our front yard. A perfect climbing tree that offers great shade and the sweet fragrant aroma of magnolia blooms in the spring and summer. Just under the low hanging branches is a perfect spot for the picnic tables. Accessible, a foot or two from the curb, yet protected and welcoming. I wonder what might happen if we moved our afternoon snacks, bubble blowing, messy art projects, BBQ suppers, and all our other backyard activities to the front yard?
I had the opportunity to hear Emily Freeman speak this weekend at the Re:Write Conference. I almost jumped out of my front row seat when she shared the story of two benches her family placed in the middle of her cul-de-sac. YES! YES! YES! I have picnic tables! I cheered in my head. Her story was such sweet affirmation that these ordinary wooden tables were an answered prayer. Provision from God who daily affirms and equips my heart for hospitality.
Here’s where I’m stumped. The wooden picnic tables are unfinished and must be treated for weather. I could sand and stain the wood, but I’m hoping to do something a little more outrageous. The girls and I are tossing around all kinds of ideas, but I want your input.
Will you help me?
Day #21 Table Talk: How would you finish these tables? And, will you be a front yard person with me, too?
I love this! I love the audacity of it and the welcoming of it, and I just love it. I think it needs to be made friendly and inviting so that YOU will want to be there and others will want to join you. What if you used a stain that has the protector in it to stain the legs, and seats, and then use a bright vibrant color to paint the top, spraying it with a protective covering at the end?
Stacey – Great idea. Definitely like the idea of using vibrant color. What color would you choose? xo
Jan Skaggs says
Stain and finish the legs and bottoms of the benches and table tops. Then make the benches and table tops your kids’ art projects. Varnish when done. If you think benches and tops are over the top outrageous, just decorate the tops. Or extend outrageous hospitality and invite the neighbors to participate!
Jan, Well, there you go with another perfect idea. Practical, too, recycling favorite art work. 🙂 I like the idea of a neighborhood project. It’ll be a good Front Yard Friday project. xo
I like the idea of leaving room for those that come and sit to be able to leave their art, or a “message” on the table tops and benches. Leave a small basket with markers for them to choose from.
Creative hospitality on your part ~~~ sense of belonging on the part of those that pass by or sit for a while in the shade of the tree. Think of the conversations planted underneath that tree!
Mia, I love the “message” idea too. Great minds think alike. Or is it like mother, like daughter? xo
What about painting them white and leaving colorful sharpies for the folks who do stop by. They can doodle, write a quote, poem or whatever they are inspired to share that day.
Amy – YES!! I love this…I’ll have to research paints now. Won’t it be awesome to see what people say?? xo
ps…just realized I am repeating an idea already offered! A sign? (pun intended:)
one more thing…just read previous comments…let people write all over the tables! They will morph into gorgeous pieces of art over time.
Since I live next door, I vote for a wine and appetizers party for the ‘hood. Mark off 6 or 8 inch blocks on the table and invite folks to paint their block with a picture, pattern, word or verse. Then seal it up so we can keep talking about it every time we come by for a visit!
I say paint it red! And I absolutely think this is the best idea ever.
To make them lively, put colorful tiles on top surface. They will make look fun , colorful and easy to wipe off .
Just a thought.