"The Graphics Fairy" chair....

I love bloggers who "share." No strings attached! That is what The Graphics Fairy does...they share their totally awesome graphics...anything and everything you could possibly want is there for the taking! They even provides graphics in reversed printable PDFs for transfers! 

I have my favorites and I have used them on several projects.

This is a little chair I picked up at an auction MONTHS ago. I stripped the upholstery, chalk painted it, and then it sat...and sat...and sat. I had no idea what I wanted to do with it.  

I finally decided that it needed something simple, no frills.

The simplest fabric to use for upholstery are paint drop cloths you can buy at your local DIY store. I used it here on an ottoman....

Drop cloth material is very easy to work with and super durable. I wash them in bleach first and then dry. A quick ironing and you have a lot of fabric for a little money. And the best part is you have a "blank slate" to add any graphic or design you want. Well, that, and if you mess up, you aren't kicking yourself because you just ruined fabric that cost $30 a yard...ON SALE!

I used the material here for my little painted bird pillows!

I went with the vintage French graphic for the back....

...and black piping and a few black nail heads just to give it a tiny bit of flare!

The side table was another simple little project. It is a very pretty walnut table, but it had little "do-dads" on the top...those little railing thingies (did I think to take a picture...no!)...and honestly, it was kind of "dark." I put it in my booth as it was, but it didn't sell so I brought it home, removed the little do-dads, filled the holes, sanded, and then gave it a little chalk paint/distress treatment. I don't expect it to last long now! 

Simple cutting board clipboards and APPLE PIE RECIPE!

I picked up a few more old cutting boards at an auction recently. I don't intentional set out to buy them but occasionally I find them in a box of goodies I purchased. 

I shared here and here how simple it is to "refinish" these simple little pieces of wood. And since I am not real fond of using them for their original intended purpose, I am always on the lookout for a simple way to repurpose them. The older boards can be beautiful refinished and displayed on your counter or wall.

"Newer models" need to be dolled up a bit and given a new purpose....

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I scrubbed the boards with a 1/2 acetone and 1/2 lacquer thinner mixture and steel wool just to remove all the old oil and finish. Washed them down with mineral spirits and then I applied a stain to darken them a bit. Since I am not going to be using them for food prep, I sprayed them with clear poly. Then I attached a little metal "clip" with a wood screw. You can buy the clips at Hobby Lobby or probably any craft store. I think they were around $3 for 3. 

(TIP: ALWAYS use a stain that does not "seal"...that way if you don't like the color you can layer on another coat of stain or use a different color. If you use one that "seals" you are pretty much stuck with that color unless you strip it again!)

You could hot glue magnets to the back so you could hang it on your refrigerator. Maybe display it on a plate holder on your counter...or just hang it the wall...whatever works for you! 

It is the perfect way to keep note paper handy in your kitchen...just tie a pen or pencil to the clip. Maybe even use it to display old recipes or hold recipes while you bake! 

I think it would be a precious housewarming gift or holiday gift for a teacher!

Super simple and inexpensive! Keep an eye out at garage sales and thrift stores for old cutting boards...trust me, they are there. 

CARAMEL-PECAN APPLE PIE

I originally posted this recipe here!

As I noted in the original post, it is TO. DIE FOR! Definitely a recipe to put in your holiday arsenal!

I have tweeked it a bit...so here is my version! 

CARAMEL-PECAN APPLE PIE

PIE FILLING

5-6 cups peeled and sliced tart apples (I use Granny Smith...about 5)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon lemon juice

3/4 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons sugar

4 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping, room temperature

1 unbaked deep dish pastry shell (I buy the frozen kind!)

3 tablespoons melted butter

* In a bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and vanilla.  Combine the pecans, sugars, cinnamon and cornstarch; add to the apples and toss to coat.  Spread caramel topping over the bottom of the pie shell; top with apple mixture (shell will be really full!) Drizzle with the butter!

TOPPING:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup chopped pecans

1/4 sugar

6 tablespoons cold butter (I zap mine for about 13 seconds just long enough to soften it a bit!)

1/4 cup (or more) caramel ice cream topping, room temperature

* In a small bowl, combine the flour, pecans and sugar.  Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over filling. (I kind of "pack" it on top of the apples with my hands)

BAKE AT 350 DEGREES FOR 60 MINUTES or until filling is bubbly and topping is browned. Immediately drizzle with the caramel topping when you take it out of the oven. 

Cool or serve hot right out of the oven. 

It's great with ice cream. If any lasts past the first day, zap it in the microwave for a few seconds...warms it right up just like fresh out of the oven. 

Slow but steady change...MY secret to decorating...

I love to change things up but some change is kind of hard for me. I refinish furniture ...I paint walls...I install new flooring...I build entire rooms. But simple wall decor and knick-knacks tend to hang around for years...sometimes decades. 

This doesn't distress me too terribly much. As I have said before, I decorate with things I love and have meaning...naturally, I am not going to be swapping heirloom pieces out for meaningless knick-knacks! 

I like my living room. I've changed a few things here and there...a new coffee table...the new living room rug...the walnut side table. And I usually go all out for the holidays! Everything else has pretty much been here for a loooong time!  One of my favorite things is my funky little mid-century leaf clock...and of course I always love pictures of my kiddos.

I'm pretty sure the photos are from 6 years ago. Pretty pathetic.

Anywho, several months ago I picked up an awesome mid-century mirror. (Did I think to take a "before" picture...no...and this sucker is super heavy so I wasn't going to pick it up again to take a decent picture...this is as good as it gets.)

I just love that it is "different. It is walnut and well, me and walnut. But truth is, I am trying to "lighten and brighten" and I already have a lot of natural wood in this room so I decided to paint it.

Naturally, I painted it a plain ole' off white (BORing!)...but the fact is, I painted it. Yea me! I even "distressed" it. Yeah me!

A little cloudy today so it is tough to get a "bright" picture!

I think the fall wreath adds a nice little element and dimension. I have a perfect Christmas wreath I will hang when I do my holiday decorations and I may check into one of those simple boxwood wreaths to put up after Christmas. If I can find the perfect frames, I may even update the kiddo's pictures and hang them on each side of the mirror.

The MCM leaf clock? Not sure...I love it, but it has no sentimental value so it could go. Who knows. 

So, I have updated my dining area a tad...and put up a PAINTED mirror...and I even made a few new little pillows for the sofa. 

Slow but steady progress.

I spent two days this week working on projects in the garage.

I have been really busy at work the last few weeks so projects had really piled up. My booths are stocked right now but things sell fast this time of the year so I need to have items ready to go on a minutes notice! And with the weather turning cooler, it is important to take advantage of nice days!

A dresser, bedside table, end table, lamps, primitive bookshelves...just to name a few. Lots to share in the coming weeks!

Parlor table before and after and a new crock pot recipe...

I ran across pictures of a table I forgot to share. It is a prime example of something that was in ratty shape and became something special with just a tiny bit of effort. No surprise...it sold within days!

I picked this table up at Salvation Army....

Overall, the table was in pretty sturdy shape and I loved the turned legs and detailing. The top was veneer, but it was blistered and loose so I scraped it off.

A lot of these older pieces have veneered tops and sometimes it is in rough shape. No biggy...there is usually good, solid wood beneath the veneer. You may have to do some scraping and sand a bit, but the wood is good for stain or paint. I removed the veneer on this oak table and you would never know it...stained beautifully!

The table also had a little veneered decorative doo-dad on the bottom. I pried it off and used wood filler to fill the hole.

I chalk painted the bottom and distressed it a bit. I used Kilz and spray paint on the top but I had a few paint boo-boos so I ended up using mineral spirits to "distress" the top as well.

That is a little trick I learned recently. You would think spray paint and oil based paint would not be "distressable." Well, it is. Take a shop rag, saturate it with mineral spirits and then rub the edges to give it that distressed look. I did it on the top of this table and recently on some shelves I painted for my booth. I wanted to use oil based paint because it holds up a little better, but I wanted the "distressed/worn" look. Perfect.

This table is a tad ornate for my tastes but it is the perfect example of taking an abused and neglected piece and giving it new life! 

SQUASH SOUP RECIPE

It is that time of the year...soups and stews! I like anything I can throw in the crock pot and serve up for dinner! I don't know why I think the crock pot is a "fall/winter" thing...truth is, it would probably be best to use it in the summer when you don't want to heat up the house. Maybe it is a "comfort" food thing!

Anywho, this is a recipe I found in Ann Rule's murder novel "Too Late To Say Goodbye". It's called "Jenn Corbin's Squash Soup." That is the lady who was murdered and this was one of her favorite recipes. (Macabre, but great recipe! And great book!)

As usual, I made it "by the book" the first time and then I tweeked it to my tastes.

So here is my take on "Jenn Corbin's Squash Soup." Hope you enjoy!



Finding treasures in the world around you...

I featured this little bookcase here....

As I have said MANY times, I look for pieces that grab my attention and are "unusual." Rarely am I looking specifically for something that has great value...I want "different" with style, function and durability.

As I mentioned when I featured this piece, I could not find any information about it...which of course tells me it is indeed "unusual." But this week I was cruising around the Internet trying to find information about another walnut piece I bought and discovered this....

Wow...seriously? I paid $45 for mine in a flea market! 

I bought this little cabinet at an auction for $1 and featured here...

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For the longest time I couldn't find anything about it! I eventually found it on 1stdibs.com for $2200.

The Lane tables, Drexel coffee table, mid century chairs, my office chair...all pieces I picked up for a fraction of their value, but it is never the "value" or potential profit that motivates me. It is the potential they have to be beautiful additions to my home.

HOWEVER, finding they have a great "value" is validation that these are desirable pieces and are worth the time and effort to bring back to life! Real treasures....

This week I picked up this little walnut table at an auction....

That is NOT a shadow on the top...that is the finish from it sitting in the sun!

Fortunately it still has this little paper label on the underside so I hope eventually I can find out some information on it! So far, no luck.

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Is that not a beautiful description of walnut? You would never know it based on the current condition of the table, but once you strip away all the abuse and neglect it is indeed a warm, inviting color.

This is exactly why I love working with walnut...a little time and a little effort brings it back to all it's glory and the dignity, permanence, strength and beauty of this wood is evident again! 

My original plan was to refinish the table and sell it...but honestly, as I worked on it I knew it would be making a home right here. 

Just this week a fellow blogger was having issues with "stripping" furniture. The process I use is not easy, but there is no easy way to remove decades of use,  neglect or abuse. But if you take your time, use a proven process AND do it RIGHT, the pride you will feel in yourself and the joy you will feel bringing an old piece back to life will make it ALL worth the time and effort! Trust me!

I used the 1/2 acetone and 1/2 lacquer thinner mixture to strip the old finish. It really does just melt the old finish right off. I scrubbed it with steel wool and used a toothbrush in the fluted groves and corners. After all the old finish was off, I "washed" it down with mineral spirits. (I can not stress enough how important it is to keep a good stockpile of old towels handy if you are going to strip furniture!)

After stripping...before oil finish!

I did have to sand the top a bit but no harm since it is solid and not veneer. Someone had evidently tried to spruce up the top at some point and sanded "across the grain," leaving marks. You can kind of see it in the "before" picture. Trust me...if you can see the sanding marks before you stain or apply a finish, you are definitely going to see them after! Take time to remove them BEFORE you apply stain and finish!

Again, ALWAYS start with a fine grit, sanding WITH the grain, and only work your way down to a courser grit if needed...then work your way up and finish with a fine grit. I used a 220 grit and some serious elbow grease, sanding with the grain, to remove the cross grain marks!

After the mineral spirits dried, I wiped the entire piece with a tack cloth and then applied the first coat of tung oil finish. I did not stain this piece...I love the natural color of walnut! Between each coat, I "buffed" lightly with 0000 steel wool and then wiped it down with a clean tack cloth. I know I stress this step, but it is SO important!!! I applied 3 coats to the base and 4 to the top.

From this....

...to this!!! What a difference!

One of the great advantages to using an oil finish is the ability to easily recoat pieces when they begin to show a little wear or look worn and dull. While I had the oil out and a sponge saturated I applied another coat to my coffee table (I keep scrap foam and old socks in my stash to make oil applicators. It had a few scratches from our new puppy and the cats. I just rubbed it down with 0000 steel wool, wiped it with a tack cloth and then wiped a coat of tung oil finish on it...looks brand new! You can't do that with poly!!! 

Walnut is one of my favorite woods...it is absolutely stunning when oiled. There is no way I could part with this table.

SOOOOO....

Golden rule, if something comes in, something has to go out. 

Yep, now I have to part with a Duncan Phyfe drum table I have had for 25 years...wow...that's going to be a tough one!

But honestly, the new table is more "my style"...

An easy little cutting board project...

What an awesome weekend...it is finally fall...cool temps and rain. LOVE IT!

I'm really looking forward to next weekend. Fall craft fairs, so far no chance of rain and the leaves may be peaking...or darn near close! It is going to be great!

I didn't mind standing around in the cold drizzle Saturday. We started out at a farm auction, bought a few things and then came back to town to an "in town" estate auction. I bought some nifty pieces and I hope to find a little time this week to work on them.

I did finish up a few little projects last week.

Pinterest and the blogisphere are great places to find inspiration. 

I had picked up a few butcher boards here and there! I love the old wood and they are relatively easy to strip and refinish! (See a tutorial here and here!)

I refinished the three smaller boards but I wasn't quite sure what to do with the big square one. I found a little "inspiration" on Pinterest....

 

Source

I knew I had some wood bowls stuck back in my "stash" somewhere. I think I picked them up at an auction eons ago and just wasn't quite sure what to do with them! 

I cut a simple handle on the cutting board with my jig saw, drilled a hole for the hanger, sanded it down a bit and then stained it. I stripped the finish off the bowls, cut them in half with my chop saw and then glued them onto the cutting board.

After the glue dried, I applied three coats of butcher block oil. If you know you are never going to use it for food prep, you can just spray it with a little poly!

Perfect place for fruits or veggies...maybe peppers! Or a great place to throw your keys and "stuff." 

The tutorial I link to suggested using finishing nails and glue to secure the bowls. I didn't even use nails...just Gorilla glue. It is an awesome glue for repairing or affixing wood...I've never had a problem with it setting up and holding well! 

Simple little project! 

Happy fall!

Why I paid too much for an antique child's rocker!

I pride myself in being "auction savvy." I set bid limits and usually stick to them. Rarely do I see anything at an auction that I HAVE to have. I am there to buy for resale....no emotion or personal attachments allowed...just business! 

Occasionally I am lucky enough to score a really nice piece for myself...like here, here and here!

Most of these pieces are things I love and want to add to my home decor. Naturally I will pay a tad more for something I want for myself, but I always consider the amount of time and work they will take to bring them up to par and I bid accordingly! (I have never walked away upset that I didn't get something...but I always regret paying too much!)

On very RARE occasions something throws me back in time and I get caught up in "sentimental bidding!" That is the WORST thing you can do at an auction. Absolutely THE worst. 

Which is why I paid WAY too much for this....

...a silly little child's rocking chair. 

I have no little children at home and both my grandsons are way too big for this thing! 

So why would I pay WAY too much for this chair (seriously, I am too embarrassed to even tell you how much I paid for it!)

Because....

Yes, that is me and I remember that chair. Sometimes I wonder if I only remember it because of the pictures, but I really do remember that chair...and that house. It was one my dad built when I was around 2 1/2 and we lived there until he went into the hospital with TB when I was 4.

The chairs aren't identical but the style of the one I bought was very similar, so I just had to have it.

Why? I don't know. I have no need for it and honestly no place to put it...but I literally felt myself flush with nostalgia that propelled me into a "sentimental" bidding war. 

I knew I couldn't keep it and I knew I could never sell it and recoup my costs. So for the past few months it sat in my garage. I worked on it a little at a time...first the paint, then the upholstery. 

But it can't languish in my garage forever so it is now ready for another little girl to cherish...and hopefully have very fond memories of when she is all grown up with children of her own....

Last year I shared this little rocker here....

I bought it at a garage sale and it was broken and abused. I didn't understand my nostalgic draw to it...after all, it was only a little rocker.

When I saw the rocker at the auction, it hit me. I finally understood why I loved these little chairs so much!

And that, my friends, is why I paid WAY too much for a silly little rocker! 

Easy fall project!

Brian and I made our annual trip to Colorado this past week so I haven't accomplished a lot. 

We had a blast! Zip lining through the Rockies....

fly fishing on the Colorado River....

and an amazing trip to the summit of Pike's Peak on a COG train....

Wonderful week! 

Fortunately I got all my fall decor up before we left...nothing much has changed since last year. A few little tidbits here and there but honestly, I just don't need anything new. After decorating for 15 years in this home, I have all the bases covered. Truth be told, it looks like fall puked in my house...lol! I still find cute little projects on Pinterest and other blogs, but nothing I can't live without.

So I thought I would share one of my all time easiest, cheapest and favorite projects.

The thing I love most about this project is that it can easily be changed for the season. Fall, Christmas...and even spring and summer! Last year I picked out the fall stuff, stuck it in a plastic bag and labeled it and then decorated it for Christmas. 

Here I show you how to make the "base." A wood box, tree branches, and filler...then just stick your "seasonal" froo-froo in the box! 

So simple...but a great little piece you can stick in a corner or on a table! And you can use whatever you have on hand.

This is my fall box...leftover silk flowers and leaves from wreath and urn projects and pine cones I picked up in my yard!

For Christmas, I filled the box with "crystal branches," dried babies breath and ornaments....all "leftover" stuff from a wreath I made last year!

After the season is over, I just pluck out all the seasonal stuff and stick it in a bag for next year! 

This year I stuck a few yellow sun flowers in the box for the summer. Unfortunately, our new "puppy" found them to be quite tasty...I think only 1 or 2 survived the summer! So far I have only lost 1 of the the 3 orange sunflowers in the fall box! Not sure what she is going to think about all the glittery "balls" in the Christmas box. Course right now, that is the least of my worries...I am praying my 9' Christmas tree and heirloom ornaments survive. 

Guess we will find out...as much as I LOVE this season, I know Christmas is just around the corner!

Maple sidetable before and after...

Before I share my newest project and venture, I want to wish my baby boy a very HAPPY 25TH BIRTHDAY! 

I also want to brag on him a bit...last week he passed his testing for his commercial pilot's license! It's been a long, hard six years and I am so proud of him for accomplishing a goal he set for himself many years ago! 

Congratulations and happy birthday Son! I love you and am so proud of the young man have become!

Maple makeover and my newest venture.....

I have salvaged a lot of the old maple furniture in the past....a secretary, a desk and last year a dresser. 

Maple furniture is pretty "dated" and definitely not something most would find desirable...unless you are still sporting pastel ducks. But the furniture is solid and often well crafted and with just a tiny bit of imagination and effort you can turn an eyesore into a useful and beautiful piece of furniture that will be a welcome addition to any home!

This is a side table I picked up at an auction....

...one of those pieces no one would bid on so the auctioneer zeros in on me because he knows I will rescue any stray "dog." I'm to the point were I really don't want to buy "work" but I knew this little piece could be beautiful again...so I brought her home and gave her a little makeover.

The top had some serious water stains. I don't usually Kilz pieces I am going to plaster paint, but I knew the black stains on top (probably mildew stains) would bleed through even after a good scrubbing with bleach. So a sprayed the top with Kilz, avoiding the edges so the wood would show through when I distressed it. I sprayed the little knobs black (prime first)...they weren't really ugly, just a little dated (I had already taken them off in the "before" picture). After the table was painted, I sprayed it with a poly clear coat...always...that is what makes the finish tough as nails!

Cute as a bug....

There are so many ways to update these old pieces. As I shared here on Kaitlyn's living room tables and the dresser you can stain the tops and paint the bases...plaster paint or spray paint...either one. You can paint the inside of the drawers or just leave them natural wood...you can paint the hardware or invest in new! So many things you can do! Just be willing to take one of these abused gems home and give it a little love and attention...you won't regret it. And trust me...these pieces will hold up SO much better than the cheap "particle board" stuff you find on the market these days!

Even "nice" furniture can benefit from a little update. This year I painted all my bedroom furniture (and here). I had grown very "bored" with the dark stained finish and honestly thought I was going to have to spend a fortune to replace it. Truthfully, I love it now and haven't thought once of replacing it since I painted it!

Etsy Shop

Another baby step for me into the 21st century. I finally "opened" an Esty shop. 

This past week I have been buying Universal Ballerina Mist dishes on Ebay to add to my collection...

As I mentioned here this is a collection that started with a few of my grandmother's serving pieces. Over the years I have been adding to it here and there. I don't NEED more, but I couldn't help myself. I just love these dishes so I started buying plates, salad plates and bowls...I even picked up a few more serving pieces! Don't ask me what I intend to do with them...right now they are piled on top of one of my kitchen cabinets.

Anywho, I got to thinking...why couldn't I sell some of my treasured auction finds online?

Last week I marked all the "glassware" in my booths down 50%  just to move some stuff out.

When I price the glassware and vintage pieces, I usually check out Ebay and Etsy to find out what to price it. I almost always price it WAY below what you can buy it for online. Combine that with no shipping charges, and they are a pretty sweet deal. But I am limited to the people who happen to pass through my booths, so I THINK I can broaden my market by selling a few things online. 

We'll see...in the meantime, if you see anything on here you love, there is a chance it will eventually be in my online shop at Etsy. Right now, you can search "beckwithstreasures" and pull up the few items I have posted on there. I only posted a few things I already have pictures of but eventually I will post more as I have time.

Time...not something I have a lot of this week because Friday WE LEAVE FOR COLORADO!!!! YEAH!!! 

Burglars, don't get too excited...there will be people in my house all week. I almost dread coming home, but everyone knows that mama will freak if she comes home to a mess...so I can only hope and pray (and make long detailed lists) that things will be kept in order...or at least put that way the day before I come back!

So while I am cruising the mountains of Colorado taking in all the glory of the Aspens in fall, get out and find some neglected and dated maple furniture and give it a little makeover! You might just be surprised at how beautiful an ugly ole' piece can be with just a little effort!

"New" chairs and IT'S FALL!!!!

IT'S FALL and I am starting to get my fall groove on!

Brian and I will be taking our annual trek to Colorado later this week and I decided to get my fall decorating done before I leave. Usually I do it when I get home but this year we are going a week later so I wanted to get it done so I can come home and relax...well as much as possible with the fall craft fairs coming up! 

When I get home I will share the "fall decor." Truth is, it hasn't changed much from last year...no big plans to make anything new and "crafty." Who knows, maybe I will find some awesome inspiration in Colorado!

I shared the Penn Scales hereThey will probably be sold at some point! I just think they look very "fallish" with the pumpkins!

I picked up a few cutting boards at an auction and refinished them. As I shared in this post, cutting boards are relatively easy to strip and refinish. I strip the old finish off, sand a tad and then apply 2-3 coats of butcher block oil. I don't sand off all the cut marks because I like the "used" look!

Last week I shared the final stages of the makeover of the antique dining room table. One of the biggest mental blocks I had with this table was my desire to use the mid century chairs. I absolutely love them...and as much as I would love to incorporate them into my decor, I am coming to terms with the fact that it is either the chairs or the table...they just won't work together!

If you check out my Home Tour there is no doubt my style is what you would describe as "eclectic." I absolutely LOVE the mid century pieces, but when it comes right down to it, I love what I love...regardless of the "style." I find myself drawn to a space filled with unique pieces that flow together, rather than a room filled with all shabby chic, or  all mid century, or all traditional. 

The table is definitely "unique." I have NEVER seen anything like it. And truthful, I think it is one of the most beautiful dining room tables I have ever seen. I want it which means I need to use chairs that work with it, rather than against it. And unfortunately, the mid-century chairs work against it. 

Poo. 

Being bored with the Duncan Phyfe table, I decided it was time to change them up a bit so they work in this space. They had already been painted and I loved this fabric....

....but I knew I needed to "jazz" them up a bit!

I love this fabric...it has a very rich color and heavy texture that really doesn't translate in photos! It has the red, gold, orange, blue and green you find throughout my home!

Painting the chairs was a huge, but necessary, step for me. As you may know, painting beautiful wood goes against every fiber in my body...but these chairs needed to be painted for a number of reasons...the primary being the fact that one was busted and had to be repaired! There was just no way to fix it without painting it.

And honestly, the little face lift made me fall in love with them again. 

Traditional chairs...who woulda thunk it!