Keeping up with the Joneses (or should I say Marthas)

Then there was Brunch.

Ah, Brunch. I love to hate you when I’m stressed out the wazoo in the days leading up to you. My children get tired of hearing about you and the laundry list of things that need to be done to satisfy your creative and decorating requirements. Now my Country Boy has been subjected to your evil ways and knows to power you wield.

You tease us by throwing us bones of good ideas for table themes. You taunt us with images and conversations about what others have planned. The bar continues to rise each year and our exhaustion grows deeper.

I thought I had control over you this year by really planning early. But, that was a foolish thought.

For no one controls the Brunch Beast of Insanity.

No one.

The panic of trying to make the details perfect. Adding the minutia that 90% of the people may overlook, but leaves those 10% who do notice staring in awe.

The overarching worry that your table will be the one that will have people saying, “Oh, is THAT where we have to sit…I had hoped for something more special like that Owl table…”

So we push the envelope. We try to keep up with the Martha Stewarts. We stretch our brains and budgets to the limit.

A barnyard theme would be perfect, you think.

And so you plan.

You have your Country Boy cut boards for you and you sand them down only to beat them up so that they are “distressed” enough.

You look online and find a concoction that is supposed to turn that bright new wood into weathered looking barn boards: A jar of #0000 steel wool covered with white vinegar and allowed to soak for at least 24 hours.

24 hours later, it still looks exactly like it did when you made it.

Still, you try it on the boards because…well…frankly because it is four days until you need to decorate your table so you don’t have many options. And by the Grace of God, it works.

It really works!

And that’s when the Brunch Beast begins to crack a bit in its icy grip on your life.

You head to church, look at the blank tableau you have been given and begin to feel like there is hope.

[Note: it does help improve the hope if there is also a Venti Starbucks drink in your hand when you see your blank table]

You begin to build your vision one board, one detail at a time.

You add mason jars for drinks that will do double duty as napkin and silverware holders.

You add a cow planter that you found while wandering the aisles of Tractor Supply a few months ago. You lament that you can’t find a black flower to give the cow spots but you try to let that go. (Key word in that sentence is “try”)

The baling twine off the hay for the mules gets recycled and put onto the seats in the attempt of making them look hay-like. It’s a bit of a stretch.

Then you place the favors. (And the mugs you picked up at Walmart at 6 am because you realized in the middle of the night that you forgot about coffee mugs at a table where people love their coffee.)

And when you step back, you realize that you have survived your encounter with the Brunch Beast. 

The chicken is roosting on her stack of plates. The old milk jugs are full of liquid again. All seems right with the world.

As you sit with your guests at the table you think that perhaps your table IS worthy to be in the same room as that of the super-creative tables (maybe…that John Deere table was super cute…and I didn’t even get a good picture of the Lorax table…at least it isn’t going to be shunned).

In spite of the stress of the days leading up to Bruch, you love the look in the eyes of your guests as they see what you’ve done and you enjoy spending time in community with them. It seems to make the effort worth the price.


I’ll have to make it up to the girls and my Country Boy somehow.

Now if I could only keep my mind from spinning about a table theme for next year’s Brunch.


About CountryBoyCityGirl

A city girl who fell in love with a country boy. Found bliss, along with large piles of mule droppings for her and two little girls to now try to avoid.
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6 Responses to Keeping up with the Joneses (or should I say Marthas)

  1. ktlee says:

    Very cute table! Cool way to make new wood, old!

  2. Mindy Bradbury says:

    Great table! Love the planked wood. 🙂

  3. Thanks for saying it looked cute. Again, that pressure to create a “wow” effect is tough.

    The wood really did turn out looking old and weathered. I was surprised that the vinegar/steel wool concoction worked as well as it did especially since it didn’t look any different than when I brewed it up the day before. One issue I didn’t mention is that the smell of the vinegar was still noticeable (at least to me) at the time I was decorating the table. Now, I don’t mind the smell of vinegar because it reminds me of coloring Easter eggs, but others might not be so keen on it. I did air out the boards from Tuesday – Friday morning but I’d recommend several more days of airing out if you were going to attempt it for a project. You could also put a polyurethane coat on the boards once they dried. I would much rather have the vinegar smell than the polyurethane odor so I left the wood bare.

    I think I may do a table with a sleeping theme for next year. That way I can nap while decorating…

  4. Claire Adams says:

    It looks SO cute! I love how you find a completely different theme each year!

  5. Linda says:

    Another creative success!!The pictures of tables were incredible. For all the stress you endure, it is a pure gift to your guests.

    • Gift to the guests, yes. The cause of marital stress, need for couples and family counseling, depletion in the availability of tissues, and increase in caffeine consumed? Yep, that too.

      In all seriousness, it is really neat to be there Saturday morning when everything is done to see all of the tables. It is pure magic in that room. However, getting there is difficult. I pre-apologized to the family because I knew it’d be a rough week and I had to continue apologizing every day. I can be creative, but darn, it takes a lot of energy. I admire those people who can pull off those tables like it is nothing.

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