My White on White Rocking Chair Renovation

My White on White Rocking Chair Renovation

The frustrating part about this blog post is that I already uploaded it but WordPress did not publish it or even save it in my drafts. There is probably nothing more angering that waking up early–before the kids arise–working hard on a project–and then having it disappear after it’s published.

Over a year ago I was lumbering around pregnant in Habitat for Humanity. I was pushing my two year old in her stroller. I didn’t think anything could possibly get better. Who would buy a beaten-up book shelf for $65?

It dawned on me how lucky I was with all my flea market finds when living in the Old World. In Germany, for instance, there was an endless supply of flea markets and gorgeous retro items were cheap–or at least you could negotiate a cheap price.

Here is an incredible (older) painting I snagged for only 60 euros from the Homburg flea market in Germany. It was painted on a piece of thin particle board and beginning to break down. I had it framed (for $140) and look at how it turned out? I can’t wait to hang it on our living room wall!


Here is another flea market painting we bought in Krakow, Poland.


Oh and this one below is mine. Crazy cardboard paintings… sorry but had to post.. I’m still working on it.

Habitat for Humanity and ALL THRIFT STORES in America have been a considerable disappointment since our move back to this continent. Everything is expensive and looks like it originally came from Walmart (after being used for 20 years of course).

I was looking for a rocking chair and I happened to intersect a stubby, older rocker for $30. I was not happy with the price. But I decided that despite its flaws, I would try and restore it.

Next, I waited in a long line to purchase it.

I was in for a surprise as I walked up to the cashier. “Oh, some lady already bought that rocking chair for you.”

I’ve heard of “pay-it-forward” where someone in front of you buys your drink at the local coffee drive through. This was even better. A STRANGER JUST BOUGHT ME A ROCKING CHAIR! So much to celebrate in life, right?


For me, part of the fun in life is picking up a piece of old furniture and taking it apart–but only if you get it for a cheap price. Otherwise, I’m buying something new.


Once home, I removed the seat cushion. In case your eyes deceive you, that isn’t cornbread–it’s a piece of ancient yellow foam between the layer of upholstery fabric; it was crumbling into pieces and I ended up having to vacuum everywhere after opening. You never know what you’re gonna get!. The foam was crumbling into little pieces.


Next? Throw out the old foam, vacuum up all the crumbles, measure your foam and buy a new piece. Price? anywhere from $29- $65 a square foot. I bought this 3 inch foam piece for $13–(but only because I brought my 50% coupon and got it half off). JoAnn Fabrics of course. FOAM IS NOT CHEAP. If you can salvage your foam or re-use a piece from a pillow/seat at a thrift store, do it. You’ll be saving tons!


I also bought some white vinyl fabric to reupholster this new foam cushion that would be the new seat!

I found some old left-over paint in our garage–it was actually EXTERIOR HOUSE PAINT and about 8 years old too! I refused to go out and buy new paint. I like to use what I already have. After hand sanding and wiping down the rocking chair, I painted 4 coats of this paint:

My lovely 3 year old trying out the “new” chair. New paint, new fabric cushion!


Now let’s take a look at the before and after picture:






Taxes–by Renee

Taxes–by Renee

When you force other people to do your labor for free we call that slavery.

When an (invisible, abstract) system called the “church” forces it’s congregants to give it money (from their labor) for the “benefit of everyone”, we call that tithing.

When an (invisible, abstract) system called the “government” forces society members to give it money (from their labor) for the “benefit of everyone” we call that taxation.

I finally get it.



Alright, so just a quickie here. Nothing too exciting.

Do you ever have 1,2…3 day old rice or quinoa in your fridge and you’re not sure what to do with it? You feel bad about wasting it so you just let it sit there, but then you eventually toss it out. Or…you make unhealthy fried rice.

That’s what I’ve always done. It gets kind of stale and sometimes the birds will eat it if I season it correctly.

What if I could just eat it? I’m always a sucker for trying things that save money.

Maybe, one day when you’re good and brave like me, you can revive it…transform it into Jambalaya or West African Jolof Rice.

My family *DOES NOT* like this kind of food, but I happen to LOVE it;
so here goes..just for my taste buds.

So grab some of the ingredients pictured below. These are what I had on hand…(oh, and maybe a slice of bacon or two and some extra diced tomatoes sitting in your fridge if they happen to be there..). It’s really not a big deal.

On the stove, heat your olive oil on medium-low. Add your diced up Anaheim chili pepper, diced onion and grated carrot. Saute a bit.

Toss in some diced up sausage and/or bacon. Sprinkle seasoning. Throw in your refrigerated leftover rice and/or quinoa (I used both). Sprinkle olive oil into the mixture as it Cooks on the stove top.

Super easy and done!

A plate full of Jambalaya from OLD rice and Quinoa. Hey, it actually tasted fine. But even better? It was healthier than some other options and I used everything that I already had on hand.

Don’t eat the rice past a few days.

If you want to transform older rice into a Jolof-style, you can add a tablespoon or two of tomato paste into the olive oil as it’s cooking/almost beginning to fry/just getting hot.

Once you cook the tomato paste in the oil for a minute or two, add the leftover rice or quinoa and add a sprinkling of water. (You have to experiment as it depends on how much leftover rice you have–so go easy on the water– and you don’t want it to turn soggy, just slightly moist and revived.) You can add veggies that you have cooked in another pot or sauce pan to the red/Jolof rice. You can add fried meats or fish too.

No. It’s not gonna taste like the authentic Ghanaian Jolof rice, or the Thieboudienne (red rice and fish) from Senegal. But it works if you’re in a pinch for dinner.