Friday, August 23, 2013

Mattie's Pig Table

Over 100 years ago in April 1912, in a horse buggy in the rain near the Red River in North Texas, a Justice of the Peace married Mattie Pfaff and Will Savage.

The new couple moved to Oklahoma to farm some land with another young couple, Will's cousin and the cousin's wife.

Will's father gave him a hog for the farm. Wedding gifts were  far more practical back then!

On the Oklahoma farm, Mattie and Will had their own bedroom, but little furnishings. They had one bed, one wardrobe (free-standing closet) for their clothes, and a coal oil lamp.

Mattie didn't complain about their hard-scrabble life on the farm, but she did complain that she had nowhere to put her coal oil lamp when it was burning. The wardrobe was "...too high and the floor was too low..." she told Will.

So, when his hog had a litter of pigs, love-struck Will traded one of his piglets to a neighbor for a little three-legged table.

The table was just right for sitting next to the bed to hold Mattie's coal oil lamp.

"Our pig table", as Mattie called it, was used and loved for the many decades of Mattie and Will's life-long marriage.

Finally the table fell to pieces and was put in a shed where my mother-in-law Jessie (one of Mattie and Will's 12 children) found it one day. With her mother's permission Jessie rescued it, put it back together, and used it for a few more decades.

One day I saw the wobbly old table in my mother-in-law's shed and heard the Pig Table story. I offered to fix it up. 
Wild Bill (who is Mattie and Will's grandson and is named for Will) put the table back together as sturdy as the day it was made.
It was up to me to "pretty" her up...

I used homemade chalk paint made with Behr's 'paint and primer' in my favorite color, Swiss Coffee. 

I added a pig silhouette to the top and plan to stencil
Mattie's Pig Table - 1912
around the pig silhouette.

Now that you've seen the final result,
I have to show you my sad first attempt at fixin' up the table...
Yeah, go ahead and laugh!
As my 3-year-old grandson Ben would say:
"How sad, Grammy, how sad!"


Everyone says aging furniture is so easy...well...

And, I don't know why mod podge turns out so well for others, but mine yellowed and showed all the edges of the cut-out and looked like crap.

I quickly repainted it (even over the classy-yellowed-mod-podged-pig) with my homemade chalk paint.

The pig silhouette still showed through the paint, so I used this paint writer stuff from Hobby Lobby to blacken in the pig silhouette.

I plan to add the words and the 1912 date to the top, then it's going to have to stay this way until I learn how to do the aging and add words and pictures and crap to furniture.

Hopefully it won't take me another decade to figure it out!

For now, it's in the entry hall -- next to the bench under the chalkboard. Yeah, that's right. I need to learn how to print on chalkboards too. That's another "Nailed It" job!

I should be ashamed to show you that.

I'm sharing all the good and bad of this over at the following parties:


  1. What a treasure! Great story and great makeover....hopefully this will live on with its story for generations! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Love the pig table!:) Thanx for sharing at THT.

  3. That's a great story and the table is beautiful. I love how you are going to date it this time. It's cute that you showed your disaster.

  4. Such history, I figure if it has withstood the test of time, it'll wait till you figure out everything else you want to do to it. What a great way to keep a slice of family history.

  5. What an amazing story. The Pig Table is beyond precious and is truly a family treasure. Thanks for sharing such a sweet story, Jan

  6. Oh, I love this story!! I love furniture that has a history behind it, makes it ever so personal and ever so wonderful!
    You did a great job too and I love the pig stencil!
    Warm Hugs,

  7. I absolutely love the pig table story! I have several pieces that belonged to my grandparents, (a victorian child size rocking chair that my grandfather sat in, a marbletop dresser that was my grandmother's, my other grandmother's writing table) and while they aren't fancy, I hope that one day my children or grandchildren might want them. Your story gives me hope! And the pig table looks marvelous!

  8. That's awesome. It's lovely! The story AND the table.

  9. This is such a fun family story and fitting tribute. I love your little pig table, and I hope you post another photo when you finish it. I followed a comment you left on my blog back to your lovely blog and am your newest follower. I like your style!

  10. I love your story about Mattie's pig table. That is a wonderful family story. I think you did a great job on the table and the little pig silhouette is perfect.

  11. I love that story. As for the aging, don't think you are the only one who doesn't do it like all the rest. I have gotten frustrated a few times and given up, that now I let life age it. I also got a good laugh about the chalk board writing. Mine are empty a lot because it takes a while to figure out how to do the special writing and by the time I get it figured out, it is time for the next holiday. Oh well, keep trying and know you are not alone in the big world of home decorating. Alaina

  12. How wonderful that not only did you score a super cute table, but it has a great story to go with it! As for the mod podge, I still haven't figured that one out myself... Do you think there's a secret to it that no one is telling us?! XO

  13. Wow, GREAT story and perfect piece for your it!