succulent table

Inspiration is complicated.

Have you ever had a vision for a project—seen it every time you close your eyes, every time you glance at a junk pile or unfinished corner of the house? On the one hand, the vision is incredibly motivating. You can see your handiwork in all its glory, feel its texture, envision its usefulness. On the other hand, the vision is tormenting. The unfinished product taunts you, haunts you with the specter of its awesomeness until you get off your bum and get to work. There’s no easy way around it.

What the heck am I talking about? At the moment, a major gardening project that Mike and I are undertaking. I’ve heard gardening described as the “slowest of the fine arts.” This is the kind of project that moves forward in months, not days. It laughs at impatience and yet demands dogged, faithful persistence. Why bother, you ask? For that vision. If it works out, it will be so darn cool. 

It’s also for the physical labor with our hands. Half the attraction to a diamond in the rough is the act of polishing it to a gleam yourself. Coaxing something beautiful from salvaged wood and tiny seeds.

The whole project is many more months in the making, but I can at least show you a first victory: Our succulent table.

The initial inspiration for this table came from Sunset magazine. The idea idled in the back of my brain until one day on a dog walk I saw a large wooden table with a “FREE” sign. The tabletop had a tile mosaic that was broken in spots, revealing plywood underneath—no doubt why it was on the curb in the first place—but it had stout, shapely legs that I just couldn’t resist. The problem was Mike was at the hospital, with the car. Short on wheels and brawn, I called for backup.

“Bri, I have a favor to ask. It’s… heavy.”

succulent table

This big-hearted friend, bless her soul, helped me lug the monstrous table the long six blocks home. We had to rest every five driveways, and crossing the one busy street was a heart-pounding experience. The plywood and broken-mosaic tabletop ended up in the dump, but those shapely wooden legs were a true find.

The rest of the project took time, reclaimed redwood slats, and a talented husband. (Lucky for me orthopedics is good practice for carpentry!) I got to plant the succulents as the finishing touch.

As I write this, I realize perhaps the real moral of this story is to be wary of other people’s inspiration! They might coerce you into dragging heavy furniture across town, or employ you to construct their hopes and dreams. Hmm… on that note, thank you?

succulent table