Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

July 1, 2014

If This Table Could Talk

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

Today I want to celebrate this spot: our dining table.

This round black table hasn’t been around forever. In fact it was purchased in January 2012, a few months after Chris had moved out. The previous long rectangle table we owned together fit better in his house and I was open to getting a new one.

A fresh start for new stories.

Along the way I purchased some chairs from Ikea and the grey couch from (originally purchased for another room until I wondered if it would fit in this spot) which is definitely the favorite feature of the kids and the cat.

I love this space.

It gets used every day for meals, for conversation, for homework, for coloring, for reading. I love the windows that wrap around and the different light that comes in over the course of the day. I love opening the windows when it’s pouring rain just to hear the sound as it comes down through the trees and onto the patio or on those early days of spring and summer to bring in fresh air.

This table has seen and heard many things. Harsh words and kind words. Tears and laughter. Giggles and jokes between siblings. It’s been piled on and spilled on more times than I can count in it’s life with us. It’s been a resting place for adults and kids alike.

I take at least a couple photos there every month because it’s such an anchor in our lives.

Sometimes a kid or two is sitting there doing whatever it is they are into at the moment. Sometimes there’s simply evidence of our existence: books, computers, the newspaper, or a set table waiting for companionship. Sometimes I’ll place my camera on the kitchen counter and use the timer to make sure I’m captured in the mix.

The things we own are pieces of our stories.

If this table could talk it would tell stories of breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, drinks consumed, old and new friends, lives shared, computers, newspapers, coffee, hot cocoa with marshmallows, coloring books, homework, Santa letters, cut flowers, plans made, books read aloud, laughter, tears, laughter that turns to tears, birthdays, wishes, legos built, taxes, best part of the day/worst part of the day sharing, strategies for getting Simon to try more foods, secrets whispered, frustrations expressed, forgiveness granted, Anna jumping up and down on the couch and me telling her to sit on her bottom (over and over again), holidays celebrated, songs sung, manners taught and re-taught, one too many bean & cheese tostadas to ever count and so much more.

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From  If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

If This Table Could Talk | Storytelling Ideas From

Is there a story you can tell about a piece of furniture or an area in your house? What stories would that piece/space tell if it could talk?


  • 1.
    Pink Ronnie said…

    These photos bring such warmth to my heart.
    Thanks always for your generosity in sharing with us.
    Ronnie xo
    p.s. Love the idea of having a couch seat at the table…

  • 2.
    Mandy said…

    The photo with the Superman costume and the Princess Tiara is the cutest!

  • 3.
    Sheila Monteiro said…

    I love this, Ali <3

  • 4.
    Cathy Zielske said…

    Love, love, love.

  • 5.
    Gemma said…

    Love this! And I love that couch.

  • 6.
    Dori said…

    I agree with Cathy Z. :-)

  • 7.
    Ainslie H said…

    Beautiful photos!! Love this post!

  • 8.
    Paula said…

    What a great post, so heartwarming. In addition to my table, I could see a layout about either times shared on our couch or in our swimming pool…like you said so well, if either one of these could talk, I hope the world would hear how much joy our hearts have felt from having them. Some of the beloved parts of our homes are just “there for us” as they take on different needed roles at different times. My home is definitely not “picked up” or “how I want it” in my mind…there is always a list of what I’d like to transform it into..but you have reminded me today that just as is, my home is in my heart.

  • 9.
    P.J. said…

    Wonderful article. My kids are 27 to 34 years old. It has been interesting to listen to them as they look thru old photo albums of themselves. (I didn’t scrapbook back then.) They do notice the backgrounds…the ugly old curtains, the huge bush at the corner of the house that a storm got 2 decades ago, the color of a wall, the Christmas train set that we don’t know what happened to, etc. It’s fun for them to see things of their past. My son had forgotten he went to preschool until he saw a photo of the building.

    As we will be downsizing greatly in a couple of years, I try to include photos of things that make our present house, our “now” home.

  • 10.
    SarahJane said…

    These table photos, Ali, are incredible!!! I truly LOVE this post! Wishing I had a place in our current house to prop a camera (w/ timer) to capture LIFE at our table. Somehow, I think if I pulled out a tripod, my 3 and 5 year old boys would NO LONGER be at the table, but would be messing with the tripod instead. *The phrase where you have to remind Anna to sit down made me smile; whenever we eat outside on our deck, the boys are often attempting to run the length of the bench while we are TRYING to eat. love, Love, LOVE this post!

  • 11.
    Madeline St Onge said…

    Love this post Ali. Gives food for thought

  • 12.
    Ann said…

    Awesome story – Thanks for sharing.

  • 13.
    Diane said…

    What a fab post – I think I’m going to have to go and rummage through all my photos and find similar ones of my dining room table, and do a blog post about it as well.

    I have the most amazing dining room table – 8 feet of reclaimed pine fashioned to look like a medieval refectory table, with 8 high backed gothic arch chairs made from the same reclaimed pine. I’ve had it 13 years, and sadly it’s spent at least 3 of those years in storage as I’ve been in houses too small to even contemplate putting the table out! I also refuse to sell it as my ex-husband demanded half the money if I did – but it’s far too beautiful for that. The table tells a story all of its own – one end is gray where my ex used to sit with the newspaper on a Sunday and the print rubbed off, several of the chairs have teeth marks where our puppy teethed using the crossbars to chew on (oh my) and there’s stains and scratches galore. These days it’s covered with a cloth to protect it a little, but like yours could tell all the same kind of stories as well as a tale of how many board games, jigsaw puzzles and D&D adventures have marched across its surface…. Thank you for making me more mindful of my favourite piece of furniture!

  • 14.
    Brenda E said…

    I loved reading this post–makes me think of so many possibilities and makes me thankful I am trying to document pieces of our lives.

  • 15.

    Oh I love this Ali! I did a layout about our dining room table a few years ago…I included the story of the table (it had belonged to my hubbies great-aunt) and various photos of all the activities that take place on it. Love Love Love stories like this! I’m taking Stacy Julian’s “For the Love of Things” class at BPC right now and digging out more lovely things to write about! Have a great day!

  • 16.
    Ann English said…

    The heart of the home…lovely post and beautiful spot!

  • 17.
    Michelle L said…

    When I look at these photos I like looking at the windows. Your trees really show the seasons. I can imagine this is something your family enjoys. You’ve photographed that area so many times and I remember a lot of these photos from past posts. I’ve always thought it was a cool space.
    For us it would be our living room couch. It looks like it’s been through a war and in many ways it has! lol
    Loved this post!

  • 18.
    Alida said…

    Awesome journaling idea. We’ve moved a lot since we had kids, but our furniture remained mostly the same. I’ve taken December family photo’s on our leather couch for most years. Would be nice to write something about the couch or compare the years’ photo’s.

  • 19.
    Yolanda said…

    Oh this would make an awesome photobook. An image of the table on the cover, the story, and then page after lovely page of photos. Love this idea of looking closely at an object we all use and telling its story and the way it connects us.

  • 20.
    Renee T. said…

    I so enjoyed your story of your table. I, too, have a table very special to me – a maple dining set gifted to me by my late paternal grandparents. I’ve had it since I first moved out of my parents’ home as a teenager (I am now a grandmother myself), and it is among my most prized possessions. It is big and clunky, its Colonial style is not much in fashion, and it hasn’t really been the right size for most of the places I have lived…but I wouldn’t dream of my home without it. Like yours, it has held much of the story of our lives. Thanks for the great perspective!

  • 21.
    Barb said…

    “A fresh start for new stories”. I love this! Maybe this will become my BRAVE motto for the last half of the year.
    My kids are grown and gone and how I wish I had photos like this!!

  • 22.
    Nan C. said…

    Simply, lovely.

  • 23.
    AnyaL said…

    My table would’ve told the same thing! It’s exactly the same here in our home!

  • 24.
    Ellen Coker said…

    This was a lovely post and a great inspiration for more stories! Thank you.

    George looked very regal and willing to pose–I giggled. Henry George who lives at our house thinks that one corner of the counter is meant for his perch.

  • 25.
    Jo Hawkins said…

    I envy you for the opportunity to be able to document all this. My kids are grown and there are so many neat ideas to keeping memories for our self and or kids. I wish this was around when my kids were little.

    You do such a fantastic job on all this.

    Thanks for all you do I so enjoy reading your blog>

  • 26.
    Tania said…

    I imagining every moment when a read this post before I saw the photos and realize that I need less, I need love, I respect you and your work even more. And you Ali, teaching me to be a good person for my 3 kids and a good person for me.
    And for now I need too “A fresh start for new stories” too.

    Kisses and Tks a lot

  • 27.
    Jamie said…

    Love this post…I see you have It Starts With Food…Whole30 changed my life…best thing I’ve done for myself in a very long time. Game changer for sure!

  • 28.
    Amy said…

    Clearly George the Cat thinks it’s HIS table. Great post, Ali.

  • 29.
    Kathleen M Smith said…

    Great post! I love using inanimate objects to tell a story. I have my grandmother’s 100 yr old Singer sewing machine that is a saga in itself. Now it’s on my ‘to-scrap’ list.

  • 30.
    Tashia D said…

    I loved reading this! Especially because my husband and I finally found our long term dining table after searching for a few years for the perfect one. We wanted one that would reflect our style of course, but more importantly one that would be a part of our story for a very long time. We’ve already started making memories while sitting at it! Great post!

  • 31.
    Gabi said…

    I love this, Ali! I think I need to start noticing the little things in our house more and document them. Thank you for inspiring me.

  • 32.
    tchris said…

    This story is so lovely. Also, thank you for sharing where you got everything. =)

  • 33.

    I enjoyed this story so much. I have a tendency to crop too tightly sometimes and forget to leave in background items. And yet, those are things I definitely look at in old pictures because they truly are the setting for what was happening.
    I nearly freaked when I saw George’s pose. I never noticed in other photos how much he looks like our favorite kitty that disappeared one night last month—the white bib, paws and white facial marking (ours had a full white mustache). Memories….

  • 34.
    kelsey said…

    I noticed this theme in your posts for a long time. How lovely to see them all in one place. I agree with a previous poster that seeing them all in succession in a mini book would be fantastic!
    I have many photos of us on our couch and in our back yard. You have inspired me to bring them all together to tell “their” story. Thanks!

  • 35.
    Keianna said…

    Awesome entry today. A great reminder to not crop our photos so closely, so we can see how the background of our life changes or remains the same over time.

    I use an app call Timehop, which shows you all the pictures taken each day from your phone, camera, computer from past years. Today’s photo had a picture from 8 years ago of my niece and nephew. In the pic were our red couches that we have now ordered replacements for. In two months, family photos in the living room won’t look the same. I kinda got a bit wistful.

  • 36.
    Audrey V said…

    I love it! Rebecca Sower did a scrapbook page many years ago about the life that revolved around her dining room table. Great idea! I also love the It Starts with Food book in the first photo. I love this book, it has become a way of life for me and has made a huge effect on my physical and mental health. Have you tried the Whole 30?

  • 37.
    Michelle t. said…

    Wow! What a prompt! Thanks. Michelle t

  • 38.
    Andrea Williams said…

    What a great story to tell Ali. I thought of all that our kitchen table has heard or experienced and I burst into tears. Great post…. i never would have thought of using “my table” as my story. Hmmm, it’s my Grandmother’s table from the 1960′s. Guess I just discovered that this may just become a longer story. Thanks Ali, I can’t wait to get to work on it. This table…

  • 39.
    Machella said…

    I love the idea of taking pictures around a certain item in your home. Thanks for sharing these lovely photos.

  • 40.
    Amy said…

    I love your stories Ali–you have such a great family and you can see how much you all love and treasure each other in each of these pictures. Great idea for telling stories in our own lives, too! Thanks for sharing with us :)

  • 41.
    Lida said…

    I loved how you told your stories/photos from a different perspective, through the use of your dining room table. How nice!

  • 42.
    Nancy Beck said…

    This is brilliant, Ali! I’d never have thought about the story of the table in our kitchen, in fact I’ve often thought people who see my PL pages must surely notice that I take way to many of my photos around that beat up old relic. You are such an inspiration, I think our table needs it’s day in the limelight, lol!

  • 43.
    Sonya B said…

    Thanks for sharing, Ali. I LOVE the story the photos tell. Thanks for the motivation. I have so many photos of us around our kitchen table and never thought about the story those photos were telling. Thank you for prompting me to document it. Please share how you’re able to keep your table “scratch-free” and your couch “stain-free”?

  • 44.
    Patti L said…

    Love this! Kind of reminds me of your “31 Things” class. I remember writing a poem about the clothes in my closet in high school, in a similar way to “if these clothes could talk”. I like the concept of making an inanimate thing into more of a character in a story.

    You always inspire me to stretch my creativity a bit!

  • 45.
    Sue P, said…

    You have definitely knocked it out of the park with this post. How simply lovely to see the fixtures in our house as fixture in the process of telling of our stories. Thanks again Ali

  • 46.
    Theresa M. said…

    I love this!!!

  • 47.
    Cathy L. said…

    Love this.

  • 48.
    Taylor said…

    If I were to write about anything in my house, it would be my bathroom. There are so many things that happen in there (especially when you have sisters). LOVE that couch!


  • 49.

    Absolutely beautiful. I hope that one day my family can have a space like this.

  • 50.
    Melissa said…

    Beautiful story of something so oridnary yet so important in your life! Love it!

Post a comment