Fast forward 20 years (yikes...am I really that old?) and I'm not so into the country look anymore. But the bench is sentimental... and I wanted to use it.
So here's what I did.
First, I painted it a fab aqua. (Milk Pail by Marth Stewart).
But darn it! There's still that cutesy heart cut out.
Then I remembered this wall hanging/plaster-plaque-replica-thingy (that's the technical term) I had in my decor stash. And it was just the right size to cover that heart cutout. So I painted it out in Milk Pail as well.
Then I performed a bench to plaster-plaque marriage ceremony which consisted of attaching the plaque to the bench with a couple of wood-screws (it already had hanging holes on its back.) Just hung it on there and VOILA!
A French-ish beauty of bench!