This is one of our six dining chairs, a set we bought four years ago. We bought them second-hand. Not because we loved them, but because we were sad renters, with broken chairs, and no place to take a family meal, all seated (safely) together. But, hey... not bad, right? And we've enjoyed sitting 'round the family table, building, painting, making, soldering, gluing, and eating, too.
Time and use are good, but together with all the good comes some wear and tear, some abuse, and these chairs show it. This is one of the nice ones. Time for a new cover. Time to put our sweet skills to work, and replace the fabric on our seats. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
And so, like a perky blogger, I bring you a decorator's Before and After!
Super neato: we hardly had to do a thing to remove the seats from the frames, because some of them are completely loose, and the rest are hanging on by barely threaded screws, and twisted brackets. What can I say, we live dangerously.
For the record: this project was initiated by Natalie, the Chickenblogger, September 7, 2012. Sober. Intent. Earnest. I recruited the first child to wander by... this honor fell to Alex. Skilled. Resourceful. A visionary man. Mission: remove two seats, strip them of their fabric, assess their condition, take measurements, and then shop for new fabric, possibly foam, hopefully not plywood.
We were well into step one: remove seats, when we made multiple discoveries, including:
1. each seat had four separate rows of staples, a plethora of staples (thank you 1984 SAT for enriching my vocabulary, so worth it). Somebody in the chair factory must have worked by a staple-use commission, because they were imbedded, forty-two staples per linear inch.
2. popping out staples is boring. Just saying.
Don't get me wrong. I can handle manual labor, and honest, the first thirty seconds of this task were _fascinating_ No doubt about it, we were in this for the long haul. Unfortunately, each new level presented another freakin' defensive barrier of staple hell.
Uh-oh. My cool is waning.
Okay. Not only was I losing my cool, but I should have had the sense to do more than listen to Alex. I should have listened and followed his wisdom. My hope was that we only needed to replace the upholstery, and we could keep the foam, and the wood seat. Which... duh why would nasty-stained-abused fabric possibly be hiding sweet and wonderful foam?
Alex said, "Let's just cut the fabric off, save the wood as a template and start from scratch!"
Natalie, the Chickenblogger said, "Golly. Gee. We're fine. Let's keep going in this mindless, sweaty, pointless, bodily injuring pursuit, until we lose sight of our purpose, and abandon all hope of ever finding peace." I felt pretty sure we were on a good path.
Yeah. This is the next picture on the memory card.
For the record: we have four dirty, semi-unstable chairs, and two chair frames with no seats. The foam pads are gross, the wood seats are warped, and need to be replaced.
It's almost fall. Sweet new season. I think fall feels most like the beginning, like a new year. It may be because of the new school year, the succession of happy holidays, the light and weather that bring us closer to home, to each other. It feels like a good time to begin again, to renew vows, to learn, to start something fresh.
The garden needs clearing. Time to tuck in bulbs, plant new seeds. The barn wants sweeping. I am thinking of bringing out wool, floss, needles, patterns. The children are making invitations for a Halloween party, and reveling in the details. Maria and I have been drying herbs, and reading books about pickling, canning, preserving. And something else... something new:
I've been invited to join a book~cook club, where we will be cooking our way through Alice Water's bookThe Simple Art of The Art of Simple Food. Pardon... I keep mixing up the title! We will begin this venture in October.
I've never been in a book club: squeee!
I never follow recipes: squeee!
We got no capers!
This could be awesome, don't you think?
Karen is quite an inspiration... she's rallied one-hundred eager and willing participants, and we are about to cook our way through local, seasonal, and sustainable foods. My friend, Anne said, "At the rate of 3-4 recipes a month, we'll be together for about 7 years! I am ok with that." I love her analytical, and receptive mind. If she's all in, then me too.
Now to let the chicas know... I need them to pull their weight, and quit hiding the goods!
All right, ladies, where did you hide our local, seasonal, sustainable eggs?
It never fails... something sad happens, and at some point I look around and notice that nothing stops. There is a sense that traffic should not move, that people should not shop, and when they look at you they should recognize the change, the sadness touching your heart... but of course everything moves forward, even when we feel halted, fixed in our disbelief. I even tried to pass the days as though nothing did happen, filling up the time with activities and busyness, recognizing that happy events, and funny moments were there to appreciate.
The chicas are still hiding nests. The goats are still after the roses. The tomatoes are still ripening on the vine. Dishes still find their way to the sink...
I am sad about our Flopsy bunny, and I am sad about what we do not have, what I did not prevent. And I even feel awkwardly apologetic... as though three days is enough to reflect and grieve, and now it's time for something new, something cheery. Like, we cannot mix our daily lives, and new plans, with what happened, with the sad business of all night vigils, a pet dying. On the flip-side... I hate to move on, as though making plans, smiling, could possibly mean I think less of her, or am too easy going.
Well, I think I am going to let things slide and mix, and crossover. It's a simple act, a healing deed... to let the good mingle with the hurting, to let some light shine on the aches and longing. It's honest, really. I wash the dishes, pick the tomatoes, then sigh. I look for hidden eggs, shop, too... and sitting in the garden, leaning against the barn, I have a cry.
Thank you. Everyone who shared their caring words and kindness with us, you really gave us comfort. It's reassuring to feel that understanding and sympathy from so many. Have I thanked you? Yes, one more: Thank you.