Saturday, January 9, 2010

Out with the old, In with the Refurbished

I'm not a big resolution maker. It's not that I'm anti-improvement. Lord knows- along with plenty of earthly witnesses- that I have plenty of areas that need improvement. In fact, that's why I don't make New Year's resolutions. I can't wait until the last day of any said year to work on my many weak areas.

My life is a continual resolution.

Each day I wake up, I resolve a bunch of things.

Some are lofty, and optimistic, and barely achievable in this lifetime. And some are trivial and insignificant - but checking them off my list feels really good. Plus they're much easier than trying to be nice all day, or quitting sugar (neither of which made the Top 10 this year.)

So, here are a few of the projects I checked off my list in the first few days of 2010. The proof is in the pictures.

I bought this couch, including the incredible vintage-look, soft yellow slipcover (!), for $75.00 a few years ago. (It's deals like this that keep middle-aged women traipsing into unfamiliar neighborhoods at the break of dawn.) Unfortunately, as slipcovers are want to do, it slips. So every time someone gets up from that gorgeous couch, I have to scurry over and re-slip the cushion.

I haven't really minded. Much.

.....OK, I DO mind. It's bugged the patooty out of me the entire time I've owned the doggone sofa.

But No More.

At a time when lesser women were making long lists of resolutions about trivial things like getting healthier, learning new skills, and improving their character, I was sewing Velcro onto fabric - thus ending my years of hoping people would choose to sit in the chairs.

And it took me about an hour.

Why, oh why do we put off these life-enhancing chores?

And while I'm bragging, here's the other side of the room. I finally have it just the way I want it. Four chairs circling a round, white coffee table (acquired in a savvy coffee table swap, where I traded my oversized white IKEA ottoman for a damaged brown round table begging for glossy white paint.) This is the perfect place for conversation. It was worth all that lugging of furniture...back and forth...back and forth. Right, sons?

Here it is from another view. I wanted you to see the fabric on these chairs. The chairs were "free" with the house. So I splurged a little on the fabric (thus making the chairs not quite so "free"), but I haven't regretted it one iota. Run your hands over the material. It's 3-D. Those beautiful flowers are like crewel work. Free decorating advice: Don't scrimp on fabric for smaller jobs. Get what you love. It makes a big impact - and you'll smile every time you walk into the room.

Another project-in-waiting completed. My cafe kitchen curtains have been unhemmed for almost a year. I can't remember why I ever put them up pinned vs. sewn - but once they were up it seemed like a big hassle to take them down. Turns out it was an imaginary hassle. finished this job in about 20 minutes. Pitiful.

I'm a Nester Wannabe (along with thousands of other women, from the looks of her comment section), so when I noticed that I owned some of the same fabric she owned (except mine was in a Rubbermaid container in the basement), I decided to make this cute tablecloth for my family room table. This was Not So Easy. But it looks great and I feel very Nesterish.

I also tried my hand at a few crafts while my older daughters were home for Christmas and could tutor me. I made these cards by myself. Id you so any stamping yourself then you won't be impressed, but hopefully some of you have no idea how easy it is and you'll be thinking very highly of me about now.

If you'd like me to send you one of these just do something incredibly kind for me. That's why I made them. To reward those who are kind (to me.)

This next project is the one that should bring me some Bloggy Kudos. (along with some ads from plastic surgeons offering to remove a few of my necks....) This is a poor quality photo of a high quality felt flower, completely hand-sewn by ME. I love these. I have one in every color - and Molly made some to wear as hair pins. I'll try to take some better pics. We have big ones and small ones and ones with buttons in the center. Do you think you can have too many felt flowers? I hope not.

Consider the next few pictures "visual resolutions". They are here to remind me of things I want to accomplish.

I want to learn how to use my camera settings. I want to be able to make the backgrounds fade out, but the front object be in focus. I also want to learn the art of tablescaping. I dabble in it, but I want to Master It.

This picture is of a quilt that I bought for $5 at a garage sale, but made the mistake of washing.
It now has a gazillion small holes in it, and a few billion big ones. I am in the process of sewing them all up, which means in man-hours I will have paid Big Bucks for my quilt.

Happy New Year to my faithful readers - and even the unfaithful ones. It is my hope that blogging will be a higher priority for me this year. I appreciate those of you who have encouraged me to keep writing.


lea said...

if i teach you how to do the camera trick (blurry background) do i get a kind card?

brite said...

Nice work- you are a crazy sewing woman. They might even let you subscribe to Sew Mama Sew now!

Dayna said...

Yes, do keep writing! You've reminded me today that I'm a greater woman, as I have made no such lists. :-) I was already working out before Christmas, and as soon as I get my electric converters working, I can resume healthier meal prep with my American 110 appliances. ;-) I must confess that I haven't entirely foregone list-making. After all, it's who I am. However, they've been grocery lists and school goals lists, which are normal.

Way to go on your nesting! I'm in a holding pattern as far as that goes. We're renting a home in Moz with the bare minimum of our own items, and the cost of decorating here isn't worth doing it for such a brief stretch of time. So, I count it one less distraction in my day, although I long to sew beautiful things for the home. In the meantime, Gabriela and I are working on doll clothes.

Keep inspiring us (middle-aged) women. (I think I'm there.)

Cheaper by the Baker's Dozen said...

Lea, You are on, girl! I will go ahead and write you a Kind thank you note in advance.

And Brite, reading back through this post I realize I neglected to give you the credit you so abundantly deserve. My sewing machine never leaves the closet without your prodding - and instruction. The investment I made in sewing lessons for you has brought me enormous returns!

Jax said...

I raised an eyebrow when I read the part where you gave a little credit to your older daughterS...not exactly sure that should be plural. I've never inspired anyone to be crafty, and I haven't even started sewing up the felt flower I cut out at your house! But ... I plan to ...
You've inspired me to start checking garage sales for furniture again. Nathan's leaving for a month -- what else am I supposed to do for our new house while he's gone? I can't exactly hang drywall by myself...

Anonymous said...

The fact that you can "see" the room ahead of time and then do the work to fix it that way- is amazing to me. My home remains in the 60s when it was built and though I want to be okay with this, my hubby & I don't entertain as much as we would like to as we're embarrassed by our lack of home improvements as the years have gone by. But that said - good thing retro is in right now as that makes us somewhat cooler since our home def fits that look.
Of course, that doesn't excuse my inability to "see" how to fix up my furniture as you've done. You're my hero. Well done!

Lauren Bretz said...

your home is one of those where i return often in my dreams. *happy sigh*

jodi said...

wow--good for you! see, cold weather forcing you inside has its benefits! and what was the fuel to give you so much energy? medium cokes from chick fil a? oh, how i miss bringing you those. but, i *did* give up sugar again. really. i think my body's allergic to it, or senses it's a toxin. i feel so. much. better.

miss you-

Cheaper by the Baker's Dozen said...

Lauren! You need to come see my new house in person. Aren't we on your route south to your mom's house?

Cheaper by the Baker's Dozen said...

Jodi, I miss you too ( and not just because of the CFA cokes, or the unending help with my kids). I miss our deep, spiritual talks.

I think being around my busy big girls, and hearing all their energy, gave me the boost I needed to quit complaining and start acting.

Of course, now they're gone and reading about their energy on their blogs does not have quite the same effect.

Anonymous said...

Do you actually know people who resolve to be nice for all three hundred and sixty-five days of a real year? I might as well resolve to fly! Some things really are one bite at a time. And I covet your house.

Anonymous said...

Do you actually know people who resolve to be nice for all three hundred and sixty-five days of a real year? I might as well resolve to fly! Some things really are one bite at a time. And I covet your house.

mommyx12 said...

Me too. I am constantly in need of change so that whole New Years Resolution thing seems to fly right by me.

Sharon K said...

I noticed in one of your photos a picture by Edmund Adler (children gathered around a bird cage). I have the same pic. Got it at a thrift shop. It's actually a puzzle that's been glued together. That picture sent me on a quest to find others by Adler and haven't been able to find any. Do you have a source?

BTW, thank you for your comment on Keeper of the Home on my post about "Shopping for Time". Come by and visit my blog sometime.