The Rear View IS 2020!
Finding new paths to Joy has been my mantra for the past several months. The chaos, the political windstorm and the uncertainty that 2020 has wrought has caused me to look at life slightly differently. I'm exploring new paths.
Early on in the shutdown I lost my creative mojo. It's never happened to me to the degree that hit me in those first months. Each week brought more show bookings and guild cancellations and more bad news as the virus firestorm crossed the country. It was depressing and I'm not prone to depression on any level. I missed people and I made masks. I missed teaching and sharing and I missed all the structure and project management that goes into working in my chosen industry. I made masks. I missed people.
After many weeks of mask making I turned to what gives me energy - organizing everything in sight. Even though we have only been in our house for three years I found myself tearing into cupboards and closets with new enthusiasm. Towels were folded just so; files were organized and labeled; papers were shredded and recycled; bins and boxes were labeled and everything had it's place. "Things" were looked at with more discerning eyes and honestly after a few weeks of those kinds of projects realizing the only thing left was to alphabetize the pantry items (gasp!) I asked my hubs if he wanted to tackle some remaining organizing in the garage. His response was an enthusiastic "Really, you will help me sort bolts and empty the last few boxes from the move?" Oh yes, I even relished that task and soon our house was in "For Sale" order even though we were not selling.
If you are a DIY "MacGyver" like me there are always projects waiting for the time to complete them. There are new things to try. New things to learn. Since our house is new my attention turned to some different things. During my organizing and assessment phase above, I made lists of things I wanted to get accomplished. You know those projects that you want to do but never seem to find the time. Or perhaps it involves a new skill or takes you out of your comfort zone? I like to see if I can figure things out and rarely resort to online videos for help as I love the challenge of something new.
We have had this chair for several years. When we moved I had it recovered in this bird fabric and when I ordered the fabric for it I purchased three extra yards for some throw pillows. It's my favorite reading chair and I sit in it often. After a while I realized what would make it more comfy is a foot stool...a tuffet! I love that name. As luck would have it, I had the makings for one in my stash of miscellaneous DIY stuff. I felt the beginning stirrings of creativity happening.
I figured how hard could it be? I've never done any upholstery, sure lots of sewing, including home dec stuff but this was a new challenge. I gathered some wood, some foam, thick batting, 3/8" cording, tacky glue, 5/8" long staples and some cute bun feet that I took off another piece of furniture thinking I would repurpose them someday. I started out by covering the piping and then cut the fabric circle for the top and attached the piping to the edge. Next up was the side piece and that took a bit of engineering but it went together pretty well. I was not used to dealing with such heavy fabric but after changing to a larger sewing machine needle things went pretty smoothly.
I used a jig saw to cut the circle of wood from some scrap lumber I snagged from the hubs stash and painted the bun feet. I tested the height and since it seemed comfy I covered the wood bottom side with some quilt fabric I had. I put some tacky glue all across the center and stapled it around to the "top side" that would be where I would glue the foam. I wanted the bottom to be as pretty as the top and the glue would ensure the fabric would not sag. Once that was done I set about attaching the super thick quilt batting over the foam to soften the edge of the tuffet top. I just used some heavy thread and a big needle and hand gathered it to the bottom of the foam cushion.
Next up was to glue the batting covered foam to the wood, again tacky glue all over the wood. And I mean all over and a lot of it. Then I slipped the bird fabric cover over the foam and flipped the whole thing over and started stapling. Once I had the cover in place - not using too many staples as I knew I needed to staple on the final cording - I just brought the fabric up over the wood and folded it under so the edge was finished.You can see here the progression of my steps.
All that was left at this point was to attach the bun feet. I had pre-drilled some holes in the feet before painting them and just used some drywall screws to attach to the tuffet base. Drywall screws are so versatile and I use them for so many things. Since I could see the knot of the string I used to attach the button on the top I glued a large button over that to tidy up the bottom. Yep my type A is showing and as I put my feet up with a good book, I gave a fist pump for another new thing I learned and an item on my to-do list checked off!
When you unleash joy, creativity often follows.
As more cancellations of trade shows and teaching events arrived in my email box I looked for more creative things to tackle.
Glass flowers for my gardens?
Oh yes! I had seen several in some garden stores and boutiques and discovered in my cleaning and organizing that I had many glass and china pieces that would make some lovely flowers.
All I needed to do was drill the glass - wait what? Drill glass? Are you nuts? I remembered we had a few ceramic bits from installing grab bars in the shower (for the future and for the parents when they visit - I'm not frail yet LOL) and I remember using water to keep the bit cool since it takes a while to drill glass and ceramic. So I grabbed a couple of Oui yogurt jars from the recycle bin and filled up my large tub with water, set a chunk of wood on the bottom so the glass would be just submerged and started drilling.
What works is a normal speed, angle the bit to start, once it grabs and starts to cut a little groove, you straighten the bit as you would normally drill. My first yogurt jar was a success! Another was on deck and I got a bit energetic with the pressure and it cracked.
What I can tell you is this: Buy a good quality bit, use water, GO SLOW. Slow even pressure, not force, gets the job done. Ceramic is way harder to drill and more time consuming but I persevered and TADA! I have a lovely collection of glass flowers in my garden. I used some water line copper tubing - the kind you would use to hook up the ice maker and some 1/2" copper conduit and soldered (A FIRST!) some stems and leaves to the conduit. The drawer pulls, some silicone caulk (100% silicone) and some nuts and washers to hold them all together and after pounding some 4' steel rebar pieces in the dirt, sliding the "stem" over the steel, they were glittering in the sun after several days of work. I loved this project especially since I learned some new things and went at it like a fearless DIY Diva! These just make me smile when I see them in the yard.
Focus on the good, look for the joy even if you are the one that has to create it!
Having unleashed my DIY Ninja I decided to finally tackle a project that I have needed to do since we moved into our new house. Over the next several weeks I made a slipcover for a chair I have had for decades and a ottoman that didn't even match the chair! It is the perfect "sit and read" chair and when we moved we donated the matching couch but kept the chair for our bedroom. What I liked about the slipcover project was it was mostly engineering. Taking something flat (fabric) and making it 3D and removable. Talk about a challenge. I won't go into the steps but you can see by the collage below that there were many. I barely had enough of the fabric from the chair to do the ottoman (which I had purchased with the idea of only doing the chair and not the ottoman too) so I had to get creative. In order to cover the legs I used the piping fabric to make vent pleats and I literally had just a few scraps of the paisley fabric left once I got the whole thing done. I love projects where I have to problem solve and get creative to get the outcome I desire.
I am really pleased at how these two pieces that didn't belong together turned out and now look so fab in our room. Not a beginner project on any level but I loved the challenge and the outcome. Who knew that giving new life to an old but still comfy chair and a mismatched ottoman would give me such a sense of accomplishment.
As you can see 2020 had it's challenges. Being unemployed in the quilt industry all year was not something I planned on and yet digging deep into the creative problem solving well God gave me, I found immense satisfaction and JOY! I still have some show quilts to complete even if there are no shows where they can be entered...I'm not quite there yet but inching ever closer.
|Port Austin, MI with my ski racer 💕|