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Oh, Look!!

I finished something!

Lucy Tries Out the Chair

A year ago I told my husband that I’d reupholster his worn-out old office chair. “Really?” He asked. “You can do that sort of thing?” He knows I can sew, he just didn’t think that reupholstery was in my repertoire.

“Sure,” I said. “It’s easy.”

That was before I took a good look at how the chair was constructed. Instead of having removable parts the new fabric could be attached to, like this, his chair was attached by means of a plastic band that snapped under slots on the back and bottom of the chair. The band had been sewn directly to the fabric on the original chair, but I assumed I could sew the fabric around the plastic band (since there was no way my machine would sew through rigid plastic), and then snap it in place.

I bought the fabric in April. Kurtis even accompanied me to the fabric store. He picked out fabric that looked just like the old fabric. (It’s possible he liked the chair as it was). I did some gardening in the summer and let the sewing slide, but by August I figured I should get started on the chair, so I took it out to the deck one day and stripped all the fabric and foam off.

“Don’t worry,” I told Kurtis as I put a hard dining room chair in front of the computer. “I should have this done in a couple weeks.”

Um. Well, you know how that went.

In November, I made it a goal to finish the chair. Then I made the same goal in December, too. I gave myself January off of fretting about it, and in February began in earnest, cutting and sewing the cover for the back cushion.

I spent one trying to attach the back piece, complete with a beautifully sewn channel for that plastic band, into the chair frame. I used all my bad words, all my favorite swear phrases, and I made up some new ones. Kurtis offered his hands (and his favorite swear words) and we tried to wrestle the band into the slot. We’d get one side in place, and another would pop out. It just wasn’t working.

I considered setting the whole mess in the alley for the garbage collectors, but I’d spent enough time and money that I wanted to see this thing through. I talked through some possibilities with Kurtis, and finally settled on a envelope-style covering for the back cushion, and velcro straps for the bottom ones.

After a few more weeks of procrastination, it’s DONE! I feel free. This is one of those projects that made me feel so guilty for not working on it, not to mention that the chair was haunting my sewing/dressing room and making the place look messy.

(Or maybe the fact that I have stuff sitting all over the place makes the room look messy).

Here’s a back view, showing the envelope style attachment for the top cushion. I love the funky seventies-style circles.

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I forgot the before picture! Here it is. Ahh, it’s so much better now.

chair to be recovered

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Erm.

Yeah. That November project. It’s par for the course that I’m posting a follow-up in January.

I did finish the Christmas cards, and I got a start on the chair. A decent start, but that’s all. I didn’t even touch the scrapbook.

In December I put together an adorable papercraft snow village from K & Company. I made a felt background for our hutch and it was just charming all lit up.

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I also made two fabric lunch bags for my sister’s Christmas present. They turned out really cute, and I took pictures as I was sewing the first one. However, I neglected to photograph the finished products. Gulp.

Here’s a lunch sack before I turned the lining to the inside. I turned in the seam allowance on the oval handle and top-stitched it to finish.

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Yes. Well. Here’s to a new year and a chance for all of us who start more than we finish to get through some of those projects. May your good intentions be accompanied by the patience to see them through.

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AngCraProMo

November is “National Novel Writing Month”, or NaNoWriMo.  I don’t have a novel in me write now (someday!) but I do have a bunch of craft projects.  Therefore, I’m declaring it “AngCraProMo”.  Angela’s Craft Project Month.

AngCraProMo will have a slightly different ethic than NaNoWriMo.  With the writing exercise, the point is to just get writing.  Quantity over quality.  Basically it’s just a chance to exercise your writing muscle and make a habit of writing.

With crafting, it’s not as easy to go back and edit, or pick up the good stuff like you can do with writing.  Once you’ve cut a piece of fabric, you’ve made an irrevocable change.

I’m setting a goal that I know I can reach while also doing quality work.  It will still be a lot more than I’ve gotten done in the past few months, and it will mean finishing some projects I’ve felt really guilty about not finishing.  Why is it that something I enjoy doing can make me feel guilty?

Here are my goals:

1. Recover the hubby’s office chair.  It’s been stripped and sitting in my sewing room for a couple months now.  We’ve been using a hard dining room chair at the computer.

Here’s the “before” picture of the chair:
chair to be recovered

2. Finish the Pippi and Lucy scrapbook I started six months ago.

3. Design and finish our Christmas cards.  I have a neat idea for these and it will involve learning a new technique.  I’m excited.

I don’t know how much blogging I’ll be doing about these projects.  The chair won’t make for very interesting writing, though I may document the steps in a tutorial.  I’ll try to take some pictures of the scrapbook, but it’s mainly decorated text, and my photography skills aren’t all that fabulous.  Lastly, I don’t want to spoil the surprise of the Christmas card for my friends who read this blog.

Happy crafting, everyone.

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Little Boxes

When I was a kid, I loved little boxes. I never had much to put in them, but I still liked having them. Now that I do lots of crafting, I have lots of little things to organize, and I wish I still had all those little boxes. (What happened to them?)

I was at The Scrapbook Shop of St. Paul a couple weeks back and found this darling little white paperboard jewelry box. It has storage on top with tiny compartments, and two drawers with more little compartments. Often when I look at craft supplies – like papers or fabric or plain boxes, I think, “I could do something with that.” But then I get stuck at, “What should I do with that?” This time, though, I knew. I saw the box and had a gingham-y, picnic-y vision.

I spent two nights painting test versions in a sketch pad, until I finally came up with a design that mimicked gingham, rick-rack, and simple embroidered flowers.

Painted Box, Top

The sides are polka-dotted, and the drawers trimmed with cardinal-colored “stitches”.

Painted Box, Front

One more project done!

Okay, so this one wasn’t exactly sitting in my “to do” pile for very long, but I’m actually pretty proud of that, too!

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Rather Telling

Yup. I said I’d post each day for seven days, and I didn’t really do that, did I? I think this is indicative of my problem. Like my friend Beth says, “I never finish anyth”

I ran out of pictures I had on back log, and I haven’t done much pretty stuff this week. Kurtis is out of town and I’m acting single mom to our five cats. I need an extra hour in the day just to take up Kurtis’ half of the feeding, litter-box-scooping, scritching and kissing.

With any luck, I’ll have a little project finished this weekend that I can show you. We’ll see. Thanks for reading!

Oh! Here’s a picture I haven’t shared. This is the card I made for Mother’s Day. The “Threading Water” punch by Fiskars, the one that made that little scallop trim, is the darlingest punch I’ve ever seen.

mother's day card

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Memorial Parkway

This has nothing to do with crafts or finishing any projects, but it’s a tradition I think is incredibly sweet, and is beautifully designed.

We live along Victory Memorial Parkway in Minneapolis, a lush greenway designed to honor local soldiers and nurses who died in World War I.

Every Memorial Day, someone gets up before daylight to plant a flag at each stone marking the name of one soldier.

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It’s incredible to look down the long path and see flags have sprouted up overnight. The people who planned this tribute timed it perfectly. In an area set aside for the Minnesota units who served in the Civil War, trees spread pink blossoms over the markers, as if in blessing.

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Down to the tiniest detail, it’s a lovely tribute.

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Company

I’m working on Amy Butler’s layered skirt. Instead of using one of her (gorgeous) fabrics, I’m using a blue-grey calico I found at Crafty Planet. It has a very soft, old fashioned look I think will go nicely with the skirt’s frayed edges.

So, I’m sitting at the dining room table sewing, and I look up and realize I have a visitor. A very skittish, visitor who usually won’t come very close to me unless I’m going to feed her.

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That’s Pippi, our kitten. She’s nearly ten months old, but she’s still a kitten to us. She and her mom came to us last fall. Her mom (who’s also part of the family now) was a stray in the neighborhood. It took us a while to find where her kittens were, so Pippi lived her first seven or so weeks without any human contact. She’s very affectionate with the other cats, especially her mommy, but she’s a bit more timid around Kurtis and I.

She’s awfully curious, though. So if I start doing something unusual, she’s likely to come check it out.

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I was very flattered by the attention. It’s unusual to have close-range Pippi time. When I was a kid, I used to hang around my mom while she was sewing. I liked the rhythm of the sewing machine, the soft light and the fabric chugging under the needle. It would make me very sleepy, too.

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