The Fleeting Calm

First I’m wishing everyone a happy Saint Patrick’s Day.

The 50th Street door of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.

While we were in New York City we stopped by the cathedral of the same name a couple of times.

The gothic interior of Saint Patrick’s is beautiful and free to the public.

We enjoyed our visits especially mass on Sunday morning with an excellent worship leader and a wonderful organist.

How does it get like this in the first place?

Charlie worked hard right before our party to consolidate his “papers” into a few boxes.

These boxes have been moved from room to room.

They had been cluttering the conservatory for weeks. Then he stored them in the attic.

The whole house including the conservatory was clutter free.
The conservatory had certainly been cleaned up for the party — no clutter.

It was only a few days ago that I had a nice neat house.

We didn’t want to leave the lumber out in the snow.

Then the lumber for our closet was delivered.

Luan in the living room.

The living room,

Two by sixes in the dining room.

dining room,

Plywood sheets in the conservatory.

and conservatory are back to being storage areas.

We’re planning to use the lumber to customize this closet.

We’re hoping to make a big dent in the removal of this new pile of materials today.

Do you find that newly cleared horizontal spaces are magnets for more clutter?

Two Weeks Until . . .

.  .  . we have our Party with a Purpose at The Glade. We’re expecting 25 people or so.

Before
Cottage Before
After
Cottage After

Since we’ve been taking our clutter out of the Cottage so our new tenant can move in, the house now has items that we had been stashing out there.

This year trim lumber was move from the Cottage to the living room to the Cottage and back to the living room.
This year trim lumber was moved from the Cottage to the living room to the Cottage and back to the living room.

For instance the baseboard trim and bits of other trim were redeposited onto the living room floor.

Second floor hallway.
Second floor hallway.

After finishing up the downstairs baseboard Charlie moved the remaining 16-foot 1 by 4s, shoe molding, and ogee to the second floor hallway.

The master bedroom deck in on the left in the photo above.
The master bedroom deck in on the left in the photo above.
The master deck. Note the slanted roof on the center rear of the photo.
The master deck. Note the slanted roof on the center rear of the photo.

We couldn’t take it up the interior steps because the turns are too tight so he hoisted it up to the master bedroom deck,

Charlie moved the wood onto the small slanted roof and through the window on the right. YIKES!
Charlie moved the wood onto the small slanted roof and through the window on the right. YIKES!

then took it in through the window of the back bedroom.

Turning right at the top of the steps is no longer possible.
Turning right at the top of the steps is no longer possible.

The second floor hallway is no longer passable and the middle bedroom is blocked totally.

Moving lumber and finding a new place for it is a chore.
Moving lumber and finding a new place for it is a chore.

The good news is that living room is set up ready for a party,

The loveseats are back in place facing each other.
The loveseats are back in place facing each other.

the conservatory is close,

The dining room is in view behind the conservatory love seat.
The dining room is in view behind the conservatory love seat.

and so is the dining room.

What room in your house is ready for company?

One More Detail?

When I recovered the dining room chair seats I decided to use fabric I already had on hand.

The shades are made from linen I inherited on a roll from Mother.
The shades are made from linen I inherited on a roll from Mother.

The fabric I used to cover the chair seats I had previously used to make the window shades in the dining room and living room.

Before and After
Before and After

However now that the chairs are finished I think they’re a little plain.

I mocked a blue line detail.
I mocked a blue line detail.

I’m thinking of adding threes line to the chair seat so it will look like a grain sack.

Any thoughts?

Fixing the Dining Room Chair Seats – Part Two

I described the beginning of the recushioning of the vintage dining room chairs here.

Three pieces each direction was a little too much so I opted for two.
Three pieces each direction was a little too much so I opted for two.

After finishing the webbing on the first frame I decided that I had used too much webbing and so reduced the remaining chairs to 2 vertical pieces and 2 horizontal pieces.

Turn under the raw edges of the muslin and staple over the webbing.
Turn under the raw edges of the muslin and staple over the webbing.

Next step is to cut and attach a fabric layer over the webbing.

The applied muslin can be seen through the woven webbing.
From the underside the applied muslin can be seen through the woven webbing.

Some sites call for burlap; I used unbleached cotton muslin.

The foam is marked with a Sharpie. (I moved the frame out of position so the marking could be seen.)
The foam is marked with a Sharpie. (I moved the frame out of position so the marking could be seen.)

Trace with a marker the outline of the seat frame onto 1-inch high density foam. I used foam that was already approximately the size of the seats. I laid the front edge of the seat frame against the edge of the foam so only three sides would need to be cut.

Since this foam is only an inch thick it was easy to trim with scissors being careful to cut a perpendicular edge.
Since this foam is only an inch thick it was easy to trim with scissors being careful to cut a perpendicular edge.

I carefully trimmed the excess with scissors. (My preferred method of cutting foam is an electric knife but I couldn’t find ours.)

The layers: wood seat frame, woven jute webbing (not seen), muslin, foam,
The layers from bottom to top: wood seat frame, woven jute webbing (not seen), muslin, foam, batting.

On top of the foam a layer of batting is applied that is just a bit larger than the foam.

My linen upholstery fabric was cut to approximately 22" by 23".
My linen upholstery fabric was cut to approximately 22″ by 23″.

Finally a layer of the upholstery fabric is cut with enough excess to totally cover the top and sides of the cushion and be pulled to the underside for stapling.  After the fabric is cut but before it’s applied is a good time to iron it.

The front of the seat cushion should line up with the straight edge of the fabric.
The front of the seat cushion should line up with the straight edge of the fabric.

Starting with the front put a staple in the middle of the upholstery fabric.  Pull it taut to the back of the cushion and staple again near the center. Then do the same on both side making sure the fabric stays on the straight of grain.

The staples must go through extra thickness at the corners.
The staples must go through extra thickness at the corners.
Take time to make the corners as neat as possible. My corners are on the front and back of the cushion.
Take time to make the corners as neat as possible. My corners are on the front and back of the cushion.

Adjust the corners so they lie flat in a neat pleat.

When the cushion is fully stapled I'll trim some of the excess fabric.
When the cushion is fully stapled I’ll trim some of the excess fabric.

Staple all around the perimeter of the fabric pulling taut to remove bubbles but not so tight as to pull on the bias.

Before and After
Before and After

Place the newly upholstered cushion into the chair.

What project took you a lot longer than expected?

Fixing the Dining Room Chair Seats – Part One

The dining room chairs are vintage, maybe even antique, but they’re still useful.

Carved cane-back antique chairs - set of four
Carved cane-back antique chairs – set of four

Or they would be useful if the seats were repaired.

There were a lot of ancient tacks to pull.
There were a lot of ancient tacks to pull.

Last week I got together all the supplies to repair the chairs but was having difficulty removing the old tacks of which there were many.

Layers of the old chair cushions include cotton batting, excelsior, webbing, and burlap.
Layers of the old chair cushions include cotton batting, horse hair, webbing, and burlap.

Taking the old seats apart was really holding me up until a friend said that’s the kind of mindless work she liked to do.  So I let her take apart 3 of the 4 cushions. I’m keeping the 4th one in tact to make sure I know how to put them back together.

The cushion frames have corresponding Roman numerals pressed into the undersides.
The cushion frames have corresponding Roman numerals pressed into the undersides.

The cushions are marked with Roman numerals to identify to which chair frame they belong and I marked top and bottom just to be sure I got it right.

The first staples go into the jute webbing held in the opposite direction from its ultimate position.
The first staples go into the jute webbing held in the opposite direction from its ultimate position.

The process starts with laying a piece of jute webbing on the top of the frame. Then staple the webbing to the frame and wrap it back over itself. Staple again.

The webbing is stapled in two layers.
The webbing is stapled in two layers.

Stretch it taut across the frame and repeat the stapling process.

Cushion top
Cushion top

Fill the frame both vertically and horizontally, weaving the strips as you go along.

The underside of the cushion.
The underside of the cushion.

I filled the first frame with 3 vertical and 3 horizontal strips.

This frame looks like it was made from an old crate.
This frame looks like it was made from an old crate.

I used only 2 horizontal strips on subsequent frames to reduce the bulk and the amount of webbing necessary.

The first cushion definitely the "learner".
The first cushion definitely the “learner”.

Having almost finished a prototype I plan to finish applying all the webbing before proceeding with additional steps of adding padding and top fabric.

What’s your latest DIY project?

Focusing on Décor Again

I’ve been having regular get-togethers for the past 5 months which means the house has been in a state of turmoil during that time.

When the living room was set up for a tea party we brought in extra chairs and an extra table.
When the living room was set up for a tea party we brought in extra chairs and an extra table.

Temporary chairs and tables have been moved in and out of the living room and dining room.

The white sofa cover is both casual and sophisticated at the same time.
The white sofa cover is both casual and sophisticated at the same time.

Now I’m ready to take a little break from all that entertaining and to get back to making the house more personal.

A simple mantel of favorite things.
A simple mantel of favorite things.

Some of my favorite things, like these blue Kosta vases, are back on the mantel.

The slip cover is changed for the summer.
The slip cover is changed for the summer.

And the sofa slipcover has been changed from grey to white.

The shelf on the left of the photo is in a new home.
The shelf on the left of the photo is in a new home.

As a side note on her way home from the Book Swap last Saturday one of my friends asked what I was going to do with the bookcase we had moved from the attic to the porch. I asked her if she wanted it (a thirty-year-old Ikea unit) and we loaded it up in her car then and there.

Are you happier to give or get cast-offs?

A Clearing in the Attic

As we’ve been bringing books down from the attic for the Book Swap we saw other things that could also be removed.

Top of the attic steps -- Before.
Top of the attic steps — Before.

Usually looking left at the top of the attic steps the view was totally packed with boxes and baskets.

The same view after a little clearing.
The same view after a little clearing.

After removing a couple of boxes of books, a bookshelf, and 2 leaves for the dining room table I can actually see attic floor.

I have a pair of these old Ikea bookshelves.
I have a pair of these old Ikea bookshelves.

The bookshelf is going out on the porch.

Usually the dining room table is 72 inches long.
Usually the dining room table is 72 inches long.
The table now takes up the entire dining room and has lots of rooms for books.
The table now takes up the entire dining room and has lots of rooms for books.

Charlie and I turned the dining room table 90 degrees and added 2 leaves which  creates a 120-inch long table.

I'll have to sort my books.
I’ll have to sort my books.

Next item is to make labels for the various categories of books:

  • Fiction: Adventure, Romance, Mystery
  • Self help and Health
  • Children
  • Religion, Spirituality, Prayer
  • Science, Math, Computers
  • Anthologies, Poetry
  • Cookbooks
  • Biographies, Autobiographies
  • DIY, Décor, Art
  • Science Fiction, Fantasy

Have I omitted your favorite genre?