Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Recover: Or How Upholstery Changes Lives

Some parts of my life have stalled of late.  That is another story. But for a moment there it seemed like momentum was back on the menu; a little list ticking and forward motion and lights at end of tunnels and future plans and such. We plugged up the 'third door' in the lounge room.  We had a wall ... and no longer any need for the draught flapping curtain that had covered the gap since we moved in four years ago...(as much as I miss the theatrical way you could enter the room and all...). The gap, so my neighbour tells me was created with a chain saw.  That was the way the DIY rolled round here before we moved in.

So with a new wall, we could move the furniture around.  We could rejiggle.  So after spending the last 5 years thinking I really should have a stab at reupholstering the couch, I just did it.  I'd bought the fabric a while back - Outside Oslo by Jessica Jones.  I really wanted the 'Dawn' colourway but decided that with three smalls under 5 maybe 'Dusk' would do the trick better.
Sure ... the couch which we bought for 50 smackers when a lovely neighbour moved out across the hall in Sydney almost a decade ago ... sure it is not the midcentury model shape the fabric perhaps leans toward ... but it was jolly and an improvement on the stained and faded green it had become in its long and well-sat on life. You can glimpse it here ... in its previous life.  So I unpicked the cushions, used them as templates to cut from.  Saved the industrial plastic piping cord, googled piping and taught myself how to make it and insert it (this alone changed my life ... so easy ...who would have thought?)  But I wasn't a piping purest - I didn't cut the fabric strips on the bias (to save on fabric) and just did a bit of fiddling to make it sit down around the corners.

Then we kind of did the same for the body of the couch ... Duncan helped me here.  Kind of just started taking it apart and working out what order to do the panels in.  Then I just laid over the fabric and chopped it and then stapled gunned it into oblivion.  My remit ... it just has to hold together and look jolly.  We didn't take off the old fabric ... it had a worn pile which just added some more padding ... we didn't replace foam... we repaired the fabric bracing under the cushions.  

Spurred on by the upholstery success, one morning I woke with a spot of the stylist possession frenzy.  A transient condition where some woman appears to have taken hold of your senses - in the fashion of The Exorcist - and you start throwing around, willy nilly, terms like 'pops of colour' and 'draw together' and 'vignette' and 'on trend'  and 'that wow factor' like you actually mean it. When you just want one room that you can sit without thinking 'I really must get round to ...'  Maybe those of you in a constant state of reno (or rental) can relate?  Looking at 'House Porn' is my not-so-secret pleasure. Applying it to my own space makes me feel good.
So I gathered up my collection of mirrors that had been scattered throughout the house (Most of which have been bought from the wonderful Cathy, some dating back to our first months on the island... check out that butterfly one!).  We repositioned the priceless art collection and rearranged the ancestral artefacts. (Read: a life time of gifted and thrifted treasures - each one with their own special stories and memories). Then, on completion fell on the newly upholstered couch and felt like we should have blindfolded each other and had a big 60 Minute Makeover style reveal including mutual back slapping.
Sure ... I'm no Sibella Court...but the list on my fridge that reads 'to do' has a couple of lines through it.  And this stands a testament that I (albeit briefly) got some mojo back.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Getting Going (again)

It has been a while since I blogged.  A couple of posts sit waiting in draft, hardly formed, unfinished. I have the sensation of wanting to say something but being quite unsure what exactly it is.  It presses on the back of my throat.  It comes fleetingly in images and small sentences. I have made things.  I have redecorated.  I have renovated.  I have repaved and rejigged.  I have gone off the island and come back.  I have had adventures and taken photos. I have gone to load them up, to just get on with the show and tell.  But it just doesn't come.  A heavy heart on the brink of change does that to me.  I lose my ability to find where to begin.  I forget where it started ... like trying to unravel a knotted ball of wool, you just have to have the patience (and time) to work backwards before you can get going again.

Today I have felt a change.  Today I feel like I can get going again.  Today I went to a bloggers meet up.  Tanya gently directed our discussion.  Interesting thoughts were aired, points raised, ideas crystallised.  I thought about why I blogged.  I thought about what I get from it.  It is indeed a record of what I make, of how my family are growing, of where I go, and what I find at op shops... and I love that part of it... the reporting part.  I love looking back through old posts and seeing where I have trodden. But I think what I have inadvertently found in blogland is more than a show and tell.  It is a sense of connection.  That the world is both vast and tiny.  That for all our differences we are so similar.  I like feeling connected to people; that I am, in small ways, sharing small parts of their everyday experience and likes. I don't necessary outpour all the contents of my life in every blog post.  I don't necessary disclose the struggles.  But I shy away from posting when it feels to me like sugar coating or skimming over or hiding something. Not that every absence can be explained by me visiting struggletown ... sometimes its just the computer on the blink or preferring the couch at night after a day of kiddy wrangling.  But I guess what I am saying is I like that blogging makes me reflect ... even if those reflections are never to meet the publish button. I like that blogging has the power to do that even when I'm not actually blogging. Does that make me authentic?  Truthful?  An honest representer?  Don't know really.  I think it just documents points where I have arrived at some clarity, the beginning of the ball of wool and that I'm ready to get going again.

For me sharing in this space makes me remember I am so small amidst a beautiful bigger picture...That is when I usually draw breath and tell myself to get on with it because noone is watching and the ones looking on are with you.

So here is what I made last week.  It is a present and the first shirred dress I have made in  a very long time.  It made me happy from the pink rosette down to the vintage lace that found a home at last.

PS. Thank you Tanya for organising the meet up ... it was lovely to meet everyone outside of cyberland