Sunday, June 28, 2015

screen porch algebra

A few years ago now, Jonathan came upon a set of porch furniture rather unexpectedly.  One that would fit perfectly on our screen porch, was the perfect price (almost free) and was, of course, in perfectly awful shape.  The frames were solid, but the cushions were dirty, worn, and tearing in places.  I had hopes for the fact that they had zippered slip covers, that I might be able to remove them, wash and repair them and then put them back on.

The set sat on the porch for a season and we did our best to ignore the state of the cushions.  The next season I decided I needed to do something and I tried to remove the slipcovers and quickly discovered that they fell apart and disintegrated when I attempted to pull them off.

And beneath them, I discovered the original fabric of the cushions, now a lilac purple that I am sure was quite elegant and dainty at one point.  But no longer.

And so, we ignored them for another season.  And then, in the deep mid winter last year, I got serious.  Because that's how we Mainers survive winters.  We dream of sitting on screen porches on beautifully slipcovered cushions.  I ordered some outdoor fabric online with a fabulous coupon in colors and a print that we liked.  And I waited.  The fabric arrived eventually, and when I pulled back its packaging, Jonathan and I both laughed. Because ordering fabric online is a bit tricky, it turns out.  If you do not pay attention to the scale of the images and the size of the pattern.  I thought we had selected a small print that would be easy to make work and line up when the cushions were placed next to each other and between the back chair cushion and the seat cushion.  But no.  I had selected a pattern with a large medallion, about 18 inches in diameter that repeated every 4 feet.

And so, that budget friendly but baffling roll of fabric sat in the corner of our bedroom next to the sewing machine for months. I stared at it each night and pondered, shivering beneath my heap of covers, through the rest of the winter.

Last week, I had had enough.  It was raining and I could not really be outside weeding the garden.

I was going to tackle that surprisingly oversized pattern.  And I got to work.

I worked for three days straight on the cushions, using my high school algebra, multiple cardboard cut outs, an odd assortment of drafting tools and embroidery floss, and pins of all kinds.

I googled how to make corners.

And so. Here it is. Obviously not perfect.  But I got it done.  And the screen porch has finally gotten its well needed transformation.

I may need to take a nap out there today.  I joked with Nicholas and a friend who passed by and smirked as I toiled on the project that I was going to use the extra fabric (I mentioned how difficult it is to order fabric online) to sew matching outfits for all of us, and all of our friends.  Von Trapp style. In fact, I have a number of projects and adventures that are calling to me in the coming weeks.  And so, I am going to take a break from this writing space and return to it in August. Refreshed.  Having enjoyed that screen porch I dreamed about all winter.

And likely with a few stories to tell about my time away as well. Enjoy your July!

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