I heart craigslist, part 2

You probably thought I had forgotten about this, too, huh? Never fear! It was just waiting in the wings.

In part 1, I showed you our table’s amazing transformation and noted at the end the hodge-podge of chairs around it. I like the hodge-podge. One little nugget of wisdom that I took from years of watching “What Not to Wear” was “It doesn’t have to match, it just has to go.” And that suits me just fine. Too much matchy-matchy and it begins to feel a little sterile, a little cold, whether that be outfits or furniture. So in that spirit of “going” versus “matching,” Mr. Gren and I have been keeping our eyes peeled for old wooden chairs on craigslist. Our entire criteria consists of: must be wood, preferably unfinished, $10 or less. There are certain styles I just don’t like, so I’m not falling all over myself for every wood chair that hits the ads. This chair set the tone for our hunt:

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This chair has been a part of my life for 26 years. It had been left in the shed of the house my family moved to when I was in 3rd grade, and, other than the gouge mark I made in it when using it as a sawhorse at the age of 12, it has always looked like this, even down to the paint flecks on the leather seat. I don’t know what its history was before it became part of our family, but I’m glad it was forgotten so that I could adopt it.

Chairs number 2 and 3, each found on craigslist for ten bucks, are as follows:

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The first one obviously needs a new seat cover. I haven’t decided yet what I want to do about that. See, there’s this issue of children. Either I choose something indestructible, or else I have to make peace with the kids putting their own, ahem, “special touch” on it. Having to re-upholster it more than once is a distinct possibility in that scenario.

Chair number 3 garnered a lot of love from the kids who dubbed it The Potty Seat and pretended to flush each other down the gaping hole in the center of the seat. (C’mon, if you fit through that hole, you totally would have done the same thing). When we first saw this chair on craigslist, I hadn’t noticed the groove about 1/2″ all the way around the hole. I was thinking of upholstering a small board to fit and nailing it all together. When we got it home, I realized that the hole had previously been covered by caning. You know the type — I think everybody’s grandma has at least one item of caned furniture.

But where does one get replacement caning? What a silly question. Amazon, of course! Amazon has everything. For $25, we got a complete kit with easy-to-follow instructions. Slightly annoyed that we could have bought another two and a half chairs for that, but weighing that with the option of having a worthless chair on hand is what made us decide to go for it. Besides, I watched YouTube videos on the process, so I’m an expert now.

This isn’t going to be a real how-to or tutorial because the videos (of which there are many) do a good job of explaining how this works. I’m just going to show our work. No need to reinvent the wheel here!

To start with, we lucked out that someone had already removed the old caning and spline; from what I learned, that is the hardest part of the job.

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I guess I skipped the part where we painted the chair. Look, we painted the chair!

After soaking the sheet of caning and the spline in the bathtub for a half hour or so, it was time to start applying it to the chair. This is definitely a two person job, so if you foresee caning in your future, grab a buddy. And if you need to photograph the process, a 6 year old will do.

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First, I laid the sheet of caning over the hole, trying to keep the grain as straight as possible.

 

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Then, using those little wooden wedges pictured above (they are included in the kit), Mr. Gren pounded the caning into the groove. That sounds easy, and really, it’s not difficult, but it was a little bit fiddly. The caning had a tendency to pop out on the side opposite of where Mr. Gren was pounding it in. That’s why it’s good to have two sets of hands working on this to help hold things down that don’t want to stay down.

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Once the caning was pounded in sufficiently enough that it wouldn’t pop out, we removed the wedges. Now it was time to carefully lay the spline (a long, flexible whip of wood). We chose a center point at the back of the seat to begin and end the spline. Putting the spline in involved more wedges and pounding and popping out and pounding. Granota got bored and found another subject to photograph.

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Meanwhile, Mr. Gren and I are still working in the background. So it’s not a completely gratuitous picture of my adorable baby.

Finally, the spline was in and nothing was popping out! Now came perhaps the hardest task of the whole process: cutting off the extra caning.

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We probably could have stood to replace the blade in our box cutter for one thing. I’m not sure that would have helped immensely, though. There’s just no way to make one long, clean slice through all the extra caning. Mr. Gren had to cut through each of those little strips all while trying not to nick the paint (we did end up having to do some touch-up afterwards, so anyone attempting this should probably just count on that). The uber-frustrating part of cutting the caning off was that, because of the angle of some of the woven strips, they would pull up and threaten to pull out the whole strip. Holding the little wooden wedge in helped with that and gave Mr. Gren something to cut against.

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We ran a bead of wood glue over the spline and trimmed any little stragglers poking up. A little wipe down and the job was done! You have to let the seat dry and tighten up for a day or so before using it. We were a little nervous when the time came for the inaugural sitting… but it has held Mr. Gren for the past four months, so I think it’s safe to say we did it right!

IMG_5782 Here’s where we’re at so far! Somehow, I don’t have a “before” picture of chair #4, so… surprise! We have four chairs! We’d like to get four more, plus we need to do the seats on chairs #1 and 2. You will see more chairs here eventually! And they won’t have to match; they just have to go.

UFO —> FO #2: Little bunny’s dress

Is this really only the second UFO I’ve completed? Dang.

Not much to say about this one. Other than I wonder why I subject myself to making teeny tiny clothes because I hates it, precious! I hates it! Although I did feel some personal satisfaction for having saved miniscule cuts of elastic. Are all crafters hoarders?

Anyways, here’s pretty little Mai in her pretty little dress. Rana was so happy to see the dress finished and has had all kinds of fun dressing Mai and an assortment of other stuffed bunnies in the dress. Yes, in just the few hours since I completed it yesterday afternoon.

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To keep the ball rolling, I pulled my next UFO project.

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Evidently, somebody has been messing with my camera and has set the time stamp. I have my suspicions as to who it was…

It looks like I’ll be working on a gingerbread house just in time for Halloween! Er, I mean, well in advance of Christmas. That’s a good thing! Maybe I’ll actually be able to display it this year. Y’know, 3 years after I started it.

More beaded jar covers

I need to offer my apologies to German-speaking Jewish people of the world.

One of my most-clicked posts as a result of one of the most-frequent search terms that lead people to my blog has probably turned out to be pretty disappointing. See, when Mr. Gren and I thought that my beaded jar covers looked like tricked-out yarmulkes, I thought I was being all clever combining the words “jar” and “yarmulke” to get “jarmulke.” Turns out, that’s just the German spelling for the same thing. I suppose it’s still a sort of fun play-on-words, but it undoubtedly made no sense at all to all the people who landed on my blog shopping for actual Jewish head-coverings. Sorry ’bout that. Goyim gonna goy.

So this time, no funny stuff. I made jar covers with crocheted edgings and beads. White crochet thread, an assortment of pretty beads of various substances, and white flour sack towels from Pakistan which are actually somewhere in between cheesecloth and an actual flour sack towel in terms of the weave. For my purposes of fermenting, that actually works better because it allows more air in, while still keeping dust and bugs out.

 

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The tap is open and the kombucha is flowin’

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These made nice portable projects for our trip to Idaho this summer. I only finished two while I was there; I’ve got a couple more circles of cloth left still.

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Sourdough starter

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These are fairly simple to do, but I love how pretty they turn out. Classing up my kitchen! I did learn a few things from last time which made this go ’round easier. I machine-stitched a line 1/4″ from the edge of the cloth, then poked my crochet hook inside that stitching line when I started the crochet edging. The machine stitching gives it a little more stability so close to the edge of the cloth. Also, I didn’t bother with beads that didn’t easily fit on my crochet thread. Life’s too short. I tried to do a different edging on each cover, for my own amusement. And that’s all there really is to say about that.

Since that was short and only marginally interesting, I’m going to tack on a bit more here at the end.

Remember this thing?

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This is the UFO jar that is, perhaps, partially responsible for my long hiatus. How can that be? Well, the last project that I pulled from the jar was the Rainbow Afghan. My goal was to finish one project per month. I didn’t finish it the first month. Nor the second month. I ran out of yarn. And then I ran out of gumption. This afghan was supposed to have been a stash-buster. You don’t buy new yarn for stash busters! So I was caught in this crafter’s quandary: Do I buy yarn and finish the project (and then have new leftover yarn)? Or do I accept that the afghan will be smaller than originally planned? I chose Option C, which was “Do nothing.”

While the afghan continues to simmer on the back burner, I thought it was high time to pull a new project. After all, my goal was to empty this thing out by the end of the year!

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{sigh} Oh boy. You don’t know how badly I wanted to put this right back in the jar and pull something else. “They’ll never know! They’re just internet people!” But integrity won out in the end and now I’ve published it for all the world to see. “Mai” is Rana’s favorite stuffed bunny rabbit. Originally, this project was conceived as a little mother-daughter teaching time, but, well, let’s just say that Rana and I didn’t have the best summer together and the thought of any more “quality time” together right now makes me want to run screaming for the hills. So here’s the deal: I’m just going to bust this out on my own. Leave it on her bed for her to find after school one day and then she and Mai can have a lovely time playing dress-up and I’ll move on to a new UFO.  Fair enough?

Pad for the baby

This summer, we took a trip to Idaho for my family’s annual get-together (I hesitate to call it a “family reunion” because that always conjures up images of long-lost relatives that you’ve never met and this is just my parents, siblings, and their families). In an attempt to be organized this year, I had made up detailed packing lists for every member of the family and a to-do list calendar for the week leading up to the trip. Major item on the baby’s list was, of course, the playpen. This playpen is a workhorse: It was a shower gift when Rana was born. It has been schlepped around France, Switzerland, and Holland, and has seen its fair share of traveling the Western United States. During our cabin years, it was Konik’s bed because the ceiling in the loft was too low to set up the crib. So 3 kids and 8 years later — 2 of those with everyday use — the mattress had seen better days. Simply put: it was gross. We didn’t even leave the cabin with it when we moved.

Now the problem is, the playpen is European and doesn’t match the dimensions of any of the American ones on the market. We can’t just run out and buy a replacement mattress. Gosh, if only we knew someone crafty…

Who would want to disappoint this little face?

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Well, there just so happens to be a bright green Quonset hut in town labeled “Foam and Fabric Outlet.” I had never been in there before, but it sounded like the kind of place I’d want to visit. It’s deceptively small from the outside! I didn’t have the luxury of really browsing, but I did a quick scan to see all kinds of upholstering fabric, pillow forms, sewing gadgetry and hardware, and, of course, foam. I went in thinking that we’d be able to buy the exact amount of foam we needed. I was wrong. They will cut foam to any size you want, but you still pay for the entire slab. You get to take it all home, though, so now I have a 2′ x 2′ square of foam and a 5′ x 4″ strip that I don’t know what to do with. But hey, that’s good foam; I’ll find a use for it someday.

Anyways, back to the playpen-sized section of foam. Originally I had it cut in one long rectangle, but after lying in bed that night planning my project, I had Mr. Gren take it back the next day and have them cut the rectangle in half. You’ll see why in a minute. But first, let it be known that I had no intention of laying a baby on a bare piece of foam. Anyone with a child should be able to quickly list at least five ways that could go wrong. While we were out, we had hit the thrift store and bought an old sheet. Thrift store sheets = great source of cheap fabric. I wasn’t too particular about what was printed on the sheet; I was more concerned with the weight of the fabric — a worn, flimsy sheet would just be too thin. I left Mr. Gren in charge of the sheet selection and he came back with… some kind of weird army print. With all due respect to our Armed Forces, olive green Army helmets and camo stars just really don’t say “baby” to me. Alas, we were short on time and that particular sheet was the best option available, so Army sheet it is.

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The old mattress was split into two — as my foam was — and held together by the cover. There was a long piece of supple vinyl covering both squares on one side and then on the flip side, each square had its own individual cloth cover. What that did was enabled the mattress to be folded in half when not in use. I was going to attempt to construct the same type of cover (albeit all in Army sheet instead of vinyl and cloth).

It was a great idea, but the construction of it was maddening. Normally when you sew a cover for anything, you sew right sides facing so that all the stitching and seam allowances are on the wrong side. Then, you flip it right side out and it looks all smooth and polished from the outside, while the ugly stuff is hidden inside. Where things got tricky for me is when I decided that I wanted each square of foam individually encased in fabric, then joined together by the long piece, but still completely removable for washing. Geez, why do I make things so hard on myself? And with only two days until our trip…

Here is a crappy MS Paint cross-section diagram of what I wanted to do.

foam diagramThe blue is the foam. The dark green represents the individual square covers. See how they don’t join on the bottom corners? That’s where I can extract the foam again to wash the cover, if need be. The stripe of light green on the top is where the long piece covers the whole kit n’ kaboodle.

So back to that whole right-sides-together thing. That wouldn’t work here. I can’t really explain what I did in order to make all three layers come out right side up after the sewing and the flipping. There was something about a wrong side facing a right side, but I can’t remember which. Suffice it to say, it fried my brain. I gave it a test run as best I could with it all pinned together and then just dove in and sewed it all up. Miracle of miracles, it worked! I wrestled the foam into the cover and look!

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Ignore the bins of stuff under my table. Instead admire how that mattress cover fits like a glove.

The sense of satisfaction and relief once I flipped it all out and found it looking so clean and sharp… ahhhh. And the whole folding mechanism worked like a charm!

 

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Here the mattress demonstrates a partial fold where you can still see the two distinct squares.

I should have taken a photo of the baby sleeping like, well, a baby, on his new mattress, but I didn’t. So you don’t get to see it in use, but Sprinkaan did sleep quite well and this little mattress should last for many years to come. It had better, because I don’t ever want to do this again.

Sometimes I’m inspiring

I know, I find it a little shocking myself, but occasionally people tell me this. And to you people I say, “Thank you.” Specifically this time to my blogger friend, Elle of Erratic Project Junkie, who nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Not only did she nominate me, but she did it in the midst of my blogging slothdom. I hardly felt inspiring at that moment, but it was a good catalyst for getting back in the game. So I owe you two thank yous, Elle — one for the award and one for the kick in the pants. If you like my blog, there’s a pretty high likelihood that you’ll like hers as well. She is also eclectic in her craftiness, plus, she and her stepson are voracious readers and post some entertaining book reviews. Go check her out!

And now on to the award stuff. Here’s how it goes:

Rules

  1. Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Alrighty, so let’s see what we’ve got here. Thanked and linked, check. Rules listed, check. Award displayed:

The internet said it, so it must be true

The internet said it, so it must be true

Now is the part of the program where you get to learn seven (7) facts about me. I asked Mr. Gren for help in choosing these fascinating tidbits (this is hard!). These are listed in no particular order in terms of importance or interest.

  1. Without ever having studied Italian, I once walked into the train station at Venice, looked at a couple travel posters on the wall, then walked up to the counter and held a conversation in Italian and ordered two tickets to Florence. Mr. Gren continues to be impressed at this, ten years hence.
  2. Also filed under “Self-taught skills”: When I went to college in Tennessee, I didn’t get to watch my beloved Seattle Mariners (baseball team). The Commons at the dorm got a copy of USA Today, though, so I taught myself to read the box scores so that I could mentally recreate the game. That’s why Mr. Gren married me.
  3. I have an elaborate protocol for spider disposal all hinged on my completely rational philosophy on spiders, their habits and evil powers. Mr. Gren didn’t laugh at me when I explained it all to him. That’s why I married him.
  4. There is an extra bone in my left arm just above the elbow. It’s not really that special. It doesn’t do party tricks. Most of the time I forget it’s there until I bang my arm on something. But when I was a kid, my dad said it was magic and rubbed it for good luck.
  5. Although I have traveled all over Europe, I have never been to Canada. It’s a 3 hour drive from my house. Someday when I do go (dream big, Jennifer), I will be sure to wear my red shirt with the white maple leaf that says, “Eh?” It’s da best. canada_large
  6. I don’t use a cell phone. I have one because Mr. Gren forces me to carry it. And I do. Grudgingly. On the extremely rare occasion that I even turn it on (maybe once a month), 99.98% of the time, it’s to call Mr. Gren. My dad learned the hard way that texting me is an exercise in futility.
  7. Last summer, I sat next to Zachary Quinto in the Pittsburgh airport. Ok, not right next to him. Since the waiting area was mostly empty, it would have been way creepers to just plunk down next to him. So I chose a seat four chairs away. I would have taken a picture with my cell phone as proof, but I don’t know how to use it.

zachary quinto

 

Alright, facts have been shared, so it is my great honor and pleasure to nominate more bloggers as inspiring. Here is where I am lame: I don’t even read 15 blogs regularly. And THEN, as I was going through the list of blogs in my blogroll over there on the right, I discovered that a few of them are defunct and/or “taking a hiatus” like somebody else we know. Hmph. So this will be a short list. Let’s see how many I can get. Drumroll, please…

  1. A Dress A Day It’s a little funny nominating Erin for this award because she’s all blog-famous and has written books and a dictionary and stuff. But she really was an inspiration to me when I started reading her years upon years ago. Thanks to Erin, I realized that vintage sewing patterns were a thing, so I can credit her with that addiction. Stemming from that, she inspired me to start sewing for myself in earnest.
  2. LLADYBIRD Lauren is just flat-out awesome. She’s a salty little Southern sailor (ye have been warned), but her sense of humor and style make her blog worth checking out. She has a bit of the same sewing/crafting philosophy as I do — she’s not afraid of trying anything. She taught herself how to knit, you guys, and her very first project was gorgeous little cardigan that was most definitely not a beginner’s project. Mad props, woman. Thanks to her, I was inspired to teach my own self to knit. I’ve still got a ways to go to catch up.
  3. Down to Earth Rhonda has had a major influence on my life, without her even knowing it. She writes of simple living from her home in Australia. I’ve learned so much about gardening, raising chickens, and home arts from her. She has such a gentle, soothing manner of writing, too. Every time I stop by her blog I feel inspired.
  4. YarnChick40 I’ve mentioned Lisa on here before, so naturally she should get a nom. Why? Well, I feel like she and I make each other better. Better crocheters, better bloggers. Not in a competitive kind of way, just totally encouraging and… inspiring.
  5. Did You Make That? Karen has only been sewing for about 4 years, but you would never know it by looking at her blog! She started it as a documentation of her learning process. She has thrown herself into learning everything she possibly can to make herself a better seamstress (sewist).
  6. Mister G Kids Mr. G is a substitute elementary school teacher who hand-draws a little comic based on the funny things he hears kids say in the course of a day. Always a pick-me-up!
  7. Dan Frugalberg features nature photography accompanied by heartfelt poetry, often delving into his faith in Jesus Christ.
  8. Another faith-based blog is my friend Rebekah’s Three Bees in a Blue Bonnet which she uses to examine the motives of her heart as she journeys through life and invites us to do the same.
  9. Now, this next blog I’m about to list is definitely not a fun blog, but I feel like it is an important and necessary one. Clara shares her heartbreaking story in Finding a Healing Place where she urges us to keep our eyes open for the sake of our children so that no more have to suffer the horror of molestation. (Clara has already played an important role in my life by creating the website Silent Grief which helped me through the loss of our first child).
  10. Pfft. I’m petering out here, folks. I think that’s about what I’ve got!

So there you go! I hope you’ll check out some of the above blogs and I hope I can continue to be inspiring in some way. Thanks, Elle!

I heart craigslist, part 1

How do I love thee, craigslist? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when I find a deal that’s just right

For the woeful grammar and hilarious typos.

(With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning.)

When my family moved into the log cabin in the Fall of 2011, there was already a table in it, so we put our little kitchen table into storage, along with 75% of our stuff.

When we moved into the cabin in the Fall of 2011, Konik was not quite yet 2 years old and was still in a high chair.

When we were preparing to leave the cabin last fall, we realized that our seats-4 table was going to have to accommodate 5 and, soon enough, a 6th person. No way, no how. Craigslist to the rescue!

Mr. Gren found a solid wood table with double turned legs and three leaves for $30. Caveat: it was in rough shape and desperately needed refinishing. But not enough to scare us off! When we moved into the house, Mr. Gren put the table back together and we ate at it for months, albeit with a tablecloth to hide the ugliness and protect little arms from rough spots. Finally, in May, I was feeling well enough and the weather was dry enough that we felt like we could tackle this project.

Before:

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As you can see, the finish was gone, the veneer on the side was chipped up beyond repair, and some of the “medallions” on the legs had fallen off (although the woman who sold us the table did have a few in a baggy that she gave us). First things first: removing the remaining veneer with a putty knife and a chisel file. Correct tools for the job? Not really. Eventually, we did get every last scrap of veneer scraped off, but not without a few banged-up knuckles.

Little helper

Little helper

Once that was done, we had to sand any remaining varnish off before painting time. Then, Mr. Gren had to reattach the middle pair of legs. Even though they were original to the table, they were too tall and made a hump in the middle of the table. He sawed off and sanded the feet until they were the right height. We also had to match up and glue on the missing leg medallions. So hard to wait through all that when I just wanted to paint! All necessary evils to get to the good stuff. The dry, dark wood took three coats of white paint for a good, bright finish.

The sun was going down, but you get the idea.

The sun was going down, but you get the idea.

All three leaves in

All three leaves in

Do you see that thing? I didn’t measure it exactly, but the table stretches to about 8 feet. Banquet at my house!

After the white paint, things got fiddly again as Mr. Gren meticulously measured and taped out 12″ diamonds from one end of the table to the other which we would paint in a pale blue. In order to keep the measurements correct when we painted, he could only tape out the two outside rows at first, leaving the center blank. Once the paint dried inside those diamonds, he could finish taping out the diamonds down the center. It was tedious work and I love him for it. I love him for other things, too, like washing the dishes, changing light bulbs and killing spiders.

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You may be able to tell that the skirt of the table is also the same pale blue as the diamonds. We wanted it to be a very subtle shade — enough to give the table visual interest, but not a bold slap in the face. When all the blue was dry, I gave it three coats of clear polyurethane for protection and to make clean-up easy. I have four kids; I know it’s not going to look pristine forever, but I can at least give it a head start.

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The back diamonds look discolored, but that was just the light in the dining room. It was really hard to get a picture where the blue showed up!

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As long as my children stop using those horizontal pieces as footrests, we’ll be alright.

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I kinda like blue in the dining room.

I am in love with this table now. Forget odes to craigslist; I need to write an ode to my beautiful table! Every meal feels classier now. Except… notice the mishmash of ugly chairs? Stay tuned for part 2…

Banner Day

Back in the spring, the girls were in a musical production at church. When I found out that some help was needed with props, I volunteered and was assigned the task of creating banners. Other than general dimensions and being told that there needed to be a lion on one of them and “something else” on the other, I had a lot of leeway. Because these banners were to represent two different armies, I turned to heraldry for inspiration. I asked the girls to explain the scene to me on the way to school one morning and they said that the lion was for the good guys, so we needed something appropriately sinister for the bad guys.

“A dragon!” Rana suggested. “With ten heads!”
“No, just three heads, “Granota countered. “We don’t want to make it too hard on Maman.”
I’m glad she was looking out for me.

After dropping them off at school, the boys and I headed to the fabric store. Costume satin just happened to be on sale that week! The lion should look regal and what’s more royal than purple? Especially set on a bright white field. Well, it goes without saying that the bad guys needed a black banner. After much debate, I ended up choosing green for the dragon, not, as might be assumed, because dragons are green, but because it just happened to look the best of the available options.

Next step, choosing the design! With vague ideas in my mind of what I wanted, I did a search on lions in heraldry and found a handful of suitable lions. I let Konik choose which lion would go on the banner. Then, to appease the girls, I did a search on three-headed dragons and found a really cool image of a dragon with three long, writhing necks. Then I saw the same image printed on a t-shirt. And there it was again and again, and why does that guy have it tattooed on his arm? A little investigation and…

Oh. “Game of Thrones.” Guess I’d better not use that dragon.

I settled for a regular ol’ one-headed dragon, but he looks sufficiently ferocious in my eyes. Using the pictures I had found online as a guide, I drew my lion and dragon silhouettes on tissue paper. Before cutting them out of the satin, however, I fused some lightweight interfacing to the back of the purple and green to keep the shapes from fraying once they were cut out. That was a bit of genius if I do say so myself.

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To cut the banners themselves, I used my brand new (ok, Christmas new, but inaugural use) rotary cutter and self-healing mat (Thanks, Mom!). That was kinda fun. I need more stuff to cut all zippy like that…

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The sewing was, y’know, sewing. Basic applique kind of stuff, then seaming the edges of the banner, turn right-side out, yada yada. To construct the standards, I had two sizes of dowels, the sizes of which I have forgotten now. Aren’t I helpful? Ah, but look! I just found my Lowe’s receipt. It says: two 3/4″ oak dowels — those were the poles; and one 7/16″ dowel that we cut in half to put the banners on, like a curtain rod (I say “we” because Mr. Gren cut the dowels down to the right sizes). On the ends of each of the skinny dowels, we screwed a little wooden button to keep the banner from sliding off. On the tops of the thicker poles, Mr. Gren screwed in an eyelet. Then I used a length of cord tied to each end of the skinny dowels and wound twice through the eyelet to hold the whole thing together.

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Result was some pretty nice looking banners. Konik and Granota demonstrate how well they turned out. They looked great in the kids’ play, too, but it was too dark for my little camera to get any good pictures during the performance. And apparently, I didn’t take any photos of just the dragon banner, which is a bummer. But hey, at this point, we’re all just glad I’m writing again, right?

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