Summer Project

needle and thREAD

The kids are finished with school and they are at an age now that I’m no longer their cruise director. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to take them different places during the days but their range of age makes them variably interested in things so I just leave their entertainment up to them.

That leaves me extra time to focus on a few house projects. I started recovering my porch cushions in March but was undecided about the fabric. I interrupted that project to recover my friends’ porch cushions.( I mentioned that here). Although my color scheme was different, I poached my friend’s pattern for the settee and stuck with stripes in the same color pallete for the chairs. It looks way better in the deep red that she chose. To be honest, my combo looks kind of blah but it’s way better than my worn out, cat-pee, old cushions. Since I’m not LOVING the combo, I decided to save time by not bothering with piping on the chair cushions. The cushions are good enough. It does brighten up the porch a little and I’ll finish accessorizing and do something about the drab indoor/outdoor rug situation later in the summer.

Here’s what my chairs looked like before….

From a distance, this set actually looks kind of neat and simple. Then you get up close and uuhhh (shoulder shudder)… these cushions were GROSS! Like I said, at the end of last season, I’m pretty sure a cat or some other neighborhood nocturnal creature or (even grosser) some nocturnal neighborhood teenager….peed on the couch. Even aside from that nastiness, they were just done. Stained, misshapen and tired.
Here they are after….

Pretty nice-huh? I was a kind of psycho about lining up the stripes on the tops and sides. It didn’t waste too much fabric and I don’t think I’d be as particular with a pattern.

I recycled the guts and the zippers. Fair warning, I still probably spent about $10-$20 on each cushion. I found that the densified foam inside was washable. I also was surprised to find that the foam was 2 inches with 2 layers of densified foam on either side. These cushions are 4-5 inches thick and very comfortable. If I ever make cushions from scratch again, I’d use this method for the insides.

Here’s a photo to show you the insides… I think the densified foam makes the cushions dry faster if they get wet. I was surprised that the yellow foam was in good condition and didn’t smell like mildew or cat pee in spite of having gotten wet or damp plenty of times over the years that I’ve had the set.

I purchased this porch furniture at Target about 6 years ago after my wicker furniture fell apart. It’s held up very well and it’s sturdy and comfortable. We have brought it inside for winters and that’s probably helped.

Finally, here’s a photo of the cushions I did for the settee. Can you see why I didn’t want all stripes? I’m still convinced of that but the pattern in this color pallette isn’t doing much for me. Although the color scheme on the selvedge of each pattern (floral and stripes) matched, I don’t think the cushions really coordinate-BOO! They’re acceptable, though. I’m not really a perfectionist in case you couldn’t tell that from my other posts.
And a shot with the chair to show you what I mean about the fabrics not really coordinating. Oh well.

I did my friend’s cushions because I wanted to practice. I found out that while I’m getting better at this skill, I don’t have a passion for it. I would not want to do it as a business. It is tedious and time consuming. I’d be happy to do a box cushion here and there for a friend but 6 is A LOT OF TIME! I was happy to do it for a lot of reasons. Just saying, this will not be my new venture.

So that’s what I’ve been up to around the house….now for what I’ve been reading…..

I just finished Stephanie Nielson’s memoir, “Heaven is Here”and really loved it. That seems like a weird thing to say about a story which chronicles a young mother’s recovery from a tragic and near-death plane crash but I really loved it. It was well-written, so relatable, sometimes painfully and brutally honest but completely endearing and inspiring. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t just a rewrite of blog posts that I’d already read (though I wouldn’t have blamed her for doing that). My friend, Alicia (Hi Alicia!) always passes along good books and this was no exception.

I was surprised that more than her struggles as a mother, I was most touched by the tenderness and attention her siblings provided to make her well. I guess I wasn’t surprised that her parents or husband or even her sisters did everything they could to help, but her brothers were so sweet and nurturing and I truly could see each of my brothers taking care of me that way if I ever faced a crisis. I guess I know it because they were so kind, gentle and attentive with my dad when he lost his leg four years ago and before he died this spring. (I know I haven’t written about that-a little too raw still). I’m so proud of all of them and feel blessed that they have my back.

Be sure to check out Elizabeth Foss’ blog for more inspiration on good reads and fun projects.

That’s what I’ve been up to. I love summer!

5 thoughts on “Summer Project

  1. Jeannine

    a) I love that book. I read it weeks ago, and still go back and read passages.

    b) my cushions could totally use some tlc. I don’t know if I could do it. I think the thickness of the fabric is too much for my little Singer, but I am inspired by what you’ve done! Nice fabric choices. They coordinate well without being matchy-matchy.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Beth


    Thanks for the nice comment. If you can sew a straight line, you can redo your cushions. Even the zippers were easier than I thought. It really is just piecing together the parts. Not too dependent on exact measurements.

    I did use a singer machine which is about 30 years old. It seems heavier duty than the one my daughter just got for Christmas with fancy electronic stitches. It is portable, though. Where the piping was in between the 2 layers of fabric, the needle had to go through 4 layers and it was fine. A heavier gauge needle that you change often would help but I’d just try it. The outdoor canvas wasn’t as thick as the duck cloth that I did last year. For the chair cushions with no piping, it was easier.

    I say….GO FOR IT!

  3. the momma

    You did a fabulous job matching all those stripes!
    That’s kind of a bummer that after all that work you aren’t thrilled with ’em ~ maybe you could make a few pillows using the tan color and it would pull it together more? maybe with blue pom pom fringe to add some fun factor? (IF you could find the right color….)

    I haven’t read NieNie’s book yet ~ one of many on my list….

  4. Beth

    Thanks. I did think of a pillow or 2. I think I could use the same fabric as the piping on the settee. It’s a small tan/brown stripe.

  5. Anonymous

    I’m just a drop-in, but I wanted to say I think your porch furniture looks great! My husband and I recovered ours years ago and it needs it again, but may not get it! I’m 74 and he is 83, and we don’t seem to have the energy we had when we were raising our six kids!

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