Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Breaking News:  it's time to bid adieu to views like this:

And also views like this:

Because we're moving!  We closed on our new house this afternoon, and will be moving to the 'burbs just north of Houston!  It's a little bittersweet.  We've loved living out in the country.  But while we'll miss the beauty of the farm, we won't miss the long commutes, the cows licking my car, the hordes of horseflies, and the piles of poo right next to our car doors.  Also, frankly, when Noel's gone on his long work trips, I'm stuck out in the middle of nowhere with nobody to talk to except the cats, sometimes for days and days on end.  And when I expect the cats to start talking back to me, we begin to have some problems.  And did I mention the 3 hours I spend every day in the car commuting to work?

So goodbye country life.  We will miss you!

Say Hello to our new house!

We are slightly excited.

(I hug the floor)

(Noel does cartwheels in our new living room!)

Here's a picture of the living room!  Now, to clarify, this isn't our furniture - these are pictures from the real estate listing.  We're SO excited to have a fireplace!!!

The kitchen has granite countertops!  And a dishwasher!!  (As opposed to our hands, which have been our dishwashers thus far).

There's a breakfast room:

AND a formal dining room!  (Love the red and the built-ins!)

Check out the Cleopatra-esque sunken tub in the master bathroom!  Oh la la!

A Master Bathroom, you say?  Yes!  Know what that means?  We have more than 1 bathroom in this house!  This is so exciting.  When we have people come visit now, we don't have 5 people sharing 1 bathroom!  Hurrah.  Beside the bathtub, behind that closed door, is one of TWO master walk-in closets!  We currently share one non-walk in closet.  Wow.

We are so excited.  As I said, we'll miss the farm.  We really will.  And while it's been peaceful out here and beautiful, it's really so remote that it makes life hard sometimes. 

For example:

  • I currently drive 45 minutes one way to get the cats to the vet.  At the new house?  There's a vet at the NEXT EXIT. 
  • Currently the nearest Waffle House is 36 miles away.  At the new house?  There's one at the NEXT EXIT. 
  • The closest knitting group to the farm is 45-50 minutes away.  There are multiple ones in our new town.
  • There's a Super Target 1/2 a mile away. 
  • And we won't have to go grocery shopping at Wally World anymore (hallelujah).  Why?  Because our new town has an HEB!  My favorite grocery store!  With a cheese shop inside!  And free sushi samples!  We are in heaven.
So yes, moving to the 'burbs is going to be a change.  We won't have so much open space around us, obviously, and we'll be dealing with more traffic.  BUT.  We have a charming new home with lots more space inside, and actually lots more privacy outside, with a fully fenced yard for our garden!  And it's an investment in our future.

Yay!!  Our own home!!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Blast From the Past

Remember this?

Seeing as how much we've moved this chair from state to state and have NOT worked on it in the past several years, we apparently didn't. 

However, we're in that kinda painful phase of the home purchasing process where we're stuck just waiting for the underwriting to be done.  For those of you who may not know, Noel and I are not exactly the most patient people in the world.  Ergo, this whole thing of "Hurry up and get us your bank statements and now....sit there and wait on other people to finish,"  we're not having an easy time. 

So we've already started packing!  Do we have a closing date yet?  Not so much.  But.  We're being proactive!  And also we're getting rid of a bunch of old junk like allergy medicine from 2009.  Nice. 

Also, to Barb's comment via email:  yes, it is a little wild that we gypsy souls are actually buying a home and settling in!  We like it here though, and figure that if we decide to travel for any long period of time again, at least we won't have to move our furniture into storage!  :)  Because seriously?  I am SICK of moving this furniture.  We've moved it, what...3 times in the past 2 years?  Too much.

So anyway, back to the chair.

This was a chair that used to look like this:

It was an $8 Goodwill find, complete with gorgeous Golden Girls-esque Miami pastel upholstery.

And mold under the seat cushion.  Don't forget that!  So how does one reupholster a chair?  Well, for this particular one, we used a lot of disinfectant.  Gross. 

We took off the upholstery very slowly and carefully.  Why?  Because the old pattern pieces are used as the pattern for your new fabric!  So go slowly, pull out the staples, and don't rip fabric. 

Here are the pieces once removed from the chair:

Oh, and one other VERY important thing:  make sure to label the pieces as you take them off!  When you cut the new fabric, you'll label it as well.  This seriously saved us as we finally pulled this poor chair out of the garage and were able to figure out which piece went where, even though it had been years since we had looked at it!

We used crushed velvet for this chair.  Be sure when cutting your fabric that you lay out the pieces so the nap (the grain, so to speak) of the fabric is facing the same way on all the pieces.  Velvet in particular will show as darker or lighter depending on whether it's turned one way or the other.  It may not make much of a difference until you get the pieces beside each other, and then it's really obvioius.

I also labeled which way was up, for the same reason! 

So here is the nekkid chair, sans upholster and mold.

(Needless to say, we disinfected the fool out of this chair, because we're reusing the padding)

Another thing I can suggest when taking the upholstery off is taking tons of pictures as you go.  These will be super helpful when you're putting it back together.  You may also want to take detailed notes, because you'll be putting the chair back together the same way it was originally put together (which is often the reverse of the way you took it apart).

So here it is with the seat and one arm put back on.  Most of the time, you use a lot of staples and pull the fabric taut (but not so tight that the fabric is going to tear when you sit on it!) and staple it to the wooden part of the frame.

Please note, this is the point where we put the chair in storage.  The fabric pieces went into a bag and into the sewing closet. 

And now we come to present day, when we sit at home packing up stuff and wondering what we can do to keep ourselves occupied while we wait for the closing.  And so we said "why not reupholster some furniture?"  Because 'going for a walk' or 'eating a pizza' is just way too easy.

I took some detail pictures just to give you an idea of how these things go together.  This is a picture of the outside arm.   You can see the front of the arm here, along with the contrast piping.  See how many staples we used?  We attached the velvet part first, then stapled the piping on.  Once the outside piece goes on over it, you won't be able to see the staples.

The black at the bottom is sewn to the velvet that goes over the front of the lower part of the chair.  We used black cotton to save on velvet costs, and also because it won't rub the seat cushion velvet as much. 

You'll also see that the velvet that's stapled has lots of cuts in it.  You have to have faith in yourself and do these cuts, often during the pre-staple stage, to get the fabric to lay right.  If I didn't do these cuts here, the fabric would never lay flat across that curve in the frame.  This part is seriously scary, making cuts, especially when you don't have any velvet left (like us).

In this picture, you can see that we've gotten both arms and the wings done.  Major progress!  I was pleased that it only took me 2 hours, working by myself, to get from the storage stage to here. 

The fabric on the arms and wings were pulled through the frame and stapled to the back wooden part of the frame.

I then took the piece that goes over the big yellow foam piece there, and stapled it on to the same part of the frame, between the frame piece and where the wing was stapled on.  Then I simply pulled it over the top, pulling it snug and smooth, and stapled it to the back frame.

See how it overlaps on the top and hides any staples?


I'm glad to say that with only a few minor exceptions (small pieces I want to hand sew together), this chair is actually finished!  I'll take some additional pictures to show you what it looks like completed.  We're very pleased with it!  It has a cushion piped in the same contrast trim, and just to make it look more modern, we painted the legs a high gloss black lacquer.

Now if this weren't enough, we decided to seriously overachieve and reupholster our gold Victorian couch as well.  Woo hoo!  Noel stripped it yesterday down to the frame and the seat foam, and he painted the frame high gloss black lacquer as well.  We're going to reupholster it in gray velvet.  Swanky!

So that's a super brief crash course in DIY upholstery!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

It's Texas Bluebonnet season!

There are a tremendous numbers of wildflowers blooming right now - so pretty! I guess because the drought was so bad last year, nature is trying to make up for it this year by dumping as much pollen as possible into the atmosphere.  The plan is working!  Everything is making us sneeze.  :)

A few weeks ago,  I helped as a dresser & emergency seamstress at the Ms. Pasadena Senior pageant.  It was awesomely fun!  There were 11 contestants, and I helped them by sewing hems, fixing sleeves, and actually sewing one lady into her evening gown, a la Marilyn Monroe.  :)  They were so sweet - it was really fun. 

Here are our winners:

They competed in a talent competition, life philosophy, and evening gown competition. 

Previous winners came as well.  The lady standing here is last year's winner. 

So it was a great experience!  I hope to help again next year.

What else is going on in our lives?  Noel is working in Trinidad and will be there for the next 6 months.

April Fools!  :)

He's here!  He got back from his job in NYC on Wednesday of last week, and we've been busy driving all over Houston looking at the house we're in the process of buying!

No April Fools!  We really are in the process of buying a house!  I don't want to say much more about it because I'm afraid of jinxing the process, but it's an AWESOME house and Noel got to see it today for the first time and loves it!  We're so excited to be moving into our very own house, and while we might miss the farm some (and little Winston), we will NOT miss the commute, nor the flies, nor the 45 minute drive to the vet, nor the cow pooty so graciously plopped next to the car doors. 

Obviously we will keep everyone posted as we go through the process!!