A Tale of 2 Dads, Part II

They say that bad events come in threes. In our family, the bad stuff just keeps coming. The month of November has tried our souls. Nerves are frayed and our faith has been sorely tested.

Just days before Thanksgiving, my Dad fell twice when attempting to get into bed. He developed excruciating pain in his back, which we assumed was a result of the falls. The night of the second fall, an ambulance was summoned, and we unfortunately decided to have him taken to our local Ellijay hospital.

He was quickly diagnosed with strep pneumonia & sepsis (a result of the pneumonia). After 4 days, he was released from the hospital, without prescriptions for antibiotics, pain medicine, or directions for ongoing care. (Yes, we will present the hospital with a lawsuit in the near future.)

No surprise! Two days after being released from our “keystone cops hospital”, an ambulance was called, and Dad was taken to Piedmont Hospital in Jasper (16 miles south of Ellijay). Dad still had pneumonia, and an abscess was found on an MRI of his back. After several days in the Jasper ICU, on Wednesday, Nov. 25th, the decision was made to transfer him to the main campus of Piedmont Hospital in downtown Atlanta. We were not informed that he was experiencing major organ failure at that time.

Needless to say, our Thanksgiving was neither restful nor was it festive. We spent the day in Knoxville with Greg’s patents, and then raced back to a hotel in downtown Atlanta, so we could be near Dad for the remainder of the weekend.

Dad had team of about 6 doctors, including several infectious disease specialists. They were fabulous, and left no stone unturned in diagnosing his issues. Miraculously, he recovered enough to come home on 12/3. He is still in a great deal of pain. To eradicate the abscesses (which are not operable), we administer daily antibiotic IVs through a PICC line; those will continue for the next 5-7 weeks.

Every day he seems to be making improvements, so it looks like the doctors got his treatment plan right. Home health care nurses and therapists visit him on an almost daily basis. The general consensus from all medical professionals on his case is disbelief that an 88-year old has been been able to survive an infection that would have killed most. Thank God for his hard Italian head, & an incredible will to overcome one of life’s worst trials!

More good news: Greg’s 90-year old Dad is making good progress in recovering from his heart & lung problems, thanks to a new, more empathetic & caring, cardiac specialist. The new doctor installed a pacemaker and started his Dad on heart meds that are controlling his heart rate, and thus preventing fluid collection in his lungs.

But then, a couple of days after Thanksgiving, Greg’s nephew, who has a history of neck & spine issues, herniated 2 disks so badly that the doctors were not sure he would make it through surgery. If he did survive the ordeal, they feared he would become quadriplegic! He made it through surgery just fine, but last week, developed pneumonia, as well as blood clots around his lungs. The latest news is a that further surgery will not be required, and he is finally on the road to recovery.

There’s an old saying that God never gives you more than you can handle. I hope he remembers who he is dealing with. We are all ready to yell “Uncle”!!!

Oh yeah…Christmas is coming. Leanne & Faith came over while Dad was hospitalized and decorated our tree. They did a fabulous job. Pictures of this year’s pared-down decorations will follow in the next post (which, I promise, will not lag far behind this one).

If you have a chance, please pray for my Dad. He is having a bad day today; the pain is overwhelming. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your kind thoughts & prayers.


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I Found “Twubble”


…Or it found me. Either way, it landed me on Greg’s “what the hell were you thinking?” list.  I was embarrassed, for it is not like me to be so reckless, but the truth was a) I wasn’t thinking, and b) I love a great deal (am I sounding a bit like Donald Trump?)

I try never to pay full price for anything.  If I had a million bucks to spend, I would still buy my clothes in consignment, and yes, even thrift shops!  I wear name brand clothes for a fraction of retail, and nobody knew my secret (except I guess the world does now :>}   In fact, the only articles of clothing that I don’t purchase “gently used” are my SHOES!

So, with all of that in mind, and add to it the fact that I have way too much idle time on my hands, while this hip heals, I stumbled upon an online auction called thepropertyroom.com.

Not really sure of its history, but I guess it purports to be a police site, where confiscated goods are sold at pennies on the dollar, to the highest bidder.  You name it, they sell it: jewelry with precious stones, computers & all sorts of tech gadgetry, vehicles, & tools, to name a few.

Well, curiosity piqued, I had to check it out.  The first thing I bid on, a kit to build solar-generated toys for grandson, Riley, I won!  Uh-oh.  I was hooked.  I made the mistake of checking out the “jewelry” category.  Lo & behold, there, ripe for the picking, were a lot of lovely, and unusual sterling silver (.925) pieces. (Sterling silver jewelry is another of my weaknesses, right up there with shoes.)  Telling myself that many of them would make great Christmas presents, I bid on a boat-load of jewelry, never thinking I would be lucky/unlucky enough to score any of those treasures.

There are several caveats to the bidding process.  As with eBay, once you place a bid,, there’s no changing your mind.  Also, they have this deadly feature called a proxy bid, whereby you set the maximum bid you are willing to spend on each item.  If the item never reaches that threshold, and you are the high bidder, you pay the actual bid price, if it is lower than your maximum.  It just frees you up, so you don’t huave to monitor each item, and manually counter every time somebody places a higher bid than yours.  In other words, it is way too easy to score deals.

The biggest problem with “winning” a bid (Greg gets mad every time I use that terminology.  He says “you didn’t win anything; you just bought a bunch of crap!” Yes, but it’s competitive and…addictive..and it’s great stuff!)  is that, no matter how inexpensively you obtain merchandise, the shipping charges are killer.  For instance, I “won” a sterling silver ring with mother of pearl inlay for $1. But add $6.75 in shipping to that item, and suddenly, the cost of that ring spirals out of control.

All told, I purchased 6 pieces of silver jewelry, each packed in a separate box, shipping from the same location, on the same day.  Cha-ching! That’s $40.50 just for delivery of the goods.

In addition to the jewelry which, let’s be honest, I will mostly be keeping for myself because I am heavily invested emotionally in them, I also bid on a no-touch stainless steel soap dispenser, as well as a set of 1500-count queen-sized sheets. I consider those a great deal; the sheets, with shipping, were under $35!

I had a great time getting into “Twubble”, but be assured, that was once-in-lifetime hiccup, that will never, ever be duplicated!  After my bidding experience, I didn’t even look at the emails that they sent to me that showcase new merchandise.  In fact, I unsubscribed from the site yesterday. (And, yes, I felt a twinge when I did it!)

In retrospect, a man I used to work with by the name of Don Caudle, upon hearing us women talk about how much money we had just saved on a lunchtime shopping spree, stated “you would have saved 100% if we just hadn’t gone shopping!”  Surprisingly, that fact never would have occurred to me. It is, however, impossible to argue with his logic.

And so, in closing, you were right, Don!  I hope to avoid future “twubble” by remembering your simple fiscal wisdom.

Posted in blowing the holiday budget, loving a good deal, spending needlessly | Leave a comment

A Bit of a Setback

I made a comment to my daughter, Jen, the other day, that once Halloween passes, the rest of the year is toast. No doubt (since we were speaking on the phone), there was an involuntary rolling of the eyes, and an “oh Mom” thought on her part. But, since mothers are never wrong, I have proof that I am right:


It doesn’t get more legit than when the fairy godmother thinks so, too.

Why am I even concerned about the passage of time right now? Well, karma delivered me a wee setback during Halloween week. You know that statement: “Life is what happens when you are making plans”, & then there’s “the best-laid plans of mice & men”. Well I am a prime example of a person with a plan, and all of the confidence and energy to complete said plan, until the unexpected happened.  More on that later.

Greg  & I have been busy beavers trying to turn the doggy lounge into a bona fide, relaxing, & dare I hope, luxurious master bedroom.  Below is a sample of the dog- dominated space (chewed sheets & blankets, I assure you, are in there somewhere!):

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Below are pics of the initial painting process:



I had originally chosen a SW color called “Dignified”.  Thankfully, I just purchased a sample size of it, because it had way too many purple & magenta undertones for my taste.  We finally settled on SW “Denim”, which is a deep, rich blue, but not as dark as midnight (remember, this is a basement studio apartment, and our bedroom only contains one 36×36″window, which, due to the surrounding treed land, lets in minimal light). Greg added 4 ceiling pot lights, which help

In my previous post, I described how touched I was by the lyrics of the “Peace like a River” hymn. Well, since our bedroom walls are now newly painted I decided to create that sentiment on one of the large, blank walls in the room. Little did I know that this minor project would take 2 full week-ends, with very few Michelob breaks in between, to complete. Once I describe the process, it will be clear why it took so long.

The first step was to find a font that, at size 72, was legible on the wall. The only one that fit the bill was “An Unfortunate Event”. It would not have been my first choice, but, it passed the visual test, so it was a go.  Next, I printed out the verse in MS Publisher, and cut each word out separately.

Then, I grabbed my level and yardstick and with white chalk, marked a 24×36” rectangle for the text to (hopefully) fit in. (No, I did not perform any mathematical calculations in this step. I am very much a “fly by the seat of your pants & hope for the best” kinda person.)

The next step in the process was t-e-d-i-o-u-s, made more so by my writing difficulties ( i.e., controlling the movements of a pen or pencil). It involved rubbing white chalk over the back of each word, placing the word on the wall, right side out.  Then, I traced over the text, hoping against hope that the chalk would leave an outline that could then be filled with white paint.

It took about 8 hours to transfer, & then paint inside the “lines”. The major difficulty was figuring out which scratch marks were the correct ones. :>) Needless to say, a lot of ad lib-ing took place, but since the end result was “rustic” but legible, it was deemed a success.

After the text was painted in place, I wondered how to frame it. After considering a wood frame, the decision was made to decoupage a leafy bower around the quote, complete with a yellow bird perched atop. (Sorry about the quality of this pic; better ones to follow):


As an aside, I have apparently contracted another incurable disease. The main symptom of this new scourge is a compulsion to decoupage anything that doesn’t move. Really! Wonderful graphics (I collect them ravenously), homemade Modge Podge (Elmer’s Glue-All diluted with just a tad of water), my wonderful HP color laser printer, and an old version of Microsoft Publisher, are the tools of my trade as I sneak up on an unsuspecting piece of furniture, or wall, that is crying out for some bling. There are two real problems created by this affliction. First, the floors in the house always looks like this:


The second is that the process is so fun, and the results are so interesting (and sometimes, unexpected), that it’s hard to know when to stop!

So, with that project done, my next steps in the bedroom makeover require a lot of sewing: window treatments, a cushion cover, throw pillows, and a bed throw. I purchased a queen-size blue & white quilt set for $39 on the zulilly* site.  It is still so pristine, since it is still in its original packaging, far from the attentions of a destructive Bear.

Before we even started painting the walls of the room, we decided to make a major furniture swap between our bedroom and the guest bedroom. The guest room furniture featured a queen-size platform bed with storage drawers, a storage headboard, and a roomy dresser with accompanying mirror, complete with glove box. The finish on all these pieces is pickled pine. I really like the contrast between the dark walls, and the light wood.

Sadly, my participation in this reno process, as well as the commandeering of holiday decorating activities, must go on the back burner for about 6 weeks.  The reason is this: I have bi-lateral hip replacements. The right one has been the bane of my existence for over a decade.  It has dislocated at least a dozen times, which is extremely painful.  Each time it comes out of socket, it must be re-set under anesthesia.  Well, the right prosthesis popped out again on Thursday, Oct. 29th, when Greg was in Knoxville visiting his father in the hospital!  Luckily, Dad was home, and he helped me arrange an ambulance ride to the hospital.

When we arrived at the hospital, after waiting for my Atkins bar breakfast to fully digest, 3 very competent orthopedic specialists were unable to reset the hip, due to a revision that was made to the joint in 2005 to prevent it from ever dislocating again! So, it was back into the ambulance for a 45-minute ride to a hospital in Cumming, where my official orthopedist now practices. By the time we arrived there, it was too late to perform surgery, plus I had already been served a daily dose of knock-out drugs.  So, it was 7:30 on Friday morning before the operation started…almost 18 hours after the dislocation.  I don’t have words to describe how painful it was to lay in bed for that amount of time with a dislocated hip that kept causing pulsating waves of pain.  Drugs can only do so/not so much…Anyway, I now have a shiny new ball and socket! Oh, boy..:>{

If there is a silver lining from this mishap, it could be that the 4-hour surgery fixed a problem that was causing me awful back and groin pain on my right side. Apparently, the old prosthesis was becoming imbedded in muscle!  If that is the case, hopefully, my walking will improve as soon as I can move around.  Truly, I feel like I am way too old to go through this slow & painful healing process again, but do I have a choice?  Nyet!

Now, if I told you folks that there wasn’t a rousing pity-party starting up in my mind after this latest hip debacle, it would not be true. There has been plenty of wailing, frustration, pain, and gnashing of teeth!  However, the timing of placing that quote on our bedroom wall is amazing, as it has given me pause, and allowed me to acknowledge all of the blessings I have been given.  Pain is temporary; the love of family & friends is eternal.  All is well with my soul!

Oh, the Lord does work in mysterious ways!


*zulily.com is an amazing shopping site.  I have done a lot of Christmas shopping there, because the prices are unbelievable, and the selection and quality of goods is wonderful. If you place 2 orders there within 24 hours, the second order ships free! (Beware. It can be very addictive to frequent that place!)

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Peace, please?

I don’t talk about myself very much, because I value my privacy very much. But this post is very personal.  I decided to share my story because I believe that a lot of you are feeling the same unease that I am about our upside-down world.

In such uncertain and downright scary times as these, the lucky ones have religion to turn to. I am not so lucky. Religion has always made me uncomfortable.  I think of myself as more of a spiritual being than a religious person.  Also, I have a complicated relationship with God.  Born a Catholic, my butt was planted in a church pew every Sunday, until I left for college.  With the birth of my daughter, the church angered me so badly that I just stopped going.  It wasn’t God that I was mad it; it was his misguided earthly emissaries {minions? HA ;>} that raised my ire.  (And they still do!)

As a kid growing up in the South, where everyone seemingly has read the Bible at least once all the way through, I smugly told my friends that Catholics don’t study the Bible (which was true then, and may still be so). Anyway, the closest I came to any biblical exposure was the priest reading the Sunday gospel which, to me, usually sounded like “and blah, blah, blah. Amen!”  I now envy those who can quote chapter and verse from the Bible; with that knowledge, they have God’s words as guidance when navigating life’s dilemmas.

To further complicate things, many years ago, I asked God for a wish. I solemnly promised that if He granted me that wish, I would never ask Him for anything EVER AGAIN!  Well, He delivered in spades, so I don’t ask favors…not even to be able to walk again. (LeeAnn, who had a close relationship with the Almighty [and no, I am not being sarcastic!] says that is ridiculous; God doesn’t have favor quotas!) But I do think that’s why I have a hard time praying.  If I’m not asking for anything, what do we talk about?  As far as I can figure out, there’s  nothing I can say that He doesn’t already know, including what is in my heart. So, I just give up.

But lately, I have been feeling such a sense of unease about life in general. Writing a post about paint colors and new furniture seems so inane, when there is so much suffering occurring around the world. My personal belief/value system no longer seems to exist. Could it be that my reality was just smoke and mirrors? In this strange world, it seems that right is wrong, good is evil, and everything is relative!


I need a closer relationship with God now. I need to know He will always be standing with me, giving me strength to face whatever the future holds.  But how to make that happen?

So, it occurred to me, the other day, as I was looking at decorating pics on the Internet, that maybe I have been using the wrong mode of prayer. What I found on Pinterest was a beautiful living room on the City Farmhouse blog, that showcased a large framed quote, the contents of which took my breath away:


Immediately after reading that quote, (which is an excerpt from the United Methodist hymnal (hymn #377), and authored by Horatio G. Spafford), the feeling of peace that came over me was amazing. In an instant, I realized that music is such an integral part of my life, which is why that verse touched me so deeply. For me, Christmas has always been about the beautiful carols that mark the season. So there it was:  in the future, God & I will converse through music!

Afterwards, I found myself trying to remember that verse. I felt the need to keep repeating it in my mind, like a mantra.  However, I could not recall the exact words.  So this version came to me, and with a bow to Horatio’s lyrics, this is the version that resonates with me (only because I can remember it!)

When peace like a river flows through my day,

Or when troubles have taken their toll,

With a heart full of thanks

Though hast taught me to say,

All is well, all is well with my soul!

My next project is to stencil those words on our bedroom wall.  (And yes, we are finally working on fixing up the “doggy lounge”! I will begin to unveil cover that whole process in the next post!)  Thus, it will be the last thing I read at night, and the first thing (besides Greg!) that greets me in the morning.

Another quote that I stumbled upon, comforts me enormously. If you ever doubt that God loves us unconditionally, please read this and keep it near your heart:

You are God’s Masterpiece –

started in His heart, formed by His hands,

and offered as a gift to the world.

Much more that a work in progress …

you’re His good work.

What He started in you

will gloriously unfold for a lifetime

and be completed in heaven.

He sees beauty in you

because you are made in His image

and redeemed by His love.

It’s true.

God says you are …

created, chosen, cherished, celebrated,

His forever. –Holly Gerth

There is nothing more I can add to this post than a hearty


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“Ketchup” Time


Isn’t this the truth?

Well, this is a “ketchup” blog post. Even to me, it seems like forever since my last entry. One of the reasons for the delay is that Greg and I were on vacation the week of August 22nd. We stayed in the Florida panhandle town of Seaside, which is a quaint little venue like no other. It is full of great restaurants, million dollar “cottages”, an outdoor ampitheater & an oudoor marketplace called Perspicacity. And of course, it boasts one of the world’s best beaches:



We rented a guest cottage that was part of a larger property. Since this is our only alone time of the year, we always opt for 1-bedroom accommodations, and have always been pleased with our stays. That is, until this year. Our choice of properties was awful! For instance, the interior of the cottage had not been painted in (my estimate) 10 years, the floor tile was cracked, the kitchen was ill-equipped and ugly, the bathrooms sported leaky faucets, and the downstairs toilet flushed hot water constantly. (Sitting on that toilet was a bit unnerving; the bowl was hot, and it felt like a powder keg that would blow at any moment!  ;>()

The master bedroom was okay, but the floor was white painted plywood, with black nails used to tack it down, and in lieu of a closet, there were wooden pegs on the walls. Unfortunately, when you tried to hang something on them, they would fall off the wall!

Needless to say, we have lodged a formal complaint with the rental agency, and are awaiting a reply. However, lest you think that the problems with our accommodations ruined our vacation, you would be mistaken. The weather was perfect; we did not encounter any rain, and some days there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Also, the kids were back in school, so the property was so quiet. Most days, we had the entire adult pool to ourselves.

We did a lot of this:



And a whole lot of this:


No families with kids meant no waiting times at our favorite restaurants. Our first morning there, we had brunch at the fabulous Great Southern Café in Seaside (whose motto is “good grits”, and yes, of course I bought a t-shirt ;>). I had a fried green tomato eggs Benedict with smoked gouda grits that was out of this world. The rest of the week, I feasted on crab cakes!

We ate a lot, drank our fair share of wine, slept in, read books, and watched the sun go down from the third floor deck on our cottage (it’s only saving grace!)


And as much as we love our mountains, there’s a piece of us that now feels like this:


And by February, this will certainly be true!


Another “ketchup” item: Faith is finally is Georgia, living with her Nana (LeeAnn)! Her brother opted to stay in Virginia with his uncle. Thankfully, the state of Virginia’s Child & Family Services finally gave the green light for her to travel here on August 4th, just in time to start school on August 5th! She is so lovely. Below is a picture of her on the first day of school:


and on school picture day:


Apparently, living in Georgia agrees with her.  On her first report card, she scored all As & Bs!

And the final “ketchup” item is what I accomplished before vacation. (Hint: Not a lot, unless you consider doing 4 weeks of ironing worthy of consideration.) The only big, creative spurt (sputter?) I had, resulted in fixing the framing of a print I purchased at a local thrift store that benefits pet adoption services. I loved the art, but the dark matting, surrounded by a thin, white, badly painted, embossed wooden frame, reminded me (alright, I know this is a weird comparison) of a man wearing white socks with dark sandals (trust me; it’s a Boston thing!) Unfortunately, I forgot to take the pic before I removed the frame :>{


So I thought it would be a piece of cake to just flip the mats and cover the frame. However, upon opening the frame & removing the print, it became clear that the print and its matting were glued together, in a bond that would never come asunder. OK, it was time for a Plan B. I got out my trusty paints, and painted the large navy blue mat a light gray (still not sold on the color, but it is what it is). On the inner, pine green mat, I used a gold Sharpie-like pen to add a hint of bling. The frame received my usual torn paper bag treatment, which I stained a dark color prior to clear-coating. I really like the results:



While on vacation, I thought of all the things I wanted to do to our downstairs apartment. It is so messy down there, primarily because not all of the new cabinets have been installed (due to the eternal plumbing work that must be competed). Upon returning home, however, the reality of the energy required to accomplish all of my wish list items left me defeated before I even got going. As usual, the Minions express my thoughts so perfectly!


However, after pushing aside the mental whining, last week, I finished painting the downstairs kitchen/living area walls. I am also refinishing 2 chairs (Greg’s hand-me-down classic wood desk chair, and a unique hand-made chair that sported a hideous streaky brown finish; Greg’s sister & her husband bequeathed it to us. Pics to follow…

It’s had to believe that summer is over. For those of you who are bummed at the thought, this is a reminder of the beauty that awaits:


Posted in catching up, luv those minions, reframing a thrift store print, vacation | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Living Room Re-Do, The Reveal

First things first: Bear was demoted on Friday night. We went out to dinner at a new (to us) farm-to-table restaurant in Jasper (a town that’s about 16 miles south of Ellijay). Our pup sometimes gets very “put out” when he’s not invited to go along for a ride. Clearly, he was miffed on Friday night. When we walked in the door, we were greeted by a carpet of torn foam rubber; he had eaten his dog bed! Not immediately noticed in the debris was one of two throw pillows I had just made for the new armchairs! No applause for that prank. I was definitely not amused. Bear is once again what he has always been: Chief Home Destructor.

Next, I have to give a huge helping of thanks to my wonderful husband. He pitched in to get the living room in order today, so I could photograph it as we will probably never see it again. :>{. Greg is in the process of constructing 2 outbuildings on our land. One of them (the smaller one) is nearly completed. It will house Dad’s riding mower & miscellaneous yard tools. The second building will be quite a bit larger, and will serve as his woodworking shop. Anyway, after working for hours in the scorching sun, he willingly worked to put the living room into a presentable state.  Love that man!

Now, here is an aerial view of the finished space. Sorry that the chandelier is in the way, but from this perspective, you get an idea of the furniture placement and the scale of everything:

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Here is a close-up of the new chairs (minus their custom pillows!) with my thrift store table between them. I also swapped out the picture that was under my great-grandfather’s gun with a favorite one from the Sonoma wine country, that pulls all of the room’s colors together:


And the coffee table:


This is the reupholstered love seat; it is sporting new bolster pillows (which we must store out of Bear’s reach, since he also ate one of them several months ago!)

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Here is the back of the sofa. You can see the upholstery tacks that hold it together. Thankfully, the table that resides behind it hides a multitude of sins. From this vantage point, it looks almost professional, eh? Also prominently displayed in this picture is a Bombay treasure chest that went from plain mahogany to colorful Moroccan with decoupage & and tinted wax:

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And finally, here is a shot of the rug with the coral wall color. The slipper chair is wearing the surviving throw pillow. If you look very closely, you will see a pile of dog toys that didn’t quite make it out of the picture’s reach!  ;>}


And the last item is a cute little collapsible table that I bought on ebay. It sports removable brass trays.  I am not a fan of those, so will be looking for replacements (or maybe spray paint?) fot them. I love the size and utility of the piece, since it leaves lots of walking space in our very narrow area:

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Well, that’s all folks, except for this Minion pic that I think is hilarious (especially since I can relate to it!). Enjoy!


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Living Room Re-Do, The Process

OK…Before I start rolling on this newest post, I must make a major organizational announcement. (Drum roll, please!) Bear’s position has been elevated from HDE (House Destruction Expert) to CDC (Chief Design Consultant)! He is very full of his bad self as a result of this promotion.


What, you are probably wondering, caused this change of heart on my part? Well, as I was working on putting our living room back together (in advance of several groups of friends who are coming to visit next month, and because the Holidays will be here before you know it!), I realized that the pieces (the loveseat & the wool area rug) that Bear destroyed during his puppy days, were not good design decisions on my part. Truly, I never liked the fabric color and texture on the loveseat (the back of the loveseat is visible below):

moved sofa table

 The rug was nice, but the colors were very subdued, and it wouldn’t stop shedding:


Truly, I love the replacements so much better. Bear clearly understands my design style, so he zeroed in on the pieces that just did not work. That, my friends, is talent! In the future, if something gets eaten, we will react with applause instead of tears! ;>}


Back to the process of re-decorating the living room. Just before the Memorial Day week-end, we hauled our faded, 20-year-old wing chairs, whose seat cushions had mashed down to “pancake status”, (sitting in them killed Dad’s back!) to a local consignment shop, along with Dad’s end tables, & his heavy, federal-style round coffee table.


He is actually the one who stated that the table just didn’t seem to work in the room. (Hooray! I was glad he came to that conclusion on his own!) Truthfully, I doubt any of the pieces sold, but at least they are no longer in the house.

Once the green light was given, I found a coffee table online on clearance (at Overstock.com). It was exactly what I wanted, & the price was extremely affordable.


Next, I found an end table at a local thrift shop for $35. It was solid wood, with a maple finish. I used chalk paint, and it now matches the finish on the new coffee table. Even the legs have similar turnings!


The rug is the big “pop of color” in the room, along with the coral walls. I wanted something lively & different. When I found this one on erugs.com, I knew it was THE ONE! (The listing described the background color as hot pink, but there is a lot of orange mixed in with the pink, so it works fine with the walls.) The good news is that it is polypropylene, so no shedding; and, I defy anyone to locate stains on it (very important with 2 dogs, & 2 grandsons!)


With all of that color (many would say “too much color”!), it was imperative to keep the upholstery very neutral. You saw a preview of the chairs several posts ago, but here are close-ups of the real thing; I love the carvings!


The loveseat, likewise, is very neutral. I used an off-white denim fabric to reupholster it. The original plan was to use a bright yellow fabric as piping on the arms & the seat cushion, but my zipper foot couldn’t handle the original plastic material used for piping, so that design detail was eliminated.

Let me be very clear about the re-upholstery project: it ain’t for the faint of heart! The how-to video I used was very clear about the process you should use when removing the original cover. First, as they are removed, each piece must be labeled, i.e., left arm, top, & bottom of the piece. (This may seem stupid, but I never made a firm determination which was the actual left or right of the loveseat; i.e., as you are standing & looking at it, or as you are seated on it.) Don’t laugh…an upholstery piece, when removed from its home, looks like a giant puzzle piece, & is generally unrecognizable as a left or right arm cover!

Next rule: Take lots of notes & pictures as you deconstruct the piece. I took a few notes, but since my writing is unintelligible even to me, they were few and far between. My phone & ipad were not conveniently located, so I never took any pics. :>{

However, as we all know:


My project required a lot of sewing, unlike the one on the video. No problem with that, except the large, single seat cushion that I ordered on the internet. It was not the prettiest job (on the sides & back), but looks fine from the front, which is really all that matters.

Lessons learned: It takes a lot of hand strength to successfully reupholster anything. You need 2 people to do the job. However, it is important when you are pulling and stretching the fabric that it gets pulled equally in every direction. The mistake that Dad & I made when we applied the seat back (in the front of the loveseat, as opposed to the actual back!) is that the fabric was tugged too far to the left, which meant that there wasn’t quite enough fabric to fold over and cover the staples on the right arm cover. Fabric glue (E6000) helped, but I am thinking that a strategically placed throw might be a good decorative accessory for that side of the loveseat. ;>)

Our big “waterloo” came when we tried to attach the back piece (which, naturally was the LAST PIECE!) Theoretically, you only staple the back at the top of the loveseat; the remainder of the fabric folds down over those staples. Easy enough. The real issue comes with attaching the sides. Clearly, you cannot staple them, because the staples would show. The professionals use stretchers, which are flexible bars with long metal prongs sticking out of them. We saved the stretcher bars from our loveseat, but no matter how many times we tried to install them, we got saggy, baggy-looking sides. Plus, the metal teeth were falling out at an alarming rate! (Why is it that the last step in a difficult project always seems to be the most treacherous?)

It was time for Plan B. With the finish line in sight, I had to figure out a “kludge” to make the back of the loveseat presentable. (In our living room, it’s the first thing you see when you enter the house!) So I got out my trusty stapler and tacked the sides down. Ultimately, to cover the staples, I ordered Dritz upholstery tacks on a strip, so the spacing of the tacks would be would be uniform. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best we could do.

Another thing I did (which in retrospect was probably a mistake) when the loveseat was in pieces, was to paint its wooden feet an off-white. Now, it looks like the piece is not grounded. Lesson learned!

The next post (Part 2) will be the living room reveal. You might wonder how difficult it would be to just take a picture & add it right here. Well, the entire family is needed to clean up Bear’s toys, torn boxes, empty juice bottles, and his personal favorite, plastic bubble wrap in order to make the living room presentable:


Also, the CDC spends most of his day relaxing on the newly upholstered loveseat:


Clearly, it gets his stamp of approval. He especially likes the fact that there is no crack between cushions. The problem is, it must be constantly covered with a painter’s canvas to keep it clean.

This weekend we will all do our best to clean up the space so that it will be picture-worthy!

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