Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Beginning to Look Like a Chair

The wing chair is certainly looking more chair-like, but after three weeks of choosing needle and thread over long walks, I'm likely looking overstuffed too.  :)  Now that I've finished the patchwork part of the chair, I'll head back outside.  Around 5 a.m. this morning, after a long night working on this and determined to make it my last night of making patches, I finished the patchwork on the chair. 
On a roll, I decided to keep going and cover the chair's [wings? I assume] and the strip under its cushion in the pink rosebud fabric I'd set aside.  And Stuffed, who had been barricaded from "his" chair most of the month, promptly jumped up and settled in for a nap as soon as I'd removed the last straight pin.  
I'm taking a break for a couple days while I plan out the rest of the fabric and rest my hot-glue-blistered fingertips.  The moment I added the rosebud fabric at either side, the chair looked like a true chair again and not so much like a wing chair I was in the process of maybe destroying by adding handmade patches to its back-rest.  'A bit of a relief, that moment.  I've never done this before, this revamping of a whole chair.  Cotton batting!  Needles!  Threads!  Upholstery trim!  Hot glue!  Limited lengths of vintage fabric pieces that really had to be measured-twice-cut-once. 
I'm beyond pleased.  Maybe I can someday sell chairs and couches redone this way, I was telling Mike the other day.  I could get a vendor spot at the flea market with my furniture pieces and maybe some pillows. . . .  I had already drafted a few versions of future business cards in my head when Mike snorted, "Yeah.  Just see if you can finish one chair first."  My mom and I have had an in-joke since first seeing Dirty Dancing ages ago that we break out in moments like this.  When lead dancer Johnny excitedly tells Neil Kellerman his ideas on how to "shake things up a bit" with the final show's choreography, Neil obnoxiously cuts him off as he begins to dance and says, "Woah, boy!  'Way over your head here."  Mom and I have adapted that to "Woah, girl!" and we say it to each other whenever one of us tells the other of her latest plans.  My business cards were definitely a "Woah, girl!" moment, but if I saw this chair at a flea market, I'd want it, so maybe someday. . . .It is always sweet to experience these moments that make you fantasize a bit and see a maybe-different-maybe-someday vision of yourself and of your life. 
Almost every--if not every--patch here has some personal significance, which makes it all the sweeter.
My grandparents' old chenille piece and one of their quilt-top pillow tops, hankies from friends and family, a scrap of fabric from chairs I'd sat on in my first apartment kitchen with Old Friend, curtains from my former room at my parents' house, a bandana Mom found me for my birthday a few years ago. . . .The three roses in the tiny square patch at upper-right below were attached to a cross pendant my friend Sommer gave me for Christmas our last Christmas together.  I saved the cross, of course, but decided to add "her" roses to the chair, so now my Som is there too. 
The heart I made for the patch below reminded me more and more of my beloved Holly Hobbie as I worked on it, adding the rose, the stitches, and the orange trim above it, which reminded me of my dad, who still laughs at the fact that as a kid, I pronounced Holly Hobbie, "Hobbly Hobbly."  He still calls her that.  :)  I've found Holly Hobbie fabric to use elsewhere on the chair, and I'm sure a "Hobbly Hobbly" joke will be made by Dad when he sees it. 
Since most of my Old English Sheepdog things are still packed away at my parents' house, I didn't have any of my stash here to cut up for a patch, so I decided to try to make one.  The sheepdog below is okaaaaaay.  I did my best and gave it some grass and flowers to stand on, and I just said, "That's good enough" and moved on.  This has been a sweet project, but I'm also tired of it.  Have I mentioned I don't really even like to sew?!  The things we do for our visions.  :)  The white-striped dotted Swiss patch to the dog's right is one of the curtain-pieces.  The pink-dotted piece is the chair-scrap, and eagle-eyed blog readers will also recognize it as the fabric I used to frame my "Home Sweet Apartment" needlepoint
The coral-ey daisy patch and the one of the girl playing with her cat below are two of the only patches from the salvaged quilt-top I saved that I ended up using, after all.  Most of the girl-with-her-cat patch is covered by the seat cushion, but it was too dear not to use.  It is pretty threadbare and maybe wouldn't have survived being cut out and re-attached someplace else, so it's fine where it is.  The pink chenille at left was my grandparents'.  Gah!  I love this chair! 
I also represented Stuffed with the heart-patch below made of the green dotted Swiss fabric I used way back in June 2007, before I'd even first met him, to make him his cat-shaped toy we've come to call "Girl Cat."  I paid a visit to Mike that summer bearing a backpack filled with homemade apple pie, peanut butter and chocolate birthday cake, and the cat toy for Stuffed.  A tiny green dotted heart now to remind me of it all. 
The boy-on-the-beach/no-fishing patch above is one of the only other original quilt squares I saved from the old quilt-top I used as a grid for this.  Like the girl-with-cat square, it is threadbare and fragile, but we'll love it as along as it lasts.  It is too special not to save. 
Stuffed is content just to have access to his chair again.  And now I'll join him in it for a bit of rest. 


Lisa said...

Oh, Stuffed was Mike's cat first? Ah!

I am always having "Whoa, Girl" ideas - the imagination really gets ahead of itself. So much work for you - you deserve a rest in that chair, Val. :)

NanaDiana said...

Oh- Your chair is looking so cute. I love the patchwork. Great job so far!!!! Loving the kitty! xo Diana

La Table De Nana said...

I love your chair to bits and pieces:)
I do I do.
There will never be another like it..all the memories..the time spent..
I love everything about it val.
And ..it's so YOU.

Dirty Dancing..
"I had The Time Of My Life"..favorite song on the soundtrack..
I was in my early thirties I think?
I don't know..59 1/2 now..I'll check on that:)

Continue ..Continue continue..
It will be your fave piece forever.

Nellie said...

What a wonderful project, Val! Love that sheepdog! Stuffed looks quite at home on your handiwork. xo Nellie

Val said...

Thank you all. Your comments made me feel a bit choked-up/sniffly. :)

Lisa, yes, Stuffed was Mike's cat, and Mike's roommate's before that, and a friend of both of theirs before that. Mike's known Stuffed since around 2002, and Stuffed has lived with him since spring 2006 or 2007--I don't remember right now. We're not sure how old he is. He wasn't a kitten even when Mike first saw him, so he's probably at least 13 now.

And Monique, yes, that's a great song, great lyrics, great voices. That whole soundtrack is great. :)

Thank you, Diana and Nellie. :)


Heidi Fuqua said...

The chair looks great so far, and I can't wait to see how it looks when it's finished.
Heidi’s Wanderings

Val said...

Thank you, Heidi. I look forward to seeing it done too. I'm enjoyiong the process, but it'll be great to see the final product, especially since this is my first time doing this. :)

Marie said...

Oh Val, what a treasure you are creating here! I love that each patch holds a memory for you and it unique. That makes it so very special. I am not surprised Stuffed likes it! They do say that if you want the best chair in the house, look for the cat! Love, LOVE Dirty Dancing. It just never gets old. So much to love with this post. xxoo

Taby Jean said...

It isn't just a chair, its a memory keeper and heirloom-to-be!! So sweet!

Val said...

Thank you, Marie and Taby Jean. :) I hadn't thought of it an heirloom-to-be, but of course, you're right. And Marie, I'll picture you dancing along in your own comfy chair across the pond next time I watch the movie. :)

oldgreymare said...

A labor of love and memories..not bad for a few August days <3

Val said...

Thank you, Suzan. And yes, there are certainly worse ways to spend one's summer. :)

asmplelife said...

I just love this chair. But mostly I love the stories behind each piece lovingly placed. Truly a work of art. And I, too, have "Whoa, girl!" moments. Making one of something is somewhat easy. Making fifty of something takes much more time. And effort. And energy. But it's oh-so-fun to daydream about a cottage business, isn't it?

Val said...

Indeed it is, Cheryl! And thank you about the chair. ♥