Monday, September 8, 2014

Dining chair re-do.

 When we bought these chairs it was with the hope that they'd be maintenance free for the long term. That didn't really work out for us. I recovered two of them and the bench that we bought with them a couple of years ago, and now the rest of them are tearing up too. We thought we were being sold leather seats, but you know how that goes. Luckily, recovering is simple if a little muscle intensive. 
 I don't know if you can see the cracks in this chair's vinyl?
Here? Anyway it looks worse in real life. 

I found this home dec fabric in JoAnn's and it was love at first sight. I asked them to order in enough for me to do all of the chairs while I was at it. First step is taking off the seat from the base. Usually a few screws is all that holds it on there. It's easy then to cut your fabric around the shape of the actual seat, with a little overlap to staple to the other side. 
 It doesn't need to overlap much as you see here. Just so that you can pull tight without danger of unraveling the edge. A handheld, non electric staple gun is plenty for this work, although I use a sledge hammer for the stubborn staples that don't go all the way in. 
Then you place your seat back on the base, and screw it back on. This is where you sweat a bit. Odds are, you won't get the screws back into exactly the same place so it takes some muscle. Kind of a good thing if they go somewhere else to be honest, because it keeps the holes from being stripped so the screws fall back out again. 
 Finished product. If you really want to make it look nice and professional, trim the corners of excess fabric before stapling around the base. I never do this because I'm lazy and know I will probably have to do it again someday, but wrinkles in the corners are kind of a giveaway that you did it yourself. My strategies are: "pullitreallytight" and "hopethatnobodylookstooclose!".
 I like how they turned out, although I was hoping to put some print cushions on the sofa, and that dream is dead with how busy this fabric already is. I bought some cushion covers from IKEA that I'll be taking back. Oh well. More money back in my account right? 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Quilts as art?

I stole an hour the other day, and went to the Springville Museum of Art. It's housed in a beautiful old Spanish style building near the center of town, and in the past I've catered wedding receptions inside. It's a popular choice. When I go, I always take a little time outside first looking at the gardens.
They have a great collection of perennials supplemented with annuals. This time of year most have gone to seed pods, but I still like the textures. 

 Once I got inside, I was happy to see I hadn't missed this year's quilt show. It may surprise people from other parts of the country, but there is some great artwork done in this format. Above, the wall quilt has got the feeling of the canyon I love running and biking in although it is based off of somewhere back east. 

 I love the blazing border fabric on this large quilt -- and the happy sunset town. 

 I also like the kind of random feel of the shapes in this Japanese style quilt, and how the quilting builds a rattan-like texture around the other color. 

 This wall hanging made me wish I had grown up to be a hippie in a VW bus living on nuts and seeds. I'm hoping I can get this across: when I was a little kid and took dance classes, they had a water cooler with these paper cups with a flower print on them that looked a little like this hanging --not much. Anyway, I remember staring at the print on that paper cup and thinking about the field where those flowers grew, and wishing I could live in that field. When I thought of free spirits, and gypsies and hippies later on, I associated them with that field and have always felt a little bit jealous. Don't think I'm too weird OK? We all want a little less responsibility in our lives sometimes right?
 This artist went way out there. I took this picture for the kids to see. They used real shells and sea-stars along with extra fibers, embroidery, quilting and piecing to get the depth of effect and layers in this wall hanging. 

 This artist stated that he was new to the medium, and so drew heavily on techniques he used in stained glass, which he'd worked with before. I could easily see that here. 

 I liked the composition of this quilt, but what made it amazing was what I saw when I got up close:
Not only quilted, but embroidered designs. Just lovely.

This artist said she was inspired by the random circles of a rug she saw, and then drew her own design. Ironically, it is really HARD to make anything look random.  

 This was an absolutely gorgeous quilt. I probably should have taken a detail shot too, but it's the overall effect that I loved. 
 The museum had a pretty detailed bio of the maker of the quilt (with a really bad picture! unfortunate lighting!) who had recently passed away. It reminded me of the New Testament lady Dorcas in the book of Acts who died and all of the widows showed all of her clothing and good works she had done and made while she was alive, and then Peter raised her from the dead. This was another one of these ladies. 

 In addition to the quilt show, they had a big exhibit of Soviet era art upstairs. I will spare you all of the military art and just show two that I liked. Here's the first. For a woman who hefts such huge loaves into and out of an oven regularly, she's a graceful, well proportioned looking thing isn't she? That's good weight-lifting for you! Those are HUGE loaves. She must have a big family. Or, maybe that was their main food source for the day. I like how the artist included the child in the picture too --like acknowledging the nurture involved in her work. 

 I was drawn to this one because it reminded me of snowshoeing up Whiting Canyon. All of that snow on the trees, but then the cheerful sunshine up ahead. 

Now look up close. All of that sunshine? About four brushstrokes created it. How did he do that?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Little Jerusalem.

 Jeff works with the youth in our neighborhood --our local church's "Yong Men" program. Recently they had an amazing activity. One of the men in our church works for the movie department, and let all of the Young Men, Young Women, and their leaders go out to visit the movie sets where they film movies about the life of the Savior. Lucky Jeff got to go with our girls. 
 They've constructed what looks like a real stone city out in the Utah desert. 

 Jeff took almost 5 dozen pictures. There were a bunch of sunset shots as they arrived in the evening. It made for some pretty dramatic lighting.

 As I looked at the pictures, I saw that a number of leaders brought their other kids. Kai and I should have stowed away too! We had a nice evening together at home, and took a walk together, but this would have been a blast.
 It was neat to see scenery that I recognized, like the balcony where Pilate stood,

 Porticos where the sick were healed,

 Massive temple columns,

 Steps where he stood and preached.

 Fantastic, mind blowing architecture.

 Twisted ancient trees for Gethsemane.

 Seeing what was meant to be Calvary at sunset was particularly poignant.

 Can you make out the dome in the background?  

 It impressed me how much trouble and expense was put into this enterprise. Nothing but the best when filming such an important subject I suppose.

 I'm jealous, but someday maybe Kai and I will have our turn.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Well....I guess the parade got to me after all!

 Well, I thought I was far too lazy to do anything about all of the new colors and ideas from the Parade of Homes, but I guess I underestimated my ability to be swayed like a sheep. I immediately thought my decor was too dark, and originally wanted to paint all of the kitchen cupboards to white, pull the stone off the fireplace and replace it with glass tile, and possibly yank out all of the carpet. I calmed down soon, but there were a few pieces in my house that had been bugging me for a while that the Parade got me to do something about. The first was my headboard. Here's what the before looked like (above). I've since changed the curtains and bedding, but the headboard stayed dark. 

 Here's the after. I painted the copper tile in the center a cream, and the headboard to grey. I went back and forth about antiquing it, but finally went for it with some encouragement from my friend. 
 Here's the glazing up close. I didn't go crazy, just a bit around the edges.
The final bedroom. I was kind of sad about the mirror. I was going to just refinish it to match, but wet... and fell apart. I HAD to buy a new one!
 Next was the desk in the dining room. This is a really old picture! Wow. Jeff's grandpa made this desk by hand, so the pulls needed to stay. 
I just brightened it up a bit. Cream, with antiquing around the edges. I kept the black top, and I'm not sure it was the best decision, but it's done so... Anyway, notice my little toast and protein hot chocolate ritual there? I'm watching "Gambit" on Netflix instant. That was a fun show (It has Snape in it!).
Next I'm recovering the dining room chairs in this fabric. I will show you when they are done. I'm also touching up paint around the house (finally after years living here!).
 We've been getting some amazing weather around here. This sunset was particularly spectacular. 
 So dramatic you! Geez. Calm down.
 I've been getting in around 30 miles up and down the canyon on my bike on weekends. My friend Sadie says September is the best time of year for biking. I'd stick the end of this year's August onto that. 
 Things have been calming down a little (today anyway) on the Primary visiting front, so I was able to take a little walk in the sunshine.
 When I got to this Virginia creeper, a little mouse grey bird was sitting on top of the railing. He might have been eating the berries, and I wondered if they weren't poisonous like I'd thought. As I got closer, he tensed, but I hoped he'd stay. He took off right when I was opposite him. Made me a little sad.

I got home and picked some of everything in the garden. I steamed some stuff, and left some raw. I always think of Laura Ingall's Pa saying "as long as the garden holds out we can eat like kings!"