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Monday, May 6, 2013

If I'm the Apple, Where's My Tree??

It took me over thirty years to get to this place.  A place of remorse for not paying better attention.  Oh, I have memories, for sure....floaty, obscure memories, but they just don't quite get to answering questions I have and at this point it's almost too late.

My grandmother is well on her way to 90 years old, and we aren't particularly close.  That's just not how things are done in my family.  I know she loves me and I her, but we've never really had a connection like I eventually formed with my husband's grandmother.  Yet, I know somewhere, in some ways we are so alike and I wish I had noticed this long before now, before her frail body and mind become confused and not really able to have the talks I wish I could have with her.

And then there's my dad.  On a balmy Friday, a few hours before he was supposed to pick me up for the weekend, I was called home from a friend's house.  My mother and stepfather were sitting on the couch, serious faces...and I thought 'Oh  boy am I in trouble."  But I wasn't.  My father had suffered a fatal heart attack hours before and I wasn't to see him again.  I'm still not sure how I feel about that.  My father adored me and I have only good memories of him, however my older siblings have nothing but bad ones and so there's no one with whom I can talk to about what about me might be from him and that's been hard since becoming a mother.

Yet, I look at my own mother and know that all this crazy stuff about me had to come from somewhere other than her.  We are nothing alike.  She likes romance novels, I like non-fiction.  She isn't hands on with anything, I simply have to create.  I write, she does not.  Never did.  She likes numbers, I think they are devil's spawn.  I am frugal, she never used cash for anything that I can remember.  Simply put, I think I was adopted.  Or something.

Recently my mind has stumbled upon a memory that's so poignant yet so, well..... lame, and I've been mulling it over. And over.  I was sitting with in my grandmother's house, hosted for a few days for Christmas while Jamie was out to sea.  Kyle was a mere toddler and Calla was on her way.  My grandmother's living room looked differently than it had when I had  been there before, and she was explaining what she had done.  She first selected a floral couch that had a pink she loved, and then she found two Queen Anne chairs covered in a mauve silky looking fabric that complemented it nicely.  At yet another store she found an antique table with matching legs to the chairs and pulled off a very dainty, ladylike room.  She was proud of the coordinating blinds and everything was in it's place, tastefully and beautifully arranged.  She seemed so lively and invested in creating this beautiful space and I remember feeling in awe of her.  Here she was, well into the golden years and still had the passion to create a beautiful space in which to dwell.  My mother's house? Still has the same wall grouping she ordered from a mail order catalog back when I was like 12.  I swear, nothing has changed at all.  I go into the bathroom and giggle at the crap *I* put up on in walls in 7th grade, trying to recreate the beautiful homes of my friends, whose mothers kept them decorated and maintained   I was so embarrassed by my house when I was a child.  

Looking back at my father's house, in pictures, I do find it a bit odd that it's also tastefully (for the time) decorated and can't help but wonder why a bachelor had potted plants everywhere and hand-written scriptures and quotes tacked to the wall.  I wish I could ask him (or anyone about this) but my father is like the "One Who Shall Not Be Named" to anyone who knew him.  

So I am left wondering where this drive in ME comes from.  I love old things.  I have a passionate desire to fill my space with beauty, antiquity and things that tell the story of who I am and what I value.  I would never (evereverever) go into a store, find a set of things that look pretty and bring it into my home to decorate.  I feel like that's cheating and completely killing my creative spirit.  But this also means at times, my house looks downright tacky.  See, I've followed the advice in all my country living magazines that say "If you love it, bring it home and it will all be okay eventually."  Man, that's hard . I can't see the end picture or what it will look like and the thing is, you can't walk into an antique store and furnish your home the way you can with places like Rooms To Go.  (Funnily enough I LOVE the way those rooms look and other people's houses.  I find the cohesiveness relaxing, yet if I had to live with it every day, I couldn't handle it....why is that??)  I feel like I'm busy collecting orphans (in a totally non Angelina Jolie way.  My orphans are inanimate so I don't have to worry so much about killing my food budget) hoping they will all get along.  I have everything from old cast iron and vintage Pyrex, to antique furniture I've found here and there.  When I bring something in, it does look nice, but there are tweaks that need made and so far, I'm just not entirely happy with what I've got going. It's a process (Hey, that sounds my house in general.  Did I mention I think DIY remodeling should be against the law? Because when you go this route, your kitchen will suck for many years while you are busy on the rest of the house.)

Right now, I'm staring at my prized chairs from last year, knowing they desperately need recovered and not knowing how or what to do with them (You know what else should be against the law?  White, or cream, or ivory or anything remotely LIKE it being brought into a house with children.)

Remember these?

I had no delusions that these would last forever.  They are just too old for that fabric to survive in this house. When I placed both of these by the big window, within a couple weeks the fabric on the arms started to fade.  I am thinking these were originally in a place without a lot of natural light and you can see beyond all the flowers, these are technically white.

I've priced having them professional reupholstered and it's steep.  REALLY steep and if our house wasn't bustling with so much activity, that wouldn't bother me. But it is.  So even brand new upholstery job will eventually look....used.  (On a related note, I have actually considered having a lobotomy to remove that part of my brain which tells me it IS possible to have a home worthy of Better Homes and Gardens while raising a big family.  Then I realized that operation was kind of expensive and for a lower cost I could buy adequate breasts, and really, if I'm going under the knife...I'd just rather have spectacular cleavage  than realistic expectations when it's all said and done)

So the next logical thing to consider is slipcovers.  Only there isn't one on the entire planet (Fiji?  Yup I totally checked Fiji artisans on Etsy, they don't have them either) that will fit these chairs.  Wingbacks? Yes, but with t-cushions, not square.  They just do not exist.

Me sewing them you say? Bwhahaha! 


Can I sew?  Yes.  Quite well actually.  And if the thing I'm sewing is one dimensional, like a quilt, I'm quite happy to do it.  Any more dimensions than that and I start channeling 1980's Eddie Murphy (my new reference when I'm embarrassed about my language proclivities)

And this is definitely multi-dimensional.  Apparently when you want to create a slipcover, you have to do all this pattern making, pinning, sewing, checking, pinning, sewing some more and this is just not going to happen.

I need a seamstress that won't want to kill me when he/she is done with making slipcovers for this.  I'm thinking of trying to find someone locally.

Unless someone out there can point me to non-ugly-properly fitting slipcovers for these.


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