Compost Compostion

Quilt at Fair

They spelled my name wrong but I still got 2nd place!

 

Although blogging hasn’t been happening lately, I am nonetheless very busy in life and in my creative pursuits.  Above is the first quilt I have entered in a quilt show and I won 2nd place!  The quilt is all hand-dyed using compost ingredients — thus the name, Compost Composition — and hand-quilted. (I had to.  It was the right method of finishing.)  The idea for the quilt came from a lesson in my art quilting group on ice dyeing.  The results were exceptional but the process involved a lot of extra materials, protective gear and waste disposal issues.  Although stunning, I knew that I could never work this way so I started to look into alternatives.

Most everyone in the fabric world has heard of tea dyeing as it is an incredibly easy and useful method for an antiqued fabric look.  I started to research natural dyeing both at the library and online and was pleasantly surprised by all of the resources available.  I decided to start experimenting.  My first attempts were with onion skins, avocado pits (seriously!) and turmeric powder.  I did all of my first dyeing projects inside by boiling and soaking the dye materials and the fabrics.  I used cheap muslin (lesson for my future self – muslin fabric is great for experimenting but it never irons out) and soaked my non-toxic dyes overnight.  I was happy with the results so I decided that I should branch out.  When my same quilt group decided we should flood the county fair with art quilts, I knew that I should really try something out there and dye my whole quilt using items typically thrown out (or in our case, composted or used for chicken food).

During my pursuit of natural dyeing I found that in order to document all of my trials, I should keep a fabric journal.  This journal has proved invaluable.  I take a scrap from each piece of fabric and I detail all of my recipes to achieve the color.  It is all an experiment and there is a lot of chemistry that can go in to natural dyeing.  I started off just dyeing the fabrics to see what colors I could get.  I didn’t worry about mordanting and all of the chemistry — I just went for it.  Since I was mostly using small scraps of muslin, this was not a wasteful way to go about learning.  However, there were some fabrics that because they were not done properly, did fade very quickly.

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Our summer house

Since I’ve been spending as much of my weekends in the above tent backpacking, I needed to find a method of dyeing that was less time consuming.  Voila solar dyeing!  Solar dyeing is exactly what it sounds like, putting your fabric and dye in the sun and letting nature take its course.  For a couple of weeks, I stuffed fabric and dyes into mason jars and left them out to sit.  It is basically the same process as making sun tea.  Into the jars went red onion skins, tea baga, spent coffee grounds, red chile powder, nettles, dried black beans and more turmeric.  Thanks to our 8,100 feet of altitude, these dyes cooked up nicely within a week.  Sure some of the smells were a bit fermented and funky but the fabrics once rinsed were clean and odorless.  This method allowed for me to spend a great deal of time outdoors while still working on my quilt.

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Gees Bend inspired quilt

Since all of my fabrics were very organic and natural, I wanted the same in my quilt design.  Above is one of the quilts I made during a class with my heroes from Gees Bend.  All of the lines are cut by hand and arranged intuitively.  I love this method of design because it can never again be replicated.  This has been my new love in quilting – creating my own designs from my heart.  While working on Compost Composition, I laid my fabrics out and started to cut and piece in ways that felt right.  Once all six blocks were complete, I arranged them as I pleased without concern about congruity.  It is really nice to work on something without worrying about nesting seams and perfect corners. (Although I still do on other projects I work on.)

The colors in this quilt are derived from:

  • Pink:  avocado pits and peels boiled and steeped for 60 hours
  • Blue:  dried black beans soaked for 1 week and solar dyed
  • Yellow:  turmeric solar dyed for 1 week
  • Light tan:  spent coffee grounds solar dyed for 1 week
  • Tan:  tea solar dyed for 1 week
  • Green:  carrot tops boiled and steeped for 60 hours
  • Purple:  purple cabbage boiled and steeped for 60 hours
  • Light pink:  red onion skins solar dyed for 1 week
  • Orange:  yellow onion skins boiled and steeped for 60 hours

I will not share my recipes here, not because they are some great secret, but because there is no one true recipe that will work for everyone.  There is a lot of chemistry involved with the pH of your own water and the material and also there are tons of resources available online and in books.  The main idea is just to start experimenting and doing it.  The results can be fun and sometimes they come out spectacular and fade away like a great mandala (I’m talking about you chile powder) and other times they turn out exactly as you hoped.  Natural dyeing is how everything used to get dyed and although you are not going to get super bright, deep colors as with commercial dyed fabric, you are going to get something that is 100% your own creation.

Also, a quick note about entering your quilt in a fair or a show:  just do it too!  The judging can be intense and particular and no, my above quilt is not going to measure up under the magnifying glass.  Nonetheless, I still got 2nd place in my category and it got my work out into the world.  It is great to see the diversity of creativity at shows and it is important to promote all forms of quilts.

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Homemade Hygge

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We have daffodils! 

Well today is April 1st and the Winter Storm Warning just expired for our neck of the woods.  However, a look outside shows the “wintry mix” continuing unrelented.  Despite the fact that it has officially been spring for a few weeks, Southwest Colorado is apparently still making up its mind between the seasons.  Such is life down here where the last 3 Memorial Days have been snowstorms.  I like to think of the positives to all the moisture:  that our well will not run dry, that we will not experience horrible wildfires and that one day soon we will have a week of solid sun to rejoice in.

This year the new buzz word around design and house circles has been hygge (hoo-gah), a concept very loosely translated from Danish to mean “coziness in life”.  There are dozens of books and blogs espousing how living a life full of hygge can bring greater happiness not only through a long winter but throughout the year.  And the Danes should know, they are consistently ranked one of the happiest countries every year.  So in the spirit of embracing hygge, here are some of the ways I’ve adopted the concept for my own home.

One :  Quilts
This means both the creation of and use of quilts.  Winter is the perfect time to spend a lot of time on the sewing machine.  I get the majority of my quilting done during the cold months because when the days are long and the weather temperate, I am outside enjoying nature.  Winter is the perfect time to wrap up in the all of the quilts.  Quilts adorn our couch downstairs and make a huge difference in warmth on top of our duvet cover in bed.  We do our best to keep our energy costs low, and quilts can warm you up fast and free.  In short, quilts make winter tolerable.

Two:  Books
Books, like quilts, are a year round activity.  But in the winter, there are days when you’ve finished a round of shoveling and you get to just be for a few hours with a good book under a quilt. Winter is a great time to read those big books, the ones that are 500 pages plus because you are home so much and you don’t have to cart them around.   You can lose yourself in a book without that feeling of indoor guilt, the feeling that the weather is so nice you should be doing something else.

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Three:  Warm cute socks
When it is cold out warming up your feet is a great way to feel cozy all over.  Winter is when I break out the hand knit socks lovingly crafted by my boyfriend’s talented grandmother.  Warm socks and slippers are the simplest way to feel toasty on a cold day.

Four:  Big warm drinks
Last fall I got a newish espresso machine from the thrift store for $5.  In the warmer months, I don’t want a big drink in the morning but come winter, especially on weekend mornings, I like to sit with my big drink and just savor it.  Typically my weekday mornings do not allow for this luxury as I leave the house at 6:30, but the weekends are for indulging in a big drink.  Also, hot chocolate with a shot of brandy is the most amazing thing after a long session of shoveling.  Especially once you put on warm dry socks and sit under a quilt.  (There is obviously a lot of overlap here.)

Five:  Sleeping
Animals can hibernate, why can’t people?  With the dark days, there is no guilt in getting in some extra sleep.  Winter is a time of respite and rest for the natural world and it should be for us too.  Some nights, the 8 pm bedtime is simply the best.

Six:  Cooking with and without a crock pot
Winter too is the time where we bake more bread, cook those labor intensive meals and eat heartily.  Cooking encompasses a good part of our household entertainment in the winter.  Also, we recently procured our first crock pot (also at the thrift store and also for $5) and that thing is a total miracle.  It is so wonderful to put stuff in and come home hours later to a meal already made and a delicious smelling home.  We have made some incredible meals in the crock pot:  pot roast, pulled pork, various chilis, posole, Tikka Masala, chicken burrito bowls and whole turkeys.   I like to prep all of my food the night before so that in the morning, I can simply dump in all of the chopped ingredients and head out the door with minimal effort. The crock pot has certainly made our winter much more tasty.

Seven:  Fake candles
I remember when battery operated candles came out and they looked so fake.  Well a mere few years later and thanks to the advancement of LED bulbs, I am officially a fan of fake candles.  I managed to get all of ours at the thrift store and they give off a pleasant light.  I have a set in our bedroom and on super stressful days post work, I like to lay on the bed with the candles aglow and my Himalayan salt lamp lit and do some deep breathing/meditation.  I call this my drama detox and it works.  The faux candles make the house feel cozy without a ton of effort.  Also, they are safe.

Eight:  Showers at night with lavender
We get a very early start in the morning and many mornings, our routine also involves shoveling.  I began taking my showers at night and it totally changed my mornings.  Suddenly I was not having wet hair and feeling further behind in time.  Also, showering at night feels like a good way to end the day, to rinse away the past.  I like to sprinkle a few drop of lavender oil on the bottom of the tub to help relax me even more.

So these are the primary ways I’ve incorporated hygge into our home to make the winter more enjoyable.  The true concept of hygge can be translated to be year round and I am certainly looking forward to embracing it with backyard bbqs and long weekends curled up in the tent.  It is very easy to embrace the seasons and make all four cozy and happy.

2017 Resolution Review

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Taken January 2, 2017

In January of 2017, I committed to the intention of using what I have.  Almost 2 months in, here is what I’ve accomplished so far with my commitment.

I resolved to use more of the food that I have before I go and procure more.  This has been relatively easy because I have a lot of good ingredients at my disposal in both my freezer and my pantry.  I think the stand out freezer concoction thus far was a wild turkey posole.  (Posole is a southwestern stew with hominy.) We had some leftover frozen turkey from Thanksgiving, a batch of hominy left over from previous soups and some frozen red chile paste.  I added some fresh onion and spices and let this simmer in the crock pot for a few hours.  It was a great meal and came entirely out of my freezer.  We strive to never waste food so my resolution hasn’t been too revolutionary, but it is a great way to challenge yourself.  We call these meals “Iron Chef”  challenges because you take the random ingredients you’ve got and you can come up with some pretty awesome things — often a one-time meal that can never again be replicated.

As much as I love and patronize my local library, I have really enjoyed grabbing books off of my shelves that I’ve collected over time.  The majority of the books are ones that I have picked up at the thrift store for less than a dollar and they have provided me with hours of enjoyment.  I now have these books in a read stack that I am either going to donate back or pass along to friends for reading.  It has been great, especially during this winter, to be able to peruse my own library, grab a book in my PJs and cuddle up on the couch under a quilt.  I used to keep all of my books carting all of them around proudly for years, but now I am happy to let many of them move on to another house and be used instead of just stagnant on an overcrowded shelf.  A couple of years back, I started a book journal where I write down every book I read.  I do some commentary, or I jot down poignant passages, but this journal has in a sense been able to replace my big stack of books.   I’ve also opened up my cd binder and pulled out some real gems to listen to instead of just defaulting to online radio.  It’s amazing how music can make one so nostalgic and also how it can create a certain mood.  I’ve been experimenting with quilting to different music to see if it impacts the way in which I quilt.  So far I do not have any definitive proof that music effects my stitching, but this has been a less than rigorous examination of this correlation.

 

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A back-up baby blanket

I have been very diligent with the use of materials I already have.  I found 4 skeins of yarn that were given to me as a gift that I am making into a very simple blocked baby blanket.  I made so many baby blankets last year that it seems pragmatic to have an extra one lying around for a future gift.  This hasn’t challenged my knitting skill set in the least, but it is a project that uses materials I already own.

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Free motion on ikat

I have been more successful with trying new skills and using up materials in my quilting.  Part of this education has been through my monthly art quilting group.  This group challenges me to think outside of the traditional and to try all sorts of new techniques.  (All of the skills I’m learning is an entirely different blog post/posts.)  One project I made is a baby quilt for my cousin out of ikat fabric in my stash wherein I quilted two identical yards together without any piecing or blocks.  This is the same idea as the quilt in a day, but this time, I free motioned around the ikat pattern in the blanket and it took me more than a day.  Because this fabric was so dynamic, it is hard to tell the level of detail that was involved from afar but it was a great practice project for me to get more comfortable with free motion quilting.  I have also made 2 very different log cabins out of scraps.  The smaller of the two is made entirely out of scraps that I had lying around and did not cut — I simply laid them out and let the design be very organic.  This quilt got sent to a friend living in the Baltics who longs to build her own tiny log cabin out of reclaimed materials when she gets back to the States.  Her dream was my inspiration for the quilt.  My second log cabin is very measured and based off of a pattern that uses 1-inch scrap pieces.  I’ve made several of these and always enjoy how the randomness of scraps creates an entirely different quilt each time.  This quilt will be heading north to Alaska where a couple of dear friends are moving for work (and adventure!).  I could easily make dozens more of these projects and still have remaining scraps of fabric.  Also, because of the size of these quilts, I’ve been able to use leftover batting scraps stitched together.  All three of these projects were made without spending any money.

We have been ever grateful for all of the time we are able to spend enjoying our nearby public lands.  Lately it has been mostly nordic skiing, but we have also enjoyed some crisp late winter hikes as well.  We are both stewards of our public lands and hope that the access to these precious resources never changes.  However, in this uncertain time, we have realized just how important and necessary this land is to us and we are taking full advantage of it while land still remains public.

So far, this intention/resolution/commitment has been a good challenge and a relatively easy mindset for me to adopt.  I am still buying fresh groceries, and I still spend money at the local quilt shop and thrift store, but it is very comforting to know that everything I need, I already have.  I do not feel limited by my intention in any way and the more I practice this habit, the more I have ingrained this practice into my everyday mindset.

A Goal for 2017 and for Life

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Looking Ahead and Beyond

We are in the midst of the constant barrage of New Year’s resolutions — to be thinner, wealthier, more youthful appearing.  Everywhere you look or listen, you can be promised that 2017 is the year that you become a better self.  And while I think that self improvement is very important, I do not believe that we all have to strive for the aforementioned ideals.  I am all for bettering my health and boosting my savings account but I think that the New Year’s resolution as such sets many people up for not succeeding.  In my first yoga class of 2017, my teacher brought this up:  the difference between a resolution and a goal (or intention).  With a resolution, it is as if you feel that you must absolutely fulfill this one thing, without any room for being human.  With a goal, you set up for something that you work toward over time.  With this difference in mind, I have chosen to work toward a goal for not only 2017, but for the rest of my life.  It is simply to use what I have.

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A Creative Closet Door

This goal may sound simplistic but it is actually quite expansive.  For starters, as a creative person always striving to learn more and try more, I have decided that instead of taking on new hobbies I am going to use the skills that I have and build upon them.  This means learning more complicated knitting techniques including sweaters, socks and lace.  It means learning new quilting techniques and retaining them, especially all of the different things I’m learning in my art quilting group. (Side note:  the above picture is of our new “closet door” made from blocks I’ve had sitting around since a defunct block of the month club 3 years ago.  These were just sitting in a box until I decided to unearth them and use them.  Now every day we no longer have to look at our clothes, but instead this nice piece.)  This includes utilizing my newly remodeled sewing room as my own creative space, a luxury that not many people have.  I am going to keep on taking pictures and learning from experience and library books.  I know that in delving deeper into the skills I have instead of getting involved in another hobby that I only know and don’t excel at, I can still learn and experiment with the solid foundation I already possess.

Using what I have also extends to the kitchen.  Before I make a grocery list based upon we’re craving and what’s on sale, I will first visit our pantry and our freezer.  I will shop from home before I shop from the store.  Fortunately for me, this is pretty easy because we have a freezer full of Hatch green chiles and Olathe corn and a pantry full of basmati rice, Anasazi beans and home canned tomatoes and pickles.  We are fortunate to have food security and we can easily supplement what we have and make nourishing meals.  Chances are that some of our recipe experiments will be flops and that is okay.  It will allow us to use our creativity in the kitchen instead of simply relying upon the grocery store.

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The Household Library/Staircase/Rock Collection

My goal includes using all of the possessions I currently have.  I will wear that nicer dress to work more just because I can.  I will wear the jewelry that I have, wear the (old but functional) cashmere sweater on the weekends and read all of the books I own.  I have books on my shelf (well, stair landing) that I have been carting along for years.  It is time to grab those and curl up under a quilt!   I’ve also been listening to some of my old cds (remember those?) and it has been really fun.  It is amazing how many lyrics I remember from things I’ve had for 10 or 15 years.  I will burn the candles at a Wednesday night meal because what I have is meant to be used.  I will grind up the fancy coffee on a weekday morning.  It is easy to see our stuff as precious and forget about the original utility of our things.  As a continually striving minimalist, I don’t want to have things that just sit around, I want everything in my house and my life to have a purpose.  If I find something that no longer serves a need (I believe Marie Kondo calls this “sparks joy”), then it needs to go someplace else.  I want our home to be full of only the things that are used and that add to our lives, nothing that has long since served it purpose.

So, my seemingly simple goal to use what I have is actually a very large and overarching lifetime enhancer.  It will be something that I work towards in 2017 and probably for the rest of my life.  It is a goal that can be added on to and one that also allows for me to be the human that I am.

Staying warm yurt style

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The yurt in warmer times

Aw, the picture above reminds that there will again be a time when the yurt bubble is open and there is not a 2 foot field of condensed snow surrounding our home.  In the meantime, we are dealing with an El Nino winter to topple records with a couple of months left to go.  How are we staying warm without all of the trappings of modern homes?  Through the very simple tricks listed below.

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The Yurtain – a yurt curtain

Back in the fall when the warnings of the severity of our winter seemed far off, I decided to make us curtains for the yurt.   The huge advantage of our home is that we have a ton of light and, due to our spectacular natural surroundings, also have gorgeous views.  But our windows are plastic so I knew that we would have to do some covering up for the winter.  So I invented (or think I did . . .) the yurtain, a perfect curtain for the yurt.  It is a very simple utilitarian design.  I bought fabric that was already quilted, fancied up the edges with some binding and then added the ties at the top.  Voila, the yurtain.  The ties are important because we don’t have the ability to hang a traditional curtain rod.  These stretch to cover up our windows pretty well.  In the mornings when we leave for work, we simply remove one tie to let the sun in for solar heat gain.  When we get home, we tie the curtains back up for warmth.  Although only a half inch thick, there is a definite difference when the curtains are up.

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Weatherizing the door

Like all homes, we lose a lot of heat through our front door.  To combat some of this loss, we installed weatherstripping around the perimeter.  Next, I made a curtain out of scraps with batting in between to stop the leakage from the glass window.  This curtain, like the others, has ties so that we can take it down to allow light in.  Last, I made a simple door snake.  In the weatherization workshops, we always taught people that stopping the small leaks all around the house has a large cumulative effect.  This is the same principle applied here.  I fashioned a quick door snake for the bottom out of leftover scrap fabric and stuffed with all of the small pieces of quilting batting I had lying around that were not good for anything else.  I knew there would be an occasion for all of these stashed scraps!

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Warming up the bed

Lastly, we decided to enhance the space by our bed since that is where we spend a lot of our home time.  As our walls are rounded, a headboard does not work.  This allowed us to get a little creative.  First I stuffed foam from our furniture projects between the crossbars of our wall creating a padding and barrier.  Second, I hung up the pea quilt to cover up the foam and create another layer.  (Right now I’m not worried about the quilt getting bleached because the sun is too low in the sky.)  Then we added a second set of pillows behind our pillows for yet another layer of protection.  With this set up, we have no draft in our bed.  We use flannel sheets, a down comforter and a wool blanket to stay toasty inside.  If it’s especially cold, we can always wear a hat to bed and add another quilt on top.

Our home is heated by a wood stove that is brand new and fairly efficient considering that a lot of the heat is lost to our high ceilings.  We stumble over in the middle of the night to add a couple of logs until we wake up.  Not once has the stove been so cold as to not keep coals when we are tending the fire.  We start the fire immediately when we get home and wait only a little while for the place to heat up.  During this time we are also busy moving and getting dinner ready that the cold is hardly noticeable.  It is really a pretty simple set up and works well for our home.

When we are home in the winter, we are not sitting around in T-shirts and burning logs with abandon.  We wear sweaters and slippers and we use the plethora of blankets we have around.  This is how we all used to live in the not so distant past.  What we are doing is what has always been done.  We are conscientious of little steps that we can take that have big impacts.  Collectively, if everyone turned down their thermostats even a few degrees and donned a sweater, plus plugged up the smaller leaks around the home, it could make a huge impact on our wallets and our planet.  We all can keep ourselves comfortable in the deepest darkest of winters with simple solutions.

Homemade All Natural Laundry Soap

Super easy and non-toxic

Super easy and non-toxic

Making laundry soap isn’t the most exciting thing to do on a Saturday morning, but in the pantheon of household chores, this ranks in the “very tolerable” category in both time and money.  I started to make my own soap out of necessity as our former residence had the hardest water ever which, after washing, left a crummy residue on our clothes when the soaps did not dissolve.  I started to do research about natural solutions to this conundrum and discovered that both borax and washing soda work well in hard water.  I then found many recipes for homemade laundry soaps using both ingredients and, after some test runs, have settled on the following.  This formula is an extremely affordable way to use natural laundry detergent without the steep price of manufactured natural soaps — at pennies a load.  Nothing costs a penny anymore, except this!

Grating the soap bar.

Grating the soap bar.

All you need is washing soda, borax, baking soda and a bar of natural soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s because I like to have a little bit of fragrance in the soap), and a bucket.  The first step is grating the bar of soap; I use a cheese grater.  Once grated, I grind the soap in an old food processor (it’s missing half a blade so I kept it for this purpose but you can use your regular appliance and wash it post soap-making) with a cup of one of the powdered ingredients until the soap is about the same consistency as typical laundry soap.  Place all of the ingredients in a bucket and mix, shaking until everything is incorporated.  The process from start to finish takes all of 10 minutes which is about the same amount of time it takes to walk down a couple of aisles in the grocery store.  Yep, this recipe is easy peasy lemon squeezy, as my former kindergartner students used to say.  The best part is that you only use a tablespoon to do a load of laundry, so your batch will last you at least a couple of few months.

Homemade laundry soap — adapted from many online recipes and tested by our household

  • 3 cups of borax
  • 3 cups of washing soda
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 1 bar of natural soap (i.e. Dr. Bronner’s), grated

That is really it!  All of these ingredients can be easily procured at your local store.  As a bonus, this recipe also works well for people with sensitive skin as there are no harsh ingredients.  Give it a spin and you will see that making your own laundry soap is loads better than what you can buy.

Rocker Mountain High

Yep, it’s legal here in Colorado but this isn’t a pot post, so if you’re intrigued by the title alone and thinking that the following will be about ganja crafts, you will want to find another blog to entertain you for the next 5 minutes.  This is about a chair.

There is something so comforting to me about a rocking chair in a house.  More than likely I am just inherently nostalgic as I was a rocked baby, every night to M.A.S.H. reruns.  I may not remember the exact moments, but I must remember the soothing comfort for I have long desired a rocking chair of my own.  They are a symbol of simpler times, of relaxing and whittling on the porch, of embroidery in the evenings instead of a glaring television.  They are not complicated or padded or ergonomic, they just work without a ton of engineering.

Then one lucky day we came across a rocking chair for $10 at an antique store that seemed too good to pass up.  Structurally, the chair was still sound but the wood needed a bit of attention and it was desperately in need of a new seat.  With just a few materials and a few hours, we knew we could restore the chair to its former glory.

Before

Before

After about an hour of sanding by hand as a team, “You take the left side and I’ll take the right”, we had a pretty decent chair to spiff up.   Using leftover cans of stain from our former house-dwelling existence, we put a couple of coats on to restore the wood.  Side notes:  if you are looking to refinish a small piece of furniture, go to your local re-store (such as a Habitat for Humanity) for stains and finishes as there are always partially used cans for less than a dollar.  It saves you money, you won’t have your own leftover jar and it keeps yucky stuff out of landfills.  After the stain coats dried, we sealed the whole chair with a clear coat of polyurethane.  Again, you can easily get partially used cans of this around.

To replace the seat, we decided that instead of weaving a new one, we would make ours out of plywood, foam and fabric.  We cut a small piece of plywood to fit, cut foam to fit the plywood and wrapped fabric around the top of the foam to finish.  The fabric we used came from my stash (about a half yard) and is a nice wool Pendleton plaid.  We did a simple upholstery fold and attached to the bottom of the seat with upholstery tacks.  In order to secure it then secure the seat to the chair, we created some copper fasteners that we wrapped around the frame and screwed into the seat.  Because we are always looking to create and restore with the materials we have on hand, we only had to purchase the foam; however even if you had to purchase/collect everything needed, you are still looking at an affordable piece of furniture.

And After.

And After.

And now we have a rocking chair of our own! Although I still gravitate to the cushy armchair with my leisure activities, I love to see it being used in our household every morning by my sweetheart with his mug of coffee.  We have our own rocker in the mountains.