Friday, February 5, 2016

Reupholstering an Old Chair

Antique Store Find

Time to finish up some UFP's (UnFinished Projects).

We found this somewhat dirty old chair at an antique store near Wilmington, North Carolina, way back in 2012 when we first landed in Southern Virginia. We needed another chair for our family reunion (anniversary) party that we were hosting in a few weeks, and the store gave us a real nice deal.

I had planned on reupholstering it after the party, and I did start by taking all the old fabric off.  But then, I got side-tracked with moving into this house, remodeling it, then dealing with a bout with cancerI haven't worked on it since, so its been sitting naked for years.

Although its been fun watching the cats (we had two then) try to jump onto the seat (immediately falling through), I decided it was time to finish this project. Yep, this is the year to put this chair back together. Now, if I could only remember how to reassemble it. 

Navy and White Fabric
Now, back in 2013, I had purchased some pretty teal patterned brocade for this chair, but it is too pale for the finish, so I started trying out other fabric in my stash.  That's when I tried this piece from which I had made curtains for my new kitchen.  The curtains didn't work well as a window treatment, but they do look great on this chair.  Its a navy and white cotton duck, and has a nice amount of contrast with the chair's blonde finish

The Chair Back  
Chair Back, gluing
While deconstructing this chair, there must have been 5 pounds of staples holding everything in place, each layer was stapled on creating a mess of staples...heck there's hardly any wood left along the lip of the back.  I spent several days pulling all of those @#$%^&*(&* staples out and scraping off the residual glue.  I kept the stiff non-woven backing and the foam cushions which were in pretty good condition.  All that was left to do was to replace the fabric and the double piping.  Hmmm, double piping.  Off to the hardware store to get some clothesline.  Just the right size to match the old piping. 

Chair Back, tacking piping in place

I decided to try just gluing the 3 layers of fabric and foam together, then use brads to hold all the layers in place while I place just one layer of staples around the lip of the back.

Back nearly done
The back was definitely the most challenging.  The piping wanted to twist all the time, and the small lip that everything rested on made the whole stapling process quite tedious to do.  Using the brad tacks was the key to success.

The Seat      

Seat Bottom

This part of the project was really simple because I just wrapped and then stapled the fabric around the foam-topped pressboard seat bottom.  I've yet to get to the store to pick up some more non-woven backing to cover the staples and the screw holes on the underside of the chair.  When I get it, I'll cut it to fit, then just glue it in place since there's no stress on the bottom of the chair.  I may add a few staples just as an added measure, but it's not necessary because I'll be using a permanent glue like 6000.  

Voila!  Done, and ready to use again.  Now, won't the cat be surprised.  Wonder how long it'll take her to find out it's fixed.

(PS...if you use a linear print like this one, be sure to double check that you have it aligned well before attaching it.  If you look carefully, you can see that I didn't, and the print is askew just a bit dagnabit).  Oh, well, good enough for the folks who'll be sitting on it.  Onto the next UFP .....


 Until next time.........

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Goodbye 2015, Here's to a Bright and Shiny 2016

A Rosey Tail to Tell
Dear Readers, I feel I owe you an explanation as to why I've been so terribly absent this past year.  I posted a brief explanation or two many months ago, but at that time I had no idea just how sick I would eventually get.

It all started last December (2014).   I got a tummy ache that didn't go away.  So, in March, my family doc sent me to a endocrinologist to get an endoscopy which revealed I had cancer in my esophagus, near my stomach.  The treatment involved chemo and radiation for 8-11 weeks to stop the growth and shrink the tumor.  Then I was to undergo abdominal and thoracic surgery to remove the tumor and part of my stomach and esophagus about 4 weeks after chemo/radiation ended.

Unfortunately, 2 weeks before surgery, I suffered a very large and sudden pulmonary embolism which stopped me from breathing altogether.  Luckily, my husband was at home, heard me fall, and revived me until the ambulance got here.  That landed me in ER for several hours and then ICU for a week during which time the docs were able to dissolve the clots brought on by the cancer and chemo.

They let me rest another 2 weeks, then I had to undergo that major surgery which was very invasive.  They kept me in ICU for another week, then 7 more days on the general floor for recovery.  This procedure involved cracking my ribs and chest, rearranging my innards, and many opiodes to help with the pain.  The docs keep telling me it will take at least 6 months to recover, and probably 2 years to get back to normal.  Well, that surgery occurred on October 1st, and I'm here to say, I made it.  There were major set-backs during recovery which wrecked havoc with my overall health, and I'm still recovering from some of those as well.  One issues is from the embolism event which left my heart "stretched" out from the backup of blood flow.  As digestion was hindered, I couldn't hold enough fluids down which caused my poor deformed heart to start going into tachycardia events dropping my blood pressure to dangerous levels.  One event landed me back in the ER again, and I spent another 3 days in ICU.  Yeah, that's 3 times in ICU in case you've lost track. The answer was as simple as taking anti-nausea medicines; a simple but brilliant solution to the dehydration problems.

Not all of my news is bad, though.  The pain is all but gone, and my digestive system is working again.  I've suffered nerve damage and muscle loss during the post-operative weeks, and I'm still struggling with  the residual issues of weakness and shakiness, but I AM getting noticeably stronger every week. Yes, I still remain vulnerable to infections more than normal, so I must be extra careful about keeping healthy, but I have a good family doc that keeps reminding me that I'm not normal yet and keeps me on task (he's cute that way).  No one can say it'll all go away, but I remain optimistic.  "No need to borrow on trouble," as Mom used to say, and I really am getting much better with each passing day.  Now if only my hair would grow back more quickly :)

The best news is that I'm cancer-free  now. 

Plus, I've also lost 50 pounds (in 6 weeks, ouch) which means new clothes are in my future...HUZZAH!!!   

Seriously, though....Many of you have placed me on your prayer lists, and I can't thank you enough for all your love, kindnesses and encouragements through these tough months.  I'm so grateful and touched by you and how many angels that have been sent my way through your prayers and well=wishes.   I'll remain eternally grateful, and will try my best to pay it forward.  God Bless you all in 2016. And may the New Year bring you many joys and love.

Until next time.....

                        ~~ Karen ~~

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Holiday Greetings from Our House to Yours

The original Elf on a Shelf.  Yep, from my childhood in the  60s.  I'm not sure when Mom bought these for me, but it was after 1960. They are a bit dirty, but I played with them when they were new, and they've been sitting on various fireplaces every Christmas since. 

I hope everyone of you Dear Readers had a lovely Christmas Holiday and will enjoy a Blessed New Year. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Chicken Paprikas

I've had my dad on my mind all day.  He liked to cook (and EAT), and one of his favorite dishes was Chicken Paprika.  He spent so many years hunting for the perfect recipe he had tasted at a church potluck once.

After Mom died, I lived with one of my grown sisters, Betty, for 3 years until Dad remarried.  She and her husband took  care of me all week, but when the weekends came, Dad would pick me up, and off we'd go out to his cottage at "the Lake".  Here's a picture of our cottage which was taken a few years later after we put a foundation under it and made it into a year-round home.

So on Fridays after school, I'd rush home to pack up for the weekend with Dad.  I was so eager to see him pull in the driveway after work.  We'd always stop at the same family restaurant, Emil's, along the way where I would order a cheeseburger with tomato and mustard and a chocolate milk.  He'd usually order the special of the day.  All the waitresses knew my order and often would gather at my side telling me that I was the only child they knew that wanted mustard instead of ketchup on their burger.  Dad would get a big kick out of all those "girls", as he'd call them, paying such attention to our table.  Yeah, I was a babe magnet for him :).  We mostly went out to the Lake after supper, but a few times we'd go to our home in the city, but not very often.  He never talked about it, but I think he really didn't want to spend much time at "home" anymore without Mom there, an neither did I.

On Fridays, we'd get to the cottage just time to watch "The Everglades".  It wasn't a long-lived TV show, but I liked it.  Later in the evening the Friday Night Fights came on, and there was always popcorn between Dad and me...grape Nehi for me, beer for Dad.  He really enjoyed the fights, ducking and diving punches with a stogie in his mouth, ashes falling in his lap.  Then, I'd entertain him during the commercials doing my best impression of Edie Adams selling cigars in her sexy manner.  I'd throw my fuzzy scarf around my neck and promenade around the living room swishing my hips and brandishing a cigar box.  It always made him laugh, and that just encouraged me all the more.

Back then the cottage was just a cottage and still had an outhouse in the backyard.  Good grief, how I hated to go out there.  In the winter it was a cold trip, but the summer was worse because of the bugs and snakes.  Shivers year round.  But it had a great cobblestone fireplace which welcomed me back.  He'd let me pitch a camp and sleep by the fire at night.  Camp was a large blanket spread across two or three dining chairs, with the opening to the fire.  My pillows were placed just so on the floor with blankets for sleeping, and a book for coloring until I fell asleep.  Such fun.

On Saturdays, Dad would cook for us.  Breakfast was usually toast and cereal, lunch was bean or veggie soup with swiss cheese on the side, and then there was supper.  We'd often go out to eat, but we'd often enjoy some of Dad's cooking.  This brings me back to the Chicken Paprikas ... more commonly called Chicken Paprikash.   I inherited Dad's Hungarian Cookbook he bought at a church social for the recipe for this dish.  I'm sharing it with you guys below:

Veal Paprikas or Chicken (from Elizabeth Gage) (ed. verbatim)

2 c    veal chopped into small pieces
1 lg    onion chopped and sauteed in 2 Tbs shortening
1 tsp  paprika
1 tsp  salt
Wash veal and rinse.  Add onions.  Add pepper to taste.

Bring to boil, turn fire low, cook slowly 1-1/2 hours.  When half done, add 1/2 mango to meat in one piece plus 1/2 tsp Accent if you like.  Add water only if it cooks down too much.  Stir occasionally.  When meat is done, mix in a pint jar 1/2 pint of sour cream with 2 Tbs of flour.  Fill jar with water and mix till smooth.  Add to meat.  Cook till thick gravy is obtained.  Serve with noodle dumplings.  You can substitute chicken for veal or beef.  Omit sour cream if beef.

This is the authentic recipe from Ms. Gage's family recipes.  It was printed in a cookbook entitled Our Favorite Hungarian Recipes.  Compiled by The Women's Guild of the Hungarian E + R Church (United Church of Christ) Columbus7, Ohio

By the old fashioned address and the picture on the cover, I think this was compiled in the late 40s or early 50s, but I have no way of knowing for sure.  This was written in a large paragraph.  I broke it out in a more manageable layout for you.