Would you believe that while making my rounds of the blog-o-sphere, "DREARS" was the little code word I was required to type in order to make a comment on my own blog this morning??
Fitting, I must say.
For dear readers, it has been RAINING here. With a vengeance. Heck, I think that even VANCOUVER has had it better in the weather department than we have had here, in my little corner of Ontario.
I complain... while being mindful that in a matter of just a few short weeks, I expect that my garden will be overheated and parched, baking under a summer sun. My rain barrel will likely be empty by then, and I'll be lying on the crunchy, brown grass out back, straining up at the sky in the hopes of seeing one fluffy, promising little cloud.
I only wish that I could send some of our current weather conditions over to the good people of Northern Alberta this week... There, wildfires burn out of control, destroying everything in their path. While evacuees are apparently safe in shelters, I can only imagine the anxious agony they are feeling today, as they await news of whether they have any homes to return to. Several summers ago, I had the good fortune to be the guest of one of my best friend's parents at their beautiful log home, three hours north of Edmonton. The area is one of the best kept secrets in our country-- it was nothing short of heaven to relax for ten days with some of the finest people of my acquaintance, in the beautiful lake district, at the enormous log cabin and garden that they designed and built themselves. Today, I'm praying for them, as eighty forest firefighters depart Ontario to join the team battling the blazes out West.
Last fall, I spent the first two weeks of September teaching myself the art of upholstery, in order to ease the pangs I felt when my children returned to school (and I did not). We had an old Sterns and Foster pull-out couch that we acquired with the house, since it was so heavy, it could not be lifted and manouvered up the basement stairs when the former residents moved out. This old couch was comfortable, functional, but pathetically ugly. (So ugly, I couldn't even bring myself to take "before" pictures.) Suffice it to say that it was striped in the shades of several very badly-made pea soups. Disgusting. When I was home in Stratford at the end of last summer, I lucked-out and purchased about a dozen yards of rather lovely velvet upholstery fabric in a muted colour... The whole project turned out remarkably well. Upholstery isn't very difficult, as it turns out. The most challenging part is removing the old fabric carefully enough that it can be used as a template for the new pattern pieces. Once this is done, pretty much everything else can be managed with the help of a good, sturdy nail gun. (Those of you who have been reading awhile will remember my great love of power tools...) The "new" couch cost me approximately $70, including nails, new batting, and decorative tacks.
I've also managed to sew a new cover for my old futon, which is a sofa/bed that I bought twenty five years ago, and is still so comfortable to relax and sleep on, I can't bring myself to part with it. Once again, the fabric store in Stratford held a treasure in the form of this mill-end of fabric. The finished effect is quite satisfactory, and the sitting area is now nearly complete.
This week, new curtains and cushions are running off of my ancient Janome sewing machine. I've spray painted old lamps, and made them seem new again. And best of all, the art work I'm using for the walls has all come from my own camera-- every photograph holds a family memory. They are all framed in black (inexpensively purchased at Walmart and Michael's craft store), and arranged in groups, so that viewers can sit or stand and gaze at them for as long as they like. Over the years, it has been so easy to snap literally thousands of photos, and then download them onto a hard drive. As a result, my photos have been filed away, seldom printed, and almost never viewed. It has been very rewarding to spend chunks of these rainy days poring over these memories, and seeing the happy development of my girlies. Now, the best of the bunch are finally up on the walls for all to see.
The downstairs hallway and the game room are fresh and bright and comfortable... If this rain keeps up much longer, I'm going to be forced to face the final fronteer in this house: the guest bedroom, which doubles as my craft and fabric storage area. Yeek. It desperately needs a good cleaning and sorting-out... But, hopefully THAT can wait until the dog days of summer are upon us, and it's just too darned hot to go outside.
It IS May, believe it or not... and sooner or later, the sun will shine, and those knee-high weeds outside will be ripe and ready for yanking out of the ground. The rain and chill has kept me from being tempted to visit my favourite garden centre and blow the wad on bedding plants that would only die of cold, if I were to violate my mother's strict guideline, "NOTHING before the end of May!!" When that time finally comes, the dirt will fly, let me tell you!
But for now, I will continue to fiddle with fabric and pins, the hum of the sewing machine will join the music of the rain on the roof, and the purring of contented cats.