I won’t say I think I can do anything but - ever since I made my first simple little quilt (any quilter knows the one I’m talking about –they were brightly colored squares of flannel that were sandwiched and sewn individually – the hardest thing about them was cutting the raggedy edges – my hands got cramps!) I have been feeling more and more confident. Now, ten years later, I find myself thinking I can create pretty much anything I can imagine. In short, I feel – well – rather invincible. Here’s a recent example:
A week or so ago, I was thumbing through an advertisement magazine and I saw the coolest, colorful, most elegant little poufs for the living room – priced at a mere $400 - and that was before shipping! I thought to myself how nice it would be to have them, but I didn't really need one and couldn't really justify the expense...suddenly I got a wild idea - why not make them myself! I mean - look at the other things I've made - surely I could do this myself - for way less money, too. My goal was to make them for about $150. Time was irrelevant because my boys were gone for a week to California and I had no responsibilities – no dinners, no housecleaning, no pick-ups, no laundry – for a full week. (Yeah I missed them, but still – no cooking for a full week – Yippee!!!)
I had no idea how to make a pouf, but that didn’t stop me. I started out the way all quilters do – by picking out fabric! I also got some two inch foam I happened to see because I figured it might come in handy, too. And some cording to make piping, too, of course. I decided I would build a wooden frame and cover it with the foam, then sew a fabric cover, complete with stylish piping, to finish it off. Simple! Easy! No problemo - I can do this!
Aside from taking shop in middle school (umpteen years ago), I really didn’t have the slightest idea how to use power tools – or which ones I needed for that matter. At least, I though, not yet. So I went to my brother (Why not my ever-supportive, helpful husband, you ask? Well, for one, he was out of town when the inspiration hit me, and for two – he would have been a little too helpful –as in doing it for me, and by golly, I wanted to do it myself!) for advice on what to get for the frame. He told me ¼ inch plywood and 1x2 lumber, wood screws, and glue. Sounded ever so simple - now I knew I could do this!
I blithely went to the lumber store and although I had to search the entire store three times to find it all (While I’m very familiar with Target, the grocery store, Wal-Mart, and Costco, I was like an ant out of line in the lumber store. And besides - those aisles need to be marked better!) Once I finally got the plywood on the rack and transferred all the other stuff to those funky lumber carts, I made my way carefully to the checkout, only knocking a few items off the shelves as I passed by (nothing broke, by the way). Just as I was about to check out, I realized the plywood sheet was far too big to fit into the back of my car. Oops! Well, at least I realized it before I bought it. Still confident and determined…
But what to do? I was on a mission, and not about to leave that store without plywood. So I thought for a moment, and then I did what anyone would do – I called my daddy. He was full of good advice, but while I was talking to him I came across some plywood sheets that had already been cut – Eureka! I realized that if I bought a couple of those, I could still leave the store with the lumber I needed and better yet – they would fit into the car! Crisis averted - so clever and good at problem-solving am I!
Once I got all the stuff home, I went to Jeff’s (my bro) house and he helped me measure and cut with a circular saw – not as easy as it looks, by the way. Everything has to be so precise – luckily he had some extra lumber and lots of patience, because I made a few mistakes (just a few, tiny mistakes…really!) We made a box so sturdy one can sit on it! We even rounded the corners so it wouldn’t be too sharp! I felt so empowered! Next time I’ll really be able to do it myself! (Oh yes - there will be a next time!)
Afterwards, we had a beer, and Jeffrey laughed when I said “Hey that was harder than I thought it was going to be, but it was fun.” “ Ha!” he said, “that was the easy part. The next part is going to be much tougher – making the cover.” It was my turn to laugh - I guess it’s all a matter of perspective, because I knew making the cover was going to be a snap.
Tired but confident from my bout with power tools, I glued the foam on that night before I went to bed, because I was so excited. Hmm - the pouf was now a bit larger than I had anticipated – I had measured and cut the wood based on my desired finished size, not counting the foam. Originally I was going to put casters on it to make it move easily, but then it would have been almost twenty inches high – too high for a footrest for sure, but no problem – I just wouldn’t add the casters! True - it was big, but still, I was undaunted! It was excellent!
As I predicted, making the cover was a snap! Okay, not exactly – it turns out that piping is not so easy to get straight as I thought, and I ran out of cord for it (perhaps because the thing was so big) and had to run to town for more. (Thank heavens I had over-bought the fabric!) But these were minor hiccups and did not deter me in the slightest – I wasn’t even crabby about them! Why? Because I was so capable, of course!
Then there was the (minor!) problem of how to get the bottom covered. I had decided to make the cover like a couch cushion cover with a split in the middle, but I ended up cutting it and stapling it to the bottom – no amount of grunting, pulling or cursing could make it stretch enough to go over wood and still be tight. Not so pretty – oh well – no one will ever know (except of course, now they will because I’m telling everyone! No matter, it doesn’t show so who cares – the thing looks great, even if it is a bit large and is basically now a coffee table rather than the small, elegant pouf I originally designed. The thing is, I love it, and I made it myself (well - mostly)!
I am a seriously Can-Do Girl! And I can’t wait to think of the next thing I’m gonna make!