Thursday, March 22, 2012

Super Woman?

            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!

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