What I’ve Been Up To

Refinished chairI feel like I’ve been away a long while.  With the start of the semester, life got a lot more complicated.  Not only was there work to do–lectures to edit, assignments to create, classes to teach, papers to grade–but I’ve had a pretty substantial uptick in meetings to attend.  There have been many days I’ve come home exhausted–or woke up exhausted–in these last few weeks.  I love my job, but September is always a whirlwind.

I did, however, refinish an old chair.  We had a black rocking chair in our dining room for the last several years; it’s circa 1970, and used to belong to Mr. Pea’s parents.  It had gold trim.  Gold trim, people.  I talked for years about refinishing it, but knew it would be a project.  To save time (ha), I used a soy-based stripper to get the paint off, which didn’t go as well as I’d hoped.  It took the paint off, but really only off of flat surfaces.  Flat horizontal surfaces.  As you can see in this photo, that’s not much of this chair.  It meant that the rest of the surfaces–the top, the spindles, the lower legs–were gloppy with residual stripper but not particularly free of paint.  That’s when a lot of washing and sandpaper came in.  Here, this is the chair in progress.  Chair, in processIt still has a lot of paint on it, though you can see the wood grain beneath.  This was about when I gave up and went paint shopping.  I got some at Benjamin Moore–it’s a low VOC paint, white, with primer built in.  Two coats and lots of touch ups later, the chair was more or less done.

Phew.  Every time I refinish something, I swear I won’t do it again for five or six years.

So then this was done, and I had a nasty dizzy spell a day or so later.  Those of you who have been readers a while know I went through a long period of vertigo last year.  This one, thank god, is not as bad, but it’s still irritating.  I’m always nervous one will come.  And while I keep doing the exercises the doctor told me to do this time, they’ve gone from being really helpful and me feeling quite well to me feeling a little less well.  There could be lots of reasons for this–hypersensitivity (this happens when I’m freaked out about something–I tend to see/feel it more often), ear popping/blocking (turns out to be a jaw problem I need to fix–who knew?  But he did say it might impact feelings of woozy dizziness), or just the process of my inner ear righting itself.  In any case, I tend to get irrationally crabby about this whole thing.  The patience I once carefully cultivated falls away and I sound a little like a whiny toddler.  So I need to work on this–finding my patience again, my center, so that when I feel angry about feeling unwell, I don’t feel overwhelmed.

Today I was feeling very cranky about this and other stuff, so I settled into a project.  Making something start to finish usually makes me feel better, and today was no exception.  I took an old, accidentally felted wool sweater, and used a sleeve to make these adorable baby slippers for a friend who just had her first wee one:
booties, from old sweater, accidentally feltedThey are a little big for newborn, but not as enormous as they seem on the chair. They look big enough for me, there.  Aren’t they cute?  I feel better now.

Fall has finally, it seemed, settled in–hopefully we are all done with the heat and humidity that’s plagued us all summer/early fall.  Today’s gorgeous–lots of sun and blue sky.  I’m inside, but I still appreciate it.  Time to start making everything with pumpkin…

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