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before & after: recovered dining room chair

mid-century modern chair: queen anne's lace

This chair was my birthday project this year. For the big quarter-century, I hosted a small, cozy dinner party in my new apartment. Brad was here for the weekend, so we shopped for groceries and cooked and tidied the place. My drop-leaf table expands to seat 8-10 with only minor squishing (also known as bonding), and I corralled chairs from the whole apartment to make sure everyone would have a seat. While party prepping, sitting back while Brad made my Boston Cream Pie Cake, and hosting my first non-college dinner party were worthy birthday pursuits, I wanted to do something on my birthday that was just for me: just something I wanted to do.

So, mere hours before my guests were to arrive, I dismantled one of the crucial 9 chairs, covering the newly cleaned floor in staples and dust.

I had found the chair in the “before” state, above, at an estate sale a month prior. It has good bones, and it was all alone – no mates – so I managed to talk the saleslady down to $8. But the cushion had no padding, and the fabric was ugly, faded, and stained.

mid-century modern chair: queen anne's lace

I had wiped the wood down with my standard vinegar+water solution, which kills mold, cleans, and deodorizes without being too harsh on old things, when I first brought it home. Recovering the cushion was easy, as it is for all dining room chairs: remove the cushion from the chair using the screws on the bottom, remove all the staples holding the old fabric to the wood seat, get rid of the old fabric and foam, add new foam/batting, and wrap your fabric around and staple tight. Even easier than my sewing chair seat cushion swap.

mid-century modern chair: queen anne's lace

The new fabric transformed the chair completely, and I was happy that I took the chance to make something on my birthday. Plus, one lucky guest got to sit in a pretty new chair!

Wishing you all a wonderful Easter weekend!

snapshots of goings-on

meyer lemon tree and yellow lamp

I love saving pictures of places I’ve lived, especially unedited, lived-in pictures: I love being able to transport myself back to that moment. For my future nostalgia, and your present enjoyment, here are some still-lifes of my apartment on Wednesday afternoon, when it was slightly cluttered and filled with the bright kind of cloudy light.

My lemon tree is thriving, continuing to produce new buds and blooms even as the oldest flowers are dropping petals to the floor. Petals on the floor are great news: petals on the floor mean more lemons. Aunt Jeanie requested a full-height picture of her, so here she is: currently 23″ tall from the crown of the soil to the tip of her tallest leaf.

My least attractive piece of decor is my millionth attempt at growing an avocado plant from a pit. Someday I’ll get one to sprout.

Also featured in this photo: a bin full of tulle, an abandoned foot-long scarf, and the beginnings of a small jungle of parsley (unfortunately the parsley can’t yet peek over the container).

coffee table plants, button rug

My coffee table is prime plant real estate due to its proximity to the window. Orange star flowers, two containers of freshly-planted cilantro, and a tiny jade plant cutting (a thoughtful gift from a thoughtful coworker) grace my space.

Also featured in this photo: a spare comb from veil-making, a delightful olive-lid pyrex, and my March Madness bracket with its corresponding marking tools. Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot more red–pen-crossouts than highlighter-highlights. I like to think it’s keeping the table balanced: if my plants thrive, it’s fine if my bracket perishes.

sewing room bookshelf

The tiny bookcase has evolved until it is now both more and less organized than during the original sewing room tour. Lots of stacked bins make everything easily accessible, and I’m especially fond of my Pyrex full of camera lenses and accessories.

Also featured in this photo: a tiny painting made Saturday, when I had the urge to swish paint around (i don’t love the outcome, but it was so fun to do); tiny orange-and-white twine-like trim that’s begging to accent a great project; the only photobooth strip of Brad and me: a true gem.

wiwo wednesday: dwarf meyer lemon tree

The past week has been filled with excitement in my little apartment. You see, in December, I bought a meyer lemon tree. She’s my pet, since I’m not allowed to have a puppy.

meyer lemon buds

I ordered her at Christmas, and she shipped from California so she lost a lot of leaves during the journey and during the adjustment period after the repotting. She’s a 3-year-old tree, but I was sure the cross-country transplant, along with her fragile frame, meant that it would be a while before I’d see any lemons.

But! No! Surprise! Brad was visiting for the weekend and I was watering her, when all of a sudden I looked more closely between the leaves. A tiny bud! The first weekend of February! A mere 6 weeks after her arrival! We danced around and ate ice cream in celebration.

Two weeks later, she was covered in buds, as in the photo above.

meyer lemon in bloom

And then, the blooms. Gorgeous, fragrant blooms… bright white with hints of purple on the outside. They smell amazing.

meyer lemon tiny lemon

And finally, yesterday, after a few days of dropping petals (which is sad to see, but a sign of great things to come), I found the world’s tiniest lemon. It’s currently about the size of a black bean. 6-9 months from now, it will be a ripe lemon. I feel like a mother! I’m so proud of my little tree.

Not much of a “wiwo” – more of a “what my tree is working on”! But I’m working on providing her with support, adequate snacks (fertilizer), and lots of love.

And, by the way, I have an instagram now. It may or may not be due to my desire to post daily pictures of my lemon tree. She’s the best!

Marie started wiwo wednesday: What I’m Working On. I try and join her as often as I can to give you a peek into my creative process and my works-in-progress. See all my wiwo wednesday posts here.