On the last day of 2020, I would like to share part of my life on my blog. 2020 has not been bad for me -far from it. I made interesting discoveries and my workrooms were messier than ever. I learned to sew face masks, made my husband my sewing apprentice, and before we knew what hit us we were were sewing, selling, and donating masks left and right. I started to collect bras.
January was a bit quiet workwise but there was enough to do. A client brought her Grandma’s chairs in my workroom. Her cat had used them as a scratching pole. Cat and Grandma were both gone now, and she was hoping I could transform the vintage chairs into something that would fit into her sunroom.
She was happy with the result and so was I. They look perfect in between all her plants and I hope Grandma would have approved.
February was there before we knew it and it was time to finally prepare my husband for his long-awaited shoulder surgery. He left the loving man he is, and came back a zombie. For about one week I had to give him oxycodone, a pain medication that made him very moody and downright mean. When I told a friend of mine, she laughed. They had given her the same medication when she had a mastectomy. “My husband drove me to the doctor’s office and told him they could keep me, or put me on a different medication,” and I felt relief. As soon as my husband was off the medication he was back to normal. I will never hold it against him, but it was hard for a while. I bit my tongue and that’s not something that comes easy.
It was also the months of the ugly golden chairs. An inherited nightmare, which needed a whole lot of tender-loving-care.
I got lucky, the old vintage Waverly fabric my customer had bought, fit perfectly. We were two yards short but I found some extra on an auction site. I think the chairs turned out great.
Lot’s of restoration and wood repairs in February. Sometimes I feel like a magician. Abracadabra…gone!
March was extremely busy. It seemed like everybody wanted to make sure to PARK their furniture in my workroom before we all quarantined. I didn’t mind. It would keep me busy, I just didn’t know how much.
My customers chose the fabric, but sometimes I get lucky and their taste is as crazy as mine.
Those were fun and I had a good time working on the pieces. Perhaps I had too much fun because the next old antique drove me insane.
Grandma’s old chair in new glory. Oh, how I wished I could burn this old thing in the yard. It was a rather complicated piece with all bells and whistles. In the end the customer was happy.
April and the start of our quarantine. We had everything at home, including toilet paper, dogfood, and chocolate and so I closed my doors. The first call came from the hospital nearby. “Can you sew masks? We don’t have enough.” I watched YouTube videos and I talked back and forth with nurses and doctors. In our attic, I found an old box with cotton quilting materials I had kept for no reason. We settled on a pleated mask with a sewn-in filter layer and nose-bridge and so it began. Quickly I found out that all the materials were not cheap and Buy one/Give one was born. We sold our masks for $6 and for each one sold, we donated one to healthcare workers, emergency responders and shelters. The priced for fabric and supplies went through the roof.
In May we got really busy. The word had spread, companies called and ordered masks, homeless shelters, and nursing homes let us know they were in need of donation masks. My husband surprised me. He took over the cutting of the fabric and fleece, and before I knew what had hit me, I had an apprentice. He had never sewed or cut fabric before but he quickly got the hang of it and I enjoyed working with him.
The first donation box with over a hundred masks was sent to a shelter for battered women. We never heard back, even though we put a letter in the package in case they needed more masks for the women and children. We gave masks to the fire department who had asked us for donations, no word from them either.
Come to find out charity is not so much fun if it’s not acknowledged. I don’t know what bothers me more, the fact that there wasn’t a THANK YOU or the fact that I needed a THANK YOU. The life lessons we get when we don’t expect them. It seems I need a pat on my shoulder, or an ATTA GIRL or I am not a happy camper. What can I say? I am still a work in progress.
In June I continued working on my projects. My workrooms were now overflowing with furniture. People were sitting at home and decided to renovate a bit. At a time when so many lost their jobs, I was busier than ever before. While I love my job, I don’t often get the pleasure to work on real challenging pieces.
An old couch was asking me to give it my all. Stripped down to almost nothing, I tried to gently push it into the 21st century. The customers loved it and I felt mighty proud at the end.
In July I went to a shelter myself and met a lady from http://www.isupportthegirls.org. Why did I never think about all the homeless women who cannot afford tampons, pads or a bra? I was stunned by my ignorance and eager to make up for my lack of compassion. I started asking for donations and they were pouring in.
Baby steps! First I asked my friends, then the neighbors, then I lost all pride and asked everywhere I went. Every new customer who left my workshop got a flyer. I want your bras it starts and it worked.
There were days when my donation bin was overflowing.
In August I found a treasure. Underneath an old channel back chair, I found an antique. It was damaged, perhaps the reason why the upholsterer tried to hide all of it under layers of fabric and cotton. The restoration of the wood was out of my league and so I had to call an expert. He is still working on it. It’s an art and you just have to let them work on their own pace.
The piece is supposed to be back in my workroom in February. I can’t wait to restore it to its original beauty.
September was uneventful but lucrative. I repaired and worked on restaurant booth seats, fixed the exercise equipment at a gym, and helped a restaurant to make their old dining room chairs look brand-new. I collected more bras and we donated more masks.
Not much to brag about. Please make my old chair pretty.
October was full of surprises. I restarted my classes and while it was a bit uncomfortable at first, we all got used to working with masks quickly. Social distancing is easy in my workroom. You sit on one side, I sit on the other and we shout across the work surface.
Husband’s realized that Christmas was just around the corner and one bought a class for his wife and made me a Christmas present. Oh, how I love it. Another asked me to give his wife’s favorite chair finally a new look and so I did.
I have never made a post like this and I am in AWE now to see how wonderful this year has been on my end.
Oh, how I love drastic transformations. His wife called me on Christmas and thanked me. The chair had been in their garage for way too long.
November came and I got one year older and so did our oldest dog. He is now 16, and thanks to pet CBD oil he is handling his arthritis very well. What a difference the oil makes, he is still stiff-legged, but walks easier and seems happier. Now we have rugs everywhere, from the kitchen to the living room and even in my workroom, which doesn’t make cleaning easy but it’s worth it. I call us the Rug-House.
My boy still watches over me in my workroom, while our youngest, THE STEP-DOG watches me from the old stairs. She will never understand how I know that she is there. She sits on the stairs for as long as I work, hidden but visible through the mirror. It makes her tired.
December was productive before self-isolation. I still had so many projects to finish before Christmas and then we tested positive. I couldn’t get them all done and felt terrible about it. My customers were understanding and let me rest. The ones who could pick up in time, were grateful.
Sometimes I wonder who I am. Am I the social butterfly, laughing with my friends, making small talk, the person who needs other people to thrive, or am I the person who is totally content being alone, always busy with a smile on her face, enjoying the peace and quiet around her? Am I both? Yin and Yang at its best (or worst?)
Today, on the last day of the year, my husband was scheduled for yet another surgery. Fluid had built up, cancer was mentioned, and so we arrived at the hospital at 6 a.m. and to my surprise, everything was already set up and they took him right in. The 30-minute surgery has been estimated with 19K and now I know why. We saw 19,000 people in two hours. All of them asked the same questions, or just said “Hello.” $1 per person, there is your total.
It’s now 2:30 p.m. and we are already back home.
The old year gave us some good news. They did not remove his testicle, but drained the fluid and removed a stone. Everything is going to be sent to pathology -to be sure- and we should get the results rather quickly because not too many had surgery today.
It is called testicular microlithiasis and while it is quite common -there is no cure other than the removal of the stone. The majority of men with testicular microlithiasis will not develop testicular cancer, so fingers crossed that we are not special.
It seems like we are kicking the old year to the curb on a high note.
May the New Year bring us all peace and happiness. May we all stay healthy, may we get wiser and kinder!