Reupholstering Life

While I’ve only reupholstered one piece of furniture in my life, there’s something strangely therapeutic in it. I’m cleaaaaarly no expert – I mean, I’ve got a sewing machine but have yet to figure out what the heck I’ve done to jam it up and render it practically useless. (Note to self: Call Mom about that.) But, if it’s a simple enough project, it can be fun and, while time consuming, a good way to keep one’s hands busy…especially with a good movie on to watch while doing it.

The first chair that I did was a cheapy from Salvation Army. I purchased it while we were waiting for our current house to close, so I NEEDED a low-cost project to busy myself with. The lines were great; the original fabric…whoa. It was the texture of a shower curtain liner. Not a shower curtain. The liner. No exaggeration. Great for those with incontinence issues.

Anyhoo, the actual tearing out of the original fabric and staples took awhile…as did the final upholstery job. But, what I ended up with was a cute, satin-esque, “vintage”-looking chair. The chair is on the right side of this awesome professional pic of Dave and I (taken by our wedding photog, Sarah Beck). Can’t see it great, but the whiteness worked unexpectedly well when we bought our black and white floor. I always wanted a couch in the kitchen, just like mentioned in old stories like Little Women, so in a small-ish space, an upholstered armchair works just fine!

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This chair, due to unforeseen circumstances that I will discuss when I’m good ‘n ready and not a minute sooner (sob, sob), will be reupholstered yet again this summer. Besides, satin (although it was inexpensive – clearly not the “real stuff”) isn’t the most practical of fabrics for a kitchen, right?

To dip my toe back into the reupholstering pool, I recently re-carpeted our kitty scratching post. Seriously! The original one was $14 or so, and the carpet piece that I found was $1.99 – and will be used twice, with some leftover. Hey, when you find something that both the little guys will adhere to, you don’t want to move their cheese too much. New carpeting was just the trick. Here’s the play-by-play:

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Beardslee, getting an A+ in demonstrating the finer points of scratching a post.

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 …and suddenly being struck by the debilitating shyness that so frequently consumes him.

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Winston, growing suspicious of why I might be taking pictures of the scratching post.
Smart lil’ guy.

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 It was wrecked.

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The tools. Carpet. Scissors. Pliers. Staple “gun” (not really a gun…probably the wrong term). Safety blade I ended up using to get most of the original carpeting off.

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Luckily, the carpet was quite cheap and the thick backing came off easily.

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Cutting the rug…exciting stuff.

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 The empty “post”. ie Very thick cardboard.

A few minutes of stapling, and here’s the finished product. Proud to say the boys haven’t torn out any staples yet!

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No matter how hard they may try…

So, as a little project (can be called a summer project…or not, since I may get at least one finished before the summer), I’ve picked up several pieces to reupholster. One, an ottoman I’ve been DYING to use in the living room, I got for around $20 at a tag sale sort of place. The other two items, an armchair (with only the seat to reupholster – it’s still in the car, so no pics of that available currently) and a bench, I got for just under $13 TOTAL at Salvation Army. After shelling out around $50 on new batting and fabric (still need to get some paint, but I’ll have to match it), you can average each piece to costing just shy of $28. Not too shabby – although I’m sure I’ll show favoritism to the cheapest pieces. No lie.

Here’s where the decision-making lies… I’m going to ponder over the choices and will let you know, or, if I have a really hard time deciding, I’ll show you way better pictures (including that pesky armchair and a broader shot of the now-green ottoman) and take your advice! As it is, here’s a sneak preview:

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The fabric I’m deciding between for the chair and ottoman…

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The boys christening their new toys. “You got deef for uf, right??” Actually, that’s partly true.
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Boo pondering my third fabric choice. This one, I KNOW I’m going to use on the bench he has so ceremoniously dubbed his throne. He’d better like it!

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Yeah, that throne. In rough shape, but lots of potential.
(The bench, not Beardslee! He’s doing just fine…well, except for his allergies and ear issues…)

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You can at least see a side-by-side comparison of each fabric on the ottoman. Anything’s better than the green! I’ll gladly take suggestions now, but without getting into the color schemes in each room (clearly, I’ve got a brown thing goin’ on), it’s hard to get TOO into it.

She Speaks!

Sorry, after I finished shooting this video, I was reminded of the whole rigmarole over Greta Garbo’s appearance in her first talking picture. Random.

Anyhoo, just for fun, I thought I’d give you all a glimpse into our home to give you a visual of things that I talk about, the cats in motion (or not, which is generally the case with Beardslee), and so forth. After watching the lengthy clip, I’m reminded as to why I’m much better at typing my thoughts than ad-libbing them. We’ll see what you think. Here’s a tour of our home, in segments…

I’m pretty critical of myself, but a couple of fun, shall we say, reflections upon what I could possibly do better. 😉

– First of all…I will say that my uniform on weekends, unless we’ve got something pretty snazzy happening, is a sweatshirt. So, for that, I won’t apologize, although I somehow feel underdressed just watching it. Oye. However, I do think that I should’ve at least done my makeup. In the future, I shall. 😛
– That lisp. The dreaded lisp. It’s back! It haunted me as a child, and only seems to pop up when I’m drinking. I swear I wasn’t drinking during the making of this video.
– When did I start sounding remarkably like my sister?
– Who cares about a door?
– Apologies to anyone who might have experienced motion sickness while watching.
– Those random boxes belong to the cats. They won’t allow us to be rid of them.
– How many Beatles items can you spot?
– How many superheroes can you spot?
– Yeah, I said “plethora”…

– I don’t remember actually waving at George across the way…
– Do you NEED to now about my migraines?
– OMG I forgot to show the fish!!
– Those silicone mats are Martha Stewart. Spoiled kitties.
– …is this a little long-winded to anyone else? Just checking…
– “Kinda got along”. Yeah, I was mean to him. We were nice, but not friends by any means.
– I do kinda like when I get Dave’s text.
– “I’m a really bad wife that I don’t remember all this stuff.” Hee hee.
– Antique driving gloves. Why do I have them? Weird gift. Cool, but weird.
– Mommy’s talking to…himself?
– Lamp. It’s a lamp. How hard is it to think of that word? Same with dresser. Sheesh.
– Seriously, can someone come up with a sign-off for me or something? What a weirdo.

But, after watching it again, I realized that I actually had some fun making it. Hope it wasn’t too much of a waste of time for you to watch!

Wearflee and Binston

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I don’t hate you…if you just keep sleeping and don’t attack me.

I think it’s about time to give an update on our kitty situation, since we’ve officially been over a month that we became a two-cat household. While it’s definitely been an adjustment for all four of us, we’ve come a long way! There was a point when we didn’t feel right leaving the house for fear that they’d kill each other, eat the fish, or do something else as equally naughty. But, hey, guess what. We can leave now! Obviously, or else we wouldn’t be doing our latest show at the theater. 🙂

Winston has brought good and bad into the house. We love him like a son (that son who acts out a lot…you know the one), so we’re allowed to talk about his flaws as much as we can brag about what makes him great. The first bummer is the fact that his stomach seems to be constantly “off.” Yuck. Arm-in-arm with this is the fact that he has HORRIBLE aim in his litter pan. Double yuck. We get it on walls, the floor, and almost always smeared along the edge of the pan (and regularly on his feet, tail, etc). Gee, I hope, dear reader, you’re not eating. Sorry if you are!

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I’m Winfton. Ftringf are my favorite.

I vowed to myself I wouldn’t do it, but I may try to get him to eat a different cat food. His stool has been tested twice, count it, twice, but nothing seems wrong. He’s had an upper-respiratory infection so we’ve got him on medication that’s supposed to take care of that, but also, as the vet says, his potty problem…to no avail. But, since both of the boys enjoy harassing each other by eating out of each other’s dish, I’d have to feed him when I’m home (and probably give him a little each day). Why can’t they each eat the same new food? Beardslee’s allergic to fish, and almost all the other food we’ve found has fish meal in it. Yeah. High maintenance much?

Winston, as a personality and physical presence, is wily and sly, childish and funny, sleek and sharp. Figuratively and literally. Since he’s so lanky and thin, it seems that it applies to almost everything about him — teeth and claws included. And that makes for painful pill sessions. Those claws have left a few very obnoxious, deep but thin scratches. Can’t blame him much for fighting back, though.

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Otay, buddy. I’ll ftand guard. You fleep.
Mmm, birdf.

During the first couple of weeks, Winston’s looks scared me a bit. He’s a dark gray with a frosting of light gray depending on how the light hits him. A bit of a Halloween cat. I’m quite sure I colored a picture that looked a lot like him when I was a child. Throw in his yellowish green eyes, long fangs and propensity to quietly move and sneak up on you and you can see why he was a little frightening. Those fangs, however, helped us to consider him differently. Depending on whether he has control over those
two little sharpies, you’ll occasionally see them peeping out from below his upper lip. One day, it occurred to me that the voice we’d been using to portray his thoughts (yeah, we do put a voice to our cats — their interactions seem to call out for dialogue sometimes) was all wrong. While his voice is lower than Beardslee’s, he’s so young-acting that it just didn’t seem right. But, throw a speech impediment in there and you’re cooking with gas — “Mama. Bearflee if eatin’ in my dif.” A lot like a Kids in the Hall character, we think. Or, perhaps, a bit like that damn Gilly from SNL. Only adorable!

I think the best way to show a day in the life of Winston, in his new home, and Beardslee, adjusting to his new brother, is a comparison. They certainly are brothers — if those two brothers are pretty much polar opposites. Their only similarities lie in cat behavior and instinct — generally sleeping, eating, and play fighting.

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We weren’t fightin’ a minute ago. It’s baftime!
Beardslee’s a roly poly boy, round in every sense of the word (his head, his belly, his paws, his eyes) while Winston is sleek and long and, at times, elegant — like an Egyptian cat. Beardslee’s bad at being a cat, thanks to his hardships — he’s got nearly zero balance ability and sucks at climbing or running; Winston’s the perfect cat, even when it means he climbs too high or gets in trouble for knocking things (thank goodness, not the fish!) over. Boo acts old, even though he’s maaaaayyyybe 6 months older than Wee-Wee — he sleeps at least twice as long everyday, is slow-moving and often looks at us as if to say he’s tired of playing with his brother, take him away now. At the same time, Winston seems younger than the age we were told at the humane society — very kitten-like and playful to a fault, and adores climbing into our bed to poke and prod and play with our faces, hardly ever sleeping — always alert and almost scared of what’s happening in his invisible world. Their physical appearances (round and orange, bony thin and gray) mirror how dissimilar they are in actions. Probably why giving them a red and blue collar (and Martin toys…we name toys, too, yes…if they’re going to be such a HUGE part of our daily lives, strewn all over the house, they get personalities, too!) seemed appropriate.

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Look, I handfome and purdy.

And, yet, they’re friends. Friends who fight. A lot. But who, at the end of the day, can lay close and sleep peacefully or eat right next to each other or give one another a bath. Winston has drawn some of the kitten out of Beardslee, who tries to keep up and can hold his own in a fight — heck, Beardslee generally starts them, even though Winston runs circles around him. And, yet, Boo hasn’t lost an ounce of weight from trrrrryyyyyyiiiing to chase Win up the stairs. He’s definitely more active, but I think the fight for food may have created a hoarder. Beardslee, at times, seems to be telling Winston the rules…or, perhaps leading him astray. Many a time do we find Win committing an infraction, looking guilty, with Beardslee sitting regally nearby, watching in satisfaction. Oh, brothers.

So, these are our boys. They’ve gotten quite used to each other, and we try to be fair to show the same amount of affection to both. It may sound silly, but Boo does look terribly dejected sometimes when Winston is receiving hugs and kisses. And when we relish the old face rubs Beardslee so rarely bestows upon us now, Wee seems to be saying “Wait…what? What about me?” We’re definitely getting ready for parenthood, thanks to these little rascals!


 And, time for some gratuitous cat pictures.

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Where’s MY blog?
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We fight, but here are no losers.
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Not sure what he’s hugging in his sleep…
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Surprise! No, this isn’t Winston.
We’re thinking it’s a sibling or parent, but she’s been
residing in our garage. Too skiddish to catch. But, at least she’s got a
place to stop and grab a bite or warm shelter during the winter.
(And, no, I don’t know if it’s a girl or a boy.)

Our New Family Member

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Will it be love at first sight…
…or fight? (And these aren’t our guys in this pic, BTW)

…and, no, we’re not pregnant. (After surviving a rough stomach bug, I’m glad to say that’s NOT why I’ve been throwing up! Heard that question enough, thankyouverymuch. ;-)) We’re picking up our new cat, Winston, from the Herkimer County Humane Society this afternoon! We would have announced it much more publicly, but a) we still had some family to inform about it and, even though it may not be a big deal to everyone, we felt they should be the “first to know” and b) we’re a little nervous about it.

Why would we be nervous? Well, our “already cat” Beardslee (aka Miracle Cat, Wonder Cat, Boo, Buddy, B-B, Boozers, and any other cutesy nickname you could possibly fathom) wasn’t even on our radar when we got him. We weren’t cat people. But, now that we’ve had him since May, we’ve found our lives completely altered — in a good way, mostly. He’s kind of our life. May sound sappy, may sound pathetic, but I’m not sure what we’d do without him. He’s taught us how to love each other better, to be parents. The fact that he overcame his major illnesses (he still has chronic issues, but nothing like what he had) has taught us resilience and perseverance. He’s an incredible cat.

But, so is Winston. We wouldn’t have chosen him otherwise. Our dear friends, B+B (well, mostly B) suggested that we go meet a cat that she’d fallen in love with at the humane society. Strangely enough, Dave and I had been on their Petfinder site “shopping” for a possible playmate (and life to make a little happier) for Boo, and the second she said the name “Winston”, I squealed and our eyes lit up. We had seen the little gray short-hair (due to allergies, he would HAVE to be a short-hair) on the website. I got an instant crush on the little guy — first, he was gray (which reminded me of my early childhood cat) and, secondly, his name seemed to fit perfectly with our Beardslee.

C’mon. You see it, don’t you? Beardslee. Winston. British, right? Bordering on butlers? (Only, as we all know, Dave and I are the ones doing the butlering.) We love how classic they sound. Some day, we’ll have a Roosevelt in there some place, too. (I know, not British, but seems to fit. And, no, we’re not planning on getting anymore animals for a long time — maybe not until we have a farm! *sigh* It’s okay to dream.)

So, the next day after visiting with B+B, we found ourselves meeting him. Of course, he’s a sweet guy. When I held him, I noticed that he was so light compared to Beardslee! Very lovable. He took to me immediately, and seems to just need some attention to make him happy. We’re not sure if he’s ever been a house cat (he was picked up as a stray on Main Street in Herkimer), but there’s a cat that looks almost exactly like him who’s taken up residence in our garage, but who’s incredibly skiddish (as if he’s never been near humans). Winston, however, was just. So. Darn. Friendly! I may just have the cuddly lap cat I’ve-always-wanted-but-never-knew-I-wanted.

Sounds great, right? This is where the nerves and worrying came in. Win’s been around lots of other cats – cats with lots of sneezing and coughing and fleas and other disgusting stuff. Would he bring in a respiratory illness? Beardslee’s HIGHLY susceptible to getting sick again. *sweat drops*

Then, there’s the socialization fear, the biggest fear. Will they get along? They’re both male. They’re both fixed. (So, there are two issues knocked out instantly. Girl + boy would not be good.) They’re around the same age — give or take 6 months. Beardslee’s bigger. I know Winston will gain weight (how could he NOT?! I’m a FABulous cook! ;-)), but the size thing will help the issue of dominance to be decided nearly immediately. Plus, Beardslee’s used to HIS space, HIS people, and only the occasional chat out the window with his neighborhood buddies. Luckily, Winston is great with other cats. Oooohhhh I just don’t know how it’ll go!

They’ll each have their own issues acclimating to life at the McCoy-Dellecese homestead. Luckily, I have this week off for the holidays, so I get to play Mommy/psychiatrist/doctor/nurse/housekeeper/chef to both guys. Spoiled. It’s a good thing since I’m kind of the practical parent, in the sense that I don’t get nervous or anxious about administering medicines, clipping nails, etc. If they get upset or have a fight, I’ll be less likely to get upset – and jump to the conclusion that “it just won’t work.” And, thanks to B+B (and their own vast experience acclimating kitties), we’ve got some great advice and tricks to help the process run smoothly. Love them!

So, how are we going to do it? Well, Winston will have his own room. He’s got an appointment with our vet immediately after we pick him up, so just in case he DOES have a respiratory issue, at least he’ll be relatively confined for medication (and for proper flea removal and cleaning). I’ve cozied our spare bedroom for him, along with some fresh toys, food/water, a brand new potty (he has his own carrier, too, which will have pheromones to calm him — can you believe they make stuff like that?!). A tip that B gave us was to feed both of them on opposite sides of the door so that the positivity of eating will mix with the smell of each other (on each side of the door). I’m also going to rub a cloth on either guy and put it near them while they sleep or just have them smell it to get used to it. Oh, and LOTS of playtime with each boy will be a must. Mind you, this is even if Winston will want to come out of his carrier. 🙂

Their first meeting will be on their terms. If Beardslee wants to meet Winston, okay. If he ignores the “weird sounds and smells coming from the guest room”, then fine. But, we know Beardslee. He was curious about what I was doing to the point of sitting in the empty cat pan, watching me curiously. He’s known something’s been up for weeks – we talk to him about it and, strangely, he seems to understand. At the same time, he’s had a bout of depression lately (have you ever seen a sad cat? Seriously. Slanty, almost-closed eyes. Head drooped. So pathetic and sad.), so I’m hoping that a new friend gets him out of it — eventually.

Oh, and for the record — Winston got a blue collar. We thought it went well with Beardslee’s red one. Priorities, y’know. Besides collars, we’ve got so much love to give, we just had to give this a shot. Aside from the nerves, I’m truly excited and happy to welcome a new buddy into the house. I’ll be posting an update and pictures this week!

Have you had experience with multiple cats? Any kind advice? Do tell!