76. Some Projects & Some Peace

Saturday 4/23- Today I decided that I was ready to start on my cushion project. Of course, the first step was to find good, detailed instructions and go through those first so that I knew what I was doing. Then I had to cut the fabric, which is the part of sewing that I hate most. Fortunately, Ramie doesn’t hate this process as much as I do, so he pulled out the tape measure and a straight-edge, he helped me measure and mark out what we needed, and then he did the cutting. We had to do 4 separate cushions, 2 chairs needed a top and bottom half each. Since we had to do the foam, the fabric and the waterproof vinyl stuff, that was 12 separate pieces that we had to cut. The first step was to cut the foam to size.

Cutting the foam with a bread knife. Works like a charm!!!
Test fitting the foam on the charms.

Once that part was done, I contemplated what would be the best way to put the foam and the waterproof vinyl together. Do I pin the 2 pieces of fabric together? Do I sew them around the edges first before sewing them into the cushion covers? Those would both make this a real pain in the butt. Then we came up with an idea-- spray tack! Ramie remembered seeing some for sale at one of the local hardware stores. Of course, we had gotten rid of several cans of this when we were back in MN, and now we would need it- not that we really could have gotten it down here anyway. Since it was late Saturday afternoon the choice was go make a run to the hardware store now, or to wait until Monday and not get to work on my project tomorrow when all of the stores were closed.

I gave Ramie sad puppy eyes and said I would really like to work on these tomorrow so that I can get them done before I have to start working. Of course, he couldn’t say no, so he went to the hardware store to get the spray glue, and I worked on figuring out what I would make for dinner today. It didn’t take him long to go find what we needed and come back home. We still had some time left this afternoon, so we decided to glue these pieces together and let it dry well overnight so I could start sewing tomorrow.

What a pain! If you’ve ever worked with spray glue before, you will probably agree that it’s not the most fun stuff to work with. It kind of gets everywhere. We did this out in the carport and even though we tried to not over spray too much, we ended up with a sticky floor. There was also the matter of getting all of these big pieces to line up straight. Corners matching up, sides matching up, not too much overlap and absolutely no creases in them (since that would bunch the fabric). Its not so easy to do when your fabric is over 4’ long for the seats! Not to mention- the glue would only stick to one side of the vinyl and not the other. Fortunately, we only got 1 panel wrong and had to remove it completely, flip it over, and try again on the other side. After what seemed like far too long, and plenty of cuss words from Ramie ...

...we got all of the pieces glued and laying in the sun to dry. (Unfortunately we were getting so frustrated with this process that I didn't even think to take any photos). Tomorrow I will sew!

Sunday 4/24- The glue dried well overnight and the preparation work was ready. Since there usually isn’t a whole lot happening on Sundays with most businesses being closed, we didn’t have any other plans. That means, I had the whole day to work on this cushions project! My plan was to start with the top/back of the cushions first since those were smaller, then after figuring out the game plan, would follow with the much larger seat/bottom pieces. After reading through the instructions carefully I started with the first couple of steps, then realized that this really would be easier with a helping hand. Ramie, being a very good team player, helped me line things up and pin them all in place. Since these pieces were so big, he also helped me feed everything through the machine. The vinyl had a texture that the machine didn’t like, so it took a little bit of pulling and man-handling to get it to go, but with me behind the machine to operate it, and Ramie on the other side pulling the fabric through, it seemed to work quite well. It took us all morning and the early part of the afternoon to get the 2 back cushions done, but when we had them finished, we were so proud of ourselves. They look fantastic- even almost professional!

Concentrating hard

Finished results of the top cushion

We felt very accomplished with what we got done (future seamstress? hahaha), so we decided to take the rest of the day off and relax in the pool as a reward. We may have even enjoyed an adult beverage or three. 

Monday 4/25- With it being Monday, Ramie got to put in his time volunteering at the animal sanctuary. Since I didn’t have any work for my tax job and hadn’t started my new job yet, I was free to do whatever I wanted to while he was gone. What did I do? Why, I started to work on my next step of the cushion seats. I did everything that I could to start them, and wouldn’t you know it, about the time Ramie got home was the time that I needed my sewing assistant to help me finish them. After a short break, we got back to work and finished the rest of the cushion seats. This 2nd set was so much quicker than the first set since we knew what we were doing this time. Even though these were larger, I think it took us less time to finish. We tested them out on the chairs, and they seemed to fit perfectly and made them oh-so-much-more-comfortable than the hard wooden chairs were without cushions. NOW we could really sit back and relax on our comfy pool loungers! 

Sewing the corners

One chair completed and we love the way they turned out!

The only step that we had left was to attach the top to the bottom and to add straps to attach them to the chairs so they wouldn’t slide or blow off. We’ll have to make a trip back to our interesting little store that we bought the foam from last week to get Velcro, but even without those straps, the cushions were still very usable, and we would definitely be using them!! (Real Time Update:  As of the beginning of September, we use the cushions all of the time, but I still have not attached them together or put the velcro attachments on them.  They work just fine without them!  hahahah!)

Tuesday 4/26-Thursday 4/28- Projects around the house never seem to end, there is always something to organize, fine details to attend to, clean, landscape, or just things to work on. We have also been making plenty of time to relax. This is my last week before starting a nearly full-time job and being held to a schedule, even though they are allowing me to be quite flexible with my schedule. It will be weird to be back on a schedule and it will definitely take some adjusting to get used to it again.

Friday 4/29- Shortly after I got my first 2 plumeria trees from Geoff & Tracy I asked on my CR gardening Facebook group if anyone in our area had any different styles of plumeria they would be willing to share with us by giving us a cutting from a branch. Heide, another lady that we went on that same Panama border run with, commented that she had some baby pink plumeria plants that she started from seeds that she would be willing to share with us. She would be in Uvita and would be happy to bring them to us and would like to have lunch together so we could get to know each other a little bit more. We were happy to meet her for lunch, and like always, happy to make new friends. We went to Los Laureles, one of Heidi’s and our favorite restaurants, had some lunch, and sat around and chatted for close to 2 hours. She brought us 2 plumeria plants as well as a seed pod from a tree that, here in Costa Rica they call a matrimonio tree. We have seen these trees before, but never knew what they were called. Now that I knew what they call them, I could go do some research. Heide’s tree was still small so she couldn’t take a cutting, but since nearly every seed we’ve planted, on purpose or accidentally, has grown- we would sure give these a try as well! I did a little bit of research about the matrimonio tree, and found that in other parts of the world they call this the Hong Kong Orchid, it has a beautiful flower, and I really hope that these seeds grow for us so we can add this to our collection as well. 

Pura Vida!

The pink Plumeria flowers that we will eventually get