Thursday, September 29, 2011

Try, Try Again: The Couch Saga Continues...

Ok, so I spent most of yesterday evening and this morning redyeing the slipcover. I was a little more careful with the instructions (somehow I missed the instruction to add 1 cup salt to the dye bath the first time around, so that may have contributed to the massive failure), but the funny thing is that as I opened more and more packages of dye, I noticed that some of the instructions were actually different. Full sentences missing and things left out, so maybe it was more bad instructions and less my fault. We're going to go with that. I also consulted one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love, and read about their slipcover-dyeing experience (thanks for the reminder, MC!), and got a few pointers there. It went... better, but still not perfect.

So, here's how it looks now:

As I said to James, it's better than I feared... but not as good as I had hoped. There is still some splotchiness and this random red mark that appeared out of nowhere (huh?).

My next thought was to try to start over by using some color remover, getting as much of the dye out as possible and trying to redye it. I really like the lightest parts of it - so maybe if I do try it again I will use less dye. The great thing is that it didn't shrink and the fabric itself didn't seem to take a beating - no fraying or pilling - so at least now I know I can throw it in the wash.

Right now, I think I can live with it. It's not gorgeous, but it's not hideous. I may some day try the plan of action described above, but I'm not running to Joann's right this second. So, what are your thoughts? Remember, honesty is the best policy. If I'm deluding myself into thinking it looks all right and it really looks sincerely awful, please tell me.

Here are a few more pictures if you feel you need some more material before making final judgement:

I'd love to hear what you think!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Umm... This Could Be Bad

So, we have this couch.


It's a lovely little Ikea pull-out couch that has served us well for both seating and accommodating out-of-town guests. The thing about this couch, though, is that it's slip-covered. Cool, you say, that means you can wash it. No dice. It's dry clean only, and the one time I took it to get it dry cleaned they called me later and told me they wouldn't do it because they were afraid of the liability of ruining my couch. I tried to convince them it was just a slip cover and it would be all right. They didn't believe me. They must have thought I was trying to angle my way into a ridiculous law suit or something.

Well, as you probably noticed the couch is off-white. And I have a 2 year old.

So, not the best mix. It has been looking pretty shabby, so I thought we'd better replace it.
Not the best picture, but it does illustrate some of the shabbiness. The cushions were starting to look grey in places.

Then I got to thinking about changing the color palette of my living room (I get bored, it's a major failing) - and I found this color scheme of grey and green in Traditional Home magazine and just fell in love. So I started researching cost for a new, grey slipcover and found out it was going to cost around 200$. Yikes. So I thought, maybe I should try a few things with one we have first. That's when I got the crazy idea to dye my slipcover grey.

"What happened to dry-clean only?!" you're asking, I know. Well, I thought if we're going to just replace it anyway, I might take the risk of ruining it. And that's just what I did.

Yeah. See that? It looks like... well, it looks bad. Images of gelatinous man-eating goo keep popping into my head. That's after a very failed attempt to dye the slipcover in a plastic tub on the back deck. Oh snap. And as I was watching the horror unfold before my eyes, I got a call about our car needing new tires AND a new battery. So, basically, we have no money, so this is our couch cover for a while, whether it's hideous or not.

This story may yet have a happy ending, though. I decided I was not going to give up so easily (it would be so awful to have to put that cover back on my couch), took a deep breath and went back to Joann's for more dye. $12.00 later, I'm retrying the experiment - this time in the washing machine and with twice as much dye divided into three batches. I just checked on batch number one and it is looking much more hopeful - it's at least evenly dyed, and coming close to the color I wanted. Now I just have to let it all line-dry and hope nothing shrunk. That "Do Not Wash!" admonition still has me on edge.

Here's hoping I end up with something better than this:

Have you ever tried dying anything? How did it go? Happy stories? I need some encouragement... but commiseration would also suffice.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Forget Me Nots

You know how sometimes you just don't want to do something (exercise, for example), but after you do you are oh so glad you did? That was me last night. We had just had my son Isaac's birthday party (he's 2, cue stereotypical mother-freaking-out moment) and my feet were tired, the house was a mess, and I just didn't want to do anything but eat all the chocolate cake that was left.

But last night was the General Relief Society Meeting for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's part of General Conference, which is a semi-annual meeting where the prophets and leaders of the church speak to a world wide audience. The R.S. meeting is only held every other year (with alternating years focusing on the Young Women of the church). It is an uplifting, wonderful meeting, and I'm ashamed to say I haven't bothered going since my mission. Shame. So this year I promised myself I would go. Cue excuses. But luckily I have a husband who nagged encouraged me to go, and a neighbor who offered to go with me, so I went.

And, oh am I so glad that I did. All of the talks were wonderful, and I learned and felt inspired. But the cream on my cocoa was President Uchtdorf's talk. He spoke about the little forget-me-not flower and related it to 5 things we should never forget. And don't you just love the internet, cuz someone has actually already come up with a beautiful little graphic representing it all:

found here

Each of these little reminders I felt was so essential. A few of my favorite quotes from each point in his talk:

on being patient with yourself: "God wants to help us eventually turn all of our weaknesses into strengths, but He knows that this is a long-term goal." (emphasis added)

on the difference between good and foolish sacrifices: "How can we tell the difference for our own situation? We can ask ourselves 'Am I committing my time and energies to the things that matter most?"

on being happy now: “Never stop striving for the best that is within you. Never stop hoping for all of the righteous desires of your heart. But don't close your eyes and heart to the simple and elegant beauties of each day's ordinary moments that make up a rich, well-lived life.”

on the why of the gospel: "The gospel is a light that penetrates mortality and illuminates the way before us. While understanding the what and how of the gospel is necessary, the eternal fire and majesty of the gospel springs from the why. When we understand why our Heavenly Father has given us this pattern for living, when we remember why we committed to making it a foundational pattern of our lives, the gospel ceases to become a burden and instead becomes a joy and a delight. It becomes precious and sweet. ...Seek out the majesty, the beauty, and the exhilarating joy of the why of the gospel of Jesus Christ. ...The why of obedience sanctifies our actions, transforming the mundane into the majestic. It magnifies our small acts of obedience into holy acts of consecration."

on the love of the Lord for you: "No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, he loves you with an infinite love. Just think of it: You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time."

Isn't it wonderful? Honestly, I had a hard time picking out good quotes - I just wanted to transcribe the entire talk!

When he spoke of the why of the gospel, and how understanding the underlying purposes of the gospel "transforms the mundane into the majestic" and "magnifying small acts" into "holy acts of consecration," I just felt so empowered and validated. Yes, a lot of the things I do every day are pretty "insignificant" in the scheme of the world, but they are so meaningful to me, to my family, and I know they are meaningful to my God. I'm so grateful for these words.

You can watch it here, and I highly recommend you do. The words themselves are poetic, but hearing them spoken by a man who is so filled with love, compassion, conviction, and faith is just infinitely better.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you today.


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