Winter Projects

One of the things which makes Elk Lake such a lovely place to work (you all know how much I love living here, but, perhaps you did not know I also like working here) is the job variety. Not just the day-to-day variety of cooking, cleaning, chatting with guests, etc. but the seasonal differences.

One of the most obvious differences in the ebb and flow of our lives at Elk Lake is the indoor - outdoor split which occurs from season to season. Because winter can make outdoor projects a bit more challenging, we strive to do them in the summer and fall. However, this means summer and fall can be difficult times to get to the indoor projects. So. . .yep, we relegate them, if possible, to winter.

This has resulted in various indoor projects which keep our winter days full but still allow us to relax a bit. This winter is no different. And, since I've never covered this aspect of our life at Elk Lake, I thought I'd share a couple of projects we've tackled thus far this winter.

Typically my winter projects have centered around our web page. However, after finishing a complete overhaul last spring, I felt safe to just do some seasonal updating. Thus I set aside the computer and pulled out the sewing machine.

For those of you who have been coming to Elk Lake for years, you probably remember the arrival of our lovely log furnishings. What you may not know is they came without cushions.

The previous owner, being a resourceful person, decided to make her own cushions. Together with a friend she gathered the supplies, pulled out her trusty sewing machine, and went to work. The red, Indian-print cushions seen the photo above were the result.

What she did not know is some foam man took advantage of her. Although I have no clue what she paid for her foam, the foam in those cushions was not worth what she paid. While in the photo above, the material is just starting to 'roll' and wrinkle (signs the fabric is no longer snug), the 'real' issues were already taking place 'behind the scenes'.

Thus this past year we started finding small piles of yellow stuff on our floors. It took us awhile to realize these 'piles' were our cushions. They were disintegrating into what you see in the photo above. Obviously this made a mess - but, worse yet, the more we swept off the floor, the less there were on the chairs and couches.

Thus, by the time this winter rolled around, I HAD to do something. One couch was down to nearly nothing and the chairs had no back cushions!

So, like my predecessor, I gathered my supplies and pulled out my handy-dandy sewing machine. However, I believe I had at least one advantage. I have done some upholstery projects in my past thus I KNEW good foam and I also knew how to make an 'overstuffed' cushion.

And, the end result not only felt better (a soft chair beats a hard one any day of the week in my book), but they looked better too. Of course that, too, was not hard to accomplish because a cushion really is only as good as its stuffing!

Once the backless-chairs were taken care of, I started on the couches. While one still appeared to have some life left in it (when the covers were removed, however, the foam literally crumbled in our hands), I chose to take care of them both while I was at it.

Next on my list was the old rocker. While its seat had been 'covered' with a piece of fabric to match the couches and chairs, under cover things didn't look too good. This chair is much too comfortable to toss - and, I suspect, it is an antique as well. Thus hubby and I set about removing the fabric cover and then the old, worn upholstry it hid.

It was more of a project than we had estimated, but we managed to whip it into shape. In the process we contemplated reupholstering the whole thing but decided finishing the seat, for now, was the better part of valor.

Of course, having gone this far, I couldn't see stopping without a few more updates. Thus I replaced the oldest pillows with some newer versions.

And, in preparation for a wall hanging I'm planning to make for one of the cabins, I decided to do a bit of practice. Thus I created a diagonal 9-patch for a table runner.

However, right now it is serving its time as part of the revitalized living room decor.

I admit I'm prejudiced - but, I figure, with good reason - however, I am pleased with the total effect. While the Indian print was a bit more 'striking', I like the lodgey look created by the new fabrics and the few odds and ends we pulled into the decor.

Another project, not a 'necessary' one in the obvious sense and yet necessary if I was to save and display some of the gifts received from this summer's guests, was a short project I undertook one afternoon. One repeat guest (who, like the rest of our repeat guests has become a good friend) brought me a lovely doily she had made. Another couple who comes every year brought me a huge bouquet of beautiful roses. So, I combined the two and made a keepsake (which I may be hard pressed to ever move as it is extremely fragile!).

While I was busy with my sewing machine, hubby was busy on projects of his own. One which was a nice improvement to our living quarters was the replacement of our shower surround.

Last spring he updated and improved our living quarters dramatically - not the least of which was the work he did on our bathroom. However, he ran out of time before he ran out of chores. So the shower surround ended up relegated to another time - and the time came.

The end result was worth the wait - at least in my opinion. So, now when you wonder what we do to avoid cabin fever, well, you know - at least a little of what we do. However, even without the projects, Elk Lake is not the kind of place where I can imagine anyone getting cabin fever. After all, cabin fever suggests a desire to go - somewhere, anywhere. Yet, for this lake dweller, that feeling rarely ever comes, and when it does all I need is a walk!

Lady of the Lake

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