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Flying By the Seat of Our Pants

Columbus Day 2023

Fourscore and seven years ago. . .

Actually, it was only three years ago, but it feels like 87 since I first embarked upon a search for decent, or, at the very least, functional, cushions for my kitchen chairs.

The ones I’d packed away in storage during the construction of this, my Dream House, were inevitably hauled out to use yet again — more than twenty years after their original purchase in 1998.

A different house, a different phase of life, a different nation called America.

The buffalo-check Waverly fabric cushions, Made in the USA, are still hefty and thick upon which to position my derriere. Twenty-plus years, however, are a lonnnng time for any durable good to have to endure.

I’ve been around the horn on this one item of merchandise. The seat-pad, its construction, its design, and its fabrication, have, quite apparently, been blown to smithereens by the Retail Geniuses in charge of Consumer Sales in America.

To date, I’ve purchased four Never-Flatten navy blue cotton plaid seat cushions— MADE IN THE USA — that rivaled a Handi-wipe in longevity. And I do use those cloths for a whole lot more than just one washing and wiping in the kitchen!

The Never-Flatten (and never-feel-comfortable) was composed of some weird kind of latex that mounded up around your thighs.

Then there was the hand-loomed circular flat frisbee.

All wool! Made in America.

That hand-braided biscuit-bottom for the human-bun now serves as a platform for the third rear-end cushion acquisition. All-cotton and all-hand-crafted in Lithuania, these round fabric pizzas have been the most successful for the function-as-advertised. They washed up great, and plumped up in the dryer for two days of sitting on cushy-comfort.

This past summer, perhaps to honor the noble spirit of our beloved and brave Chance, I plopped one of his favorite pillows onto my chair. He loved to position himself on the couch, put both arms around this squishy pillow, hug it, and then stick his snout in it for a good long nap!

The Pillow-Cushion worked very well, for a while. One cannot reasonably expect a synthetic pillow, Made in the USA, and purchased from Costco in 2008, to last forever. It’s hanging in there, though, after having weathered all sorts of weathers, uses, and ravages of time.

The ravages of time are starting to show for certain shabby, corrupt cushions; sleazy slip-shod covers; cheesy camouflages; covert botched flim-flams; obvious trashy hoaxes with cheap, cracking veneers; and fly-by-night fakes that never did fly. I’m sticking with time-honored pillows.

The pillow cushion is being under-utilized for the seat of our pants, here in the USA.

This morning, my UPS driver dropped off two large boxes at my door. I cut open the boxes, pulled out the pillow inserts, Crafted with Pride in USA. I announced to Dear Husband:

“These are the last 6 pillow inserts of this size and from this manufacturer, in all of North America. As soon as I can buy 2 more, back-in-stock, who-knows-when, I shall be making cushions for the dining area chairs, and for the dining room chairs.”

The dining room chairs are now vintage, if not antique, pieces of furniture from 2003. I believe Macy’s was undergoing yet another re-organization that year, an event that promptly put me in the driver’s seat of my PT Cruiser. This sales-shark nabbed yet another bargain from an American retailer that became synonymous with historically on-the-skids.

Those upholstered chairs were the happy seats for enjoying countless meals, teas, birthday celebrations, graduations, Scrabble games, Quiddler contests, Rummy-500 jousts, Monopoly marathons, home-schooling meetings, novelist-writings, poetry pennings, laptop typings, online makeup purchases, home-design strategies and drawings, drawings themselves, along with surreptitious knowing glances and innocent secrets that were shared, eye-to-eye.

There’s too much history, too much mystery, and too much provenance for me to hand those chairs over to another person for re-upholstering.

Besides, I want to use some of the on-sale yardages of upholstery fabric, Made in the USA, that I ferreted away while living in the Rental Dump from 2018-2020.

Such historic years! To be followed by even more historic years.

When you’re flying by the seat of your pants, do it with creative flair, artistic whims, and the vim and vigor of patriots. And with some pillow talk!

18 February 2024

Sitting Pretty

The new seat cushions are a reality!


Hand-stitching the seam of the closing-edge with my very vintage upholstery needle was much easier than I’d anticipated.  In fact, the entire job took less time than I’d planned.


For me, that delightful outcome is part of sitting pretty.  I focus on the work, and let the clock take care of its tick-tock task.  When I look up, the work is done, and I’ve plenty of time for . . .




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