washing & mending

by | Apr 14, 2020 | All Things Home, Decorating, Tutorials, upholstery | 35 comments

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I have found the weekends during this time to be especially difficult.  I haven’t put my finger on exactly why.  Maybe it’s because there isn’t much distinction between weekdays and weekends?  We’re just all home all the time.  Safe at home.  Well and happy, but home nonetheless.  Maybe it’s because the week is too busy with work and school to have much time to dwell on anxious thoughts.

Whatever the cause, I’m learning that I need to keep myself occupied.  There are a lot of things I can’t control, but I can do the next thing and then the next.  So, that’s what I did this weekend.  I wasn’t feeling motivated to start a large project, but I could knock out several smaller ones or do some prep work for larger projects.  I worked from one thing to the next and got a surprising amount accomplished.

One thing that took about 20 minutes to do was fixing one of the chairs in the living room.  The trim was pulled off during our move and was removed further by boy’s fingers picking at it.  One of the seams had also popped along the front of the cushion cover.

I got out the glue gun and secured the trim back in place…

…and I hand-stitched the seam.

That is one thing I love about working with old and rustic fabrics.  You can get away with hand-sewing a seam and letting the repair show.  It’s just a part of the character of the piece.

I also did about five loads of laundry, washing linen fabric to get it ready to make slipcovers for the chaise in our bedroom and the end chairs in the kitchen…

The linen washed up so well and will make beautiful slipcovers.  I’ll share more about the fabric I bought in another post.  I will make tutorials for the end chair slipcovers, too, since those are a little different than the wing chair I covered in my six-part slipcover tutorial series.

And I washed up a stack of antique linens I’ve been wanting to use as kitchen towels.  Now that I’ve gotten used to using linen towels (you can read about that HERE), I decided to put some from my antique stash to use.  I also have some antique toweling I’m going to cut and sew into more towels.

In addition, I did some painting, cleaned and organized the sewing room, hung the birdcage in the living room (I’ll share about both of those in another post), baked another loaf of banana bread, and did some general cleaning.

I even got a bee in my bonnet and gave Sebastian a haircut.  He’s been pulling clumps of hair out trying to clean himself and the shedding was getting out of control!  I figured a bad haircut and a good brushing would be better than nothing.  It’ll at least thin out his coat.  It really is a hack job, but I’ll tidy it up when the weather is nicer.

How have you been filling your days as you’ve been staying at home?


  1. Lori Wilson

    Oh Marian! What a time this has been. While it reminds me of when I was a kid (growing up in a small town on a farm), it has shown me exactly the same…that I need to keep busy. I had a garden pond that my daughter I took out and are in the process of filling in with dirt. The yard and my flower beds are keeping me busy as well. I will do our mending and ironing tonight along with laundering the curtains. I have a ton of flat work (napkins, pillowcases, etc.) which need to be ironed, so I imagine that will get finished at some point (ironing is not my favorite thing). I need to do some reorganizing in my closets. The interiors of the cabinets in my bathroom need to be painted, and I will probably give rest of the woodwork in each bathroom a good coat of paint to clean it up. I will also redo some shelves in my garage, and if I get ambitious enough, the garage will get painted too.

  2. Irene Kelly

    Hi Marian you always do such a good job with all your projects. I have been wanting to ask you if you have made any masks ? If so would you share your pattern and type of fabric you use ? I sew but cannot get myself into make such a morbid item since I am a very positive person and want to stay that way during these trying times.

    Thank You for sharing !

    • Lisa P

      Marian shared the other day that she made masks following a pattern from Johns Hopkins. I think she did a little step by step video or photos—you could look back a few days or a week to find it.

      I’ve been making masks too, and have really enjoyed having this project to focus on. Definitely helps me feel less anxious. I’m not a super sewer but after making quite a few now I can see my seams are straighter and my method has gotten more efficient. Am making them for friends and neighbours and a couple of hospitals here in Toronto and Sudbury (Canada).
      All the best to everyone here 🙂

  3. Marc

    From what company did you get your chaise from? It looks very comfy.

    • Marian Parsons

      It’s from Birch Lane.

  4. Addie

    Oh!!! come on now, Marian!!!
    Show us a picture of how Sebastian came out.!!! Years ago I bought some clippers and have been doing my dog’s hair ever since. At first, she did look like a straggly homeless dog but with time and practice I have been able to do a pretty good job. For the nails I use a file made for acrylic nails. I even think she loves all the attention it takes.
    Question for you….why are you sewing on the dining room table?…you have a newly cleaned sewing room???
    Yes…projects sure help a lot with this time of confinement.
    Be safe, stay healthy!!!

    • beverlee lyons

      hahaha….that was my question. Why the dining room?

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha! I’ll show a picture of him. Poor dog…he does look so raggedy, but at least he’s cleaned up. I ordered some new clippers (our 15-year-old pair broke!)

      I set up on the dining room table before I had cleaned my sewing room. Also, all four of us were working on masks, so this was a better place to set up. We spread onto the kitchen table for cutting.

  5. beverlee lyons

    The weekends usually include worship of some sort, and at home on t.v. isn’t the same, that could be the problem. And, definitely no definition of days.

  6. Connie

    Oh Marian, you & Lori from the 1st comment are making me feel like a lazy bum! If you had only written this great post yesterday before I picked up a very old edition of GK Chesterton’s The Complete Father Brown mysteries, maybe I would be inspired to get busy too! See you about a 1000 pages from now!

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh, don’t feel that way at all! I think that some people, like me, need to be up and busy. Other people need to settle in, relax, unwind. We all handle things differently, so do what you need to do! Enjoy your book!

    • Maxime

      Connie, I’d take Chesterton over cleaning any day! Father Brown is a great favourite. But alas my local library is closed. So, thank you Marion for all your inspirational posts. Your beautiful calm home is balm to see. I’m going to attempt a mega tidy; may even be brave enough to try a slip cover. I have so many vintage fabrics that intimidate me. Time to put them to work!

      • Cheryl Blanck

        Father Brown has been made into a TV series by the BBC! We have enjoyed it, you might wish to give it a try. It is available on BritBox and Amazon Prime. This is the newer series featuring Mark Williams as Father Brown. It is in it’s seventh season (2019)!

  7. Debbie Valentini

    The silver lining to all of this is we are getting those annoying little jobs done. Good for you…keeping busy. I do have a question, when using old linen for recovering chairs, do you iron it or just pull it smooth? I have collected some beautiful linen bedspreads with embroidery and tatting edges and insets. I’d like to recover a chaise but am not sure how to proceed with the fabric. Thanks for any hints. You truly are a talent but best of all you are so giving with your talents. Many blessing!

  8. Mary

    Hi Marian,
    I too have been doing things to keep me busy. I have been making “patchwork-hearts” with the mountain of fabric from previous projects, using buttons, lace, rick rack, and even embroidering more hearts onto the heart. I also include 2 Scriptures tacked to each. One is Philippians 1:3 (speaks of remembering you) and Ephesians 3:20 (abundantly more than)… to let friends and co-workers know they are thought of and when this is all over, it will be better than they could have imagined it to be. They seem to be a blessing to everyone. Responses have been “I keep it by my computer, or bedside tables and it puts a smile on my face, or it has kept me from being depressed”.
    I have been making some of your wonderful color-charts for my oil paints. I’ve also made face masks. Sometimes, I just have to go to the porch and have a quiet time. The weather has been so pleasant, it has allowed me time to pause and reflect while in rocking chair and sipping on sweet tea.

  9. Carolee

    At least you know it’s the weekend. I don’t even know what day of the week it is anymore!

  10. Kathy

    Sunday’s. They have always been blue and now dark indigo. During the week I work on projects and it certainly helps. It can’t last forever. I hope people gave garage sales and flea markets this summer.

  11. Mary Jane

    Hi Marian,
    I understand the one day running into the next, not knowing week days from weekends. I have been busy sewing and repairi things also.
    This self quarantine is showing us that we really can slow down,. Which i am enjoying, I just miss doing some needless shopping!
    Have a wonderful day!
    You know what the difference is between a bad hair cut and a good hair cut? About a week!
    Sabastian is probably feeling wonderful!

  12. Mary

    Hi Marian,

    I love your blog and your aesthetic. It is soothing and beautiful. Can you tell me about the fabric your living room drapes are made from? They are lovely! Thank you.

    • Terrie in Atlanta, GA

      Marian, do you know about the Furminator brush for Sebastian? It might help to keep him more comfortable when the weather gets warmer. And it surely cuts down on “dog hair, everywhere” syndrome!

  13. Patty

    I love this blog, Marian. I long for a settled home with smallish projects that can be done in a day. Right now, we’re remodeling an antique home in NH and selling one in Mass. – literally packing Mass. ourselves since having movers in isn’t practical for social distance. We’re packing and filling a Pod in our yard that’ll be picked up and delivered to NH. There our construction work is being done only when we’re in Mass, again, due to distancing for safety. It’s very slow going now, but so be it. To help pass time during the day as I pack, I listen to podcasts and love to binge-watch shows on Hulu and Netflix at night. I simply cannot focus well to read, which is def unusual for me and a sign of my ever-present anxiety since this virus started. Best to all. Stay strong and healthy.

  14. MaryLisa

    Thanks for sharing the repairs. It helps to know that these chairs are used and can repair up if necessary.

  15. Valerie

    Excited to hear about my reupholstery projects. Have you ever used painting drop cloths to cover furniture? I’m thinking about it for my living room couch. It is a solid piece of furniture and has a custom slipcover now that is badly faded from the sun. We don’t have a family room so this is our main piece of furniture in the LR. Any thoughts from anyone? I don’t want to go to all the work myself if it’s not going to hold up well.


  16. Wendy Y

    Yes, keeping busy is good ?. I finished painting a dresser and did another antique one over with fresh paint, fabric covered liners in the drawers and beautiful Iron Orchid Designs transfers on both. With those finished I dove into a project I had putting off for a year or two: priming, painting and stenciling my kitchen floor tile. It came out so nice! It’s hard for me to start something like that when I know that I will be interrupted half way through, so this concentrated time at home is actually good for us, though I do miss actual interactions with family, friends and church groups! That might be some of your sadness on the weekends too. Sundays are busy but they really do start our weeks out right don’t they? Blessings to you and your family in this weird time ?

  17. Mary S

    Hi Marian,
    Yah… my days run together for sure. It’s been cut grass, cut grass, cut grass, and oh yah… cut some grass! In between, I made a “to do” list and have been slowly crossing off things I need to get done. Plus, I cut in 3 new flower beds, which included stripping sod, and then tilling some additives in to try to loosen the soil. My plants have been ordered on line and waiting for them to arrive, then top dress with some mulch and I’ll be finished. I downsized a year ago, and I thought I was caught up, but – wong again!! Next, is dusty blinds, and dirty windows. It never ends as they say… gotta go now, to cut grass. 🙂 and have a nasty dirty old threshold that needs to be replaced. Not looking forward to this project at all.


    Marian, First, I want to thank you for your blogs and inspiration to us all. The Lord has used your life experiences and talents to help so many people. I wonder if I have missed a blog on reupholstering dining room chairs that are wood and have webbing, then stuffing (mine had horsehair) and the upholstery wrapped over the wood frame (all sides) with gimp around the edges! The seat does not come out separately to be able to upholster it. I am trying to figure out, after I put on new webbing, what to use as a filler (padding). Do I use a poly-filled pillow and a sheet of foam rubber (1″ thick), that I have around the house–then the upholstery on top? Is this the way to do it? How do I get the edges to feel comfortable and not hit hard on the legs in the front as one sits down?
    I hope I have explained myself so you can understand! I know you, of all people, will be able to tell me how to do this! Thank you in advance for answering this question. Blessings to you and your family.

  19. Linda Charlton

    The days here in PA seem endless and sad. It’s really too cold to be outside, even to clean my deck. After this long, dismal and upsetting winter , I am ready for some sunshine and happiness. I ha complete some indoor projects but it’s slow-going due to depression and anxiety. Even my Red Hat activities have all been cancelled. Your energy and happiness amaze me. I wish you could send some to me telepathically. What I can do is take this post to heart and change my mindset. Thank you.

  20. Kimberly Carnegie Bruhn

    I am SO happy you will tell us where you got the linen for the slipcovers…it looks exactly like the color I’m looking for! I painted a really cool table for my girlfriend…it’s almost like a round card table size and I painted it light blue. I also finished the top of one of my own tables….it turned out really well…just have to coat it 73 times with Minwax acrylic…it’s painted in Annie Sloan’s Aubusson blue and I want the chalk painted top to last longer this time…slow learner, here! And, I am like you…need to stay busy or my mind does too much wondering. Not really worry, more concern. Thank you for sharing with us…it’s keeping me going!

  21. Cathy Z.

    I’ve also been trying to stay busy with little projects and with keeping the house nice and tidy, but . . . two nights ago our area was hit by a tornado. My family are all fine so we have a lot to be thankful for but it has been a little bit more stressful getting my parents (ages 93 and 91) settled with my sister who lives 2 hours away. And grown kids having no power and needing a place to land, one of our vehicles was smashed by a fallen tree so there is that to deal with, electric coming and going, spotty cell phone reception, internet coming and going . . . it’s been a bit much. But today was better than yesterday, tomorrow will be better than today, everyone is safe (even though we aren’t social distancing from family anymore!). The Lord has been good and faithful and true to His word that He will be with us through it all. Keep calm and carry on.

  22. Jill Goulet

    My question is totally unrelated to this post, but do you know the name of the blue and white fabric you had in your last house in your front living room? I have it my house, too, but cannot remember the name of it. Thank you so much!

  23. Lillian

    I washed stains out of 2 unused linen tablecloths. No more stains & pretty soft. So I cut & hemmed them into 4 bath towels. They work great & do make me less itchy! They can go in the regular light load to fill it or more. We are empty nesters who have different ideas about laundry protocols. Now I wash 2 loads a week! & I’m making my peace with THAT!

  24. Cheri Dietzman

    I have to keep busy too! Over here knocking off my quarantine list of things to do! Cleaning, organizing, sorting, de-cluttering, sewing, and soon painting 🙂 with paint I bought back in early March.

  25. Sandi

    Your posts always inspire me and have been following for years. I’m keeping busy with pastel painting on my easel. My next project is to paint an old folk art scene on a large two door cupboard . Then using milk paint on an old antique commode on my porch . I’m baking a lot and ran out of flour but the grocery store finally renewed the supply. Have a link to my mom’s pie crust recipe if anyone is interested.

  26. Jami

    I’ve enjoyed the time home. I now work remotely and fewer hours, so I have the most beautifully organized kitchen pantries, linen closets, and laundry room! I started a small vegetable garden by moving a bunch of monkey grass. I can use that grass in the new flower bed I’ve decided to finally create. Seems everyone is cleaning out and sprucing up! My neighbor said once this was all behind us, she’s definitely shopping at the thrift stores since they’re going to have tons of “new” stuff.

  27. Pamela

    I’m spending a little more time in the yard and screen porch since the end of our Florida flower season is approaching quickly. Also cooking a lot more. Our grown son is a T1 D who lost his job so he’s staying w/us & working w/his dad, I pack their lunch daily & disinfect their clothing upon arrival home. I start the washer when they pull up, they strip in the garage & throw it all right in on the way to shower. Also finishing up some projects I started in Feb & like you doing the multitude of small repairs & finishing touches on things I haven’t got to since our move. Staying busy, cleaned and reorganized my craft room and bathroom vanities.


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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