It’s no secret that one of my favorite places is on our back porch. Several years ago, I had an idea to create an old-fashioned porch complete with space enough to comfortably seat 10, to outfit with a table and chairs, a couple of thrift-shop wicker rockers painted black and – the must-have – an all-weather wicker sofa for lounging, dreaming, writing and yes, (Shush!) napping.
The porch would cover the “patio,” located out the back door of many suburban homes, including ours, and takes the form of a cement slab. Our slab was boring and completely non-welcoming. We spent zero time there.
After Brian thought over my proposal, complete with his version of a Congressional inquiry, (“Do you think you or we would really use it?”) the porch was confirmed by our committee of two and sent on to our fabulous handyman, Monty Foust and his House to Home business.
Monty created our back porch during one autumn, seeing to all the technical details such as roof pitch and labor while I dreamed of springtime hanging baskets and … finding the right all-weather sofa.
The project exceeded my expectations and officially debuted at Ben’s graduation party. Since then, it has been the backdrop to many gatherings. I’ve noticed in the two times since its installation when we’ve hosted family reunions, even though we also rent a tent for the yard, people prefer to gather on the porch, even in numbers exceeding 10.
But my favorite time on that porch, I have to admit, is when I’m there alone, the birds in peaceful harmony, the distant sound of kids playing in the neighborhood, and time to read, think or pound on the laptop.
If you have a copy of my first novel, Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast, you’ll see that the porch on the cover of the fictional B & B features the black wicker and the striped fabric cushions. There they are crisp and new. But unlike in a painting, the cushions have faded and have mildew stains. It’s time for new slipcovers.
Saturday Brian and I went to the fabric store in search of outdoor material for me to stitch into the slipcovers. We hit the jackpot because there were several bolts (Brian called them skeins) of beautiful, bright-colored fabric that would work well for the project and the big bonus: it was all 60-percent off.
While figuring out how much I needed at the checkout, a quilter in line watching offered her two cents: “Take it all, the whole bolt. You’ll never regret getting too much fabric. You’ll always regret getting too little.”
She’s right already. I have plenty to cover the six essential cushions, and enough left, it appears, to cover the seats of the two wicker chairs. It will all resemble a matching set.
A friend with whom I email regularly wrote yesterday wondering why she hasn’t heard much from me lately. I’m sewing! And, I’m dreaming of hanging baskets, birdsong and summer on our porch.