Bug,  domesticity,  Family Matters

The sad old chair isn’t sad anymore!

The finished chair!

Remember my sad old chair? The one I moved around when I was six months pregnant and supposedly not supposed to be lifting heavy things? The one I’ve covered with a fancy white sheet all these years because it is so old and ugly?

Well, guess what! It has a new cover! And I didn’t even pay a dime for it! I take that back. I bought the fabric but I did NOT sew it!!! Nor did I pay someone to sew it for me! I was planning on sewing it myself, now that I have a big couch cover under my belt and I am the reupholstery queen… but something better came up.

I was out in the sticks a few weeks ago discussing the project with my professional seamstress aunt. She was listening carefully, nodding and telling me that I could most certainly do it. But when I got to the part where I told her about the scallop-shaped back that was giving me some mental distress, she got a twinkle in her eye.

If you know my aunt, you know that twinkle. She’s like a mischievous leprechaun, right down to the bright orange hair, short stature and twinkling eyes. She had an idea. What if she and my grandma came to visit for two days and she showed me how to do the chair cover? Grandma could make her famous curry dinner with all the fixings and we’d all have a nice beach visit! I couldn’t say no to that. Toby’s out of town for two weeks again and I’ll take all the company I can get! Plans were made!


They arrived late last Friday night. Baby Bug was very excited to wake up and find Auntie Keren in the living room, sleeping on the couch. I’m not sure how excited Auntie Keren was to wake up to a little person at six in the morning but she put on a good face. Maybe the cat yowling at 5 a.m. broke her in. We took Keren on our usual walk to the beach and then started right in on the chair. Actually, I should clarify that. SHE started right in on the chair. I didn’t do squat.

I made coffee. That was my job.

three pots of coffee later...

Three pots of coffee later, she had the thing nearly done! With special princess scallop things at the top. I don’t remember exactly what they are called but this was not the way I was going to make the cover. This is a lot fancier! It’s handy having a seamstress in the family.

Best Buds

Speaking of handy relatives. Guess who is Baby Bug’s new best friend? Great Gramma! Grandmas make great babysitters! Especially ones who like to read stories out loud. They spent many hours reading books together and discussing Madeline while Keren sewed and I putzed around making coffee.

Great Gramma, Madeline and BB

Great Gramma Reads from secretagentjo on Vimeo.

Here is a movie of them. It’s a little on the long side but the ending is worth the wait.

The seamstress refuels with curry!

After working non-stop on the couch we let Keren stop and refuel on a delicious dinner of Chicken Curry!

curry fixings

I forgot how much I missed it. It’s sort of a family tradition that my mom’s side of the family picked up while they were living in Hawaii. It’s not Indian curry but Polynesian curry with all sorts of toppings: peanuts, green onions, coconut, pineapple, bacon crumbles and tomatoes. I remember as a kid hating the lamb part of the curry but loving to have curry because it was like building your own sundae with a thousand different toppings. We never really noticed the lamb buried under the mountain of other yummy things.

the table is set with all the fixings

I haven’t outgrown my aversion to lamb but thankfully my family has grown more accommodating to my aversions. Funny how that worked. We had chicken curry and it was much better than lamb. It brought back all sorts of memories of family dinners at long tables. Yes, we thought of you Aunt Kathy and took these photos just for you!


After dinner it was back to the chair, snap snap! And of course Keren finished it!!! In one day!!! That’s power sewing, I tell you.

the chair killed her

Then she died.

Just kidding. This was a cinch for Keren. She says she actually enjoyed doing it. I’m not sure I believe her but I do realize how valuable her labor is. I couldn’t afford to hire someone to do this for me. I could have done it myself but it wouldn’t have been as nice.


So to show my appreciation for it, I’m going to sit in it every chance I get! Thank you Keren! My old ugly sad chair isn’t old or ugly or sad anymore.


  • amyinbc

    It is gorgeous!! You know I have the same style chair sitting in my living room? Must take my sis up on her offer and let her redo it!! Gorgeous!!

    That chicken curry with optional fixings looks divine… I must make!!

    Great post! But you HAVE made me rather hungry….

  • Michelle

    Brenda – Could you share the chicken curry recipe? It looked delicious! The chair is beautiful! I’m having one re-upholstered in this pink toile print…I found the chair at a Goodwill, and it was in great shape…then the dog made it his throne! I took the chair to get upholstered, and put another chair in its place…the aforementioned K-9 peed on it in vehement protest! Ugh. Anyway, your chair is gorgeous! Your grandma looks just like your mom – does the adorable ever stop in your family :o)

  • cc

    Mmmmmmmm, curry. Guess what we’re having for my birthday dinner? So, now to plan a party around that. We can have a Hawaiian “vacation” in December, right?

  • Becky

    Wow, what a transformation of the chair! Keren is quite talented. And just the pictures of the curry makes me hungry.

  • Annabanana

    The food sounds interesting, like nothing I have ever heard of before, then again I come from under a rock!

    I missed talking with her but now I see that I would have interrupted a very huge project. A fantastic project, she blows me away that girl!

    BTW your bangs, still so rocking!!

  • Jillian

    The chair looks fantastic! I would love to have a seamstress in the family! Actually I have a couple of aunts who sew a lot, and one day when they’re not in school and busy as heck, I’m going to ask them about making clothes for my daughter. There are so many neat ideas out there for little girl clothes.

  • BeachMama

    Wow, fantastic!! I love the scalloped/princess back! I would never have thought of that. I actually have two chairs to cover right now, for a friend, and that would add a nice touch to them. I will mull it over. And in one day! Keren is my hero :).

    Chicken curry! If it wouldn’t be against the rules could you post the recipe? It sounds divine and I would love to make it.

  • OMSH

    Curried chicken is my all-time favorite dish. Served over white sticky rice with slightly browned coconut, green onions, raisins, grated boiled egg and oh my goodness, my stomach is growling!

  • ninabi

    Awesome post all the way around- family, projects, fun and good food- I can’t think of a better day.

    Please, please could you share the curry recipe? It looks so very good.

  • kristie

    The chair and curry are fabulous, but my favorite part of this whole post is Baby Bug’s answer to the crayon question. OF COURSE she has a greeeen crayon!!!

    Anxiously awaitng the posting of the curry recipe….

  • bluejaye

    Yes, we need the Curry recipe. My kids probably won’t like it because it looks like ‘gravy’, but I need a new recipe.

    It’s great to see more of your big, happy, helping family.

  • K

    Add me to the masses who want the chicken curry recipe. Sounds yummy!

    And the chair looks great. I’m considering having a go at making some new slip covers for mine. They are kind of awful and would look very nice in some slightly oversized white canvas covers.

  • Chris

    I, too, was slayed by “then she died.” That chair looks fabulous. I’ll bet it has never in its life looked so inviting.

  • B

    Your Grandma is precious! I love the way she reads. Good job on the slipcover, Keren. And I’m sure the coffee was the best.

  • knitterykate

    Umm, bring to Canada: curry, seamstress, BB, GGramma and self ASAP. (Did I really make faces like that? Or are you remembering my “great” culinary skills?) Loved this post!

  • Glenda

    WOW, Keren is amazing and the chair looks fabulous!! Your one lucky neice!!

    As for G’ma and that video readin to BB – PRICELESS! What a treasure you have there, so cute!!

    Can’t wait to try the Curry it looks amazing! Thanks for sharing Ü

  • Kuky

    Wow your Aunt Keren is amazing. No, that should be AMAZING!! The chair looks great. I want an Aunt Keren.

    And your grandmother is awesome. I don’t even know if my grandma can read English. She came to America from Hong Kong when I was maybe 8 years old. She lives in San Francisco and visits Chinatown a lot. So I don’t know how much English she would even need to use. I know she reads Chinese but I don’t know if I’ve ever heard her say anything in English. So that is like the most amazing thing to me, your grandma reading BB a story. Freaking awesome!

  • The Chatty Housewife

    Aww, I love Bugs great grandma. She taught me knitting. Or Crochet. I can’t remember because I learned both in one night, one from Aunt Kathy and one from her. The Curry is talked about a lot in the A family, and I have always wanted to share it, so thanks for sharing the recipe! I will most likely never make it, because my hubby doesn’t like most of the ingredients in there so I am hoping one day to eat it at Aunt Kathy’s!

  • Someone Being Me

    I am so jealous. I need her to come cover my ugly but insanely comfortable old lazyboy recliner. I can ply her with all kinds of good things from the crock pot.

  • Red Lotus Mama

    What a great chair! Perfect for reading the newspaper (or blogs) in the AM with a cup of coffee.

    That is an adorable video of BB with her great grandma.

    Oh, and very cute new banner!

  • Gingermog

    Wow, once again I am astounded by your talented family. I have been going for my first sewing lessons to a lady around the corner who is battling my fear of sewing machines nicely (I had a really rotten, miseryguts of needlework teacher who put us all off at school. I will try your grandma’s curry recipie, it looks very colourful.

  • cadiz12

    can great grandma read to me? I could listen to her voice all day. and i’ll bet if she read from The Economist I might even be able to wrap my head around this mortgage crisis.

    the curry and slipcover look awesome.

  • Melissa

    Aww…there is nothing better than Great Grandmas. My son is 14 and has three of his left, honestly I cannot imagine the day when they will not be there for him. How sweet it is that you have that video.

    I love Baby Bug’s answer…it makes me want to rush out and get her a purple crayon (which, of course, she probably has but does not love or use as much as her green crayons).

    Love the chair, impressive and definitely want the curry recipe. I love the idea of ‘make it how you like it’ curry.