Swinging into Action

aqua swing collage
I like to curl up on the couch with a cup of hot tea and a small pile of mending. The cats gather ’round as buttons return to their proper place. It’s therapeutic.

Unfortunately my garden swing is too big to bring indoors. So as the sun set on a warm Sunday afternoon, I sat in the garden instead. More specifically, I knelt, squatted and contorted my body around the edges of my damaged swing. You can read more about the squirrel damage here.

torn swing

Busy squirrels make quick work of my swing

I’ve been gathering materials for the job at hand with the following criteria: the repairs had to be cheap and easy. I spent hours on the original swing cover only to see it destroyed by a nesting squirrel. I love all animals, including squirrels and after all, Sunday was Mother’s Day. Mama squirrel is just looking for fluff to line her nest. My goal: restore the swing so that it’s attractive and functional, but with a minimal investment of time and money.

Here’s what I did:

After trimming away the damaged cover I cut the remaining polyfill stuffing till the edges were even. Using the stuffing from a worn out cushion, I filled in the area, then covered it with part of an old tea towel. It was challenging, working my needle and thread around the edges of the swing, but I wanted the stitches to be small and taught. It doesn’t look pretty, but once covered it doesn’t matter.

swing repair with tea towel

Tea towel repair

I used a bit of Nature’s Miracle to clean the rest of the surface stains. Now to make it look pretty again.

I found a cloth shower curtain at a local thrift store. I liked the cheerful print and the fact that it matches my blue end-tables. It took about 15 minutes to make the cover with minimal sewing.

I draped the curtain over the swing, tucking a few inches underneath the built in pillow running along the swing’s top edge. I draped the rest of the curtain over the back. By hand, I took a few stitches through the folds of the swing cover, then attached a couple of ties to hold it in place.

Covering the built-in cushion

Covering the built-in cushion

new swing cover ties

Swing ties for easy removal

recovered swing aqua

Swinging into action

All told, I probably spent a few hours putting it all together and for under $10.

Materials On Hand:

  • polyfill batting from old cushion
  • tea towel from the rag-bag
  • fabric ties made from thrift store remnant

Purchased:

  • thrift shop shower curtain, $6
swing, table and flowers

Ready for relaxing (pot filled with stuffing nearby)

As for the squirrels, I’ve left them a peace-offering. I took all the scraps from the damaged swing, shredded them into small pieces, and stuffed them into an empty pot near the swing.  As I was finishing up, I heard rustling in the bushes, then saw what I think is a baby possum climbing the fence. I called to my boys to grab the camera and they shot a few pics as the little one ambled along the fence. She exited the yard through the lattice. At least she was heading away from the swing.

opossum or rat?

Baby opossum or rat?

 

28 thoughts on “Swinging into Action

  1. I love the swing cover and blue table with touch of flowers & garden gloves on top! Was watching Flea Market Flip recently where host Lara Spencer mentioned shower curtains being an inexpensive alternative to purchasing just fabric.

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    • Thank you, Maria. It was fun pulling it all together.

      I don’t know about Flea Market Flip. It sounds like my kind of show. So nice to know the idea of using a shower curtain is circulating. I’m enjoying mine!

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  2. Aha, dear Alys – I see Boomdee has seduced you at last and brought you over to the blue side …… those side tables are very attractive and the swing matches beautifully. That is such a clever idea to use a shower curtain and a thrift shop bargain at that! Time will tell if your tiny stitching and pretty blue ribbons will stand up to the investigations of a foraging squirrel however – they seem pretty determined don’t they! Hard to say if that was a rat or a possum as I couldn’t make out snout or tail – both giveaways as to species. Here we would rarely see a possum that size without it’s mum in tow, but ours are Aussie imports and yours may be different/smaller. . Our weather finally turned today and it has been wet and colder – I guess our little extra summer is over. Time to snuggle inside in the warm in jamies with a good book and a bit of knitting … xoxo

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    • Oh dear…I’m lost in aqualiciousness. I don’t mind one bit!!! We made do with plastic tables for several years. It was fun to upgrade to sturdier, prettier metal tables. The others were freecycled at the curb so went to another home.

      I guess I’ll never know if that is a possum or rat. If we’re voting…well, you know how I would vote.

      Marlene said the same thing: that a baby possum wouldn’t be that far from mama.

      So it sounds as though your weather is fickle. Ours too! We had hot, hot days, and now cooler, windier weather with a chance of rain!!! Oh my goodness, such a rare event this time of year. It will be brief but we’ll enjoy every drop.

      Stay warm. xox

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  3. You were very resourceful AND it looks great! Like the others, I’m impressed with the idea of using a shower curtain–I never thought of that but it makes so much sense, since they’re designed to get wet and dry quickly.

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    • I’ve used shower curtains in a number of ways over the years. It’s usually an affordable way to get a large, hemmed piece of fabric. I’ve used them for table clothes, privacy screens and when my boys were small, we set one up in the entryway to the hall to use for their magic shows. Good times!

      Thanks for your kind words. Much appreciated.

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  4. You have so much more patience than I to tackle the job one more time. It turned out quite nice. Will serve you well for the time that the squirrels leave it alone. You have some very big rats there. Possums are never that far from mom. We had a few in our Burbank back yard. The dog was intrigued but never went near them. Smart dog my Blossom was. I’m trying to send you rain again. Tell me it’s working. 🙂

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    • I really love that swing and wanted the chance to get at least another year out of it. It was in such a sorry state. I sure hope this lasts at least the summer. I’ll keep you posted.

      I was afraid everyone would think that was a rat. Funny how when it was ‘mentally’ a possum I didn’t mind so much. It was a good size. What you say makes sense, too. We enlarged all the photos but just couldn’t get a good view of the full face. The reason I suspected possum was because it was slow moving and seems to amble. I guess I’ll never know. Just glad it was NOT in my house. 😉

      Hope you are doing well. xox

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  5. Goodness, Alys, you really have a deft hand and a canny brain. I admire your creativity and ingenuity. I would imagine that mama squirrel is pointing at you from her well-padded nest and telling her brood, “See that? That is savvy resourcefulness. Take note children.”
    The new cover looks cheerful and welcoming. I hope you had yourself a well-earned rest in it once you were finished. With a tiny sprinkling of squirrel applause coming from the branches above.
    xox

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  6. Mwwwwaa ha ha ha…….mere mortals are powerless to the Force…..of Aqua. Resistance would be futile.

    You’re a magician on a shoestring budget. Looks great, even that little critter looks smitten (or I’d like to think so). Are you missing your lawn? I kinda like swinging, with my toes trying to grab a wee bit of grass as they sweep by. Do you ever do that. Hopefully your friendly neighbourhood squirrels are not into waves and polkadots, that’d be a drag. Since I am a benevolent Vader, I shall merely scold them by waving my sabre in their general direction. xoxox kiss kiss B/K/P

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    • B/K/P I’m under your spell. It’s aqua all the way out there. My legs are too long for dragging below the swing I’m afraid. I can totally see you doing that though. I’m not missing the grass so far. We’ll see what the future holds. Tonight they announced water allocations. You’ll get so much per person, and will pay heavy fines if you abuse that amount. Yikes!

      I’m hoping the swirls and dots make the squirrels dizzy. Then they’ll discover the pot of fluff and they can be on their way.

      xxox

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  7. Oh dang-it, Geeze lovely long legs have one draw-back I guess. I loved swinging as a kid and would do it for hours. I actually still get a kick out of it 😀 How will they enforce the fines I wonder? Maybe tack them onto the tax bill if unpaid? Wow, I hope everyone is as diligent as you.
    Dizzy squirrels….a little pot…..what are you selling there Milner….snicker xoxox

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    • I loved swinging as a kid too, and liked to sing as well while I was doing it. I would try to hit the notes with the pacing of my swing. Ah, to have hours of carefree time.

      We pay our water bill every other month, so I imagine fines would be attached to the bill. I reviewed our water bills online yesterday and was disappointed at how little we are saving. We use a shocking 405 gallons a day! I’m simply stunned.

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      • 405 gallons/4 is only 101 gallons each. Considering a low flush toilet x 4 is 24 gallons, a regular shower uses 5 gallons per minute so tack on a 10 minute shower and that’s another 50 gallons. I would guess each of you use 70% of that total just on everyday things. So, you’re doing great I think.

        That’s so fun about your singing…..hehe, me too, although I don’t remember singing high notes or if anyone was around…..way too shy! la la la chirp!

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        • Thank you for making me feel better about this. I read an article about a woman who gets by on 30 to 40 gallons a day. That said, she has a grey water system, hand waters with shower buckets, and wears everything three times before laundering. I’m a slacker.

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          • I would guess it’s much easier to monitor if it’s just her alone. She should add two teens and a hubby to all that laundry, toilets and showers. How can you ultimately control someone else’s use? I’m sure they try to be careful too, but you can’t really do what she does with a family. BTW, if YOU’RE a slacker, then I’m a coma victim, LOL. x

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  8. That looks so fresh and pretty. Love the aqua and white and matching table. That is a job well done and I see you having many good cups of tea on that swing in the coming months! xo Johanna
    ps I really HOPE that is a baby possum….

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    • Hi Johanna. I hope it was a baby possum as well. Since I’ll never know for sure, we can just say “why of course it was a possum!!!” Sound good?

      Thanks for your kind words on the swing. It’s been chilly this past week, so the first time we sat out there we were bundled under a blanket. So funny! It won’t be long till the days and nights are warm and we’ll be ready. Now I’m off for some indoor tea. xox

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