Reworking the decorative cushions, along with the cover for our garden swing is now a seasonal tradition.
The swing sits below an umbrella and the shade of the orange tree but the fabric is still no match for the hot San Jose sun. The swing cover also needs regular reworking as it proves irresistible to the neighborhood squirrels. The cover often ends the season with chew-marks, big and small.
I’ve reused the same retired bed pillow as a base for several years as it holds up surprisingly well. It’s easily washed and dried and ready for the next season.
I cut the old bed pillow in half and made two smaller cushions for decorative purposes and for impromptu napping.
One year I covered the two pillow halves with a thrift store pillow sham. The color-coordinated cover is also a thrift store find: a cotton shower curtain pictured below. The squirrels enjoyed working them over as well.
The next iteration embraced our mischievous squirrel’s personalities.
I enlarged a couple of my squirrel photos and printed them on inkjet fabric sheets designed to pass through a standard printer. I bought a yard of heavy muslin, cut it in half, and made a simple envelope-style pillow cover. I attached the squirrel photo using fusible tape, then ran a piece of trim on either side.
The squirrel pillows lasted four years, but the bedsheet, above only lasted for two. Alas, those cute squirrel faces have faded badly. They look more tatty than vintage so off they go.
The good news is that once again, I’m reusing the same bed pillow and I’ve also reused the muslin and trim. I bought a couple of fingertip towels with a clever play on words last year at a fabric store. I gave one as a gift but I saved the other two towels to once again refurbish the swing cushions.
My 2020 swing cover is a rerun from last summer: a retired cloth shower curtain. My garden-pun, finger-tip-towels turned cushions give it a fresh new look.
The first time I made a cover for my swing, I spent time and dollars buying beautiful garden-themed upholstery and contrasting trim. I made a bias trim for the peplum and covered cording for the edges. We were celebrating my husband’s birthday with a garden party that year and I wanted it to look nice.
Then a squirrel came along and chewed the entire corner to get access to the soft cotton cording inside. How did she know? I thought at first it would be a simple repair, but she returned to gnaw the bottom half of the swing. That squirrel had a super-soft nest that year. In the end, the swing cover was a complete loss.
You can’t outsmart nature and you will *never* outsmart a squirrel. Instead, I find inexpensive ways to revive my little oasis from year to year.