Thursday, February 16, 2012

Black Bear Rocker

So last month I faced a moral dilemma.  My mom sent me a link to a rocking chair on Craigslist for $50.00 and I entered into a dialogue with the owner via e-mail.  You know how you can post a picture to your e-mail profile?  Well, the owner of the rocker had one of these pictures...he was in camo, with a rifle, straddling a dead black bear. 

I had already entered into an agreement to meet with the guy the next morning and as soon as I took notice of that picture, I started to think of ways to back out.  We were expecting a wintry mix the next day and he was an hour away...  Eventually, I went downstairs to consult my husband and then I started to cry.

Yup, since I've been pregnant, I have been prone to crazy crying and the trigger always seems to be a story about pain or death involving animals.  This story made me cry for like three days, some story about a dehydrated mama and baby elephant being stuck in mud made me bawl, and, most recently, my mom told me about how her old dog ran off one day and when they couldn't find him, they went to the pound and he was on death row.  They got him with one day to spare and that's a happy story, but it still made me cry for ages.  (And I heard this story when I was not pregnant, but it is still super sad and I can't think of it without crying:  Lucy.) So anyway, this dead black bear made me really upset and all I could keep saying between sobs was "Bears are nice!"

So back to my moral dilemma.  I had to come to terms with my moral objections to hunting bears and my desire to have that rocker for the nursery.  I grew up around hunting and hunters in a small town in upstate New York where boys named Heath wore flannel, drove a Ford (or was it a Chevy), and sullied the memory of a girl's first kiss with a cigarette-flavored mouth. **crickets chirping** What was I saying?  Oh, yes, hunters and hunting existed in this small town, but I've been removed from it for a while and I don't see the point in hunting bears (or wolves...or wolves from helicopters, for that matter).  How could I give my money to a man who did this?  My husband came up with the solution:

We would rescue the chair!
And we did!  It's lovely and old.  It's a tad rickety, but it'll hold up.  And look at the back panel of the rocker:
I really want to take a bunch of colors and paint all that scroll work, but my husband has put the kibosh on that.  I still think it would look pretty, but I don't really have the time or the physical stamina to do that right now.

And here's the seat:
It's not the original seat and it feels like a piece of pleather...thankfully not bear skin.  So I decided to make a cushion for it, because that brown does not go with the Color Dots in the room.

First the fabric choice...and check out the company name:
Then I sketched out a seat in paper and cut out my fabric pieces (two seats and then a side piece):
 Used some Soft-n-Crafty:
 And cut out a matching cushion:
I sewed the thing together -- not forgetting little bias tape fabric ties for the back of the cushion -- popped in the foam and realized my cushion-cover fit was a bit off.  I left it on the chair like that for a week or two, not bothering to sew up the back seam.  I figured I would either redo it or just leave it as is.  I left the fit as is and finally sewed up that final seam last night.

 And styled:

As for Mr. Black Bear, well, when we walked into the Craigslist guy's house, we saw the bear in a little alcove.  He had been stuffed and mounted, with his jaws open and terrifying and he looked like he was charging through the wall to tear out our throats.  And you know that bear was just sitting in the forest, happily eating a jug of honey, chatting with some bluebirds on his shoulder when that hunter came along and destroyed his happy life.  So we've named our new chair Black Bear Rocker in his memory.  

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