(Two little odd tables that were purchased different years but just seem like sisters.)
(The sun drying of the wicker after a good wiping down)
(Baby Girl's cast off paint came in handy as the transformation begins!)
Since the first memories of my grandmother's porch, I have been in love with the thought of the comfort of summer outdoors. It has been my seasonal goal to create the lovely atmosphere that I experienced in my grandma's cozy summer porch. Her broad, screened-in area covered the whole front of her tiny house. It seemed huge to my seven year old eye, yet comfy in all it's chintz and mission style porch furniture of the day. Two rockers, one settee, two straight chairs and odd little tables, appropriately placed for our 7-up floats. We would watch the hummingbirds visiting her honeysuckle and feel the coolness that her massive hydrangeas created for privacy. The whole sensory experience stayed with me all my life.
And I sought out this memory to create it for my family.
From the time that we shared in a windowed in front porch in our first married apartment, to the wide, shaded veranda that we now own, I have sought to create a haven of summer comfort for all that would pass my way.
While the winter winds would blow, I would start dreaming up the 'theme' for that summer's porch. Some years I went colorful, like the Mary Engelbreit year where each peace of wicker was a joyful spill of color. Some years I went earthy. My old wooden porch in the northern house was known to have a different color of porch paint each year. Neighbors and friends would inquire if the porch was 'open' for the season or not. I would usually announce that we were 'porchin it' to anyone interested in settling their late spring warm self into the comfort of a a overstuffed wicker sofa or rocker. Pillows abounded and candles kept just enough light to see one an other's smile or tears from the day.
Last week, as the temps climbed, I turned on my outside water, attached my hose, emptied the accumulated dirt from last year's porch upon my yard, while I purged the beloved area with a good soaking/scrubbing. Something so very satisfying, that first wash. It feels like a cleansing of the soul; an almost spiritual experience. Running my bare feet over the clean cool concrete of my porch, testing out the strength of my bare tootsies of the season, I feel a rite of passage of the season that pretty much dominates all other preparations of the season.
I cleaned off all the furniture. I shook out all the cushions, I took the assortment of last fall cleaned pillows out of their 'sealed for your protection' bags and evaluated the furniture needs.
This year, my Shabby Chic odds and ends auction cast off tables, needed some attention. Shabby Chic can only be as good as they survive with the minimum of paint required for the look. This year would be the little piece's swan song if they didn't get some protection from a good coat of free paint. (Baby Girl's cast offs from a past apartment). Usually, fabric will mandate the paint color, but this year it was the free paint color that predicted the 'theme' for the year.
That's the word.
The stash from Miss Pauline's Auction last fall, should do most nicely.
So the transformation has begun.
Furniture is painted, cushions in line for a recover, lamps and candles in their places, odd crazy cat figurine that Baby Girl's Hubby hates, all ready for the piece de resistance: The Floral Display.
I have been known to receive poems and small essays regarding my porch.
Here is one of my favorites from my wonderful Kindred Spirit friend. It was written after a nice, springtime visit. That year, she helped me paint wicker and pick out fabric. A really grand time:
Prayer for Deb's Porch
May your steps be always stepped upon
By feet that bring good news.
May tears and laughter grace you,
May you comfort, bless and soothe.
May potted plant and flower
And fragile twisted vine,
Cheer your sills and railings
While spring and summer shine.
May you celebrate the holidays
With banner, wreath and flag.
May children use you for home base
When playing games of tag.
May lovers rock and swing here,
As they whisper and they woo.
May promises avowed here,
Be heartfelt and be true.
May friends and family congregate
To find sustenance and rest
And may Jesus Christ remain
Your most invited Guest.