Friday, May 9, 2014

ANOTHER SIGN THAT SPRING IS HERE by Roz Denny Fox


I know it is spring because our Sunday newspaper had all kinds of ads for spring clothes and sandals etc. They also had an entire pull out section on patio furniture. Before I moved into the town home where I currently live I had what we call an Arizona room. A covered patio with a tile floor and screened in to discourage bugs from swarming in at night to reach the lights. In the winter the screens were covered by windows. All in all it made a great place to entertain or to work or read when the weather got nice. I furnished the room with a table and chairs with squishy cushions, and matching rocking chairs with an end table between. It was pretty and comfortable and not overly expensive. The cushions tied on and I could change them every few years for a new look.

I have to say when I checked out the current ad on patio furniture I was shocked to see sets costing 2, 3 and 4,000 dollars. And the cushions didn’t look to be removable. So I wonder how a body would keep them clean. I don’t know about other people’s patios, but mine, even with roof and screens had dust blow in. I suppose you could vacuum the very plush-looking cushions. But I found it interesting, because the flyer didn’t show the furniture in a screened room, but out of doors. I suppose they must make rain-proof covers a person would have to dash out and throw on at any sign of rain.
Where I live now I don’t have a covered patio. Already we’ve had a lot of windy days. I have removed my removable cushions and stored them in a large plastic container. Even that’s a pain to get them in and out. I can’t imagine my angst if I had invested a small fortune in outdoor furniture without removable cushions. And I notice too that a big thing this year are external/above ground fire pits. They too ran from 800 to 2,000 dollars.
My thought as I leafed through the patio furniture ad was that I’d want that stuff in my house where it wouldn’t get hit with the changing weather. And then, inside I couldn’t, of course, have a fire pit.
Am I just behind the times? Is this the new norm for outdoor living? I’m calculating how many books I’d have to write to afford to furnish my patio, and hire a maid to keep the darned cushions clean.

25 comments:

  1. I must admit I've seen the indoor (outdoor) furniture and wondered who actually bought it It looks amazing and it is made of plastic but here in England we rarely get enough good weather to use it anyway. Lovely to think about spring though. All we need is a bit more sunshine. lovely blog Roz

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    1. Eleanor, I wonder if you get enough summer weather to warrant such an expense. I suspect that our million dollar homes in the foothills above Tucson have furniture like this. I'd like to be a little bird sometimes.

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    2. What a lovely idea. Just think what you'd see

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  2. It is really tempting to create a beautiful outdoor Oasis with the nice furniture and fireplace, etc...but then summer comes and after three minutes in our backyard with our son, we are covered in mosquito bites and we say-'oh yeah, that's why we don't hang out in the yard in the evening'.

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    1. Yikes Jennifer, in Oregon and Washington when I was growing up we had bad mosquitos. They aren't so prevalent here in the Southwest. Sometime gnats that are annoying. People buy citronella torches to drive them away.
      An oasis-that's a good term for what most of this furniture looked like.

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  3. David and I went shopping for patio furniture last year. The high prices amazed me. If I had an Arizona room, like I had so many years ago, I'd think about getting furniture, but to pay than much for patio furniture and let it sit out in the harsh AZ sun doesn't seem like a good idea.

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    1. Shelley, my thoughts exactly. I sort of wish I had an AZ room, but it would block the sun from my living room. All of these things are tradeoffs.
      Have a good weekend.

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  4. Roz., this really made me chuckle because these are exactly the kinds of thoughts I have--how do you keep that stuff clean and who is going to clean it when it does get dirty? Not it! ( Not to mention the white cushions--I get nervous just wearing a white shirt!) I do love a good hotdog/marshmallow roast, but where we live people don't buy fire pits they make them right on the good old ground (:

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    1. Carol, the pads on the furniture pictured probably zip off. But are they washable fabric. The furniture in the pull out section of my paper were stationary and most were light colored. Oh, where do you dig pits in the ground? Sounds like fun.

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    2. We live out in the country so space isn't a problem for most people. You just peel back the sod in a big circle and surround the area with rocks--you can get pretty fancy with tile, brick or landscape blocks if you want the area to be more permanent, but rocks will do the trick and keep the fire from spreading. Instant hot dog roast! A couple years ago my husband and his brothers built one for my father in law's birthday party and his cousin roasted some salmon in the Native American tradition between cedar poles. Oh my yum!

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  5. Yes, how do those cushions stay clean? I guess if I could afford swanky outdoor furniture with pristine cushions, I'd also have a staff who would be in charge of cleaning! We bought two outdoor lounge chairs for our uncovered master bedroom patio three years ago. Since we live in Tucson, we put them away in the summer and use them in the winter. After three years, the elastic fabric tubing that lashes the seat to the frame is disintegrating. These chairs are from Target, not from a high-end patio store, but I can't imagine shelling out so much moo-lah for luxe furniture in Arizona!

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    1. Suz, that's true about how things fall apart in the sun. I had to get a new umbrella for my outdoor table this year. The other that I left out obviously too long, shredded.

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  6. No sense in buying posh outdoor furniture. I've a swing. In the middle is a nice orange stain oddly in the shape of a wrench. Yup, hubby left wrench there and no one noticed for another a week and wouldn't you know, we had rain.

    Then, too, there are the odd stains of childhood.

    But, I'd love to have a patio area .

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    1. Ah, Pam, it's good to dream. I love those swings. Can you recover the seat cushion in that? Ha-like you have time.

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  7. Roz,
    I too looked at those ads and I drool over the furniture until reality sets in. The sun would demolish a set (if I could even afford one) in a few years unless I do as you say, cover from the rain, bring in the cushions in the worst weather...dang, it's not worth the work to have a relaxation oasis.
    Rose

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  8. Rose, too funny. We'll have to ask one of the Heartwarming authors. Wasn't it Amy that had the gorgeous patio she posted a picture of? I think her set was out in the snow.

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  9. We have a wooden glider and an old wicker chair that Ron's mother bought used in the 1930s! Our front porch is covered and those two pieces stay out there all the time. I have pretty cushions for summer and we drag out an old wicker settee to put in the corner to accommodate impromptu get-togethers. An old second-hand-store table gives us a place to put things. It's all very basic and not at all like that beautiful photo, but we have the best time out there!

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    1. Muriel, you so have the right idea about it being the company you meet with and not nearly as much about what you sit on.

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  10. Roz, the most important part of your message--especially considering the winter we've had--is that spring actually IS here! I can't believe I just started cleaning up the gardens this week.

    For me, it is less about the furniture--although admittedly I do love outdoor living spaces--and more about enjoying the fresh air, sunshine and nature. If my husband and our dogs happen to be with me, life is good!

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    1. Kate, I hope spring has arrived for you. When I saw the news last night with the horrible rain and wind in Texas and the golf-ball sized hail in Indiana and tornadoes in Minnesota I think maybe spring hasn't arrived everywhere.

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  11. Hi Roz, I had a good giggle over how many books would it take to get one of those thousands of $ patio sets. Such a charming photo but it's only marketing -- you feel you want that set until you think of the sun and the dust. Then you remember the fun you had sitting on logs around a fire pit the kids dug and you remember, shopping isn't the experience you're seeking. Thinking of keeping white cushions clean made me think of a photo I saw of angry demonstrators on a dusty street in Lahore, Pakistan. The men in the foreground all had white shirts on and I wondered who is doing their laundry? Happy Mother's Day!

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  12. Happy Mom's Day back to you and all. I like the thought of sitting on logs around a fire pit best. Of course, it needs to be on a beach as the sun is going down. Mmmm!

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  13. Ooooh Roz, I'm having a patio furniture dilemma. Everything is made from lightweight aluminum 'iron' look-alikes these days. I live in an area that can get strong winds so light furniture won't work. Of course, the real wrought iron is so expensive!

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  14. Real wrought iron is the best, but it's hot if there's not enough shade. I have a big shade tree that my table and chairs are under, and I just replaced the umbrella that really only shades the table. I'd love the comfy, comfy set, but probably don't entertain enough these days to warrant half the cost.

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  15. Hi Roz, The price on nearly everything shocks me anymore. If an engineer friend of mine hadn't mentioned powdered aluminum furniture that sat comfortably with or without cushions (I keep them in unless it's party time) I would be having the same inner conversation. But the sage colored coating on mine makes it comfortable year round. Still doesn't solve the dust here in the Sonora desert though. We keep Windex and a rag hidden nearby at all times, because silly me, I got a glass topped table!

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