Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor Day Weekend: Creative Frenzy

Well folks, Labor Day weekend came and went and boy did it ever spark some creativity.

First, we kicked off the weekend with my birthday party- a 1940's theme.

I was incredibly blessed to have so many of my friends come dressed to the nines in vintage {or vintage-styled} threads and do's.  Our tiny house, built in the 40's, was bursting at the seams with 40's dames and gents. 

We went to Tallahassee's speakeasy to continue the fun.  Definitely try Alchemy- you enter through a "secret" door, then get treated to jazz and classic prohibition concoctions.  Just check that you follow the rules.  My friend snapped this photo of me there, and despite not being able to use flash photography-I'd say it turned out pretty well {and extra vintage}.

Sunday after church we kicked back and watched the final season of Lost. {I never watched it when it was on- so I had a lot to catch up with!}  I worked on finishing some paintings my sister commissioned a few weeks ago for my nephew's nursery. 

She wanted a red crab on a white background, and two others to match the nautical theme.  I hope he loves it!  A little clean up and finishing yet to do, but I'm happy with the turn out.

Monday we met up with some friends of ours for brunch.  We had a lovely meal and chat and then I pulled out my cell and coerced my dear friend, to whom I owe many a high school adventure, to go with me to Havana to check out some thrifty finds.  

Look at those lines!  That detail! That price! Who can resist all that potential for only FIVE DOLLARS?

So the great chair recovery project began.  We went home and changed, and then she picked me up in her car which has substantially more room to haul our treasures.  After a brief introduction to the great town of Havana and all its quaint shops, I called this guy and arranged to meet him on the north side of town, at an old mini storage facility behind a closed liquor store.  

This is why you ALWAYS take a friend thrifting. Not only will they help you see the potential good in a find, they'll also help you judge situations.  Luckily, this guy turned out to be legit and very friendly.  

We ended up taking the lot of chairs and splitting them between the two of us.  They smelled terribly of dust and they were in obvious need of some TLC, but seriously guys- look at those lines!

I disassembled the seat, then wiped the grunge off the frames with a mix of soapy water and vinegar.  After drying I took my sanding block {what a God-send} and lightly sanded the varnish down.  

I was initially hopeful that I could reuse the foam pad of the seat, but as the smell set in and the old vinyl seat flaked away, I suspected new foam was a must.After removing a GAZILLION staples, I was pleased to find that the seat board itself was fine.  More on that process later, but I happened to be in luck that for Labor Day foam was on sale 50% off at Joann's, plus an addition 15% of my entire purchase- yahtzee!

So after a solid few coats of white primer, {sweating like a beast in my front yard} I went off to the store to get the good for reupholstering the seat.  That left sufficient time for the primer to dry on the first chair {I didn't fully tackle the second chair since I ran out of primer on the first}

I had almost a full can of satin finish "pistachio" paint by rustoleum so ta-da! That's what I chose.  Turns out- the husband actually approves the color, and that man cringes at the thought of painted wood furniture.

About the time I finished painting the chair green it started getting cloudy and buggy.  I dragged the pieces in and sat the chair out on my front stoop to finish drying.  It was a good time to begin working on the seat {and finishing some lost}.  I used a serrated knife to cut the foam leaving about a half to a quarter inch around the seat board.  It wasn't the prettiest cutting job, but I figured the fabric tension would hide it.

I ironed some pre-washed canvas I happened to have and cut it to a square about 24x28, leaving enough around the edges that I could pull the fabric taught beyond the original staple holes.

As with stapling canvas to a frame for painting, I rotated the piece as I stapled, starting in the middle on each side and going around until all sides were stapled flat. The fabric pulled so that the foam was slightly rounded on each edge.  I pleated the corners and stapled them last.

I'm no expert at this.  I've never done anything like this so I just intuitively did what I could to make it look nice.  My mom's taken reupholstering classes {cause she's a domestic genius}, but I neglected to consult her.  Hence, another process might work better for you.

Have you noticed the five evenly spaced holes in the bottom of the board?  I did and what an inspiration that was.   Hello tufting?  Yeah, never tried that before, but a little pinteresting gave me the general idea.  I bought a button kit at the craft store and used some navy fabric with orange circles to contrast the plain canvas.  

The button kit was pretty easy; tufting was an adventure. My foam was 2" thick, but my needle was not.  Oh and if you try to tuft with just thread...forget that! 

Pinterest suggested anchoring the tufts with regular buttons.  Once I tried that it got easier.  I tampered with my technique and of course my final tuft was better than any of the others, but it was too much work to fix the others and the difference wasn't too significant.  I'll repeat that process with the next chair.

So here's the long awaited {nearly} final product:
I haven't yet attached the seat because I'm questioning the need for another coat of paint.  There are a few patchy areas I found when I moved the chair to different light.

Unfortunately, there was only enough canvas to make one seat.  I had some spare duck cloth in my sewing basket that is a lovely bold shade of yellow.  It doesn't exactly match the pistachio so I'm considering other chair colors that would look nice with the pistachio and the yellow.  

I bought a medium gray patterned fat quarter for the buttons and I'm thinking dusty cornflower-y blue, mode, or maybe even a light gray or ivory for the frame.

So there's your psuedo-tutorial on my chair project.  Feel free to make suggestions for the other chair.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this chair and the buttons were a super cute touch! I find using a single layer or two of batting over the foan helps to hide any imperfections in the foam and smooth out the edges. I also once had the cutest chair ever(free side of the road kinda find)...sadly destroyed in our flood...but I covered the seat in a tea towl from Tuesday Morning. The chair was robins egg blue and the teal towel was pale yellow with a blue bird on a branch. It was one of my favorite redos ever...so point is, tea towls are another great source for fabric!