Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Before and Clouds


This is one of our six dining chairs, a set we bought four years ago. We bought them second-hand. Not because we loved them, but because we were sad renters, with broken chairs, and no place to take a family meal, all seated (safely) together. But, hey... not bad, right? And we've enjoyed sitting 'round the family table, building, painting, making, soldering, gluing, and eating, too.

Time and use are good, but together with all the good comes some wear and tear, some abuse, and these chairs show it. This is one of the nice ones. Time for a new cover. Time to put our sweet skills to work, and replace the fabric on our seats.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

And so, like a perky blogger, I bring you a decorator's Before and After!

Super neato: we hardly had to do a thing to remove the seats from the frames, because some of them are completely loose, and the rest are hanging on by barely threaded screws, and twisted brackets. What can I say, we live dangerously.

For the record: this project was initiated by Natalie, the Chickenblogger, September 7, 2012. Sober. Intent. Earnest. I recruited the first child to wander by... this honor fell to Alex. Skilled. Resourceful. A visionary man. Mission: remove two seats, strip them of their fabric, assess their condition, take measurements, and then shop for new fabric, possibly foam, hopefully not plywood.

We were well into step one: remove seats, when we made multiple discoveries, including:
1. each seat had four separate rows of staples, a plethora of staples (thank you 1984 SAT for enriching my vocabulary, so worth it). Somebody in the chair factory must have worked by a staple-use commission, because they were imbedded, forty-two staples per linear inch.

2. popping out staples is boring. Just saying.

Don't get me wrong. I can handle manual labor, and honest, the first thirty seconds of this task were _fascinating_ No doubt about it, we were in this for the long haul. Unfortunately, each new level presented another freakin' defensive barrier of staple hell.

Uh-oh. My cool is waning.

Okay. Not only was I losing my cool, but I should have had the sense to do more than listen to Alex. I should have listened and followed his wisdom. My hope was that we only needed to replace the upholstery, and we could keep the foam, and the wood seat. Which... duh why would nasty-stained-abused fabric possibly be hiding sweet and wonderful foam?

Alex said, "Let's just cut the fabric off, save the wood as a template and start from scratch!"

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said, "Golly. Gee. We're fine. Let's keep going in this mindless, sweaty, pointless, bodily injuring pursuit, until we lose sight of our purpose, and abandon all hope of ever finding peace." I felt pretty sure we were on a good path.


Yeah. This is the next picture on the memory card.

For the record: we have four dirty, semi-unstable chairs, and two chair frames with no seats. The foam pads are gross, the wood seats are warped, and need to be replaced.

And this concludes today's post.

Thank you.

Happy Wednesday!


Sylvia said...

Thank you for keeping it real! And I love the shelf in the background in the first two pictures. Can you tell us about it?

Also, I know it's late, but I'm so sorry for your loss of the sweetest little Flopsy.

judy in ky said...

They make it look so easy on those DIY shows! You know, like "let's just knock down this wall... "

Anonymous said...

It's at this point I look at the newspaper and determine where the nearest garage sales will be happening this weekend. I'm thinking some new chairs will be an easier solution and possibly less expensive too.

Laura Jane said...

when mourning sweet Flopsy bunnies we can be called to attempt strange and frustrating tasks.

I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time.

I SO feel your pain. I am gritting my teeth with frustration with you, definitely not at you.

Jenny said...

I know what you forgot - on the DIY shows they play happy music during all the hard work parts. Maybe you forgot the happy music?

This post made me laugh. A good start to my work day.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Ah... now you're making me laugh!
Did we forget to play tunes?
I can't remember... but something was definitely missing!
Some jobs, they must be about inspiration, because this
one just left us spiritually drained. Here's what I'm thinking:
I need to fall in love with some fabric, so I can feel excited about
seeing them finished.
And happy music.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Oh, yeah... between our grief and the record-breaking heat wave...
this project didn't stand a chance.
And this isn't new work... I've done it before, with other chairs.
Geez... I have honestly never seen so many damn staples in one project in my life!
With laughter, and friends to share the pain... it all seems so much better. Thank you, Laura.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

This is beginning to look not-too-thrifty.
We are regulars at all the area second hand opportunities,
and six chairs, in good condition, are not easy to come by.
Oh... and just to add to the challenge, they are high chairs...
not the standard table height.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Yes... they do, don't they?
And everything ready, on hand.
I've knocked down walls!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Thank you for your kind thoughts.

The shelf... well, it's another thrift shop find, a
really fun score. It's a very old, German ironing machine,
with a press and rollers. It's a Mangle, and in this link
you can see that we are using the ledge as a shelf:

Miriam said...

I love the After shot. I'm going to bookmark this post so whenever I am in the middle of a project gone wrong, or a day gone wrong, I can look at the After shot and know things will get better!

hoj said...

Just sayin'

PamKittyMorning said...

Oh dear. You're right, a little sad. They're such nice looking chairs though. Cute detail. I'd be over it to though, and maybe just buying some slipcovers. Or forgetting about it and heading over to pinterest and look at other people's seemingly perfect lives.

ArtyZen said...

Filled me with doom to start with as I will need to do the same with my own tatty chairs soon. I'm fine with injections but have an unholy fear of needles trailing thread that are designed to go through fabric...and am positively phobic about sewing machines, so our chairs may remain tatty for some time to come.
However, I'm so glad we have lovely blue skies here.

Janece said...

I'm suddenly feeling less unhappy with the state of my kitchen table chairs. They aren't *too bad*.... ;)

And, I think finding a fabric that you fall in love with is a brilliant idea - inspiration like that can bring more motivation and inspiration to a frustrating job. I can already see your newly covered chairs and how amazing they are going to look. I'm going to have chair envy when I come over to visit and chat over some yummy snack or two. And then I'm probably going to head out for some fabric shopping too - having been inspired by your awesomeness! :)

Sylvia said...

Very interesting – thanks for the link. Yours is much prettier, by the way!

nikkipolani said...

Your post totally made me smile. What a perfect solution to DIY projects that go sideways.