Sunday, May 30, 2010

State Legislater Chairs {Part 3}

So at this point you should have a naked chair with re-finished legs.
Part 2: Prep to catch up

Here's the game plan:

-Use scrap fabric to first staple the pads and foam securely. This made it easier when I was stapling the good fabric, since I didn’t have to control the padding. So each step includes the sloppy stapling of the cheap fabric (black and red) first, then carefully stapling the good fabric on top.

-I would usually staple back, front, and sides to stabilize the fabric, then staple between to keep the fabric tight in all directions

-Most of my staples didn’t go in flush to the wood, so I hammered them in as I went
-I upholstered by myself, so everything was done stretching/ holding the fabric with my left hand, and stapling with my right hand (I am right handed and my right hand got a major workout during this project)

-As you’re cutting your fabric, make sure to pay attention if your fabric has a pattern with an up/down/stripes, etc.

- I found a trick of getting the fabric tighter if I ran my hand from the first staples, smoothing and pulling to the other side to staple it down tight. Especially when you are stretching the fabric long distances, like the back of the chair, I smoothed the fabric from the top to the bottom back with each staple to get it tight without wrinkles

If you have any questions, I'm happy to try to further explain anything that is unclear:
the post was long, so the tutorial is after this jump

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tree Tote

Here are some basic directions for the
Painted Tree Tote
This is a fun project because you can design the color palette and spacing of your trees to your liking and make it your own.  I was inspired for this idea from wrapping paper on a gift my husband recieved for his birthday.  You never know where inspiration will come from...sometimes even the trash! I also liked the same concept of layered colors and patterns on Vanessa's canvas art project at V and Co.

1/2 yard outer fabric
1/2 yard lining fabric
2 yards of strap (find it by the yard in the notions section)
1 package (10) large eyelets with tool to attach
fabric paint
freezer paper


1. Cut your fabrics to make
-2 rectangles (12"x14")
-one long strip 4" wide and 42" long
of each color

2. Plan Your Design
Decide how many trees of each shape, and which colors you want them to be
Trace your trees on the paper side of the freezer paper.
Cut them out.

3. Paint Trees on Tote
Beginning with your lightest/ most translucent paint, position the trees where ever you want, and iron the freezer paper on the canvas.  Paint the trees with your fabric paint, then peel off the paper.

Continue painting each additional layer, allowing each color to dry in between.  Some brands of fabric paint require you to iron to seal paint when it's all dry.

*I chose to add another tree on the back of the tote, so paint anything else at this time.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

State Legislater Chairs {Part 2}

The info begins for anyone taking the plunge to reupholster!
additional info on supplies from {Part 1.5}

outside fabric 2.25 yards per chair (assuming using upholstery/ drapery/ outdoor fabric which is usually 52" wide)
scrap inside fabric 1.5 to 2 yards per chair (I just found ugly fabric for $1.00/yard)
double welt cording 6 yards per chair (find it in upholstery section at fabric store, mine was $0.25 per yard)
foam 1” thick (I got a roll 1" x 24" x 96" for 2  chairs)
polyfil a couple handfuls, or 1 small bag

staple gun
staples (shorter the better, I used 1/4")
regular screwdriver

1. Strip Down Chairs
Remove all the tacks and staples. I just used a regular screwdriver and pliers to pry up the tacks. Underneath the tacks and leather, are all the staples. Most I pried up with a screwdriver and then pulled out with pliers.

This step took me a while to pry them all off. Save the leather to use as a rough pattern for your outside fabric.
I threw all the batting and yellow foam in the trash, but kept the green pads.
More info from {part 1}

2. Refinish Legs
I chose to paint the legs. I cleaned them with soap and water, painted it with primer, then used an ivory satin finish spray paint.  I sealed it with a spray polyurethane.

You could also sand and stain the wood.

3. Cut Foam
Start with the biggest pieces, the seat and back. Just trace the green pads.

Next cut out the foam for the arm rests, leaving about 1” extra on the sides.

***I had to piece some of my foam by sewing 2 pieces together using a needle and thread and just basting them together. I think if you cut your large pieces first, you should have enough room so you don’t have to sew foam.

Soon we'll begin the upholstery process and putting these back together! Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Garage Sale Finds

Sometimes you go to yard/ garage sales and find nothing, and it feels like a waste of time.  But yesterday was a good day for last minute finds before we move.

Heavy, sturdy toy box
I will definitely paint it, but still debating about making a lid for it.
2 ugly table lamps
$5 each
These will go in the master bedroom after a make-over

Old Miter Saw
10" blade and can't wait to have it to make our little projects easier!
This was my favorite deal.
Sewing Machine Table
This didn't have the machine in it, but the hardware and cords are still in there, so those will go and it will get a paint job.  It'll go in our entry way cubby as a baby console-ish table.  I was pumped out it only being 2 bucks!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Re-upholster with me!

If you live in the Salt Lake Utah area, and would like to purchase your own Utah State Legislature Chairs to re-upholster, here is the link to the seller.

Each chair is $5.00.  They are being stored in an indoor horse arena in Sandy, UT and you get to see a baby reindeer in there when you pick them up. 

I will be showing the basic steps as I re-upholster, so you'll have my mistakes to avoid when you start your own. 

I purchased mine about a month ago, and he had over 200 chairs, I guess the entire legislature's worth so if you are in the area, you could get your own!

It does take a long time to take all the tacks and staples out, so not a quick project, but here's a little teaser of how mine are coming along, and for me it's been worth it!

Wondering if you have the skills for this?
You do!
I'm just winging this and so far it's turning out great.  Anyone can dig out tacks, anyone can spray paint legs, and anyone can staple.  I've become more accurate with the stapling as I go, so the 2nd chair will be better than the first.
At the end there will be some basic sewing to cover your double welt with your fabric.  Just sewing a straight line, rolling fabric, and sewing a straight line again.  Then you just hot glue the double welt on top of your staples.

Here's some supplies you'll need to see if you're ready to dive into it!
FABRIC: 2.25 yards per chair
 Hancock Fabrics is having outdoor/ upholstery fabric on sale now, or soon, you could check at their website.
I bought 3 yards for my 2  chairs, and it may not be enough, I'll let you know if I can swing it, but I would say to get 2 yards of the 54" wide upholstery/ drapery/ outdoor fabric for each of these chairs.  I actually bought the fabric before the chairs.

DOUBLE WELT: 6 yards per chair
I bought mine at Hancocks.  Double welt is 2 cords sewn together, you'll find it by the yard in the upholstery section.  They had 100% cotton for $0.79/ yd, but I bought the nylon for $0.24/ yd. The cotton is for washable things like pillows I guess. **I haven't made the welt, so 4 yards was my estimate.

you'll want the shortest staples for your staple gun.  The wood is really hard, so the shorter the "legs" of the staple, the better, to jam them in.  I was using taller staples and they'd always squish to one side.  I'm just using the cheapest staple gun from Walmart, I think it was $10.00

PADDING: 1" thick foam
I bought a big package from Walmart of the 1" thick x 24" wide x 96" long piece rolled up.  It's by the other batting, in a big package and was $13.00.  I'm going to cut it close on these chairs, probably have to piece the back of the second chair.  I think you can get 2 chairs out of one roll, I could have cut it differently and had it work without piecing the foam

BATTING: polyfill
You could keep the original batting that fills the space in the back of the chair, but I'd thrown it away.  I'm going to fill the back with the fluffy batting, also bought at Walmart.  I snagged a huge 10lb box for $15.00, I will have a ton left over for other projects.

So far I've calculated my chairs will total $30.00 each, and my fabric was $9.00 a yard, which is probably the biggest area you could go up or down.  I didn't include the price for the staple gun since I had one already.

If anyone is really going to get some of these, please let me know because I'll put more details in the tutorial if I know someone will actually be using them.  I had just planned to show a few ideas, since upholstery is unique to each chair. But it would be fun to make some chairs together if you live in Utah or know someone who does to snag you some chairs until you'll be through the area.

Blogger question

I am trying to make a page to have all my tutorial links together.

I can't figure out how to attach a link to an image. I tried a linky widget, but it expired and everything was lost.  You can tell I'm not computer savvy, so any tips would help.

Here are some examples of what I'm attempting to create:
Knock Off Wood:

Any tips would be appreciated!
Also, I just updated all my pdf patterns to print through google docs rather than, which stunk to print from, so sorry about that.  Things should be better if you want to print any patterns.

Well my break's over, now back to packing for the move.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Entry Bench

We have started building some furniture.
This was one of my most anticipated pieces.  We used the plans from Knock Off Wood for the Simple Spa Bench and modified them.  The plan has the bench less than 3 feet wide, so Rhett modified it to be 4 feet wide, and added the center support with 4x4 post chunks. Neither of us have carpentry experience.  Well I think Rhett took woodshop in Middle School.  So her plans are really simple and easy to follow, even for beginners like us.
Knock-Off Wood

We built it together and it was pretty fun.
I'm planning to use the bench as an entry way stop, even though we don't have an entry way, I'm hoping my idea will work out.  So it will be in our living room really, and I chose to paint it with robin's egg blue, which is the accent color.
Here's our fabric for the room:

So when everyone sees it in the garage, they say "You painted that blue?"
Yes. It's blue.
So here's the painting process.  It was new to me to try to get the shabby chic/ rustic look.

1. Paint
I took a piece of the blue fabric to Home Depot and matched a color from the huge book behind the counter.  I painted it with one coat in satin finish.

2. Distress
Using high grit sand paper, I sanded away parts that would naturally get worn off.  I also bashed it with a chain that gave divots, and pounded places with the hammer.

3. Stain
I used 3 T cherry stain with 1/2 tsp ebony stain.  The ebony made it pretty dark in the end.
You just paint a layer of your stain over the whole piece, then wait 5-15 minutes for the stain to soak in, and rub it all off.  We are packing to move, and have a sack of mis-matched socks to throw away, so I've been using the trash socks to wipe the stain off.
I had to stain it twice to get it dark enough for what I wanted.

4. Seal
We got some rub on polyurethane to seal and finish it.

My dad saw the bench and said "Why is it all dirty?" I told him it was distressed and antiqued to look that way.  I don't think he was sold, but once it's in the house, I hope it will be great. 
I thought 2 dark wicker baskets would look good on the shelves underneath.

Thanks for all your comments on the artichoke dress.  I appreciate it so much, I'm really hesitant to blog about clothes I make--especially wearing them myself.  So thank you for all the positive comments!  They mean a lot.

Anyway, today...
I'm showing off
My onesie to dress is being featured today!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Utah State Legislature Chairs {Part 1}

I bought 2 chairs from craigslist for $5.00 each.
They are solid wood frames with blue leather.  The leather was all cracked, and I'd been planning on reupholstering these from the beginning, but as I started stripping them, it was fun to find out where they came from.

Made in Bedford, Ohio. I wish there was a date to know when they were constructed.

I noticed these barcodes on them.  The seller mentioned they had 200 of these chairs, they obviously purchased from the Utah State Capitol.  It's been refinished recently, and a lot of things were auctioned off.

My chairs have metal assignments under the leg.  I thought these were pretty cool, showing they were used in the Utah State Legislature and each chair was assigned a row and seat.

But these were a pain to get naked.  So many tacks to pry out.

I decided I wouldn't be putting hundreds of tacks back in, so I am going to do a different edge finish with double welt instead.

Lots of nasty padding and disinegrated foam to throw away. 
I decided to keep the electric blue leather.  Something could be cool with all of that.
Maybe a future purse or kid shoes.

So more to come on these chairs...kind of nervous to attack real upholstery.

Artichoke Dress for Graduation

My husband graduated last week, and it was a big deal for our little family.   

I wanted a new dress for the occasion, and indulged myself. 
The pinstripe skirt was only $2.00/yard, and it only took 1 yard.  The zipper was $1.25, and the satin bodice is actually up-cycled drapes from my aunt and was free.

I used Lynette's Mrs. Smith pattern. This dress looks vintage to me, and I thought the high waisted skirt was flattering on Lynette's people, and so I thought it might help give an illusion of a waist for my ruler figure. 
 I did want to change the neckline so it wasn't a direct copy of Lynette.  I thought of a scalloped neckline, inspired by this version here on this frock from Grosgrain, but I wanted them to gradually get smaller, and stand up on the back of my neck if possible.
I described it to Lynette, and when she saw it finished, she said it wasn't what she expected, and to be honest, the finished product wasn't exactly how I envisioned it either.
I measured each scallop the width equal to the height, which made them taller and thinner than what I originally sketched.  The way the 2 rows layer on top of one another, standing up slightly reminds me of an artichoke, so I named this the "artichoke dress".  If I had some great photography skills, maybe I should have photographed it holding an actual artichoke.
I ended up liking the unique neckline, despite it not being what I had envisioned.  I finished the dress the morning of and had my iron turned up too high and scorched the top.  I always make stupid mistakes when I'm in a hurry.  I wore it anyway, and hopefully no one noticed.


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