Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mixing Chairs and Fabrics

As a follow up to my last post on Rescued Chairs I wanted to share the arm chairs that I plan to use with the group. All of these will be used at our summer cottage.

wicker chair

I purchased a pair of wicker chairs at an estate sale and made the cushions for the seats.

pattern for cushion

I started by using a piece of newspaper to make a pattern.

cushion filler 1

Next I transferred the pattern to the fiber filler for the insert.

cushion filler 2

I traced around the pattern with a marker.

cushion filler 3

Next I used an electric knife to trim the insert. Notice that this is a fiber insert which is sold as an alternative to foam.  I bought one yard of this at JoAnns because after I used a coupon it was was more affordable than two pieces of foam. It took the clerk quite a while to cut the material with a pair of scissors. As you can see by looking closely at the photo above, it was very difficult to cut, even with the electric knife. I also used the electric knife to cut another 4” thick cushion for another project with no problems whatsoever. The foam cuts very easily with the electric knife.Thus, I would not recommend this product due to difficulty cutting!

cushion fabric pattern

I used the same pattern for my fabric but added 1 1/2 inches to all sides to allow for the thickness of the filler and the seam allowance. Then I stitched it up on the sewing machine.

pair of wicker chairs

Now I have a pair of arm chairs to use with other chairs. I chose to coordinate the fabric rather than matching the other chairs.

wicker chair w upholstered chair

I love the color combination. I showed a photo of several coordinated pieces of fabric in a previous post.

fabric group

All of these are chair fabrics at our summer cottage.

chair group 1

The first chair on the left will be used at the downstairs dining table and can be used upstairs when I need extra seating.  The second chair on the left is used as additional seating upstairs. You can read about those chairs by clicking here. The third chair from the left is one of the dining chairs from upstairs. You can read about that dining set by clicking here. Then the last chair can be used with the downstairs dining chairs or as additional seating upstairs. That sounds like a lot of chairs but it is actually a total of 14 and because we do all of our summer entertaining here we quite often need extra chairs. Let’s take a closer look.

chair group 2

chair group 3

chair group 4

While the fabrics are not all the same color, they are all in the same color family and work together very well.  You can click here to take a tour of our summer cottage.

I also finished another major major project this week. I’m not doing a tutorial or even sharing a lot of pictures because this is not typical DIY blog material but I wanted to give a peak of what I have been doing with my time.


The fiberglass base to one of our showers developed a crack! When I called the repair guy I was told that the material could not be repaired because it was too thin! He said that the entire base would have to be torn out and replaced with another base or with tile and that the labor alone would be more than $1000!! I decided to tackle the job myself. It took my several hours to tear out the bottom two rows of wall tile and cut out the fiberglass shower base. I decided to reposition the drain while I was at it! I spent hours doing research to learn how to make a concrete pre-slope, install a rubber membrane, then build the sloping concrete base for the tile. Finally I laid the new floor tile. I forgot to mention that I had to remove the glass shower door then re-install it in the end. My husband did help me re-install the shower door as it was impossible to do with just two hands! It took me several weeks to finish this project but it is finally complete and turned out very well. The final cost was less than $150 so it was quite a savings but involved a lot of sweat and hard work.

Hope you are having a productive week!

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I’ll be sharing with Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style and to Grace At Home at Imparting Grace.

Monday, September 15, 2014

More Rescued Chairs

I have had a very productive week and was able to complete the set of dining chairs that I recently rescued. It was a lot of work but I love how they turned out.

new upholstery  1

Let me remind you what they looked like when I found them for a whopping $20 each.

red dining chairs 1

It took quite a while to remove all of those nail heads.

Then I had to remove all of the staples.

I actually got a big blister in my palm from that!

deconstructed chairs

Eventually they were deconstructed and ready for a new look.

numbered seats

All of the chairs appeared to be the same size but just in case, I numbered each seat, cushion, and back to make re-assembly go smoothly.

chairs with primer

I started with a coat of primer.

ready for upholstery

Next came two coats of paint and a glazing stain.

seat upholstery

I upholstered the seats first.

A few notes about upholstery.

I always buy a fabric that I love even if it costs a little more. Upholstery is too much work not to LOVE my project when I am finished. I bought 3 yards of fabric at $20 per yard. I had to cut very carefully and had almost no scraps left. A professional upholsterer would have used much more fabric.

I always use my air strike stapler. Even an electric stapler is not strong enough to get the staples all the way in the wood frame. You can purchase a good air stapler and compressor for less than $100 at a tool store like Harbor Freight.

One key to professional looking results is getting the fabric nice and tight. It makes all the difference in the world.

You may notice a small piece of green tape just above the front leg in the photo above. I used the tape to mark the fabric so that all of the pieces were cut and stapled the same direction. It probably would not matter with this fabric but some fabrics would look like a different color if all pieces were not cut and stapled the same direction.

seat trimmed 

I used a sharp razor blade to trim the fabric around the seats. I had to use a new blade for every seat.

back view

The back part of the back, shown above, was stapled on from the front side.

chairs backs

You can see in the photo above that the back part of the back has already been stapled to the frame and the front part of the back is ready to be glued on. Both pieces are thin pieces of wood and are held together by construction adhesive.

gluing the backs on

Next the front part of the back was glued on.  I had to use several clamps to hold the backs together until the glue dried.

new upholstery 2

The final step was sewing the double cording and gluing it around the edge of the seats to cover the staples. That was a lot of cording!

new upholstery 3

Let’s take a side by side comparison look.

chair collage 2

I love it when a plan comes together!

I hope to be back tomorrow with a follow up post!

I’ll be linking to the Scoop at Worthing Court, to Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life, to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch, to Wow us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style, and to Grace at Home at Imparting Grace.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

How To Make Simple Furniture Repairs

When I stumbled across this little drop leaf side table I was immediately drawn to it. The price was $35 and when I showed interest the dealer immediately told me that he could do better on the price. I asked how much better. His reply was $20 and I agreed to buy it.  You wouldn’t believe how many $20 jewels I have rescued! One day I will do a post on them.

drop leaf side table 2

I thought that I would be painting this table and selling it but my plans changed. I decided not to paint it and I decided to keep it for a while. It did need a few simple repairs. 

dovetail drawers

Dovetail joints on the drawers are a sign of good quality workmanship.

flat head screws

Flathead screws tell me that this piece is older rather than a newly made piece which would have phillips screws.

crusty brass casters

The crusty brass casters also indicate that the table is old.

cleaned brass casters

The brass feet and casters cleaned up well with Bar Keeper’s Friend and Wenol metal polish.

loose joint

There were several loose joints that needed attention.

glued and clamped joint

I used wood glue and a clamp to repair the loose rail under the drawer.

excess glued removed

Be sure to wipe of any excess glue after putting on the clamp.

glue in joints

I also put glue in each of the four corner joints. I used wood glue rather than Gorilla glue because Gorilla glue tends to expand as it dries which sometimes causes items to separate rather than come together.

glued joints with ratcheting band clamp

I then used a ratcheting band clamp around all of the corners and wiped off the excess glue.

ratcheting band clamp

This clamp was purchased from Harbor Freight Tools. I also use it to tighten the joints on chairs. It is a very useful tool to have. I usually allow the glue to dry for 24 hours before removing any clamps.

drop leaf side table 1

It turned out to be a nice little side table for books and a drink and it fits well in a rather small spot.

drop leaf side table 2

I am up to my eyeballs in projects now!

Here is a sneak peak!


Check back soon to see if I have made any progress!

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I’ll be linking to Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll thru Life and to The Scoop at Worthing Court and to Wow us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How To Make Lamps from Candlesticks

As soon as I spotted these brass parrot candlesticks at a second hand store I knew that I wanted to make lamps with them.

parrot lamps with blu and green shade thumb

Let me show you how I did it. I started with these brass candlesticks. In the photo below, I have already polished the one on the right.brass parrot candlesticks somparison

I purchased a bottle lamp kit.

lamp kit 1

I did not use the wire in that kit because it is very heavy and white. Instead, I used a clear wire that I took off a thrifted lamp.

lamp stopper in candlestick

There were three rubber stoppers in the kit but unfortunately none of them was a perfect fit. This one was the closest fit and I found some foam in my supplies to add as filler.

foam filler for lamp

After doing a dry fit, I cut the foam and glued it around the rubber stopper and glued it in the candlestick.

assembly of lamp

I followed the directions to assemble the lamp.

socket base on

I added the socket and wired it according to the directions.

wires added to socket

I tried them out in this bedroom first.

parrot lamps in bedroom 1

Let’s take a closer look.

close up parrot lamp

I liked them there but decided to move them to the guest room.

lamps in guest room

The brightly colored shade helps a lot.

parrot lamps with blu and green shade

Not bad for a pair of crusty old candlesticks.

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I’m linking to Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style and to Grace At Home at Imparting Grace.