When the weather turns cold…
When the Philadelphia weather turns cold, you stay indoors and work on furniture! I have been learning a new skill (re-upholstery) on YouTube and taking my cheap Facebook Marketplace finds and turning them into something that, in addition to smelling better (why does every old chair smell like old lady powder???), are beautiful and functional.
These comfortable but FILTHY chairs were just $30 for the pair! I believe they started their lives as office waiting room furniture, and had been loved by many. The lovely lady I purchased them from said her father-in-law loved to sit in them and watch football, and they are pretty darn comfy! The fabric had seen better days and there were many paperclips found in the inner folds of the chairs when I cleaned them out. The frames were veneered MDF, so I decided to paint them while I had the fabric off. I used paint and supplies I had on hand, so the cost was really just the fabric.
And for the fabric, I went BIG! A Waverly Toile like fabric in navy blue and white for the interior of the seat and a dark velvet for the backs. I learned how to make the piping/welting from the fabrics by watching a few YouTube videos. I enjoyed watching Melissa at Hymns and Home, I can relate to her doing things when her little ones were asleep in the basement. There was some sewing to be done, as both the interior and exterior of the chair had 3 sections of fabric.
I took my time and pulled off the staples and then deconstructed the fabric and used it as the pattern… it didn’t always go smoothly, but when it is done, you really don’t see my flaws (too much). I can say this… I hate hot glue, using it to attach the piping/welting is a sticky mess, especially with the velvet!
Slotted screws and upholstery staples are definitely the devils handiwork! I cut my fingers a few times on those darn staples, even using the correct staple remover… they were stubborn. But when I was done, I was very pleased with the results. Of course all of this took place in the dining room 🙂
I found another chair, if you can call it that, on the Marketplace. I needed something to put in the corner of the living room/parlor and I thought a corner chair would be perfect… the lady wanted $45, I offered her $20 and she countered for $25, stating she had “refinished it”. And this is where you have got to laugh at people… I asked what she meant by “refinished” since if it didn’t look like the train wreck in the ad, I didn’t want it. She replied the pictures are accurate… so that left me scratching my head over what “refinished” in her mind actually meant. The darn thing has no seat, tons of nails, and fabric remnants.. not to mention, it is broken.
I shrugged my shoulders and drove to see this lady, who I now feared to be crazy and we politely chatted, she seemed normal. But then she told me some other very crazy lady wanted to purchase it and put a plant in it (I think my mouth actually hung open for a few seconds at that revelation). I knew I had to save it right then an there!!! I gave her the $25 and carefully put the poor little thing into my car.
At home, this poor thing looked like it had been used and abused… but I could tell it had been hand carved and not machine carved and that whoever refinished it, had left masses of gold paint and stain (that is the dark brown/black parts of the finish.
I repaired the broken leg by drilling out the dowel and using wood glue, a new dowel, and some clamps. Then I set to work pulling all of the old stain and paint off. I sanded the chair lightly and used two different stains and my own gold paint to show the true beauty of the chair. I even crafted a seat!
The only thing left was a foam cushion and fabric to finish it off. I found the fabric at Walmart (of all places). It is a Waverly fabric, I am sure they manufacture it specifically for Walmart, but it was easy to work with and will hide all of the cat hair, since while it sat on the dining room table waiting for the fabric to arrive, it was the cat’s favorite chair! I really love the way it turned out. The gold paint gives a little definition to the flowers along the back and the dual stain provides definition. The hot glue used to attach the Gimp trim (yep that is what it is called, thank you YouTube) burned my fingers (again) and I am surprised my 5 year old hasn’t repeated my favorite 4 letter word. I think it probably cost about $60 for the fabric, foam and the elastic webbing (which I still have oodles of). So total for the chair was $85… now of course I wouldn’t pay $85 for a chair on FB, but it gave me a project and some new skills.
Speaking of things I wouldn’t buy on the Marketplace… Wall Art. But I will buy a sad frame that once held a mirror for $5! That is right folks, five bucks…
My husband rolled his eyes when I brought this through the door, but this is a refugee camp for the old and unloved… I told him that since the stain was in bad shape, I thought I would spray paint it gold/brass and be done with it…then I started to give it a little sand to smooth it out. Friends, that is where it always starts, I sand a little and end up pulling all the stain off and re-staining. Originally, I didn’t want to put polyurethane into those little scroll spaces, I mean really, that looked like a boat load of work with an artist brush. So while I was staining, I was devising an evil plan to avoid it.
If the house is a refugee camp for old furniture, my small corner of the basement is a refugee camp for things I could use one day. I blame my paternal grandmother who lived during the Great Depression (and for the kids at home, that is when NO ONE HAD ANYTHING). This woman wouldn’t buy a step stool, she duct taped three phone books (they came free from Ma Bell) together and BAM, step stool! So my little corner of the basement has old stain, paint, cardboard, lamp parts, door parts, furniture parts, and any other old part that I think I might need… it is a hoarders paradise. I had some hemp oil left over from when I painted Logan’s bed, so I used that to drip into the little scrolls and wiped it all over the frame. I continually applied the oil where it was absorbed for a day and let the whole thing cure for 48 hours. A water proof finish with a matte sheen and I didn’t have to worry about drips of polyurethane.
At this point, my husband was still rolling his eyes at me, so I drove around the corner and purchased a piece of glass cut to fit the frame for $25. Now I have a frame ready for a picture. I am the type of person who loves the idea of art that is meaningful and that supports the artist. I have purchased many things from an Etsy shop, Olive and Oak Prints. The shop owner, Leslie, is so wonderful to work with. I found the perfect image on her shop and asked her if she could adjust the size to fit my funky frame and within minutes, she had completed it. Her images are always beautiful and they are digital downloads, so I can have them printed using any type of paper. I usually have my prints done at Persnickety Prints, a female owned business with very reasonable prices and super fast delivery. But this time, they didn’t have the size I wanted in their online selection (and when you do this at 11 pm, it prevents asking questions), so I used UPrinting, which was comparable in cost, and gave me the exact size I needed. When all was said and done, I spent almost $75 to complete the project, but $40 of that was printing since the size was large and odd.
The frame and art was the perfect addition to the Foyer/Hall and hangs above my paternal grandfathers late 1920s RCA Victor R32 Radio that I had refinished as a teenager and have toted with me everywhere. It is the heaviest darn radio that was ever made. My paternal grandfather was an engineer and loved to tinker with radios, so I am sure he had some tinker time on this beast. A few small replacement/repairs on the fabric and celluloid radio dial (broken by a small child poking at it, ARGH!) which I found on Ebay… gotta love that place, and she is a beautiful reminder of my grandparents.
With just eight days until Christmas, I am going to focus and cleaning the cat and dog hair and maybe bake a pie or two. Happy holidays to everyone reading, I hope it is a safe and healthy holiday for you.