Allons-y, 2016!

Bonne année mon amis, et bonne santé!

I should probably write the typical resolution filled blog post, along with apologies for never writing and promises (resolutions, if you must) to write more regularly. But I am not someone who embraces the resolution as a yearly thing, and mostly just take advantage of having to learn to write a different year to also learn to do things better.

Fine, fine. I make “resolutions.”

This past year was quite good to me; I am lucky. I bought a house, and even though the process of renovating the house was filled with drama and stress: I am living in a house that I bought with my husband. That is a blessing. I got a new job; one that will challenge me and make me work harder, but one that will allow me to have more time, ultimately, with my friends and family. For the first time ever I bought a car! I’ve had cars before, but this was the first time that I picked one out and paid for it. I discovered Doctor Who! And yes that sounds silly on this list, but oh, how this show has affected me deeply. (It’s almost embarrassing.)

This past year has been good to me through my friends as well: my best friend got engaged (to one of my favorite people ever, let me add); several others announced pregnancies or had beautiful, wonderful babies; friends got new jobs, new homes, got engaged to or married the love of their life. My mother-in-law adopted two perfect cats, and my other best friend took in a wonderful dog.

And yes, this past year has been rough. I’ve had several friends dealing with some pretty heavy stuff (two words: fuck cancer). My grandma was admitted into the hospital on Christmas Eve, and while she’s out of the woods right now, it was pretty touch and go for the last week, and they’re still not sure how long she has left. Not to mention our house drama (which it nothing, when you think about it) and the fact that I have gained nearly 40 lbs in a year, and don’t feel like myself.

So 2016 has so much potential to be the best year ever, you guys. This is the year that I am going to read 100 books, learn to crochet AND knit, write stories, drink lots of gin, learn to love running, cook more, lose that weight, watch my best friend marry her soulmate (kidding, I’m her soulmate), welcome new babies into my life, start writing letters to friends, hike some crazy high mountain that I never thought possible, kayak in the ocean (why not?), kick ass in my new job, and just be awesome. (And I promise to complete my 32 things by the time I am 32.)

I want to be more in the moment.

So, in the words of my favorite Doctor (the 10th, played by David Tennant):

ALLONS-Y!

32 Things Before I’m 32: Item #1, Reupholster Some Furniture (part two)

Welcome to the second part of my adventures in reupholstering furniture! Part one of this task featured the recovering on my trunk, using fabric I found while actually shopping for fabric for this project: covering the dining chairs. This project was not hard, per se, but it took longer than I had anticipated and left me quite exhausted.

We got our table and chairs from my mother, who bought them off someone on Craigslist, I think. They were about $100 for the table and 6 chairs; a steal, even if some of the chairs were beat up. Two of the chairs had practically no cushioning left, and another two were a little worn down, but two chairs looked like they had never been sat in. The fabric that was on the chairs wasn’t bad, but we felt we needed something with a little more pop.

The Before
The Before

You can see how that cushion on the left needs a little TLC. Unfortunately I didn’t get to give it as much as it needed because I didn’t have the right materials. But that’s ok, it still looks pretty good.

Purdy.
Purdy.

I got this fabric at Joann’s Fabric last weekend, when Becky Neal was visiting. I originally wanted the colors to be red and off white (so it wasn’t too loud), but this fabric spoke to me. It’s technically outdoor upholstery fabric, so it won’t fade or wear down easily, plus it’s easy to clean. It wasn’t cheap though, I bought 3 yards at $21/yard (and I have very little left over). When I told Jason the total last weekend, his eyes got really big.

Pickwick decided to help.
Pickwick decided to help.
See, very helpful.
See, very helpful.

I started with one of the best looking chairs, deciding to carefully remove the cover so I could use it as a pattern for the rest of the chairs. I began by unscrewing the seat from the rest of the chair. Unfortunately I wasn’t really paying attention to how the chair was built, and accidentally took a leg off instead. I spent the next 20 minutes trying to get those pesky screws back in place.

Can you see how easy this comes off? Apparently I did not.
Can you see how easy this comes off? Apparently I did not.

Once I got the seat removed (four screws, seriously Cervone, what’s your issue?) I painstakingly removed the million and one staples from the underside of the seat, preserving the white fabric and the cover to the best of my ability.

Staples!
Staples!
So many staples.
So many staples.
Seriously, who needs this many staples?
Seriously, who needs this many staples?

After removing the cover, I then yanked all the broken and loose staples out of the chair, to make sure they didn’t get in the way. This took me nearly an hour, but it was (probably) worth it.

Tada!
Tada!

The cover kept its shape pretty well – I laid it on the new fabric and drew a basic outline. Since the original fabric had a little stretch and the new fabric didn’t, I cute the new fabric slightly large and more square. I figured I could trim it down once I attached it.

This is gonna be good.
This is gonna be good.

Then I just stapled, stapled, and stapled some more. The first chair was the easiest, because once I finished it, I needed to make the rest look as similar as possible. Harder than you think.

IMG_0017
Not so bad, Cervone.

After it was done, I reattached it to the chair.

Classy.
Classy.
IMG_0019
The new and the original. Fantastic upgrade, if I do say so myself.

Then I did that for three more chairs (on one chair I just ripped the fabric to shreads, it was great). My hands were really hurting. There were a few mishaps: there was a thin layer on padding on all the chairs that I didn’t expect, and on the two pretty ok seats the padding had started to disintegrate. I was able to salvage it, mostly, but I wish I had been able to replace it.

The thin foam, falling apart.
The thin foam, falling apart.

I needed to replace the cushions for two of the chairs, so I completely removed the cushion from one of the chairs and traced the wooden seat on some foam to get the shape right. However, without that thin layer of padding the cushions won’t hold their shape correctly and there are hard edges where the wooden seat isn’t covered.

Fooooooooam.
Fooooooooam.
Can you see how crappy this seat is?
Can you see how crappy this seat is?

I ended up putting the rest of the project on hold (since we only use 4 chairs at a time) until I get the thin foam, and will finish it next weekend (probably).

Finished or not, the upgrade is really fantastic, and I’m glad I took the six hours to do it. While not the cheapest upgrade either, it was still less expensive than buying six new dining chairs. I sent a picture to Michelle, and now she wants me to recover her dining chairs. I probably will, for the price of dinner and maybe some wine, because I really had a lot of fun.

The (mostly) finished product.
The (mostly) finished product.

Until next time!

32 Things Before I’m 32: Item #1, (Finally) Reupholster Some Furniture (part one)

Initially I planned to hold off starting my “32 Things Before I’m 32” tasks until I turned 31, but I’m terribly impatient, and my BFF Becky pointed out that there was really no reason for me to wait.

So, for my first task I decided to finally reupholster my antique trunk, a gift from my mother. I’ve had the trunk since I was in high school, and my mother had last recovered it for me back in 2005, when I was getting my first off campus apartment. She covered it in brown vinyl that looked like leather, so I could use it as a coffee table. I left it that way even though I didn’t love it, mostly because I am lazy.

The trunk.
The trunk.

However, yesterday while shopping for fabric to cover the dining chairs (that will be part two of this task) I came across this fantastic Parisian themed home decor fabric (ON SALE!) and couldn’t not get some. I bought a yard, with no idea as to what I would do with it. But then, while getting ready to head back out to see The Bloggess (another entry for another day?) it occurred to both me and Becky that this fabric was PERFECT for recovering the trunk!

Don't you love it?
Don’t you love it?

I was excited to get it done, so after Becky headed back home this morning I made my way back to Joann Fabrics and bought trim and some foam (to create a cushion, which it didn’t have before) and settled down for a little fun.

You can see the damage that Pickwick has done.
You can see the damage that Pickwick has done.

First, I ironed the fabric and got it as crease-free as I possible could.

Bye-bye creases!
Bye-bye creases!

Then I took the old vinyl and trim off the trunk.

Not so pretty without a cover.
Not so pretty without a cover.
You can see here all the little nails that held on the trim. I forgot to buy nails to put on the new trim, so dug every single one of these out to reuse them.
You can see here all the little nails that held on the trim. I forgot to buy nails to put on the new trim, so dug every single one of these out to reuse them.

Once I got the old cover off, I measured and cut the foam to size (I apparently didn’t bother to photograph this) and figured out how I wanted the fabric to lay.

I like it!
I like it!

Once I got it exactly where I wanted it, I (carefully) stapled it in place.

IMG_0012

Most people fold the fabric under and staple underneath, but I didn’t want to damage the decorative wood on the underside, plus it wood look weird.

Once I got the fabric stapled down perfectly (or mostly), I cut off the excess and attached new trim with the same teeny tiny nails that held down the old trim.

This was harder than you'd expect - the nails were tiny and some went right through the trim.
This was harder than you’d expect – the nails were tiny and some went right through the trim.

But then, I was done! And the finished product was beautiful.

The trim is complete!
The trim is complete!
The finished product.
The finished product.
One more, for good measure.
One more, for good measure.

I think it turned out pretty great! The whole project took me about 2 1/2 hours total, not including a break to eat chocolate and having to hide while Jason got the ironing stuff out of the closet hiding my birthday present.

This kind of reupholstery is easier than you’d think, and a great project for anyone wanting to make a major decorative change in their decor without buying new furniture.

Next week I plan to recover (and re-cushion) 6 dining chairs: stay tuned for part two!