Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thrift Store Finds

We all went down to the thrift store and found some real goodies. I found these beauties for $4 each for the tennis racquets and $2.50 for the badminton racquets.  They are the Wilsons brand and surprisingly light. I have had a game of badminton with Cameron already. They remember the countless times Sarmi, our helper, played with them.

I was inspired by this picture to make a project for the boys' room.

I wish I could remember the source of this picture to give it due credit. 
Matt also found a game of Scattergories, brand new, the cards were all in their original packaging, unopened for $4! I also found some glass candle holders, which I intend to make a cake stand out of them.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Reupholstery...A Long Journey

I have been attempting to re-upholster a chair I picked up from a thrift store for $30.  Phew! Now I understand the work behind it, I can appreciate why people charge so much to reupholster furniture! It is darn difficult!

I have not been posting much here but it does not mean that I have not been crafting. On the contrary, I have been working on this chair.

First I took almost everything off, including the jute webbing you see here.

The chair is solidly and beautifully made, with tacks all over it. There was a stamp on it which said it was made in Italy.

I then used a citrus paint stripper which was less toxic to strip down the paint to its raw wood. Then I thought I'd lacquer it back to the same colour as it was all chipped before. I had wanted to sand it down, put some wood filler and fix up flaws.

Man, I had not expected it to be so difficult! I made the mistake of spray painting it outside so lots of pollen stuck on its surface. Matt also banged into it, which left a deep gash in the middle. So I had to strip it back down again but the second time around was so tough because I had not used a primer and it had gone into the wood. It was then when I saw the colour of the wood, I mean, really looked at it when I thought it would be a shame to cover all that lovely grain with dark lacquer.

I saw some chairs from various retailers which I went crazy for. Like this Restoration Hardware chair.

I emailed a blogger, Meranda, who paints furniture as a hobby and I had bought the Union Jack dresser from. She was ever so helpful! She pointed me to a type of finish called Swedish finish. Here are some pictures of furniture using this finish.
This image was taken from the Wisteria website - I love the furniture there.

Another example of Swedish finishing from Wisteria.

As I wanted the wood grain to show through, I did not prime it. It was really difficult to get the paint to stick. Based on Meranda's advice, I used this paint called Fossil by Rustoleum. They only sold the spray at my Home Depot, it would have been easier if I had a can. However, we work with what we have.

First, I sprayed on some paint, then using a rag, would wipe it away. Sometimes I would leave it in longer before wiping it off. However, I found that when I went to spray over it to give it another coat, the first layer of paint would come right off! This took me 6 hours, or perhaps even more! Eventually, I figured out that I had to use thinner to prevent the paint from drying too quickly and I could spread the paint more evenly on the wood.

This is what I ended up with. Meranda suggested getting some dark shoe wax to wipe over it to give it a different patina but I did not like it so I stuck to the original.

The whole process took me 2 weeks. The painting took a lot longer than I thought.

I did not get any fabric because I wanted to match it to the colour of the wood. There is a slight green tinge to the paint so I waited till it dried. I wanted a solid natural cotton colour but decided against it with the boys. One of them is bound to put marks on it. So I went with a pattern. The fabric is on order from Joann Fabrics. What a bargain! I went into the shop on Saturday and it was priced at $19.99 per yard. I needed 8 yards for the chair. Then the lady told me there was a 50% sale on Sunday. Right after church, I went back to the store and it was 60% off! What a happy day! I paid $7.99 per yard for the fabric.

Here is a swatch of it. This is not the true colour, there is a tinge of green on it which you cannot see here.
 Now, I am working on the webbing, and taking out all the springs and re-tying it. What a long process!

This is before I painted it, I removed the springs and had to retie them all to give it back the shape as it was already sagging.

More to come next time!

End Of Year Teacher Gifts

This is not a new idea, I did it last year when James left SAS but it was such an easy project to do that I did not hesitate to do it again this year.

I got the boys to draw a portrait of their teachers, with much cajoling and persuasion. Then, I scanned them and resized them on Photoshop.
I had them originally printed at another company but it was less than satisfactory when I received it. For one thing, it was too small, somehow I always knew it was 4.5 inches by 5.5 inches but when I got it, it was too small. So I designed it myself on Photoshop, using free children's fonts and their pictures of the teachers.

At Fedex, I asked them to photocopy 50 sheets each at 8" by 6" and they put the glue and pad on. It came up to about $6 each.

Then, I had some ribbons which I scored at Joann's on the weekend for 50% off and put them all together.

I used the hot glue gun to stick the ribbon together.  In the picture above, the smaller pad is the "mistake" that I made with the sizing but it worked out well to have two pads for the teachers. It has been such a great year for the boys.  They have survived a change in culture, country and schooling system. They have made so many friends and we are ever so grateful how easy it has been for them to just settle into life here. I know I will miss aspects of this school but looking forward to the future!