Passion Pursuit

This week, a friend posted a link to a very thought-provoking article called, “Screw Finding Your Passion.” In it the author, Mark Manson; tired of getting emails from people asking how they can find their passion, basically pointed to the lack of pursuit, more than the not knowing. We tend to ignore that which consumes most of our free-time not because we don’t know what we like, but rather out of fear, laziness, or avoidance.  We tell ourselves it couldn’t possibly make us money. It wouldn’t be practical. The negative self-talk sets in, and we ignore what we should be pursuing, all the while wondering why we’re so miserable. My passion is all things mid-century modern, and I make no apologies. The fashion, the architecture, the furniture; I spend stupid amounts of free time looking at it, implementing it into my daily life, and learning about it.  I watch shows like Mad Men and Masters of Sex, read books about Charles and Ray Eames, and the other big designers of the time. Anything to get a glimpse of life back then. I stumbled upon this passion and I’m so glad I did, because for whatever reason, it continues to intrigue me. How many people can say that they get to focus on what they love? Mr. Manson’s colorful illustration was the kick in the pants I needed to finish my “pet bed project” for the blog that was taking too long to complete. It’s not that I didn’t want to do it, it’s that I made everything else in my life a priority while I put my “passion” on the back burner. And that’s okay too. Sometimes you have to choose. Life happens but the point is deep down, you know what you love. You just have to open your eyes. I highly recommend reading it if you need a little encouragement and don’t mind a few strategically placed f*bombs.  Find the link here.

On to the fun stuff. This week, I decided to depart from my usual purist tendencies for an upcycle project. I took a useless old remote speaker from the 1960’s (once part of a larger unit) and turned it into a pet bed.  I own a fat dog who would much rather fart in my lap, but I do think this piece would make a fantastic cat bed. You decide.

So unlike the usual blog…I created a YouTube video to show the transformation. Keep in mind, this was an experiment. I’d do a few things differently next time, but I am pleased with the final product.

 

Before.
Before.
After. Meow.
After. Meow.

Did you watch the video or just skip ahead? Stop being lazy. It’s like 1 minute long. Geez.

If you’re thinking I’m crazy, and you’d  rather spend $400- $600 on a custom pet bed, I am as always, here to help.

No seriously. Some people love their fur babies more than their actual blood relatives. I’m not here to judge. If you’ve got major love for your dog or cat and a case of the MCM fever, check out these other options:

 

Hey! My cat needs a cute place to do his business. Go here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/191119047/the-mini-cabinet-mid-century-modern-pet?ref=listing-shop-header-3
“Hey! My cat needs a cute place to do his business.” Go here:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/191119047/the-mini-cabinet-mid-century-modern-pet?ref=listing-shop-header-3
Cairudesign can be found here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/166359696/mid-century-modern-cat-furniture?ref=shop_home_active_4
“Cat towers are hideous!” Cairudesign can be found here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/166359696/mid-century-modern-cat-furniture?ref=shop_home_active_4

 

A frenchie sitting on anything gets my vote:

For the Lloyd Dog Bed go here: ttps://www.etsy.com/listing/166176684/lloyd-dog-bed?ref=shop_home_active_9
“Um, I paid 2 grand for my dog. He will NOT sleep on a Walmart bed.” For the Lloyd Dog Bed go here: ttps://www.etsy.com/listing/166176684/lloyd-dog-bed?ref=shop_home_active_9

As it so happens, my passion is not making pet beds. I appreciate them, but I’ll leave it to the experts.

That said, my cute little custom number will be available for purchase in my Etsy shop AND at the 1st Annual Murrieta Valley High School Flea Market on November 7th.

Come and see me! I’ll have all my pieces on display and for sale! More info to follow next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DIY Teak Restoration

Nesting: It is a blessing. It is an affliction. At this very moment, I have about 25 different projects up in the air. Some, the validity of which is questionable. Why do the walls in the garage bother me so? Because I’m nesting. Everything MUST be perfect. Now. I can tell the garage walls haven’t been painted since the late nineties when our home was built, because there are other children’s heights and corresponding dates still on display. Add to that the one million nail and screw holes that decorate the space taunt me as I pull the car in each day. It was livable before this phase…at the current moment however, it is intolerable. Since I’m in the middle of painting and organizing my garage, I thought I’d rewind to a much more interesting subject: restoring teak wood.

This teak desk restoration project has probably been one of my favorites to date. (The only thing perhaps equally gratifying was the rust removal I got to do on my Saarinen tulip table way back when.)

Below are the BEFORE photos. This desk, although completely functional with sliding drop leaf, and drawers that can be moved from side to side depending on your preference, was in pretty rough shape. I can report fading, white drink rings, and what looked to be a burn stain at one side of the desk. I still felt like I was stealing it when I found it at a thrift shop. I mean people….this is TEAK we’re talking about here. Only the most gorgeous wood on the planet.

Desk 1 Desk 2

I consulted a trusted source of mine – someone who I have purchased a few pieces from over the years and who really knows her wood refinishing. I was surprised when she recommended I dilute some ivory dish soap, and clean the piece before deciphering the damage. You can really see the color potential when the teak is damp…

Wet with Ivory...
Wet with Ivory…
Desk 4 burn stain
Burn Mark? Let’s call it character.

Once the piece dried, it went right back to blah. I was ready to sand!

Here's our soap clean desk after drying
Here’s our soap cleaned desk after drying

I happen to have the sander my father so kindly loaned to me – complete with fine sand paper, which I used for this project. Here are some sanding shots:

Desk 7 Sanded Desk 6 Sanded

Important notes…with a drop leaf, you need to have the drop leaf extended for all-at-once-sanding, and don’t forget go with the grain! I used the electric sander for the desk top, which was in the worst shape. For the remainder; legs, sides, etc….I sanded by hand, using extra fine sand paper.

Once the sanding was complete, I again cleaned the piece with diluted ivory dish soap. Once dried, I applied two coats of Teak Oil – about 30 minutes apart. I used Watco Teak Oil. The scoop is, to apply liberally, let it soak in for about 30 minutes, wipe down, and reapply if necessary. Wait an additional 15 minutes for absorption of the second coat before wiping the excess oil away. Two coats were all I needed to completely transform this piece and bring it back to life!

Desk 9 2 Coats of Teak Oil Teak Desk Finals (1)

After 8-10 hours of drying, your teak is ready to go! See how the drawers can be moved side to side? Fantastic.

Teak Desk Finals (4) Teak Desk Finals (2)

AFTER:  BOOM!
AFTER:
BOOM!

I don’t think there is anything more gorgeous than oiled teak. This desk sold almost immediately, and I was a little sad to see it go. I hope to find another piece like it in the future – until then, I’ll be readying our garage for the next project.

Elbow Grease

It’s amazing to me what a throw-away society we live in. I see it all the time in my MCM groups on Facebook. Pictures of gorgeous solid wood furniture, thrown out with the trash. Completely salvageable and not to mention beautiful pieces left on street corners, alleyways and in dumpsters. Luckily, there are folks out there that value the old, and can see the sometimes hidden potential. I can’t say I’ve been dumpster diving before…but I have great admiration those that have. I’ve seen some really stunning pieces saved and given new life by some of my fellow MCM fanatics.

While I tend to find my treasures in thrift shops, (my city is considered wine country, and its overrun with rod-ironed Tuscan fever. Yikes) I almost feel a duty to regularly frequent said shops to “save” neglected pieces. When I take a break from stocking my store, or looking for something for my own home, I feel as though somehow I’ll be missing out on something. (That might also be considered addiction…but who’s judging!?)

In recent weeks, I’ve found some pretty serious treasures that just needed some good old-fashioned elbow grease. In fairness, I can see how someone might have passed them by; either too busy to bother, or maybe they just didn’t know what they were looking at. You’ll see why I’ve been busy – but not busy blogging. I’ll bust these out into separate DIY tutorials later…but for now, here are some of the things I’ve been working on:

PROJECT 1: Bar Cart Revival

-So this piece was Nasty McNasty. Cobwebs, worn finish, scratched glass from being used to hold flower pots outdoors…

BEFORE PHOTO 1
BEFORE PHOTO 1
Bar Cart Project
BEFORE PHOTO 2
AFTER: Cleaned, sanded and painted.
AFTER: Cleaned, sanded and painted.

I kept the glass, just cleaned it up a bit and refinished the frame with some gold spray paint. Voila! We are so HOLLYWOOD!

AFTER PHOTO 2 - Bar Service
AFTER PHOTO 2 – Bar Service

PROJECT 2 – Dorothy Thorpe Roly Poly Glasses

-These guys were simple…they just needed some time spent polishing them.  Come on now… who wouldn’t do a little work to have these beauties at your bar?

BEFORE: Dorothy's looking pretty varnished
BEFORE: Dorothy’s looking pretty varnished
001
DURING PHOTOS: I used a soft silver cleaning cloth in order to minimize silver loss, rather than using harsh chemicals. After all, they will be used to DRINK out of.
DURING PHOTOS: I used a soft silver cleaning cloth in order to minimize silver loss, rather than using chemicals.
Do you see the difference in the three on left and three on right? Night and day. I did feel like I might be developing carpal tunnel, but the end result was worth it!
Dorothy Thorpe (1)
AFTER: Oh it’s HAPPY HOUR, GUYS AND GALS!
AFTER: Oh it's HAPPY HOUR!
No seriously, these are going up for sale tomorrow in my store! 🙂 If you want them, go get them! https://www.etsy.com/shop/MidCenturyObsession?ref=si_shop

PROJECT 3: Arne Vodder Teak Drop Leaf Desk FOUND!

-This desk was dull and sad-looking. He had some white water stains, what looked to be a burn mark, and just needed a facelift. Challenge accepted!

BEFORE: Arne Vodder Danish Teak Desk
BEFORE: Arne Vodder Danish Teak Desk

Desk 4 burn stain

DURING PHOTOS: Stains and all, this baby just needed some lovin'.
DURING PHOTOS:
Stains and all, this baby just needed some lovin’.
AFTER: BANG!
AFTER: BANG!
AFTER:  BOOM!
AFTER:
BOOM!

I’m not tooting my own horn, here. This is just what I love to do. I’ve learned that despite whatever others might tell you, wanting to improve things and make them beautiful again is not a shortcoming, it’s a gift. The best part is that these projects are relatively simple. You just need a little time, maybe some caffeine and some tenacity. Next time you’re in need of something for your home, consider hitting your local thrift stores; recycling and reusing. Try to resist the “immediate gratification” we’ve become so accustomed to. The amount of pride you will get out of bringing something unwanted back to life again is worth the wait (and the elbow grease).

 

Hokey-Oak Bookcase Remake D-I-Y

It’s no secret: I’m having a baby, and we’re on a budget for the mid-century modern-inspired nursery. So far, I’ve repurposed and repainted my first born’s Ikea crib, reupholstered a vintage 50’s rocker found on Craigslist, and found a mid-century modern credenza at the Long Beach Flea to double as storage and a changing table. Wanting to knock out all the furniture-related needs asap, I jumped at the hokey-oak bookcase I found at Goodwill a few weeks ago.

Let it be said that I really dislike oak. You know, the honey-hued late 80’s and 90’s stuff with the moulding and rounded edges. Well, when I was at the Goodwill not too long ago, that’s exactly what I spotted. Just begging to be painted and repurposed, this solid wood baby was $30.

Solid Oak, custom corner cabinet...just waiting for a makeover.
Solid Oak, custom corner cabinet…just waiting for a makeover.

Here’s a re-cap of my inspiration board found on Pinterest. We’re working with a very small room for our babe-on-the-way so the corner cabinet fit the bill.

Here's the idea board found on Pinterest.
Here’s the idea board found on Pinterest.

I just loved the pop of color from the orange and white book case. So out to Home Depot I went and had a quick chat with the nice man in the paint department. He suggested I get the paint + primer. Wise counsel is never a bad thing. For $15, I had my hands on 1 quart of “Tart Orange” bookcase paint.

013

001
“Modern” Line Home Decorators Collection by Behr. Color: Tart Orange

Here’s what you’ll need to prep your piece:

Prybar & Hammer (to remove hideous moulding)

Krud Kutter (to remove excess wood glue)

Electric Sander (because it’s just plain fun to use power tools)

Putty Knife (for jimmying off excess wood)

Fine Sandpaper (to scuff up your surface)

Painters Tape

Toooooolzzzzzz
Toooooolzzzzzz

I had a couple “Oh Sh*t” moments during this project. The first was that the custom cabinet makers did such a good job of gluing the molding at top and bottom of the piece that the wood splintered and wouldn’t come completely off.

In stepped the Krud Kutter. When that did it’s work, we still had some wood and glue residue left over. (They REALLY didn’t want that moulding to come off)

After the Krud Kutter dried, I enlisted the help of Mr. Power Sander and Mr. Putty Knife (Wearing “safety aviators” and a Michael Jackson mask, of course!)

A rather un flattering photo of me courtesy of my 5 year old. Thanks buddy.
A rather unflattering photo of me courtesy of my 5 year old. Thanks buddy.

After sanding, and chipping away, then sanding and chipping away again, and again, I was over it….and this is what I decided was going to be good enough for a friggin’ kid’s room. Don’t anger the pregnant lady.

See the glue line?
See the glue line?

I wiped the mess away using Murphy Oil Soap. (All of these items-except the paint were in my arsenal already, keeping the cost of the project minimal. It was allllll labor on this one.)

011

So after removing the molding, scuffing up the shelves and sanding down the excess wood and glue, I gave this piece a nice wipe down with Murphy’s. And it’s paint time, baby!

Dear Lord...
Dear Lord…

This was my second “Oh Sh*t” moment. As in, “Oh sh*t, I’m going to have to paint each shelf 5 times.” As it turned out, the magic number was 4….but my quart of paint was plenty enough to cover the challenge.

Let’s skip ahead here…

002

4 coats and about 4 days later, we’re ready for the white! I grabbed some Rustoleum ready-made latex paint (Semi-Gloss in White) and started rolling the edges.

009 (2)

A few days after that….I gave the piece a clear coating using some clear spray paint I had in the garage. At this point, I was so tired of the project, that petroleum jelly could have done. I was over it.

Could I have gone to Ikea, and bought a Billy Bookcase for $99? Yes. I could have, but I much prefer re-using and recycling if possible. I got to rescue a piece of furniture that was otherwise unwanted. In the end, my project cost less than 1/2 what a new bookcase would have AND I got solid wood, versus particle board.

Billy Bookcase from Ikea
Billy Bookcase from Ikea

The end result?

010 (2)

Up the stairs to the nursery she went….and my 5-year-old son lovingly placed his old baby toys and books on the shelf for his brother-to-be. That sight made all the work worth it.

 

 

 

 

Outdoor Projects – Lawn-Free Landscapes

I live in Southern California, and don’t get me wrong- I love the sun, but I am OVER trying to keep my lawn green. We happen to have a HUGE parcel, and I think it’s a terrible waste of resources and time, laboring over lawn. It’s been on ongoing issue for our family – the cost of keeping it watered, and the labor it requires- and we only achieve sub par results. I’ve been itching to have someone design a landscape featuring drought-tolerant plants and shrubs for the front yard and hill. Knowing it’s not in the budget, I’ll have to dream for now. Sunset Magazine must have been thinking the same thing, because they did a Lawn-Free feature this week that was delivered straight to my inbox. Eye candy awaits you. First, let me torture you with my personal struggles.

This is MY “after” photo. I’ve been planting drought tolerant, crappy-soil resistant plants that will grow and hopefully spread….and THIS is MY end result. See what I mean? Pathetic. It’s frustrating beyond words.

Sad. But.True
Sad. But.True
Fugly Front Hill. I won't even bother with the grass.
Fugly Front Hill. I won’t even bother with the grass.

After you stop laughing, we’ll move on to the dream yards.

Here’s a few teaser pics…..

Credit: Sunset.com
Credit: Sunset.com

 

carefree-0510-overview-l
ChoreFree backyard. Credit: Sunset.com

To see the article, go here….

http://www.sunset.com/garden/earth-friendly/lose-the-lawn-low-water-landscaping

There are 21 delicious ideas for your yard. I’m in love and inspired by so many of them.

Have you had any landscaping success stories? If you have, please share!

Reupholstery Project

Sooooo excited to share the results of the nursery rocker re-upholstery project! One of the things I love so much about the mid-century modern movement is the furniture; how well it was made, and made to last. I don’t think there’s anything more fun than rescuing a vintage piece of furniture, and bringing it up to date – INSTEAD of buying new, over-priced furniture that is both cheap and did I mention over-priced? HA! New rocking chairs for a nursery run into the 4 digit figures. Can you imagine paying $1000 + for a rocking chair or glider? Me neither. On with our story.

A very good friend referred me to a local guy who did a fantastic job with our Craigslist-found chair that rocks, swivels and swishes.

I’ll cut to the chase – and feature the before photo:

BEFORE
BEFORE

I found some fabric that made me swoon at PopDecorFabrics on Etsy. As soon as it was delivered, I ran it over to my main man, Ruben.

PopDecorFabrics, you rock me!
PopDecorFabrics, you rock me!

He does beautiful work, as you’ll see……

Holy Orange Goodness!!!!
Holy Orange Goodness!!!!

No seriously. Let’s see that again:

Nursery Rocker 004

Now to make it baby puke-proof… but that’s a project for another day.

This week, I’ve been painting up a storm on my “Goodwill bookcase project” – and I’m hoping to be able to reveal that next week. This is going to be a DIY nursery if there ever was one, and I’m going to take you with me step by step!

 

 

Lasso some Brasso: Reviving Vintage Brass

If there’s a way for it to be done, no doubt you can find it out on the internet. There is no shortage of DIY to be seen. I read a DIY post on a very popular blog where it was assumed the readers knew how to re-wire a lamp. The author was so focused on the other parts of the do-it-yourself, that they skipped over a very large component: electricity. If there’s one thing that frustrates me, it is when a certain level of expertise is expected or there’s an implication the reader should already know.

That said, I’m really still learning about reviving, refreshing, and re-finishing vintage wares. More specifically, I didn’t know brass could be brought back to life so easily. Heard of Brasso? It’s so simple ANYONE can use it….and it can be found at Home Depot, Lowe’s and the like for just a few bucks. For all you chemical-hating hippies, there are other recipes, sure. One gal at a thrift shop recently noticed my brass purchase and informed me that 1/2 part vinegar to 1/2 part water would quickly and harmlessly revive my brass. Tried it, dipped it, worked at it…but no cigar. Brasso is the way forward if you want results and a lack of pungent vinegar stench.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked right past a brass piece while thrifting thinking to myself the pieces looked too old, or too dirty. Now, there are some who like a healthy “patina” on a piece of vintage metal. Me? Nope. I like it as shiny as the day it was made.

So here’s a DIY piece as easy as pie. Well….easier than that even.

You’ll need: Gloves for them baby soft hands, Brasso, a junk towel to keep the mess from getting on your working table top, one soft/lint-free cloth for application, and a second one for removal of the Brasso and polishing of the piece. (Side note: Brasso works for many different types of metals….its use is not limited to brass.)

BEFORE
BEFORE

I LOVE horses….but I almost passed on this $10 piece at a thrift shop both because I felt $10 was steep (see? I AM thrifty) and it looked like work. At this point, it’s night-time, and I’m just ready to get polishing.

Exhibit A
Exhibit A

 

Exhibit B
Exhibit B

Ah…Here’s a decent before. This is a brass vase found at Salvation Army with a halfway decent shot of my beloved Brasso in the background.

Pretty pony is starting to shine...
Pretty pony is starting to shine…

You can see at the tail portion pictured above how far we had to come for this piece. Mr. Ed was DOO-DOO BROWN when I found him, y’all. He had some serious dark circles around his eyes, and I was thinking we may have to put him down..but they came right out!

Okay…so here’s the scoop! Apply the Brasso generously to a dry cloth and then apply to the metal piece like you would if you were waxing a car. Don’t get crazy and wax your entire brass piece all at once. The Brasso will dry too quickly and your results won’t be quite as good. Wax on, wax off, my friends. Take your time…it will be worth it.

Small parts at a time...
Small parts at a time…

 

020
See the difference?

 

You can see what a difference a quick polishing can make. Here's a half and half example.
You can see what a difference a quick polishing can make. Here’s a half and half example.

Here’s my gorgeous Mr. Ed…in all his glory

EEEhee-hee is right!!!
EEEhee-hee is right!!!

Here’s a re-cap:

BEFORE
BEFORE
EEEhee-hee is right!!!
AFTER

UBER-easy DIY, y’all! So next time you’re out bargain hunting…don’t pass on the brass. Lasso the Brasso and give it some lovin’ and rubbin’.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

Succulent Fever

The idea is not new; in fact they’re everywhere. Low-maintenance succulents. Magazines, design shows, on people’s walls, fences and even their cousin, the “air plant” is hanging from the ceilings. In love with anything I can’t easily kill, I figured out a way to fill my time, and some unused vintage pottery. Hold on to your seats for another really simple tutorial.

This month’s Sunset magazine featured them…010 012 013

Lin at one of my favorite blogs, Hot for Houses posted this wall frame tutorial. Inspired, but not brave enough to put plants on my wall, I had been looking for something to do with some unused vintage pottery and figured now is a good a time as any.

Here’s my pottery. Pretty on the outside, not much to look at on the inside.

002 004

All I needed were the plants which I bought (3) for $6 at Home Depot in various colors and heights. If you plant your own cuttings, you can save on the expense of new plants…but as I said before, I can kill almost anything. They’re safer living at Home Depot.

001

Step 1. Step outside with your soil. I used Cactus, Palm and Citrus Soil.
Step 1. Step outside with your soil. I used Cactus, Palm and Citrus Soil, and some unwanted glass beads in the bottom for drainage in case I got over zealous with the H2O.
Step 2. Add soil.
Step 2. Add soil.
Step 3. Arrange your babies. Be sure to pack in some more soil once placed.
Step 3. Arrange your babies. Be sure to pack in some more soil once placed.

 

Voila! Table top ready!
Voila! Table top ready!

See? A beautiful centerpiece and a great way to dress-up and display your vintage pottery. Also, the easiest tutorial ever…or so you think. Join me next week, I have more in store.

 

 

 

Discovering Re-covering – a DIY Project

The Danish Modern Chair Rescue Project is finished! For those of you new to the blog, a couple of weeks ago I scored a chair in need of some serious lovin’ for $5 at a garage sale. Then, I happily re-finished the wood. Follow me now, as I take you through a quick re-upholstering lesson.

Once again, here is the Danish Modern beauty in its rough original condition:

Weekend Warrior Project
Weekend Warrior Project

Before we move on, I’d like to stress to you just how uncomfortable I was with this project. I knew at some point, I’d have to walk into the dreaded Joann’s craft store. It’s like walking into BabiesRUs when you’ve never had a kid before; intimidating, and overwhelming.  Why are there 20 different bottle nipples? No one knows. Similarly, Joann’s Fabrics makes me just as uncomfortable.  Smug and talented homemakers standing around with their bolts of fabric and perusing craft books. There is an entire 2-sided aisle devoted to scissors. Here’s a little known fact: I’m not crafty. I never took Home Economics in school. I was much too busy playing volleyball and putting the smack down on my competitors to worry about girlie crap like sowing. Now that I’m a bit older, I wish I would have taken “HomeEc” and learned a few “girlie” things.

HGTV Fabrics spied at Joann's.
HGTV Fabrics spied at Joann’s.

After seeing some of the really cool fabrics Joann’s had, I began to consider becoming a convert. How cool would it be to be able to make your own stuff….in the fabric/pattern/style of your choosing? Incredibly cool and empowering. I might just take a class in the near future. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

Anyway…I knew what I was looking for after watching a YouTube video tutorial. I got in and out of there as quickly as possible. Here’s what I bought:

Heavy Duty Stapler, Regular Density Foam, and a $1 recyclable commerative "Sucker Bag" as I call them.
Heavy Duty Stapler, Regular Density Foam, and a $1 recyclable commemorative “Sucker Bag” as I call them. Oh come on! It’s only a dollar! And look! Joann’s is celebrating 70 years!

Okay…now that we have supplies…let’s get to the business.

Step One...Remove the funk-tastic fabric from 1980.
1. Remove the funk-tastic fabric from 1980.
2. Discover the bonus of perfectly good batting and padding. I can return my "regular density foam" upcycle what I already have, and move on!
2. Discover the bonus of perfectly good batting and padding. I can return my “regular density foam” upcycle what I already have, and move on!
Lay out your fabric (I found vintage fabric at rue23vintage on Etsy.com)
3. Lay out and line up your fabric (I found vintage fabric at rue23vintage on Etsy.com)
4. Trim your fabric. Eyeball it. It's not difficult. If you leave too much, you can trim later.
4. Trim your fabric. Eyeball it. It’s not difficult. If you leave too much, you can trim later. (I used regular scissors. But if you want fabric scissors, I’m pretty sure Joann’s has one thousand different versions.)
5. Pick a side and let that stapler rip!
5. Pick a side and let that stapler rip!
6. Pull fabric taut at the opposite side and let 'er rip again! (Once complete, turn pad over to make sure your fabric is straight. This is more important if you've got stripes or pattern.)
6. Pull fabric taut at the opposite side and let ‘er rip again! (Once complete, turn pad over to make sure your fabric is straight. This is more important if you’ve got stripes or pattern. By design, my fabric was pretty idiot proof.)
7. Pull in other sides, and staple to your hearts content leaving the corners for last.
7. Pull in other sides, and staple to your hearts content leaving the corners for last.
9. Create a "pleat" at the corners and check your pad side to make sure it's to your satisfaction.
8. Create a “pleat” at the corners and check your pad side to make sure it’s to your satisfaction.
9. Done and Done.
9. Done and Done. I finished my corners and trimmed away a bit of the excess fabric so that I would have an easier time screwing the seat back onto the chair frame. Always thinkin’!
Here's what I started with..... (Drumroll please!)
So with some time, and very little moolah, I was able to go from this…..
(Drumroll please!)
To this!!!!!
To this!!!!!

021

019

Now that I’m done, this sweet little chair has been moved up to the guest room as an accent…and place for people to take their shoes off, or drape their clothes! What’s more, I was able to rescue a little piece of history and give it new life. Hooray! I have finally discovered the art of the re-cover, and I can’t wait for an opportunity to do it again!

Weekend Warrior, Whaaaaa? A How-to and What-not-to-do.

Remember this guy? Well….I made him my biyatch this weekend.

Garage sale find for $5
Garage sale find for $5

Actually, I think it was the other way around….but who’s keeping track? Buckle your seatbelts, because I’m going to take you on a magical mystery tour of the how-to’s and what-not-to-do’s of refinishing a really old chair.

Here’s what I used: 400 Super Fine Sandpaper, Elmer’s Wood Glue, Murphy’s Oil Soap, Watco Danish Oil (Medium Walnut), a Wood Stain Marker Pen and Howard’s Feed-N-Wax (like conditioner for wood.)

It started with this: The veneer was curling up in one corner of the chair. backrest. I decided to give this Wood Glue a go.
It started with this: The veneer was curling up in one corner of the chair’s back rest. I decided to give this Wood Glue a go. You had me at sandable and paintable.
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Then I realized I didn’t have clamps. Suddenly, the MacGyver in me came out. Office binder clip. Ha! You can’t fool me, chair!
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Sanded with 400 grain super-fine sand paper and fashionably clamped.
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Murphy’s oil soap provides cleaning power.
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Having a ninja helper oversee the Danish Oil bath is always a good choice. (Watco Danish Oil – 7 bucks at Home Depot)
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Whoops. Even though I’d sanded down the glue, the Danish Oil slid right off my “repair” spot.
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Not to be beaten by an old crusty chair, I had to get creative. Lucky for me, I had a similarly hued Wood Stain Marker. The marker worked wonders on the sanded and glued portion of the chair. VOILA!
Chair in waiting...
Chair in waiting for fabric delivery…

Here is what I would have done differently:

1. I wouldn’t have sanded the chair in my kitchen. My “Ah-ha” moment was realizing that I was quite possibly releasing really nasty crap into the air….IN MY KITCHEN…where I prepare food. Dumb.

2. I wouldn’t recommend using Danish Oil in conjunction with a repair job. But if not for my glue spot, the chair would have had a perfect finish. Alternatively, I would have sanded, cleaned and applied the stain BEFORE the glue so that there would have been some stain underneath the repair. Turns out the “sandable, paintable” glue isn’t Danish Oil-able.

This was a quick and easy project to complete. Most of the products I already had in my arsenal and so far, this project has cost a total of $18 in supplies, including the cost of the chair. Not bad for a weekend of DIY entertainment!

I located vintage 1960’s orange fabric on Etsy.com for only 10 bucks including shipping. If you’re not currently subscribed, please come back next week, as I’ll feature a seat re-covering tutorial.

Credit: rue23vintage on Etsy.com
Credit: rue23vintage on Etsy.com