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A house is not a home…

…without a wreath. I’ve made lots of wreaths. I think I’ve got at least two blog posts on wreaths. You can find them here and here.  I figure now that Mr. Smith and I are finally settled into our own home it’s time I made a wreath for us. 

  
I used a pretty basic wreath form. As you can see here I already wrapped  a branch with some black twine.

  
I then just wrapped a couple of sections with some burlap ribbon to serve as my base.

  
Then it was time to pick out flowers and bits and bobs.

  
I felt like this flower needed a little embellishment so I added some hands of a clock. 

  
In fact I added the gears in another section. It’s the clock that I turned into a lantern last year, which you can see here.

  
I also warped a few keys into the vines

  
And easy as pie we have our own wreath for our own house. Finally 

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A Long Story

2014 was a rather interesting and amazing year for me. I would do a retrospective of my best blog posts but, since I only just started this adventure last year it would be rather boring for the few people that follow this blog. However feel free to browse through the archives where you will find some interesting gems like the chairs I recovered and painted.

Being the person I am I couldn’t let the pile of fabric that the reupholstering process created go to waste. Especially considering I knew the wonderful individuals that owned the chairs before me and lived with those amazing fabrics in their homes. Those chairs have a long story and I thought it would be nice to tell that story with the fabric that was left over. I may now be the owner of the chairs but I thought it would be nice for them to have a conversation piece to remember the table that so many dinners and friendsgivings were held at.

So with the holidays coming up I decided to embark on a project that… well let’s just say it might have been a bit too ambitious for my not-so-honed skills.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I am lucky enough to have a family that has taught me how to sew (albeit rudimentarily) and I also have a friend that has taught me how to dye and fix fabric. So when I washed the old fabric and came out with the most magical colored water I couldn’t resist tinting the other fabric to fit into the color scheme. I simply let the fabrics that I wanted to dye soak in the colored water along with a generous amount of salt to act as a fixative. I then took the fabric out, rubbed some more salt on the fabric, then rinsed them and voila pale teal fabric.

I didn’t stop to consider the fabric wouldn’t be the only thing that would be dyed.

Now it was just a matter of what to do with the newly dyed fabric. I thought I would be overly ambitious and tackle applique. Keeping in mind that I have no idea how to do applique or embroidery.

The first step was to round up some supplies. Fusible webbing, an embroidery hoop, and embroidery floss in colors that would go with the fabrics. I choose a light and dark teal as well as a light and dark brown to tie everything together. Next I had to choose a design to work with. I figured I would go with a tried and true (as well as relatively simple) leaf motif.

I then just traced out leaf figures on my fusible web then roughly cut them out to place the sticky side down on the various fabrics (including the new one that I used) and cut out the final shape. Once all my leaves were cut I chose the leaves I wanted to use and arranged them on my backing fabric. I then just followed the directions of the fusible web to iron them onto the backing fabric.

All of that is the easy part. Next was the tedious part of embroidering around the leaves. Like I said, I have no idea how to applique or embroider so I didn’t do anything fancy here. I simply did a back stitch all the way around the perimeter of the leaves in a contrasting color to secure them. Then I just put a few ornamental veins in the leaves.

Just as in my last project I completely failed to get pictures of the finished project because I’m a terrible blogger. Luckily I have very obliging friends so they let me take pictures once they opened their presents so you have pictures of wrinkled finished products. And yes I gave my friends back their own fabric for Christmas. Strange, but an enjoyable project. I also gave them extra leaves and blocks of fabric in case they want to do their own block and turn it into a pillow, though one had the brilliant idea of an apron, which I love. I think my own might just become that.

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The Kitchen Island of Misfit Chairs

It’s not actually an island it’s a dining room table, but that didn’t sound nearly as festive.

So we received this table from a friend of ours. Who had previously got it from another friend of ours, and by the time that “first” owner had it the table was already second hand. So with this project I had the opportunity to do some serious archaeology.

When we received the chairs they had a lovely teal fabric on them. I wasn’t opposed to the teal but they were a little sun faded and stained from years of use and the cushioning was breaking down. I knew our friend hadn’t replaced the cushioning when she reupholstered instead opting just to recover the existing fabric. Which truth be told, is the only kind of upholstery work I’ve ever done.

So out the staples came to reveal what our other friend had for her chair cushions. Each chair a different pattern. We had actually considered doing this, all the same color scheme just different patterns, but eventually I found a bargain on some fabric I loved and just couldn’t pass it up. This is very much her style and her current dining setup has all different chairs not just different patterns on the same chairs.

So off that fabric came…. And what a surprise. The misfits were not the last layer. There was the most boring khaki color you have ever seen underneath.

So off that came as well. To reveal the horrors…

Turns out all of that work was for nothing, the seat bases were delaminating. Also the actual cushioning material was made out of an old egg crate mattress pad. Which was slightly horrifying. That didn’t matter as we planned on replacing that anyway. But the wood for the seats would have to be replaced.

Luckily one had already been replaced, two owners back if the fabric strata are to be believed. So that one was excellent to use as a template. We simply traced it out on our new sheet of plywood, used the table saw to rip it down and a jig saw to round the corners. And hey presto! New seats.

Next on to the foam padding, once again using the already refurbished one as a template.

Finally after the couple of bumps in the road (and a coffee cup full of staples… that could have made for a bad morning) we could get down to upholstery.

I’ve recovered a few things before, like I said I’ve never done it from scratch. The only real difference I found is that because you’re pulling on new foam and placing tension on the fabric you can if you’re not careful run into puckering. As long as you start from the middle, alternate sides, work towards the corners and be careful how much tension you put on the fabric you shouldn’t have too much trouble.

And always remember that if you do get puckering you can always pull out and replace staples to relieve it, mistakes are going to happen and they aren’t permanent in this case. I had to pull out quite a few on my first couple of chairs before I got the hang of it.

When all was said and done, we had lovely and oh so comfortable new seat cushions.

We also had a pile of old fabric and a coffee cup full of staples.

Also note I did not in any way try to center my pattern… do yourself a favor and do the same if you are trying this for the first time, from what I understand it’s not the easiest thing in the world

Next up we will be painting the chairs… wooo hooo!