Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Chair Re-Upholstery Progress

Where have I been!? What happened to my chair? I'm sorry for the lack of posting-ness. It's been busy, I've been sick, and it takes a really long time to pluck out thousands of staples from a little chair. Plus, I've started this really great new job that I'm sure you will be hearing lots about quite soon, but still have to maintain my 9-5 for a couple more weeks.

Yeah, yeah, excuses, excuses, right? Moral of the story is the chair is not finished yet and I'm still working on it, but I thought I would give a quick progress report. You'll have to wait a few more days before you see the real thing!

After thousands of staples, my chair was completely naked and exposed to the world, poor thing.

Refurbishing a chair is a lot of work, who knew? And no matter how many notes or pictures you take as you're taking it apart, when you go to put it back together you question whether or not you're doing it right. I've just got to finish up sewing the cushions and put the final touches on it, and then it should be ready for a big reveal. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Week 10: Reupholster a Chair

Wow! Week 10. I'm having a blast. Thanks for being here.

It's odd how the luck of the draw works sometimes. Just a few days ago I was hoping that this project would be picked out soon!

I found this chair last spring at a second hand furniture store. This place not only sells great furniture, but they partner with organizations in the city to make homes for people who are transitioning out of homelessness. I believe I paid $30 or $35 and believe it really was a great find.

This chair is super comfy. So comfy in fact that I took a Sunday afternoon nap in it this week. But as much as rose pink fills me with nostalgic memories of my gramma, it's time for a more modern and youthful look.

Why I want to make this: I've never recovered an upholstered piece of furniture before but have bought fabric before in a valiant attempt. And when I bought this chair, it was with the presumption that I would recover it one day. I just lucked out that the chair I bought didn't completely clash with the rest of my room.

Ideas & Inspirations: Months ago I had purchased some dark grey fabric to recover it. Now that it is several months later, I'm thinking of ideas to jazz it up a bit.

What I intend to do with said project: This chair sits in the corner of my room next to the window. I look forward to many more naps in this chair. Or perhaps I will take up blogging in my chair? Maybe I shouldn't associate the 2 activities...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Week 9: DIY Jewelry Holder

This week my project was to create something using items from a hardware store. I created a jewelry holder using wooden pallet pieces, copper pipe fittings, teal wood stain, and some E-6000 glue.

I went to the hardware store and was full of inspiration after the first couple of aisles. But when I got to the aisle of copper pipe fittings, I just couldn't stop thinking about them! So rich in colour, so pretty, so shiny and not too expensive either. Most of the pieces I bought were less than $1. But what to make with them?

Once I found my way home from the store, I dug out a couple of pieces of pallet wood that we had stored in the garage.

I found 2 of the darkest, most rustic looking pieces I could find, and used the saw to chop them down to a reasonable size. I cut the boards between the rusty nails and wasn't too picky about making them the exact same length. Then I sanded the pieces down a bit - I didn't want them to be smooth at all, but just enough to get rid of the splintery-pokey-outy bits.

Next, I used a couple scrap pieces of MDF and screwed them on to the back of my pallet pieces to hold it all together.

Once it was in one piece, I went outside to stain it.  I was delighted to complete this step outside on a beautiful sunny day and it was only -4 degrees! Plus, the wood stain can cautioned me to work in a well ventilated area to avoid lead poisoning. Yikes!

I was so pleased to find this lovely small can of teal wood stain in the 'oops' section for just $1. I did a really light coat and made sure not to cover the wood completely.

After generously allowing a few hours of drying time, I arranged my copper pieces the way I wanted them. I used E-6000 to connect the copper to the wood and there is no chance of them falling off anytime soon. I piled a couple of pennies to add depth to one piece, but the glue was not the best at keeping the copper-to-copper parts together - I had to re-glue them.

Once the glue was holding tightly, I hung it on my wall and bam! A colourful spot to hang my jewelry.

What I enjoyed the most: I sure did have a fun time at the hardware store. An older gentleman employee approached me to ask if I needed help and I wasn't sure how he would react to: "I'm doing an art project and I'm not sure what direction to take yet." But he was great and offered lots of tips and ideas. Plus, now I've got a few ideas tucked away for next time!

Next time I would... Not use cheap screws! That one simple step took way too long!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Week 9: Hardware Store Crafts

This week's project is a fun one! 

Why I want to make this: I love hardware stores. I love the smell of lumber, the aisles of random bits and bobs, and I love having an excuse to go wander around. I love picking out random pieces of hardware and thinking of fun things to make with them.

Ideas & Inspirations: There are a lot of fun projects out in the world of the internet, like making jewelry out of nuts and washers, or using paint-chips in various artistic expressions. But I really am hoping to be inspired by what I find as I wander through the store.

What I intend to do with said project: I really do enjoy projects that have a purpose - like something I can use each day. Like, I'm sure I could make a really sweet sculpture out of PVC pipes, but I'm not sure I have a need for that in my life right now.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Week 8: Back Alley Photography

This week was a quick photo project and I'm quite excited to share a piece of my neighbourhood in such a weird and wonderful way.

On a sunny, chilly, wintery Sunday afternoon, I took a walk around my neighbourhood. You must know, this was not an easy decision. My neighbourhood, or more affectionately my "hood," is the type of place where it may not be the best idea to strut around with a big fancy camera around your neck. Not even in broad daylight. After several failed attempts of trying to get someone to join me, I set out in order to catch the last bit of daylight.

I began at the park at the end of my street, but then wandered a block or two further to a mini-industrial area. I was met by large, boxy old buildings, hilarious signs and unique pieces of machinery. Although it was a Sunday afternoon, I navigated carefully. I didn't think it was a good day to get busted for trespassing!

On my way back home, I wandered through the back alleys. Since arriving in Edmonton, AB nearly 5 years ago, I've always been fascinated by back alleys. Colourful lopsided sheds, rotting roofs, abandoned old cars, discarded furniture and remnants of failed carpentry projects. As you'll see, I was not to be disappointed.

Now I save the best for last. I was completely and wonderfully shocked when I stumbled upon this sight. I couldn't have even dreamed up a shot like this. So completely and utterly random. I was speechless. I love my city and my hood for creating alley wonders like this.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Week 8: Go Take Some Pictures!

Playing catch-up as my project from last week took a little longer than anticipated. Luckily my project this week is not nearly as intense.

Why I want to make this: There was a time in my life where I was very much into the idea of photography. I even took a class or two - but please lower your expectations because it's been a while. I got an entry-level digital SLR as a birthday/graduation present almost 5 years ago. Overtime I found myself lugging the thing around and rarely taking pictures, so eventually I just left it at home. It's been great having it to take pictures for the blog, but I feel that my Nikon has so much more potential!

Ideas & Inspirations: I plan to take a walk around the neighbourhood. I'm tired of taking pictures inside. I like back alleys. They are very visually interesting. Or just plain interesting.

What I intend to do with said project: That is a great question. With the popularity of digital photography, pictures get shared through various forms of social media, but not displayed as often as some should. I think I'll go old-school and get one photo printed, framed and on display.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Week 7: An Embroidered Pillow

I'm finally finished with my project of the week. Here it is!

Without a doubt the most challenging part of this for me was drawing out my pattern. I consider myself an artist, but more in a crafting/creating sort of way than painting/drawing. I can't draw something that actually has to look like something from real life, so I tend to go for something more abstract or geometric. Sounds great except then I feel the need for everything to be perfectly symmetrical. I swear it took over an hour for me to draw out the border.

Once the pattern was done, I used my handy dandy water-soluble ink pen to trace out my beloved pattern. And then began the 20+ hours of embroidering!

What I enjoyed the most: I love-love-loved doing the embroidery. Every. Single. Minute. I enjoyed experimenting with different stitches and paying attention to the smallest details. Plus, this project is super portable and I spent many of my project hours hanging out with people rather than my usual spot (alone) in the craft room.

Next time I would... Pick a smaller project? Haha! But I sure did enjoy all 14 inches of this pillow. So maybe next time I should get a head-start on it. Or just have an ongoing embroidery project with no set deadline.