Welcome friends. A Jug of White Daisies is about my life and all the thoughts that come to me while I'm walking, doing the dishes, having a shower or hanging washing on the line - some of my regular activities that give me time to think. It's about all the things that make up my life - cooking, cleaning, creating, loving, learning, discovering, rolling my eyes, sighing, smiling, forgiving, making do, making the most of, looking up, gardening, hugging, being. It's about the things that I make for sale, fabulous finds, the wisdom and beauty in the world, and it's about stopping to admire the simple perfection of daisies.

And in amongst all the thinking and writing about that, I'll be doing it all, and more, so if you don't see me for a day or two, please send chocolate.

February 5, 2015

Fixing Chairs, Part 1

I have a confession. People who know me know this, but people who don't know me may be surprised. Or horrified. Or intrigued.... I not-so-secretly have an old chair fetish/hoard/issue. What can I say, they are attracted to me - they just follow me home, honest.

I have too many for the house, more than any sane person could ever need even in a bigger house than we have. Which I will probably never have. And they are mostly the kind that look like rats have been nesting in them for a while, or that someone put out on the street for garbage collection (which is true in quite a few cases...), but they have potential, even if it's only me who can see it.

I have quite a collection in the house, but the garage holds the worst ones, the ones needing to be done up. I'm not showing you a picture of the stacks. I do have some pride... Oh alright then, I have no pride, lol.

There are dining chairs picked up curbside by a friend who thought I might like them. She lugged them home two at a time in the rain, bless her, by hand. I do like them, but my darling doesn't. He has the strangest aversions to things, like mango and lavender for instance, but when he doesn't like something, he really doesn't. So the dining chairs aren't for me. But I will do them up regardless and pass them on, useful again.

There are old armchairs from the Victorian period, swing back chairs from the 1940s and one Edwardian armchair with very nice lines that we picked up out of a skip/dumpster one night in Portobello, near Edinburgh, when we lived in Scotland. There's a little cane chair for a child, and probably a few others actually... And there's a few in the house that need some TLC too.

They are diverse and generally in terrible condition, but they all share something in common. They have good bones, they are - well they were - well made and they have character and they deserve another chance, poor things. Oh and the other common factor is that they are very patient. They've all been waiting ages for me to do something useful with them.

I started today. I picked out the two matching 1940's Swing Back chairs (I have two others that don't match, but let's not go there...). These were from a dear old lady who put them on Freecycle, hoping that someone would take them on. They were given to her parents when they were married and she always loved them, but she couldn't do them up and it was too expensive for her to get someone to do it. She made me promise that if I decided not to do them, I would offer them up again for someone else. Fat chance, I love them! They were a bit disgusting and my husband was a bit grossed out, but he has come to trust me (silly boy) so he loaded them in the car and took them home with glee (on my part). That was a mere four years ago. You can't rush these things!

Here they are. They're the same, just been painted a few times and put in different rooms, apparently. They're pretty gross, Duncan was right after all.

 Too much paint, too much dirt and too much sag. 

 The side view. See, they have nice lines, very curvy and they are surprisingly comfortable to sit in too. I've always like this style. 

OK, they are pretty disgusting... One can only assume those stains are sweat. Ick. And the paintwork is filthy too. I guess they were in the garage for a while even before they came to live in mine. 

So. I started on the yellow one. I tipped it upside down to start hauling out the upholstery. Everything had to go.

There were a few tacks. A few billion. OK maybe not billion... Would you believe thousand? ... Any takers for a few hundred? 

 What I'm saying here is that it was well tacked. But it was obviously the original fabric, because there was no double tacking, it was one lot only. Just plenty of one lot. 

Top and bottom. 

Once the seat was completely free of tacks, I had to get the back off. The bolt thingy was rusted up a bit, but Duncan's trusty wrench thingy (technical terms) did that job for me. I have no idea whether that was the right tool for the job but it worked. I think it might be vintage too, it has a certain character as well. **I am reliably informed by my better half that it's not a wrench thingy, it's a shifter, which is an adjustable spanner. And it was the right tool. Hurrah!

Of course, there were more tacks. A lot more... 

Not so many on the flip side, thank goodness. 

The last few tacks! Yahoo. Hardly any blood and not many bruises to show for it all either. Some but not many... it's darned hard on the knuckles to slip and bash into the wood. My thumb was really sore too from all that levering. Oh my goodness, the levering out of the tacks. Blah! They were well pounded in and it was slow work. And it was really dirty work, I have to say. Putrid even. I could hardly believe how much dirt fell out of it. I mean you expect a little but some of this was dirt, not just compost, it had gone beyond the compost stage. 

The leftover detritus - it doesn't look like much but this was a black bin bag full!

But the afternoon's hard work paid off, because this one at least, is up to stage 2. 

One down, one to go. Plus a lot more work, because they are a bit shaky too. I guess that means I will have to actually pull them apart to re-glue. And strip and sand them. And refinish. And recover. I don't think they'll be done in a flash. 

I discovered under all that fabric that the frame is all silky oak. Now I'm not sure whether to make them back up the way they were, with the frame part covered, or to make a base and put a cushion on it, to let the silky oak show. It seems a shame to waste it. I'll see what the other one looks like. If it's still all silky oak too, I might just cushion them. I will have to ask Duncan about the practicalities of making and securing a wooden base. 

I'm pretty excited to have started. I hope to get the other one done before the end of the weekend, and the joints fixed too if possible. Wish me luck. 

love Heather x To the question of your life, you are the only answer. To the problems of your life, you are the only solution. ~Jo Coudert

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