Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chair-y Chair-y Quite Contrary....Chapter Two: Great Legs & Jewelry Trees

So, if you recall in Chapter One of Chair-y Chair-y Quite Contrary, the old pink chair had a pair of turned front legs with perfectly pink chippy paint.  Great legs are a perfect start to a pretty little jewelry tree!

You will, however, need to collect a few other parts.  I've pulled together a few options, which may change as I start "playing".

You will need something for a base; round or square will do.  I like to use recycled lighting fixture or lamp parts.  Trophy bases and candlestick bases also work well.

Parts recovered from lamp shade frames are perfect for the jewelry holder part.  Knob backplates or smaller round decorative parts from deconstructed lamps work great for transitional pieces between the leg, and the finial.

I like to use decorative knobs and pulls for the finial.  

First, we have to deal with prepping the legs.  I had already sanded and waxed the chair with Fiddes Supreme Wax in Rugger Brown when I originally did the "first" pink chair rehab.  Now that the chair is deconstructed, I just need to cut the leg to remove the ends that are unattractive where rails use to attach to the leg.

My tool of choice for this job is a compound miter saw. Note:  I'm self-taught and definitely not an expert; so if you have a better tip please let me know.  It's difficult to make a straight cut on a turned leg.  In order to give myself a firm level surface, I shim the ends of the leg up to the "proudest" point in the leg with bits of scrap wood.  This gives me the most level surface before making my cut.  

Sometimes, when I make a cut on the "chop saw", there's a little bit that's left behind.  No worries, just sand that off.  Chances are it's not perfectly level using my "shim" method anyway and this gives me a chance to even everything out.

Jewelry trees, for me, are as much about visual composition as they are about construction.  After I've assembled "potential" parts, I start by attaching a base to the leg.  First, I have to decide which end of the leg is up.  This usually depends on the base I'm working with.  In this case, one of the bases worked best with the leg one direction, while the other fit best in the opposite direction.  

This is also something to consider when you decide where to cut your leg.  That's why it's important to assemble some potential parts ahead of time.

I line up my base to my leg and use the hole already in the base and mark that for my drill hole.  That may not necessarily be the true center of the leg so use the base as a guide.

Mark the center with a marker or an awl.  I like to use an awl because you can make the mark and a nice divot for the start of the hole that you will need to pre-drill.

Once you've marked your center, you can either pre-drill or attach the base using a self-tapping screw.  This is a screw that has a tip that looks like a drill bit.  It basically kills two birds with one stone.  The drill bit end drills the hole as the screw goes in.  What a great invention!

Attach the base using a washer and screw; either self-tapping or pre-drill first.

As you can see, I'm working on two jewelry trees at once.  I've changed direction of the leg and I'm using the two different available lamp shade frame styles.

This first one is from the type of lamp shade where the shade goes on the fixture and then the light bulb screws on after.  I just pull the little arms out of their sockets and flip them around making the whole thing flat.

This second one actually needs a little repair first.  This is simply the top of the lamp shade frame. As you can see, the original solder joint is broken.  I love it when you find something that has an obvious "make do with what you have" repair.  So, I've decided rather than to re-solder the joint, I'll use some old rusty recycled wire for my repair.

As you can see, I've pretreated this frame with rust activator and then a coat of sealer.

Next, I need some transition pieces between the leg and my finial.  These are necessary for a couple of reasons.  For the one with the large hole, I need something decorative to act as a large washer.  For this one with the smaller hole, I don't want to see the wood end of the leg.  That would look a little sloppy and unfinished.

This is always a case of trying a few things until you find something you like.  All my parts and pieces have been treated with rust activator to age them and then sealed with a clear spray sealer.  As you can see, every metal reacts a different way giving the piece it's own unique character.

Once I've decided on all my transition pieces and finial, I pre-drill a hole centered on the top of my leg to the appropriate depth depending on my finial.    I have to pre-drill because I'm using decorative drawer pulls as my finial and they are more like trying to screw a bolt into a hole.  You want the size  of the hole to be large enough that you can screw the finial in but small enough for it to grip.  Also, don't drill the hole too deep or you won't be able to tighten it down.

Once you have it together, you can add hooks or not.  If you choose to add hooks, you can hang a necklace on one side and the matching earrings on the other.  These hooks were made from recycled construction staples that I bent using pliers.  They are not necessary, just another idea.

And there you have it, one-of-a-kind jewelry trees.

The one on the right already sold before I could get this posted.  The one on the left is available.  It stands 13" tall and is 8" from arm to arm.

Price:  $24.00 THIS ITEM HAS SOLD

Listed on Etsy.  To purchase, click on the Etsy Button at the top of the blog.

If you are local and don't want to pay shipping, let me know prior to making the purchase and I can make the necessary adjustment.

Thanks for stopping by....until next time!

Oops, I almost's what I did with the back of the pink's used for displaying jewelry out at Pomar Junction.  Just another idea for you to borrow.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Jewelry Organizer: Vintage Wood Case

There are so many fun creative ways to display and organize jewelry using vintage finds.   Here's one perfect for those of you who do shows.  You can wrap your jewelry in tissue and bring it in the case, then just unwrap and display.

I have a soft spot for vintage suitcases....among many other things.   I bought this wonderful little wooden case a couple of years ago because I LOVED the lining.  I've never been able to part with it because it's been useful for so many things.  It has this funny sloped top so I imagine that maybe it was a briefcase in it's day...or an artist's case. 

With a simple little modification, it became even more useful.  

I added little brass cup hooks along one side of the lid and bottom of the case about an inch apart. Of course, I aged the cup hooks first with a little rust activator.  If you use this product on real brass and let it sit just a few minutes, it will verdigris the brass instantly; while other metals will rust.  

I always spray seal the cup hooks after I've aged them just in case my earrings might have a reaction to the chemical used to age the hooks....because you never know...

Tip:  Pre-drill the holes for the cup hooks just a little so that they will go in easily.  Otherwise, you risk the chance of them breaking off as you try to screw them I haven't done that before!

On a scale from  1 to 10 this project is definitely a 1.  So, no excuses!  Go out there and find something you love and turn it into jewelry storage.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Upholstery 101: Burlap Bench

Here's a quick reupholstery lesson..... everyone should learn how to do this easy project so that when you need to recover  a simple chair you'll have the know-how and can do it yourself.  

I found this little bench that probably used to be a sewing bench or a little music bench but would be great at a vanity.  I've already given the bench a washed driftwood finish.  The step-by-step instructions for this technique are the same as in the Chair-y, Chair-y Quite Contrary post.
This top is going to be easy breezy because it has soft rounded corners on all four sides.  Also, it just rests inside the frame of the bench because it's a storage bench.  No screws to worry about.

I want it to have a little padding so I use a double layer of Dacron for a little "cush".  I'm going to cover the bench in burlap because I just love the natural color with the driftwood finish.  I cut the Dacron so that it will just go to the edge of the wood and not wrap under.  This top just sits on the bench because there's storage; so I don't want any extra bulk.

Now, I know not everyone has a pneumatic staple gun but if you have one or access to one it makes this job a piece of cake.  There are manual staple guns and electric staple guns that will work but if you are going to be doing a lot of re-upholstery work and you already have an air compressor, this baby is worth the investment.

All upholstery jobs start the same way, working from the top where you can see the fabric, center the fabric on the seat making sure to center your pattern if you have one.  If you are working on a set of chairs instead of just one, make sure you pay attention to the direction of the fabric so that all the chairs are the same.  You can put an arrow on the edge of the fabric where it won't show to remind you which way is up.

Then, flip the seat over and working from one side, place a staple in the center.  Then flip the seat back over and smooth the fabric with your hand across to the opposite side.  Flip the seat over and place a single staple in the center of that opposite side.  Be sure not to pull the fabric too tight.  You don't want it to be so tight that it looks pulled and you lose all your "cush".

At this point, the top of your seat will look like this; stretched but not too tight.

Working from one of the center staples toward a corner, smooth the fabric over with your hand.  You'll see a line in the grain of the fabric that you can use as a guide to line up against the edge of the wood.  This way you know you'll keep your fabric looking straight on the seat.  Even a fabric like burlap, that doesn't have a pattern, still has a grain and will show if you have it on crooked.

Place a row of staples one right next to the other.  This is probably the biggest mistake I see people make; not putting enough staples close together.  This will result in that puckering you see along the edge of a chair.

Here's what it would look like if I placed my staples further apart.  This is an exaggeration but you can see that any fabric between two staples creates a pucker because the fabric isn't pulled tight if it's not stapled.

Go ahead and staple along one whole side stopping and inch or two before you reach a corner.  This is what it should look like from the front; nice and smooth with no puckers.

Next, staple the opposite side; again stopping an inch or two before the corner.  Once two sides are stapled your seat should look like this.

 Here's what it looks like from the back side.  A nice row of staples close together.  This is why a pneumatic or electric staple gun is handy; it's easier to get everything even when you can staple it quickly.  It takes a bit longer to staple manually and so there's a chance the fabric slips before you get to the next staple.
Once all four sides are done, it's time to work on the corners.

When you get to the corners, whether you can smooth the fabric around a corner like we will be able to do here, or you have to make a little pleat like on a sharp corner, there's always more bulk of fabric to deal with.

Here, I pull back the burlap at the corner and cut away any excess Dacron.  I don't want any extra stuff on the bottom of my seat or it won't sit nicely on my bench.

You can trim the excess fabric from the sides that are stapled and any excess that may get in your way around the corner.  Just be careful not to cut away something you'll need for the corner.

After trimming the Dacron and excess fabric, I can see that I will be able to smooth the fabric around the soft corner of the bench without having to create a pleat.  This is why it's important to stop a couple of inches short of the corner.  This will give me room to sort of stretch the fabric where I need to in order to get it smooth around the corner.

Taking your time, start working the fabric around the corner stapling as you go.

Don't be afraid to use a lot of staples here.  The staples will help keep everything as flat as possible.

This is what a corner should look like when finished.

Now I have a nice smooth corner from the front.

Once all four corners are done, trim the excess fabric from the corners and your finished.

And there you have it, a pretty little bench with storage.

This bench is for sale and will be available to see in person at Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery.

Overall dimensions:
17 1/4" x 15 1/8" x 19"