Saturday, September 10, 2011

Limed oak chair

Remember the old oak chair that was sorely in need of a facelift?

Sadly in need of some TLC

Well, it got one!


Rather sad, hmmm? One of the feet had been colonised by nasty wood munching crawly things so I did a quick amputation and sprayed the chair thoroughly just in case!
Next a good sanding with the electric sander and by hand for the fiddly bits.
Even with the sanding, the wood looked tired so I decided to lime the oak. Of course none of the local shops had liming paste so I had to mix up my own. Luckily I had a block of beeswax handy (yes, I know its not the kind of thing you generally have lying about, but I did) so I grated some of this with a cheese grater and covered it with turpentine in a glass jar. Left overnight it all dissolves into a thick paste to which I added some artist's Titanium white oil paint. By the way, without the paint this makes a wonderful beeswax polish and you can add some essential oils such as lemon or lavender to make it fragrant.

Grating the beeswax

Now the next step in the liming process is going to seem very harsh - you take a wire brush and give all the oak a good, hard brush to open up the softer grain of the oak so that the lime paste will fill the gaps to give that lovely faded look.
Brushing open the grain  of the oak
Applying the liming wax

Apply the paste with a soft cloth and rub in until you are happy with the result. The beeswax is wonderfully nourishing for old wood which responds beautifully.
Next I needed to make a replacement foot which was attached with a dowel for extra strength.

Making a new foot
Attach the foot with a dowel

Then on to the upholstery work - all the springs needed retying, which was quite a job, and then I built up the seat and reinforced the back with webbing before giving a calico under covering.

The chair in it's lining with webbing on the back rest.

The final fabric was put in place and fixed with upholstery studs. Now, what was once only fit for the scrapheap is a comfortable, sturdy chair ready for years of use once more!

The best seat in the house and so comfy

To see another chair makeover go to From office frump to office vamp

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What to do with all those hand crocheted doilies

Here is another idea that was inspired by my visit to Italy. Have you ever seen those beautiful lace curtains at the windows of the houses in Tuscany? Usually with an old lady keeping watch on the street below or a lazy cat lying on the sill. Something like these:

Well, I thought they were lovely and longed for some too, only luggage restraints did not allow. So how about this as an alternative?
Collect a range of crocheted doilies; sizes and patterns don't really matter but keep to the same colour. Thrift and charity shops sell them for next to nothing!
Measure the window you want to screen and buy a piece of translucent fabric like voile or cheesecloth in a similar colour to that of the doilies - I used white on white and cream on cream.
Your doilies might need a wash or even a bleach if they are white and stained.
Lay out the fabric on a large table or the floor and arrange the doilies until you are satisfied with their positions. Hand tack them to the fabric quite firmly as they tend to move around when stitching.
Using a zigzag stitch, applique around each doily and then cut the fabric from the back of the doily carefully using a pair of small sharp scissors.
Hem and finish off the curtain.
What do you think? If you make some yourself do contact me to post a photo of them on the blog to inspire others!

Of course, Emma the Burmese cat does add to the final effect!