Thursday, December 10, 2015

Put A Bird on It

This super sweet chair was a custom piece for a lovely family in Kingston, ON. They weren't afraid of colour or a bold print, so I had a lot of fun transforming this family heirloom!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Restoration Harware-inspired Trunk Dresser

One of my absolute FAVOURITE pieces at the Market right now i this 3-drawer dresser I restored using brown burlap, old louvre door pieces, a leather belt and new hardware pieces.  I also created feet for this dresser using fence-post toppers from the hardware store.  

My inspiration was the line of 'trunk' furniture available at Restoration Hardware, like this small dresser: 

But at the Restoration Hardware price of $3,095 (because that $95 will really make or break the purchase, I'm sure) there's no way this is practical!

The materials for my trunk (including the $5 I spent on the dresser itself at a yard sale a few weeks ago), cost about $60, the most expensive being the new burlap I purchased for 50% off at Fabricland, with the runner up being the new dresser feet.

The dresser is now available at the Market for $275 - it was a labour of love to get it looking this good!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Find Fay Grayson Home on FACEBOOK!!

If this chair looks familiar, it's because I spent a lot of time blogging about the process of upholstering it.! 

Dear Blogosphere friends and followers,

I have been a bad blogger, but don't worry, I haven't stopped rehabbing furniture and things, I've just become really bad at blogging about it!  So sorry (again).

If you're wondering what I've been up to since February, I recommend you check out my Facebook page (or click on the icon on the top right hand side of the blog).

I was busy with custom upholstery for a white after Christmas, but also managed to squeeze in a few furniture redos.

And in other exciting news, I set up a space in a (somewhat) local Antique & Flea Market near Kingston, ON.  It's Collins Bay Antique & Flea Market and I'd certainly recommend a visit!  There are some great antique and vintage finds, beautiful furniture, and unique items.  The market is also really clean and well-maintained which really matters to me.

Come and visit....on Facebook and at the Market.

Monday, February 3, 2014

First Time Coil Spring Tying & Padding It Out

Well, for better or for worse, I salvaged some old coil springs for the 'new' chair and spent an afternoon sewing and then tying them on.  I think I made a bunch of mistakes but I learned a lot.  Here's the run down:

The Easy Stuff:

Sewing the springs on to the chair webbing.  This was, by far, the easiest part of the whole ordeal.  You need to make sure your springs are 'right side up' and are facing the same way.  If you know how to use a (big, fat, long) needle, you'll be fine.  You need to attach each spring in 3 places, with three stitches at each location.  Here's a great Instructable to work from. 

Once you're done tying the springs, you cover the whole lot with a piece of burlap.  Stretch it over the springs, but don't make it as taut as you would fabric - it needs a bit of give to move with the springs.  Staple around the edge and then trim to a couple of inches, fold over and staple again.  You'll notice I forgot this step on the burlap on the chair back.

Applying the edge roll and the batting is also easy.  It's good too, because after the wine (see below) you need a nice easy step.

Don't ...

Don't stagger your springs.  I shouldn't have done that, but I didn't have an eighth spring, so I improvised. Do what I say, not what I do?

Don't underestimate how much tying string you need.  Get lots.  Actually get a roll.

Don't forget to fold over and double-staple your burlap when covering the springs.

Don't forget to pick up a bottle of wine.  You'll want it later.

For next time...

I still need to master actual knot tying on the springs.  I don't have that down.  I found online tutorials in this area a bit slim, but there's a guide in Amanda Brown's book "Spruce: A Step By Step Guide to Upholstery and Design" (the best, up-to-date book I've seen!).

Get a long nosed staple gun.  It makes all the difference in getting in tight spots, especially at the back of the chair, under the back frame.

Remember to create a 'crown' with the shape of your springs.  If you're tying them right, apparently this happens somewhat automatically....I think that's lies.  Lies!  You'll need to push the springs closer to the chair frame down lower and tie the string firmly.  You want a nice 'mounded' chair!

So, when you're done with the tying, you'll want the wine.  And probably a good stretch.  Or maybe a massage...or all three.  You know, whatever.

After the burlap, I also used a deck padding material over the springs - it's a modern product, so if you don't have that just use more (and more) padding.  The role of the deck padding is to help cushion the springs so you don't feel them through the foam. 

Once you've got the burlap and decking down, attach the edge roll around the seat of the chair.  The edge roll softens the hard edge of the frame and prevents your padding and fabric from rubbing against the edge and possibly, over time, wearing out the fabric at this point.

I made my own edge rolling using old cotton batting salvaged from another chair, and some burlap.  This way I can create edge roll in any diameter or size I want - fatter for the front of the chair, and smaller for the sides (which get less wear, obviously).  Edge roll is a bit like piping or welting on steroids...more plump, but with the same 'tail' or band.  I sew mine on the machine - you can also just hand tack it and then staple it down well.  This guy makes his own edge roll too and shows you how!  His is can just use the cotton batting, or thick fabric, or horsehair...whatever.  You just need something to soften the edge (but, his is awesome, so for quality, follow his lead!).

This lady with a posh accent will show you how to apply the edge roll.  Cheers!  (Where she uses shears, you may just wish to use a utility knife, or straight knife). The posh lady forgot to tell you to pinch the front of the edge roll and staple it down, so this guy shows you how.  Got it?    

Once you've attached the edge roll, you'll see there's a dip between the decking and the edge roll.  You'll need to fill that in with batting or padding of some sort - I used salvaged cotton.  At this step, you can stack up some padding to improve the shape of your seat's crown.  Use this step to fill in any low points or dips created by the springs.

Good work so far!  It's starting to look like furniture!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Parlour Chair Makeover: Prepping the Frame & Applying Jute Webbing

Last week I picked up a chair from from a guy in Fowler's Corners on one of my trips to Peterborough.  It looked like someone had started the chair as a DIY project and then lost steam (What?  I have no idea what that looks like!)  They'd completely stripped down the chair and succeeded in stripping off half of the original finish, but that was it.  That being said, that's still a lot of work!  I snapped up the frame for $25 and tossed it into the car.

When I got back to the workshop, I stripped off the rest of the lacquer and peeling finish and gave it a good sanding by hand.   As per usual, I forgot to take a real "before" the above will have to do.

 I wasn't sure how I was going to refinish the wood, but after the sanding I realised it wasn't in the greatest shape to stain and seal, so I opted to give it an aged look with an all natural homemade stain and some dry brushing with latex paint.

The paint dried very quickly as it soaked into the wood and once it was dry I brushed on a quick coat of Miss Mustard Seed's clear furniture wax.  I buffed it, and then threw the frame in the car again.

It's so easy to toss a chair around when it ain't nothin' but a frame!

The next day I applied a second coat of wax and gave it a good buffing.  That's when I realised I should snap some photos!  In the close ups of the arms you can see the dry brushing's easy to do and give a weathered and worn look which was perfect for this old and beat up frame.

The next step was to apply new jute webbing to the chair.  The burlap will support the springs in the chair's seat as well as the foam and fabric for the back.

I was able to put my DIY Gooseneck Webbing Stretcher to good use for this part.  It's working like a charm so far and I don't have any complaints.

For an excellent tutorial on applying webbing to a chair frame, check out Studio Swiss's online tutorial. It gives you all the info you need, plus a Swiss accent!  You should probably eat it while eating some Lindt chocolate.  Probably for the best.

I find the stretching of the jute webbing fairly straightforward.  You just want to be certain that your webbing is well-spaced and centred (I didn't do an excellent job of that here...always room to improve!), and that the webbing is pulled very taut - it should sound a bit like a drum.

The webbing on the seat needs to be more substantial than the webbing on the back of the chair.  The seat webbing will support the springs and weight of an individual, whereas the webbing in the back will get less strenuous wear and is mostly needed to offer some back support and to act as a foundation for the foam and fabric.

Stay tuned for the next installment where I'll sew in and tie my springs and get the seat ready for upholstering.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

DIY Gooseneck Webbing Stretcher

I like to save money where I can.  I'm focusing more on upholstery these days and one of the necessary tools you'll need if you're going to be rebuilding furniture is a webbing stretcher.  There are different versions of this tool, but the most user-friendly version looks like this:

This is a gooseneck webbing stretcher by CS Osborne & Co, the muckity mucks of upholstery.  And while this version even bears my maiden name (can you see it?), I just couldn't part with the $40 - $60 it was going to cost me to order one of these online. 

I found a version like this at a local Fabricland for $37, but still....I couldn't justify it and I felt like there had to be a better way! 

Usually searching online for DIY or 'make your own' versions of things yields lots of options, but in this case, not so much.  It took a couple of searches before I found this eHow article on How to Make A Webbing Stretcher which was somewhat helpful, but devoid of pictures. 

Then I came across this weird french anime DIY blog which had a couple of pictures.  There was also another foreign language site with a couple of other pictures, but I cannot for the life of me find it to share with you now. 

So, with a little scrap wood, some nails and screws I had on hand, and an old paint roller, I came up with this:

Not too shabby, right?  True, it's not going to last forever, it certainly doesn't have the durability of the $60 models above, but this one cost me NOTHING and will serve my purposes for the moment, so I say it's a win! 

Here's what you'll need:

Block of scrap wood approx. 4"x4" (I used pine, it's soft and easy to bang the nails into)
Wood Glue
4d or similar nails
1/2 inch screws
Old paint roller handle
Power Drill & Drill Bit
Rubber, thick material, leather, or foam scrap
Staple Gun
Hand chisel & Hammer

I cut my scrap of wood to the dimension I needed with my jigsaw.  I didn't measure it, just guesstimated the size I needed based on the width of my jute webbing. 

Then I used a wire cutter (or tin snips) to cut the heads off of 14 nails.  Maybe wear protective eyewear for this step, those little heads can fly! 

Using my awl, I punched starter holes into the pine block.  I put seven nails in the first row and seven in the back row, but I staggered their placement.  I put a dob of wood glue onto the hole made by the awl before knocking in the headless nails (pointy ends up, headless ends down!).  Yes, the heads get a bit dinged, but you don't need them super-sharp anyway.  With the wood glue they feel very sturdy. 

Then I chose a drill bit that matched the width of my paint roller handle.  I drilled a hole into the wood about an inch and a half from the top of the wood with the nails in it.  Your measurement for where to place the hole could be different, it will depend on how your paint roller handle is shaped.  If you take a look at my first picture, you'll see there's a bend in the handle which sits about 1/2 an inch below the start of the wood...aim for something like this and drill your hole accordingly.   

You're drilling a hold to push the roller-holding part of the paint roller handle into the wood.   I used a small 2 inch roller so that the roller wouldn't extend beyond my wood.  You should, too! 

After drilling the hole, I used a chisel to chip away a divot/groove below the hole.  This is for the arm of the handle - to help it lay flat against the wood. 

I filled the hole with wood glue and then bashed my roller handle into the hole and kept bashing the handle until it laid mostly flat into the groove. 

Then I placed 5, 1/2 inch screws into the wood to add extra holding power to the handle.  Larger head screws would be ideal here, but I just used what I had on hand. 

The final step was adding my protective piece of rubber (I actually used a strip from an old non-slip, foam type mat) to the top of the wood.  I'd say you need about a 3"-31/2" long  by 2 1/2" wide piece of rubber or thick material or leather for this.  You want to use this to pad the top of the stretcher because this is the part of the stretcher that comes in contact with the frame of the furniture piece you are upholstering, and you don't want to mark the frame (especially if it is a visible, outer part of the frame!).   The foam I used isn't what I'd recommend, I'd recommend rubber if you can find it, but again, this is what I had on hand and can be replaced. 

I centred the foam and then stapled it down with my staple gun.  Et voila!  A free, make your own webbing stretcher! 

She ain't pretty, but she can help you do this:


And in case you're wondering, care of my new idol (and girl crush!), Amanda Brown of Spruce Upholstery in Austin, Texas this is how you use a gooseneck webbing stretcher:

And if you've dabble a bit in DIY upholstery and are looking for more info, teaching and lots of awesome pictures, I highly recommend Amanda's book, Spruce: A Step By Step Guide to Upholstery and Design

Happy stretching! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New Business Card Design

So I use Vistaprint for my business cards.  I like it because it's a Canadian company and they're really affordable - plus, they have pretty good editing options, and the website and interface is really user-friendly.  Since I don't really have the skills to be a graphic designer, and cheat and use a combo of 'stock' design cards and my own images. 

Have I mentioned how I do everything in Word?  Yes.  I'm pretty ghetto over here.  Deal with it. 

I created the blog header above in Word.  Fancy!  I decided I liked the design so much I transferred it to the new business card design. 

"But Emily, didn't you just order new business cards a few months ago?"

Thanks for asking.  Yes, yes I did.  I love them.  They looked like this:

I thought they were pretty snazzy...and I loved how I'd managed to place the text just right...

Then I went to a local craft fair a few weeks later.  One of the vendors had chosen the same card style as me!  Quelle domage!  But I figured, 'hey, what's one similar card?'  ONLY IT WASN'T!

Then we moved to Picton.  And the cool coffee shop down the road has business cards this style.  *blergh*  Then I dropped my card off at an antiques shop that needs some refinishing work done....and they thought they recognized my card (cool!).  ONLY NOT COOL!  Nope, it was some other jerk's lovely individual's card.  *double blerg*

Needless to say, I went back to the drawing board....or, should we say 'chalkboard?'  I'm jumping on the 'chalk' trend...we'll see what happens.  It's not like I've really got a 'brand' established.  Or, like, a real business, so no sweat! 


Here's the new style.  What do you think?

It's reversible!  And yes, it's kinda purple...see, the stock card that actually worked with the image I wanted to use was sort of I adapted.  Trust me, I tried a lot of other options.  This is the best so far.  Also, I can get 250 of these for $30. 

Somebody show me a better deal!  I dare you!