Thursday, March 26, 2009

The End of Upholstery

My upholstery class has come to an end....
After TWO semesters of classes, I have finally finished my chair - a small rocking chair. In the beginning, I thought I would surely finish it in one semester and still have time to do another soft furnishings project. So you can imagine my surprise when the fall semester ended and I hadn't even begun to put the top fabric on the chair!  In the future, I will GLADLY pay an upholster to re-upholster any chair I is worth every dollar (or pound) spent! 

This 20 pound rocking chair that I bought off of ebay has somehow manifested itself into a 300-plus pound chair without countless hours of work and injuries behind it! Needless to say, it will now be the "prized" chair in our household and if you find yourself in our home, I would not suggest bringing any type of food near it as I am sure that would not be in your best interest if you ever want to be invited back.... (just kidding!).  Understandably, I am a bit attached to this chair now since so much time and many bruised fingers went into its redesign. 

Here are some photos to tell the story of its transition....
All of the fabric, cushions, and more came off to leave me only with the frame of the chair.
Starting to rebuild the body of the chair.
The very tight rubber strips that make up the seat of the newly redone chair. The ends are these metal clips that were near impossible to wedge into the sides of the chair frame!
The newly refinished wood on the chair frame, and a nearly completed seat frame.
The positioning of the top fabric to make sure the pattern works for the space...
The top fabric is now on the back part of the chair. Now, the seat cushion is put on.
First, the muslin is "tacked" on by using a hammer and 13 mm tacks to keep the muslin in place. The muslin is attached to the foam with super glue so that the foam will be able to be attached to the wood frame. 
After the tacks are in place, then the stapling begins and ultimately the tacks are removed. Here is an up close view of the staples in the muslin that attaches the foam cushion to the chair frame.
After foam is intact, a layer of muslin then goes over the foam to make sure the fabric lays correctly, again tacking the muslin first and then stapling it. Once I tacked the muslin to the bottom cushion, I realized it wasn't laying correctly, so I had to untack it and add batting to it to smooth it out. 
Finally, the smooth muslin layer with the right "cuts" on the side so the top fabric can be put on.
The top fabric is on the bottom cushion! Now, just the back of the chair to go...

The muslin layer gets tacked on to the back of the chair.
The staple "gun" (compressor machine) that was my aide in finishing the chair.
The back of the chair is finished with the staples in the muslin.
Then, a "guide" for the top fabric is first tacked onto the top area of the back of the chair.
It is then stapled into place, and when folded over, it helps create a neat crease/edge for the back fabric on the chair. 
Then, it was finally time to staple on the underneath fabric of the chair to finish it off!!!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Growing Tea Cup Collection

My English tea cup collection is are a few additions I have recently acquired at local antique shops....
I can't wait for tea time! 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Sight Not Seen Before

A sight I have yet to see in my marriage to Scott....
Him mowing the lawn!
We have never had a lawn to mow before this current house (the 6 foot patch of grass at our Chicago townhouse doesn't really count since we could cut it with scissors, if needed) so today when he announced that he was going to mow the lawn, I thought - Well, this is a first! Luckily it only took him about 15 minutes because the grass really isn't that long here yet. I think he just wanted to be outside and enjoy this beautiful spring day we are having in England! 


Amsterdam has many things that it is known for - the canals, bicycles throughout the city, the Red Light District, Gouda cheese, tulips, the Anne Frank House, dutch pancakes.....and more....Scott & I booked a short weekend getaway to see the city famous for all of those things in person and I can say I was amazed by its beauty and charm. I had seen photos from Scott's work previous trips there, but I had never been myself. His photos I had seen before did not do the city justice!
The city is a series of magnificent sights - one canal after another, each lined with unique tall row various colored and shaped row houses and then bicycles packed into spaces lining the railings along each canal. Street after street, the sights are the same but different at the same time. We spent quite a bit of time on foot just wandering around the city and enjoyed every minute of it! 
A few things to note about this trip of ours - first, we had camera issues. It seems to be an unfortunate common theme on our trips lately. I took some great photos on our camera, only to find out they were not on our digital "disk" so I cannot download them for you to see. So, here are the photos I did take after we bought a new disk....
A canal/street of homes in the city. 
The main means of transportation around the city - a bicycle. 
In front of a house or shop somewhere along the way - nothing of significance, just a stop somewhere to take a photo! 
One of the stops of the weekend was the flower market. It was the start of the tulip season so I had just to see the bunches of flowers in person! Besides the many fresh cut flowers at the market, there were thousands of bulbs for sale. 
The stalls of the flower market backing up onto the canal....
The flower bulbs for sale. So many varieties! 
My favorite shot. The Tulips at the flower market. They were all gorgeous! 
Scott in front of a canal on a walk around town in the evening post dinner.
We took a canal boat tour of the city to see the city by boat....

The two of us on the boat tour.
One of the many canals along the way.
House boats docked along the canals. There were some beautiful house boats and then there were some very shabby ones! 
A house boat along the canal. There are over 2,500 house boats in Amsterdam along the canals. 
Our trip could not have been complete without tasting some traditional dutch foods, so a stop at the best pancake restaurant in town was a must. We visited the Pancake Bakery around the corner from the Anne Frank House which was recommended by a former Amsterdam resident and it did not disappoint! 
Scott ordered an omelette (what was he thinking at a pancake house?!?!?), I ordered a gouda cheese & apple pancake, and then we shared a lemon & sugar pancake for dessert. YUMM!
The vat of "syrup" (molasses) on each table with a wooden spoon.
Scott in front of a funny looking row house near the pancake house. 
After full bellies, we took a stroll around the area and found a delft shop full of the famous and beautiful Holland ceramic pottery.
The pottery display in the window....too bad it was quite expensive otherwise I would have stocked up on more of it
Cassie in front of a canal near the Pancake house. It was cold and rainy that day, hence the silly hat and mittens that were purchased while there in order to warm. 
A highlight and a must-see in Amsterdam is a tour of the Anne Frank House. Most everyone knows the now-famous story of this girl called Anne Frank who was one of the millions of victims of the persecution of the Jews during World War II. She & her family lived in Germany when in 1933, Hitler came to power and installed an anti-Jewish regime there. For their own safety, her family fled to the Netherlands. However, in May of 1940 the German army occupied the Netherlands and repressive measures against Jews followed there as well. The Frank family hoped to escape such measures by going into hiding at this house in Amsterdam, which is now a museum.
The front of the Anne Frank House from across the canal (green doors). The area in which the Frank family hid was at the back of the house, and not seen here - referred to as the "annex."
The queue of people waiting to purchase tickets to go into the Anne Frank House. Thankfully we read about such a line and we purchased tickets in advance on line. If you are going, it is a GREAT time saver to do so!
The front of the Anne Frank House. Inside photos were not allowed. There is no furniture inside the house now, as when the hiding place was betrayed and the people inside of it were arrested, everything was removed from the secret annex. When the house opened in 1960 as a museum, Anne's Father, Otto Frank, said he wanted the rooms to remain unfurnished.
A view from the Anne Frank House, looking across the canal. 

We saw this type of bike a few times throughout the city. I thought it was quite useful. One man riding a similar bike had a small toddler child sitting in the basket, along with a baby seat carrier with an infant inside of it! Others had just groceries, bunches of flowers or just extra things riding in the front basket. It surely seemed like a handy bucket to have on the front of one's bike. 
Some of the stranger things about the city.....
Public male restrooms in the middle of the street. I know, very gross and strange so that's exactly why I had to post a photo of it! We actually saw a man use one in the middle of the street one night as we walked around after dinner. Strange indeed!
The District. The one with red lights.....
The Red light district - without showing too much of the nonsense that is displayed there...
After we returned home from our trip, I put a bunch of freshly cut flowers in my new delftware vase to remind me of our great trip to Amsterdam!