Tuesday, 8 July 2014

in the shed this week... bonkers cows

moooo've over tasteful cream. when a Lovely Customer comes over all brave when choosing her fabric the results always, always look fabulous

this Lovely Brave Lady's ancient chair (actually i think it belonged to her fella) looked tatty, felt sad and was sorely out of place in her otherwise artful home


hmmmm. o deary me..



aaaaand, despite me feeling a tad nervous on delivery day, my Lovely Lady was absolutely thrilled. indeed, this is what she said: 

"MORNING!! Chair scotch-guarded and in situ.  Love it.  Huge compliments via twitter where I sang your praises. Just a beautiful job, thank you."

aww... made my day. xx

Monday, 30 June 2014

in the shed this week… (a bit of an update)

the lovely but shabby chaise finally made it home after a little 'rest' in the shed while the braid arrived from Paris. the brief was to re-paint the tatty paintwork and recover the upholstery in fresh grey linen.  it was a hugely satisfying job, not least because the transformation was massive...

sanding back layers of slapped-on yellow paint
was the first job

several thin coats of water-based paint to match the interior

all painted surfaces sealed with beeswax

lovely choice of classic scroll gimp shows off both the paint and the fabric to their best

repairs to the woodwork disappeared beneath the painted and waxed surface

lots going on in this corner

waiting in the long grass for the trip home

this sweet chair also came through the shed to be re-sprung, repolished and given a smart new cover...

the seat was stripped and wobbly frame re-glued before work began

happy pattern matching

elegant solution to a tricky corner


this treasure is long-overdue some loving care and attention... i'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

in the shed this week...

a lovely and somewhat shabby chaise longue arrived, complete with pot of paint and linen fabric for a thorough make-over. this is not so much as a before and after, as a before and half-way-through:

much of the primrose yellow paint had to be sanded
off before a 'proper' paint job could begin

powder blue paint and coat of wax, plus
velvety grey Romo Linara fabric

i'll keep you posted on progress (braid is winging it's way from Paris).


much of my week was taken up with being Upholstery Tutor-in-Chief across the fields @theFarmthis week my creative goings were published in Wiltshire Life. hooray! arriving as we wind down towards the end of summer term, this great publicity should ensure that many places are booked for the grand selection of @theFarm workshops - upholstery, lampshade making, crochet, needlefelting - lined up from September 2014. 
i'm sure the lovely WL folk won't mind me sharing this sneak peek of our shiny wholesome smiles and well-pressed pinnies… 

we are just starting the last of this academic year's upholstery sessions, running on Tuesday and Friday mornings. with a max of eight students, @theFarm lovelies do wonders with treasured chairs and junk shop finds. here's Mette busy with her grand stool at the start…

 … and almost finished

for all the @theFarm schedule until the end of 2014, click here

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

in the shed this week... seven shades of grey

it was half term, but no skiving until this little dearie in was delivered. this otherwise very robust modern armchair arrived with a tired cream cover that desperately needed replacing. i'm nerdy enough to enjoy pattern matching so much that a complicated arrangement of grey checks were a joy. 

for fabric this chunky, i use very thin piping cord for an elegant finish. naturally

pattern-matching? pah!

finished and ready for delivery

on an interesting note, here's how the work panned out…
one full day - measuring, planning and cutting out
one and a half days - reupholstering
half a day - making box piped cushions 
one full day - making and attaching the pleated skirt. yes one whole day.

happily the lovely lady was thrilled with her new-look armchair and it looked very splendid in her many shades of grey room. 

next in the shed... i'm standing by for delivery of a chaise longue. meanwhile my upholstery workshops @theFarm continue apace.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

cheap frills #1... a tutorial

little red cardi

imagine a sensibly shaped cardi in a happy shade of very hot orange. round-neck, buttons, sits comfortably past the hips. indeedy, in every way (except the colour), deeply boring.

this is what i did...

chopped the bottom welt off, plus an inch.
hand-sewed this strip around the neck to make a collar. 
used a left-over bit of the strip to make a pocket for keeping the shed key safe. 
finished the raw edges around the bottom with a crocheted picot edge.

it took two evenings.

despite this being a tutorial, i won't blither on about how to cut, sew and crochet as looking at close-up photos will help more. if you are going to have a go, feel free to add lib. cardis are pretty personal after all. 

#1: little red cardi

cut off the welt from a too-long cardi, plus an inch more, which gives a nice frill to play with

i used blanket stitch in matching embroidery thread to sew the strip around the round neck. as the strip was too long, i cut it in half in the middle and rejoined it making it shorter, which allowed me to use the two nicely finished centre-front edges at the front of the collar. (the original bottom button hole is underneath the butterfly brooch)

you can see the blanket stitching here. blanket stitch has built-in stretch which makes it perfect for knitted garments, unlike machine stitching which would be rather rigid. here you can see i used a bit of pretty bias binding to make a handy hanging loop.

a bit left over from the collar strip was used to make a pocket.

the raw bottom edge was not likely to last, so it was turned under, pinned then tacked into a neat hem. i blanket stitched along the edge then used fine hairy silver grey yarn to create a picot edge, working one row of double crochet, followed by the picot edge.

as the hem was only turned back once (otherwise there would have been an unsightly bulky ridge), i  covered the raw edge by hand sewing more bias binding over it in a loose over stitch to allow 'give' when being worn.

and here i am!

a note...

my life-long habit of rustling up a new skirt/cardi/pinny has become more regular than occasional.

this year i have already rustled up an apron or two. these go under the 'shed wear' label. 
i have also made myself a Merchant & Mills 'factory dress' (see above), which should be called a 'wear it every day' dress. number two is in progress and number three is planned for winter. and now, because it is still cold when nipping back and forth to the shed, i have moved on to cardis. 

i'm not suggesting that you snip up your precious hand knits but the wear-it-every-day shop-bought machine washable version that won't snag when it comes into contact with an upholstery tack. as affordable shop-bought cardis are dreary and dull i've also taken to seeking out pre-loved nice ones. (nice = lots of wool/cashmere)

cheap frills #2 which is another chop and change cardi coming soon...

Monday, 19 May 2014

in the shed this week...

just out of the shed is an understated and much-loved mid century rocking chair. it arrived in tatty faux black leather with squashed and sorry stuffing and left wearing snazzy Melin Tregwynt wool cloth, six new buttons, a newly stuffed back and new cushion pad and a buffing up with beeswax polish.

great looking and super soft wool cloth from a Welsh mill

original tension springs, seen from underneath, with new calico padded cover to protect the cushion fabric

unseen... a teeny snip of lovely piping cord from a previous job holds the buttons in place at the back

two hefty coil springs make a rocking chair rock

calico and linen quilted spring cover...

...attached behind and unseen with a stretch of knicker elastic

simple and smart finishing detail

polished and ready for delivery

it was a happy job. this is what its owner said: 
"the chair... looks splendid. I think my late husband would have been delighted! i shall enjoy sitting in it or inviting my guests use it." 

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Lampshade of the Month: April 2014 'Little Miss Cabbage-White'

Little Miss Cabbage-White
A smart rectangular shade covered with antique embroidered white linen and lined with pink and yellow vintage print fabric, embellished with a hand-crocheted frill. Three painted silk butterflies give a hint of springtime to her demure exterior. When the light is flicked on, glorious sunshine-y light fills the room.

here are the rest of the photos... 

believe it or not, i'm not very frilly. Little Miss Cabbage-White was me going off on a tangent. a piece of vintage hand-embroidered and crocheted linen and a happy scrap of yellow and pink came together in the workroom and something had to be done. in truth, i was also a little creatively 'lost' at the time. 

i like Little Miss C-W, but despite being smart and beautiful (her, not me) i'm still a bit baffled. she's a bit of an odd-bod. i'm rather hoping that someone - perhaps with a wedding or christening to celebrate - will stumble upon my Folksy shop and Little Miss Cabbage-White will appeal to their Jane Austen-ish well-dressed, pressed and lady-like natures.

about the butterflies:
once I had finished making Little Miss C-W i was worried that she had no memorable sense of humour. happily i discovered Sophie Matthews' gorgeous shop.