Friday, 14 June 2013

you're sitting in that dusty chair

(Dave Matthews - Oh)

I do not consider myself a crafty person. I do not knit, crochet, stitch or sew. I do not paint, draw, sculpt or scrapbook. In fact, I can categorically say I do not do any of the things on this list, which surely must be exhaustive? It is certainly exhausting. I consider baking my creative outlet, and honestly, as long as it tastes good and stays reasonably in one piece, my presentation style is probably best described as rustic. There seems to be a recent resurgence in craft, I don’t imagine it ever went away, but perhaps previously people kept their decoupage on the down low. Perhaps it is credit crunch induced crafting, alongside the boom in baking; maybe people turn to patchworking as a cheap, fun activity. Maybe they just need more blankets now heating bills are rising.

I do have an interest in interior design. By which I mean, much like my collection of cookbooks, I love poring over magazines and watching property programmes. I don’t necessarily know that I’m particularly outlandish or original. Again, as with my cooking, I tend to go for classic combinations at home, and leave the opulence and extravagance for when I visit hotels and restaurants. However I do occasionally get a little creative, although admittedly on a very small scale.

We didn't decorate the main bedroom as soon as we moved in, preferring to wait and save up to do it properly. Having finally had bedroom furniture installed, the walls painted, the carpet fitted, and the curtains hung, we were still without a chair for my dressing table. We searched, but couldn't find one that looked right for the room. I had some spare pieces of the fabric used for the curtains and cushions and, I wondered whether it might be possible to recover a chair with it.

I realise this is not a particularly big deal as far as upholstery goes. We bought a chair that was exactly the right colour wood, and with a very plain seat pad. It wasn't extortionately priced, but it wasn't a cheap chair. So for me, the prospect of intentionally dismantling it, and purposefully pulling the fabric off the seat pad, with a vague notion of making it look better seemed laughable. Armed with Grandad’s trusty heavy duty staple gun, and a screwdriver, I tentatively took to work one evening in the middle of the lounge.

The Husband was told that he was not allowed to help. This was to be my project, and he very supportively watched, without interfering. One of the toughest parts was actually unpicking all of the staples that were in it to begin with to remove the original fabric. So very quickly The Husband was re-enlisted to help prise them all off, otherwise I would have been at it for hours. Once it was free from the shackles of the staples, the fabric was then used as template to cut my new material. At some point during this process Grandad also arrived. This was quite well-timed, as all three pairs of hands were required. The Husband and Grandad bravely holding the fabric firmly in place so it wouldn't crease, as I fired staples round their fingers.

And boy did I go to town with the staple gun. It makes one heck of a racket too, goodness knows what the neighbours thought. Let’s just say the fabric is going nowhere. After that, reattaching the seat to the chair frame was a cinch. I know it isn't going to win any prizes for project of the year, but I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Just like the gardening we did this weekend, I find it’s the things I've invested some of my own time in, and have actually actively participated in, which then make me feel most at home. It’s a really simple thing, it took less than an evening, but every morning I’m reminded of the three of us crouching on the living room floor creating it. I love that it’s a complete one off, I love that it matches the room like nothing I ever could have bought, and I love the memories that were made alongside it.

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