Thursday, October 16, 2008

TAG You're it!!

WOW I've been tagged..twice. And of course I had no idea what it meant, so fleurfatale explained it to me. These things... I don't know who comes up with them, but I like them.

My taggers were sweet Eve of Creations by Eve. You can read her answers to these questions here. And check out her Etsy shop:
And Leina Neima of see her answers here

Here are the rules of being tagged:
Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here are the 7 weird and random facts about me!

7 facts:

1.When my boyfriend told his friend he was in love with me his friend said" What?! She's weird!"
2.I write for a fashion magazine, under a false name.
3.I think men are the best and worst in this world. Women are the most beautiful.
4.I dream of Canada's nature nearly every day.
5.I still miss my horse from since I was 16.
6.If I don't have cold hands, I am probably ill.
7.I am always kind to people who are kind to me, if not I am merciless bwhahahahaha.

These are the people I am going to tag because they are so friggin' talented:
Genuine article:
Too Aquarius:


As you could read here I had bought some fabrics via Etsy. Not all of them turned out the way they looked in the picture so I've added one more that yet has to arrive from the US. Wonderful seller Stay Gold- Handmade had a special offer and I couldn't resist the Martini fabric by Amy Butler. So adding that to this bunch gives me a great set of chairs:

Imagine this in the bright room on the back of our house with its seaweed coloured walls. Delicious!

So I had this fabric in my house for nearly 2 months now, and this friday friends are coming over for dinner. This would be a good motivation to get those chairs done. I will do this in 3 steps, the stripping, the painting and the upholstering.
In this tutorial I am going to show you how to convert an old chair to a new one. It isn't hard, as long as you prepare prepare and prepare.

What you need for the stripping
Sanding paper very coarse and very smooth.
Sanding machine is great,
Knife of some sort,
a scredriver to save you fingernails,
a wood file, different sizes and shapes are recommended.
Something to scratch paint off wood, I have this triangle shaped thing.
I have 6 chairs, 4 of which I have re done before, but lost interest in, they needed a change. In our new house I want a new mood and feel, so they all had to be stripped down. But the problem then is, do they look the same underneath that paint, or did the white paint colour the wood slightly different than the old chairs?

Here they are, darn ugly chairs huh? The left one is as they were made in the late 80s. And the one on the right is how I made them in 2003. Not bad, but I would like a change.
I don't like white wash, especially in such a dirty salmon-y colour. I probably can't remove all of it, but it won't look as bad with the new paint on later. Now you have to sand them down. First with a coarse type of paper and then with a smooth paper. With the coarse paper you can work very quickly but you damage the wood more, so that won't look good with paint on it. As you can see below, left is the first round of sanding, and the right is the last round of sanding, making it smooth and soft. The little carvings you need to do by hand and with the help of a small file. I have to do the chairs that are painted with thick white paint twice because there's 2 layers of paint in them and they are very hard to scrape out. Now you know why it took me so long to write this tutorial.

Now to make the chairs look older I am going to sand away any sharp edges and corners, so they look like they've had to withstand something. Also this makes the painting easier because the paint slides along the corners instead of being held back by the corners.

I remove all the trims and fabric, but NOT the original fabric on the seating. why not? Well if I do, I don't know what I am going to find. And if the fabric is still ok, it is safer to let it sit where it is and it will come in handy. If you want to remove the fabric too, you have to take half the chair apart, because with most chairs the fabric is tucked behind the wood. Reconstructing the chairs is not what I had in mind. This bit here is where the dust of all those years stays. So I am taking that off too, placing a new piece of cloth here is a piece of cake with a tagger so fret not.

Now they are stripped!!

See the next step here.

::TUTORIAL:: New old dining table chairs STEP 2

So now we've finished step one we're going to focus on painting.

First what you do is check everything once more. Remember, for a good covering paint, you need to remove all paint. I am going to paint the chairs with a coloured varnish or stain. The colour must match the colour of our table. So I picked an oak colour. You can get all kinds of colours.

The left over paint will not be fully covered in this light stain. But I like that, because it gives you an old look.
Another thing, if you want to consolidate your chairs because they are not sturdy anymore, this is the time. I drilled holes in the places where the pieces of wood connect. And I placed 2 wooden plugs in there to stop the friction of the chair when you sit on it. Make sure there are 2 wooden plugs there, and not one, that won't stop the joint from moving. With a file and sanding paper you can easily shape the plugs.

I turn the chairs upside down and paint everything, even under the chair. If the wood will expand and shrink still, it will do it less if all is painted.

I paint 3 thin layers, and then I have a nearly perfect match with our dining table. The thinner the better, it dries easily and it won't leave dark 'teardrops' of paint.

At this point I am going to cover the bottom with cotton sheeting. Pre-iron the sheeting because cotton shrinking is strong enough to pull your chair apart. I use a small nailgun to secure the cotton over the bottom. Be careful with this tool. I have a very light weight version, which does the trick perfectly well. But if you have something bigger and electric, I would advise you to google "nail gun accident" and you will see that this is not a toy.

First place the sheeting over the bottom, secure the middle of each side and then work your way to the corners, folding the cotton as you go.

You don't have to do this very tightly. I always use a hammer to ram the nails in a little further. I'd hate it if my guest would hurt themselves sitting down at my table.

The last step can be seen here.

:::TUTORIAL::: New old dining table chairs. STEP 3

The last and best step, the upholstering. As I said before I bought some Amy Butler, Heather Bailey and Sandi Henderson's fabrics on Etsy. But they are very light weight. And I wouldn't recommend them being used as they are. I have enough fabric to re do the chairs in 4 years, and I probably want new fabrics then. but if you want something to last for a decade make sure you choose very sturdy fabric. I consolidate my fabric with an extra layer of cotton.

What I do first is cut the cotton in the right width and length. I then place it over the area and pin the cotton on the old fabric(now it comes in handy) With a pencil or pen with soluable ink I mark the edges and cut them. I now have the right shape. I cut the shape out of the printed top fabric an iron everything very hot!!! I want as much shrink out of there are possible. you might think it is better to iron the fabric when it's on the chair, so it fits on there tighter, but I tell you, it leaves ruching at the sides.
All straight edges are glued with a glue gun. Be careful again, I burnt my fingers a couple of times, it is HOT. The glue dries quite fast so if you do parts of 30cm you have just enough time to push the fabric in the glue so the fabric covers the old fabric tighlty without folds. Don't do it too tightly or your seating will end up looking flat and stressed out!
Work your way op to the corners and stop there so there is a small corner of the fabric sticking out. as you see below.
This fold is the spot where you place the top fabric on. You pin the top fabric on here and then glue the sides to the lower layer of fabric. By now that layer is dry and will hold everything together with the chair. When you've worked your way around the chair you go back to these fold in the corner and flip them back and glue them.

Because we didn't take the chair apart and we took this project on the easy way, we now have a frayed fabric edge which needs to be covered with trim or tape. I chose an off-white colour because I have 6 different fabrics and I want to give it some cohesion this way. Make sure the trim you choose is a little flexible. Fabric strips are not recommended because they will form a fold in the rounded corners. As you can see in the picture below you need the trim to follow the shape of the chair a little.

I start at a point that is least in plain sight and I place a big drop of glue there. I place my trim edge in it to prevent it from fraying. The glue will dry and capture all threads of the trim.

This spot is the finish too, and again I cover the end of the trim in glue to prevent it from fraying.
When it's dry you can cut away some of the glue if there's too much on it.
RIGHT, now we've done all 3 segments of the chair. And the bottom of the legs of the chairs need some lovin'. I bought felt bottoms for this with a nail attached to it. I have to drill a hole for them, otherwise you will hit the nail through the plastic and the felt instead of the wood. This hole should be slightly smaller than the nail so it gets squeezed in and won't fall out. If it does fall out, just put a drop of glue around the bottom of the chair's leg and press the nail back in.

Now the chairs are finished and ready for our dinner with friends!

If you have questions, feel free to ask me!

See step 1

See step 2

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Five happy birds

Vandaag kreeg ik een e-mail waar ik helemaal gelukkig van werd. Hij kwam van Molly en Brigit die mijn stand bezochten op de Craftymarkt. Ze kochten 5 van mijn vogeltjes op houten board, en vandaag kreeg ik een e-mail met een foto van de 5 geluksvogels! Ze hebben een warm thuis gevonden en een prominente plaats gekregen op de muur. Fantastisch toch?!
Heel erg bedankt Molly en Brigit!!!
Today I got an e-mail that made me smile. It was from Molly and Brigit, who visited my table on the craftymarkt. They bought five of my birds on wooden board. Today they let me know that the birds found a warm new home and a prominent spot on the wall.
There they are, the five of them looking happy together! Isn't that great?!

Thanks so much Molly and Brigit!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Crafty Fair

It was cold on Saturday and rainy and cold on sunday, but MirthQuake survived her first craftshow! And with success too. It was a great way not only to make some sales but also to hear what people liked about my products. Some feedback is so important, especially when you're just starting out. I received a lot of compliments, met a lot of very nice and talented other artists: , , The Poptasi people were fantastic for giving me their table on a perfect spot where people could see me very well, out of the wind and rain on sunday-Thanks SO much. Oh and I shouldn't forget the girls next to us on saturday who gave us hot chocolate with rum, good job! Also a big thank you should go out to Ester who gave us hot tea, a warm bed and a good breakfast.

Not only the fair was great, the museum itself is a very interesting place to visit. I can certainly recommend it. If you like " How do they do it" on Discovery, you'll love this. You get to see how tablecloths, carpets, gloves and whatnot are made. This weekend there were all kinds of workshops too because of "Textielweekend" but also on a normal day it is definately worth your time. Check

A photo impression can be seen here
My pictures will follow soon. A list of artists who were present can be seen here.


Het was koud zaterdag, en regenachtig en koud op zondag, maar MirthQuake heeft haar eerste kunstmarkt overleefd! ..En met succes. Het was een nuttig uitstapje niet alleen vanwege de verkopen, maar vooral om gezien te worden. Het is fijn om reacties te horen op mijn werk, al helemaal als je nog maar net begint. Ik heb een hoop complimenten gekregen en dat was het allemaal meer dan waard. Ik heb een hoop aardige getalenteerde mensen ontmoet waaronder: , , De mensen van Poptasi zijn o aardig geweest om ons hun tafel te geven die uit de wind en regen stond aan het begin van de markt. Enorm bedankt daarvoor! Oh en de meiden naast ons op zaterdag die een dansfeest aan het promoten waren: bedankt voor de chocolademelk met rum!!

En een enorm warm dankjewel voor Ester die ons voorzag van warme thee, een warm bed en een heerlijk ontbijt.

De markt zelf was niet alleen leuk, het museum zelf is ook een aanrader.
Als je houdt van "How do they do it" op Discovery channel, dan vind je dit ook leuk. Sowieso zullen creatieven het museum leuk vinden. Check
Een foto impressie:here Mijn foto's volgen binnenkort. De deelnemers lijst kun je here zien.


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