There wasn’t a lot of rubbish in the wheelie bin a few weeks ago. That doesn’t seem to happen very often around these parts, so when it does, R takes the opportunity to mentally sort through items in the house to decide what needs to be thrown out. He always makes sure to tell me there is space in the bin ,just in case there is an extra bag of rubbish, or something, hiding in the craft room. (Tui ad anyone?)
This time, however, as we were laying in bed about to go to sleep, he says, “What about the kids’ little rocking chair? I think it’ll fit in the bin. “
My head snapped sideways as a shocked gasp sounded from my gaping mouth.
“What? Are you high? The kids love that chair!”
“Do they even use it?”
Blank stare. Is he serious?
“Only every single day!”
So, I offered to recover it.
“It’s small. It’ll be easy to re-cover. I’ll just get some new foam and K11 can come with me and pick out some fabric, and it’ll be like new again.”
“Hmm. Well, ok.” The hesitation and tone of R’s voice was cynical.
*Moves forward in the queue, slowly, but surely.*
So, this is what I had to work with.
Gross, isn’t it?! Can you see that nasty stain on the left side of the seat cushion? That would be chocolate milk. What are the other stains, you ask? Well, if you have to ask, you must not have children. Children are dirty and gross and those foul stains and marks are sincere signs of love for this chair, made by children who have sat, ate, drank chocolate milk and who knows what else during the course of its nine-year life over two countries. It has been well-loved.
It’s a far cry from this, which is how it looked when K11 received it for her 2nd birthday from my brother.
Yes, yes, it’s soooooooooooooooooo not that chair any more.
So, me in my wisdom, in an effort to put at least one less item into the city tip, began my little upholstery adventure.
Adventure is a bit of an understatement, I might add.
It began like most of my projects where I just jumped in with both feet and no life-preserver. I began to dismantle it, bit by bit. Because I was going to use the same frame, I had to remove as many staples as I could so that the news ones would be easier to install. Slowly, staple by agonizing staple, I pulled and plucked and dug and pried and groaned and cursed and screamed.
Until I got to this point, at which I placed my already sore hands onto my head and pulled my hair in frustration.
What’s wrong with it, you ask? Well, the seat back was installed AFTER it had been covered. And it was installed with godzilla-sized furniture staples. Fifteen of them to be exact.
So, I grabbed the wine bottle, and got to work.
It didn’t help in the slightest that I was coming down with my daughter’s tummy bug and felt like the chair looked. In retrospect, it may not have been the best moment in time to tackle a job that I knew not what it entailed. But I hammered in the tip of the screwdriver and pried up the staples and pulled with pliers. Eventually, I reduced the chair to this.
Ick. Gross. Gagfest. That was the moment, when I was pulling out decade-old pretzels, that I really began to wonder, WHAT THE HELL WAS I DOING?
Determined I was going to conquer this thing, I continued on. At least now I had snack food, right?
I removed the fabric ever so carefully. I had developed a plan at this point, you see. I would use the old fabric as a pattern for the new pieces and hopefully save myself one less bottle of wine and a few clumps of hair in the process.
And I continued on, moaning and complaining, because I could. Hubs had the brilliant idea made the mistake of suggesting I just rip the fabric off. He was met with this.
After so many years of marriage, he quickly caught my drift and shut up, just like he was turned to stone by my awesome gaze.
And then he filled my wine glass.
Eventually, six hours after I began, I ended up with this.
Now, don’t be deceived. There is foam there, but that pan is mostly filled with staples. By my calculations, over a thousand. And if you look at the top edge of the pan, you can see those previously mentioned godzilla-sized staples that stole at least two hours of my life and taught my children a few new words.
The following morning, I probably should have just stayed in bed. I was dealing full force with just trying to keep the flow of food in my body in its normal one way direction. But I know myself, and if I didn’t get crackin’ (I wanted to say Krakon there), that project would sit like that for six months.
So looking like death, K11 and I set out to get:
- staples for the staple gun
- foam for the padding
- fabric to cover the chair
Is anything I do, EVER easy?
I took the staple gun into Bunnings to get new staples. That was great, because the box of staples we had were from at least 1957. I do not joke. So the nice man checked the staples and found the right size, and then asked, ” What length do you need? 6mm, 8mm, or 10mm?”
I pondered for a moment, and decided I needed the 10mm. I’m going to be stapling through foam and fabric right, so, I figured I needed the extra depth on the staple. Cool. Staples? Check.
Onto Spotlight, where K11 and I hummed and hoed over fabric. We both really loved this beautiful modern sea-foam teal print, but I am a practical person. Modern sea-foam green print doesn’t go with muted country tones, so we moved on. Eventually, we found a great multi-toned cotton drill fabric and denim to match.
We were on a roll! Staples? Check. Fabric? Check.
Foam? Foam? What’s that? Foam? Isn’t that easy to find?
On a Sunday, at the spur of the moment, the short answer would be NO!
I found poor quality, pre-cut foam cushions at Spotlight that would have kept their loft for maybe a month. And I found a nice fabric store in Lower Hutt that even had some quilting supplies, but no foam. I ended up spending $30 at Plastic Box for a small foam mattress pad. UGH! Frustration!
Anyway, we found foam at least. Too much money, lots of petrol and three hours later, we at least had foam. Check.
At this point, I really felt like I could see the end of the tunnel, and that tunnel ended with me in my bed, tucked in all warm and cozy, just like a sickling should be. Now that I had everything, I was ready to get started.
I gathered all the necessary bits and bobs around me and went to load the staple gun. And guess what? 10mm staples won’t fit in my staple gun!
*Steps up to the front of the insanity queue*
A wise person would have called it quits for the day, but me? No, I was not going to be defeated, flu or not. I drove straight back out to Bunnings, mumbling unmentionables the entire way and got the 8mm staples. I must have still been of sound mind at point, because I even checked this time to be sure that length would fit.
Finally, four hours after I started the hunt for elusive foam, I was ready to get to work. Thankfully, I had taken pictures all along the way so that I would end up with something close to what I started with, only cleaner, and not decorated with old drinks and stale food.
And then I discovered why there were a thousand staples. It really does make for a nicer finish on the surface. So, I plugged along, and amid nausea and sore joints, I conquered that beast. I cut and pulled and stapled and hammered and believe it or not, I even managed to do it with less than nine hundred staples!
I don’t think I’d do stripes next time. That was yet another UGH moment.
But I’m pleased.
It’s still colourful, but it matches the room now.
And we won’t discuss those four little upholstery tacks on the front and the hot glue gun. There were a few extra words uttered over those.
*Steps from queue and takes insanity and flu for warm snuggles in bed*