Sunday, 10 April 2016

You wait ages for a hexagonal turret and then two come along at once

Like last week's post, life was again mirroring art rather strangely this morning.  I spent a couple of hours out in the garden painting the hexagonal roof segments, roof struts and finial of our new garden corner arbour.  Meanwhile the hexagonal roof of my miniature dream shed with its own finial was drying inside in the workroom after I had glued it on my mini turret.

After trying out various tester pots of Cuprinol Garden Shades paint, we've gone with Urban Slate (dark grey) for the roof of the garden arbour, and the walls will be Seagrass which is a rather attractive blue-green. This is the first of three coats on the roof and we haven't even started the walls yet, it's going to be a long haul.

Meanwhile I've spent a lot of time this week on the mini shed and it's coming along fairly well.  I'm decorating as I go to avoid having to reach into awkward spaces after construction.  The tower is together but not finished yet and obviously the roof and a few walls are still missing. I don't have a pattern, just a picture from the internet that I am using for inspiration, so I'm kind of making it up as I go along.  Before I closed in the tower, I improvised a little window seat where the writer (this is going to be a writer's retreat) sits in the sun.  I will make some throw pillows later.

Between painting, and the mini shed, and having to spend about five hours this weekend deep-cleaning the house ready for the in-law's visit this coming week, I haven't had as much time for other crafts this week.  I did do some more on my cross stitch which is inching sloth-like down the canvas.

I have also done more on my bobbin lace dollshouse shelf edging, which is about five inches long now.  About another inch to go and then I can start the second one for the second shelf.

I spent a few hours on Thursday unpacking one of the last boxes from the move (yes, we still have a few kicking around, two years later) which is my fridge magnet collection.  This used to be crowded onto two metal boards on a wall in our old kitchen.  I picked up a couple more cheap magnetic boards from Wilko and DH sprayed all four boards dark green for me, although we ran out of spray paint before we had a really solid colour. After hanging those on a spare wall in the attic, I unpacked all the magnets, which had survived their multiple journeys fairly well: only one breakage and two more with detached magnets.  DH counted them because he likes to do that, and apparently I have 140 magnets.  I like them because they remind me of places I've been, and some of them are really cute.  At the moment they are just grouped by nationality or style but I'm thinking of arranging little villages and perhaps painting roads and ponds.  Yes I am very sad.

At one point in England these house-shaped magnets were very popular and in all the souvenir shops. But they must have gone out of fashion because you rarely see any now that are free of defacing typeface announcing their home location. I've hardly acquired any new English ones for years but I picked up quite a few in the Netherlands on business trips and some in France, even a few in Italy. And I have a nice little group of gingerbread houses from New England.

Also this week I have continued to tackle my quilting scrap box. It's incredibly slow going, I can spend a couple of hours pressing and cutting and the scrap pile is not going down at all.  I picked up five small washing up bowls for .95p each at Wilko to use as sorting bins for the various widths of strips and squares:  1.5", 2", 2.5", 3.5" and bricks. Because they are white, I could just write the numbers on the outside in Sharpie.

I will just have to keep plugging away at it and eventually it will get done. Not the most exciting job in the world. Once I finally finish the pile, going forward I will aim to cut up the scraps immediately and add them to the bins.

Live and learn 

Remember the Victorian button-back chair that I picked up as a bargain at the Peterborough Antiques Festival in November?

One of the reasons I chose it, besides liking the look of it, was because it felt fairly comfortable to sit in, even though the ancient upholstery was all rather deflated and squashed down.  So I was very excited when it finally came back from the upholsterer a few weeks ago, looking all new and refreshed in crisp blue velvet.  It looked great when they unwrapped it from its plastic protection, and I was really pleased... until I sat down in it.

I kid you not, it was like it had been stuffed with bricks.  Not only was it absolutely rock hard, but the back had been completely resculpted to a horrible wavy shape that was about six inches forward at the base (purportedly a lumbar support although it was hitting my tailbone) and then sloping  backward as it rose. So you were pushed forward on the rock hard seat until your knees were hanging off the front, and the only way to lean back was to arch your back like you were curving back over a small medicine ball to assume a position akin to a terrified roller-coaster passenger. Competely uncomfortable and with all the extra padding they had added, it was so snug I could barely fit in between the rock hard arm pads.

It was terribly awkward because they had obviously worked hard on it, and the finish was good, but the result was totally unusable as a piece of furniture. It was someone we had hired before on a simpler chair and I guess this chair was just beyond their skill level. They are a one-person band so I didn't feel I could demand my money back, and my tentative approaches about reducing the pneumatic lumps and inserting some softer padding were met with upset and a total lack of willingness to do anything. Their position was that this was how you upholstered a traditional chair using traditional materials (some kind of fake horsehair), end of story. And it looked great but I wonder if they had even tried sitting in it, plus I would have thought that before you totally changed the shape and inner dimensions of a chair, you would at least discuss it with the client.  All very embarrassing and a complete waste of money on the job and the fabric, but nothing to be done.

So now it's gone off to the shop where we bought our sofas, and their upholsterers looked at it and said they will have to completely take it apart to deconstruct all the brick hard lumps, reduce the extreme padding on the back and sides which has made it so snug fitting, and introduce some modern comfort.  So we've had to buy more fabric and have to pay for a second, more expensive upholstery job.  Certainly no longer a bargain and I am trying to keep out of my conscious brain the thought that added up this chair is costing more than a cheap car.  La la la la.  The only good thing is the second lot of fabric is going to look much better with the new sofas than the first choice of fabric, I've gone with a cream damask this time.  Sigh...  Hopefully my middle-aged memory loss will come to my rescue and in a few years I won't remember the expensive mistake of the first attempt.


swooze said...

That is a shame about the chair. I am trying to hire out some carpentry work and I am just so reluctant to have them do it because they are throwing out estimates without really understanding what I want or need. I think I am going to take a shot at it myself with Ray. I figure I can make one as a trial run. If it goes well I can do the rest. If not at least I have a sample of what I am looking for.

I love painting. You are smart to use test pots. I repeatedly fail to do so and am repeatedly disappointed. At least my last paint job was not quite as in your face. Ah well. Looking forward to seeing the assembled gazebo.

My contract ends the 22nd and my prospects afterwards are unknown. Some discussions and possibilities but nothing set in stone. I know I plan to take a week long nap though!

Hope all is well otherwise. Have a good week.

Daisy said...

Oh no, what a shame about the chair. I hope you'll get it sorted this time, as it looks like such a nice chair.

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