Thursday, 9 July 2015

Bums on seats

Recycling, repurposing, upcycling - we're all encouraged to waste less and re-use, whatever terms we use.
Last week I re-whatevered my dining chairs.
Four dark oak chairs bought second-hand in about 1978 or 79 for £5. They've already served us well for a long time.
All I needed to give them a new lease of life was some paint, four old pairs of denim jeans and a heavy-duty stapler and staples.
First I repainted the wooden frames, starting with a light coloured cheap emulsion as undercoat and then with a coat of Dulux satinwood in Grey Steel 2

Now to re-cover the drop-in seats. I pulled off the old covers (my Mum's choice of fabric from the time we swapped chairs. I'm sure she wouldn't mind!)

Then I measured the width and depth of the seats and added a generous amount all round for turning under.
I used four old pairs of well worn jeans

Cut off the waistband and cut out the zip

Cut up the inside leg seams and open them out flat
Centreing the measurements on the centre-back seam, cut to the size needed

Fold the curved centre back/seat seam across to make a flat piece.
Pin and stitch down - I did a small herringbone stitch on the right side which kept it flat.
Once all the denim pieces are ready its time for the fun part - covering the seat pads.

Place the fabric piece over the seat pad so the pockets are towards the back of the seat and the fabric is centred. Turn over. Pull the fabric to the underside of the back edge of the seat so you have about 2cm underneath. Put in a couple of staples near the middle underneath the back edge of the seat. Now lift the seat and smooth the fabric from back to front, turning it under the front edge. Pull it fairly tight and put in some staples under the front edge of the seat. Then pull the fabric out to the sides of the seat and staple it under the side edges.

Making neat tight corners is important, or the seats may not drop back into their spaces. I pulled the fabric out from the corner, turned it under and put in one staple,
then folded in the side edge and stapled it before folding and stapling the front (or back) edge. I had to trim away some of the surplus fabric so it wasn't too bulky.

Once the seat pads were fitted back into the frames I was really pleased with the result.

I have plan to use up the fabric from the legs of the jeans too - watch this space!!

Chelsea Physic Garden

A couple of weeks ago I spent a few days in London. One of the highlights was a visit to the Chelsea Physic Garden.
a less welcome visitor
I spent a very peaceful five hours wandering among the beds and borders enjoying this lovely calm place, right in the centre of London.
Puya chilensis - about 2.5m tall

The garden has a long history, it was originally used by apothecaries for growing the herbs and medicinal plants they used. Now it is a research and educational garden which is also open to the public (but not on Saturdays or Mondays).
the dye garden

You wont be surprised that my main interest was the dye plant section of the 'Useful Plants' garden, but really every corner of the garden was interesting.
Genista tinctoria - dyers' broom or dyers' greenweed
Reseda luteola - weld
Rubia tinctoria - madder
Asperula tinctoria - dyers' woodruff
Galium odoratum
Baptisia australis - false indigo
Rhus typhina - sumac