Monday, August 11, 2014

Upholstery 101

As many of you know, a few months ago I purchased this old sofa on craigslist. The idea was that I was going to reupholster it then resell it for a profit.

That was when I was contemplating hiring an editor for my recent work in progress, (my novel). Everything is on hold for a bit while I am waiting on responses to submissions, so that means no professional edits for now.

After my sister and I finished the sofa, a friend of mine dropped by and told me, rather forcibly, that I needed to keep this sofa. It does fit in perfectly with my living room decor…. and who was I kidding, it was going to be imposable to part with the thing.
See, I had to keep it. 

Many people have expressed interest in learning how to reupholster. It really isn't hard, at least the way I do it. I am self taught so this is just my way. I am sure if you asked a professional you would probably do a few things differently.

So, for those of you who would like to get your feet wet, here is what I recommend.

#1 Start with something free. If you don't have a lot of money invested into the project and it doesn't turn out it won't freak you out, though of course it is going to turn out awesome. I recommend doing that chair you contemplated throwing away, or bench, ottoman or sofa.

#2 Whether it's a chair or something large like a sofa, for your first time pick a simple piece. Avoid tufting, (only at first, I LOVE tufting), or something with a lot of trim work, pleating or piping .

#3 If you don't like to sew, or don't know how, find a nice friend or hire someone to cover the cushions.  I have done both, but if I am good on budget I hiring it out. I can sew but I don't like messing with it.

#4 Buy fabric when you find it on sale. Fabric is EXPENSIVE. If you are not careful, it could cost you the same to recover a sofa as it does to buy a new one. Or, if you are careful it can cost you under $100.

#5 As far as fabric goes, your first time, pic a solid fabric that is sturdy and doesn't fray easily.

#6 for your first time go ahead and use a hand powered stapler, but if you want to continue, invest in an electric or air staple gun.

Now that you are ready, how do you get started?

#1 The removal. This is the part that I do not like. I don't care how nice the sofa was, when you take off the fabric it is going to be gross, dusting, yucky.

You can use a flat screwdriver and needle-nose-pliers to remove the staples or you can buy specialty tools for this at your local reupholster store.  Wear gloves or you will cut up your hands. I have man hands so I no longer care.

  • Remove the legs and the underlining. 
  • The back piece is next. Take a Sharpie and write the number 1 on the outer back. Then I label the top and bottom. 
  • Next is the outer sides. Then I write two. On these pieces I label left and right, top and bottom. 
  • I move on to the inner sides and back, then finally the bottom front. I continue to label the number in which I removed it. 
So, why do I number the fabric? Well, I number it because when I reupholster, I do it in the opposite order of how I removed it.  So lets say I numbered from 1-8, when I recover it I would start with number 8 first then go back to one.

Be very mindful as you remove the fabric, of how it was originally assembled. Every piece is different and so it will save you a lot of heart ache if you try to put it together the same way.

#2 The cut.  I then use the nastily fabric that I have just removed as a template to cut the new fabric. 

#3. The fun part. When stapling the new fabric on, make sure you pull the fabric extra tight because over time, like all fabric, it will relax. 

Lastly, give yourself a break. You will see flaws, there will be flaws at first. BUT, most likely only you will see them.  

Here are some pictures of my latest project. SO FUN!!!

Notice the nails? Yep you can tell this is hard work.

It matches my dinning room perfectly!!!! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Jen, the Circus Lion

As summer has been winding down and school is beginning to wind up I feel as if I have been doing nothing but jumping through hoops.

This time of year is always crazy for me. My kids are anxious and needing to get back into a structured environment. I am ready for some structure of my own, too.

I don't know about all of you, but summers are lethal to my house. I have spent the last week digging through my kids closets, (being horrified by the horror!!!) throwing everything away I can. I am not a sentimental mom, so if my kids what to save anything from their childhood to give to their own children  one day they are out of luck.

Right now our days are filled with running to this school meeting for one kid, then another meeting for another.  I have been making sure the kids are up to date with their Dr. visits for shots and sports. I have an endless list of school supplies to buy (planing on being broke for the unforeseeable future). And, the fall is our crazy sports season for the kids so right now I have to get all of that ready. This is the time of year where I go, go, go. I pretty much live in my car.

Then there is my schooling. taking about hoops. It seems that ASU is struggling to believe that I have lived in Arizona for the last thirty years. Sometime today, I will be hauling myself and my kids down to the university to get that straightened out. But I am registered, and I have ordered most of my books. I am excited and nervous and a bit ill all at the same time. I go from anticipation to wondering what the heck I am thinking.

And like any lion that is asked to jump through hoops in this crazy circus, I am a bit grumpy. What I really want to do is sit on the sofa with a book.  Or better yet, write for hours on end.

I have been semi productive with my writing. This summer I did a total overhaul on my recent novel. After finishing this latest version I loaned it out to several teenagers…boys and girls. This was frightening. The one thing I know about teenagers, having two of my own, is that they are brutally honest. This is a good quality in a beta reader, yet, I was still nervous, (I didn't want to cry in front of a fourteen-year-old, which I knew I would do if they told me they hated my story.) It seems like I worried needlessly because the responses have been overwhelmingly positive. There really is something incredible about watching the eyes of a youth light up as they talk about your characters and your stories. I can definitely get used to this.  THIS is why I write.

So anyway, while I am waiting to hear back on submissions I am inching my way through the sequel. I am so busy with all of the hoops that this process is taking much longer than I would like. An hour here or there is not a fun way to write a novel, but I am progressing. (Sorry to anyone waiting to read part 2 because it may take me a while).

Sometimes you just have to trudge through and do what you can and call it good. At least that's my philosophy. I am ready to put a close on this summer chapter. It has been a blast, but all good things must come to an end, right?

Here is a few pics of the summer….

Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Yeah, flowers like this don't grow in Arizona.

Donut Falls. FREEZING!

Park City

White Mountains AZ

Snowed in!

Rockin' the roller coasters.