Monday, 4 October 2010

Buttons and chairs


Firstly, the pattern book in the last post - I'd omitted to put a name or a title, because this book is entirely in Japanese (often the title is in English) and because the isbn number on the back doesn't bring up a single search result on Google. However, having trawled through my emails I've found that I bought it from Pomadour24 and that her translation for it is Nice Fall & Winter Clothes by Fabric Length. Megumi's customer service is completely wonderful, so I'd definitely recommend buying from her - and postage from Japan is oddly inexpensive. I think someone else asked if there were any coat patterns in the book - the two jackets that I photographed were the only ones in the book. If you're thinking of buying the book, do be aware that it feels a little like a magazine and lacks the very clean and simple styling that makes most Japanese pattern books so delicious to look through.

Now, back to the photo at the start of this post - last week I saw these lovely black buttons - I didn't know quite what I'd use them for, but I bought four because it makes me happy to think that at some point in the next decade I might make myself a garment that makes me feel a little bit Audrey Hepburn....or just like a Liquorice Allsort depending upon the success of the finished garment.

Audrey Hepburn has been on my mind ever since seeing the Audrey Dress on the Boden website. For a moment I considered buying it, but lately Mr Teacakes' words have been ringing in my ears: why would you even consider buying dresses or shirts when you can make them yourself? Mmm...normally I would consider this because the right dressmaking fabrics aren't always so easy to find....but in this case I've seen some lovely, incredibly thick jersey in my local fabric shop that I'm sure would be just right, so I shall take his advice and soon hopefully have my own unique slice of Audrey goodness.


At the weekend I learnt of the wonderfulness of Cif. Last week I went to an antiques fair with my parents and found these Chapel chairs (which my mother calls Sunday School chairs - either way, they have a little space on the back for your hymn book...and, it would seem, a stray piece of chewing gum!). They were insanely cheap perhaps because they were in rather a poor state with water marks covering both. I'm used to sanding down and polishing furniture, but the lady at the fair (who talked in authoritative tones - I love it when someone sounds like they know exactly what they're talking about) advised me to use Cif and a green pan scrubber. It has been quite a revelation to discover that the two used in combination are capable of stripping a chair in not very much time at all and with far less upper arm exhaustion and wood loss (for sometimes I worry that I will be left with just a wafer of wood) than sandpaper. In the photos above the chair on the left is how they originally looked, the chair on the right is the one that has been stripped with Cif (the dark patches are where it was still a little damp).


You can see the water splatters most obviously on the horizontal back piece on the middle on the left-hand chair (the chair on the right is oiled and finished). After I'd finished using the Cif, I gave it a couple of coats of Danish finishing oil - I usually use Rustin's, but lately have only been able to get hold of Liberon locally (I find Rustin's seems to sink in a little better. With Liberon too many coats can suddenly build up to look like a varnish giving the furniture the look of a yacht's decking...which isn't the look I want). The chair on the right is nearly finished, the chair on the left is how it looked to start with. 


It's odd how finding a new cleaning product can leave one feeling reinvigorated...after the chairs I went around the house experimenting with it, only stopping from time to time to wonder what noxious ingredient it is that enables it to work so incredibly effectively. The results were too fabulous to ponder on that for long though...so it's obviously a substance that goes straight to one's head.

Florence x

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tip, Florence! How sad are we???? Love, Amanda xxx

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  2. I recently sold a Tripp Trapp chair on eBay. After weathering two boys' mealtimes over a number of years it was looking pretty sad and I was wondering if it was actually good enough to sell. Twenty minutes with my husband and a bottle of Cif and I kid you not, it looked absolutely brand new. Hoorah for Cif! Jane x

    http://handmadejane.blogspot.com/

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  3. That's so worth knowing, thanks Florence. As a feloow stripper (of chairs!) I loathe the sanding process so anything to speed it up is welcome. x

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  4. That's such a useful tip, Florence - much easier than getting out the sander and getting rid of the dust.

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  5. Love those chairs - they look fantastic. We used Cif to get hideous sticky wallpaper paste off our walls - worked a treat but rather overpowering smell..

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  6. Excellent advice, the one you have worked on is looking great. I have an old children's rocking chair that I must get out of the garage and give a little TLC to. I'm thinking paint stripper is going to be needed though! Also, still struggling to get my head around Cif... a little voice in the back of my head is saying Jif, Jif, Jif!!! Hope things are better for you x

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x