Wednesday, 31 October 2012

For the love of chairs..

Hello again and I will not complain about the weather given certain climatic events in the world. Thinking of those poor souls.

I like lots of things - no style, no discrimination - just lots of things.  What a hotch potch it all is.  As you may know from flickr I have collected things all my life and chairs are a good example  of that.  My  first chair purchase was at the age of 18 and it is (not was because I still have it of course) a beautiful Edwardian chair that I sit in every day to sew (you can just see it in my header photograph peepng round the right hand side)!  I have painted and recovered it many times over the years.  You may also know that I love Arts and Crafts design so had several years of collecting things from that time slot - this has resulted in a mini collection of chairs  from circa 1910 that have hearts in the back of them.  All used and pressed into action on a daily basis

This is the story of one of my old chairs (I remember that it cost £5 and I have easily had £5 worth of use from it).   The original rush seat had all but perished so a new one was needed - I am not a dab hand at rush seating so.............
Chair a few years ago after it had had its first makeover!
This was a while ago as it is photographed in Maille's old bedroom (note the 'fire' that I had made from a cardboard box - we used to keep an old enamel kettle and toy tea set by the fireplace so I could call round for tea...).  Over the intervening years and with lots of bottom sitting one side finally caved in again, thus:
Poor long suffering Dom, who would cheerfully throw this on the fire, whittled a new wooden brace out of an old broom handle!  It was then up to me to revamp the remainder.  As it was now to live in my sewing room I sloshed on a bit of leftover emulsion -  my makeovers are never meant to look perfect (ruddy good job I hear you say!).
Once painted I then made a new 'woven' seat - all I do is tie both the warp (grand!) around one side of the chair and weave the weft in and out (or is that the other way round???).  The fabric is just an old 1970s sheet so nothing fancy. I tear the sheet into strips and leave the edges raw. You do need a fair bit of fabric but it doesn't matter if you run out of one sort - which happened to me - I just swapped to something else, thus:
Just keep going, keeping it as tight as possibly, until you can go no further.  Of course you then have to add in all the accessories that you suddenly decide are needed to complete the picture.  Tah dah
Chair after


One rickety old chair transformed.... sort of.  Since I completed this the other side has caved in so I need to do this all over again....
PS My little table we have had for decades - the metal top rusted years ago so I used bits of Victorian and Edwardian china to cover it all (china found on the allotment again)

Here is my chair with another old chair that lives in our dining room - it just gets a fabric makeover every 5 years or so

I will now proffer my top tips for thrifty living - in no particular order.  A lifetime of watching the pennies..

1.  Always cycle or walk wherever possible - for 20 years I cycled from south (some very steep hills) to central (and sometimes north!) London, in snow, sleet and hail, on my clapped out 1950s sit up and beg bike - nothing would induce me to get on a bus because I could cycle to work for free. Perilous at times I must admit - especially Elephant and Castle roundabout at rush hour (always keep a water pistol to hand for squirting purposes).Oh and I was mugged once or twice....whilst going slowly up a hill.  You couldn't make it up!

2.  Cut own hair with stiff dress making scissors - not always tooooo successful I will admit.  I visit a hairdressers about four times a year and am always asked the same question:"Have you been cutting your hair yourself?"...oh dear. To be honest this more is more about embarrassment at having to  come face to face with myself in front of a mirror...

3.  Have camping holidays - we will not dwell on the time our tent nearly blew off an escarpment on the Isle of Wight.

4.  Use any left over food stuffs (see previous posting re: saving all home made pastry in the freezer)

5.  Make/bake all pies, pastries and cakes yourself - this way you also get to lick the bowl.....and tell the children that I used it all in the cake...

6.  Be a saver not a spender - I feel that I may give the impression that I am always spending but I love looking at savings calculators and working out predicted savings.  I always round savings up to the nearest whole number - I hate odd numbers (strange but true - £100 is so much nicer than £97.56). Chatting with one of my sisters recently we recollected my savings habit from a very young age - plastic tubes marked off  in targets for collecting coins.

7. Recycle - of course, an obvious one and I also give large amounts of children's clothing etc to charity shops.

8.  I cannot recall  buying new china - apart from a mug (a momentary lapse).

9.  Ask Dom to kindly mend ANYTHING that is broken - we will tackle most things thanks to the Reader's Digest DIY book! Dom has carried out 98% of all donkey work in our house - we have builders in only when essential.

10. Whilst at work always take own lunch - I have done this all my life and never more so when I was a student.    Dom spends a grand total of £1 a week on himself - I must ask him what that £1 is for....

11. If I buy anything that is pricey or a luxury I will always sell something to compensate = neutral cost.  Hurrah! I work on this particular formula that I will demonstrate with china : cost of purchase £15 (pricey I know)  - for 6 cups, 6 saucers and 6 plates. Only four of us in the home - sell one trio - sold for £20 and then sold another for the same amount.  I have got my original outlay back, made some extra profit which means that the four sets I keep cost me nothing.  I have done this many, many times

12.  Weigh up cost of old versus cost of new - I do this particularly with fabric.  At first glance it might seem quite pricey but if you calculate the cost of buying new,  good quality fabric (not that I ever have mind you!) you will find that it is actually very cheap....mind you did I really need it in the first place...cough, cough...

13. Instil in  your children your own philosophy...(very pleased to see that Bronte (aged 14) snips open tubes of cream in order to extract the last morsel).

Best wishes
Jenny

44 comments:

  1. hi Jenny,the chair looks fab,you are both very clever. loved reading your money saving tips,I do adhere to some of them,I'm not quite as good as you though.I wonder... what does Dom spend that £1.00 on ... :) Happy week.
    Best wishes,love julieXxXx

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    1. Ho, ho Julie - I keep asking him and he says that he is not too sure!
      Take care
      Jenny

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  2. I love your chair pictures - it has reminded me that the seat in the bathroom is due for a makeover!
    Tips #9 and #13 are really important I think- get the family involved in thrift too. We too have saved a fortune thru Bob's Handyman skills - and my daughters are equally careful with finances. My eldest is now cycling daily round Elephant and Castle on her way to work!

    blessings xx

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    1. Thank you Angela - I think that E & C is even busier nowadays - please do provide your daughter with a water pistol just in case!
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  3. Love your chairs Jenny, especially the heart ones! Also love very much your thriftiness! A girl after my own heart ...
    I'm going to the Country Living Fair in Harrogate soon, but will do 2 fairs beforehand for my spending money, otherwise I won't have any, and that would be very miserable.

    Claire xx

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    1. Ah wise words Claire - save in order that you may spend
      Have a good time at the Fair
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  4. ....your chairs look amazing.... What a gorgeous and clever idea.... Really enjoyed reading this lovely post thank you :) x

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    1. Thank you kindly the vanilla squirrel
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  5. I'm a chair lover too! I'm with you on the thrifty front, carry out all of them except the bike one! Don't trust myself on one, I'm bound to cause some injury, to myself, or someone else! Ada :)

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    1. Dear Ada - I can envisage you on a bedecked bike - give it a whirl
      Best wishes
      jenny

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  6. Chair extremely inventive and lovely.
    My antiques and vintage habit has to be completely self financing because there are no extra pennies in the pot for it. I have a separate account for it, and anything I make from my sales goes in there, along with ebay money. It works well.

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    1. I am with you on that self financing path - it also means that the spending is guilt free!
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  7. Thanks for the tips. I come from good Yorkshire stock (!) so saving money has been taught from an early age. I remember when my Mum started giving my sister and I our family allowance so that we could then buy our own clothes and learn how to budget at the same time. My Mum is very clever like that, we never came home with overpriced tat! I've just been shopping with my two girls (11 and 9) and they are both getting good at pointing out offers and remembering vouchers and gift cards to use instead of paying full price. My youngest is quickly turning into my charity shop buddy. I'm just trying to stop us all from becoming hoarders, there are far too many bargains around at the moment!!

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    1. Ah Dear Juliab - it is that intoxicating combination of bargain price with uniqueness that makes a charity shop sooo enticing don't you think? Both my children are very aware of the price of things - to the point that I think that I have scarred them for life as they always say how expensive things are and that we cannot afford it. Still better that than the other option!
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  8. So lovely to know that you are a fellow chair lover ... that is some pretty nifty weaving on your lovely chairs ... love the money saving tips .. we try to do the same here ... needs must ... but it is not a bad way to live :) ... have a happy Halloween ... Bee xx

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    1. Indeed Bee - I hope a more satisfying way of being and hopefully not taking things for granted
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  9. Love your weaving work, also love the felt flowers, did you make them?

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    1. Thank you Gill - the flowers I bought in a market in Bristol there were a £1 for all of them so no contest really
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  10. Hello Jenny:
    Your woven chair seats all look wonderful. And, of course, by this method, one can ring the changes and the colour schemes at will. Brilliant!

    Your thrifty tips make fascinating reading and so much sound advice there. However, we are wondering how we can acquire Dom as he seems to be a central part of the thrifting philosophy. We would not question the £1 expenses!!!!

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    1. Dear Lance and Jane - I am currently negotiating a contract with Dom and he has reached for the Hungarian dictionary - he will be with you shortly
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  11. Hi Jenny I'm a chair nut too so I'm hoping you will share more of your chair collection with us!

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    1. Yes indeed Gill - I will endeavour to photograph some more
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  12. I love them to! But I can't have anymore in my house! My husband is getting mad with me thrifting al sorts of stuff al the time (-:

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    1. I know just what you mean - I should be operating a strict one in and one out policy but...
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  13. Hi Jenny,gorgeous chairs love the heart on the back,chapel chairs,penny chairs and Lloyd Loom are my favourites, I have a couple of each and enjoy titivating them but not on your amazing scale!!! Sadly I am a spendaholic so have never saved in my life!Thank the Good Lord for a generous hubby!!If I didn't have him I'd be living as a bag lady wheeling my teasets etc round on an old trolley!Warm Regards Pam.

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    1. Thank you very much for your kind words Pam - I must confess that I do not know what a penny chair is? Could you enlighten me Pam? You a bag lady! Never!
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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    1. Thank you dear Barbara
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  15. Hi Jenny, the chair makeovers are gorgeous.You are very clever and resourceful, I would never think of doing things like that. I like to give things a lick of paint but thats about my limit!

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    1. You are very kind in your comment Anne - so long as it is not too tricky to do I will give it a go!
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  16. Another great post, I love what you have done to the chair and also your thrifty tips were good, some of them made me smile! That walking book looks so interesting too.
    Sarah x

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    1. Thank you kindly Sarah - I am partial to an old book...cough, cough!
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  17. Hi a great chair make-over! and I like your thrifty tips list. Heather x

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    1. Many thanks indeedy Heather
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  18. Oh I do like your thrifty tips and am intrigued by your china selling ways. I have come to realise I have too much china and must part with some of it - I am thinking eBay. All that puts me off is the bother of wrapping and packing it all safely. Hmmm - must stop being such a lazybottom. You know what I do to be thrifty? I cut the end of the toothpaste tube and get at least three more toothbrushings out of it - astonishing how much toothpaste lurks inside. (It is a messy business though and a peg is required to keep the tube closed.)

    And I am with the Hattatts - a resident Dom is a must. ;)

    Very jolly chairs, by the way.

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    1. YOu - a lazybottom! I do not think so wendz. Ebay has proved to be a great outlet for, what I call, overspill....Yes indeed re: tube of anything - always more to be found in the corners!
      Many thanks
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  19. I love what you've been doing with the chair - and I'll remember it! Your thrifty tips are great and it's always interesting to read how peoples' thrifty ways match or differ from my own - we cycle, take packed lunches, buy old, mend, recyle etc, but we also do buy French patisseries as well as baking at home (crazy not to, here in France) but I usually buy them when they are down to half price as they're going out of date!!! Thanks also for your comments on my blog. I like tatting too, but was never particularly good at it in my youth as I was dyspraxic. Coordination comes with age, so I really should give it a go again... My favourite shuttle was tortoiseshell - what an ethical minefield all these antique sewing items are!

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    1. Dear Floss - if I had a French patisserie within 100 miles of me I too would be ditching the dried out home made in favour of those! I agree with your wise words about antique sewing items - we sadly cannot bring the poor animal back so better that something positive comes out of it!
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  20. Hi Jenny,
    great chairs, you clever stick! Thanks for the ideas too, they are really good and you are an inspiration with your truly thrifty ways (ie. not getting sucked into buying vintage things expensively like I have on occasion lapsed and done. I am a lost cause.)
    Hen x

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    1. Dear Hen - thank you for your kind words. I too believe that I have had occasion to lapse now and again....oh dear
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  21. Oh Jenny what a great idea weaving rag seats... I have the sweetest chair up in the loft needing a new seat... have been quoted £70-90 to have it re-caned and thought that might have to be my christmas present but no this is a much better answer... just need to find a large old curtain and start tearing!! thanks for sharing!

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    1. Dear Cass - that sounds ideal and I look forward to seeing your chair. I used old sheets here - the strength comes from the tightness as much as anything else.
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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  22. Hi Jenny, Your chairs are lovely. I have done a rush stool before now back in the time when I was a permanent student at the local adult education centre but your chairs look spectacular. I remember tearing an old duvet cover into strips and making a rag rug for my workroom. It seemed to take forever but turned what had been a very unappealing duvet cover into a most attractive rug.

    Thank you for all the money-saving tips. I too love working out what I have saved. I have tried very hard to instill similar money-saving habits in my children but sadly I don't seem to have been totally successful. Perhaps it will kick in when it is their own money they are saving rather than mine.

    All the very best, Philippa xx

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    1. Dear Philippa - I have always wanted to give making a rag rug a go (I think that I have enough fabric...) but never got round to it. Every day I sound a little more like my mother as I huff and puff about the cost of things today!
      Best wishes
      Jenny

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