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.............
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
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).