Monthly Archives: October 2015

A Tale of a Vintage Metal Bistro Set

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A Tale of a Vintage Metal Bistro Set

To say I’ve been obsessed with upholstery is an understatement. Its hard not to get passionate when the universe keeps providing signs that this is what you are supposed to be doing! And I will take the signs of cute, all be it sad and neglected, free pile furniture as a sign.  Dan would be quick to tell you its a sign of a future episode of Hoarders. But I take it as a sign I’m supposed to give life to once grand pieces.

When my neighbor moved out at the end of July and her vintage metal bistro set was up for grabs I knew it was left for me. Dan and I, very ninja like, swiped the table and chairs and carried it up our very steep drive way into the apartment.
The score of the summer PRE me working on it

The score of the summer PRE me working on it

Once in the apartment I examined the project. There are two bistro chairs with cute legs and a matching bistro table, all with a fair amount of surface rust but overall very study. Two very gross, smelly, cushions.  But the cherry of the set was the glass! The round glass top was in perfect condition and in tact! Working in a salvage yard, I have learned that the glass is the most sought after piece because without that the set is worthless. I had the set and the ambition. Now if I only knew how to clean surface rust off metal.
a close up of what lay ahead of me

a close up of what lay ahead of me

Table actually looked worse than the chairs...

Table actually looked worse than the chairs…

After some research I learned to clean surface rust you can either sand the metal OR sandblast the metal. I wanted to sandblast it! I watch the restoration shows all the time and it didn’t look THAT hard.  Sadly to say, it was going to be far too much work to sandblast the chairs and table. I was going to have to do it old school and sand the set.
But I am one smart gal and on my way home from HomeDepot, I had 2 sets of sand paper for metal, steal wool, gloves, and of course face masks.  SAFETY TIP: Do NOT sand metal without a mask! Breathing in the metal particles is bad for the lungs. On my way home I picked up some beer, I had no intentions of sanding the set alone and I knew Dan would need a little persuading, After one movie, a pack of beer, and lot of sandpaper, the set was sanded and ready for painting. I went with Rustoleum Shell White and a clear gloss protective coat.
Perfect for a vintage-y look

Perfect for a vintage-y look

I was at a loss for a cushion fabric.  I knew I wanted it to be a neutral fabric for easy resale but I still wanted it to have personality. While I was home in Eastern Wa visiting my mom, we found ourselves at the fabric store and there on the flat fold table was the perfect fabric: a blueish teal, Sumbrella outdoor fabric! Best part? It was on SALE! I snapped it up and in a day had 2 cute new cushions.
Check out the legs and curves!

Check out the legs and curves!

I ordered new feet for the set and got rubber glass bumpers but the rest was all down hill.   Once it was complete it was ready for sale.  Sadly (or not too sadly as I’m still not sure I want to sell the set) I didn’t finish it in time to sell before the end of the season.  At the moment, it is being stored safely in my storage unit waiting for the promise of warm sunny days ahead.
Secretly want it for my house ;)

Secretly want it for my house 😉

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Upholstery Summer

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Upholstery Summer

Over the past few weeks it went from 90 degree summer weather (Seattle had a HOT summer) to nice fall days.  With this weather change I’m ready to clean the dead plants off my porch, put away the grill (even though Dan is not), start cooking with the oven and crock pot again, dig out the jeans and boots, maybe even a coat, and of course, blog. Its not that I don’t want to blog during the summer or even that I don’t do projects in the summer, I just get busy with, well, summer things. And this summer has been no exception! While we didn’t go on vacation we did travel to Eastern WA several times to visit my family .  At work I was busy helping customers with their projects. I helped customers with everything from how to use salvaged material for small craft type items to giving advice on a bathroom remodel.  But don’t think for one moment I did not take my work home with me, because I would be a liar if I told you otherwise.

When not at work, spending time with family and friends, or enjoying my patio with Dan and cats I spent my days (and nights) learning everything I could about upholstery. With every book I read and every free (or nearly free) project I acquired, the more obsessed I became.

I started the summer with learning how to redo simple dinning chair seats, and gradually progressed to a paying customer and 4 evil box cushions for her amazing mid century chairs. Before I continue, I must say box cushions are not easy as YouTube videos make it out to be! It was at this moment I realized how lucky I was have a have a weekly class to attend for help and a great group of ladies from my class to support me! Otherwise those cushions would never have been finished and I would have given up forever.
The finished "dreaded" box cushions

The finished “dreaded” box cushions

But after that I treated myself to a shopping trip.  While most ladies love to go to the mall for clothes, shoes, and purses, Dan and celebrated the completion of the mid-century chairs with a trip to Harbor Freight.  For those who are unaware of Harbor Freight, its heaven on earth.  Ok maybe not heaven but pretty close! It’s a mid-range priced tool store, which is perfect for a beginner like me! I bought myself my very own upholstery gun, staples, air hoses for the air compressor I scored for a good deal a year ago, and all the fittings.  We ended up with a few more items but everything was about getting me set up!
At the end of July I scored big! A neighbor moved out and left the cutest vintage metal bistro set.  The “flip” of this set became my shinning moment, the moment where I realized that no matter how hard some things can be (I’m talking about you, you stupid box cushion) that this is truly one of my passions. Don’t worry I will be talking more about this set soon!
The score of the summer PRE me working on it

The score of the summer PRE me working on it

I’ve ended my upholstery filled summer with a storage unit. Lame right? But this unit now provides me with the space I need to store finished projects waiting for a good home, and a place for my to keep my unfinished projects! Now they are all cleared out of the living room…dinning room…office…bedroom…and my car. And once again I have the motivation and room to craft, upholster, create, cook, and live happily! Welcome Fall.
We were in the process of moving into the unit and out of my living room

We were in the process of moving into the unit and out of my living room