Thursday, June 16, 2011

Upholstery Funtimes

Now located here: Pipsy Designs - Upholstery

Upholstery Funtimes Part 1

So, I'm not very good at this, I've done loads of renovations, of various kinds but have never blogged about them (well not really), so bear with me...

Once we had the flat confirmed and we'd check the size of the kitchen and what furniture we needed, we journeyed to the reclaim yard close to my parents house, Haynes of Challow, if you live anywhere near it, I recommend it, it's great! We went in to the final two sheds (leftover crap/house clearances, that no one else wants). JFo, Tom and I all scoured the place, JFo found a huge leather topped desk that she could have quite happily lived in/on, given a chance, and an antique rocking chair she had a mild love affair with.
Tom found many things he liked, most of which were out of our price range, although he did love a lampshade that was of the Victorian "World" map, it was lovely but he wouldn't buy it?!
I fell in love with everything but I have a love for poor, seatless, backless chairs that require some love, new seating, new legs, new backs, etc. Anyhow, we found four hapless said chairs at the back of a pile of other hapless chairs, and due to them all costing a total of £48, we could justify the £98 for the gorgeous fold out dining table, which has a hidden drawer and is just too charming for words.

Tom's choice was a leather covered chair with a bite out of the back, and a really charming chair, with holes in the seat. I chose two sorry looking chairs, one with the seat falling off and the webbing ripped, and the other with the webbing ripping but the seat, relatively in tact from hessian down.
The one with the hessian intact (see right) was easy to fix, especially as I used some gorgeous fabric from a kind friend, and I threw some new webbing in and a new cushion, for good measure. I also, put some trimming over the staples I used, yep, I totally cheated. I did however, stick the trimming on with furniture pins. I'm learning!

The other one, with ripped webbing and screwed seat didn't quite look like this, when we bought it, it was falling apart, filled with horse hair and had a rotten seat. After I threw out the seat, I ended up with this sorry looking thing (see left). The next exciting thing I did was try to get the nails out and the webbing off. It was interesting, a lot of them, I had to hammer a lot of them in more, rather than try to remove them, as many of them had rusted. I did my best with a pair of pliers, a tack hammer and a claw hammer and some determination (plus one hurting finger, due to a miss hit with the hammer, ouch).

After I'd gotten it cleared, I set about making a new seat base, I had to use curtain tape, as the haberdashery near my new pad didn't have any webbing (damn it!). Curtain tape worked very well though. I used the furniture tacks to perfection, as I totally forgot to buy carpet tacks earlier. They worked a treat and the seat works well. It looks stupid, but I can't wait to put the new cushion and cover on it! It's so exciting!

Isn't it cute!
After I'd got the seat webbing sorted, I set about finding a cushion, I totally cheated, I was going to get some foam and shape a seat accordingly, but instead, I used a cushion pad I had lying around. I was going to use two, but it seemed too poofy, so chose one big pad and shaped it (Although in hind sight, I should have used two, as it feels very thin now).

Once I'd got that sorted, I drapped the chosen material over the chair and started to staple accordingly, tucking the edges in for a crisp look. I found that stapling first, means you've more room to change and adapt. I mainly focused on getting the corners neat, as they have the most work to do. Once I was happy with the shape, I tacked it in place to secure the material.

Due to running out of upholstery pins, I glue gunned on the trim to cover the tack heads (cheating once again). It was a steady job but definitely worth it. I'm really proud of my work, even if I cut corners. Although, now I've sat on it a bit and realised I should have put two pads on the seat, I'm going to cover another cushion in the same material and use it accordingly.

Monday, June 06, 2011

New Flat

With baited breath on Saturday morning, we packed up the car with Tom's property and headed to London, to meet with our letting agency, sign the contract and get the keys. There was a small part of me that had suppressed my excitement about it all, in case it's fell through at the last minute. Once we'd parked up near the shop and walked in the door, I felt all anticipation disappear. We signed the contract, got the keys and headed to our new humble abode. Right next door to Brick Lane.

It is perfect, bigger than either of us had remembered. Far too much surface space and storage in the kitchen (if there is such a thing). The sitting room was deeper, the bedroom bigger, than I remembered too. We can see Brick Lane from our flat window (it is only a 30 second walk after all) and the Gherkin from our kitchen window. It's truly perfect. It's easily accessible from Euston Road, outside of the Congestion Zone and surrounded by nice pubs, bars and shops. I couldn't be happier. Oh yes I could, we met our landlord on Sunday morning (there I was in knickers and a cardigan, hungover to fuckery, meeting him for the first time), and he's lovely, friendly and helpful. He mentioned our mouldy shower and instead of doing an Oxford Landlord classic (grout over the old mouldy grout), he's going to completely retile the entire thing, as well as the kitchen. I'm still pinching myself to ensure I'm not in the Matrix or something.

After a 30 minute wait at the One Stop Shop to get parking permits and visitors permits, etc. With the aid of a very kind and friendly lady who worked there and the direction of another extremely kind and friendly member of staff, who told me what to say, I had applied for and was in receipt of said permits. Which made the entire moving 1000 times easier for us. Thank you kind people of Bethnal Green One Stop Shop.

We unloaded the first lot of Tom's property, with the kind help of James, and off we set for the second load. A three hour round trip and Tom was moved in, I was stressed, Tom was happy/hot/sweaty/patient/kind (delete where appropriate) and I was also in the possession of a cold glass of wine, thanks Tom.

That night we finally made our way out to the pub, Carpenter's Arms, which if they'll accept us, might be our new home from home. A great selection of wine, a good looking menu, small courtyard garden and friendly staff = a very happy and drunk me! At the pub we sat with James, his partner, Caroline, and her school friends, who were far too kind, friendly and generous, for their own rights. Eventually, I realised I was wasted and departed for home, via our late night offy, right around the corner from my house, what perfect location! Although, their bacon is shit!

Back home, we watched Kill Bill Vol.2 in our new bedroom, drinking wine and eating bacon sandwiches. Eventually I passed out in our new flat. The next morning I woke to some arse tooting a horn at 7am, I struggled out of bed, mid slumber to shut the windows, to then hear the chorus of neighbours telling said wanker to shut the fuck up. I love our neighbours, already love them! Back to slumber and eventually woke up to the Sunday market, where people of the world gather to sell food, clothes, art, antiques and stolen stuff!

Did I mention that I love our new flat? How I love our new Street? Did I mention that I couldn't be happier? Yeah, I didn't think so.

All that is left now, is to move all of my crap (there is a lot of it) into the flat, with the generous help of Tom, Lianne and Chris and I'll be as happy as the pig in shit, while I pay my kind friends with food, drink and entertainment. Let the new period of my life, dwelling in London Town commence...

Friday, June 03, 2011

Oil issues!

I've a car conundrum. I've owned my Nissan Almera 1.6 05 since October 2008. For the first year or so, it ran beautifully, then Autumn last year, it started making very sporadic grring noise, I got it checked out when the noises became regular (as Mechanics need something to go on) and stupid me, I had no oil. I was dry. I was dry to the bone! I was arid, more like the desert (my poor car. Since then, I've had a very hollow horse sound within my engine (no oill damage, of course).

Ever since that oiling up, I've run out of oil within three months, regardless of trip length, I drive quite a lot for work and pleasure, doing about 13,000 miles a year. I popped to my local garage earlier and they advised me to get my engine steamed, so they can see clearly where the leak is. Mr Steamer, who is a lovely and helpful guy said there was hardly any oil on the underside of my engine and was unsure to why my car would be using so much?! I've now left it with my mechanic he's going to look at it, he suggested I could be burning it through my exhaust (but that seems crazy), I guess we will see. But if I am burning that much oil, that's awfully expensive and seems ludicrous! And if that is the case, boy am I glad that I'm selling it come August.

In case, you're wondering, it has 60,000 on the clock and has never had any major, or minor, issues when being MOT'd.
And confession time: I haven't done the engine check (putting cardboard under the car overnight - silly of me, I know) but oil speaks have appeared outside work when it's been parked up for 8 hours, they seem to be the size of a penny, which is nothing I know, but over time, obviously...