Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Holy Week Upholstery

Leading up to Easter, I didn't have enough to do with filling eggs for the big hunt, ironing Easter outfits, and cleaning the house for a party - so I figured it was a good time to reupholster our dining room chairs.

We bought these chairs in Hanford in 2004. I loved the white fabric, but purposely inspected their design for ease of reupholstering. At the time I had two children and knew the fabric wouldn't stay white for long. Call me a prophet.

Seven years later, these suckers were WAY overdue for a makeover.
I think the cran-grape juice stains make them especially lovely. If I were a guest, I'm not sure I'd even want to sit on a chair this disgusting. (No one needs to ask what kind of forward thinker would buy white chairs with children in the house. I have no answer. Except they were so pretty!)

On about Wednesday night of Holy Week, Kevin unscrewed the seat cushions from the chair frame and I sat on the couch with a screwdriver and some pliers and got to work removing the old fabric from the chairs. Between the black "under-cover" (not sure what else to call it) and the fabric itself, there were roughly 150 staples per chair to be removed. And they didn't come easy. I had a cramped, blistered hand and very sore muscles by the end of the night, and was only half done. I spent about two or three hours the next morning finishing the job.

At this point, I thought the hard part was over. Now I got to use the fun staple gun and be done in a jiffy, right? I pulled out the staple gun we inherited from my step-dad and shot the first staple. It only went half way in to the wood seat. After a desperate and annoyed phone call to my husband, he reminded me that the gun was "about ninety years old" and suggested I hammer in the staples the rest of the way. No freaking way was I going to hammer 900 staples. So I called our neighbor Derryck, who has a very well-outfitted tool collection and works as a high school teacher, so he was home on Spring Break. He sent over his stapler. Shot the first staple. It only went half way in. You might think I was over-reacting if I told you I burst into tears and ran screaming into the closet where I suffered a full nervous breakdown. But what you might not know is that I was functioning on very little sleep since I was working nights on what I think I might start referring to as "The Great Ceiling Plaster Project of Holy Week 2011." Home improvement projects have a way of not going entirely right, so home improvement workers have a way of falling apart emotionally from time to time.

This is staple gun loser #1:

This is staple gun loser #2:
By a wonderful turn of events, my father stopped by shortly after my nervous breakdown and casually said, "Well, hey, I have a staple gun in my car. Let's try it."

The "Little Staple Gun That Could," despite it's size, accomplished the feat of shooting the staple through the fabric and into the solid wood seat. (And here we insert the Hallelujah chorus. It's not just for Easter.)

No longer did my stack of chair cushions look so daunting.
I used the old fabric swatch for a pattern and got to work.

Almost a thousand staples later, I had six beautiful new chairs, only a slightly arthritic hand, and huge respect for people who carry staple guns in their cars.
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