How to change a rush chair seat to fabric!

I hope this post will be useful.  Often I come across chairs that are in good condition but the seat is rush and I had always thought they were difficult to change so I pass them up.  Not any more!

I bought a few chairs with rush seating with the intention of figuring out how to change them and showing everybody the process.

So first of all- what is a rush seat?  This is:


It is a woven chair seat usually from naturals materials.  The style is more rustic or country and it is very durable.  This was woven on to a seat frame which is then inserted into the chair.  Traditionally, rush seating was woven on to the frame of the chair- something like this:

rush chair weaving

Just in case you are interested…..

Because the material was woven on to a frame I was able to simply cut it off.  Luckily the frame was in good condition so I was able to re use it.

The first step was to add webbing to the frame to support everything.

I pulled the webbing tight, which reminds me that I need to find a webbing stretcher!!) then stapled it down and weaving everything while doing it.

Then on top of the webbing I added a layer of coconut husks.  I am not sure if I written about this before?  In Europe it is possible to buy by the metre coconut husks that have been flattened and formed- this is created specifically for upholster purposes and usually replaces where horse hair would have been used.


Next, I added a layer of foam and then a layer of batting:


The next step is, of course, to staple the fabric down and then on the under side I covered up the guts 😉 :

This is the final result!


Here is the before of the seat in case anybody is curious!


Much better!  Now I am not going to pass up a rush seat again.



Swiss Army Blanket…..stool?

A few years ago I visited a friend in Switzerland and I returned to Poland with a trailer full of goodies.  Furniture, fabric, pewter as well as other lovely things.

Many things I have already sold in my shop and a few I don’t want to sell….this is nothing new for those of us the do this job 🙂

I got two Swiss army blankets, one was in good condition and the second was to do so sort of upholstery job with it because there were a few holes and the ends were frayed.  It is made from wool and horse hair and has a number embroidered on each authentic one.  I have seen a few reproductions- these are the real deal! After about two years- I finally got around to doing what I wanted to do!!

I found this retro stool- which is exactly what I was looking for.  I didn’t want country or modern.  The design of the blanket, in my mind anyway, is completely retro…..I mean 60’s style.

I removed the fabric and luckily the inside was in good shape.  It only needed an extra bit of batting to even out the shape- but everything inside was in good condition and it didn’t smell.

I started by figuring out where I wanted the stripe to be.  Once I was happy I cut the shape plus one centimetre for seam allowance.

Then I did the same for all four sides making sure to match the red stripe.

You may notice that my seams are on the outside……of course they are!  This was actually intentional. 🙂

This is how it looked once everything was sewed together……but of course I am not finished!

The next step was to do a stitch around the seams – because a blanket stitch around a blanket stool is completely logical. 🙂

To finish it off I stapled down a piece of fabric to hide the bottom.

But….I still wasn’t done.  In the above photo you can see white paint on the legs?  Any ideas where I was going with this?


Here is a close of up of the blanket stitch.  This is jute string.


And the final result!  I am really smitten with this.  I had it completed maybe a half hour when somebody was asking about it- that is a great sign…I am still trying to decide if I should take it home.  Sometimes I hate when that happens.



a touch of gold!


I started with this well made little table.  It is a knock off of a French Empire table which modelled the design of the legs after ancient Greek columns.  I see this as more of a masculine design style….Napoleonic.IMG_1175

So….I took inspiration from Napoleon and of course the most logical colours are dark blue and gold.

From the Pure&Original colour pallet I chose Steel Blue, which is a lovely navy blue with a hint of grey in it.


I painted two coats of this colour.  I love how smooth this paint goes on and the coverage is really super. So the next logical step is the gold.

The gold leaf/transfer is applied quite easily.  First the glue (gold size) is applied in the places where you want the gold to be- I chose the detail around the apron of the table and the flower detail on the legs. Once the glue is clear and tacky then you can apply the transfer

This step is almost therapeutic!  Carefully lay the gold transfer (make sure you have the correct side) and then with a brush, brush over where the glue was then peel off to reveal the gold.

Once the glue has dried it is time to apply either wax, oil soap or eco sealer.  For this project I used P&O Italian Gloss wax.  It isn’t really glossy but when dried it can be buffed to a shine.  This is also meant to be used on the Fresco lime wall paint and the Marrakesh wall paint as a protectant.

I have  written previously about how much I love this wax.  It is a liquid and it goes on so easily.  Brush it on evenly then wait to dry.


This photo shows how the wet wax looks after the application.  I let this dry overnight, only because it was the end of day in my shop, but the next morning I buffed it with a soft cloth.


It has a slight sheen to it and I think the gold is just enough.  It is quite Napoleonic, don’t you think?

I haven’t found a colour I haven’t liked in the Pure&Original pallet.  And this is just furniture!  Imagine how this colour would look on the walls……




So, I bought a set of nesting tables.

One thing I love about having my own shop/studio is that I am able to enjoy many different styles of furniture.  My own personal style is a bit of a mish mash with pieces from a few different eras but primarily retro.  My house is always a work in progress and I am not afraid to experiment.

These set of three nesting tables are not old.  They have a nice cabriole leg which was popular in many French, English and Dutch design styles.  Basically a cabriole leg has two curves- an upper convex curve and a lower concave.  Often the feet have a claw or some other sort of embellishment. And this table has a lovely scalloped edge top.


From the Pure & Original colour palette I used three separate colours- a dark, a medium and a light, all from the blue family.  This is the first coat of the darkest colour, Polar Blue, on the largest table.IMG_1089

The next colour on the medium sized table is Blue Reef and the last colour is Lagoon Water, on the smallest table- not pictured.IMG_1090

Polar Blue, Blue Reef and Lagoon WaterIMG_1091

Each table was painted with two coats.  With Pure & Original Classico Chalk Paint it is not necessary to prepare paint surface- this all natural paint has very strong adhesive properties- like other chalk paints.

But I didn’t stop there!  I wanted to make these tables a bit more interesting!  If you have been on Pinterest, blogs or read any design magazines, you will notice that dipped furniture is quite trendy.  Basically, the concept is to paint a piece of furniture so that it looks as though it was dipped into a pot of paint.  This was what I wanted to do- but not with paint- with silver leaf!

This was how the tables looked after two coats of each colour.


Then I measured 14 cm from the tip on the large table, 12 cm from the medium and 10 on the small.  I applied the glue for the silver leaf and when it was tacky I used a soft brush to cover the glue with the leaf and then smooth it out.IMG_1098IMG_1099

Then the final step was the application of the Italian wax- which can be done with a brush, cloth or sponge.  This is a liquid wax and very easy to apply.  It also has very little odour.

Here is the final result!


I must say that I am thrilled with these.  They are not my style but I have fallen in love with them.  I love how smooth they look and the silver on the feet is a bit of fun.


I guess I like patchwork?

I bought this chair from a lovely lady who lives close to the German border and often goes brocanting to all the second hand shops and flea markets.  It arrived to my house slightly broken- the top portion of the back had already been repaired by a previous owner and during transport it had cracked again.


The above photo is how it looked after I had sanded off old glue, re glued and then filed in the cracks then sanded smooth.  You can see the old springs that were added later.  I kind of figured this chair is more for decoration- you can use it, of course, but it isn’t the most comfortable, which is probably how the back was originally damaged- leaning too far back…..this is a formal chair!

I decided on the colour Dried Clay from the Pure&Original colour palette.  If you haven’t tried this paint….it is magical.  It goes on so smoothly and levels like a dream.  There are a few options to finish this- you can leave it as is for a matte finish, you can apply “eco sealer”, “lime soap” or “Italian gloss wax”.

The eco sealer is basically a non yellowing lacquer that dries to a dead flat finish.  The lime soap is more or less linseed oil (it smells amazing) and the Italian gloss wax is a liquid wax that can be buffed to a shine once dry.


From the left we have the wax, then the sealer in the middle and the right is the soap. All three of these finishes are used on the the Marrakesh walls, Fresco lime paint and the Classico chalk paint depending on where or what you paint.



the repair…


This is where I am trying to figure out the layout of the patchwork to bring home to sew, once I was happy with the order I then marked on the back so I wouldn’t forget 🙂


After second coat and light distressing on the edges.


The liquid wax- it can be applied with a brush, sponge or cloth.  This wax is the easiest wax I have ever used and it buffs to a lovely shine.


After wax application- still wet.  It usually takes about 20 minutes to dry.

The above photos is the sewing process.  Basically I sewed three rows of fabric and then sewed the rows into a large square.


Upholstering a chair seat is a good starting point for anybody that is interested because it is relatively easy.  Lay down the fabric then staple a few in the front and a few in the back to keep it from sliding, then staple until about 10 cm away from corner.IMG_1027-2

I like to finish my corners like this, some people do a fold over- whatever works for you!


So then once it is stapled all the way around and there are no  bumps or puckering where you don’t want it, cut very close to the staples all the way around.


And then, of course, we need to hide the staples – I usually do this with hot glue and decorative trim.


The finished chair!IMG_1033-2

A closer look at the patchwork.  All the material is linen with the exception of the mattress ticking which is cotton.


Looks nice agains the Fresco lime paint wall, doesn’t it!!  If you have read my blog before you will have seen that I have done a patchwork slipcover using linen as well.  I just love it and it is a great way of using up any extra scraps of fabric that you can’t seem to throw away 😉


Pure & Original….the colours!

Changing my shop around is a slow project, with having customers come in to buy items and also finishing up a few commission pieces–but I have had a few opportunities to test the colours of this amazing paint.

I painted a wall with the Fresco lime paint using the colour Earth Stone.  With this paint it is necessary to use a primer on the walls unless the walls are a mineral foundation- so your average home would need the wall prime first.  This is just usually one coat, applied normally like you would latex paint- with a roller.

Then, when dry,  you paint with the Fresco lime starting from the top and working your way down.  I painted my wall with the P&O brush working in a kind of cross hatch method.  When I was in Holland meeting with the owner- this was one of the techniques we did on sample boards.

A word of warning- the colour in the can is not the same as the dried paint on the walls.  I opened the can and for a second I thought I had the wrong colour because the wet paint was so dark.  Once it dried the colour was true to the colour card sample.

It is usually necessary to use two coats making sure that each coat is completely dry.  Another important issue- do not leave a wall half finished.  Once you start the wall- you definitely need to finish it otherwise you will have a line where you stopped and started.  do one complete wall then move on to the next.

The above photo on the left is during the process.  The bottom portion is just two coats of the Fresco lime but the darker top half has the Italian wax.  The photo on the right is complete but the bottom portion still has wet wax….I couldn’t wait!


This photo shows how the wall looks now- the right side has the light hitting it so it does look a bit different than the left but you can see the texture- it looks like a concrete wall.

And then the colours… love love.  There are so many lovely colours it is difficult to chose one… I didn’t!

Can a person be in love with a paint?


Some exciting things happening in my part of the world…..

I am selling a new brand of paint!  And it is amazing!!  Just like I was the first to have Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Poland- I am the first to have Pure & Original paint here too!  This paint has the most amazing, dreamy colours- making it very difficult to choose.

Pure & Original is a Dutch company that manufactures the paint in Bruges, Belgium.  (a road trip may be necessary)

If you have a moment have a look at the Pure & Original website.  You will love it.

So…..more to come in the future!


serendipity |ˌsɛr(ə)nˈdɪpɪti|
noun [ mass noun ]
the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: a fortunate stroke of serendipity | [ count noun ] : a series of small serendipities.


I bought this table:


It seems to be the sister of the one I have just painted in Duck Egg.  They have the same legs….I am certain the previous was meant to be used as an extension because one of the sides is not bevelled, but that makes it perfect in smaller spaces if you want the table butted against the wall.


I have been staying away from Old White but I have a lot of people that come into my shop asking what the difference between our three whites is- so I decided to paint an example.

One coat of white on the legs and apron….

This table is obviously pine and very country. I didn’t want to paint the table top completely but wanted to add some details to it but still keeping it a little bit folky.

A few months ago when I expanded my shop I bought a lot of Polish folk stencils.  It turned out they were the sticky one time use stencils so they didn’t work for what I had planned and they have been sitting in my shop for a few months.  But as luck would have it….one of them fit perfectly.  Serendipity- because I have been wondering what to do with them.

I found the mid point of the table and the mid point of the stencil–then took off the sticky back and stuck it right in the middle.


I have heard that there are some really great “one time use” stencils out there.  These are not them.  I hate these- but I love the patterns–I was so thrilled when I bought them because the patterns are fantastic……until I tried them.  Basically, you peel off the sticky back then place the stencil where you want it.  Then peel off the paper layer to reveal only stencil.  The problem with these is that the sticky paper has too much glue on them making it really difficult to remove.  Then after the fuss of that and the painting, with these, removing the stencil will peel off the paint under it.  But I thought it would work on this table as it had been lacquered.

IMG_1669 Then I thought it needed a bit of a frame so I taped off a stripe on either side.  The great thing about folklore is that it shouldn’t be perfect.  It is very rustic and primitive so if you make any mistakes—it is very forgiving.


Next I  lightly sand the stencils to reveal a bit of the pine under the stencil creating a faded look.IMG_1673

On the table top I decided to use lacquer.  Personally, I like to use lacquer on a table top with heavy use.  Wax is just as good but because we need to wait for three weeks for the wax to harden and cure- it is often not an option for people. All other applications I use wax.  Always.  Even on these table legs, I waxed then sanded….I think I will sand a bit more, though- just so it is heavily distressed.


This is a Boleslawiec knob.   I have written about  Boleslawiec before- hand made and hand stamped Polish pottery.


Serendipity…..the stencil went exactly to the tip on either side….sometimes luck is on my side 😉



Because I sanded the stencil before I lacquered it is level….I mean you can’t feel it if you run your hand across it.


I like it!








Rustic Duck Egg Blue!

Duck Egg Blue is one of the colours on the pallet that works with so many styles.  It is a greyed down bluish greenish greyish colour that has loads of possibilities!

I got this table for free…..well sort of free.  I bought a table and two side tables from a seller of German and Dutch used furniture and I paid too much for shipping so he threw in this table.

IMG_1630 It is just a regular pine table.  Nothing special- lovely turned legs!

I painted with one coat of Duck Egg Blue.  Just one coat!

Then I added some stencils on the apron.

IMG_1634 IMG_1635

I continued around all sides then sanded lightly so the details were a bit faded.


Next step was the legs!  I clear wax first, distressed with 180 paper then added dark wax.

IMG_1637 IMG_1638

Of course I didn’t stop there!  On to the table top!

IMG_1640 You can see grease marks or similar bleeding through the paint.  There is no way of telling if this will happen.  Crap shoot, really.  If it does happen it can usually be fixed by sealing in the stain with lacquer or shellac then painting again.  I live on the edge so I just left it and added clear wax.IMG_1641 Then I added a touch of dark wax to give it more of an aged rustic look.  If you are not used to adding dark wax- it can be a bit fussy on lighter colours.  Getting the wax perfectly even can be difficult but if there are places on your piece of furniture that are darker or blotchy, simply wipe over it with a bit of clear wax and it will lighten the dark.

And this is the result:

IMG_1643 IMG_1648

So if you are looking at my photos and wondered what happened… was the white balance in my camera.  In the first photos I had it set on auto white balance and it was reading the light wrong.  The last four I switched the white balance to tungsten and the colours are more clear and true……lesson learned- sometimes auto settings are not the best!

fIMG_1662 IMG_1663

Close up of the details, wax and distressing.  Those grease marks are barely visible and actually add a little authenticity!

IMG_1664 IMG_1665The stencil has been sanded like I did on the apron- just so it is faded and the lines are blurred.

If you want to try a different colour besides white- I recommend Duck Egg Blue.  It compliments many others in the Chalk Paint pallet and is flexible enough to use in a few different furniture styles.


Pretty in Pink!

Watched that movie hundreds of times, I am certain!

I have been trying some new techniques and some new colours lately- I can’t say it enough- this one tin of paint offers so many possibilities!

2015 is going to be a great year for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Poland.  Most notably the most recent “Painter in Residence” is from Poland.

This is her—–>

She was one of my first customers when I started this Chalk Paint journey almost four years ago.  Her style is really rustic, really flakey and chippy and so far the paint world is reacting positively to her work.

We also have one of Annie’s books “Colour recipes” being printed in Polish….actually they have been already printed and are sitting on a pallet in either Holland or England—waiting for me!!  And also….Annie is planning a trip to Poland in November!

So…..using Agnieszka as inspiration I have painted a “chippy” piece.  This is a very popular look with milk paint- the only thing is that with milk paint there is little or no control with where the paint chips off.  For some painters this is part of the charm but I wanted to control the chippy!

I started with two of these cute bedside tables.  Typical western Europe reproduction furniture.


My first step was to paint with the colour Henrietta.  This is a strong pinky colour with a hint of violet.


Then I painted a second coat of Antoinette–a very pinky feminine colour.


While the paint was still wet I then added in some areas the colour Scandinavian Pink to give it some lowlights and dimension.

IMG_1612   IMG_1613

I put the Scandinavian Pink in areas that I thought needed some contrast- then with more Antoinette I blended it together so that it quite a soft contrast.

IMG_1614 IMG_1615

The next step was the distressing- I used this tool and scraped off the paint on the edges.

IMG_1616   IMG_1617

I also dry sanded….sanded before waxing.  I don’t usually do this…for obvious reasons- this is the dust in the below photo!  I usually sand after waxing-there is less dust and it creates an authentic aged look, but this time I really wanted to thin the layer of paint so I used a high grade sand paper to softly get to the wood.

IMG_1619 IMG_1620

I has been scraped and sanded and chipped …..sounds like a day at the spa.

This is the final result:

IMG_1622 But she has to be staged….of course it is a she!IMG_1623 IMG_1626 Some of the detailed distressing:IMG_1627 IMG_1628      IMG_1629

There are three different pinks on this.  It isn’t quite clear in the photos but the Henrietta under the Antoinette just lightly peeks through giving it a bit of dimension.