Sunday, June 30, 2013

Postal Chair – before & after

Uni-Therapy: Postal Chair Before & After

The Before & After!

Have a look here if you want to see the stripping apart.
And have a look here if you want to see how we built it up again.

Uni-Therapy: Postal Chair Back
Uni-Therapy: Postal Chair Back-frontUni-Therapy: Postal Chair Seat

Postal Chair–part 2

Sunday afternoon, time to get busy with the Postal Chair, we started on last weekend. You might be wondering we we’ve called it a ‘postal chair’. Ever since a Dutch fashion designer made jackets from old postal bags I’ve been fantasising about using them too. And a project like this is perfect for it! Before we started cutting and stapling, we filled some of the holes in the wood and gave it a good bees waxing.

In Utrecht we bought the fabric (8€ a meter), and new reupholstering nails and strips. Friday I bought new foam in Brussels (2.5 cm thick). So we’re ready to go!

Uni-Therapy: Postal Chair 6

We cut the fabric using the old fabric as a template (just to be sure we added a couple of centimetres on either side). The first part we stapled down was the back side of the back of the chair (makes sense right?).

Uni-Therapy: Postal Chair 7Uni-Therapy: Postal Chair 8

Tom then stapled a piece of cardboard (or singleplex?) over it. If you look closely you can see the fabric of the back of the back sticking out underneath. We used spray glue to stick a layer of foam to the back and the seat. Over that we placed the fabric, pulled it tight, and stapled it down.

Uni-Therapy: Postal Chair 9Uni-Therapy: Postal Chair 10

Because of the thickness of the foam we had some trouble pressing it down, folding the edges and pulling it tight. Luckily we found a method that worked for us. We would fold the fabric and pin it in position, then I would push down the foam with a strong metal strip, and Tom would have little trouble stapling it down in a straight line. Over the staples we hammered the nail strips.

In our next post we’ll show the Before & After!

Uni-Therapy: Postal Chair 11Uni-Therapy: Postal Chair 12

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Framing a Canvas Painting

What seems like an awfully long time ago we bought a rolled-up canvas at the thrift shop. Ever since I’ve been meaning to contact one of my artsy friends to stretch it onto a frame. But as ever it didn’t happen. Long story short: if an artist can do it, why can’t we?

We took a close look at the other large painting we have hanging in our living room. And we found out that with a little wood and a staple gun we should be able to make it work!

First we measured the canvas and bought a strip of wood (cheapest one I could find) that was long enough for all four sides. Then we cut it up into pieces making sure we had a 45 degree angle on all ends. It’s easiest to use one of those 45 degree sawing help thingies (ours is from an Ikea package I think). Then we put our to be frame in the right shape.

Uni-Therapy: Framing a Canvas Painting 1

Then Tom stapled the corners together (note the 45 degree angle). The staples needed another whack with the hammer to secure them. Because we have quite a large frame we turned it over so Tom could also staple the corners on other side.

Uni-Therapy: Framing a Canvas Painting 2

We then brought the whole frame inside and placed it on the canvas. Tom started stapling the canvas to the frame while I pulled the canvas tight. This project definitely is a two man job. To be sure the painting was on straight (and tight enough), Tom first put in a staple on the left side, then the right side, the top and the bottom. Doing this we noticed that the frame (probably because of the cheep wood) would bend inward a little when we pulled the canvas. We used this to really get it tight! Finally we stapled the whole canvas to the frame and hung it up in our hall!

Uni-Therapy: Framing a Canvas Painting 3
Uni-Therapy: Framing a Canvas Painting 4

(sorry, the lighting is pretty poor in our hallway)

Pond Ideas


Pond-in-a-pot (should definitely do this!)

Tire pond

Tire pond


Fish-bubble (upside down jar)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DIY Striped Tote

A couple of months ago I stumbled upon the Reversible Bag DIY from Verypurpleperson, since then it has been on my to do list. I won’t give you my whole process (you should check out the original DIY post for that – and for downloads and patterns), but I’ll try to give you an idea.

First of all I wanted my bag to have a broader entrance (a carry a lot of big stuff with me), a pocket on the inside (for my phone and small crap) and I wanted to be able to close it with a button on the front.
For the most part I followed the original tutorial. Except before sewing the large parts together I sewed in a pocket, and pinned on a strap to go around my button.

Uni Therapy - DIY Striped Tote 1

The project took about one hour (not counting the blog posting, snacking and the phone calls). In the original tutorial Novita used Ikea fabrics (yes I recognize them). So I felt confident that my sewing machine would be capable of handling the layers of Ikea canvas. The button comes from a package I bought at Xenos (in The Netherlands). To be honest, I’m in love with the result!!!

Uni Therapy - DIY Striped Tote 1

Ps. The striped fabric is still a left over from when we reupholstered that wing chair!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sunday Sewing

Saturday we got 11 meters of orange striped fabric back in Utrecht. So, since the weather was awful we spent the entire Sunday cutting, pinning and sewing an inner tent for our ‘vouwwagen’ (this) together. I can’t wait to find out if it fits on our next camping trip!!
Proof Tom can sew

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Saturday back home & more measuring tape chairs!

It has been ages since I’ve been back in The Netherlands, except for my trip to Tajikistan (flew through Amsterdam) I haven’t been home for more than a year I think. So when my best friend invited us for a living room folk ball we just had to go!
We got up at six just to make it in time to Utrecht. We had some great fun, some good drinks (see below.. that’s me!), and pizza from Mario’s!
In the early morning we went to the lapjesmarkt in Utrecht to get 11 m of fabric for the inner tent we have to make for our folding tent (this one). We succeeded to find a bright orange stripe for just 1 euro a meter (yaay). And we even found a nice fabric for our new chair project (keeping that one a secret for now).
The afternoon we spent at my friends place. She had four old chairs that resembled the one we re-did with those Ikea measuring tapes (link), and wanted to redo them just like we did. So we spent a couple of hours cutting measuring tapes and stapling them to her chairs. Note that Ginny’s (check her out here) chairs do have a grid pattern!
Ginny's measuring tape chair 1
Ginny's measuring tape chair 2

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Postal Chair–part 1

Uni-Therapy: Postal Chair 1Uni-Therapy: Postal Chair 2
After buying what Tom calls an ‘atrocious chair’, we decided to give it a new look (to make it a little less atrocious in Tom’s eyes. This is the first time we’re trying a chair with nails, so don’t judge if we fail miserably.
We got the nails out with a screwdriver and a pair of pliers, but we didn’t manage to salvage a single nail! We’ll have to find a way to get them out a little more carefully. Anyway, we got the nails out, and the staples that were beneath the nails. We ended up with a pretty clean chair. Along the way it became clear that the chair had been reupholstered before, we think the original was a reed chair. You can see the reed holes in the last picture.
Now it’s off to the Lapjesmarkt in Utrecht to get some supplies!
Uni-Therapy: Postal Chair 3Uni-Therapy: Postal Chair 4Uni-Therapy: Postal Chair 5

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dyeing Fabric With Food

Last night when I was soaking a blue stained white shirt in chlorine, it occurred to me that I should give dyeing fabric another shot. After the debacle of trying to dye the couch green – I ended up replacing the covers all together, I should really give it another shot. However I was not prepared to lay down another 9 euro’s for a package of dye. So, I hit google in search of natural dyes. My mother used to dye wool in her hippy years, meaning it should be possible. I found a couple of recipes using either vinegar or salt as a fixing agent, and various types of food and herbs as dyes. I even found a pretty good chart of what (easy) foodstuffs give which result (from Anjou).


This morning I pulled an old cotton pillowcase from the closet to give it a try. Since it had been used before I decided only to hand wash it briefly. Than I brought 1 cup of vinegar (the cheep one), 1/2 cup of sea salt, and four cups of water to a boil and added the pillowcase. Every recipe I encountered said to let the fabric boil for an hour.. I’m still waiting for that now. By the way, vinegar really stinks when boiled.

After thoroughly rinsing the pillowcase, I brought some more water to a boil and added about 1/2 cup of tumeric. I put in the pillowcase and stirred it through for about ten minutes. After that I rinsed it and dried it inside.

Natural dyed pillowcase

The color is really amazing! However I’m still unsure if the color will keep. I’ve been scouring the internet to find a way to fix the color, but no luck so far. We’ll be testing it out over the next couple of weeks, and if the color sticks we’ll have a winner method!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Around Ribemont

Map picture
Windmills near Brissy-Hamégicourt
Windmills near Brissy-Hamégicourt 
Abbey of Saint-Nicolas-aux-Bois
Source de Fontaine á la Goutte near Saint-Nicolas-aux-Bois
Source de Fontaine á la Goutte near Saint-Nicolas-aux-Bois 
240 year old oak tree at the site of three menhirs near Saint-Nicolas-aux-Bois
240 year old oak tree at the site of three menhirs near Saint-Nicolas-aux-Bois 
La Chapelle de la Salette near Proix

La Chapelle de la Salette near Proix 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Saint-Nicolas-Aux-Bois Abbey

Last weekend when we were geocaching around Ribemont, we encountered the remnants of the abbey of Saint-Nicolas-aux-Bois. It used to be a Benedictine abbey, building was started around 1024. Today, parts of the buildings date from the 15th century, including the great tower with the two turrets and the (now caved in) main hall (source).

Abbaye de St Nicolas aux Bois vers 1660

The abbey around 1660.

Abbaye de St Nicolas aux Bois vers 1869

The abbey around1869.

Today the abbey looks rather different, the main hall has caved in and so has the chapel. Most of the exterior buildings are still in good shape and inhabited. I just think t is a great shame that the main building has not been restored, or kept in the first place.

Abbey of Saint-Nicolas-aux-Bois 01

Abbey of Saint-Nicolas-aux-Bois 02

Abbey of Saint-Nicolas-aux-Bois 03

Abbey of Saint-Nicolas-aux-Bois 04

Monday, June 17, 2013

Camping Weekend!

Now that my exams are over and some of the overall stress has subdued a bit we decided it was time to try out our new folding trailer (I don’t think it has a word in English, in Dutch it’s ‘vouwwagen’, in Flemmish ‘plooikar’). This is what I’m talking about:


It starts out looking like a normal trailer.. and if you open it and piece it together it looks pretty much like a small palace.


Doesn’t that look amazing? We were the only ones on the camping. We prefer camping places provided by a commune (Camping Municipal), they are usually cheap, clean, and children free (no pools or entertainment). This time we went to Ribemont in the north of France, a little village in the middle of the French countryside. In my next post (coming up soon I hope) I’ll show some pictures from the region.

This was the first time camping for little Amat, she did really well. Although she does not understand being on a leash at all, she does not mind it either. Just like she doesn’t mind geocaching, and making long walks.. although it is nice if the Big Human (aka Tom) carries you for a bit when you are very very very tired...


Sunday, June 09, 2013

Solar Chandelier

A very very long time ago I saw a picture of people having a dinner under a tree with a giant chandelier hanging from it. I absolutely loved the image, and with our new place having a tree in the middle of a field I immediately remembered the chandelier. But wouldn't it be great if when you are having a late summer night dinner, and it was getting dark,  the chandelier could provide just that little light you need to see your plate? Since most trees (except the ones in our living room) don't have a power outlet, we thought of solar power.

The Solar Chandelier has been on our to-think-about-and-to-do-list for some time. So when those garden-stick-in-the-ground solar lights were on sale (99 cents a piece!) we bought a huge stack of them. After that Tom payed a visit to the 2nd hand shop for a chandelier, and we were good to go.

<< Tom coming home with an atrocious beast of a lamp - note the very 3rd Reich double headed eagle on top >> 

After we got off the very ugly Belle and the Beast-esque plastic candles off we cut the cord and screwed off the bolt. We then found out that the bolt was integrated in the vertical metal piece that held op the bulb. That very blot also fixed the copper plate below it, so we had to salvage them all.

And with a little help of our new power tool and the best boyfriend & partner in crime ever, we succeeded in separating the bolts from the bulb fixtures.

 << Yes we can - with pink gloves >>

After screwing on the bolts we had to figure out how to get our solar lights onto the bolts. Luckily the solar lights had a piece of metal tubing connecting them to they ground pin. Tom cut the tubing into pieces and we were able to wiggle them on the bolts. Just for good measure we emptied a tube of super glue into the tubes. As a great tip: use gloves!! Those sharp metal edges cut worse than paper!


Finally we popped on the solar lights and hung the chandelier outside. For now it's hanging from out upstairs neighbors balustrade, but soon it will be hanging from our tree!! We can't wait for those long summer suppers!