'If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it; to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively, to equally profound sadness.' Marjorie Garber

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Sue Tries Very Hard

I've fallen behind in blogland. I had intended to publish a post at least once a week, but I'm afraid life has been pulling me away from the trusty old iMac that I  usually work on and filling my time with all sorts of other seemingly more pressing things.

So I have been playing catch-up today. I've been reading some of the excellent posts of fellow bloggers and I've been stirred into action.
In particular, over at sixty one A, Kirsty's tale, from 29 September, about her old stool, made me decide to dust off the following post I started writing the day before Kirsty published hers and share it with you. So here goes:

For several years, I have fancied trying my hand at upholstery and on a particularly gloomy day at the end of August, I took the plunge and enrolled online for a local course.

The blurb for the course said to take along 'your own manageable piece of furniture'. So I decided to take a dressing table stool that had been left behind by a previous owner at our last home. It was small, easily portable and a good starting point for my new skill.
The stool had really tacky brown velour upholstery  with buttons, but very pretty legs and, I thought, the potential to become a thing of beauty - or at least more attractive than its original 1970s appearance.  

The course is very local, just a short walk, so I carried my stool to the class and proudly walked in on the first morning. My pride soon became embarrassment when I looked around to see that I was surrounded by ladies brandishing beautiful antique armchairs in varying degrees of undress.  I felt like I had arrived at my new school, knowing nobody and wearing the wrong uniform.

The tutor, a lovely lady called Renee, was very kind and chose not to comment on the pitiful sight of my lowly stool, as we went through the formality of introductions. "You'll need foam and a staple remover" was the only comment she passed. I could tell by her eyes that my stool was a disappointment to her and I already had the picture in my mind of my end of term report with that all encompassing comment: "Sue tries very hard."

I could have just discreetly left the room then, made my excuses and legged it . But well, I am nothing if not brazen, so I decided to do the decent thing and open the floodgates for the anti-70's velour stool brigade, and started ripping the poor thing apart, literally.

And in less than fifteen minutes, my stool was in pieces - several pieces. Did they use wood in the construction of furniture during the Seventies? Judging by the composite parts of my stool, I guess not.

Update: This is Brenda's chair, the stool was set aside and this piece of 1940's history is in the process of being transformed. I'll tell you more about it in a future post.


  1. Yay! Here's to trying very hard with upholstery!
    I'm most excited about your new skill and also keen to see how Brenda's chair turns out. It's worthy of some careful hand upholstering :-)
    Turning up at any new group, be it a learning environment or work, etc is always daunting isn't it - especially those first few moments when you wonder if you're going to be part of the group or apart from the group !!
    Lovely new look to the blog by the way and what a great quote about having a dog :-)
    See you on the weekend!!
    D xx

  2. care not for any rough treatment... do as you have done, breathe in and upwards and go forth with your plans of giving life to old, indeed any dear old pieces. Helen x