Tag Archives: life

Finished! My Reupholstered Victorian Chair

17 Sep

FInished Chair

So it may have taken a year, but this chair is finally complete! I put so many hours into this piece and enjoyed every single minute of it (except for maybe the multiple tacks I hammered into my fingers).

Here’s a shot while I was adding the double welt around the edges…

double weltI made each button on this chair by hand and secured each individually. I folded and unfolded so many times to get the seams and crevices aligned perfectly. I fluffed and set the horsehair and hoghair inside the seat and the back to get it all arranged just right. I tied each spring in the chair eight ways and tacked the twine into place.

The devil is in the details, but the details are what make this chair stand out!

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The chair has definitely transformed from its previous (and original!) fabric…

Chair Before

While I did enjoy the original design, the fabric was worn and dingy, especially on the seat. I tried to mimic the original design in my version. The instructor of the class was very impressed with the original details (which made me feel like a horrible person for tearing it all off!) but was also pleased with the amount of effort and thought I put into the redesign.

Classes were always exciting and there were plenty of points I wouldn’t have even thought about, so having a teacher who has decades of experience in reupholstering the right way was a blessing. There are two ways to do things: the easy way and the correct way. While it takes a little more patience and time, I like to opt for the correct way in situations like this, especially if I am using energy and time to learn a skill.

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There was a lot of “measure twice cut once” running through my head. To further complicate things, I had to be sure to cut the fabric so that velvet all ran in the same direction…otherwise it would have affected the colors matching perfectly…something I probably would not have come up with on my own.

I ended up giving this chair to my mother for her birthday, as it was nice to be able to gift something I made with my hands (other than food for a change!) and to give her something that held something special as opposed to something store-bought. It also fits in nicely with her circa 1881 home.

I’m looking forward to my next reupholstering adventure soon!

Cocktail Hour featuring Raspberry Lime Rickey

7 Aug

RaspLimeRickey-10

Remember when I had my first job at a neighborhood apothecary and would have raspberry lime rickies on my break everyday from the ice cream shop across the street? I do. Remember how that was 1996 and not 1952?

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Here’s an adult version of this enjoyable drink I created. Utilizing Chambord, a favorite liquor of mine – as well as some other spirits – I took this innocent summer refresher and gave it a bit of an edge. Just picture it wearing a leather jacket next to a hot rod – or just picture me drinking it with my hair dyed blue from Manic Panic and wearing thrift store clothes, minus the straight-edgeness that was my 16 year old self.

RaspLimeRickey

Follow the link to check out my article and recipe. And let me know what some of your favorite mid-summer nights drinks are in the comments below!!

Ginger Cornmeal Biscotti

3 Mar

Cornmeal and ginger biscotti

You’ve got your coffee…but what about a little something to go along with it on this Monday? I’m opting for some of these tasty biscotti that I conjured up a few weeks ago.

ginger biscotti

The main ingredients are candied ginger chunks, cornmeal and chocolate. I show you how to make your own candied ginger here.) There’s also orange zest, almonds and anise seed. It’s a pretty flavorful treat that is super easy to make. Bring some with you for catching up with a friend or to your office to share with coworkers. The mix of flavors within will leave your cohorts in awe of your supreme baking abilities (which you may or may not have…but let’s just let them think you do either way).

For the full recipe and some more photos, head over to my recipe at Eat Boutique.

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Extra-Dirty Martini.

20 Jan

MartiniOr would that be a Filthy Martini? Either way, I enjoy these. 

There was a period of time, somewhere around my early-to-mid twenties, when I would only drink dirty martinis. My affinity for this libation arose after a friend of mine introduced me to a properly made “extra dirty” martini. I will forever be thankful to him for making my acquaintance with this cocktail and the olives that accompany it.

Martini

Martini

Whenever I travel to northern New England, I always make time to stop in to my favorite place for drinks and comfort food. Located in Eaton Center, NH, this pub is a little nook tucked away at the back of an 1880s boarding school – now turned into an inn at Crystal Lake. 

MartiniThis place will always – always – have the best dirty martini I have come across in my travels. The gathering room is called the Palmer House Pub. It is where the locals gather while the tourists and leaf peepers/skiers dine in the attached restaurant….Finding a bartender who can make this with the correct proportions of vodka to vermouth to olive brine is not as common as I would like it to be. There is one place, however, that I can always count on.

Martini

Martini

To read on, follow the link for the full post at EatBoutique.com

EHChocolatier.

21 Nov

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I know I still have to update my reupholstery project progress. Until then, here’s a post and some photos I did for Eat Boutique. It features the amazing creations of EHChocolatier out of Somerville, Mass. You’ll be able to experience them in person at this year’s Eat Boutique Holiday Market in Boston in about two weeks!

I have heard great things about EHChocolatier for quite some time now, but had yet to experience their products first hand. It took me a while, but now I understand why everyone who enjoys quality chocolate is so excited by this maker.

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The assortment of bonbons and confections available from this Somerville, MA operation are as appealing to the mouth as they are to the eye. Just one glance at any of the products offered by EHChocolatier, and you can tell you are in for a rewarding experience.

These chocolates are made with love, which gives each of them a unique glow one can see and taste. When discussing the business with Elaine Hsieh, cofounder of EHChocolatier, I inquired about her favorite product to produce and/or consume. Her response -“ Egads, that’s a difficult question to answer!”  - sums up the product line and its appeal. She went on to say that “All of our products are especially delicious when they’re still a little warm and just made.  I never tire of making ganaches and watching them come together through all the different stages while I’m stirring along.  It’s a thing of beauty and it never gets old.” Her passion clearly carries over to the final products.

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Find out more about the Eat Boutique Holiday Market and EHChocolatier by using this link!

Upholstery Class: Week One.

25 Sep

chair-8

After wanting to take an upholstery class for a while, I finally was able to get in and sign up before all of the spots were filled in this 9 person learning experience. I also purchased a spot for my husband, as he is also interested in learning how to restore furniture appropriately. 

I found this chair on Craigslist for $48 and it was exactly what I had in mind. It was an antique and had character in its bones, which I suppose were my only criteria. Upon starting  to take this apart, tack by tack by tack, it became clear that this chair had originally been crafted with great care. The instructor noticed this as well, and commented on the hand sewn details of the interior, the hog hair filling, the burlap crown on the inside of the cushion filled with more hog hair, and the different sized tacks used for differing details.

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Another interesting part which I loved about the chair, as did the instructors, was the backrest of the chair. The fabric had been sewn, tacked and held in place with handmade buttons in an intricate way which would have taken great skill and talent to accomplish. It may not show in the photo below, but it is quite impressive in the flesh (fabric?).

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The underside of the chair was dusty and dried out, and was easy to take apart. With each tear and pull, more dust floated out and I was able to get a clearer view of the springs.

 

By the end of the three hour class, I had removed EVERY tack, which was one of the most meditative and relaxing things I have done in a long while. There was something so satisfying about pulling and picking out each individual spike. The only thing left intact is the fabric and hog hair on the front of the backrest. This is to preserve the uniqueness of the chair, and replicate it when reupholstering it.

I will update my progress here as the weeks go on. Now to decide on a fabric….

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes. And Cheese. And Bread.

8 Sep

photo 5

We had already made a tasty dish this week utilizing a pint of tomatoes from our CSA box from Saltbox Farm in Concord. There was still another pint waiting around the kitchen, nearly a week later, with not much inspiration to be found for it.

 I was flipping through Jennifer Perillo’s book Homemade with Love for dinner ideas and found a simple recipe for slow-roasted tomatoes. I headed into the kitchen, grabbed the tomatoes  and sliced them up. After following her simple instructions, I had a warm dish of late summer perfection to devour.

While the tomatoes were roasting in the oven, I ran out to the store for bread, apples, pears and fig jam. Oh – and cheese – Herve Mons Morbier; Emmi Gruyere Reserve; and Les 3 Comtois Comte. The tomatoes have definitely won out as the favorite cheese and bread compliment this evening. I am surprisingly full with nearly half of the cheese still remaining – quite an oddity in my presence.

The recipe, courtesy of Homemade with Love:

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 sprigs fresh lemon thyme, chopped

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Add everything to an 8-inch square baking dish and toss. Adjust seasonings to taste. Bake until tomatoes are slightly collapsed and tender, about an hour. Enjoy warm or store in fridge for up to two weeks.

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