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I had a bit of a postpartum hiatus from most things crafty while I figured out how to get basic, everyday tasks (like dinner and laundry) done with a baby in tow. Now that I’m feeling a little more on top of things, I’ve really been enjoying getting my creative juices flowing again. The next step is carving out time to blog about it! My mom likes to promise posts from me, because she knows that I do well with deadlines.
This is the biggest project I’ve done recently. I found Pippo a cute wooden high chair (I had my heart set on wood) on craigslist. It was sturdy, but a little beat up.
It was $18. Which, if you ask me, is a random price to set for anything on craigslist. Ordinarily I would have taken it as a sign that they were happy to accept $15, but then the woman selling it started telling me how she couldn’t help me carry it because she was just diagnosed with MS, so I decided not to quibble about a few dollars, picked my baby up in one arm and my new high chair up in the other, went back down the three flights of stairs, popped both baby and chair in my car, and said a prayer for her on the way home.
(One of the reasons I like craigslist is that I like people, and I like stories, and I like it when my things remind me of people and stories.)
Where was I? Oh yes. It was a little beat up.
It looked like it had a history of being well-scrubbed.
I started fixing it up about a month ago, worked on it in fits and spurts, and finally finished last week.
(Projects involving spray paint and other scary chemicals take more time when your baby humors you by resting his eyes for fifteen or twenty minutes and calling it a nap!)
But it’s done, and I’m really excited about it.
|Giving it a good scrubbing outside. I’ll start fresh with my own dried-up food goo, thank you very much.|
The finish was very worn (and unevenly so), making painting the only sane option. I’m not quite crazy enough to strip the whole thing.
I was able to sand just the tray down to a pretty even finish, and it seems like the tray gets the most wear and tear in its little high chair life, anyway. So I decided to paint the chair, but stain the tray.
That way I can scrub with abandon.
Plus, I thought it would look cute.
|Priming at my old-sheet-and-crib-mattress-box spray painting station.|
I went to the hardware store to get what I needed, which included a long screw to replace one of the ones holding on the tray. (You might be able to tell in the first picture above that there’s a little wooden bead between the tray and the chair? There wasn’t one on the other side. And the screw that held the tray on had gotten warped on that side as a result.)
As I stood there in front of all the many sizes of nails and screws, two very nice employees (a man and a woman) came by and asked if I needed any help. I showed them the screw I was trying to match, and they asked me what it was for.
It was at that point (of this shopping trip whose sole purpose was to find supplies for my high chair) that I forgot the word for “high chair.”
Not my finest hour.
I stood there like a deer in the headlights, pointing at Pippo with one hand and making a vague sweeping/waving motion with the other. The best I could stutter out was “He sits in it? …to eat?”
The female employee looked at me with eyes full of pity and asked, “Do you mean a high chair?” The man’s jaw dropped, and he just shook his head.
I think I need more sleep.
But I got my replacement screw, I got my stain, and I got my (spray) paint.
It was very… green.
Shockingly so, especially against the white primer (I used spray primer to make myself feel better about not sanding the whole thing).
I went through all the other color options again in my head (and over gchat with my mom, who is an excellent cheerleader from afar) and decided that, despite its scary beginning, this was in fact what I wanted, so I plunged ahead.
After a few coats, it’s bright, but I love it.
The tray looked much better too after a few coats of stain. You can see there around the groove there’s a lighter band where I wasn’t able to sand off all the previous finish, but it’s not too noticeable.
The whole thing got a few coats of water-based polyurethane – or rather, the tray, seat, arms, and other high-impact zones got three coats (one advantage to buying a used chair: I knew which spots were likely to wear out first!), and all the spindles and rods that are hard to get at with a brush just got one.
But it was a good one. I’m sure they’ll be fine.
The straps were also pretty grody, so I went ahead and replaced them, too… using the same fabric I used to cover my dining room chairs! Why not?
I’m not sure I did it in the most efficient way, but I used a double layer of thick iron-on interfacing and then reinforced the spots where the straps are screwed into the seat. They’re quite sturdy.
|I moved Pippo’s jumper upstairs so he could keep me company while I sewed.|
I almost just sewed the scratched-up buckles back on, but then remembered I had a can of bright red spray paint in the garage that was specially designed to paint plastic. So I figured, what the heck?
Through a little bit of trial and error (I cleverly lost the one remaining bead on that first sleep-deprived trip to the hardware store), I found replacements for the little wooden beads that help the tray swing smoothly, and they even matched the finish of the tray perfectly, which was a nice bonus.
I put it all back together, and voila!
|The paint color looks a little uneven in these shots, but it’s just the light being weird. It’s all the same green, and it’s not at all florescent.|
It looks even better with a baby in it.
He’s a little bit little for it yet; he’s still perfecting his sitting-up skills, and can’t do it for too long at a time.
|A strong start.|
|Starting to slide!|
But he’ll get there! In the meantime, maybe a little pad would help. Hmm…