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I am currently reading the book, Wonder and in it, there are a number of precepts.

Am I the only one who had to pause to remember what “precepts” meant?

I hope not, but, just in case I am not the sole grade-3-spelling-bee-champ-with-an-adult-onset-short-term-memory-deficit-for-proper-nouns, here’s a refresher:   precepts are mottos;  wise sayings;  noble rules by which to conduct one’s life.

It is important to have precepts.  Especially ones like this one:

“Never admit that using your e-reader is a clever way to find out the meaning of a word in a book designed for middle-school children.”

Anyway.

I have another precept:  Fake It ‘Til You Make It.

(Precepts get taken more seriously when they are written with a few capital letters).

My precept is not to imply that I advocate fibbing or mis-representation or passing off that 7 layer cake you got from the artisan bakery as your own work (although having had my own layer cake trauma, I could almost understand if you felt compelled to do that).

No, what I mean is, be your authentic, flawed and wonderful self and then go ahead and FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT.

(Okay, so all caps is just too obnoxious, even for a precept).

Yep, instead of wallowing in your insecurities and all the things you just can’t do (although goodness knows, that’s fun on a cloudy afternoon with a box of ice cream), pretend you know how.  Just for a little while, make the little voice in your head say, “Ha!  This will be a breeze!  I am great at knitting daisies/folding kirigami trees/building swings/crafting papier mache chandeliers/drawing purple elephants using my elbows” and then, as the megalo-maniac athletics company says:  JUST DO IT.

(See, their precept, while lovely, is just a tad obnoxious with the all caps thing).

But, get on with it and maybe, just maybe, you will find that you actually can, after all.

I Fake It ‘Til I Make It all the time.  In fact, I have recently convinced myself that I can play guitar, even though I only learned three-and-a-half chords around age 12.

blue, acoustic guitar

Practical Man gave me this blue guitar for Christmas. I love it!

And now, a few short weeks later, I sort of CAN play guitar.

I’m constantly Just Doing Things I can’t do.  Faking It ‘Til I Make…something.

Like fabu-lizing my father’s old guitar case from 1964.

Dad's black guitar case from 1965

I had already festooned it with a few stickers after he gave it to me recently but, even though I adore festooning, that wasn’t Just Doing It for me, so, I came up with the idea to jazz it up with some vintage fabric I had lying around (jazzing up is like festooning on steroids).

1 metre/yard of vintage, colourful fabric

Vintage fabric – approx. 1 metre/yard

Practical Man suggested that first, we fix it.

guitar case with assorted clamps attached for first aid

After all, this case is from 1964.

And by “we”, I mean “he”:

I don’t have a lot of patience for the clamping and gluing, the molding and re-laminating.  But not Practical Man.  He is a big fan of clamps.  With a handful of clamps, he is one happy clamper.

Ha!

After all the first aid, I finally got to play with the fabric.

Well, actually, Practical Man suggested that it would be a good idea to iron the fabric, first.   The Faking It ‘Til I Make It project nearly ended right there because nobody told me that there was going to be ironing involved in this extravaganza.

Ironing was not part of my fabu-lizing plan.  It is the very definition of anti-fabu-lizing.

But, I took a deep breath and I Faked It Like I Was A Person Who Ironed.

iron on top of fabric

This was almost the end of my Faking It ‘Til I Make It. I don’t love ironing.

Then, it was back to the joy again as I got my nifty pinking shears (that’s just fun to say) and snip, snipped out the guitar shape from the very lovely, newly-ironed, vintage fabric:

guitar shape fabric cut out

I contemplated just varnishing this on to the floor because wouldn’t it be fun to have a flowery guitar inlaid into the floor?

Please ignore that whisper of fold near the top.  No amount of Faking It or steam could help me flatten that.  Also, I didn’t have quite enough full pieces of fabric so the bottom of the case is in two pieces, sewn together.  I Fake It While I Say Bad Words and Sew quite frequently so this was not too traumatic.

two fabric pieces, pinned together at the neck of the guitar

Luckily, straight line sewing on linen, non-wiggly fabric. Not too many bad words.

Because of the scarcity of this vintage fabric, we decided to fabu-lize the sides of the guitar in other ways:  using paint and tape.  I was eager to get on with the Faking It While I Painted It but Practical Man reminded me that we should tape the inside of the case so it wouldn’t get red paint all over it.

Very thorough taping/papering ensued.

I may have rolled my eyes and sighed loudly, a couple of times.

guitar case taped with newspaper

So important. So not fun.

Then, came the painting.  Practical Man doesn’t have to Fake It ‘Til He Makes It while painting so he took the reigns and the spray can and got down to business.  This being red, it took a few coats.

guitar case being painted

 

Then, there was waiting.

Between coats.

And after the final coat, for curing.

Waiting, waiting.

Finally, it was time for the fun fabric-izing!  We covered the lid of the guitar case with white glue, using cheap paint brushes.  Then, quickly, quickly, carefully, carefully, we laid down the fabric on top.  We smushed it all down so that it all made contact with the glue, then we quickly, quickly, before it could dry, painted a thick layer of glue on top and worked out any bubbles we found to seal the fabric in.

guitar case with glued fabric (whitened while drying)

We used white glue (dries clear). You could also use Mod-Podge (basically thinned, more expensive white glue)

Then, we had brandy to recover from the stress.

Just kidding.

It was chocolate milk in a fun glass.

More waiting while the magic happened:  the glue turned clear when it dried!

Once it was fully dry, we turned the case over and applied the second piece of fabric to the bottom.

More quickly, quickly.

More stress.

More brandy (not really).

More waiting.

I do a lot of Faking It ‘Til I Make Like I Enjoy Waiting.

One day or a hundred years later, it was time to tape!

rainbow coloured duct tape

Oooh, quite stressful as well.

Using an exacto-knife, the tape, and nerves of steel, Practical Man and I carefully applied the tape to the edges of the lid, making “relief” cuts using the exacto knife on the tape when needed, to go around the underside of the curves.

Not only does the tape look fun, but it also strengthened the 51 year-old rim.

the edge of the case, taped

we cut around the hinges and buckles.

YAY, I thought.

We’re done!

No, no, not so fast there, Speedy Gonzales.

Practical Man reminded me that spraying the whole thing to protect it, was a good plan.  I agreed but, honestly, that was before I realized that spraying meant scraping off all the excess, dried, clear glue that was on the edges (so that it wouldn’t crack and turn white every time we set the case down on the floor) and also:

Taping.  The.  Whole.  Case.  Again.

Guitar Case, nearly finished with tape and paper all over it again

I am Faking It While We Tape It

 

I wish I drank brandy.

guitar case propped open on table

But, it is starting to look beautiful, don’t you think?

 

So, there you have it.   Approximately two weeks later, presto-bongo, we have a sturdy, repaired, carefully fabu-lized work of guitar case art and I love it:

flowery fabric on top and bottom, rainbow duct tape edges, red sides on finished guitar case

 

But wait!

There are apparently only two tasks left:

  • rubbing 4-0 steel wool over the whole fabric surface to smooth off the fibres that have risen during gluing and then
  • applying a coat of wax

The demonstration sample Practical Man made me has shown me that these two steps will, indeed, result in a superior end product.  And, it’s also made me realize something:

Practical Man’s doesn’t live by the precept:  Fake It ‘Til You Make It.

He lives by the precept:

Do It Right Or Don’t Do It At All.

I  think we make a great team.

 

Copyright Christine Fader, 2015.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet

 

 

 

 

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Hands up if you think office chairs don’t have a lot of vintage style.

At least, not the ones you can find in your average medium-sized town for a medium-sized price.   But, I needed to find one because Practical Man has been fretting lately about my posterior.

I love a man who frets about my posterior and mine is apparently at risk.

I’m in posterior peril, if you will.

This is due to the fact that I am an old-school girl who types at lightning speed.   I need to do it in a chair, at a desk.  None of this lolly-gagging about on the floor with my keyboard in the air.  No sireee.   I am all about respect for the home row and that requires a chair.

This is the desk chair I have been using:

desk chair

Not glamorous but I liked its vintage nod and white colour

You’d think we’d have lots of chairs to choose from since I have what some might call an addiction to chairs.  They are one of the first things I gravitate to at an auction or flea market.  I have a rocking chair with no seat or rockers.  I have a tiny little child’s chair (even though we have no children).   I once made a flying leap from the car as we passed a yogurt shop that had incredible vintage-looking outdoor chairs.

Now, I try to avert my eyes as soon as they land on a fetching seatable specimen.  With their winning personalities and come-hither nature, you can see how an innocent person might end up with a herd of chairs.

Not me, of course.  Mine is more of a flock.

But to get back on point, desk chairs aren’t really chairs.  At least, not in a good way.

They usually contain way too much plastic (at least in the stores I can afford) and they look, to me, like giant orthotics sitting in a room.   Thus, I have been waiting for a beautiful vintage specimen to reveal itself to me somewhere.

You get it, don’t you?

My desire for something affordable, with chrome-y legs and a 1950-1970s industrial vibe?

Something straight out of a Mary Tyler Moore episode that could turn my world on with its smile?

Where-oh-where are you, my gorgeous retro lovely?

Silence.

In the meantime (over the past several years), we have been using the aforementioned chair that I spied, abandoned and forlorn, at the side of the road on the way to work one morning.

Some people have rescue dogs and cats.  I have rescue chairs.

Practical Man oiled its bits for me and I made it marginally more posterior-friendly by sewing up a quick cushion with a vintage pillowcase.

desk chair with cushion

Slightly modified hard-as-a-rock chair

I can’t imagine why but, Practical Man is still not a fan.

Even I have to admit that after a few short minutes of writing, it is not a very comfy on the posterior, nor does it have anything resembling an ergonomically-supported back.

But, back-schmack.   I didn’t care until recently, when I was dragged, kicking and screaming to the dark side.

I was encouraged to give desk chairs a chance.

Harumph.  Not a vintage lovely among them.  They were all new.   As I trialed and tested, I asked the sales clerk why desk chairs were so universally ugly and never any fun colours or patterns.  Was it so hard to design something reasonbly-priced, comfortable AND fun?

Eventually, I stopped punishing the people making minimum wage and lined up with the other people at the cash.

new seat

This is the seat for my new chair. Are you weeping?

Was it my imagination or did we all have a sort of resigned, sorrowful look about us at our failed quest for a delightful desk chair?   I’m sure I’m not exaggerating to say that there was a general air of gloom as we all meandered to our cars with our ugly, ugly but very comfy chairs.

new desk chair back

New back. Ergonomic and blah, blah. Weeping, weeping.

Not for the first time, Practical Man and I set about re-inventing something as soon as it came out of its over packaging.

We got some vintage fabric out of my stash.

Stapling - getting ready

Getting ready to alter a brand new item from the store

With only a staple gun, some scissors and a dream, we set about re-upholstering the seat with it.

By “we”, I actually mean, “Practical Man did it while I supervised”.

I make a great tool nurse.

Stapling, stapling, stapling

It was stapled within an inch of its life

Then, we actually put the brand new and already much improved, chair together.

Underneath the chair

Assorted knobs and do-dahs to help with the ergonomic blah, blah, blah

It has more knobs and levers than the space shuttle.   I bet there were no attractive desk chairs in space, either.

Here’s the so-far result:

new chair

I want to dislike it, but…my posterior is a traitor.

The chair is oh-so-comfy and ergonomic and blah, blah, blah.

I’d still like to make a slipcover for the back.  But, I have a problem.

A looming sense of posterior peril, if you will, because:

  • Sewing a slipcover will require some time at the sewing machine.
  • The chair at my sewing table is a cute little something we found at the side of the road.

But, sewing while seated on a lovely-looking, albeit slightly uncomfortable vintage chair?

Priceless.