Two weeks ago we had a Christmas dinner for some donors at the theatre. They bought the dinner at the auction during the opening Gala. The theme was Victorian Christmas, but all that really meant was that the house the dinner was hosted in is old, and decorated for Christmas. Oh, and that I had to wear a Victorian maid's dress to serve the dinner. I mean, the dresses haven't been used since My Fair Lady almost 5 years ago, and why not.
Of course there wasn't enough to do already, so I decided to re-cover the dining room chairs before the guests arrived. I know I should have given myself more time, but I was overly optimistic. Recovering a dining chair isn't hard, but for some reason it isn't fast. First you have to remove the seat from the chair. Holding a chair upside down while supporting the seat, and removing the screws is just awkward. Last time i recovered my dining chairs (the afternoon before a family Thanksgiving dinner) I learned that it isn't a good idea to remove all the seats and then try to match the seat with each chair. They're old, the screw holes, don't all match up the same. This time I also knew I might not get them all done in time and nothing is worse than having a major donor walk in on a room of disassembled furniture.
I started by cutting the fabric for the first chair, and then using that as a template to cut the fabric for the other chairs. Then, I stapled the fabric to the first chair and reattached the seat. Luckily it looked great. The repeat on the fabric even ended up in the center of the seat - totally by accident. I removed the seat from the second chair and started attaching the fabric, and then ran out of staples. It's okay, I brought a box of extra staples. Oh, but they don't fit. Apparently the new shiny Craftsman staple gun takes different staples than my old silver Swingline. I tried not to panic as I drove home (six blocks - so ridiculous) to get more staples, different staple gun? I didn't know what I was going to do, but I had a half recovered chair and three more to go and the guests were due to arrive in 45 minutes. When I got home I realized I didn't have any other boxes of staples, I didn't know where the other staple gun was and even my crazy idea of using the staples still in the pocket of my cargo pants (from last summer when we did the roof) didn't work because they didn't fit either. This let to my last ditch idea of using the hammer stapler, you know, the one we used on the roof, last summer, to staple the tar paper down? That one. So I drive back to Michael's (the host of the dinner) and proceed to use a roofing stapler to recover two more chairs before I ran out of time.
The lights were dimmed, I'm sure people didn't even notice that two of the chairs had the old fabric and the other three the new. The good news is that Michael loved the new fabric and I promised to come back and finish the other chairs. And I just found my silver staple gun so I can use that box of extra staples to finish the job.
The dinner was a success, they loved the food and hopefully we can sell the next dinner for even more money. Come on people, a personal chef, waitstaff, and we did the dishes. Next project - break into Michael's house and fix his dishwasher.