Monday, August 13, 2012

A finished chair

Yep I did it!  I finished my little orphaned chair.  He's bright, clean, shiny and new again.

So here's where I left off:

After scraping off all the old stain and finish, I wiped down the chair and let it sit for 24 hours.  Then I purchased a semi-gloss polyurethane as my topcoat.  (I decided against stain since I really liked the grain and nature of the wood alone.)  Once I put a coat of polyurethane on, I let that cure for about 48 hours in my garage.  (Some say as little as 8 hours and the average is 24 hours but I just wanted to make sure, sure sure!)

After I let the finish set, I began to polish it out with some fine #0000 steel wool and furniture polish.  This evened out the finish, brought the gloss to more of satin, and any rough little bumps that might have dried with the finish were smoothed out.

Meanwhile, I enlisted Thom's help to tackle the seat cover and the remove all the old staples.  I couldn't believe how fast he got them out.  Lucky for him, it only took about half an hour, whereas I have been trying for two weeks!  Once he removed all the staples, we were surprised to find not only one old dingy seat cover but two.  I guess my little chair has already gone through a makeover.  :P

 Once the cover was ready, I had the oh-so-grand opportunity to go to the fabric store and stand there in complete disabling misery, since I couldn't decide on what kind of fabric to cover my chair with.  Also, I was not prepared for the overwhelming selection.  But I finally settled upon the most loveliest of crushed velvets in a subtle mint green.  I think for me, the touch and feel of fabric is very important, especially when upholstering.  I really needed to get a certain kind of emotional response from the fabric that I settled upon.  And with this one, I did.  I love the iridescent shimmer and the feel is just luxurious.  (Seeing that it was originally $67/yd, it better have been!)  Thankfully I got this fabric for a steal at a modest $17/yd and only buying half a yard, my total came to a little over $9 with tax.  Being in that store and seeing the different qualities of fabrics made me do a side by side comparison with another cheaper crushed velvet that looked similar.  The difference was day and night.

 So here are my project before's and after's:

I am so happy and completely satisfied with this project.  I think in total I spent about $65 in supplies and materials.  But this project wasn't really about being thrifty more than enjoying and trying something new.

Just some extra info:

Here's the beginning post on this adventure. 

Here's a great tutorial on staining and finishing wood.

Here's a great tutorial on upholstery basics.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My new haircut

So I went from this:

To this:

A bit of change is in the air!  After a few weeks of complaining of my hair and lack of anything about it, I decided to switch it up a bit.  And when I mean a bit, I mean everything.

I first started out with a complete impromptu dye job before I left for San Francisco.  Can't tell?  Don't worry, neither can anyone else in person.  It was a complete out-of-the-box failure and I think you can see just a touch of dark red/brown in the bright and direct sunlight.

The second change was getting my hair cut professionally.  Being a complete wimp and non-adventurer when it comes to hair styles, I had my roommate introduce me to the best hair stylist in the city, Karl-Heniz Teuber!  Not only is he an amazing hair stylist, but an actor as well.  You might have seen him in that little old movie called Amadeus?  It only won 8 out of the 11 Oscars it was nominated for in of which he was given!

When I first timidly asked for a trim, he quickly [and rightfully so!] brushed aside the notion and exclaimed his passion and desire to create a hairstyle and not a trim-up.  So I sat at his chair, looking out at some of the best views of San Francisco (he lives in Pacific Heights) and let the master at his work.

Many thanks to Karl and Kristina for helping me over come the dreary beast that is long hair.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Grandview Park and the Mosaic stairway

Today Thom and I started the beginning of a new travel series!

After living in San Francisco for more than one year, there are still some places that we have yet to [shamefully] see.  (Coit Tower, China Town, Mount Davis, etc)  So I've put together a small list of doable day trips that we'll be trying to accomplish as one adventure each weekend.  Since most of the destinations are in the city and involves much ascension (hello hills!) , I felt it rightfully so to name our trips as "urban hikes".

So our first trip was to Grandview Park or otherwise known by the locals as Turtle Hill.  I have always noticed this hilltop as I drove my scooter along 19th Ave.  From a distance, you can see a set of stairs that wind their way up the peak.  I could only imagine the view from up there until today.

We decided to take the adventure on foot from our house, since we only live about a mile or so away.  It's crazy how quiet and peaceful it can get away from the noise and business of 19th Ave once you move a few blocks up.  Beyond my initial excitement to see something new, I knew this was a fortuitous adventure because halfway there, I found a $20 bill lying in the road!  I suppose we got paid to take a walk.  :D

Once we made it to Moraga and 16th Ave, we were looking at the base of the hill and another lovely eye-treasure to behold.  There, at the base of Moraga and 16th Ave is a beautiful set of mosaic stairs that make their way up the hill.  Well over 300 surrounding neighbors in the area put together the mosaic in 2005.  Of course, Thom and I took our obligatory photo at the base of the mosaics and slowly made our ascent upward.

Once we reached the top of Turtle Hill, we really could see much of San Francisco.  There was a lot of the Sunset neighborhood, Golden Gate Park, Outer Richmond, downtown and Twin Peaks right before us.  Right now, the Outside Lands Music Festival is happening at Golden Gate Park and we were able to listen fairly well when the wind picked up in our direction.

In all, a great trip, and worth seeing from up above!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer Thesis Series

I've been posting on my thesis in bits but now I want to show them together.  It's a good reflection for me to see what I accomplished at home, in the summer heat.  So here it is in its progressive entirety.

My final thesis is working towards storytelling narratives involving Korean fables, self-portraiture and my interpretation of both.  I have found so much fantasy, mystery and intrigue surrounding these age-old stories and my self-portraiture acts as my visual involvement throughout each story.  Here are nine rough sketches that I foresee myself building upon.  There will be six more.

Though I feel nervous and even a bit superstitious, I will be posting each image again separately with a description/story about it each day.  I think that writing out my purpose and concept will strengthen my thesis defense come next summer.  I get a lot of questions surrounding the imagery I create since most of my viewers are all Westerners and/or unfamiliar with Korean fables.

Writing will also prove my visual progressive journey since most, if not all of these images posted below will be thrown out and changed over the course of a year.  (This is probably why I feel comfortable enough posting here.  I see them only as temporary.) they are.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The little orphan that I've adopted

I'd like to start this post by first saying that I am not typically a garbage picker, hoarder, and/or non-committal.  But everything that led up to this post today and this chair makes me look otherwise...

You see, early this year, I found my next DIY project in the basement of my roommate's last apartment building.  Basement...roommate...apartment building...  Quite the degree of separation, I must admit.

But there it was, the little orphaned chair waiting in a dark corner, pleading with me in it's Oliver Twist voice that said, "take me home please!".  And how could I not?  That wood!  The carving!  The new project I could get into.  I was so smitten.

So I took it!

And it moved out of the dreary basement and placed lovingly in my garage...

where it sat....

in a dark corner....

For four months.

Que the end of summer semester and the reawakening inspiration that persuaded me to take the pitiful fool home.  And here we are today:

A little bit of some stripping, of the wood finish kind, and I was happily surprised to see some beautiful wood grain.  I used Citristrip and applied it liberally outside in the open shade.  I waited for about half an hour and then with a green sponge, I began to take off the old finish.  I finished up with some baby oil to condition the wood and remove any last of the Citristrip.

For now, I really like that the wood looks so much more brighter without the old finish on it.  I  admire the chair's structure and the wood grain.  I was thinking of re-staining and finishing but now I think I'll just add a semi-gloss topcoat once I finish stripping and cleaning.  I really like that the wood looks so much more brighter without the old finish on it.

I haven't decided on what kind of fabric to upholster the seat with yet.  I'm sure that will be one of the best parts, when I get to a fabric store and decide.  More on that later, I'm just glad that I got this ball rolling!