Painting And Waxing A Chair

Painted & Waxed Chair

So, what did I get done this weekend? Well, I painted and waxed one of my chairs! If you want to do this yourself, check out Miss P’s blog post here.

Lord Sheraton beeswax is one of the best products in the whole world ever, like, ever. It has a gorgeous and distinctive aroma that brought back such strong memories of my time with Miss P, when we worked together on renovating a bedside table. I became quite emotional, actually! If and when I am a decrepit old woman, and someone opens a jar of Lord Sheraton beeswax anywhere near me, I shall immediately think of Portia and probably burst into tears. Aren’t smells amazing for the memories attached?

During the work, I remembered some Liberty lawn quilting squares that I’d bought four months ago. So I whipped those up. I don’t really know what I’m doing with quilting, so winged it…


I set my Bernina to stitch number 24, which is a ‘hand look quilt stitch’, apparently. This exercise made me feel a bit sad – I don’t use my machine’s options anywhere near enough.

I added sweet little ribbon ties…


And that was me, done. One chair down, two more to go.

Now, please don’t tell me I’m the only person to tear up at a smell. What is your favourite aroma and what memories does it bring back?

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46 Responses to Painting And Waxing A Chair

  1. Jenni says:

    Clove! sat in an aromatherapy class at 18 and was passed clove and burst into tears in front of a room full of teenagers! had NO idea it was my late father! and don’t know why it is either! but 20+ years later clove still gets to me!

  2. Lovely colour, where did you get it from?

  3. Tamsin says:

    Good work – chair and cushion! Freshly ground coffee is one smell, it reminds me of a shop that sold coffee in my home town, before there was a coffee shop on each corner. You could walk down the street and smell the shop long before you got to it. It was wonderful and I didn’t even drink coffee at that age (about 12), just loved the smell!

  4. Marie says:

    Oh Karen, the chair and cushion are both beautiful! I’ve been hankering to play around with patchwork/quilting recently too and the announcement of a good friend’s pregnancy will hopefully present the perfect opportunity! Smells are very evocative, you’re definitely not alone…the ones that get me are lemon tree blossom, fresh jasmine, dried mint, rose buds – all of which remind me of my beloved Cyprus and family.

  5. France Parijs (alias) says:

    Lovely chair and lovely post! Ah… what do Lord Sheraton beeswax and the madeleine of Proust have in common? They certainly help to deliver something that is inside. 🙂

  6. Stef says:

    I love the chair! A lot of my house is recycled / stained / waxed, I love that look!
    My smell has to be fresh coffee and Marseille soap at my grandparents’, when I was about eight and I got to share the loft bedroom with my Aunt, who is a lot younger than Mum and was always like a big sister. We had the best time ever and the smell just brings me back to those days.

  7. Alexandra says:

    I love the colour of this chair! Awesome job! You’ve re-inspired me to take a paint brush to my super dark wardrobe… I’ve been meaning to for AGES.

    The smell that is always guaranteed to get me is the smell of Bergasol, you know the sun cream? It reminds me of being a little girl living in Papua New Guinea!

  8. Portia says:

    Ooooooh, so glad you used that colour again! Had such a lovely time that day. We must do more!
    Big hugs

  9. Mary says:

    Yardley’s Lavender and my mother. Great job with the chair and the seat cover.

  10. PoldaPop says:

    My grandfather built the house that he and my grandmother and their 10 (count ’em) children lived in until the kids grew up and both grandparents passed away. He used four different woods (cedar, oak, maple, and pine) and it had the most distinctive smell. Every once in a while I get a whiff of that combination and it takes me right back to their home and my grandmother’s cozy warmth.

  11. JacqC says:

    The smell of bread pudding – it’s all wrapped up with being safe, warm and cosy for me. I remember the children and I posted some to my brother when he was homesick at Uni in his first year – love in cake form! 🙂

  12. Lisette says:

    For me it is some sort of handmade soap my Aunt ALWAYS had in her house. Anytime I washed my hands I would sniff them because the smell is SO good. I could never pinpoint the exact fragrance either.

  13. gorgeous chair – you did a great job! did you get anysewing done? i have just opened a new pot of moisturiser and it smells just like one my gran used to use that i can’t quite place – probably something like pond’s cold cream or the original olay (when it was called oil of ulay!) in the pink bottle.

  14. lisa g says:

    the chair is beautiful! and the quilted chair pad is gorgeous also. love it!

  15. Jody says:

    So many smells can take me back to childhood. One of the strongest associations has got to be a box of crayons!

  16. liza jane says:

    Beautiful! I love that dusky purple. I love the way furniture wax smells, too. I also love the smell of oil paint. My husband is a painter and I love the mixture of oil paint and turpentine when he’s out in the studio working.

  17. gmariesews says:

    That chair is fantastic. But why do you only have 2 more? Anyway I love the color and the cushion you made. Favorite smell – constant commet tea – it reminds me of my grandmother. g

  18. CGCouture says:

    The chair looks great! Very nice job! I love the smell of a stable (alfalfa, oiled leather, etc.), it’s just so calming. Horses are non-judgmental and were always there even on my worst days growing up, so now, whenever I am near enough, it just brightens my mood a bit–though not as much as actually being able to hop on and go for a run! Sadly, I don’t have a horse anymore… 🙁

  19. The timing for this post is incredible… I’m currently doing research for my final illustration project about a seamstress, and today I went back to a costume sewing workshop I worked a summer job four years ago to sketch. The smell of the place immediately hit me: it’s the soft smell of thousands of costumes, the machines and pressing tools, and the huge stash of fabric. It reminded me of my best summer job ever, and how much I loved that place (that so few people get to visit)

  20. Salma says:

    It looks beautiful! Your quilting looks great!

  21. Andrea says:

    The chair looks great and the quilting looks good to me too so you must know a bit about what you;re doing. As for smells, I so hear you. For me, it’s cinnamon: cozy evenings tucked away with a book, a fireplace and family close by.

  22. Lavenda wax, Gravenstein apples, cardomom spice, all take me back to childhood.
    I love your chairs, can’t believe someone would throw them out!

  23. gingermakes says:

    Ooh, the chair looks great and the cushion is so gorgeous! There’s an old-fashioned loose powder that my great-grandmother used, and I’ve smelled it a few times later in life and it took me straight back to my early childhood. It’s amazing how scents can conjure up such powerful memories!

  24. pat says:

    Cedar. My grandmother had a cedar closet and when I smell cedar I always think of her.

  25. Angela says:

    Definitely understand about smells can evoke such strong emotions!

    Unrelated to smells question – if you don’t mind – what kind of sewing machine do you have? I am looking around for a new machine, and about to tear my hair out! I don’t do quilting or ME, so I don’t want the 9mm big boys…. then I look at others and hear people say that are the best ever or oh no, you don’t want that!! sigh…. Any thoughts about what you have personal experience with would be so greatly appreciated!

  26. joelle says:

    oh it’s hard to pick only one scent… i associate memories very much with smells, so pretty much every scent has a memory attached to it.but there is the smell of the ocean, fish and weed. that means vacation to me!

  27. Ernestine says:

    The smell of Clorine bleach always reminds me of my mother doing laundry in the basement in her wringer washing machine.

    On another note, it you use invisible thread in the spool and the color you want to show in the bobbin, you will get a stitch that looks a lot more like a hand quilted stitch. Love the chair, the color is great.

  28. stgilbert says:

    Purple!! Liberty fabric! Oh, I loves that I do!! Lavender rinse for the wash reminds me so much of summers spent in Worcestershire with my grandparents. Granma used to use lavender rinse and when she pegged out the wash I could smell it all through the back garden. Makes me fill up, too, as they were quite special people.

  29. Lovely chair. And I love the cushion ties but long experience tells me that those lovely little ribbons (they are lovely) might well pull out if you don’t secure them Very Well Indeed (I used to zigzag over the ties on commercial chairpads to ensure longevity).

    Smells! I seem to recall there’s quite a bit of research about the place (no, please don’t ask me to cite my sources; I know you’re all very capable of doing your own follow-up research) to suggest that there are good reasons why smells evoke such strong memories. Mine would be fresh-baked scones on a weekend afternoon; roasting meat when we came home from church; eucalyptus trees and by extension eucalyptus oil, because I remember practically bursting into tears when I opened a bottle of it during my first Italian sojourn; lavender (fresh and dried); and more prosaically, that burnt-toast smell that always, always evokes hospitals!!

  30. grenouille78 says:

    Nicely done on the chair! The little seat cover really sets it off well.
    For as much as I hate being around cigarette smoke, a little whiff always reminds me of my grandparents.

  31. Jenny says:

    The smell of donuts cooking puts me right back to my Granma’s Minnesota kitchen in about 1948.. It is a wonderful place to be in a hot, dry Australian summer.

  32. Dalila says:

    Flowers blooming in the early spring. I love that smell…

  33. Anne-Marie says:

    Beautiful chair! As for smells that evoke memories: one day a colleague, who’s a motorbike rider came to work and I just had to sit next to him – he smelled of wet weather, leather, man, wind – just like my father used to smell. Horses. And I fell in love with my husband’s smell – he used Old Spice and Birken Hairwater.(I’m over 60!) Bread baking. Geraniums. Thyme. Freshly-bathed babies. Not so nice smells: old-fashioned musk roses, and the smell of my mother’s hanky that had been in her handbag for ages, then she spat on it to wipe a smut of my face.

  34. Shari says:

    A lovely renovation! I have a set of chairs that could use a similar redo, though their spindles have put me off after doing one! Maybe if I just focus on one at a time, they’ll get done. There is a certain distinct smelling shampoo that my mother used when I was growing up that evokes strong and happy feelings whenever I come across it.

  35. colleen says:

    If I even think of Estee Lauder Youth Dew it is Christmas Night and I am outside my house in a souped up car driven by a ne’er do well boy who isn’t mine but is taking me to my new boyfriend. “Oh Darling” is on the radio and all I want to do is run inside and sit next to my mom and watch Christmas movies.

  36. Karen it is utterly beautiful. What a serene colour too! I love the pop of the Liberty prints on it. 🙂
    Smells for me – wood shavings, like when wood has been sawn, and my Dad. He was a joiner and so he always smelled of wood, cigarettes and a bit of hard work. The combination if I smell it today would have me in a puddle on the floor as he has been gone 10 years.
    We sell beeswax – little blocks for a myriad jobs, and sheets of it pressed with comb texture. I find that if anyone disturbs them and so their heavenly scent gets circulated, we sell heaps more. People cannot resist beeswax. Can’t blame them myself! 🙂

  37. LinB says:

    1. Scent of a good cigar takes me right back to childhood, standing in the tobacco barn at my grandfather’s, looking up into the eaves of the chinked log building to see row after row of golden leaves, tied in bundles and stacked from the rafters to be smoke-dried before they were sold at auction. Men whom I love are supposed to smell of good tobacco, I have found. 2. Smell of cat pee sends me running to the tub to swinge out the latest misdeed of my ancient cat, which animal pretends to be too old and arthritic to go downstairs to use his litter box. He has nearly outlived my love for him, yet I have a responsibility to take care of him in his old age. 3. I remember having to help my ancient old grandfather drink a glass of milk as he neared death, and realizing that love can be messy in more ways than you’d imagine — and that death has a smell all its own, too. It’s sort of sweet and dusty, when it’s on the way.

    • Oh my goodness, such beautiful writing! Are you a writer? What memories and wisdom. Thank you.

      • LinB says:

        Hmmm. Well, I do write, but mostly I edit my colleague’s reports and missives so that they shine forth as the brilliant persons I know them to be — and do not come out in print as idiots who have mastered neither spelling nor grammar. I have a few chapters of The Great American Novel lurking in an old binder somewhere … as who does not, in the U.S.? Mine is an attempt to combine all the horrible church women whom I have ever met into one repellent character, and set her into plausible situations based on various small towns in which I have lived. She has been great fun to write, and very cathartic, but I have to wait for about 10 more people to die before I feel safe in publishing. Too many of their relatives will recognize them in the stories.

  38. Tara says:

    SO pretty!

  39. Aww, the chair looks great! I can’t say there’s a particular scent that makes me tear up, but I do have very visceral connections to both smells and music. But instead of tears, here’s the most obscure scent-related story I have: several years ago I bought a shower curtain. Immediately, upon smelling the plasticy thing, it sent me back to being a toddler, but I couldn’t place my finger on why. Within the next several months I was visiting my mom and we were going through some of the photo albums from when I was a child. What did I smell when I opened one of the albums with photos of Toddler Tasha? Bingo. I didn’t actually recall the scent from when I was that age, but from the photo album of -photos- when I was that age!

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