Projects: 2 June – 8 June 2014

Well, the Summer is starting off with a blast.  Hopefully we’ll be able to keep up.  Here’s what’s going on so you can if you are interested:

Workroom:

  • Floors

Elliott Archives:

  • Finalize

Gallery:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday we are going to be shooting in the gallery with Alec.  We are almost ready to go, but there are always a few last-minute things to sort out.  Both days we will be working an overnight shoot to keep the ambient street noise to a minimum.

Getaway Farms:

  • Having finished the berm, we are moving on to the back roof of the farmhouse itself.  Thursday and Friday we will be removing the roof and laying what new underlayment needs to be laid.
  • Any other time at Getaway this week will be spent tending to anything left of the berm and checking on the lavender, sumac trees, lemon thyme, creeping thyme, persimmon trees, and hardy hibiscus we’ve started in the front beds and in the cold frames out back.

Just IMagine:

  • The kids are going to have to take a back seat to the roof on the farmhouse this week.  We’ll settle in for some help with the cleanup.  Farm life doesn’t have to be inelegant, but it may involve things that are less than pleasant from time to time.

General Tchad® stuff:

  • Email, email, email for folks asking about Summer classes

Tchad®

Projects: 26 May – 1 June 2014

A lot going on this week:

Workroom:

  • Spring session ends this week
  • General cleaning and straightening
  • Classes blog back up and running
  • Summer registrations for classes open to the general public on 27 May
  • All sewing machines serviced for the next session

Gallery:

  • We are going to be rehabbing the gallery for a film shoot.  Alec, one of our former students is going to be shooting a short and we have to temporarily change the configuration of the room for Sartre’s No Exit.  Luckily it will just take a little work to seal up the windows and doors.  We shoot on 3&4 June.

Getaway Farms:

  • The mulch order is coming in – about 21 cubic yards of wood mulch from Expedition Log Homes.  Our goal over Thursday and Friday is to have the berm on the front of the property set and ready by Saturday morning.

Just IMagine:

  • Geno is coming out to the farm on Thursday.  We’ll probably use our time with him to show him how to mulch and plant the remaining trees from last week.  He is getting really good at driving the tractor, so he will be our intra-farm transport and delivery for the afternoon.
  • Nicole and Alia are going to be working with the horses – grooming and round-pen.  Both of them are feeling much more confident; it is great to see them progress so far.

General Tchad® stuff:

  • All blogs back online and ready to go
  • About ten thousand emails about Summer classes

And that’s it!  Go!  Gogogo!

 

 

Projects: 22 August – 4 September

We will be spending the two weeks leading up to the Fall 2011 class session prepping the workroom and getting things together for the up-coming ten-week session.

On the agenda for the week:

  • Getting the rest of the estate settled.
  • Getting the workroom set up for classes.
  • We have started a new blog called Rural Pursuits to cull information about rural living. Stay tuned.
  • We will be working on the class schedule for the next two quarters (Winter and Spring 2012).
  • Email and general blog & Web stuff.
  • Tchad will be developing more with his personal blog and should be able to introduce the Wrought blog by the end of September.
  • There is a short video instructional series that we have been invited to work on.  It is a series that gives short creative video tips to working business women.  We will be able to tell you more about that in the coming weeks.

We will be putting our clothing business on hold for the next few months, so will not be taking consults or orders until at the very earliest late Spring 2012.  This is going to delay the roll out of the design blog, but we want it to be right, not just published.

So it is a fairly straightforward couple of weeks for us up here at Tchad.  Stay tuned for more.

In the meantime, you can always email us at:

tchad@tchad.biz or classes@tchad.biz

or you can text us at: 773.680.5914.

This should be an exciting Fall and Winter!  Let’s see what we can make happen!

 

It Isn’t All Silks & Sewing, You Know…

We have our hands in a bit of everything – especially when we aren’t actively designing or teaching.

This Summer we took the time to do a few things:

  • We are organizing a book drive for the Books for Women in Prison, a non-profit that helps women in prison with their rehabilitation.
  • We spent a few weeks at Getaway Farms in rural Wisconsin.  Cyndi is setting up a non-profit that helps troubled kids with responsibility through animal therapy – horses specifically.
  • We spent some time researching horse training in Southern Indiana.
  • We ended up baling about 1600 bales of hay.

So it was an eventful Summer!  Here are some out-takes of the most fun we have had working in a long time:

Nothing better than a nice shrimp dinner after baling hay and training.

Tchad as Oliver Mellors

You can bet Tchad is never this filthy at the workroom!

Spring Valley Farms in Southern Indiana

A view across the horse fields and pasture.

Part of the field restoration work at Tchad's farm in Southern Indiana.

Part of the field restoration work at Tchad's farm in Southern Indiana.

Bacchus Picking Grapes

Honestly, you can't name your son Bacchus and NOT have a picture of him picking grapes, now can you?

Extricating Railroad ties.

There were about 25 sunken railroad ties at Getaway that needed to be removed for both safety and æsthetic reasons.

Tchad Moving Railroad Ties.

Tchad Moving Railroad Ties. The most unforgiving, back-breaking work is prying up long, dense, wet railroad ties. We are surprised that Dante didn't include them in one of the rings!

Showing kids how water on a farm is stored and used.

Kids were amazed at the infrastructure of the farm - they had no idea how water was collected and used. This is looking into a large cistern.

Weeds overgrow everything after just two seasons.

Farm work is often a lesson in entropy - if you let up, then everything starts the process of falling apart and you have more work that you would have otherwise. It is a really good lesson for city kids to learn.

Schedule 27 June – 3 July

The week of the 27th through the first we will be focusing on getting the rest of the workroom clean and ready to go for classes in the fall before we shut down for a much needed sabbatical.

There are a lot of things Tchad is doing for an Estate he is working on that will need to be done first, so if you are in the market for religious antiques or memorabilia you may want to check out his Ebay profile.

Resurrection!

It has been since March.  We had to drop the blogs because of a death in the family.

The process hasn’t been fun.  If you want to read more about that you can do it on Tchad’s personal blog.

But as of now, the blogs are back up and running!

We are re-structuring the business to deal with classes entirely.  There will be no clothing or design projects for a while as we deal with the personal and professional fall-out of a life change like this.

So enjoy the blogs and let’s see where this takes us!

Projects: 7-15 December 2010

The Fall session ended last Sunday and we are in high gear to set the workrooms for the Winter quarter and get a number of other projects done.

So a week with a short list but a lot of activity!

  • Paint the floors so they can set properly by January.
  • Blinds up in the large workroom and gallery.
  • Office drapery finished.
  • Finish upholstering the ironing tables.

We will be at the workrooms morning until night for the next few days trying to get everything underway.  Give us a text or shoot us an email if you want to stop by.

Projects: 22-28 November 2010

Classes are out this week for the holiday, so we will be tearing the workrooms apart and setting things for the Winter session.

  • Clean up any residual email from the past two months.
  • Clean both workrooms top to bottom. Magic erasers, anyone?
  • Finish the floors and details in the offices and kitchenette.
  • Paint floors that have been damaged from various installations.
  • Build wall shelving for student machines.
  • Sort for Craigslist, Ebay, and thriftstore. Getting rid of a lot of stuff.
  • Planning on 4 blog posts a day for the next week.
  • A few furniture projects, including a set of Louis XVI-style mid-century interpretations and a set of bedside deco bookshelves.
  • Whatever else we can pack into the next five days

We will be at the workrooms 24/7 for the next few days to get everything done, so let us know what you need and we will try to get you situated. As always, texts are best – we are doing a bit of metalwork and the grinding/welding makes it too loud for us to hear the phone.

Email oops

We try to keep on things, but every now and then slip up.
In this case, a good number of emails have been shuffled into the wrong folder and went unanswered.

We will be working on these throughout Monday and Tuesday afternoons.

Sorry for the delay, guys.

This winter session registration is sailing along, we just lost the rudder for a bit.

Projects: 12-21 November

We have been busy with photo-shoots, web design, and the general hurry that goes along with the final three weeks of classes, so there hasn’t been an update since Hallowe’en week.

On the agenda for the next week:

  • Developing content of design blog.
  • Final entry in the “Buying a Machine” series.
  • General workroom cleanup and closet organizing.
  • Lots of final project pictures from Fall 2010, including the long-awaited-for Vogue #2903.
  • Reining in the make-ups from Fall 2010.
  • Tchad should have his personal blogs coded and live for the tchad.me site.
  • This will be the first time in maybe four years we are going to advertise the classes through Facebook and Craigslist, so there are ads to develop.
  • Final 2010-2011 redesign of the tchad.biz site and sub-sites.
  • Continuing registration for the Winter 2011 session that starts in January!
  • General emails and class correspondence.

And that is it – as always, let us know if there are things you would like to see, or if there are corrections that need to be made.

We are looking for anyone who would like to blog about their experiences with sewing at Tchad, or general blog articles, so please keep us in mind if you would like to write something. We would be happy to consider a broad range of topics and styles.

Workroom Schedule (outside of classes):

  • 12 November: 2-6 p.m., 9-11:30 p.m.
  • 13 November: 9-11:45 a.m.
  • 14 November: 9-11:45 a.m.
  • 15 November: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • 16 November: 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • 17 November: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • 18 November: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • 19 November: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • 20 November: 9-11:45 a.m.
  • 21 November: 9-11:45 a.m.

Projects: 18-24 October

Week 18-24 October is going to be a rebound & recovery week after we (yes, all of us) spent the week only focused on classes and otherwise in bed sick. The only web work done was for the disambiguation page, and that was a little fuzzy-focused and needs some review.

So with that in mind, here is the agenda for the Workrooms at Tchad for the week of 18-24 October. We are recharged, though the list may be a bit rehashed:

  1. A number of new posts to the classes page, including part 2 of 3: Buying a Sewing Machine.
  2. Finalizing the Winter, Spring, and Fall 2011 session schedules, announcements for schedule changes.
  3. General cleanup.
  4. Two fittings Friday morning.
  5. Finalize the links for these blogs and get the website a little more functional.
  6. Drapery for the workroom’s offices.
  7. About 1,000 emails (actually 322 as of right now, but after you pass 60, it all seems like 1,000)

Workroom Schedule for the week:

  • Monday: 3-6 p.m,, classes 6-9 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 12-3 p.m., classes 3-9 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 12-6 p.m., classes 6-9 p.m.
  • Thursday: 2-6 p.m., classes 6-9 p.m.
  • Friday: 8 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
  • Saturday: 8 a.m. – 12 noon, classes 12-6 p.m.
  • Sunday: Classes 12-6 p.m.

Projects: 11-17 October 2010

Some of our projects at the workroom the week of 11-17 October:

  1. Our email inbox has become a mess. If you expect an email, look for it by 3 p.m. Tuesday the 12th.
  2. We should have the Design blog built out.
  3. The tchad.biz site will be updated with new links and filled out with some images.
  4. There are about five posts to write across the blogs:
    1. Sewing machines you should never buy.
    2. Sewing machines that are a great value.
    3. Reviewing the “Pattern Magic” book’s new English edition.
    4. How to build an ironing table from a large 4×8 foot piece of plywood
  5. Toward the end of the week, we will be at the fabric store to buy white fabric for the workroom’s office drapery.
  6. What seems like thousands of little business details – CPAs, attorneys, &c.
  7. Fittings Friday morning for two of the Berlin series (this is VERY exciting).
  8. Rescheduling and updating the class schedules for Winter & Spring 2011.

So that is what HAS to get done. If we can squeeze in a few hours to finish cleaning out the closet and install a new communications system in the workroom, well, great.

Was everyone in 1940 so short-sighted?

Yes, of course hindsight is 20/20 and no one can see the future.

But that so many antique candlesticks were turned into table and floor lamps in the early-mid 20th century makes us sad. What did Cher say? If I could turn back time? If I could find a way? Well we did both in this case, having to reverse the sequence of Ms. Cher’s plea.

We stumbled on these late 19th-early 20th century Louis XV Spanish-style sticks that had been turned into floor lamps and were commissioned to return them to their past glory without destroying the integrity of the pieces.

Unfortunately, we don’t have before pictures to show you, but imagine 50 years of dirt and cigarette smoke with a large pole drilled out through the center and some terrible canister shade with contrasting fringe. Bad stuff.
Final result:

I turned back all the things that hurt you...

“Project Envy” Shoot…Out-takes

As the blogs at Tchad LLC gain some traction folks are taking notice. We have gotten some emails here and there, but the funniest thing happened Tuesday morning.

Lisa Helms called us and said something like: “HEY! I see your blog! I am on my way up with my projects!” I want to be on the front page, too!

Lisa, a freelance graphic designer of some note and experience, is an old friend and supporter of the Tchad concept and was one of our first students in the early days. We aren’t very good at taking pictures and documenting things, so her contribution was more than welcome as we put out the word for pictures of student design and sewing projects.

When you have students who aren’t professional models, it can be hard to get them to pose well. You end up with a lot of awkward and stilted shots that aren’t flattering.

please don't kill us for using this as an example...

You have to loosen folks up a bit.

lisa laughing

Fun with photos

So after a number of shots that neither of us liked, Tchad hit on an idea.

With a camera in one hand and the nearest piece of yardage in the other, we shouted:

“HEY! LISA! CATCH!” as we lobbed the fabric in the air.

So we suppose the moral of the story is:

If you want people to act naturally and photograph well, throw things at them.

Fabric:

hey! catch!

4 yards of silk lining will loosen you up!

Notions…

Lisa tries to catch something thrown at her.

OMG OMG OMG

Thread…

Thread catch

We should really have aimed better...

lisa playing catch

Agh!

Don’t forget it is about fun, guys.  Don’t forget it is about fun.

Old Louis XVI Is Kindling Right Now…

We love a good tub chair. This one is from the mid-1920s, when there was a resurgence of Louis XVI furniture. A lot of it was more deco than this – this one is fairly traditional.

But the scale is wrong. We need it to be higher with a more delicate look and not so deep.
So of course we promptly took it apart and started to plan out what we need to do.

Right now all of the pieces are essentially kindling: bound up and stored away.

Stay tuned for the finished product when we have the wherewithal to piece it back together.

Everybody Needs a Little Effort.

There is a fine artist down the hall from our workrooms who was having a couple of problems. He needed something.
See, sometimes folks just need a little effort thrown their way. Unmentioned, un-asked-for effort. Too many times we forget that.

So we came up with this fabric sculpture-card that references what he does and how this is, for him, a new beginning for him and his work.

closed card-sculpture

When closed...

open sculpture-card

When set on table and opened...

The man rising from the center came from the promotional card for an afro-centric show in the early 2000s, the interior fabric was some leftover millennium fabric we have had tucked away since Y2K and the gold print is from a project we did for a customer before moving to Chicago.

We are fond of the leave-it-and-run method, so we attached the loops to his doorknob, knocked, and ran.

Remember that to make someone’s day a little brighter, to help someone see that they aren’t alone in the world and that someone is thinking of them and wishing them well/supporting them is one of the best things you can do in life. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, just do it.

One of Our Most Interesting Projects

One of our favorite projects was this drapery job.
Our client showed us a 16th-17th century wooden candlestick that had been turned into a table lamp and said that she would like to have rods and rings that matched the piece as well as nice formal drapes for her Lake Shore home.

She ordered the fabric from Italy – a nice silk damask, and we got to work.

The wood is oak. We began by distressing them and then soaked them in tannins for a month. When we pulled them from the vat, we distressed them some more and covered them in ochre ground.

Three layers of silver paint, lots of lampblack and grime, and some more distressing gave them a nice feel.

We suspended the silver in purified linseed oil mixed with a bit of aluminum powder. This way, the finish will develop a bit of patina as it ages, but should remain fairly bright. The gold is a gilt paint we made with gold leaf ground with a mortar and pestle and suspended in the same artist-quality purified linseed oil. To keep the rings sliding easily, they were waxed after being installed

The drapes are standard pinch-pleat panels that have a 10 inch pool. Lined with pima cotton and hand finished at the hems and edges, this was some of our best work.

Some pictures as we worked:

After we were finished with the drapes and rods, we were commissioned to make some softlines with leftover fabric and antique fabric that she had collected.

Oh, All of That Old Boarding House Furniture.

The question when you are dealing with old furniture is just how far you are going to go with restoration and refinishing.

In this case, it wasn’t any concern at all.

What we have here was a broken-down piece that was at one point in time a nice piece… for a lovely boardinghouse.

We tend not to strip things outright and rarely touch anything with sandpaper. The trick, in our opinion, is to be sensitive to the piece while making it something you can live with.
In this case, we rubbed it down with #0000 steel wool about 10 times to buff out the scratches and then cleaned up some of the details with alcohol. When we were finished, we began a series of super-thin shellac coats (about a 1 Lb. cut, if you are curious about these things) that were tinted with an 80 year old supply of VanDyke brown pigment.

After a little gilding and repair to the decorative scrolls on the front…

But it turned out all-right, considering it was literally on its way to the burning pile.