Right after Christmas, with H's first birthday coming up, I went into full-on crazy mama mode. Even though we were just having a small family party at home, I spent weeks completely obsessing about party details and dreaming of a fabulous smash cake photo shoot to commemorate the occasion. (Even at the time, I realized that this had everything to do with my sentimentality and not being quite ready to accept that my baby's first year -- the only REAL babyhood-and-not-toddlerhood year -- was already coming to an end!)
I got a DSLR camera for my birthday/Christmas present this year so that we could get high-quality photos of the kiddo without laying out hundreds of dollars every time I want new pictures, so I decided to stage a little smash cake shoot in our backyard before the party. Of course, when I see these gorgeous smash cake photo shoot pictures online, the subject is often sitting in an utterly adorable vintage wooden high chair. I tried and tried and tried, but I couldn't get the idea of such a high chair out of my mind. Both for the cake smash pictures and for the party, I knew a plastic booster seat strapped to one of our ordinary dining chairs (what she normally sits in) wouldn't do. Not for the weirdo perfectionistic ideal I was fixating on. So I started scouring Craigslist. Of course, I found nothing that would fit both my desires and my budget. Until I hit up the San Antonio Craigslist. There, I found my treasure trove, including this diamond in the rough:
A heavily painted green wooden number with a matching tray and a leather strap. It had two coats of paint on it and at least one coat of varnish, not counting the not-to-my-taste Disney Peter Pan characters painted thickly on and the alphabet circling the tray. But I liked the shape and could tell it just needed some TLC.
I hauled my kiester down to New Braunfels (an hour and 15 minute drive) one morning and bought it from a very sweet older couple for $25.
It took me a trip to Home Depot and another to Sherwin Williams, plus another $25 laid out at SW, before I found the perfect paint, a Sherwin Williams satin oil-based paint in a Fisher-Price branded color called Breaktime.
I went home and got to work stripping, and stripping, and stripping the nasty paint off, then started sanding. This is as far as I got.
Then N took over. He is much better at the elbow grease stuff than I am. Within about half an hour, he had it down to bare wood. Isn't he sweet to indulge me even when he (rightly) thinks I'm being completely insane?
Two coats of paint later, it was starting to look presentable. I had some adorable vintage Meyercord decals that my mom gave me, and I knew they would be just the thing. Who hasn't seen an old wooden high chair with a ducky or bunny decal'ed on it? I just loved these jungly animals, with their bright colors and cute, but not-too-babyish, looks. You should have seen some of other decals she gave me -- totally funky to the point of almost being abstract! I hope I can come up with uses for more of them. They're neat! They were also easy to put on, although a couple of them tore. (They're from the early '60s, so it's amazing they worked as well as they did.)
And the chair was finished, just in time for a certain somebody to smear cake all over it. No worries, though, that oil-based paint cleans very well. ;-)