Last spring I purchased a set of 4 caned french provincial chairs that needed work. Some of the carvings were broken on top and the caning wasn't in the best of shape. After doing a bit of research I realized the chairs were hand caned which was way out of my wheel house, so the chairs sat in my house for a few months while I wanted for inspiration to hit.
A few months ago we were doing the some house projects and I had to move my stash of project when I realized that I had over 20 chairs waiting to be worked on. (I admit to having a problem.) So I decided these would be the easiest to tackle. Upon removing the seats from the chairs I realized the forms were not safe for sitting on. The areas the cane fit into were splitting apart and a previous owner had inserted screws to try to keep them together. I knew I'd have to cut new seats for the chairs, but these were so pretty that I set them aside to figure out what to do with them because I couldn't bear to throw them out.
The basic shape made me think of a picture frame and I initially thought about removing the cane and cutting a board to fit the hole, but I never got around to doing that. One day it hit me - keep the cane in place on the seats that were still taut and use it as a jewelry holder. I painted the seat form and sealed it with wax. Then I put picture hangers on the back and screws in the front. When I took the first one into the shop yesterday it was an instant hit. The french hook earrings work great in the cane. I also added a few S hooks so I could hang bracelets or anything else that came to mind. While I originally envisioned this as a jewelry holder with the s-hooks you can hang any small items, including kitchen utensils. I can't wait to get the others done.
The best part of this is that for the price of the chairs I now have a set of 4 chairs and 4 more projects out of it. I love getting to stretch my creative muscles and come with fresh uses for old items.
Here's how the table and chairs came out :-)