Friday, July 30, 2010

Finally!- Chair Slipcover

After almost 2 years of contemplating making a slipcover for this chair:

I finally did it!

I inherited the chair from my younger brother, he was just going to throw it out and I had a perfect place for it in my son's room. It was a little worn, especially on the arms, but it had great bones, as they say. It sat just as it was in my son's room for almost a year. When we put our previous house up for sale, I actually draped the fabric that I had leftover from a previous project and intended to use to make a slipcover, over the chair so that it looked nice for showings. We eventually sold the house and I moved the chair into my son's new room as it was. Recently I read a post from Beckie at Infarrantly Creative about reupholstering a very similiar chair and I was motivated to finally tackle my project. I did not have a stapler, so ended up using a different method and actually making a slipcover. Here is the tutorial:

3-4 yards of fabric (I used a denim that has a little bit of stretch to it)
Measuring tape

First I measured the width of the tops of the arms. Since my fabric was wide enough, I cut this strip first off of one side. I then measured each side and the back of the chair on the outside of the chair and cut pieces of fabric an inch wider and an inch longer. I placed the strip of fabric for the arms, upside down on top of the arm. Then I placed the fabric for the outside side of the arm face down and started pinning the two pieces together. I had about 1/2 inch on each side as I had cut the fabric an inch longer than the actual measurements. I pinned one whole arm on the chair and then sewed it and removed the pins.

After turning it right side out and making sure that it fit, I turned it wrong side out again and pinned the inside middle and other arm in the same manner. After sewing the other arm, checking to be sure that it fit, and turning it inside out again, I pinned the back on. This is what the chair looked like with the slipcover pinned together on the chair. The brown fabric is some felt that I had leftover in my stash that I used to make sure that I would have enough fabric.

Finally, I sewed the back on and then turned it right side out and tried it on the chair. Besides some pleats on the curve on the arm, I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. Finally, I cut some fabric to fit the seat and back cushions. I cut the fabric so that I could fold the fabric in half inside out, then I sewed 2 of the sides with the sewing machine. I sewed about a 2 inch straight line from the corners on the open end so that I could get nice straigt corners. Finally, I turned the pillowcase right side out, stuffed in the pillow and closed the remaining opening by hand with needle and thread. It would have been nice to put in some zippers so that I could have removed and wash these, but I did not have any on hand and did not want to wait another 2 years for the inspiration to finish this project!

From start to finish, it took about 4 hours to complete the entire chair. Allot at least 6 hours if you must feed your children dinner, get them a bedtime snack, and then tuck them into bed. Poor Randy tried to help keep the kids out of my hair, but cartoons are no substitute for time with mommy!

So here is the finished product (well almost, if I don't get a stapler and staple the bottom to the chair, I will be removing it and sewing the bottom hem to give it a more finished look):

I am so proud of myself that I contemplated moving the chair to our living room temporarily so that I could show off my handiwork to anyone that happened to stop by!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I did it!

I am so proud of myself, I can't wait until morning to take and upload the photos from my most recent project! I have had the fabric to make a slipcover for the chair in my sons' room for at least 2 years now, but I was always too nervous to attempt it by myself. After reading a post by Becky at Infarrantly Creative, I was inspired to pull the fabric out and finally attempt that project. Though it took about 5 hours from start to finish, it was relatively easy. I can't wait to show you how I did it and most importantly show off the final results!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

(Not so) Green with envy

It was hard to look past the hunter green carpeting, mint green walls and sage green crown moulding in our new homes' living room and notice the beautiful marble fireplace and large window overlooking the river.

After freshening up the kitchen cabinets with some bright white cabinet paint, I had quite a bit leftover and decided to use it to banish one of the greens from the living room by painting the crown moulding. The paint was very thick, yet required several coats to fully cover the dark green of the moulding.
Once the moulding was bright white and looking pretty, I was driven to paint the walls as well. I went to WalMart and purchased a gallon of paint in a neutral color that matched the rest of the main living areas on the first floor of our home. It took 2 coats of paint (I was scraping the bottom of the can towards the end) to cover the mint green color of the walls, and get in all of the crevices of the wall texture. All of that painting along with our furniture made the room much more livable.

A few months later, we replaced the hunter green carpet with a brown frieze carpet. Finally, the only green left in the whole room was from my faux greenery!

The couches in the room are about 7 years old, so we have talked about purchasing something new once we knock a few more important things off of the to do list. A ceiling fan/light combo is in the works for the room as there is not enough light at night and a fan would help to circulate the air. Randy has a friend who is an electrician who has offered to do it in his spare time. I also plan to install some built-ins next to the fireplace to beef up that wall and give it more presence. I have been looking at different options for that from buying existing bookshelves and adding molding, to purchasing kitchen cabinets to fit the space. Though these things will have to wait for now, I can picture how the room will look when I am all finished with it and I love it already!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dated to Dressed up- Bathroom Remodel

The main floor bath was very dated, from the textured walls, ornate pendant lights doorway into the master bathroom and weirdly shaped tile countertop. When we decided to close of the door between the two bathrooms, we decided to update the bathroom at the same time. Unfortunately I did not take many before pictures, but you can see how plain and dated the room was in this before picture:

After taking out the door and frame, framing out the opening and putting up the drywall, we had a decision to make, matching the wall texture from the rest of the room or smoothing out the surface on all of the walls. (Each room in this house has a different wall texture! The bathroom had circles or swirls.) We decided to smooth the walls out to look like a newer home. The countertop extended past the vanity to the wall by the entrance to the bathroom. The countertop curved in to make room for the door to swing shut. It was very awkward and did not serve any real purpose for us so we removed it and replaced it with a single piece countertop/sink combo. We also updated the faucet and installed a nickel fixture.
Now that all of the necessities were in place it was time to decorate. I had purchased some artwork at a garage sale while living in our previous house that I thought would be perfect. The artwork was from Bed, Bath and Beyond and the tags were still attached, they were marked $40 each and I got them both for $15. The pieces showed bathrooms decorated in red and gold and were in very ornate gold frames.

The mirror frame, towel bar and light fixture in the bathroom were also gold and very ornate.
I decided to go with a red and gold color scheme as we already had several items to go in the room and could update the room at very little cost. I bought a can of red paint, I believe that it was called Country Apple, and painted the newly smoothed walls. I needed to dust the walls to get some of the dust from sanding and smoothing the walls off so that the paint would not clump. After dusting the walls, I got to work painting. It took several coats as the walls just sucked up the paint. Finally, I placed the finishing touches. Even though we used a lot of the existing elements, I don't feel that the room feels dated. It definitely feels very rich and dressed up!

The rose topiary on the back of the toilet was part of the decor from our wedding. I purchased the foam topiary stand at Hobby Lobby and then pushed the stems of miniature roses into the foam until it was filled. I then tied a red ribbon around to add a little bit of color. I love that this piece is a part of our everyday lives!

The little nook that was under the extended countertop has become potty training central. With 2 kids under 3 I needed space to keep the toilet and extra supplies, like underwear. Before removing the countertop we had to pull the potty out in order to use it, and now it is ready anytime. My mom got me this plant stand for a quarter. In the past, I used it to hold extra hand towels and wash cloths, now it holds extra underwear in case of an accident! This little nook is so much more useful to us now.

I do still plan to add some crown moulding and have thought about putting in beadboard and a chair rail, but for now the room is perfect!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I am a bit of a neat freak. That may be an understatement, I am a lot of a neat freak! My daughter obviously takes more after my husband, who I feel is messy and disorganized. Though I think he is disorganized, in all of the chaos that is his desk, he somehow always manages to find the things he needs, as long as I didn't move them in an attempt to help him get organized.
This is what I intended her room to look:

This is how my daughters' room actually looks most of the time:

This is why I am so happy that her room is on the second story. If we have company that is unannounced they don't have any clue that a tornado named Reese completely ransacked the 2nd story of our home!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Project Ideas and Inspiration

It is a vicious cycle. As an aide with the local school district, I am off work for the summer, unpaid. Though it has been great to be at home with my children full time, I have so many things that I want to do to the house right now, but I have no money coming in. Once I start back to work in a few weeks, I should have the money, but not enough time to do the projects. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I have been using my free time to read several really great blogs and get a few ideas for projects that I would like to do in the near future. The Thrifty Decor Chick has an obsession with all things moulding and beadboard. You can see her awesome beadboard kitchen backsplash here. I really want to attempt beadboard, chair rail and crown moulding in my main bathroom. I think that these elements would really help to dress up this space.
The contributors over at Better After have done an awesome job of refinishing old furniture to give it new life. I would love to find a chest of drawers that I could refinish to go in my master bedroom.
Finally, Becky at Infarrantly Creative recently reupholstered an old love seat, which you can see here. This got me excited for a project I have been sitting on for about 2 years. I have a chair in my son's room that is in dire need of a reupholster job. You can see the chair in the corner of this picture.
I do have some fabric that I planned on using for this project, I am just getting up the nerve to attempt this on my own. Actually, my mom is coming to visit soon and I am planning to ask her advice on how to do it. Hopefully, I can attempt that project in the three weeks that I have before going back to school!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Dining Room

Hunter green carpet! That was all I saw when we first walked through the dining room of our current house. Though it was in pristine condition, it was still hunter green! Can you say, "The 90's called and wanted their carpet back!" I know that hunter green and cranberry was a popular combination in the 90's because those were the colors of my teenage bedroom! Needless to say it was hard to look past the carpet to see the beautiful wood railing, nice fireplace and built in desk area. This is what the room looked like after we moved in in October 2009.

In January 2010, we hired a contractor to rip out the carpet and put new laminate wood flooring in the dining room. He also put in a new tile hearth on our fireplace. I am willing to tackle lots of home improvement projects, but definitely did not want to undertake such a large project by myself, especially since we had our son's first birthday party in less than a few weeks. He ripped out all of the flooring and started installing the new laminate the same day. Within a week, we had all of the furniture back in place.

I believe that the room has a bit of an old world, country style. Here is a breakdown of the elements of the room: The window treatments were another bargain find at JCPenney's. I got 2 of the panels for $1 each. I hung them on top of an existing cornice box, but I needed one more to fill in the gap in the middle. I went to every JCPenney's within a 50 mile radius and could not find another one to match. My wonderful husband stopped at a Penney's on a business trip and found out that they were clearanced because of a mistake in which the company used different dye lots. Fortunately we found one that matched for just $25.
We added a hutch which we found on craigslist for $100. I filled it with all of my fruit themed teapots from my sisters bridal shower which were all found at Goodwill for dollars a piece. The buffet was also a Goodwill find for $40.

I would still like to put some coordinating glass tile around the fireplace and possibly paint the surround. I have also been contemplating adding some crown moulding. Finally, I have wondered whether I should paint the hutch and the buffet black to match, possibly leaving the tops as they are to match the dining table. I'm not necessarily the matchy matchy type, but both pieces of furniture are a little worse for the wear and could use a facelift. What do you think, paint the buffet and hutch to match my table, leave as they are or paint them another coordinating color?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Country Kitchen Update

When we first saw our house there was bright yellow floral fabric in the insets of the cabinets and yellow paint on the walls. There were also antique kitchen utensils hanging on every wall surface! The room is very small and all of that bright color and decor was very overwhelming.

Almost immediately after moving in I removed the fabric from the insets of the cabinets and the room felt so much bigger and brighter instantly. Unfortunately I pulled some of the paint off of the cabinets with the fabric, so I decided to give all of the cabinets a fresh coat of bright white cabinet paint. You can see in this picture that most of the paint was pulled off of the far left cabinet when I pulled off the fabric.

I then used some tan paint that was leftover from our entryway to neutralize the wall color. I believe that the kitchen still has a country feel to it, but in a more traditional and modern way.

Someday in the future we plan on knocking down the wall between the kitchen and four seasons room to expand the kitchen and give us more room. For now the kitchen is at least updated and more closely fits our style all for the cost of some paint and a little bit of elbow grease.

Friday, July 2, 2010

4th of July Wreath

I have a very large twig wreath in my entryway that I like to decorate according to the holidays. For the summer I have it decorated in red, white and blue from Memorial day to Labor day. I wrapped the wreath in red and white stripped ribbon. I then strung some gold star garland around the wreath, sticking it behind twigs occassionally to keep it in place. Finally, I took some leftover red and white ribbon and blue ribbon and made 2 bows which I placed on top of each other to one side of the wreath, again using a twig to hold them in place. It is very simple and inexpensive to decorate. Often you can buy spools of holiday themed ribbon for anywhere from $1-$5. The possibilities for decorating this wreath would really be endless.

Dislikes about a river house

I have lived in towns along the river and always hated that summertime brings the swarms of fish flies (don't know what the scientific name for them is). I don't know why, but it never crossed my mind that these bugs would come anywhere near our house, which is located right along the river. About three weeks ago, I took the kids outside to play like we usually do and we were bombarded with fish flies as soon as we walked out the door. They hang all over the house and deck, in the trees and bushes, and even in the grass. Fortunately, they only live about 24 hours and then it is about a week before the next swarm moves in.