Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Have cushions, will travel.

Here is another example of a great patio furniture set that was in desperate need of a cushion update. The fabric was faded, worn,  stained, dated and basically just needed an update.  Because all of the cushions are custom fitted to this furniture with rounded edges and shaped to fit each piece perfectly, it made sense for Jessica to have new cushions made instead of buying ready-made.

Not only would they fit better, she could pick the exact color scheme she wanted in a fabric that would stand up to several years of wear and tear, dogs and kids.  Jessica chose a Sunbrella fabric in Cast Shale with a Sunbrella canvas black for the piping contrast from Decorativefabricsdirect.com. 

Though Jessica lives in PA, she travels back and forth to northern VA for business periodically.  So she loaded up her vehicle with the thirteen cushions.  After making thirty five yards of piping, I began work on the custom cushions for a three-seat patio couch, two-seat loveseat, side chair and ottoman.

This fabric was a dream to work with.  It was lightweight, non-directional and the same on both sides. What more could a  slipcover girl ask for?  It’s also easy to clean, durable, and a solution dyed acrylic that resists mildew, stains and fading. What more could a family with an active lifestyle ask for?

I have a busy month ahead with more cushions, twin chairs, a loveseat and swivel rocker all waiting for their chance to get redone.  If you have a special piece you need done for the holidays, now’s the time to start planning.  Give me a call. 

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Crafty Things · Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Bathroom Rejuvenation

When you buy a house (not new) your imagination runs wild and free on big plans to remodel or update.  Initially I dreamt of gutting the basement master bathroom, replacing the huge shower, painting the vanity, doing something with the mirrors, maybe change the floor and add a soaker tub.  If I was a true do-it-yourselfer, that wouldn’t be too far out of reach.  That was my initial vision.  As other more important projects took a hold,  my initial plans for that bathroom soon became less important and cost-effective. But there still were a few issues I had with the bathroom.  This bathroom had no windows and felt cold, nothing a little creativity, paint and a sewing machine couldn’t fix.

I decided on a spa theme.  We had put in a hot tub earlier in the year and I thought this bathroom would a great place to change, grab a robe, and some flip-flops and get ready to relax. So piece by piece, issue by issue, I went to work.

Floor:  Since tiling was out of my comfort zone and budget in terms of time and money, I knew finding the right area rug would be a better option to address the plain cold tile. It would probably be the single most expensive fix for this bathroom and if I found the right rug the other pieces of my design puzzle would fall in place.  I found this natural fiber braided 8×10 rug at The Home Store. I love how it lifts up the room, is warm on the feet and pulls in the natural cabinets and blue color (bonus…its reversible!)  And because this rug compliments the vanity perfectly, I was no longer compelled to paint the vanity. reversible area rug

Paint:  Once I had the rug, I knew I was sort of limited in my choices of paint colors.  I didn’t want to go neutral as that would be hard to pick the exact color to go with the vanity/floors.  I really just wanted a warmer shade of blue than what was currently on the walls.  I decided to go with Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue but not after trying out all the different shades of blue that I already had in samples of several walls of the room.

Mirrors:   I never understood the choice of the mirrors over the vanity. The beautiful round mirrors had a rich wood tone that, in my opinion, clashed with the vanity.  So I painted the mirrors the darkest color on the paint strip (2 shades darker than the paint on the walls) and then hotglued a rope around the indent in the mirror.  Instantly nautical and coordinates perfectly with the vanity and rug!  Yay, three pieces of the puzzle were done.

Wall Mirror.  There were still a few things I wanted to do to cozy up the bathroom. I’ve had this big red/gold mirror for thirteen years and love it, but did not have anywhere in my entire house that it “fit”.  While still in my creative painting mood, I decided to paint this piece as well.  So I taped off the mirror with plastic, deglossed the finish, put a coat of the blue paint and then embellished it with some leftover tan and cream-colored paint I had.  Not too bad!  I looks fantastic laying up against the wall as you enter the bathroom, compliments the rug, vanity and mirrors yet doesn’t overpower the room.

Seating.  Besides the toilet, there was no place to sit and change.  The room was certainly big enough to accommodate something.  I stole a black vinyl bench from my daughter’s bedroom, with her permission.  It would be the perfect fit for another big wall in this bathroom.  Of course, the black wouldn’t do, but nothing a slipcover couldn’t cover up.  I looked for the right fabric, got many samples and in the end, used a bleached drop cloth.  I made a floor length pleated  cover  with a separate boxed and tufted cushion.  I am so glad I went a little wild and used a tan ticking for the boxing. It again pulls the tan out of the rug and vanity. It is so comfortable sit down on too while you get ready for the day or the hot tub.

Room Divider.  We had purchased this room divider for another purpose earlier in the year but wasn’t being used to it’s full potential, so I stole it for another room.  By placing it in front of the commode area, you now have a bit more privacy in case there is more than one of you in the room at the same time. It also is great to hang a towel on for the shower, and once again breaks the room up a bit and adds more of the warm  natural tan color.

Accessories.  A few serene pictures, a spa candle, new coordinated towels, sample size products for guests in a pretty jar finishes this room off.   I find myself wanting to visit this room because of the relaxing feeling it gives me. Isn’t this what we want every room to feel like? 

Shower.   The  shower is still big.  Theres no getting around that.  I jazzed it up a little by adding some green glass jars on the shelf to bring the color upwards. For something whimsical, I placed a little mermaid on the shelf (my granddaughter Addy loves).  I stole an idea from Pinterest regarding the shower rod with hanging baskets spring-rodded between two walls of the shower. It worked great unless you overload the baskets.   I really like the idea and so will work on a more permanent solution that is similar.  The last piece of the shower that I would love to do is a smooth stone shower floor.   I have one in my master shower and it is heavenly.  The smooth roundness of the natural stones feels so rejuvenating on your feet.  This will definitely be added to my winter project list. Eventually I will carry this serene feeling into redoing the master bedroom that this bathroom is attached to. I just need to get inspired by something and right now the lake is calling me!

Spa-a-a-a-h.

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Decorating · family · Sewing · Slipcovers

Graduation

Terre  was on a mission to pull together her living room for her daughter’s high school graduation and the faded striped chair and fraying ottoman either had to go or get a redo. The Pennsylvania House chair was in good shape except for the faded fabric and dated red stripe that didn’t go with her new neutral and relaxed room. 

The ottoman on the other hand was questionable.  She wasn’t sure it was salvageable and neither was I.  The top fabric had worn so thin that it had frayed.  With my newly acquired samples from Big Duck in hand, we found the perfect shade of fabric. fabric swatches Unfortunately, they wouldn’t have the yardage she needed until after the graduation so she picked a second choice, a Bull Denim Cotton Poly Blend in Sand.  It washed up beautifully with very little wrinkles.   Although it was preshrunk, I was advised by the fabric company to wash it again as there still might be up to 3% shrinkage left. I didn’t want to take any chances as she definitely wanted to be able to wash the slipcovers.   

With just four days until the festivities there wasn’t any time to waste.  I went to work first on the chair. Following the lines of the chair, the fabric covered the red perfectly and felt so soft to the touch.  We kept it simple with cording on the bottom to show off the wood legs.  It would be a great chair to snuggle up on, put your feet up on the ottoman and read a book….or take a nap.

The ottoman took a bit of research and thinking.  I mended what I could, pressed on a fusible interfacing and finally made a muslin wrap to pull the ottoman all together, hiding the top fix and giving it a clean start before making the slipcover.

  Once I took the time to fix the ottoman, the construction of the cover was pretty straight forward.  Again, we kept it simple with a corded bottom to match the chair.  The cover fits like a glove and the new ensemble really brightens up that corner of the room, pulling it all together.  And the best thing is, it’s washable!  I’d say this chair and ottoman graduated with honors.

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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Cushions

The pollen is done for the most part, and you have cleaned and re-cleaned the patios and porches to rid it of the fine yellow mist of gunk that seems to get into the tiniest of cracks.  Now that this is behind us and warmer weather is finally here, it’s time to put out our porch patio cushions, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, your summer reading and relax.   But wait….your cushions may need attention too after years of wear, weather, sun and neglect.

My first client, Pam, sent me a picture of her tired and depleted swing cushions and wanted to know if I could help.  I sent her to JoAnn’s to pick out the fabric, some 3” foam and with a wave of my wand (if only), I made her these two delightful apple green—the season’s hot color– cushions perfectly coordinated with her throw pillows.  It certainly brightens the shady porch.

Mary had a bit more of a challenge.   Her cushions were in  desperate need of replacement.  The cushions were literally disintegrating when you touched them or picked them up.  The sun had completely dried out the fabric over the years to the point of crumbling.  The question was whether to buy new cushions or to make new covers. 

Her current furniture frames were still in excellent condition.  She had several chairs on her back porch but also wanted to coordinate with the current front porch décor.   Since she needed to find a fabric that would withstand the intense sunlight in the back yard over the summer, she decided to have cushions made in the exact same Sunbrella fabric she currently had on her wicker chairs and a coordinating fabric from Outdoorfabrics.com.  It has a great rating with a 5 year warranty against fading and mildew. 

When all was said and done, I made ten cushions, two double cushions for her recliners, two ottoman cushions and six dining chair cushions!  What a burst of color and brightness for this front porch and back deck with a coordinated and uniform look.  The little bit of extra time to match all of the stripes running up and down the cushions makes all the difference. 

Mary sent this fun picture to me. Completely unware that she had a top that just happened to match the Dolce Oasis stripe pattern on her new cushions.  Coincidence?   I think Mary really loves that print. And why not. It is vibrant, fun and full of life.  She certainly will get alot more years out of her patio set now. fabric match

It seems this year, more than in the past, I noticed a ton of options for cushions in the stores.   Many of these fabric are  spun polyester in which the color and design is printed on the base fabric.  Though these fabrics may wear well for a few years they typically are approved for 300 (some up to 800) hours of UV exposure so they may fade a lot faster.  Fabrics such as Sunbrella (and there are other brands too) are made out of 100% acrylic in which the fibers that the fabric is made of are dyed in a color solution before being woven into the design, not printed on the base fabric. Interesting huh?   By doing this, you now have a product that will be more fade resistant when in direct sunlight often for 2000 or more hours of UV exposure.  Of course, it makes sense that it is also more expensive.  So when contemplating your choice of whether to buy or cover your cushions, be sure to take this into consideration so you get years of enjoyment for your investment. Lots of fun stuff coming up this summer! Stay tune and let me know if you have a project you need done!

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Decorating · family

Memorial Day

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer with many of us having an “extra day off” from work.  You may have celebrated by grilling and hitting the beach or lake as I did with extended family this weekend at the lake.

Or you may have had a quiet rainy weekend watching movies, reading, or catching up on projects.  But I couldn’t let this day go by without acknowledging the service of all the military on this Memorial Day especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice.   Being the wife of a Marine for over 22 years (now retired) and having many friends and family who have also served, I’ve experienced first-hand the sacrifice and challenges both the service members and family members go every day.  We can’t say thank them enough.

And since it is Memorial Day, I thought I would bring attention to a national memorial you might IMG_0380not be aware of and that is practically in my back yard.  Just a short drive from Smith Mountain Lake and located at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Bedford, VA is the incredibly poignant National D-Day Memorial.  Why Bedford and not Washington DC?  Because Bedford suffered the greatest loss per capita during the D-Day invasion and was chosen to symbolize the loss all communities, large and small, realized on that day.  Located on 88 acres, you can  walk the grounds on your own but I highly recommend go on a guided tour to capture the true magnitude of the events on that day.  It’s hard to describe the beauty and symbolism of the many pieces to this memorial, you just have to see it and do the tour.   If you are ever in the area….make the time. You won’t be disappointed.

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                                                               Happy Memorial Day!

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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

From Drab to Fab

I have to admit when I was asked if I could slipcover over these Arhaus chairs, I wasn’t sure it would work. With the attached pillow-type curved back, I knew it would be a challenge.  I took that challenge and was determined to find a solution so that my friend could get updated chairs to put in her room.

I decided to make a partial under-slip for the top part of the chair to smooth out the back first.  Then I could treat the back as normal. It ended up looking similar to a wingback.  Easy-peasy.

My client decided on a Robert Allen print that would work well with her floor rug, compliment her brown leather couch and give the chair a fresh updated current look.  The print would also work well with the décor and fabrics in the adjoining rooms so if she wanted to move things around they would look great no matter where they landed.  IMG_0257

So with my scissors, pins, and bobbins all loaded I began the transformation.  I was antsy to see the end result.   But slipcovers are a patient and methodical process….there would be no races on these.  There was a lot to match and think through.  Because of the directional print with a repeat, I had my client order extra fabric. I had to be very careful in cutting my pieces and matching.  I wanted to match as much as I could not only on each chair singly but in relationship to each other and from the back view to give the chairs a professional clean and upholstered look. I think I achieved that.

Things were coming together great when we had a tornado warning and a two-hour power outage in the last couple hours of work.  So the dogs and I hunkered down in the basement, with the slipcovers, trimming and clipping seams. 

Initially we thought we would do a Velcro closure on the back, but with the extra tuck in and small “wings”, I was able to make a solid back for a cleaner very fitted look.  You just slip it on, position it, tuck, smooth and wallah! You can hardly tell it is a slipcover.  I am so happy with it and hope my client is too.

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Creative Things · Decorating · Organization · Sewing · Slipcovers

March Home Projects

March felt more like winter than February, but nonetheless, spring is officially here!  But with spring comes the urgency to get things done before the lazy hazy days of summer are upon us. I get motivated to clean, organize, sew, and decorate. Check out what’s been happening in my happy place.

Cushions, Pillows and Chairs….oh my!  My porch cushions were in desperate need of new cushions.  Not only were they dirty, but the fabric had started to tear.  I figured I could get a few more years out of the cushions before actually replacing them so I found a pretty cherry red fabric that would feed my soul for my red obsession.   Since I’m so willy-nilly with commitment to fabric and upholstery, I wanted a solid color so I could change it up at will with throw pillows.  I accented the chairs with lumbar pillows made with a Solarium outdoor fabric in a boat house print.

Homage to Cows      The SML area is surround by the most beautiful farmland I have seen in a while with lots of cows.  It reminds me so much of growing up on a farm (minus the hills). I wanted something fun to redo the cushion on this antique rocker I found at an estate sale so  I found this fun 100% polyester fabric in a brown cow print from Fabrics.com.  It’s unexpected and I think goes with any decor in moderation.cow chair edited

Garden Decor Sprucing Up      A few pieces of garden decor were chipped and needed a bit of a sprucing up. Nothing a little spray paint couldn’t handle.  To achieve an aged patina look, I first sprayed the little boy with a black/bronze color.  I then took a cloth sprayed with a wee bit of green paint and rubbed it on areas of the boy to give him a whole new look.   I hot glued a little butterfly on his hand and it looks good as new!  I was so happy with the results, that I started looking around for more things that might need a quick touch up.

Bippity-Bobbity-Boo       In just a few weeks I will be heading to the happiest place on earth with my daughter’s family.  I wanted to make something special for my little princess, Addy.  She loves to dress up and the colors will be beautiful with her long curly blond locks and bright blue eyes. So, while visiting my grandkids and while they were napping I whipped up this cute little sundress full of Cinderellas.

New Accent Pillows      With warmer weather coming, I lean towards lighter fabrics that look fresh, clean and natural.  I found a remnant of this pretty blue linen-like textured fabric that was just enough for two throw pillows.  A little burlap trim and it’s done.IMG_0435

Spring Cleaning & Springifying      House chores and cleaning are always a bit easier to swallow if you can break them down by season and in manageable chunks so you don’t feel like you are spending your life cleaning.  After being shut in all winter, it is so nice to open the windows and doors before the pollen and heat come. I noticed some yellow film on outside furniture already so my time is running out.  So we opened the windows, cleaned the blinds, washed the rugs, dusted, cleaned windows, switched out front door wreath, cleaned filters, changed batteries, put out my spring decor, switched out pillows and throws, uncovered the lawn furniture, planted my rosemary and sprang forward.  The list is long and some things will just have to wait until next month because it is just too dang nice outside to work all the time. Happy spring y’all.

 

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Decorating · family · Sewing · Slipcovers

Shades of Gray

This busy mom and teacher had a beautiful unique couch that she had purchased before two kids and two pets came along. It has a wood frame with a  neutral colored linen cushions and back.  Thankfully slipcovering the cushions would be a perfect solution to breath new life into the couch, give it a whole new look and be removable to easily wash as necessary.  She was looking for a simple solid color that would work with the original color of the couch so that she did not have to slipcover the back.

I found the perfect linen rayon blend at Jo-Ann’s that hit all the criteria.  It was washable, charcoal gray, and had coordinating fabrics that we could incorporate to transform the whole ensemble and room.    The linen shrank quite a bit after the initial prewash so I washed it again to be safe.  The original fabric had a nice sheen to it, so be aware, that even if it says it is washable, you will loose that nice stiff feeling and pretty sheen….but you have a nice durable washable fabric.

With the six cushions behind me, I was anxious to redo the wood side chair and accent pillows that would pull it all together.  The chair’s seat was removable so I would just recover the seat with the gray patterned fabric adding some the matching gray piping to tie it into the couch cushions.  The back however, had a wood trim and arms that we didn’t necessarily want to completely cover.  I simply made a piping-trimmed cut-around on the arm to give it a clean line and added a Velcro closure on both sides for easy removal.

A few accent pillows in a steel blue linen and matching print and wallah!   What do you think?

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Gray is such a wonderful backdrop color that goes well with so many different accent colors.  It she decides she wants to change it up in a few years, it’s no big deal to change out the fabric on the chair and pillows. I love the versatility of slipcovers.

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Creative Things · Decorating · family · Sewing

February Home Projects

What’s not to love about February?  It’s the reward of a short month after what seems like the longest month of the year. And right in the middle of the month is Valentine’s day which just happens to be my birthday.  So yeah, I love February.  It also gets me anxious and thinking about spring next month.  This year  it wasn’t hard to think about that because of the incredibly unseasonably warm weather.  Even with it being a short month, I managed to squeeze in a few of home projects.

Potting Table     Ok, I can’t take credit for this, but it was my idea and my wonderful husband made it happen.  I love the idea of having a green thumb and I’m sure having this potting table will inspire me.   I already see evidence of the bulbs I planted in December and January well on their way to blooms.   With a lake house the focus tends to be on the back yard, the dock and the area around the water.  We have such potential in our front yard and I wanted to be sure to utilize and enjoy that as well.

Master  Bedroom Window Toppers       Even though we have faux wood blinds on all our master bedroom windows, the sun shines through on a summer morning and on rare occasions our dogs actually allow us to sleep past 5 am.  I was looking for something natural looking that didn’t look heavy or distracting.  I decided on a mounted bleached drop cloth faux roman shade.  I made my own burlap ties out of leftover burlap which saved me a ton on money.  I needed fifteen yards and at $6 a yard for store-bought I knew I had to be creative and resourceful. I added a nonfunctional covered button strictly for the detail finish.IMG_9875

Master Bathroom Window Covering     Originally we had some wicker style roll shades on our bathroom windows.   But in order to maintain privacy we had to keep them down most of the day which then led to a very dark bathroom.   I love the airy country feel of café curtains and these windows would work perfectly for that.  It would allow us to let the light and view of our front yard in on the top half of the windows while still providing the privacy needed in a bathroom.  I actually found the curtains ready-made at Homegoods, hemmed them to fit into the window casing and then folded, pressed and clipped the pleats to give me the finished look.

Pillow Bed        This was a fun project I wanted to do to give my granddaughter the option to sleep on the floor if she needed to be in the same room as my daughter when she came to visit in February.  I got a super deal on this fun animal print flannel from JoAnn’s and found the pattern on Pinterest.

Teepee     Who doesn’t love a fort?   This was such a fun project that my husband and I worked on together.  I did the sewing and he took care of the hardware. It’s lightweight, easy to assemble and to take down. You can easily store it under a bed or in a closet.  Addy slept in it a couple of nights during her visit.  I see Addy and Ben having fun with this for some time to come.IMG_9910

I’m still finishing up my patio cushions.  They are almost done but will slide the completed project into March.  Other projects on my agenda include slipcovering a wing back chair at the lake and recovering the seat on a beautiful antique rocking chair I found.

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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

A Sunny Little Chair

This slipper chair looked great before the slipcover but because it sits in a sunroom with lots of sun, the once bright yellow fabric had turned more of a mustard color.

My client loves yellow and found a beautiful fabric from Fabrics.com that is rated to withstand 1000 hours of sunlight.  Since it is an indoor/outdoor fabric I didn’t prewash it to preserve the protective features of this fabric.

To avoid the original fabric from showing through,  I made a snug white slip for the chair.img_9783  I decided on a separate slip as opposed to a lined slipcover so if she decides to make another slipcover the chair she will not have to worry about any fabric showing through and won’t have to go through the expense of a new lining.

She wanted a short box pleat and covered buttons on the back to change-up the style. I also made a matching rectangular pillow for her to use either on the chair or to coordinate in her room.  It features an envelope style back for easy on and off.

I think it turned out great and dresses up the chair just enough.

Coming Up:  After ordering many samples of outdoor fabric for my own patio set I finally  decided on a beautiful red fabric (Solarium Rave Cherry to be exact) from JoAnn’s at 60% off!   img_9835With ten cushions to redo, that’s quite a savings! I’m really looking forward to the fresh clean cushions for our front porch at the lake house.  I am also working on a cool couch and chair redo for a client who has two small kids and two small dogs.  Slipcovers are a necessity!

The warm weather tease we’ve had over the last few weeks has us all antsy and thinking about spring.  Now is the perfect time to update your patio furniture cushions. Email or call me for an estimate.

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