Crafty Things · Decorating · family · Organization · Slipcovers

A Thankful Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to Me!

When I finally took the leap and “hung my shingle” a little over a year ago, I had no idea where this business would take me, but I felt strongly about doing something that used my skills that was also a creative outlet, allowed me the flexibility to work around my husband’s schedule, our lake trips,  family commitments and grammy time. This endeavor has been that and so much more.  As a bit of reflection, here is a recap of all the projects completed since I started just over a year (whew….I’ve been busy).

“Fresh Look” features a drop cloth slipcover for my dining room table benches.  With the move, they split up, one going to the foot of a bed and one in a mudroom.  After a year of reconciling, they are back together at the same table but in my basement (I move things around a lot).

“The Chair with a Purpose” was another drop cloth slipcover to prepare a comfortable chair to welcome my new grandson, Ben.  He is now 18 months old!  This slipcover washes up beautifully and with two little ones, that’s a necessity.

“New Look for a New Home”  took a chair that was perfect for one home but didn’t fit into the color scheme of our new lake house.  It is my absolute favorite chair in which I sip my first cup of coffee in the morning or can curl up on the later to take a nap.  It ‘s not unusual to see evidence of wine or ice cream indulgences, but it is easily  washed away.

 “Red & Blue” featured my two side chairs that got a new look for their new home and my red side window panels.  They since have moved from the upstairs kitchen to the basement.  We sold the pool table and now have a wonderful big space to play Mexican Train, cards, and other games.  This year I plan to have a big family dinner at the table in the basement in front of the fireplace which is getting a makeover (look for blog on this in 2018).

“Inspiration” & “Room Transformation”  took two pieces of furniture in two different colors and with the help of slipcovers blended them together so they could conform to their new home in a new color scheme.  This room is in the process of another transformation which should be done next year.

“Cottage Chair Facelift” turned a classic wingback into a casual and versatile side chair and used a large piece of drop cloth my client already had.  I just love being able to repurpose things!

“Coral Cuteness” highlights twin chairs that were in desperate need of an update in a fun color. The fabric was old and fraying but nothing a slipcover couldn’t hide. You wouldn’t believe they are the same chair.

“Unusual Useful Upscale” isn’t your usual slipcover.  This cool old mail cart can be used for laundry or  on a dock.  Wouldn’t it be cute to see it filled with  colorful Christmas presents?

My Home Projects are featured throughout the year focusing on the projects I completed in moving into our new lake home.  January Home Projects featured drop cloth curtains in a sunny guest bedroom, a pool table cover repurposing inexpensive red and black checked tablecloth, a nautical cover for a parson chair, and a nautical inspired bed skirt.  February Home Projects found me making a teepee for granddaughter to play in, a pillow bed, simple café curtains for our master bedroom,  and window toppers for our master bedroom.  March Home Projects included a couple of Disney dresses for Addy, a cow print faux fur rocker cushion, and a couple of pillows.  Bathroom Rejuvenation  showcases a small update on my basement master bathroom featuring a black vinyl cushion covered in a cozy slipcover.

 

“A Sunny Little Chair” was a fun and springy slipper chair that brought the sun and warmth right when it was needed the most in the middle of winter and features a flirty skirt and cute back button closure.

“Shades of Gray” turned a Florida set with light green fern fabric into a Virginia family set that can withstand kids and dogs in a trendy and versatile gray with blue accents.

“From Drab to Fab” was just that!  All I can say is wow. These two Arhaus chairs now say “look at me!”

Cushions by numbers.   I made 22 cushions in a teal Sunbrella for Mary,  2 bright green swing cushions for Pam’s lake porch,  16 cushions for a poolside seating area, 13 cushions for Jessica who brought me her cushions from Pennsylvania, 4 cushion sets for a cute iron patio set, and not to mention 16 cushions and pillows for my lake house.  All in all I made  77 cushions this year. 

“Ben’s Big Boy Chair” was my attempt at slipcovering a personalized Pottery Barn chair for Ben’s first birthday.  He still loves it and it still looks great.

“Graduation”  took a comfortable but worn chair and ottoman and totally brightened it up with a creamy colored bull denim blend.  It washed up beautiful and was ready in a few days just in time for my client’s daughter high school graduation party.

“White after Labor Day” allowed my client to turn two random pieces into a she-shed beauty complete with all the fluff and frills using a white Bull Denim.

“Tickled Pink”  took two twin chairs that had been loved and half painted and gave them new life.  The little bit of pink was just enough to give the chairs some personality and is a perfect accent color for this trendy client.

“Wings and the Test of Time” showcases a dual-fabric slipcover for a treasured wingback. Looking forward to trying out some other ideas such as chenille or an old quilt.

“Bonus Chair in Boucle” features two club chairsIMG_4415 I got for a steal to put in my new workspace at the lake house.  It should be done by the holidays! I can’t wait to get my hands of the space to decorate. Club chairs are easy to slipcover and so I see seasonal slips in the future….this time something a little more wild. I see a future blog early 2018.

“California Chair in Coral”  was my most recent project.  I can’t say how much I love the difference this slipcover made.  It made a California inspired chair into a Virginia sunny basement chair.

Thank you for allowing me to work on your pieces and welcoming me into your world through my blog.  I hope that I have either inspired you to try something new, go after your passion, and maybe look at an old loved piece through different lense before giving up on it.  Let me know how I can help. I am taking projects for next year!  What will we create in 2-0-1-8?

With a grateful heart, Happy Thanksgiving!

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Creative Things · family · Sewing · Slipcovers

Ben’s Big Boy Chair

When you think of slipcovers, you typically think of a wingback, club chair, parson chair, side chair, benches, the list goes on.   But let’s think outside the box for just a moment.

My grandson was about to turn one and I received an idea for a birthday gift for him. 

Original Chair: Before
Before: pink girls chair

His sister, Addy, had a Pottery Barn chair with her name appliqued on the back of it and my daughter thought it would nice for him to have his own chair.  But those chairs are expensive new, so I thought, what if I found a used one and redid it? It would be more personal to me, a challenge for something new to try, and the thought of making something handmade for him was appealing.  I found one for $25 on a local yard sale facebook page.   It was pink and had the name “Aberly” appliqued on the back but it had good bones (hee hee, foam inside). 

And so I began the deconstruction and transformation from a little girl’s pink  “Aberly” chair to a blue denim boy’s “Ben” chair with bright green trim.  I cut out the letters for his name out of fabric with little trucks and appliqued it to the inside back of the chair.

I trimmed the chair in a bright green piping, incorporated a back storage pocket and a coordinating handle for easy carrying.  A zipper on three sides of the bottom on the chair reveals the foam blocks tucked into their designated spaces and kept in place  by Velcro panels. The fabric was prewashed and would be easy to remove and put back together.

This was such a fun project to deconstruct and figure out and it gave me such joy to be able to give him something especially made for him. 

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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 · 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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family

April Showers and Trey

Living up to its name, April was a very rainy month…actually torrential!  We did a lot of spring yard work and a few house projects but nothing that can’t wait until next month to talk about. Instead I want to talk about Trey.TE

Trey is my fifteen year old nephew.  Trey will always be my fifteen year old nephew as he lost his battle with leukemia after a valiant eleven month fight.  In witnessing his incredible determination and positive attitude, and the unwavering love and support of his family and  friends, you can’t help but look at life a little differently.  Following are some themes that resonated with me and I think worth mentioning.

Family     Don’t pass an opportunity to spend time with family or to tell and show them how you feel.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed.  Reach out to someone who may need a hug or even a smile.  Call and actually talk to family members or write a letter instead of a text.   Be the spark that starts the fire when it comes to love and good instead of negativity and fights.IMG_1224

Time    Is there something you’ve been wanting to do?  Why wait?  I’ve learned that no one is immune to sickness and loss.  It can happen to anyone at anytime.  No one is promised tomorrow or next year so if there is something you feel compelled to do….why not do it or make plans to.  Live your life fearlessly and with purpose. Start a “Wish List” or “Life List” of things you have always wanted to do and see….and start doing them.

Forgiveness     Let go of what happened in the past and don’t let it affect/infect your future.   So much time and energy is wasted on holding onto grudges that keeps you stuck in the past.  Learn from it and then let it go, forgive and move on.  A weight will be lifted for you and allow you to live your life more fully and purposefully.

Faith       The older I get the more I appreciate my faith and lean on it to get me through these seemingly senseless losses.  My faith gives me the hope of seeing my loved ones again in heaven and I am comforted by the fact that they are happy and watching over us.

Get Involved     When we attended the Rainbow of Heroes Walk for bone marrow transplant the day after Trey’s funeral, it was never more evident how important marrow or organ donations are.   To see the amount of people who are touched by this selfless act and how much they depend on it for survival and hope is amazing.  If you can…help.   http://join.bethematch.org/swab

As for me, I will try to live my life with purpose and will always keep Trey as my guiding beacon to keep me on track.

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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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