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 · 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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family · Organization

2017 Refocus

I’ve decided I am really not that fond of the word “resolution”.   I’ve heard it now for over forty-five years (not counting my first ten years where I probably didn’t really care) and it’s starting to feel a little monotonous and meaningless.   It sounds so concrete and definite that I have “resolved” to do something and finish it.  There’s nothing wrong with that but that’s not how I roll lately.  I am trying to be easier on myself  and the word “goal” seems more appropriate and attainable, especially since goals can  be partially reached or broken into manageable pieces that you feel like you finished something and then can move onto something else.

I rather like the practice of looking back on the past year and taking an assessment of what I have accomplished and contemplate how I can do better and be better. Think of it like a camera lenses.  Sometimes the view and picture gets a little blurry or distorted especially when I get in a hurry and busy.  This is the time to zero in and refocus.

A long time practice of mine has been to write down my goals or focus points for the coming year. I usually will break them down into categories such as financial, family, marriage, health, travel, creative or projects and books to read.  I try to focus on all areas of my life and pay attention to all of them.  Sometimes we get so busy with stuff that we lose sight or focus in our lives.  This practice allows me to reset and refocus.

2017 will be the year of regrouping and refocusing. Last year was a crazy hectic year, full of ups and downs, changes, and lots of moves. I am looking forward to a calm year and ready to set some realistic goals.  So with a clear vision for the new year, I am excited and ready for 2017 and all its potential.

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Organization

STUFF (Does it bring you joy?)

I consider myself an experienced mover.  After all we’ve moved 18 times in 33 years.

I know, we only moved less than two years ago, why in the world would we voluntarily do this to ourselves again?  Sometimes plans just don’t fall into place when you need them to and you just don’t see all the pieces at one time.  I think accepting the fact that we were indeed EMPTY NESTERS was the first big realization.  When we moved to NOVA, we bought a big enough house to accommodate our kids and our growing family (spouses, grandchildren, fur kids), and quite honestly all our STUFF.   After the first year, it became clear that that was wishful thinking and that the one place that we would all gather and congregate to was the lake but the lake cottage that we enjoyed some many wonderful years was getting smaller and smaller. So we changed our master plan to a multistep process.  1. Sell the big house 2. Rent something smaller and provide a shorter commute for hubby 3. Look at building or buying something bigger at the lake over the next couple years that we could retire to eventually 4. Sell the lake cottage when we do.  Well, numbers 1, 2 & 3 all just happened at the same time. 

So moving was definitely in our future but this time it would be multifaceted. We would ultimately downsize and merge two houses of furniture and stuff into the rental and new lake house, the goal to keep only what I dearly love and to let go. 

I’ve planned, sorted, purged, donated, sold, packed and labeled before the move day to make the moving day go more smoothly and dare I say, quickly.   However, there are a two things that I have learned from this move. One, you are never really ready and two, I still have too much stuff.  This downsizing is harder than you think.   But I will persevere.

1.        Never really ready.  Since it was a local move we were able to move all the breakables, lamps, pictures, some dishes, food and pantry items before the actual day.  This really helped reduce the number of boxes packed and unpacked.

2.       Plan where you want to put your furniture and items before you move and label rooms to make it easier for the movers on the day of the move. Be sure to mark the boxes with the same names.  I used painters tape on furniture with the room it would go into. This is especially helpful if you will be using it in another location than originally used.

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3.       Sort.  As you go through your house, collect like things and pack them together.  For instance, candles tend to spread out throughout the entire house, as do candle lighters, shoes, books, tools, etc. 

4.       Get at least three quotes for a move.  I solicited recommendations from our neighborhood Facebook group and used these as a starting point.  One company was a large nationally known name, another company and the third a small local company that was highly recommended by a neighbor.  The range difference was $2000, $5000, and $7000. WHAT?   Be sure to compare apples to apples and what you really need.   Since it was just a local move, we were able to do so much ahead of time and pack ourselves for the most part. It was a lot of work but a necessary part of the purge process that I needed to go through.

5.       A word about purging.  This is a painful process that can be emotional if you let it.  You will often stop in the middle of this process and feel like you have to do something special with all the treasures you find in the boxes and crates of stuff you have kept over the years.   WAIT.  As you go through your stuff decide if you love it the way it is and it still has purpose.  Can it be repurposed? Could someone else benefit from it?  Can it be sold or donated?  Please don’t donate junk.  Sometimes things should just be thrown away.

6.       Pack. Pack. Pack.

7.       Unpack. Unpack. Unpack.

8.       A lot happens between #6 & #7 but as you unpack, relook at your stuff with new lense.  Is there a new space and purpose for it?  Chances are you will still have things that need to go. 

9.       Pocket a little cash.  Consider posting some of your treasures for sale on your neighborhood Facebook group or consider consigning or hold a yard sale.  

That’s where I am right now.  I am still shuffling stuff between a couple houses and little by little sorting through things and letting go.  It feels good.  The more I do this the easier it gets.  I still have a ways to go and my “list” of things I want to do with some of my stuff continue to get longer and longer but I will get there.  A fall yard sale is definitely in my future.

UPDATE: I had a fall yard sale.  It was a success in a $ point of view, but I could have done a lot better if it hadn’t been raining cats and dogs! I got rid of half of the stuff I wanted to, donated a good portion and hauled the rest down to the basement for a spring sale.

DOES IT BRING YOU JOY?  I am a BIG “Gilmore Girls” fan and recently watched the revival series over the Thanksgiving holiday.  I got such a kick out of the episode where Emily Gilmore, who recently lost her husband, started to go through her mansion of stuff clearly wanting to simplify.  She explained to Lorelei that she was doing what the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo says, hold up a piece, ask yourself, “Does it bring you joy” and if not, it goes.   The collection of things just sort of happens over the years.  We get busy with work, raising kids and life. But there comes a time when you really just want to live more simply and not be overwhelmed with stuff.  I don’t know if I will ever be completely done with this process, but at least I have a good handle on it.  Once you do, however, you can bet you look at the collection and storage of STUFF a little differently. You have a little more control over it instead of it controlling you.  Hopefully you will have more time and space to do the things that give you joy.

We’re looking forward to many more joyful moments like this at our new lake house with family, friends and especially our grandchildren.  Until next time, do something creative! 

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Organization

It’s Spring…

…or at least it feels like it.  It is only March 16th and so officially spring does not start for a few more days, but at 75 degrees you could have fooled me. With the warm weather, budding trees, first daffodils popping out of the ground, and the extra hour of daylight we gained last weekend, I am switching out my “winter” home for a “spring” home.  Just a few little changes can transform your home and your outlook from the winter blahs to a spring awakening.

  1.  Spring Clean.  Go through and clean your whole house!   Wash windows, clean bedding, mop the floors, dust (don’t forget the ceiling fans), clean baseboards, wipe down doors, clean out frig and freezer.  Do as much or little as you want, but the cleanliness will leave your house smelling fresh.
  2. Switch out your furry winter accent pillows and throws for something lighter weight both in fabric and style.  Be sure to wash the throws before you store them.
  3. Start planning your spring front porch.  Nothing gets me more anxious than waiting for the plants to arrive at the garden shops.  I admit I already bought a fern.  Probably a sure-fire way to guarantee snow within the next week.  Just watch the weather and be sure to bring in the precious cargo if it gets too cold.
  4. Switch out your winter clothes.  I don’t know about you, but I refuse to wear winter IMG_2347clothes once March arrives.  There are plenty of spring sweaters & options if (when) we get those rollercoaster temperatures.  Now is the perfect opportunity to scrutinize your clothes.  Does anything need repair? Consider donating items that no longer fit, is no longer your style, or you just don’t need anymore to Goodwill.  Remember to get  a receipt for a tax write-off. Also, donation centers typically don’t want off-season clothes so wait until you switch out again next fall to donate your fall/winter clothes.
  5. Candles and Scents update.  Switch out your cinnamon and pine scents for something that says “Spring”.  Lilac, Fresh Linen, Clean Rain, Lemon Verbena all invoke a fresh smell just by their names. Just wait until you light them! I like the plug-ins as well, in strategic places (front & back doors, basements, bathrooms).  I especially like the brands that have a dial so you can control the strength.  You want just a tickle of scent not a punch.
  6. Put out fresh flowers.  Seeing a bouquet of flowers, makes me smile and lightens my mood. I like to buy the 3/$12 packages at our local grocery store.  I am able to make one large arrangement or several smaller ones to put around the house.  IMG_2344Stemless wine glasses or pint/quart mason jars make terrific vases.  Try something out of the ordinary for a vase like a mug or pitcher. Use your imagination.

7. As you begin your winter to spring transformation, start your “to-do” lists of things to do and remember to put them on your calendar to schedule them to make sure they get done.

ALERT:  As I am writing this the weatherman is warning us of a 70% chance of snow this weekend. Yikes!
If you need help organizing, need a custom pillow or a new cover for your chair, I would be happy to help. Be sure to check out my Services pages. I am still working on the pricing schedule but since I am just starting my business. I will be giving GOOD deals in exchange for referrals, reviews and experience.