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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Slipcovers

California Chair in Coral

The right fabric makes all the difference.  When Julie moved to Virginia from California, she brought along this awesome chair complete with palms. The chair was in perfect condition but the fabric didn’t go with anything in her new home.     

 She was planning to repurpose it in her basement guest bedroom and was looking for something to coordinate with the grey comforter and window treatments in a “rainfall” pattern (below) that would bring a little light to the space.

There are thousands of fabric options available online, but it is usually a last resort for me.  Personally I like to see the fabric and feel its weight, texture, coverage and drape.  Unfortunately, the number of brick and mortar fabric stores seems to be dwindling.  The Fabric Emporium in Warrenton, VA would be closing  it’s doors after forty years due to retirement so I was hoping to score a good deal on fabric and just maybe find the right fabric for Julie’s project (any maybe something for myself too).  Everything was at least 30%  off!  The fabric I found is a variegated tone-on-tone, coral colored, textured stripe in 100% cotton.  Since the chair would be in a low traffic and use area, she decided not to have the fabric prewashed in order to retain the sheen and qualities of the decorator fabric.   Though she did not intend to remove it and wash it, this slipcover could still be removed if she changed her mind and wanted to change the color or pattern.

I followed the basic lines of the chair but repositioned the scroll on the upper back to allow the slipcover to be removed more easily with the help of two back zippers.  A simple corded finish on the bottom finishes this cute chair that almost looks upholstered!

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Julie also snagged a fabric swatch for $.50 from the fabric store and was hoping to make a couple of pillows to pull it all together.   I made lumbar sized pillow inserts with some down from an old pillow and poly fiber fill.  A little cording, a zipper and a back to match the chair and I was able to knock out two pillows, one for her chair and one for her bed. 

Do you have a chair that is just sitting there waiting to be noticed, begging for a makeover and a new purpose?   I can help transform your chair and even help with fabric selection. 

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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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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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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Cottage Chair Facelift

This cute little cottage upholstered wingback chair came to me with a desperate need for an update.   It was a chair my client had in her stall at the store “Reclaimed” at Smith Mountain Lake.  It just wasn’t selling in its current state.  It was a little dated and very definitely a Victorian shabby chic cottage style.  She provided me with a large drop cloth for the job. img_8274

Not all drop clothes are created equal.  This one (Sibiu brand) was a blend of cotton and polyester. It did shrink a little but not near as much as the 100% cotton drop clothes I had worked with in the past.  It also did not ravel or wrinkle as much, didn’t have as much stretch, ironed beautifully and was easy to work with. 

Normally a wingback would take about 9 yards of fabric, give or take, but this chair did not have a separate seat cushion, thankfully.  I was a little worried I wouldn’t have enough fabric to do the job especially since she wanted to have a gathered skirt.  I decided to be very methodical about this before doing any ripping or cutting of fabric to be sure I would have enough and if not, that I could get this same drop cloth somewhere.   The large drop cloth had a seam down the middle, which I proceeded to rip out, essentially giving me two  69×100 pieces, which was just easier to handle.   I graphed out the two pieces and measured all the pieces of the chair in rectangles that I would need to complete the chair to include a gathered skirt.  img_8634I then started to draw out the rectangle pieces on the graph paper, using up every space in the most efficient manner.  I am so grateful I did this, as it saved me a lot of time, guessing, 2nd guessing and most importantly, I had enough fabric….barely.  If I made a mistake, I would be screwed.  I was not going to make a mistake.

Once I had all the rectangle pieces cut, I was on to structuring of the chair cover. 

I finished most of the chair the first day and spent the next day on the gathered skirt and finishing details of trimming and finishing seams, clipping corners, clipping threads and adding a tie detail to the back skirt. I always feel like I am giving my slipcovers a hair trim at this point.

Here are the before and after pictures.

What a transformation!  It’s like it went to a salon and got a whole new makeover.  If it could talk it probably would say it feels ten years younger and ready to take on anything. The creamy drop cloth fabric worked beautifully for this chair and now this chair can be the perfect accent in any room regardless of the color scheme.   The best part is it is completely removable so it can be thrown in the wash if need be.

I think Kathy loved the chair so much she decided to keep the chair for herself. Until next time, do something creative!

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Crafty Things · Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Room Transformation

(Follow-up from “Inspiration” blog post)

Boy have I been a sewing maniac. Once I decided on the colors, fabric and layout of my repurposed dining room, I was off to the races. Initially, I was planning of using the plaid fabric to slipcover the chair, but for $25 a yard and needing at least nine yards for the directional plaid matching, I decided it would be better suited for throw pillows. I could hardly wait to start the transformation.   In the essence of time, I worked on the structured part of the chair and loveseat at the lake house and brought the cushions back to NOVA to work on during the week.

Both furniture pieces were different from what I have slipcovered in the past as far as shape and structure.   I took this as a challenge, one that I thought might kick my butt. But with a little perseverance and a lot of personal encouragement (my internal pep talk) I was able to tackle it. It went something like, “It’s only a chair…you can do this, you are smarter than this chair, you have the skills, just take your time”.

These are the “before” pictures…

These are the “after” pictures…

I made  the two plaid accent pillows with blue denim piping, transformed a place mat into a pillow with a little paint and filling, made new blue denim liners for my baskets to put under the bench table and added my last year project of a crocheted Christmas tree pillow.  It was starting to come together.

But of course the main inspiration for my room was the quilt.   I finally finished it.  I can actually cross something off my list from last January!

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What do you think?  I love it.  It’s exactly the warm, cozy, comfortable, quiet space that I was looking for. You would never even know it was a dining room.

Spoiler alert….the little wingback chair in the background is a sneak peek of my first client project.  Until next time, do something creative!

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