Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dreadful Pink Chair Makeover--Part 3

The final installment! Then I can just sit on these freakin' chairs all year and quit talking about them...



The icky pinky and gold "before":

As you know from Part 1 and Part 2 of the chair makeover posts, I decided to paint the frames a pretty shiny black and upholster the seats with some bold fabric I found at Ikea.

To get started on the upholstery, I had to make seats for these babies. They were originally caned in the 1920's or 1930's, but the caning was looong gone by the time I got them, and some of them just had a hole. Some of them had some plywood over the hole.

I got busy with a cut open grocery bag and traced the seats to make a pattern:

Then my dad and I cut out plywood seats on a band saw and finished the tricky edges off with a jigsaw, and I was left with this:

So, armed with my four plywood seat bottoms, I picked up some foam cushions and some batting from the fabric store:

I laid the seats on the cushions and then cut them to fit. Then I did it three more times!
Then I used some spray adhesive to stick the cushion foam in place, and wrapped the seat bottoms and the foam in quilt batting.

Then I stapled the quilt batting into the wooden seats. Then I repeated. Three more times. (I'm not going to keep saying get it, I can tell!)

Lookin' good so far!
Then I laid out my fabric and made sure the pattern was going the direction I liked. Actually I messed up and cut it square, but wanted my pattern to go diagonally. whoops! I do these things so you people don't have to make the same dumb mistakes! Luckily it worked out anyway...but that explains the odd-looking pictures coming up!

Liiiike this one. The corners aren't actually supposed to point in like a junior-high-school note that you flick across the aisle to your friend, they should be parallel to the sides...
but it all turned out cool, I tell you!

Next I took my paper bag pattern and cut out four black interfacing pieces to finish the bottoms of the seats and tuck in all the messy edges left from my stapling.

See? Much neater in case someone sees the bottom of my chairs.

Now the seat bottoms are upholstered and ready to be attached to the chairs. The first thing is to pick a screw that will go all the way through the chair frame and the wooden seat bottom without going too far up in the cushion and poking you in the bum!

Once you find your screw, get enough of them to put 2 to 4 in each seat bottom. You really want to use as few screws as possible to preserve the integrity of the chair frame. In my case, I might want to refinish these and get them caned in the future, so I only used 2 in each chair.

Here is Brett's drilling pilot holes and putting the screws in through the bottom (my hands were too tired from putting in twelve BILLION staples)...
Et voila! Here is the lovely finished chair!

The wonderful thing about this project is that when I get tired of that fabric, I have already done all of the tough work making the seats and putting on the cushions. All I will have to do is pick out fabric, pull off this stuff, recover the foam and batting, and screw it back onto the frame.

What do you guys think? AT least tell me its an improvement from the chairs' previous life in the hayloft!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dreadful Pink Chair Makeover-- Part 2

Remember that time, last August, when I was going to reupholster 4 chairs?? Just in case you've forgotten, Here is Part I. And just to jog your memory, here is a picture of what the chairs looked like after we hauled them out of the hayloft:

When I last blogged about the chairs, I left you with four different fabric choices for the new upholstery. Here are the newly painted black chairs with the fabric choices displayed. Ummmm yeah...I didn't pick any of them!

I ended up falling in love with Patricia, one of Ikea's fabrics. I picked up two yards of it for a whopping $16.00! Here it is on the Ikea website (although its only available in-store):

And here it is draped over the chair on a pillow to see what it would look like. Actually, here it is draped over the chair in three different directions...

First we have horizontal:
Then vertical:

And finally, the big winner, DIAGNONAL!!
So I know I made you all vote and wavered and waffled...well its because none of those fabrics were meant to be! Stay tuned for the final upholstery tomorrow! (I love me some good suspense!)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dreadful Pink Chair Makeover--Before and After

I hope everyone had a wonderful December and is rested up for the new year! I am going to sign off of 2009 by showing off the results of my long-term chair makeover...

Here is the Before & After just to whet your appetites!


And After!

Ta-da! Stay tuned for the transformation in Parts 2 and 3 of the saga...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Second Upholstered Brooch Display

After I made an Upholstered Brooch Display for all of my old brooches, my mother-in-law Jane said she wanted one as well!

Brett and I found this beauty of a frame at Marshalls for $5.00. Unfortunately it was a dingy gray, and it looked so much better once I painted it a shiny white.

Here is the finished product! I upholstered it with some fabric I happened to have from covering a lampshade. When I make these, its difficult to pick a fabric because you want it to be interesting and pretty, but you don't want the fabric to overwhelm the brooches you display on it. I thought this one would work well, and it is very delicate and feminine with the details on the frame.

I really hope Jane likes it! No one tell her before Christmas please!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jennifer's Pretty Christmas Card Display

After reading my post from earlier this month, Alternative Ideas to Traditional Christmas Wreaths, reader Jennifer sent me these pics of her beautiful Christmas card display. It was inspired by the photograph I featured from Traditional Home Magazine's holiday decorating ideas. It looks so nice, and I like that she put it on the inside of the door where she can see it everytime she comes down her beautifully-garlanded staircase!

Here is a closeup:
Nice work Jen, and thanks for the pictures! Does anyone else have an unusual way to display their Christmas cards?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sophisticated Autumn Placemats

I really wanted some fall-themed placemats for the big Thanksgiving meal we had with Brett's side of the family. I found this one at TJ Maxx, but I needed 12 and could only find 3. So I decided to try to replicate them myself.

Of course I realize its a little late for a tutorial for a Thanksgiving placemat, but this would be gorgeous with colors for Christmas (reds and golds) or New Years (bues and silvers) as well!

I tried to get together fabrics that looked like the ones in the placemat--a chocolate brown taffeta for the back and the medium-sized piece; a bronze satin for the large piece on the front; and for the small piece a gold duponi silk. We cut them to size with a half-inch border all the way around each piece to allow for the seams.

This left me with the four sizes below, and twelve pieces of each size: 2"x 14"; 8" x 14" and 12" x 14". The final placemat size is 19" x 13" .

I also got some pieces for the appliqued leaves, but it didn't work out so well when I tried to applique them onto the taffeta so I nixed that idea! Of course, if I hadn't waited until the Sunday before Thanksgiving to try to make 12 placemats, I might have been able to make it work...maybe next time!

After cutting everything to size and ironing everything (blech), I ironed-on craft interfacing to the backing pieces to give the placemats some body and to help them hold their shape.

And then pinned them in place to wait for the front to be pieced together.

To piece together the three strips to make the top, I cut a 1" x 14" strip of paper grocery bag and pinned it down the center of the small piece. This gave me a line to follow on my sewing machine as I sewed it to the other two peices.

I then put the right sides together and pinned the small duponi silk piece to the brown taffeta piece.
I made sure the foot of my sewing machine followed the line provided by the grocery bag.

I then pulled out the pins holding the duponi silk to the taffeta, and ironed them out straight. Then I put the right sides of the silk/taffeta piece and the satin piece together, pinned them, and zipped right down the straight line provided by the grocery bag again.

Here's what it looked like when I took the pins out:

And this is what the wrong side of the top of the placemat looks like when its sewed together:

I then pinned the right sides of the top and the right side of the bottom together.

The beauty of this is that the interfacing is now on the outside and will eventually end up inside the placemat where no one will be able to see it. SO I used it to trace a 13" x 19" rectangle with pencil and then followed the line again with my sewing machine foot.

I sewed all the way around with the exception of a small area on one side. You can make that area as small as possible--just large enough to be able to fit your hand through will be fine.

Once it is sewed up almost all the way around, snip the corners diagonally as shown below and snip all the way around so that there is only about 1/4" of seam left outside the thread. Then you reach inside and turn the whole thing inside out. Then iron it smooth and hand sew up the small hole you used to put your hand through.

Here is the result!

I was super happy with the way my placemats turned out, and it was quite a learning experience. There are a couple of things I would have done differently if I did it over again! 1.) start sooner, 2.) use less delicate fabrics (I actually melted some of the taffeta with the iron!), and 3.) check to see if the fabric is washable before buying it!

Anyway, I managed to save myself quite a lot of money by making these instead of buying them, and hopefully they will last for years!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gilded Pinecones! Holiday Decorating on the Cheap

Lately I have been seeing pine cones and acorns for sale. FOR SALE. PEOPLE, we can't get rid of these things, they are a nuisance, and someone is paying $8 for 10 of them?? Anyway, I decided to try my hand at making some gold pine cones of my own! Brett and I took Lolly for a walk and picked up some pinecones of two different types: white pine and Virginia pine. When we picked them up, some of them were closed because it was cold, so I put them on a cookie sheet in the house for a week to let them open.

Then I picked up some metallic paint from the craft section of Walmart--I picked gold because my dining room has warm tones, but silver would work as well, and so would flocking them to look like they are covered in snow.

Here they are being sprayed on my front stoop on a cut up paper bag:

And here they are as my Thanksgiving centerpiece! Add a red or green velvet ribbon rather than this one, and viola! Christmas. Add an orange one and viola! Halloween.

I arranged them around a candle in the center of my hurricane glass, making sure the flame would not be near any of the flammable pinecones of course!

Then I cut out some metallic scrapbook paper and made place cards for each guest. I propped each placecard up with one of the smaller pinecones to tie it in with the centerpiece.

Here is a closeup:

Just for the sake of full disclosure, I DID try this with acorns, and they SPROUTED ROOTS!!! Anyone know how to prevent that from happening?? Anyhoo, I got about 20 gold pinecones for the price of the spray paint, so eat that, big box decor store!