Friday, June 28, 2013

Desk Chair Transformation {from ugly and boring to cute and sassy}

Today I am working on some crafting, redoing centered around my desk chair.  I have had the idea for a long time, to recover our ugly, well-used desk chair.  Several options were swimming around in my head.  I knew I wanted it removable for washing.  {Since I have messy children.}  I knew I wanted it to be durable.  I knew I wanted it to be cute {since I had been living with ugly boring for so long}.  We really have had this chair for probably 10 years.  It functions fine - it just looks awful.  So, after bouncing around many ideas in my head I settled on the fabric and the details.  All the necessary supplies...I already had!!  Here is what I ended up with!!!  



I am excited beyond belief!!!  It is exactly what I wanted and even more!!!  {I'm sorry for all the exclamation marks, but man I love it when I can actually create what is in my head!!!}

Isn't it ca-ute?!?  Considering what I started with I would say a much needed improvement.  

The most fun part was digging pulling my sewing machine out of the closet.  I haven't sewn in forever!!  I truly believe that if you have a machine and know some basic skills - you can slip-cover just about anything.  I learned long ago from watching DIY television the way I start a slipcover.  Drape your fabric - cut quite a bit bigger than the piece - over the piece you are trying to cover and then pull out your pins.  Start pinching and pinning all the way around the piece.  Now you have you sewing guide.    


you might notice that the fabric in these picture look a little whiter than the others- it is - I was going to line it and decided against it - because I'm too lazy :), and it really wasn't necessary.
Take your piece to the machine and sew right on the line created by your pins.  Easy peasy!!  {If you are using a fabric that has a definite wrong and right side, make sure the right side (the pretty side) of the fabric is facing or against the piece you are covering - ugly side showing.}  


Trim off the excess fabric, leaving about an inch outside the seam.  Then you will want press/iron your seams "open"/flat.  This piece has some curves on it, so I clipped the corner seams every so often so they would lie flat.  Then turn it inside out and "try it on".  

For the seat, you may just want to take apart the chair and staple the fabric to the bottom.  But, I wanted mine to be removable, so I decided the best way to do that was to use elastic.  I cut a piece of fabric {which is a canvas drop cloth BTW}, large enough that it will fold under the edges of the seat well.  When I cut, I cut a square.  Obviously my chair seat is not a square exactly.  So, I folded the piece in fourths {half one way and then half the other way} and cut a curve on the four corners.  I folded it so I could cut the curves at the same time, so the curves would be the same.  


Somethings do not need to be perfect and this is one of them.  Now, this part could be a little tricky if you have never sewn before.  You will need to sew a narrow hem all the way around your piece.  Then you will need to create a "casing" for the elastic.  I find it helpful to use my iron here.  I fold, and press down the edge wide enough to sew the edge and still have room for the elastic to go through easily.  {about 1/4" larger than the elastic you are using - I used 1/4" wide elastic}  After you have your fold pressed all the way around the piece - back to the machine.



Stitch on top of the stitching line you made when you hemmed the edge, making sure you leave a little opening at the end to put the elastic through.  Cut your elastic the same size as the bottom of the chair.  {better for it to be too big than too small}  Thread the elastic through the casing.  Try it on and pull the elastic until you have a tight fit.  Then you will need to stitch the ends of the elastic together at it's tightened point.  I use zig-zag for this and go back and forth across several times to secure the pieces together.  


Then sew up the hole.  I used this same procedure for the arm-rest covers.  

I could have very well stopped here - much improved all ready, but I wanted to add some cuteness.  First, I decided to try my hand at an initial stencil.  Again, using what I had, I printed a G with a font I liked, as large as I could get it on one page.  Then, I traced the G onto some clear contact paper.  Very carefully, I cut out the inside of the G - leaving a sticky stencil.  The edges were all curling up so I put some heavy books on it overnight - worked like a charm.  



Pealing off the paper backing from the contact paper proved to be pretty tricky.  Then I placed the stencil in the middle of the back of my chair cover, pressing down all the edges really good.  I pulled out the paint I used on my front door, and a sponge brush, and went to work.  I squished off most the paint on my brush each time to help keep it from bleeding beyond the stencil.  Perfect!!  


Then I decided to treat the bottom of the back cover with some pleated "trim".  Again, this might be a little tricky for someone with less sewing knowledge, so no tutorial on that - this time :).  I really did wing it on this part.  I barely measured the piece of fabric I used and eyeballed the size of the pleats.  It's not perfect, but I love the way it turned out!!!



Here again, a before and after for your viewing pleasure.  



I have a couple of other "home office" improvements in store that I will hopefully be able to show you soon!!  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

From Mudhole to Rocky Masterpiece

While I was away in New York, hubby got to work on one of his top outdoor projects.  Along one side of our house we have a mud pit.  There are several trees along the fence line and over the years, less and less grass - and all the rain drains that direction.  So, when it's wet that side is virtually useless, which is too bad because that is the side with the air conditioner, and the door to the garage.  So, hubby did this:


Here it is before he started to work.  


Ya, it's also where we store all of our junk...

We have toyed with the idea of filling in the area with some kind of gravel and maybe some stepping stones.  So, step one was clearing out and somewhat leveling the area.


Then hubby outlined the area with some landscape edging, to hold in the rocks.  We chose this edging for the ease of installation, and because it was one of the most pliable.  Just laying down along your area and driving some stakes in the edge.  


We wanted to make sure the rocks wouldn't creep under the fence or into the yard.  Hubby also decided to take care of a problem area on the other side of that gate - and a new place for the trash cans.


Then came the rocks - a whole truckload.


There's that ornery puppy that I mentioned yesterday...and a cute little helper spreading rocks. :)

Here's the before and after again of the two spots.  



I am still thinking of placing some stepping stones amongst the pebbles to make a path.  Walking on these barefoot is not super comfortable.  But, I love the result - no mud, and now the trash cans are tucked away rather than being up front by the driveway.  Great job Honey!!

Linking up with Traci at Beneath My Heart here 
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and here
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Monday, June 24, 2013

Outdoor Update

As I was walking around watering flowers and trees this morning, I realized that I had never updated you on my "landscaping" progress.

I showed you the before pics here so today I'll show you some pretty after pics, and some of where we are now. 

I'm trying my hand at plants in pots again this year - I have never had much success with that cuz I am lazy - that's all.  





Here is the front flower bed today.  We were blessed with a lot of rain while I was on my trip to New York.


The other thing that happened while I was in New York was not so happy.  I was joyfully anticipating the pots on my back porch to be overflowing with beautiful color, just like the one in the front but instead I found this.


Yes, all four planters looked just like this...the culprit...our puppy...


he decided they looked like a good snack.  Ugh!!  I guess I will try again next year!!

Oh well, moving on.  I also transplanted a climbing rose bush which completely overtook a flower bed that is in front of our master bedroom window.  This is what it looked like in full glory before I moved it - see a little unruly, and crowding out the other regular rose bushes in that bed (please ignore all the grass growing in there).


Here it is after I chopped pruned it down to size and moved it to a sad little flower bed on the side of our house around the corner from the front of our house.  You can see this one from the street and gets good morning sun.  I also planted some daylillys in this bed.  I have wanted some of these for a long time.  


Next, if you follow me on instagram, you know we scored some really good sized burch trees @$50 each!!  Here's a little fun collage of them going in.  {my hard-working man decided to strike a pose, while I sipped on my sweet tea in the shade ;)}


And the after.


and my hard-workin man after ;) - oh and our puppy


My hubby was awesome and knocked out another yard project that was pretty high on his list while I was in New York.  I'm saving that for another post though since this one is already pretty long :).  Tune in tomorrow for that one - it involves, mud and rocks.

Blessings!!

Linking up today with Kim at Sand and Sisal for her Fun in The Sun Linky Party
and with Kathy here
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Friday, June 21, 2013

Odds and Ends Storage

Well the garage project is creeping along like a snail.  But, I am surprisingly ok with that.  Not sure my hubby appreciates the huge mess that is sitting in the garage during the project, but I think he sees the big picture (maybe).  Anyway, as I am waiting for paint to dry I decided to search out some things that might need some better storage.  Things that we don't use very often tend to get covered in Oklahoma dirt, or cat hair from our 13 year old kitty.  So....I tend to cover things in black trash bags - which means I have several black bags with who knows what in them.  Not.  Good.  So, I started with a couple of things and measured and went to walmart for some storage tubs.  First up, the camping stuff - we have camped once outside the backyard but hey, we have this huge tent and a couple of air mattresses the kids need from time to time.  But, again, they just collect dust and hair.  So, they went in this nice sized tub.


I bought this long (longest I could find) flat under-the-bed tub for our boogie boards.  


Which, since we live in a land-locked state, we hardly ever use, but still, we have them.  


However they wouldn't fit - tub not long enough - :( bummer, I was hopeful.  So I moved on to the life jackets.  


We go to the lake more often then we camp or boogie board, but still not often enough for us to need these super accessible.  And they were a perfect fit with room for at least one more, which is good because we need one more - silly kids keep growing.  


Now they will stack and with the CLEAR TUBS I can see what is in them!!
This in my #1 recommendation - always CLEAR TUBS.  No point if you can't see what's in the tub.  Yes you can label it, but for me, the label always seems to be un-visible (is that a word??), and I am a very visual person, so I like to be able to find things at first glance.  Donate all your non-clear tubs. :)


Today I am working on going through my collection of paint.  Paring down and possibly finding a better storage solution.  Thinking of something like what I found here from Jen at iheart organizing, and here from Cassie at Hi Sugarplum.  Hoping to get at least a little bit done this weekend and report back on Monday :)
Have a blessing-filled weekend friends!!

Linking up with Aimee here
It's Overflowing


Monday, June 17, 2013

Garage of Doom

Okay weird title I know, but seriously.  My garage....

I have organized, piled things, stacked, things, and stashed things for so long that the walls are beginning to close in.  Also, our garage is peach....that's how we inherited it and to be honest I've just been too lazy to care.  But, man does it show dirt easily!!

Okay so Friday I got a crazy notion to work on the space again - much to my husband's excitement.  This is where it began:


Not bad I know - you can see the floor, you can get one car in there.  But do you see how tall all the piles are and how many piles there are.  There is not one empty corner.

So, here is what happened next....


Then, we decided to take it a step further....

See, there were a couple of particle board shelved that were done for.  They had gotten wet once and had rotted from the inside out.  So, those needed to come out and be replaced.  Which led to - well, then we are going to have to paint (bye-bye peach), and so then we will need to unload ALL the shelves.



Since I have no desire to spend a lot of (or any) money on a garage re-do, we searched through some paint we already had and settled on this color for the shelves, and handed the kids paint brushes :).  They did a pretty good job, so I said go ahead and paint the wall.  Well....since then mama has decided that might be a little too much blue.


So, I am working on plan B for the rest of the walls, but I am rather liking the brightness of the shelves.  This project is going to take a while, and this time I am taking my time so maybe I can get it right (whatever that means).  Wish me luck.  I have a whole board on my pinterest page dedicated to garage organization.  Check it out - there are some great ideas out there!!

Working on some regular household stuff today.  Hope to be back in a couple of days with another progress report.

Linking up here with Ruth at Living Well Spending Less
Thrifty Thursday Linky Party at LivingWellSpendingLess.com!

and with Jen at tatertots&jello



{On another note - after many hours - this non-computer-savvy blogger added some cute new buttons to her side-bar - some new ways to keep up with what's going on in our world :)}