addition to DIY : dining chair revamp

Okay, now...

Did I mention that my husband picked out the fabric for the seats?

No, I did not.

Well, he did. He is that awesome.

sewing adventures: Throw pillows!

I was on a DIY-ing roll last week, so I am still catching up on my blogging to show it off!

I won't go too into detail, because I am a sewing n00b, and most people probably know how to sew a pillow case.

But I DO want to tell you about the fabric... I bought this at Red, White & Blue Thrift in Gladstone, OR with my good friend and fellow blogger, Lauren. She introduced me to this place, and it is seriously rad. Like seriously. Check out the rockin' deals Lauren has found there here and here. I have gone to RW&B with Lauren twice now, and this fabric was a result of shopping trip #1. The rest of my purchases weren't too exciting, but I plan on posting my finds from the more recent shopping trip #2 very soon.

...Okay, back to the point. This fabric actually lived it's first life as a (super incredible) sheet. I found it mixed in with the table cloths and blankets.

Get this--it was $2.99. A queen sized sheet, which is equal to about 5 1/2 yards of fabric, was $2.99! I wasn't sure what I would use it for, but I couldn't miss out on a deal like that. Fabric can get pricey, and I figured I could at the very least use it for sewing experiments, and not feel bad!

So I used it for two pillowcases, and have a lot left for other experimenting. Perfect!

Fabric ($2.99 for more than enough)
Scissors (I really need to get me some sewing scissors...)
Measuring tape (obviously mine is a little more industrial than the typical seamstress. Cut me a break)
Straight pins
Sewing machine (Or, I suppose, if you are more patient than I, you could hand stitch this one)
20" x 20" feather pillow ("Fjadrar" from IKEA, $7.99 each)

{ Supplies }

Step 1: Cut
Cut your squares of fabric - again, I didn't use a pattern. I eye-balled it. I roughly traced the area around the pillow and added a few inches on all sides to allow room for the pillow fluff, and for my amateur-unpredictable seam allowance.

Step 2: Pin sides
I laid square 1 face up on the ground, then my pillow, then square 2 face down on the pillow lined up squarely. (I wasn't super picky about my fabric pattern being 100% continuous from front to back, but I made sure that my stripes were going the same direction.) I then used my straight pins to close up 3 sides of my soon-to-be pillowcase. I made sure the fabric was taught, but not so tight that it didn't allow for the pillow fluff to relax.

{ Working station a.k.a. the floor of our apartment }

{ Pre-sew }

Step 3: Sew sides
I pulled out the pillow from my pinned fabric and ran it through my sewing machine using a basic, straight stitch. I then turned it right-side-out and put the pillow back in.

Step 4: Finish open side
I finished my pillow the lazy way. I didn't do any velcro, zippers, buttons, or whatever. So I can't wash the case without ripping open my seam. But I don't care. I figure if I ever really want to wash it, the burden of zipping it through the sewing machine to re-shut it wasn't enough to teach myself how to sew enclosures--yet. That will be another day. So I turned my raw edge in, pinned it across, and craftily ran that through the sewing machine as well.

That's right! NO hand stitching!

I hate hand stitching.

{ Done! }

So easy! And my husband was so proud of my handiwork!

Yessss... I love appearing more crafty than I really am :]


DIY moving announcements

I have to admit that one of the (many) reasons I was excited to move was to send out moving announcements.

I am a nerd, I know.

But come on, my husband and I don't plan on sending baby announcements anytime soon, and no one has home phone lines anymore, so we don't have a cutesy shared answering machine greeting. There are only so many other coupley-things left to do!

Here are a few from Etsy that I LOVE:

These were my inspiration:

This is what I ended up with:

Obviously, I blurred out our address. But you can imagine what it looks like.

I made it myself. I plan on emailing it out, rather than snail mailing, just for simplicity's sake. Although, I really love mail, and handwritten cards. I just am too busy right now to deal with it, and I am saving money on printing and postage because I need to cover a lot of people.

This is my technically-unsavvy-DIY method:
Used Microsoft Word to play around with wording, fonts, and placement.
Used Google Images search to find a cute bird and nest.
Copy and pasted that sucker in.
Hit the Print Screen button.
Copy and pasted that into Microsoft Paint. (Yes, Paint.)
Cropped as desired and saved.
Uploading said saved file onto Picnik to play around with colors. (I also used this to blur out my address for this blog post)
Saved as jpeg through Picnik.
Emailed to address book.

DIY dining chair revamp

Eat your heart out, Centsational Girl.

First some background, because these chairs come with a little history.

I got this table and chairs from House of Charis, the house I lived in while attending OSU. House of Charis got them from a kind hearted man from our house's parent church. Let's call him
Dave. Dave heard that a local McDonald's was closing and getting rid of all of their furniture.
He thought "Charis needs furniture!"
Did we?
But how sweet, right?
So Dave knocked on our door one day with a pickup truck and a trailer full of McDonald's furniture to make a surprise delivery. Of course, we accepted. So we proceeded to fill the basement boiler room with and excessive amount tables and chairs. And there it all sat for three years.

Fast forward to August 2008, right after my husband and I got married. We didn't have much, including a kitchen table or chairs. I thought, shoot. We can get a free table and chairs from the Charis basement. That will work for awhile. So I picked out a clean set, threw a table cloth on the table, and voila! It worked.

Fast forward to now. I am still a poor newlywed. In case you didn't know.

However, now it's been over a year with these ugly chairs. I wanted to bring out the potential that I saw in them. They are not gorgeous, I know. They are still 90s looking. But come on, for free chairs? For poor young people? They are fab.



Sandpaper (89 cents a sheet)
409 or other household cleaner
2 cans of Rustoleum spray paint in Hammered Black ($7.99 each)
2 yards of upholstery fabric ($6.99 per yard and I had extra...probably could have gotten away with 1.5 yards)
Upholstery tacks and hammer ($1.49 for 20 tacks. You could also use a staple gun.)

Step 1: Repaint frame
First, I used the screwdriver to remove the seat cushion.

Then I did a once over with 409, because this chair had seen better days. I have cleaned it over and over, and it still never looked too hot--or clean for that matter.

Then I used sandpaper to really have at the super dirty spots, the rusty and peely spots along the bottom of the legs, and just rough up the surface in general.

I used Rustoleum because my chairs were metal. That stuff is the bomb. Make sure you put down a drop cloth (or in my case, flattened boxes, as I currently have a plethora of those), and are in a well ventilated area. Do two coats to ensure even coverage. I used about one can per

Step 2: Reupholster cushions
I started out with a staple remover to try and pull out the (bazillion!) staples from the underside of the cushion. That didn't get me very far, and I had much better luck with a regular screwdriver and pliers.

I also discovered that pulling out every staple would take me about 30 years, so I actually ended up ripping and cutting a lot of the vinyl off. I kept the black underside batting in tact.

The cushion foam was in good shape, so I didn't need to replace that. If you recover your own chair, you may need to replace this--especially if your chair was covered in something other than vinyl. Luckily, my foam was protected from all of the Diet Coke spills I'm sure my chair endured during it's McDonald's days.

I layed out my fabric and cut around it. I didn't measure. I eyeballed it. I left a few inches of overhang on each side, and I cut both pieces from the same section of the fabric for pattern continuity. (If that doesn't make sense to you, I basically cut both pieces side by side on the bottom edge of my fabric)

I did one cushion at a time. I would recommend this. That way I only had one torn up cushion, and one intact cushion. I used the intact one as a reference for how the fabric was wrapped and tacked on. I used one tack in each corner, and one tack in the center of each side--so 8 tacks each seat.

I ruined two tacks with the hammer, and pulled out a few and redid their placement a few times. The second cushion was definitely easier. I would recommend tacking in the sides first, and then tacking the corners. I didn't do this on the first one, and that was the cushion I had to pull out my tacks a few times. Doing the corners last gives you more control for tightening the fabric where you need to, and getting prettier corner pleats.

Screw your seats back onto the chair frame.

Step 3: Fancy up the table
I set my table with placemats and silverware from IKEA, tealights, and our black dishes by Oneida.
I cut two small strips of my upholstery fabric (because I have a lot left) and wrapped and tied them around my silverware bundles.

Now that's my kind of rags to riches story.

I heart my new closet.

Our apartment in LA has a walk-in closet. This is by far the best closet of the three living spaces that my husband and I have now shared.

And I am most excited to have a focal point--yes, a focal point, even in my closet. My scarves.

Mmmm... don't they just look divine?

I love me some color-coding.


flipped for these photos

I have been going through blogging withdrawal! But we are officially moved in, and I have several blog posts cooking--so know that I am back in business!

And just because I feel like sounding like a creepy slow jam radio DJ:
Let's get things started with one of my favorites... an engagement shoot.
(Oh yeah, did you read that in a Barry White voice? Because you should have.)

This is my friend Molly and her fiance Brad.

{ photos by Suzannah Kruse }

Amazing, no?

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