Thursday, May 31, 2012

A New Seat Cushion For "Her" Desk Chair

Our next door neighbor recently moved into an assisted living facility.  The house had become too much upkeep for her, and she's enjoying her new apartment style living.  So this past weekend they held an estate sale next door and I could not resist taking a peek. 

There were so many wonderful things for sale!  Vintage clothing, tons of furniture, jewelry, china/dishes, linens....I could have easily blown our budget in there but managed some self control and came home with a silver belt and this chair for $15:

She has beautiful lines, is very sturdy and happens to be the perfect height for my desk in our "His & Hers Office"...which ironically, is currently lacking a chair!

Of course, she won't stay like this :)  I wanted to do a bold pink chair for my workspace.  I wasn't sure if the fabric would be pink, the frame would go pink, or both. 

On my last trip to Joann's I spotted a graphic pink fabric in the outdoor canvas section and was sold on it for the new chair cushion!  Outdoor canvas or an indoor/outdoor fabric is a great choice when it comes to seating or on a surface that will get a lot of use.  They're very durable, clean up easily and offer modern designs that would look just as good indoors as they would outdoors.

I finished attaching mine to my new chair cushion this morning but can't reattach it just yet.  I'm being a little wishy-washy on the chair frame color.  So while I attempt to make a decision on that, here's the step by step for reupholstering a chair cushion!

You'll need these supplies:

-Additional batting and/or foam, if you need extra cushion
-Small flat head screwdriver and needle nose pliers to remove staples
-Screwdriver to remove screws holding on the cushion
-Staple gun

For this quick project, I followed the same basic steps I detailed in my post on reupholstering our piano bench.  You can check out more details there!

I started by removing all the screws attaching the seat and removed the seat cushion from the chair frame.  

Then I used my tiny flat head screw driver to lift up any stubborn staples holding down the current fabric and pulled each out using the needle nose pliers.  If you're lucky, once you get a few staples out, sometimes you can just pull up on the fabric and it will pull the staples out along with it.

And what a fun little surprise I found once I got the old fabric off - more fabulously old fabric!

Vanna is here to assist.  The puffy 1 1/2 yr old hand totally sells it.

By the way, this is what he was doing in between.....sporting a Krispy Kreme hat from a kid's tour, new paint roller, and a half-eaten graham cracker.  Totally random recipe for a great play time :)

Now back to that fabric.   I could have just put the new fabric right over it but it the fibers were literally disintegrating as I handled them.
I pulled it all off and found that the cushion underneath (which already needed some extra help) was pretty gross.  So, I removed the top layer of it and used some poly batting to plump her up. 

I bought 1/2 a yard from Joann's at $5.99/yard, which gave me enough to get two extra layers of "cushion".  I started by placing the seat flush against one edge and tracing around it's edges onto the batting with a sharpie.

I removed the seat and cut out my cushion along the traced lines.

I placed that cut-out shape right on top of the extra batting and cut out another one by cutting along the edges.

I stacked them on the seat which now has 3 layers of cushioney goodness.  Plenty for long work sessions at my desk.  If you aren't sure if it's enough, give her the ol' test drive and sit on it just like this before covering with fabric.  If it's not soft enough to your liking, then add another layer of batting or swap out the foam base for a thicker foam.

Now the fun part!  Lay your fabric over the seat until you have it positioned as you want it to look at the end.  Keep in mind you will need 2-3 inches extra on each side depending on the depth of your cushion. 

Once you're satisfied, place flip it over and ensure the fabric is smooth under the cushion.  Since I was working with a graphic print, I wanted to make sure that the pattern was properly centered.   I measured one side of the seat and marked the center.

I did the same thing with the top (opposite side) and used the center point of one of the graphics as a marker, lining it up evenly with the center marks on both sides of the seat. (Wish I grabbed a better pic of that!).  Once your fabric is in place with the print centered, cut off the excess fabric leaving 2-3 inches of extra along all sides.

Then it's time to staple!  Grab the fabric at the center edge of one side, pull it tightly around (without displacing the whole fabric) and tack it down with a staple.  Repeat on the opposite side.

Now you have two opposite sides tacked down in the center.  Begin with one side and start stapling down the rest of the fabric on that edge, working your way out from the center.  Then do the same with the opposite side you tacked down in the center before.  Repeat with the two other sides.

When it comes to corners, it's easiest to leave those open until the end.  Once all sides are stapled down, take the fabric at the corner and pull, tuck/fold placing staples as you go, starting with the ends closest to the already tacked down fabric edge. 

Secure the last fold with a couple of staples.

I also ended up adding another row of staples just to ensure it was really secured well.  Be sure to cut away any excess fabric covering up the screw holes - you'll need clear access to those when you screw the seat back onto the frame!

Turn it over and admire your work!

Then give it the final sit-test.  If it feels good under your bum then it's time to put your chair back together!

Unless you are like me and have a primed chair frame just begging for some paint...and some decisiveness!   We have some navy/indigo paint left over from painting our son's new big boy bed, but I also have a can of a delicious hot pink.  My conservative side says go with the blue (or "why did you even paint it to begin with!"), but I going to try to be brave and go bold!

We'll see if I can work up the courage overnight.  First coat goes on in the morning!
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Shower Curtains: My Secret Addiction

Well, now that I'm sharing it with all of you, I guess it's not a secret anymore.....I am seriously addicted to shower curtains!  Specifically, the shower curtain aisle at Target.  Not the plastic or vinyl variety but their cotton selection.  They have so many different options in delicious color combinations and happy modern patterns! 

A standard shower curtain is 72"x72" and if you catch one you love on sale, you're getting a lot of fabric at a great price!

Awhile back Target brought in a bathroom line in blue and white.  The blue was a gorgeous deep indigo color and I loved it against the crisp white.  Maybe it's the Greek in me that responded so strongly to that beautiful combo. 

I snagged up my favorite (the Target Home Jacobean Cotton Slub Shower Curtain in Blue/White) and now have the perfect space to use it as we put together our navy/white/green/pink "His and Hers" office! 

I also grabbed a Target Home Shower Curtain, New Grid in green (I had to force myself to put down the blue one too!)

I have plans for both of them in our office...along with these other fabrics:

A shower curtain is not quite long enough for a standard 84" long drape.  It's short by a foot, but you can easily add a panel of fabric to the bottom and at 72" wide it's often wide enough to cut down the middle to create two panels.  (One of my other favorite drape "cheats" for less is rectangular table cloths...coming in a convenient 84" standard length!).  Even if you don't plan to use the fabric for curtains, this much fabric will give you so many possibilites.....make several pillows, cover a chair (or two!), line the back of a bookcase, upholster a headboard....the list goes on!

The two I have on hand will be curtains and fabric for a pin-board..and I can't wait to get started! 

What about you?  What's your favorite item to use in an unexpected way?  What go-to "cheats" have you found?

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Monday, May 28, 2012

A Fresh Coat of Paint For The Office!

Finally!  Three weeks after I started, I finally have all four walls painted.  Instead of clearing out the room to paint, I moved all the stuff to the middle of the room or out of the area I was currently painting.  The room is small, which meant I had to wait for the paint to dry in one area and then move the furniture and mounds of stuff around to paint the next section.  Smart?  No.  But what can I say...I was lazy and it ended up being more work in the long run.  Call it a lesson learned! 

Enough about that - how about the paint?!  I LOVE it.  We went with Valspar's Notre Dame in flat enamel. It's a cool, soothing blueish grey that will be the backdrop for our white/navy/green/pink color scheme...and I'm thrilled it worked out so well!  It was an extra can of paint I had from a different project. We're all about using what we have but I wasn't sure how it would look in this space and with this lighting.  Truly, it's perfect!  The color has great depth but it's also light enough to keep the room feeling open and bright.

Everything going in this room is still in a monstrous pile in the middle of the floor (which will hopefully be more of an ant hill soon) but I was able to move my desk over to my new work area! 
I can't tell you how excited I am to actually have my laptop on a desk.  I know, it should be the other way around, but I'm so much more productive at a desk vs. feet up on the couch and computer on my lap.

 My laptop looked a little lonely, so I cut a few roses from our backyard to keep her company until all the other office goodies come in.

Oh they make me happy.  Bring on the pink, Baby! 

Having the walls painted and most of the furniture in place is serious motivation to get the room put together. I'll share our progress and some other fun projects this week!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Let's Talk Toilet Rings

Yup, we're going to talk about toilets....and look at pictures of a toilet too, so consider yourself warned!

Cleaning toilets is probably not at the top of the Most Beloved Cleaning Chores list for most of us, but if a clean toilet free of stubborn rings makes you happy, then keep reading!  This will not be my most glamorous posts, but I promise I won't show you a totally disgusting toilet :)

In fact, we'll start with a mostly clean one.  This toilet has just be thoroughly scrubbed with toilet bowl cleaner and a toilet brush.  I've scrubbed as hard as I could and let the cleaner sit for ample time, but I'm still left (as usual) with this annoying toilet bowl ring that I just can't get off. 

Thanks to a tip from my cousin, 60 seconds later it was gone!  All you need is a cleaning glove and my magical new friend: a piece of drywall sandpaper.

My cousin was at Home Depot one weekend and by the entrance was a table with drywall sandpaper sheets and a sign that said, "works great on stubborn toilet rings too!".  They took some home and those puppies lived up to the hype!  So much so that she sent me a pack in the mail :) 

(This kind of sandpaper is similar to regular sandpaper in that it comes in different sized grits.  I'm assuming that this one she sent is a 220 grit based on the printed number, but I'm not sure).

So, lets get to it! Start by folding over one edge of the sheet about 2 inches.  

 Fold it flat and then break off that small end.

 This is all you'll need...although for really stubborn stains you may need additional pieces.

Then grab that bad boy and go to town scrubbing at the ring.  I scrubbed pretty hard and did not notice any scratching on the inside of my toilet bowl. 

Here's about 30 seconds in and halfway gone!

And all done.  The water is kind of foggy because of the "dust" particles.  I also took the paper and did a quick scrub under the rim where more stubborn stains tend to hide.

A final flush and viola!   CLEAN!  If you notice a lingering residue when you flush just use your toilet brush to gently brush it down into the flushing water.

Super easy, super quick and at only $3.47 for a pack of 6 sheets (priced through Home Depot) it's also super inexpensive!  You'll have plenty left over to address any more rings that build up over time. (The first time I did this on another toilet in the house, it required a bit more paper and a bit more scrubbing time. Ongoing maintenance is really quick!)

Happy toilet cleaning!

*I'm linked up at Our Fifth House and A Bowl Full Of Lemons
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Un-junk the Junk Drawer

We all have one...the drawer that starts out with a few random things and quickly becomes the drawer you are scared to open.  I wish I had grabbed a before shot of our drawer (I know, bad blogger), but I just opened it one day and couldn't take the madness any longer.  I pulled everything out into a huge pile on the counter, cried for a second after taking in the mound of junk, and then dove in.

Since this was a total impulse project, I didn't plan out supplies in advance. So, I took a quick look around the house for anything I could use to help corral and organize this drawer.  I found a few small green bowls I picked up at Target (4 for $1.99) and an extra silverware tray. 

The previous home owner lined all of the drawers and shelves in this house (and I do mean ALL) with linoleum.  Yes, you read that correctly - there is flooring lining all of my shelves/drawers.  They adhered it with the stickiest, gooiest stuff imaginable and I was not up for all that peeling and scraping.  This was supposed to be a quick project! 

So, I grabbed a colorful piece of scrapbook paper from my stash and used it to line the bottom of the drawer.  It wasn't quite bit enough to cover the whole surface but the silverware tray would cover a large portion of the I just made sure the paper was lined up with the corner/side of the drawer next to the tray.

I went through our pile of "junk" and tossed any true junk, pulled out anything that belonged in another room/space, and then organized the rest by categories.  Here's what I was left with (imagine double the junk, all thrown together in a heap to get an idea of what we started with):

I kept out a few tools that we use on a regular basis for quick projects or fixes like needle nose pliers, screwdriver, tape measure, etc.  I swapped out the handful of screwdrivers for just one with interchangeable heads and sent the rest to the garage with the majority of our tools.

Then it was time to organize the rest.  I started by filling the green bowls...
 From Left to Right:  Tape measures; extra keys; screws/nails/rubber bands; flashlights

The silverware tray took care of the rest and ended up being the perfect amount of space.

Tape is on the far left, wood stain markers, tools, pens, and quick fix hand/nail stuff filled the longer slots.  Glues and the screwdriver heads found a home in the large rectangular section. 

The whole thing took me about 10 minutes total and was completely worthwhile!  I love this drawer now, because it actually holds useful does the hubs, because he can actually find those useful things...and so do the kids, because some of their favorite useful things are easy to grab...

What's more useful than a flashlight when searching for hidden treasure or making shadow puppets :)

So who else has a drawer they are afraid to open?   Who's brave enough to dive into the abyss?  You never know - 10 min later, order may reign again!

*I'm linked up at A Bowl Full Of Lemons
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A New Seat for A Sweet Space

I recently shared here about my resolution to overhaul my daughter's room.  She has a very sweet space but it was packed full of more things than she could possibly use or need, it lacked proper storage/organization (which made it hard to keep tidy), and all the personal touches were getting lost among the chaos. 

Here's the scene that started it all...

Yup, it was quite the sight.  And had become a regular one at that.  (Can you see me twitching through the computer?)  But I can't blame it all on Mia.  Gotta set the girl up for success right?  First with a space that works and then with some better habits. 

So far we have made major progress in sorting through the things in her room deciding what to keep, donate, and toss. We've brought in some better storage (and repurposed the ones that weren't working in other areas of the house) and did a bit of rearranging. 

We also cleared off the vanity, which had become a collector for piles and all things random.  It's one of the areas that would be off limits to her younger brothers once we were done.  Their mischevous little hands couldn't resist the drawers full of sparkly girliness.  Mia is very generous in sharing her room for playtime with her brothers but she also deserves a few areas that are just for her. It is her room after all.

This vanity is such a sweet space for a little girl and we have several fun projects in store for this area. But today we did a little switch-a-roo with the seating. This bench is fine but it's long.  Mia would have to pull the whole thing out to sit on the end and play with her jewelry, draw, or write notes. The ratan center isn't the strongest either.

Around here, we tend to have multiple projects going at once, so we've also been working on updating our master bedroom.  I used a birthday gift card to get this ottoman from Target a few weeks ago

I planned to get a second one and place them at the foot of the bed in the master.  I'm still not totally sold on yellow in that room, so I picked up the ottoman and wandered down the hall to the other room with yellow in it: Mia's room.

I sat for awhile thinking about how to use to her bed as a nightstand with a tray on to her reading chair with a basket of a seat!

I love the pop of color to break up the white!  It's also a lot softer than the other bench seat.  It's a perfect height - high enough for a little girl but I can sit comfortably there as well. 

Then I realized the handle was facing the back and if I turned it around Mia would be able to easily pull out the seat.  It's not heavy by any means but the handle makes it much less awkward to maneuver.

Once again an unplanned use for an item I loved turned out to be just what the doctor ordered! 

And we'll definitely make good use of the old bench too!  Here's one last look...

It's coming together!  I love that the ottoman adds some yellow to the mostly green and pink accessories in the room and that it brings in a soft new texture to break up all of the white painted wood.

What about you?  Any furnature swaps make a big difference in your space?
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