Easy DIY

Sofa Slipcovers Made From Drop Cloths

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When I was growing up in the 1970s my sisters and I played in every room of our house — especially the living room.

With four girls running from room-to-room then plopping on the sofa at the end of each chase, we put a lot of wear on the comfiest piece of furniture in our house.

Mom said our home was lived in — no museum care taking or plastic covers over our green floral couch.  She was easy-going about things like that.

Of course back then when we were making forts in the living room with cushions, Mom didn’t know washable canvas slip covers could be sewn from painter’s drop cloths or I’m pretty sure she would have made them.

Now that I have my family, I know how much work it is to keep our home looking tidy. We like to lounge, watch movies, eat buttery popcorn, read and wrestle with the dog on our couch, too. Or as my grandma used to call it… the davenport.

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Glammed Up Vintage Salt & Pepper Shakers

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On our recent family vacation to upper Michigan we stayed with my husband’s parents near Tawas, Michigan. It’s a popular, small boating and fishing town on Lake Huron. Many visitors camp right on the lake, rent cabins or own small vacation homes there.  Lake Huron is very cold until almost August when the hot summer days have finally warmed it up.  The frigid water doesn’t seem to keep the kids from swimming in it or the men from fishing either.  And so while they’re having fun playing, the women take time to shop and flock to the boutiques and art festivals.

My mother-in-law and I enjoy the antique stores and flea-markets.  We spent three afternoons browsing in them and sharing our old finds. Many of the treasures had us reminiscing about her mother or my grandmother who owned a lot of the same stuff back in the day. And we marveled at how expensive that stuff has become.  We had a lot of fun “saling” together that’s for sure!

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One find on my wish-list was a set of potbelly vintage salt and pepper shakers that I could spiff up and paint similar to a set I had seen in HGTV Magazine. We couldn’t find the potbelly-style, but my mother-in-law spied this set, and for 2 bucks I snatched them up.

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At the camp I gave them a good scrub down with an S.O.S pad until their old silver selves shined and gleamed again.

 

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When I got them home I painted the bottoms and rims with two coats of teal and pearl nail polishes swirled together.  The polish took really nicely to the silver and hardened to a smooth coating.

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So that is my fun little DIY. A set of old antique tarnished salt and pepper shakers all glammed up. Special reminders of our family time up at the lake this summer.

Lisa

Before & After Painted Vintage Side Tables

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A little elbow grease goes a long way on vintage side tables given to me by my dear friend Gene from his estate sale last summer. I’m guessing they’re from the 1950s/60s based on what he shared with me over the years about his traditional home decor.  Mr. Gene, as my sons affectionately called him, also gifted me with two picnic bench seats I added seating to and shared more about in this post here and here.

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Building A Chicken Coop From Scratch

Good morning Friends! I thought you might like to see a chicken coop being built from scratch at 12 Oaks Blog. I’ve been reading Ben and Amanda’s complete home makeover this past year or so, and this week they are sharing their adorable backyard chicken coop, along with what it’s been like to raise six chickens and enjoy really fresh eggs. I’ve noticed chicken coops have made a big comeback lately and sure can see why!

 

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You can read about the coop, view their photos of the process and see their cute chickens at this link: Our Backyard Chicken Coop by 12 Oaks Blog

I hope you enjoy the read and will leave a comment for me with your thoughts about the coop and the whole idea of raising chickens from home.

Lisa

Lara Spencer’s New Book “Flea Market Fabulous” Debuts

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Book Review Update:  This is a gorgeous book with big, bold, colorfully detailed photos on every page. Lara doesn’t disappoint readers with varying tastes either.  Not only does she showcase many design styles in her stunning real-life rooms, but she gives readers plenty of captions, tips, and fixes we can use right now. Throughout the pages she has sprinkled helpful advice from professional designers who weigh-in on how they create beautiful homes, too. Lara also shares her design dilemmas for each project and then walks readers through her process for solving them. And her mood boards are amazing and fun to see! And just like she did in her first book, she tells readers what she paid for her flea-market finds then shows us the reveal on how she used them in each stunning room. Lara has written another fantastic book that readers will refer to again and again! It’s perfect for anyone who loves to decorate, but especially inspiring for those of us who love to  do it on a budget and with our fabulous flea-market finds! Love it! Continue reading

Before & After: Painting A Kitchen Island On A Budget

After 13 years our maple kitchen cabinets had become worn and dark, more gold than light maple in tone. I also noticed our light maple laminate floors had taken on a pink cast, while the interior doors and trim were more pecan in color. The different tones clashed making the room look tired and worn and this bugged me. It was time to freshen things up.

I’ve always appreciated the easy on the eyes classic white kitchen, but my husband prefers the look of natural wood.  Thankfully he was onboard with my ideas for change. We agreed on a budget and I called two professional painters for cabinet quotes. Both had different thoughts on how to do the job, and their prices seemed fair for the big job, but way more than we wanted to spend. My husband suggested I paint them and use the savings to replace our old countertops. That got me excited! Still, I had to mull it over because looking at all those doors and cabinets, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and much more than a weekend project. I finally mustered the courage and went for it starting with this island.

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BEFORE:  This is the spot where we stood to do most of our food prep. The island was fairly small with no extra counter space to sit and eat, even though we kept a stool at one end. The outdated black, white and salmon laminate top was scratched and dull.

 

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AFTER:  Sanding, priming and painting the island Acadia White by Benjamin Moore made a tremendous difference. A carpenter friend added thick, decorative trim moulding to each end and gave the cabinet a really nice custom look.

 

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We chose a black soapstone countertop with creamy pearlescent waves running through it. This particular stone is similar to granite and very dense and hard to scratch. It’s easy to clean, too. We had the corners squared to give it a more updated look.

 

 

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Adding six inches to one end of the counter made it much more comfortable to sit at for the kids. And we saved $600 by purchasing a remnant already in stock and ready to cut.

 

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Mouldings give the island the look of a custom piece of furniture now.

 

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I replaced birdcage medal knobs we had on the unpainted cabinets with glass knobs from Hobby Lobby for $2 each when on sale at 50% off. The birdcage knobs sold on eBay for $2 each so the knobs were a wash in cost. Love it when that happens!  To avoid adding holes to the drawers I kept to one knob on the three main drawers like we had before. The cup pull is from Lowes and cost $4.

Kitchen Island Savings: 

SAVED $500 DIY sanding, priming, painting island cabinet and trim moulding

SAVED $600 by purchasing an in-stock remnant top

No cost for new glass knobs

Labor to install wood trim: Priceless. We got a really good price from our friend and he added crown moulding to the ceiling in the room, also.

Total savings was about $1,000 after buying paint, supplies, trim moulding and paying for carpenter labor.

 

I’m happy with how the island turned out and it has made a huge difference in the look of the kitchen. The room feels airy, light and clean. It has that classic look I’ve always dreamed of having for my kitchen. It was well worth the effort. And overcoming my fears for taking on a big project like this gave me the courage to paint the rest of the kitchen cabinets. I will post about those soon.

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8 Simple Steps: How To Hand-Sew A Slipcover

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This imperfect slipcover works perfectly!

Last week I shared with you this slightly worn writing desk chair I picked up at a church rummage sale awhile back. You can read more about it here.  It’s an occasional chair primarily used by me and I wanted a slipcover for it.  My sewing machine needed repair, so I hand-sewed one. By no means is this a professional instruction sheet, but these how-to tips should be helpful to you.

Pick the right fabric. Consider color, fabric weight, durability, care, and cost. Lines and patterns are more difficult to keep straight. I used a curtain made from cotton linen.  A solid, lightweight cotton fabric, pre-washed to prevent shrinkage may work best. Iron to remove wrinkles.

Plan where your seams will meet. Follow the chair’s upholstery seams to guide your decisions for cutting and pinning. I made the back of the chair first, then attached the seat fabric, and the skirt last.

Measure twice, cut once. Whoever came up with that advice is a genius! Begin by measuring the individual section you are working on.  Since I had plenty of fabric, and it was my first chair cover, I allowed for 2 extra inches on all sides in case of error.

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Always pin inside out.  Turn the fabric with the underside facing up and drape over the backrest. Measure from the seat, up the front and down the backside, allowing for extra fabric to hang past the bottom back for your skirt, plus a 1″ to 2″ hem, and at least 1″ on the other three sides for pinning before marking and cutting. After cutting, drape the cut piece over the back again (underside up) and pin both sides to make seams. Keep the fabric slightly loose for easy removal, not taut. (If your fabric has a pattern or lines, you will need to turn the piece right-side out after pinning to check for straightness, or save yourself the trouble and use a solid.)

Stitch from the top down. With the fabric on the back of the chair (inside out and pinned) sew a straight stitch from the top down, removing pins as you stitch. Remove the fabric and turn inside out. It should resemble a “pillowcase”. Put the case back on the chair to check for fit and tightness of stitching. Backrest cover is finished. Remove the cover, turn inside out and put it back on the chair to add the seat fabric.

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Add the seat to the back. Measure and cut the next piece, using the chairs seams to determine where to cut. Leave at least 2 extra inches on all sides as the extra fabric may be needed to allow for sitting. If the seat is too tight, it could tear when sat on. This extra fabric will come in handy as you pin the seat to the “pillowcase”, and later to the skirt. As you pin decide how tight you want the seat. Keep in mind, slipcovers are generally fitted slightly loose.  Stitch the seat fabric to the bottom of the backrest fabric.

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Determine the length of skirt. Adjust the back and seat fabric onto the chair. Tuck in fabric where needed around the seat and allow for a little extra fabric for sitting without tear. Be sure to add the length to match the back of the chair, plus 1 or 2 inches for hemming.  Measure, cut and pin the skirt to the seat and back section fabrics, and stitch.

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Finish with hem. Turn the slipcover right side out and place on the chair. Check for errors, tuck in the seat to the back and measure the length of the skirt all the way around and pin the hem under every inch or two. Remove the cover, press the hem down with a warm iron to give it a clean edge.  Once pressed, sew or fabric glue the hem and press again.  I used fabric glue to avoid seeing the thread around the skirt as it’s more difficult to hide here. Ironing is key to a nice looking hem and slipcover. Your slipcover is finished!

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This slipcover is imperfectly perfect. It serves its purpose to protect and change the look of the chair, is easy to wash or bleach if necessary, and is an inexpensive solution to replacing a piece of furniture. The stitches look just as they did the day I made it. If they do come loose, I can re-stitch by hand or machine. It was a lot of fun and fairly easy to make.

If you decide to make a slipcover, I would love to see it! Please be sure to Like this page on Facebook for more easy DIY projects & crafts, simple recipes and daily encouragement.

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