Easy DIY

Before & After: Well-Worn Bench to Versatile Extra Seating

This past week I received the sad news that a special and dear friend of mine passed away.

My sons affectionately called him Mr. Gene.

I worked with him for over 18 years before he “re-retired” last summer at the vibrant age of 92 to move closer to his daughter.

Before leaving Mr. Gene gave me a few items to keep in remembrance of him — an old, tattered picnic bench set among them. Both benches were worn and rickety… their smudged paint and banged up slats signs of the workhorses they had become for my friend.

And I loved every scar...

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When I brought them home my husband asked me what in the world I was going to do with them.

I had no idea.

We didn’t need the extra seating on our patio and the weather would just add further damage.

So I hosed them down, spiders and all, tightened the screws and brought them inside.

I chose not to paint them and added a cushioned seat to both.

And this is how it went…

Supplies:  2″ thick foam cushion, cotton batting, pre-washed fabric, staple gun and staples, nailhead strips, hammer, scissors, fabric marker or pencil, tape measure.

Directions:

Securing cushion with batting

1. Fold the long piece of cushion foam in half, mark it and cut it into two pieces, putting one of the cushions to the side for the second bench. Turn the bench upside and lay it on one cushion, trace around the seat with marker and cut away extra foam.

2. Lay batting on the floor, then the cushion, and the bench upside down on top of both, allowing enough batting on all four sides for stapling over the seat. Mark and cut the batting.

3. Pull the batting up over cushion and underside edge of bench. Staple once in the center on each side and smooth out wrinkles along the way. Finish by stapling all around to secure.

Adding upholstery fabric

4. Trace and cut upholstery fabric same as step 2. Allow all four sides of the bench an extra 1-1/2 inches for stapling. (I used extra corduroy fabric from my storage.)

5. At one end, staple the fabric over both the cushion and the wood seat, being careful to keep the pattern or lines straight.  Fold edges under as you staple to avoid future fraying. Turn bench over, smooth it out, pull tight and staple once in the center at the other end, then repeat next two sides. Finish by stapling around the rest of the underside to secure.

6. Carefully fold corner fabric back onto the bench ends like shown in the photo below.

7. Add nailhead strips around the bottom edge with hammer for a finished look. (Joann Fabrics had the strips, Hobby Lobby did not. The strips are much easier to keep in a straight line.)

 

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When we have guests, the dining chairs can be moved closer together and the bench pulled in closer to allow for more seating.

 

 

The matching bench is at the foot of our master bed.

It’s been great for keeping a blanket off the floor, as a place to sit and get dressed, and as a springboard for our dog!

 

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Both benches work well in our home… sweet reminders of a loyal and faithful friend.

“Loyal friends love through difficult times.” Proverbs 17:17

“Faithful friends are a rare treasure.” Proverbs 18:24

Creative Ways to Color Easter Eggs this Weekend

With just over a week before we celebrate Easter, there’s still enough time to color eggs. Above, are three fun, and fairly easy ideas I love from Better Homes & Gardens magazine.  Aren’t they pretty! Click on the BHG link for the how-to, and for more neat egg coloring ideas.

And here are the Easter eggs created at our house…

 

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Colorful graphic lettering and the “Fruits of the Spirit” became the inspiration. Pulling up a photo found online, I eyed the typestyle on the computer screen and drew the letters free-hand with a pencil, then filled them in with colorful Sharpie markers. Press lightly when you draw to avoid line bleed through on the yellow words. So simple, right?

What do you do with colored eggs when you’re finished celebrating the holiday? Do you keep them refrigerated and add them to a recipe, or do you throw them away?

My boys and I love egg salad sandwiches, so we store them in the fridge and use them for that. I make the salad the same as I did at their ages: remove the shell and rinse the eggs, break into pieces with a fork, add a dollop or two of mayonnaise, sprinkle black pepper liberally, mix well and pile between two slices of soft bread. Best part is, the kids love to make it, too!

I  hope you are having a productive week! It’s been wonderful to have warmer, sunny days lately. Spring is definitely in the air and I can’t help but feel giddy about that!

Blessings to you,

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

 

DIY: Simple Sharpie Silhouette of Your Pet

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Here is a simple art project that you can make in a matter of minutes once you’ve gathered your supplies. There are many ways to make silhouette line art drawings, and this one is easy and fun! It will look great on a wall near your pet’s sleeping or eating area, also mixed in with a collage of family photos, or on a table near an entry door. I was inspired to draw this rendering of our Toby when I saw these custom pieces of art here.  When I like a piece of art in a magazine, I like to Continue reading

How To Hand Paint A Lettered Sign

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I love graphic signs, don’t you? They say so much about who we are or what we hope for each day.

They are good reminders…

… and can show off a family’s personality with just a few words on display for all who pass by to see.

The sticky vinyl ones you can buy at a craft store, or custom order online, are so very cool… until they need to be temporarily moved from the wall.

Like that time I needed to repaint the kitchen and my big, pretty scrolled words above the sink along the soffit had to go. Remembering how much I paid for it originally made the job of removing and discarding it that much more painful.

I cried giant crocodile tears that day.

And decided… I won’t pay that much again. 

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Now my new sign is much more modest in size and less fancy…

…and I like that it can be moved from room-to-room when I choose.

And this easy tutorial helped me figure out how to make it before getting started:  how-to hand paint letters.

There are two options for transferring letters to your board or canvas… I chose the pencil shading technique (chalk was the other option).  After lightly tracing each words on the canvas, simply fill them in with acrylic paint.

A curvy font or type is more forgiving for those of us with a less steady hand who tend to color outside of the lines a bit.  It may help to print words as a sample in a few sizes to decide which one fits your canvas best.

To frame, I purchased thin slat wood from Lowe’s, measured and cut it with a mitre saw, stained it with polyurethane and allowed it to dry overnight. Once dry I tapped it together around the canvas with finishing nails.

Have fun!

Lisa

DIY White Heron Painting Inspired by Ballard Designs

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Last winter I was motivated to try my hand at recreating a colorful heron painting like the one shown here from Ballard Designs. It’s a large print giclee on canvas and the blend of paint colors and whole scene remind me of Florida and summertime.

Winters can be long in Michigan, and this painting project helped with all the snow days spent indoors. I sketched the bird, trees and foliage as a guide to painting each area, then layered and mixed a variety of acrylic paints to get the colors I liked. To frame it, I stained wood strips from Lowes and nailed them to the canvas to mimic the inspiration piece.

This was a fun art project and not too difficult to do. I worked on it here and there over a few weeks when I had time to spare. If I made a color choice I didn’t care for, I just painted over it and began again. I sealed it and gave it a slightly glossy shine with a clear glaze.

How about you, do you paint, craft, and work on DIY projects? Do you enjoy recreating affordable inspiration art for your home? Please share with me by leaving a comment.

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