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29 September 2010

My Simple Fall Mantel

I didn't go quite so overboard on my autumnal decor this year. I have no explanation, other than I must have been in a more subtle decorating mood on the day autumn came up from the basement. Oh...it is still in the 80's here, so I suppose that could have something to do with it. Remind me to wait for a lovely, snowy day to decorate for Christmas!

Here's my mantel for the season...
*Yes, those are rabbit ears you see...we tend to be a bit archaic when it comes to our home electronics!

I have to admit a bit of jealousy towards all you people who have stunning, traditional fireplaces...you know, the ones that don't neighbor the ever-so-ugly-but-convenient-t.v.-cutout. Ugh...both of our homes so far have had a similar set-up. For now I resort to being thankful for any type of mantel at all...but please do enjoy your brick surrounded by lovely white woodwork if you've got it!
I didn't purchase one new thing for the mantel this year. I used a few of my favorite vintage coffee containers. I stole the 'W' and frame from my entryway...stay tuned to see what's taking their place! You've seen the hat before...it was grandma's. I put some vintage books and a sweet little McCoy pottery vase in the birdcage, which sits atop an old cash box. That's it! Simple, simple. I love the yellow tones, especially in connection with my new chair!

For more mantel inspiration, stop by the Nester's place:

Nesting Place

Other fall goodness at This Blessed Nest:

27 September 2010

M's Room Revisited

I may have mentioned that Maren and I took a little trip to Michigan this summer. While we were away, Brett went to work on installing wainscoting in Maren's room. We had put it up in her nursery in our old house, and it was the thing I was saddest to leave behind...so much work, and I didn't know when/if we'd ever put it in her room in this house. My sweet husband knew how much I loved her old room, and he surprised me by re-doing her new room while we were away. Pretty great surprise, right?

I love red and turquoise together, and wanted to do something a little out-of-the-ordinary for M's room. We painted the walls a soothing watery blue, appropriately called 'quiet moments' by Benjamin Moore. I found it to be fitting for a toddler's room! {Wishful thinking, at least.}

About a month ago, we decided that Maren was ready for a twin bed. All of the big pieces of furniture were hand-me-downs or junk finds, which you'd never know now. Let's take a tour!

Here's the view from the door. Someday we'll move the bed away from the wall and add a nightstand, but for now we don't want her to fall out of the bed. *wink* As our budget allows, we'd also love to hang curtains, and in my dream world, we'd install plantation shutters. {Swoon.}

Her wardrobe...this was my furniture when I was a little girl. I love that Maren is able to use it now. We also re-finished a smaller chest of drawers that we're using in her closet right now.

The original finish...

I had a picture in my head of navy blue stain, which would allow for the knots of the wood to show through a bit. In order to re-stain the furniture, it had to be sanded down thoroughly.

We used a conditioning pre-stain treatment before we applied the actual stain. We used a colored stain from Lowe's {I think}. The color was Agean. Dreamy name, huh?

I thought about replacing all the hardware, but decided it was going to be too pricey to get what I really wanted. SO, I resorted to spray-painting all the metal parts of the knobs and the hinges the same color as we did the headboard. I LOVE the way it turned out! It makes the furniture look like it belongs together without appearing to match-y. I sprayed a quick coat of primer, and then used Valspar Mediterranean in gloss. I love this color...it is the perfect turquoise.

Believe it or not, I found that little table and chairs on Craigslist for $25. It looked just like that when I bought it. Doesn't it look like it was made to go in this room? I was thrilled!

There's a nice little spot for a narrow bookshelf just inside the door. Maren loves to read, so we have books all over the house. We hung a peg rack behind the door for coats and her dress-up hat. It was my grandma's!

We painted the little kitchen hutch red a while back when we made the kitchen. My grandpa built this for me when I was a girl. Again, I love that Maren's able to use it now. I found the chandelier at a local antique store. The electrical was a mess, so I stripped it and just added candles. We don't ever light them, of course, but it sure looks sweet!

A cradle made by my grandpa {I was a lucky girl, huh?} and a sweet little quilt hand-quilted by my grandma. That little quilt is so special, as she's no longer able to sew because of Parkinson's Disease. She made some gorgeous quilts back in the day. I'm thankful to have a couple. Someday I'll show you.

There's the little girl at work! She loves tea-parties. I'm thrilled to say that she's quite the little hostess. Ha!

The bed 'before'...

So much better! I was able to find bedding I love at the Pottery Barn outlet store. I sort of mixed and matched from different sets that were on clearance, and I love the finished look!

Brett's mom made this fabulous quilt for M when she was born. This was the fabric in her crib bedding...all replica 30's flour-sack prints. I asked for a twin-sized quilt instead of a crib quilt, and I'm so glad! Can you believe all those gathers? A lot of work went into this, and I can't wait for Maren to be old enough to appreciate it. For now, we use it mostly as a decoration. I figure once the random throwing-up and potty-training stage of childhood is over, it can be spread across the bed!

Some more treasures on the shelf over the little table...sweet vintage books, old baby bottles and a little Swedish tomte from my mom.

I was given this lamp when I was expecting Maren, and I glued some vintage buttons around the bottom of the lampshade.

That's all for now! I have a few more things I hope to add in the near future. Maren loves to spend time in her room, which I love. She is old enough to enjoy having her own little space, and I loved making it a fun and special place for my little lady.

The theme over at the CSI project this week is 'turquoise'...go check it out!

Visit thecsiproject.com

Happy Birthday Brett!

It's my husband's birthday today, and I figured since I have a blog {he reads it!} I'd take the opportunity to brag about him a bit.

He's actually quite low-key about his birthday. {Unlike his wife, who loves to be spoiled...yes, I admit it.} Maren and I brought his favorite coffee cake and a lovely, painted picture {M's specialty these days!} to Brett at work. He's got a forum to go to this evening, so we'll have to wait for a special dinner. He'll get a couple of simple gifts tonight, and I'll show them to you later...don't want to spoil the surprise!

Brett and I have known each other for 10 years now, nearly 8 of which I've had the privilege of calling him my husband. God truly knew exactly what I needed in a spouse, and provided the best I could have asked for in Brett. He is patient, funny, kind, thoughtful, a hard worker, an excellent provider and father. He selflessly serves Maren and I in so many ways. Have I mentioned how many projects I've dragged this guy into? He is handy and willing {turns out to be a priceless combination!}

He also loves the Lord, and takes his responsibility to lead our family very seriously. I realize some women might scoff at this, but to me it is, by far, the most fabulous thing about him.

Here he is working on a recent project...should be revealed tomorrow! {Can't wait!}

I cannot count the amount of times he and Maren have ridden on carousels together!

Hard at work...again! {I'm telling you, just wait for tomorrow's reveal!}
Happy Birthday, Brett! I love you more each day!

23 September 2010

Yellow Cane Chair: A Tutorial

Hi there!

We've had quite a week around here...I'll tell you more about it all later. For now, I wanted to share a tutorial on my cane chair refinish. Many of you asked to see the step-by-step process, so here it goes! I recommend reading through the entire post before starting your own project. You might find places where you'd like to make changes or adjustments.

{PLEASE NOTE: I am not a professional...I didn't even read a book before I dove into this project head-first. There may be easier or better ways of re-doing a chair like this, which is great! I pretty much figured things out as I went along, and this is just the chronicle of my adventure in updating this little chair!}

Here's the finished product...we've been so pleased with the addition to our family room!

Here's the chair in it's $10 thrift store glory...

1. We started by unscrewing the seat bottom from the frame. (As I mentioned before, I did most of the work alone...Brett did pitch in a little in the beginning...he likes to work on things like this, too!)

2. Next, I pulled off the upholstery from the back of the chair...

I started by removing the piping and then went to work on the staples holding the rest in place...ugh! So many, many, many staples!

When I had the front piece of upholstery and the foam removed, this is how it looked. That black piece was added for support and the other piece of fabric is what shows from the behind the chair. (This will make sense later when we reupholster the chair.)

3. I sanded the chair with an electric sander. I did a *light* sanding by HAND of the caning. Thankfully, it was in great shape, so I was able to keep it in tact...yeah!

4. I spray painted the frame with primer first.

5. When the primer was dry, I sprayed about 3 coats of color, being sure to saturate the caning on the chair from every angle.

6. The wood frame was the only piece of the seat I salvaged. I bought 3-inch foam for the seat. Trace the frame onto the foam, and carefully cut the foam to size. I used a combination of serrated knife and sharp sewing scissors to cut...the thick foam is just tricky to cut no matter what technique you use. I've heard of people using an electric carving knife, but we don't have one. I'd love to hear of a simple way if you've got one!

7. I also cut a piece of batting to cover the foam. I'm not sure why this is necessary, but there was a layer of batting in the original chair, so I replicated! I had the batting on hand, so this step didn't add any expense for me.

8. I used the original upholstery fabric as a template to cut the new fabric. No great science here...just be sure to leave enough extra for stapling! You can always trim down the excess later.

9. Place the fabric face-down and layer the foam, batting, and frame on top. {NOTE: There is a top and bottom to the frame...be sure your frame is situated correctly for it to fit back into the frame of your chair.}

10. Staple away! I started by putting a staple in the 4 'centers' of the sides. After the fabric was secured in those spots, I just carefully and evenly stapled around the entire edge of the frame. For this step, be careful with how tightly or loosely you stretch the fabric around the frame. I was fairly firm with how tightly I pulled the fabric around, but I was sure to apply equal tension all the way around the chair. This will help you to have a nice, even, smooth seat.

All stapled!

11. Next, I cut out 2 pieces of fabric for the back of the chair, again using the original fabric as my pattern.

Look...from the back of the chair, this is what you see:

12. The first piece you place in the back is that piece shown above. Again, I started by securing the fabric in the center of the 4 sides and then worked my way around the back. Be sure the right-side of the fabric faces towards the back of the chair. I also added a piece of webbing down the center for some extra support.

13. I layered another piece of batting over the webbing like this:

14. Next, turn the edges towards the center and secure with a few staples around the edges. Trim off any excess fabric at this point.

15. Place the foam in place. I used 1-inch foam for this part.

16. Layer the other piece of fabric over the foam and staple in place. Obviously, the fabric should be right-side-out at this point. {NOTE: Be careful to staple as closely to the edge of the foam and in the straightest possible line as possible. You will need to cover the staples with some sort of trim, and it's much easier to cover them if they're in a straight line! When you've stapled all the way around the fabric, trim the excess as closely to the staples as possible. Again, keep in mind that the edge of the fabric and the staples will all be covered by the trim piece, so be as precise as possible.

17. Use a permanent, strong glue to attach trim around the edge of the seat back. This is where you cover the raw edge of the fabric and all those staples. Take your time! The original chair had fancy piping to cover, but I wasn't brave enough to attempt that! I love how this turned out, and I liked the added character brought to the chair by the teal trim.

18. The original chair also had piping stapled along the front of the chair, and again, I used teal trim. I'm sure you can tell, but I used the type of trim that looks like cording attached to a piece of ribbon. I stapled the cording to the frame before I replaced the seat bottom. At this stage, I found pictures taken of the chair as I took it apart to be incredibly helpful!

Here's what the cording looks like with the chair bottom back in place. The cording does a great job of hiding the gap between the upholstered seat bottom and the frame of the chair.

Ta Da!

This chair is surprisingly comfortable. Now I'm on the lookout for another one for our bedroom...I'm sure you'll be the first to know when I find one!

Now, get to work! And, please let me know if you attempt a project like this...I'd love to see the variations!