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Growth chart

29 May

So when I first planted this box planter, it looked sad.
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Waap waap. Not just a little sad, embarrassingly sad. But I’m pleased to say that it has really filled out! Check it out now
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::tear:: my little plants are all grown up.

Party Idea: Glowing Tables

24 May

Well, Memorial Day and the official beginning of summer is almost here.  In my mind I have already planned out many a summer get together — complete with impeccable food, delicious cocktails, and memorable decorations.  I therefore dream of hosting many more parties than I actually throw.  Kind of like how I wish sewing elves would make me a new wardrobe, I wish party elves would put together and clean up a good party for me.  I’ll definitely be thinking about doing this at one of my suave get togethers (imaginary or real)

(Found here)

Just place battery operated lanterns under your tables and drape a long table cloth on top.  Easy, right?

I love the look of scattered cocktail tables done this way, but since we don’t own any I would have to rent them.  And that sounds like work.  I just want to party.  Maybe I should focus on getting invited to other people’s parties instead…  all the fun, none of the work.

Are you hosting a party this summer?

DIY Coat Rack

8 May

Ever since I saw this on Pinterest

I have been obsessed with it.  So, in light of my spring resolutions, I got off my rear and did it.  Since our door is a lot closer to this side wall than the inspiration photo, we opted for a shallower hook.  Don’t worry, they still work.

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One piece of 6×1 pre-primed mdf, 5 coat hooks, and several screws later we had our very own.  I was more concerned about the function and hitting studs than the actual placement of the hooks, which ended up not working out so well.  Our stud finder notoriously doesn’t find studs.  I swear I made sure on multiple spots on the wall that it was registering a stud, but when I drilled into it it didn’t seem like one was there.  Note to self: don’t rely on studs, (several) good dry wall anchors are all you need.  As a result of attempting to hit a stud, the hooks are not centered on the board.  Not a big deal, but still…

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I would suggest pre-drilling the mdf at the location of each hook with a countersink drill bit.  Then, hold the board up to the wall, making sure it is level, and mark the drilled spots.  Install wall anchors where you have made your marks. Put the board back up, aligning the holes you made with the anchors and screw it in.

I made a template for the hooks with a sheet of paper.  Top of paper = top of board, dots for the screw holes, and a center line.  Sadly, I didn’t take a picture of this.  I taped the template up and pre-drilled the holes for the hooks before painting (but after the board was attached to the wall).  Caulk around the edges, paint, then put up the hooks once it’s dry!

Caulk tip: press the tip of the caulk gun into the groove as you move along the seam you are filling.  You will hardly need to do any smoothing if you push as you go.  Just moving the caulk gun along like it’s icing (not pushing into the wall) does not work as well.   Trust me.

Flower Power

3 May

April showers bring May flowers..

We have two planters in the front yard and I’ve been having fun filling them with seasonal flowers.  The tulips in this photo have sadly died away (and the snap dragon doesn’t look too hot anymore either).  Now it’s time for new pretty flowers!  But before I plant something new, I thought I would take a moment to appreciate the old flowers one last time.

How to Reupholster a Chair

4 Apr

I decided I needed to recover my dining room chairs because some of them had sustained a little sun damage and were unraveling at the corners.

The chair before:

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::POOF::

The chair after:

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Now, wasn’t that quick and painless?  Oh my little fabric elves are amazing.  But seriously, the process took a lot longer than that.  And when I say a lot I mean a lot.

Step 1: Browse for and buy fabric

This involved scouting out internet sales and hemming and hawing over the fabric for way to long, asking my husbands opinion, and then saying screw it I’m buying it anyway.  Fabric.com was having a big sale on upholstery fabric, especially fabric they weren’t going to be stocking any more like this Robert Allen damask.  I fell in love with the photo online and after some internal debate and an email sent to my husband I ordered some.  I ordered 4 yards of it, which turned out to be waaaay too much.  I could have gotten away with ordering 2 yards, since this is 60″ wide fabric.

Step 2: Wait for said fabric to arrive

I can’t remember how long this step took, maybe 3 days?

Step 3: Fawning over fabric and trying to come up with a Plan

Since this is a damask, each side is the complete opposite of the other (so where you see brown on one side you see white on the other),  so this fabric has a darker side and a lighter side.  I spent a week or two deciding which side I liked the best.  At first I liked the lighter side best and dutifully covered one cushion before standing back and deciding I didn’t like it.  I’m a woman.  I’m allowed to change my mind, right? So then I had to rip it all out and start again.  Sigh.

Step 4: Actually cover the cushions

It probably took me about 45 minutes to do each chair.  So I guess, in theory this would have taken me 3 hours to cover all 4 dining room chairs.  I, however, only had the energy to cover one chair a night, with several nights in there thrown in for procrastination’s sake.  So yeah, this step probably took me a week to.

Here’s what I did:

First, remove all the screws that hold the cushion to the chair frame.

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I had 4 of them.  These screws were a little difficult to get out because they were so tight in there, but I muscled my way through.

Then lift the chair cushion off of the frame.

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It helps to have an inquisitive puppy to do the heavy lifting for you.

Then, center your cushion over a square of fabric (I made sure before hand that the square would indeed cover the cushion and cut out all four squares at once).

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You can see that this is the “lighter” side, which I deemed the “back” after much debate.

Next you should staple the front and the back down, being sure to stretch it tight.  I used 1/4″ staples for the sides and 1/2″ staples for the corners (which I had to run out and buy because I originally only had 1/4″ staples, and they weren’t long enough to go through the folds you have to make at corners).  Add another day to process.

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woo.. staples

Do the same thing to the sides and add a staple near each of the corners.  Sorry this picture is a little fuzzy.  I thought it was clear when I took it, and I’m not undoing my hard work to take another one.

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Then you’ll want to take the excess fabric by the corners, fold it, and stretch it over the corner trying to make it as flat as possible

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And then once you’re happy with it, staple it down.

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Then I cut off the excess with pinking shears to prevent fraying.

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And there you have it, a newly recovered dining room chair.

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And here it is on the chair, again.

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So unlike those other blogs that will tell you it will only take you 3 hours to cover your chairs.  I’m here to tell you the truth.

Time to cover dining room chairs: 18 days-25 days

I lost count.

Yep.  Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking it’s just going to take 3 hours.  They’re liars.

Secret Garden

12 Apr

I’m currently loving the idea of walls completely covered in plants like this


Photo Credit: Debra Prinzing

Our back yard is completely fenced in and is completely covered in decking, which is nice because there’s no mowing needed, but it’s sadly missing greenery.  I’m thinking of covering every square inch of the fencing in these woolly pockets and growing edible plants like vegetables, herbs, and fruits.

It would be like a farmers market in my back yard!  And look pretty to boot!

How Many: Bath Towels

19 Mar

My wardrobe plan (see part 1 and part 2) has got me thinking about how many of a particular item I need, so I thought I would start with another textile-esque item.. the bath towel.  I’m talking about the big one you dry off with after a shower, not the hand towel or the washcloth here.

How many towels does somebody need?

I read somewhere when I was registering for my wedding that you should buy 3 towels per person.  That way you’d be able to have one towel in the bathroom, one towel in the hamper, and one towel in the closet.  In my house we rarely have the issue of needing a towel that’s in the hamper so the extra one in the closet is needed, so I would say the minimum number of towels per person is really 2.  However, I like the idea of 3.

Why?

Guests.

If this number is going to be the absolute number of towels you own, I think 3 per person is a very good number.  Chances are at some point you’re going to have guests, whether it’s your parents or a friend, who will stay the night and require a towel.  If you’re single, 3 towels will allow you and each parent to have their own clean towel (if none of them are in the hamper that is!) without an additional purchase.  As a couple, we tend to host just one other couple at a time (either my parents, his parents, or our  friends), so having that extra towel in the closet is a good idea (and we don’t have to worry about the one in the hamper in case we can’t get to the laundry before they come).

The problem is, in our household we have way more 3 towels per person, and that’s not including hand towels or washclothes, I’m talking full on towels.  When we combined households we just combined towels plus bought a new set to use and be pretty.  So yes, we had our own sets, plus a brand new set.  Two really, because we got a set for our wedding but it wasn’t in a color we liked.

And as for color, I recommend white.  When we bought our new set, we went with a color because we thought it would match our bathroom decor, and it did.  But I think I prefer white, simply because it’s easy to match.  If one towel gets stained (washed one with a sarong I didn’t realize had never been washed before.. turned it pink), or ratty or anything, white is super easy to match.  I don’t think there is any way we’d be able to find the same color as that towel originally was.  Die lots change, styles change, but white is forever.  I might even have been able to save a white towel from my laundry room mishap with a little bleach, had it been white.  Plus white matches almost any decor in almost any bathroom, and you can buy it any year from now until infinity and white will still be white.

verdict: 3 white bath towels/person