Apr 162015
 

Today I’d like to share with you how to make DIY custom shaped chair cushions, including cutting the foam, fabric and putting it together.

DIY Custom Shaped Chair Cushions

DIY Custom Shaped Chair Cushions

Late last summer, I picked up a really cute wicker settee and 2 chairs.  (I swear I took pictures of them before and during the refinish process but for the life of me,  I cannot find them!  Don’t you hate that!??)  My nieces and nephews are all young professionals, some with young families, trying to make ends meet.  So when I scored these three pieces at a bargain price, I offered them to my nephew and his wife Laura.  Laura has a great sense of style and really spruced up the curb appeal of their semi detached home located in an area of Toronto, referred to as “the Danforth”.  The Danforth is also home to Greek town, lots of great shops and restaurants and it is right on the main subway line.  All those amenities make prices high and the older homes small.  Regardless, they have a cute covered front porch and they were thrilled to have some free furniture to put out there.

DIY Custom Shaped Chair Cushions

Great curb appeal

She wanted a dark brown finish.  I planned on staining them as I had with my chairs here but when I set to work on them, I found the chairs were not wicker or rattan but PLASTIC!  Sure fooled me!  What a good fake!  So I ended up spray painting them with Rustoleum’s Ultra Cover in Espresso because it adheres to plastic.  The rich colour will look great on their porch.

She found cushions for the settee and I volunteered to make some cushions for the chairs since they were rounded and all she could find was square one. She picked up fabulous outdoor fabric for only $5 a meter because it was nearing the end of summer.  I LOVE this fabric!  I have been crushing on Apple Green for months!

Cutting the Foam

I had some 2″ foam from a big boo-boo I made a few months back when I ordered foam that was too small for the project but it was perfect for this.  Using newspaper, I created a pattern from the chair seat then I traced it on to the foam.

DIY Custom Shaped Chair Cushions

Note the cricket and hockey player photos! Hey! I live in Canada!

I had purchased this electric knife specifically for cutting foam.  It works so well. 

Note:  When cutting foam, you need to pay attention that the blade is at right angles to the face of the foam.  Otherwise you will need to trim it more to make it flat versus angled.

Once I cut the foam, I used the same newspaper pattern to cut out the fabric,
I added another 1/5 inch all the way around for the seam allowance.  Then I cut long 3″ wide strips for the sides of the cushion.

DIY Custom Shaped Chair Cushions

Top and bottom pieces cut 1/2″ wider on all sides for the seam allowance
  and then 3″ long strips for the sides (2″ plus seam allowance)

Pinning and sewing

So many bloggers show every minute detail  but since I have been sewing for decades, I just cut to the chase!

I found the centre back and with right sides together, I started to pin the long side piece all the way around.  Rather than sew together the two ends where they meet, I decided to overlap them.  I think this helped to keep the pieces taut. 

DIY Custom Shaped Chair Cushions

I pinned the side piece all the way around and overlapped the ends where they met.

DIY Custom Shaped Chair Cushions

Here is the overlapping. I did do a finished hem on the one that would end up being on the outside.

Sewing and Finishing

I machine stitched the above pieces together, trimmed the seam and zigzagged the edges because this fabric was really ravelling.

I then pinned the bottom piece on to the other edge of the side piece.  I machine stitched it and finished it in the same manner but I did not stitch it all they around.  I needed the opening to insert the foam.  I did however iron the piece where the seam should be so it would be easier to hand stitch closed.  Before I inserted the foam, I also added little ties at the back to keep it from moving off the chair.

DIY Custom Shaped Chair Cushions

Tab ties to hold it to the chair

After inserting the foam, I used a simple slip stitch to close it up! 

The entire process took me a few of hours and all the while I was listening to a recorded book, The Nightengale, by Kristin Hanna.  Fabulour book and a great way to pass the time while sewing, painting, cooking or commuting!

DIY Custom Shaped Chair Cushions

Nice pop of colour!

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NIce snug and smooth edges

DIY Custom Shaped Chair Cushions

Nice rounded edges: a custom fit!

DIY Custom Shaped Chair Cushions

A custom fit and a great Pop of color!

I sure wish I had the before pictures!  Basically they were that yucky yellowish rattan colour.  I think this brown is really rich and will tie into their house colour and the cushions will add that great pop of colour!

So what do you think?  Nicer Than New?

Have you have made shaped, custom cushions? 
I’d love to hear from you!  It makes my day!

 

Joan

Apr 102015
 

I recently spruced up a rustic “stand up” or “standing desk”. 

The update was pretty basic and I am now wondering:

“Should I have been a bit bolder?”

Rustic-standing-desk

I love it but did I play it all too safe?

Rustic Stand-up Desk

I scored this fabulously unique desk on MaxSold, an online auction here in Toronto.  I realized when I went to pick it up, the ad had not included the dimensions because it is BIG and TALL.  It is 47″ wide, 30″ high at the front, 35′ high at the back and 26″ deep

It was also hunter green, with black accents and a maple leaf decal on the front.  The flip top had a leather insert in great condition but a little dull. 

I apologize for the quality of the before pictures, they were from the original posting.

rustic-standing-desk

A very unique design but needing some TLC.  Got to love the maple leaf!

The first thing I did was apply some MMS Hemp Oil to the leather top to soften it and bring out a deeper more uniform black.

I sanded the unpainted wood and applied a darker stain.  After prepping the painted areas by cleaning and lightly sanding, I basically painted it with a few coats of a soft black: SW ?????, Pro Enamel in Satin.

I love how it turned out!  I went with a basic black to match the black leather insert.  I considered distressing it but it was basically “distressed” when I got it.  I guess I really wanted to return it to its former glory!

rustic-standing-desk

Essentially a “spruced up” version of its former self

rustic-standing-desk

With the lid open, you can see how rustic it is with a planked bottom inside the cubby.
I painted over the green side walls with red and added the same colour to the sides of the drawers.         

Question:  What was the purpose of this desk?

If any of you are familiar with stlye of desk, I would love to hear from you!  I did a bit of research and it could have been used by a teacher or a clergyman.  Now, I see it being used in someone’s foyer or in a restaurant at the hostess desk!

Question:  What wood is the top made out of?

I think the top is a type of pine but I am not sure.  What I did notice is the number of rings around the knots which makes me believe the top was made from very mature wood.

Question:  Was I too timid with this re-furbish?

Ah, there are so many options when it comes to up-cycling furniture.  Should I have found some funky new insert for the top instead of leather?  Should the paint be chippy or distressed in one of those “stylish” new colours? 

I don’t know but sometimes, I think unique pieces should perhaps have another few years of their original glory.

BEFORE

rustic-standing-desk

Hunter Green and the Maple Leaf just had to go!

AFTER

rustic-standing-desk

Simple restoration: was it enough?

 

BTW: the desk is for sale if you live in the Toronto area! 

Contact me if you are interested.  Price $200

I am very much looking forward
to your comments and input.

 

Do you think it is “Nicer Than New”
or should I have been bolder?

 

 

Joan

Mar 152015
 

Last year, I picked up a basic but functional bar cart at an estate auction for less than $50.  As I said, it is basic but I think it has potential and could become a welcome focal point when we entertain.   I noticed over the holidays bar carts were a very popular topic, inspiring me to do something fun with mine once the nicer weather arrives.  

Currently  the cart is sitting in a corner in our dining room without any definitive purpose.  I have been using it to display / store the cut crystal pieces I own and those I have also acquired at estate sales. 

barcart_04

Estate Sale Bar Cart in need of a New Look

 This cart does need some work because it is partially covered with an over spray of latex paint.  Meaning: I obviously need to do a better job protecting my stash inventory when spray painting in the garage. 

I have always planned on painting this piece but I am not sure what type of finish.  I do know I don’t want black.  I also think it will be moved around and possibly brought outside to the terrace or the deck.

Should I add a splash of colour? 

  • Yellow
  • White
  • Turquoise
  • ??

Or should I go metallic? 

  • Copper seems to be making a big comeback
  • Bronze:  the chandelier and sconces in the dining room are bronze
  • Nickel
  • Chrome

I went to the internet and Pinterest to get some inspiration.  There are lots of similar, simple carts out there but wow! They can be expensive!

Lolita Bar Cart, Gold

One King’s Lane $499

Emile Bar Cart, Nickel

One King’s Lane, Emile, $259

Chrome Metal with Black Tempered Glass Bar/ Tea Serving Cart

Overstock, Chrome Metal with Black Tempered Glass, $143

Safavieh Bar Cart - Gold

Target, Safavieh Bar Cart, $240

Pier 1, Lucette, $330

 I will admit right now that all of these look much more substantial and perhaps sturdier than mine but still, I could not find anything similar for under $100.  So even if I decide to get some fancier glass, I would be way ahead of the game.

I also saw some great practical ideas of how to styleize bar carts.  Once I decide how I will finish this one, I can’t wait to incorporate some of these ideas.

barcart_02

Love this little corner

 

So, I am open to suggestions as to how to re-finish this little gem. 

Add colour?

Add metallic?

Add different glass?

Be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts. 

The weather here in Toronto is improving and I will soon be able to get outside and paint this baby!

 

Joan

Jul 022014
 


pinnable miror copy

Adding a mirror to your outdoor space can be so effective.

We live in what many call a “raised bungalow”.  When you arrive at our front door, it looks like a bungalow but because we live on a ravine, we have TWO storeys at the back.  The “basement” is actually a walkout to a patio and backyard. 

However, one of the  best features  on our main / 3 bedroom bungalow floor, is the walkout rooftop patio with access from both the living room and the master bedroom.  Yes, it is VERY nice (if I do say so myself).

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Access to walkout from the living room.

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Access to walkout from Master Bedroom

When we moved in, this walkout had a wood railing and a blacktop floor covered by outdoor “turf” carpeting.  It was nice but not ideal.  The carpeting would get drenched and the large, yucky sort of maple tree next to it was always dropping stuff on it, requiring to be cleaned.  Our home up-keep philosophy is: every year, we do some sort of  a major upgrade or upkeep to our home.  This year it is the roof (…coming soon!).  However, about 5 years ago, we upgraded this walk out patio by removing the view obstructing wood railing and adding a classy glass railing.  In addition, we had an outdoor vinyl flooring installed.  Oh my!  What a difference!  In the summer, we use this area far more than our large deck with a outdoor dining table and chairs.

This walkout gets lots of shade and we love to take my morning coffee and newspaper out there.  You feel like you are in the country and not in the suburban metropolis of Toronto.

A year ago, I  saw a photo somewhere showing a covered patio with a mirror on the wall.  A lightbulb went off!   ” YES!   I want this”!!

Because as you can see, when you sit in some of the seats, you look at the sliding glass door and a brick wall.  How sad is that when everyone else sees  green nature!

Outdoor Mirror

From some seats, you miss out on the beautiful, natural view.

If you read my blog, you may know I  have been somewhat addicted to on-line estate sales.  It was through one of these sales, I found the perfect mirror!  This baby weighs a ton, is metal and was PERFECT!  Oh how I like perfect!

Outdoor Mirror

Heavy metal framed mirror for $25

So earlier this month, I taped it up and spray painted it with some Brown Rustoleum paint I had already.  Oh my, I could not wait to hang it  on my boring brick wall!

Mr. Nice did the honours of hanging and even he had to admit, it was a really nice addition.

Outdoor Mirror

Outdoor Mirror

I must admit when we did this upgrade, and we were shopping for furniture,  I knew the type I wanted.  But at the time I was not so obsesssed with colour.  AND being a very outdoor / natural  view, I wanted to see EARTH TONES when I looked out.  I am not sure I would choose brown cushions now, but it is what it is!

 

Outdoor Mirror

Enjoy the view!

This is only the beginning of the walkout freshening up!   Stay tuned for more! 

Don’t you love it?  It looks like a window!

Have you ever added a mirror to your outdoor space?

Joan

 

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Mar 162014
 

Earlier this week, I shared my “Clamping Adventure” where I used elastic bands to clamp the legs for a tri-legged pedestal table.  As silly as it sounds, it worked! IMG_1593   IMG_1604

I didn’t really have a plan for the tables until last week. While drooling over items on the Joss and Main website, I spotted this cute table and thought AHA!

Jessa+Side+Table

Jessa Side Table Regular Price $152
source

My little pedestal tables would look amazing in ALUMINUM!

I also found this steel table at Overstock

Bailey from Overstock 72

Bailey Table
$110
source

If you follow me, you may recall last December, I experimented with brush on metallic paint on a mirror frame.  I used a rust inhibitor paint in an aluminum  shade and I still had 3/4 of a can left.

Rust Paint in Aluminum

Rust Paint in Aluminum

One coat was all that was needed!

One coat was all that was needed!

I have been waiting for a project to come along so I could try this paint again!

To prepare the tables, the tops needed to be smoothed out.  The finish was bubbling and peeling so I used a stripper on the tops and then gave the tops a good sanding.  For the base, I did some light sanding and applied a de-glosser.

This paint is very thin compared to latex and a little bit of this paint goes a long way!  For the mirror, it went on so smooth, covered well and left no brush strokes but that piece was carved.

However, unlike the mirror frame, the surfaces of the table are smooth.  I found the paint ran easily on the vertical surfaces so I applied a very light coat.  Surprising it still covered well.

After First Coat
IMG_1621    IMG_1622

For the next coat, I developed a technique where I brushed the paint on with one sponge brush and then dry brushed over the paint with another sponge brush.  This really helped to smooth the finish and pick up any extra paint before it dripped.  I ended up doing 3 coats.

The final result was gorgeous!  However, I did note the pieces needed a topcoat because the finish was easily scuffed. 

IMG_0010

This was taken before the topcoat and shows the light scuffs.

The final results are AMAZING!!!

IMG_0007

IMG_0006

Soft and subtle finish

IMG_0014

The wood grain is still slightly visible.

IMG_0012

IMG_0009

The pedestal detail pops

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IMG_1593

BEFORE

IMG_0007

AFTER

Have you used metallic paint on wood?  Was it successful? 

I’d love to hear about your experience or your feedback on my little project.

To recap,  I had the glue, paint and topcoat products and the tables were $20 each! 

Lovely and unique tables for $40!

And So Much Nicer Than New

 Joan

Mar 132014
 

I seem to be drawn to pedestal tables.  They are pretty, don’t take up much space and can be used in various rooms.  In my recent on-line auction haul I picked up a slew of side tables…EIGHT to be exact.  Included were two small matching  mahogany tables from Bombay Company.  When I got them home,  they not only needed the tops refinished, the legs were wobbly and needed to be glued.  The gluing part is not issue.  The issue is how to clamp them!

IMG_1593

Yup! We still have snow!

Have you ever tried to clamp a tri-legged table?   There are ways to do it but it can require bar clamps, blocks of wood and  numerous other devices I just don’t have.  And there was no way I was going to stand there for an hour and press the legs into the slots. 

So I got creative.

First, I used a spare plastic syringe we have for administering a drug to our dog, to help squirt the glue into the gap.

IMG_1597

The tip could have been smaller but it did help to get the glue into the gaps.

Then for the clamping!  How about
ELASTIC BANDS??!

I rummaged in the kitchen for thick elastic bands which I then stretched and wrapped around the legs to pull them inward. 
I still stood there pressing for 10 minutes or so and

IT WORKED!!!! 

IMG_1604

The legs were not super loose so the gaps were small. 

For the second table, I placed a tray with a full can of wax on top of the overturned table and that worked even better!

IMG_1605

The full can supplied just the right amount of pressure.

Perhaps this makes me look a bit unsophisticated and lacking in the tool department
but I make up with it in
ingenuity!
Have you ever tried to clamp tri-legged pedestal legs? 
Is there a way I didn’t find or think of?
Should I be embarrassed for my lack of tools?

Stay tuned for the transformation I have planned
for these little beauties! 

It is another adventure into experimentation and
I think the end result will be

Nicer Than New!

Joan

 

 

 

 

Mar 082014
 

In the furniture lot I recently acquired via an on-line estate auction, there was a very simple pedestal table with a white and grey marble top.  The top had light scratches on it but what bothered me more, was the discolouration and stains. 

So of course I consulted the ever so wise GOOGLE and found I should mix up and apply a POULTICE.   That’s right… kind of like a “mustard plaster” for marble.  Regardless, it made some sense to me.

IMG_1496

Stains in a circular pattern

I mixed Hydrogen Peroxide and Plaster or Paris into a paste with the consistency of peanut butter.  The peroxide is a whitener and the P of P is an absorbent into which the stain is drawn.  This info came from the Marble Institute website.

IMG_1508

Mix up a poultice to the consistency of peanut butter

The poultice is then spread on your marble and it is covered saran wrap.  They suggest it should be left to dry for 24 to 48 hours.  Here is how it looked.

IMG_1509

Spread the poultice out like icing.

IMG_1511

Covering it with saran wrap allowed me to spread the poultice a bit more evenly

After 24 hours, I removed the saran wrap and let it dry for another 24 hours.

IMG_1520

Dried another day without the saran wrap.
(Looks like the surface of the moon LOL)

When I removed the dried poultice, I noticed a slight overall improvement.  The website indicated it could take up to 5 or 6 applications to draw out most of the stain.  I applied THREE poultices and I have to say the stain appeared to be 80% gone and the overall colour of the marble was whiter.

after4

After THREE poultice applications.

Sadly, I was unable to get out the scratches with a baking soda mix or a rub with extra fine steel wool.  When dealing with  vintage furniture, you can only take it so far.  And a few fine scratches show character and age. 

after1

To remove these scratches, I would need a professional polisher.

Even though I could not remove the fine scratches, I did seal the top with a marble sealant I had on hand  for my bathroom vanity.

So now that the top has been dealt with, it is time to look at the base.

I considered going safe with a grey and white finish. 

after2

The top is sealed and shiny.
Here are a couple of “Oops” samples I could try.

But Agh!  Too safe

The table is conservative and needs a new “look”. 
RED?  I wrapped it in red Christmas ribbon and it looked like a Valentine table. 

Then I looked at the can of “Maxi Teal” used on my “Mission: Colour ” foyer table and thought …ah that is more like it!  Or the “Buxton Blue” from my dining room buffet.

I tried a coat of BM’s Buxton Blue and it didn’t impress me so SW Maxi Teal it is!

It is so cute now and the teal adds the pop of colour I was looking for!

IMG_1579

IMG_1503

Before … blah

IMG_1580

After … definitely not blah!

IMG_1584

It’s snowing outside but this little vignette makes me think of spring!

IMG_1587

Spring is on it’s way!

table vignette

If you use the table, you can’t see the scratches!

My new squirrel looks happy!

Have you ever tried a Marble Poultice to remove stains?

The technique wasn’t 100% effective but for a $20 table and paint I already owned and love,
I think the little table looks fabulous!

Perhaps even

Nicer Than New!

Joan

 

 

 

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