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!

IMG_5423

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

Mar 302015
 

In my very first post on this blog nearly 2 years ago, I shared my dining room update.  I had become tired of the “granny” look of dark wood Duncan Fyfe style and was hoping to replace the look with something more fresh and contemporary.  However, when I tried to sell the set together or individual pieces, I was offered very little.  We were also installing dark hardwood so the dark wood had to go.

Looking at that very first post, I am a bit embarassed at the layout and photos etc.  But what it does tell me is just how much I have learned and grown in these many months.  

In that first post, the dining room was still a work in progress,.  So today, I would like to share the dining room in its now more finished state.

Before:  Dark and Granny-like

dining room update granny fresh paint furniture

I couldn’t sell the pieces for much so why not paint!

 

After:  Bright and Fresh

dining room update granny fresh paint furniture

How it looks from the doorway

I just love the fresh look.  I was worried it might be a bit feminine for my husband but he loves it too.

Note:  This post contains NO affiliated links.  Just the facts.

I love turquoise.  In the original post, the buffet and china cabinet were painted BM Buxton Blue but once they were in the room, we felt there was not enough contrast with the walls so I added one more coat of a darker BM Province Blue.  Sadly, I don’t remember the grey colour’s name.

I not only painted the furniture, I also painted the shiny brass fixtures with Antique Brass from Rustoleum and the valance over the drapes.

All the fabric for drapes and upholstery,  was purchased at Tonic Living, a Toronto based online fabric store.  I made the drapes and had someone upholster the chairs but since then, I have learned a bit more about upholstering and would most likely do it myself.

I picked up the two chairs with the knot fabric on Kijiji for $15 each.  Not bad!

The Eiffel Tower poster started out as a photo I took on our visit in 2011.  I saw a very expensive print on Etsy or somewhere and I decided to try doing something myself.  I uploaded my photo to Photoshop Elements, added a layer with words describing the history of the tower, a layer or two of textures and then just played with it.  I think it is fantastic in this room!

The Roman Numeral clock was in our family room and was purchased at Homesense, the Canadian version of the US Home Goods.

IMG_5277

I love my apple green bird! He brightens up any room

We received the 3 prints over the buffet as a wedding gift.  They all depict skiing scenes and were so appropriate for us because we met in a ski club!  We still love them after nearly 28 years!  They were in the living room but look so great in here.

IMG_5270

The bar cart with crystal and tulips

I still haven’t painted the bar cart I picked up at an estate auction.  I shared it with you in this post where I asked for colour advise.  It is still too cold here in Toronto to do spray painting outside.  But when I do finish it I will be sure to share.

IMG_5289

The china cabinet and my wood “runner”

Originally I thought I wanted to get rid of the china cabinet because I had a mini buffet and mirror on this angled wall.  But once I saw how these pieces looked painted, I knew I wanted to keep it.   The mini buffet and mirror were perfect in the foyer!  See it’s transformation here.

We love the white table because we no longer feel the need to protect the wood with a table clothe.  But we still need to protect it from hot dishes.  One day, I stumbled over an unfinished pine shelf board and decided to stain it with my favourite walnut stain and plop it on the table.  We love it as it ties into the hardwood floors the knotted fabric and it withstands hot plates!

I picked up those cute lotus flower candle holders at one of my rare trips to Target.

IMG_5268

I love the large art piece on the right!

We have a very large family room with a full sized snooker table and I had purchased the large art piece above for that space.  I was looking for something to fill this wall when I had a brilliant moment and brought this huge piece from the family room to this room and was so pleased with how it looked.  To fill the wall again in the family room, I created a “Carry On” poster you can see here.

The other change we made which made a BIG impact is we removed the french doors to the room.  They were awkward and hit the cabinet.  When complaining to my neighbour she looked at me and said “Why don’t you remove them”.  Like why in tarnation did I not think of that.  It was brilliant.  Not only can you see the loveliness of the room, we actually go in there more!

IMG_5283

A colourful vignette lovely dried hydrangeas, citrus and my favourite apple green bird!

IMG_5262

My sweet Chester

My Labradoodle doesn’t photo-bomb, he just hangs out.  But this picture is not just about him, it really shows the lovely detail of the legs in this set.  Personally I think it really makes them pop, much better than natural wood.

Pinnable copy

What a change!

 I am so happy I couldn’t sell these pieces! I L-O-V-E this room.  And I saved us a ton of money!  I also like the fact I was able to “shop my home” for items to decorate in here.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this transformation.
I would love to hear what you think.
Have you ever been this daring?

For me, it is all so much
Nicer Than New!

 

 

Joan

Oct 272014
 

Last week, I shared the Vintage Secretary Desk I completed for a client.  I love the way it turned out with the grey paint and the contrasting walnut stained top.  It looked so fresh.

Updated Vintage Secretary Desk

Updated Vintage Secretary Desk Before and After

This desk also came to me with a chair.  A very dark chair with gold velour upholstery.  I love the shape of it and the lovely caned back but it too needed an update.

Chair

Desk and Chair

I primed and painted the chair the same SW West Highland White I used for the cubbyholes on the desk.  Then I covered the chair is a lovely peacock fabric, picking up the grey of the desk.

reupholster desk chair

A lighter, fresher look.

Steps to reupholster a basic chair:

Re-upholstering a chair like this is relatively simple.  I considered doing a tutorial but there are a plethora of similar tutorials out in Blogland so I will just give you the key points. (NO affiliate links)

  • Unscrew the seat from the base
  • Remove the existing cover and foam by removing all the staples. 
  • Using the wood seat base as a guide, cut 3 or 4 inch foam at least one inch bigger all around.
    • This excess with ensure you cover the wood edges when you add the new fabric.
    • I have a basic electric knife I use specifically to cut foam
  • Using the wood seat base with the foam on top of it as a guide to cut the fabric.  Be sure to make it large enough to wrap both and be able to staple underneath,
  • Optional:  Add a layer of quitting batting over the foam / under the fabric.
  • Center the fabric over the seat and begin to staple.
    • I like to begin with a few staples on one side then go to the opposite side and pull tight and staple a few there. And continue until you are finished.
    • I have used a regular wood staple gun but often they are not powerful enough.  I purchased a stronger stapler requiring a compressor and it makes all the difference.  I am fortunate to have a neighbour with a compressor who lets me “store” it for him.

The upholstering part of the chair took about an hour. The basic tools I used really help, especially the pneumatic stapler.

Reupholster desk chair

Basic Upholstery Tools ~ source ~ source ~ source ~ source ~      

Here is how the desk and chair look now. 

What a transformation! 

I just love these pieces and kind of wish I could have kept them 😉

 

reupholster desk chair

Vintage Secretary Desk and Chair before and After

What do you think?

Have you upholstered a basic chair? 

How did it go?

I have a few bigger and more complex pieces I want to try and upholster soon.  Stay tuned.

Be sure to follow me by email or Bloglovin to keep up to date.

Joan

Sep 112014
 

About 12 years ago, when my daughter first began dancing competitively, I made her a ribboned memory board for her room.  It was perfect for displaying ribbons, pins, photos etc from the competitions.  Over the past decade, the board has collected so much memorabilia, I am surprised it can stay on the wall.

Here is the state it is in now. 

mere_board

There are YEARS of memories on this board!

After I made this one, she and I made several more to give to her friends as Christmas gifts.  Instead of cork, which is expensive, I used a product called Homasote.  It comes in 4 ft x 8 ft sheets from a building centre.  Builders use it to sound proof walls.  It’s relatively light and soft enough to allow the use of pushpins. 

Here is the one in my office:

My Board

Oh my! I need to add more recent pictures!

It is 48″ x 36″ and I love it!  ( I won’t be sharing the state of the desk below this any time soon!  It looks like my office was ransacked by burglars!

At the end of August, my lovely daughter moved to Kingston, Ontario to begin her new adventures at Queen’s University.  Miss Nice is not overly sentimental so I was surprised when she asked me if I would make her another memory board.  And two of her friends wanted one too.  They do have bulletin boards over their desks but they wanted something “pretty”.

I realized I had a problem and could not make them the way I normally did.  You see, the walls in her residence / dorm room are cinder block so no nails can be added.  Although the Homasote is light, it would most likely be too heavy for a Command Strip.  So I needed to put on my thinking cap.

Michaels just happened to be having a sale on canvases in a 2 pack.  So I picked up four 18″ x 24″  Then, I dropped by Dollarama, where I knew I could get two 12″ cork tiles for $2.00.  I had the rest of the supplies already.  I have so much fabric stashed away as well as quilting batting, ribbon and boxes of the nice upholstery tacks.  I picked up the stash of ribbon 12 years ago when a large Canadian craft store chain went out of business.  Why I bought so much is beyond me.  Perhaps another sign of OCD 😉

pinnable

Instructions below

Here are most of my supplies. (Note:  there are NO affiliation links in this post.  Just links to products I used).

Supplies

Gather supplies

ribbon

Cork and ribbon

tacks

Upholstery tacks

Here is the process I used:

  1. I glued the cork to the front of the stretched canvas using a general purpose white wood glue.  I had to cut some of the cork pieces to make it fit. I needed three squares of cork for each board
  2. Using spray adhesive, I attached a layer of quilting batting to the cork.  This will make the board look more tufted.
  3. After cutting and ironing the cream on cream damask table cloth fabric I had, I covered each of the boards by stapling the fabric to the back of the wooden frame  with my power staple gun.
  4. Then I measured out where the ribbons would go on each edge and marked the spot with a straight pin.  I had the ribbon meet at FOUR spots on each side.    I attached the ends of the ribbon to the back with the staple gun.
  5. Finally, where each ribbon crossed, I added an upholstery tack as well as tacks along the outside edges.

Voila!  Three very light-weight memory boards.  It took me about 3 hours.   

boards2

I love the colours!

boards1

The tack on the outside edge is a great touch

side

I used brass tacks for the navy ribbon and silver for the others.

Cost:

Canvases: 2 for $16  x 2 = $32 — I still have one canvas leftover so the real cost is $24
Cork: 2 for $2 x 5 +=$10 (I have one cork square left)
Fabric, Ribbon, Tacks, Glue and Staples = $0

Each board cost less than $12.  Bargain!

However, the Command Strips were $6 each!!

Regardless the girls were thrilled and Miss Nice’s board looked pretty in her room. Howeverm it did look small on her long empty wall.

What I would do differently is:

  • use a far bigger canvas
  • make the diamonds larger

Other than that, I loved the way they turned out.  Homasote does warp a bit but these frames are  nice and square.

Have you ever made a memory board?
What materials did you use?

Joan

Sep 032014
 

I am declaring September 1st as my New Year’s Day!

September 2013 is when I began to blog in earnest meaning it is now my one year anniversary of blogging.  However, I must admit, I am not celebrating.  I am actually very disappointed in myself.  In reality I blogged, “in earnest”, up until April.  Then I fell into a slump and my entries became very sporadic to the point where this is the first entry since mid-July!  A mere 48 days!  How can I call myself a blogger and create a following if I don’t post anything???

I can certainly come up with a number of excuses…all very lame!  Sure, it was a busy summer.  Breaking my ankle and saying good bye to our lovely dog did not help.  Then a week vacation.  Preparing for Miss Nice to go off to University also occupied my mind and my energies.  Not to mention the arrival of a new fur baby, Chester.  More about him in another post.

Like I said LAME excuses.
If I were honest, I just got LAZY!

However, I did THINK about my blog often.  I’ve been thinking about:

  • the design: fonts and backgrounds.  I changed it up a few months ago but I am not completely happy
  • developing a series or two: a topic or theme I can post once a week allowing me to plan ahead
  • hosting a link party or becoming a co-host with some other bloggers.
  • but most of all, I thought about how to motivate myself to finish the b-zillion projects I have been ignoring for MONTHS!!!  After all, that was why I started the blog!  To share my passion for updating furniture, sewing, cooking and other crafty stuff.

Three days ago, we dropped Miss Nice off at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario to begin the next exciting phase in her life. 

Throughout my life, I always felt September 1st should be New Year’s Day because unlike January, so many new things happen in September.  Not just back to school but the end of the summer routine and more time indoors.  In January, it is just the same ole same ole.

So I am declaring September 1st to be is my New Year’s Day
and
my New Year’s resolution
is to get off my butt and
DO THE THINGS I LOVE! 

  • start writing posts.  I love writing and sharing!
  • finish painting the 7 pieces I have partially completed … for other people!  (My friends and family have far too much patience for me!)
  • work through the other pieces I have in the garage including some upholstery projects I was once so eager to get at.
  • organize my office! I have a wonderful, large space but it is by no means pretty.  It is a disaster.  You guessed it… a disaster of unfinished projects!
  • workout more.  My ankle is healed and getting stronger so why am I not visiting the gym.

I could go on but I will not for now.

I hope by the official New Year, I will be well on my way with these few resolutions.  Check back  in four months…

Do you agree September 1st should be New Year’s Day? 

resolution

…and a better blogger!

Happy New Year

Joan

Jul 112014
 

Ombre NEVER seems to lose its appeal.  We see it in everything!  I would like to share some ombre inspirations I have stumbled across…

Ombre collection copy

I recently posted a picture of my daughter in her senior prom dress.  Interestingly, it was in an ombre style.  There were a few ombre dresses at this prom and I think the style really set them apart from the “everyday” prom dress … if there can even be such a thing!

Senior Prom - OMBRE

Regardless, the dress was stunning and let’s face it, not everyone can wear GREEN and get away with it!  I certainly cannot!

This dress has inspired me to perhaps paint one of the dressers I have in the queue using  an ombre technique.  I went to Pinterest for some inspiration and I thought I would share my finds with you.

 OMBRE  IS EVERYWHERE

  • FOOD
  • BUILDINGS AND DECOR
  • FASHION
  • AND OF COURSE FURNITURE

FOOD

I have to admit, Green and Blue cake do not really appeal to me but these cakes are GORGEOUS!

BUILDINGS AND DECOR

 

FASHION

Hair, nails, fabric, shoes…

 

FURNITURE

Dressers in particular lend themselves to being painted using an ombre technique, due to the fact the drawers can each be a specific colour. 

I love the dresser on the left with shades of green on the top and shades of turquoise on the lower drawers.

The dresser on the right is very unique and shows us that all ombre treatments need to be done with paint.  Brilliant!

two shade ombre

Source

52555e14dbfa3f0dd40005df._w.406_h.540_s.fit_

Source

 

I hope you enjoyed this round up of Ombre Inspiration.  I’m not sure what shades I will choose for the dresser in my garage.  Stay tuned.

Have you ever finished a piece or wall or whatever using the ombre technique?
If you did, what colours did you use?

Love to here from you!  Comments make my day!

Joan

May 032014
 

Have you ever had a client who knew they wanted a piece painted but was just not sure of the colour?  Read on and find out how you can use a photo editor to help them….

For decades, I have dabbled in Photography. Back in the day, I even took a course on developing my own black and white film. Sadly at the time, I was in an apartment and did not really have room for a little lab. Other than that, most of what I know is self taught. You see, I am the kind of person who, when they take up an interest, gets every book I can get my hands on. This is true about PhotoShop Elements too.

As I have previously revealed, my daughter danced competitively from an early age. Competitive dance is darn pricey so when the studio photos came back looking crappy, and you had to pay in advance before you saw them, I decided it was time to do my own thing. Besides, I preferred the “live” shots we could get from the photographers at the dance competitions. Often, several moms would approach them and strike a deal, combining many entries for a lower price. With these digital photos, I would work my “magic” in Photoshop Elements. It was a labour of love because I not only loved the dancers, I loved playing and learning new techniques. As time went on, I learned more and more while Photoshop Elements improved with each version, making it easier.

I must admit my early work was a bit simple but the studio photographer was doing what I was doing and charging a small fortune. Fast forward a couple years and soon, my stuff was pretty nice and unique. Soon parents wanted me to work on their photos. And I did. But I knew I would not want to do it as a long term business, knowing we would leave the dance world in a few years. My daughter and I even dabbled in dance performance photography. She was very good because she can anticipate the moves. For example, she would know when a jump might be happening and catch it perfectly. However we both knew our love dance did not entail photographing dancers for hours on end.

Regardless, we and many of the other dance families now have amazing photos of our dancers. Here are a couple examples…

I did this one for a dance mom and daughter.  I took 4 live performance photos from a contemporary dance number (taken by the competition photographer) and created a collage with a new background.  The bottom photo lets the real floor show through, thereby not losing the lighting and shadows.

room with three frames

One of my favourites “creations” is when I  extracted my daughter from a ballet group.  Once extracted, the resolution was poor so I used a variety of techniques to make it look like a painting. I then had it printed on a  large canvas.  It is not only beautiful, it could become an heirloom (if such things still exist!)

The first photo is the live stage shot we purchased.  My daughter loved her perfect arabesque. (Note our studio was not strong in ballet so ignore the rest!)

ballet group

Group shot

 This is want I did with it.  It may not be evident but in reality, it looks like a painting.
Definitely my favourite Photoshop project!

ballet painting

Extracted and stylized as a painting

Okay, so brag time is over.  What does all this have to do with “ENVISIONING” and painting furniture??

Well, for me, it is a snap to help a client decide on a colour.  I simply upload a picture into Photoshop Elements and “colourize” the piece.

This was certainly true with a desk a client dropped off.  When I saw it, I fell in love with it.  It is very unique and I asked if she was sure she wanted to paint it.  (There will be paint haters out there who will be upset with us… but I DID ask!)  She just wants a brighter look in the room…

Here is the gorgeous piece before:

andrea before

Is this not the cutest desk?? Inside the doors are cubbies!

She had some colour ideas but could not decide.  So being a diplomatic person, I decided to help her. 

  1. I uploaded the file in Photoshop Elements
  2. Using the Quick Selection tool, I selected the desk and de-selected the windows in the doors and the desk top which will remain wood.
  3. I added a layer, reduced the opacity to 70% or so and then filled the selection with colour.

I sent her the following renditions based on her ideas:

blue

Blue

fushia

Fushia

grey

Grey

red

Red

As you can see it is very crude but it only took me 10 minutes!  She loved that she could visualize how it would look after. 

Which one do you like? 
There is a chair and its upholstery in the equation too.

Have you used a photo editor to help you or you client visualize? 

Leave me a comment and tell me about it.  I LOVE COMMENTS!!

Stay tuned and come back to see the result!

Joan

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