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 042015
 
Memory Quilt Polaroid Style

Today I want to share with you  a fabulous way to preserve memories, especially if you have a ton of t-shirts or jerseys just laying around taking up drawer or storage space: A Memory Quilt.  This one is designed around the shape and design of Polaroid photos!

Memory Quilt  Polaroid Style

The finished quilt. Source.

Memory Keeper

Memory Quilt Polaroid Style

LOVE LOVE LOVE IT

It appears I am a real sentimentalist.  Perhaps a bit more than others.  Since I began blogging here at Nicer Than New, I have had a few posts about preserving memories and memorabilia.  The first was called “The Memory Keeper” back in May.  In it, I related how 5 amazing kids grew up on my little court and are now all in university.  I was always the neighbourhood photographer.  They always knew I would have a camera in hand to record their shared events.

The next entry also had to do with photographs when I asked “Are Photo Albums a Thing of the Past?”   I sure hope not but I will keep filing pictures away in hopes the next generation will appreciate the effort.

I also shared a Photoshop creation of my daughter in a ballet pose.  I made it look like an oil painting and printed it on stretched canvas.  A most treasured creation.

My 18 year old daughter has grown up in the digital age.  Memories are shared instantaneously and then  left out there in cyber-world.  Lovely Miss Nice danced on a competitive dance team for 12 years, performed in small plays, public speaking events and many other activities where you get a T-shirt.  They were all stuffed in a drawer.  We also still have team track suits, bits of costumes etc. 

Knowing she was off to university last September, I wanted to send her with some cozy piece of memorabilia to remember her pre-uni days.

My lovely niece, Sheilagh (yes, we are of Irish decent!), who loves to quilt  agreed to help me out.  By day, she is a commercial  interior designer so of course I left the design up to her.  She had always wanted to try a Polaroid design and I agreed.

Be sure to visit her blog: Lay it on Me Baby and check out her post on this design.  Be sure to look at all her GORGEOUS designs!  BTW:  Isn’t that the best blog name for someone who started out making Baby Quilts!  Love it!

Memory Quilt:  Polaroid Style

I raided Miss Nice’s room to dig out t-shirts and other stuff we have both stashed away over the years… Montessori pre-school t-shirt, dance competition t-shirts, her dance team track suit, t-shirts from voluteer activities including her trip to the Philippines and swatches for dance competition costumes to name a few.

I did not tell Miss Nice of our plan.  My niece lives in London, Ontario which is a couple hours drive from Toronto.  When I delivered to her the fabulous Mid-Century coffee table I refinished for her last spring, I also passed on a garbage bag full of all the t-shirts etc.  Miss Nice was with me and had no idea!

I asked for a “throw” sized quilt and I wanted one side to be a soft “Minky” type of fabric. 

The end result is so fun and quite artistic.  Since each piece is small, she “cropped”  the t-shirt in some interesting ways.  Others may not know the significance but Miss Nice does. 

Here are a few:

Montessori Pre-School.

They had a t-shirt they wore on school excursions.  Yup!  I saved it!

Memory Quilt  Polaroid Style

The insignia from her Montessori Pre-School. She thrived there!

Dance Studio Track Suit

Memory Quilt  Polaroid Style

Competitive dance for 12 years.

 

NBA Raptors Mini Dance Pack

This was so much fun for her and her best friend to be selected to be part of this team when she was 10 or 11.  Yes, she danced on the basketball floor at quarter time!  Funnily,  to this day, she has NO CLUE about basketball!

Memory Quilt  Polaroid Style

NBA Raptors Mini Dance Team

Swatch from her School Uniform

Miss Nice attended a designated Arts School for 6 years.  She owned only ONE KILT for all that time.  No regrets having that thing cut up!

Memory Quilt  Polaroid Style

A swatch from her school kilt.

Swatch from Summer Camp Hat

Miss Nice attended the Centauri Summer Arts Camp four summers.  If your child is interested in the arts and you want to give them an amazing experience with professionals in their fields, be sure to check out their website.   If you go the the Musical Theater page, Miss Nice is pictured in the banner.  In summer of 2016, she hopes to be a counselor there.

Memory Quilt  Polaroid Style

Fabulous Arts Camp near Niagara Falls, Canada

Service Trip to the Philippines

When Miss Nice was in Grade 11, over her Christmas break, she traveled with a group of students and teachers to assist in building houses and working with kids in the slums of Manila.  It was rewarding and life changing.

Memory Quilt  Polaroid Style

Life changing experience

Intricate Stitching

Beyond the very clever design, you can see in the photos the intricate stitching Sheilagh used.  Working with t-shirt material was a bit tricky but we think the end result is PERFECT:  A cozy back with all sorts of special memories on the front.

What a lucky girl!

What do you do with t-shirt and other textile memorabilia?

Ever thought of having a quilt made?

I look forward to all your comments
and be sure to follow me any way you wish!

 

Joan

Mar 042014
 

A few weeks ago, I posted “Do YOU Have a Designer’s Eye?” describing how my interior designer niece spotted a special little table,  in a dark photo of a bunch of tables, in a garage.  She was very excited when I told her I had indeed acquired said cute table and would be happy to give it to her.

sheilagh_06

Auction purchase

From the moment I picked up this table,
all I could think of were the house
the Jetson’s lived in. LOL

jetsons-googie

The Jetson’s

Sheilagh, my niece, loves Mid Century Modern for it’s clean lines and simplicity and also because many MCM pieces were well constructed from real wood.  This table is no exception. 

Sheilagh and her husband have only been married a couple of years and they also purchased a lovely but small home.  In other words,  they do not have room for big pieces of furniture AND they are on a tight budget.  The latter must be extra difficult when you are a designer with designer tastes!

I took a peak at her Pinterest “Living Room” board and quickly realized why she spotted the table.  Here are a few of the tables she had pinned as her “perfect” coffee table.

pin5

Image from Yahoo … no Price

I became perfectly clear, why she spotted this little table in the dark photo!  But unlike the tables above, our little table is ORIGINAL, Canadian made by a highly regarded manufacturer and it is much much CHEAPER! 

Given her decor and her plans for a new sectional sofa, she knew EXACTLY how she wanted the table finished.

IMG_1558

Walnut stain and cloud white supports and legs.

What do you think?  Personally, I LOVE IT! 

She and I both have a love for walnut finish so there was no argument there.  It could have been all walnut but the white really modernizes and brightens the look.

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I love the contrast

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The white brightens the look!

IMG_1558

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Here is the top when I purchased it…

sheilagh_02
And here is the top now!

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The top and shelf are just gorgeous!

I am so happy to help someone so artistic… it’s quite flattering!  The best compliment came from her husband.  Sheilagh showed him an “after” picture and he thought it was another of her designer table “pins”!

This table is truly Nicer Than New!

Joan

 

 

Oct 282013
 
Cody

My dog’s idea of keeping me company while I work!

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Okay, I admit it.  I pick up other people’s trash.
It started a year ago.
Now it’s an addiction.
When walking the dog or driving, I’m on the look out.
I make U-turns.  I scurry back to the site.
What can I say?

Last year, while walking my dog on trash day, I spotted a beat up but very solid wooden parson’s table.  It had apparently been used  as a play / colouring table for kids because it was a mess of paints, crayons and gouges.  But it was solid,  nothing sanding and paint would not fix.  I zoomed over later with my car and brought it home.

Sadly I don’t have a true before picture but let me say, this little table has become a very useful practice piece for me.

Life #1:  It was  sanded down and spray painted with a metallic paint.  Sadly, the top was not sanded smooth enough to look good.

Life #2: The top was  re-sanded, removing the paint.  I decided I didn’t want it to be metallic so I just left it and used it as a low work table.

Life #3:  It became a test piece for transferring graphics with Citra-Solve and Mod Podge

So here it is in it’s hodge podge state of metallic paint, a bit of primer and graphics transfer samples.

LEGO_04

LEGO_07

Life #4  for this table was inspired by Beckie at Infarrantly Creative.
Using an 80’s style coffee table., Beckie created an ingenious LEGO TABLE for her kids.
Her table is GORGEOUS!  She really had a great vision!  I think she should patent those plans!

My idea for this table was to NOT make it cute or perfect.  This little table is my second Great Aunt project and will be used by three little boys.  Repeat: THREE boys!  So as a play table, it should be capable of taking some abuse.

Using left over ivory homemade chalk paint, I painted the frame with one coat then lightly distressed it, allowing the grey metallic paint to show through.  I reversed printed a CONSTRUCTION COMPANY SIGN using their last name on two sides and a shorted version on the other two sides.  I applied the words using the Modge Podge method I used here.

Since the Mod Podge needs to thoroughly dry, I moved on to a chair I was painting black.  Every time I looked over at the little table I thought it just looked too…

CLEAN and WHITE.

Especially for a “construction crew”.

LEGO_10

LEGO_12

On my way to wash the black paint out of my brush, I took a chance and

DRY BRUSHED the table with BLACK.
YES!!! A grunge look!

Grunge! That’s more like it!

 

LEGO_23

The Mod Podge transfer worked very well.
Now for the Lego Plates.

I used a carpenter square to make sure the Lego Building Plates were level with each other and Weldbond glue.  I placed a large heavy book and a weight on them and waited for them to dry.

DSCN1626

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A large Rubbermaid bin fits under it!
(NO they do not have that much Lego! LOL)

I love how it turned out.   It definitely has a “masculine” look about it.
I am not going to wax or apply Varathane either.
I would say it’s rough and ready for building!

I’d say it’s definitely

“Nicer Than New”

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Oct 232013
 

The prospect of becoming a Grandmother is many years off in my future.  However, I have had the privilege of being a Great-Aunt many times over.  Of late, I seem to have an urge to practice the grandmother role and my niece’s adorable little boys have been my target.  There are THREE of them ages 7 and under!  I love reading her Facebook posts of a life with boys.  Having had only one child, a daughter, I can only imagine her life with three boys.

One of my current painting projects is a cool little something for the  little guys.  I’m loving how it is coming along but it’s not quite done.  In the meantime, I thought I would share the bedroom furniture I finished last summer for Xander, the 7 year old.

In the spring,  I scored a free vintage children’s desk and dresser.  It’s just too difficult to turn down decent FREE furniture…even when you have absolutely no use for it!  So I offered to paint them for Xander’s room.   He happens to LOVE ORANGE.  To tame the orange theme, my niece also selected a grey and blue.  Perhaps I need to qualify the last sentence … My niece and her certified interior designer sister selected the colours.  They are all from all Benjamin Moore:

My nieces live in another city so we used Pinterest to gather and share ideas on a shared board.  Pinterest was the perfect tool for collaborating on this project.  However, there were so many options and super creative ideas out there, I just couldn’t decide for the longest time.  In the end, I chose to paint stripes and I am happy I did!

This project was pre-blogging but I always tried to take pictures of my projects.  (Perhaps I foresaw my blogging future?)
I LOVE how the pieces turned out.  The stripes remind me of race cars!

Xander chair copy

Cleaning and prepping in the sun

desk and chair copy

I love the orange and grey combo!

Done cropped copy

If I were a 7 year old boy, I think I would love it!

I spray painted the knobs in Rustoleum’s Brushed Nickel and replaced the more ornate pulls with simple ones from Home Depot, so to not distract from the clean lines.

The chair in the pictures was a Goodwill find and the local Fabricland had the perfect orange upholstery fabric in the remnants bin.

These may not be to my personal taste but I love how it all came together
and  Xander now has a very cool big boy room!

These pieces are so unique and much

“Nicer Than New”!

Be sure to come back and see my next Great Aunt project.

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