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

Jul 142014
 

Earlier this summer, I decided I would give Container Gardening a try on my second story terrace.  After doing some research, I came up with some great ways to re-purpose containers I already had.

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I wanted to try my hand at growing a  tomato plant, a pepper plant and a bunch of herbs.   In the past, I tried to grow herbs in my little garden behind the house but because we live on a ravine, critters got into the tasty plants.  Ground hogs just LOVE herbs as do deers.  So a container garden on the upper terrace was the answer.

About the same time I was planning this little garden, my neighbours put two large fiberglass plant pots out on trash day.  As one who does not like to pass up FREE stuff, I wandered over on the pretense of taking my dog out and had a look.  They were big and blue and had no drainage holes.  The latter two features could be easily remedied!  They became MINE!!  One of them would be perfect for the tomato plant which I understand needs good soil, space and lots of light.

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Big and baby blue.

 I also remembered I had a RED Christmas-y wine bucket in the basement that I was using for a garbage can.  Being oval and with a medallion on the front, it would add some interest.  It was part of my Spray Paint to the Rescue post and it looks great in it’s new colour.

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Red to Dark Bronze in minutes!

Lastly, knew I had large EMPTY Rubbermaid bins in our storage area.  These are left over from dance costume and dress up clothes storage.  A phase in our family life that is now sadly long gone!

Using my drill I made holes in the bottom of these containers.

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Made good use of my trusty drill

The best find I came across was at our local Dollarama (Canadian dollar store that is EVERYWHERE!) !  They had these PERFECT flower pot supports with CASTERS for $2.50 and $3!   Bargain!

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These pot stands were PERFECT and so affordable!

So, I used the big, previously blue pot for the tomato, a saved poinsetta pot for the pepper and the ice bucket and Rubbermaid container for my herbs.  Best of all, they are now all on wheels!

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I love this little plant corner!

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If these end up ripening, they will be pricey but de-lish!

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This is such a tiny plant! Not sure how big these peppers will get!

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The herbs are doing great!

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The time is a bit skimpy but I added compost recently so hopefully these will florish.

So now I have TWO two natural vignettes to look at while I rest my broken tibula, drink my tea and read the news and my books! 

I am LOVING this space more and more this year.

I have been very successful with my perennial gardens but I am not too sure about this new adventure with containers.  I don’t think the terrace gets quite enough sun for the tomato but the herbs with the exception of the thyme are thriving. 

Do you do container gardening? 
Do you have some suggestions for successful container gardening. 
I plan to try it again next year too.

I love comments and read each and everyone so drop me a line!

Joan

 

NO Affiliates in this post.

Jul 072014
 

I have been having a lot of fun sprucing up our upper terrace and in particular the very boring brick wall.  The outdoor mirror has been a real hit with us and our guests.  I just love the added dimension it gives to this outdoor space. So I decided to create an outdoor vignette.

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Most years, I add a couple pots of flowers and put them more in the centre of the railing where there is an angle to the shape of the deck.  But this year, with the added mirror, I decided to sort of “decorate” around the mirror.  This way, not only could the person sitting in the “non-view” chair see what is behind him or her, they could also look at a display of flowers and nature.

As I previously mentioned, this upper terrace gets a great deal of shade from the crappy maple tree next to it.  I say crappy because there is ALWAYS some debris falling off on to the deck.  Over the years, I have fell in love with the BEST SHADE FLOWER EVER:  Tuberous Begonias!!  Their flower looks like a rose in full bloom and they bloom well into our cool autumns here in Toronto.

So I started my vignette with a big pot with these gorgeous flowers in them.

Outdoor Vignette

Tuberous Begonias

Nice, clean look but displays are better with an odd number of items…

So how about my owl on its freshened up  plant stand.  Super!

For the third element I have used some of the birch tree branches I collected after the winter ice storm.  

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I rather like this look!  It was an incredibly boring brick wall and now, it has reflection, colour and more nature!

AND for me with my fractured tibia, it is a GORGEOUS place to sit, read , contemplate while all the time my foot is up and being iced!

This is a real first time I have REALLY tried to “decorate” outdoors
but for me it makes one of my most favourite features of our home really inviting!

Do you “decorate” your outdoor spaces? 
Please share!

I absolutely LOVE comments and read each and every one of them!

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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