August 31, 2015
As part of my summer diningroom makeover project, I needed some quick and easy curtains to finish it up. Our diningroom had shutters, so the purpose of the curtains was purely decorative. I wanted something antique and delicate looking, so I was excited when I found this lace at Fabricland…
The rods and rings were just what I wanted, and for the right price, so I bought them, but the problem was that I wanted them to be silver, so I gave them a really quick sand wih some very fine sandpaper, broke out the silver spraypaint, and started spraying.
And I gave the rods a quick coat of silver too. The rings I bought open when you squeeze them, so I just had to sew a quick seam to turn under the top an bottom of the curtains, then clip them on! (I liked these so much I bought some more for another project… Will keep you posted) I didn’t even measure, I just folded the fabric a few times and clipped the rings on the folds. Then, I screwed in the brackets that came with the rods, hung them on, and popped them into place. Easiest curtains I have ever made… And cute too!
As you can see, I tied them back, and my plan is to add a little hook on the wall to hold them back. I’ve added hooks to my list for the next time I am at Home Depot.
The last two little things I need to do to the diningroom is add the curtain hooks, and I still have to attach the drawer pulls to the buffet…. But the good news is, the chairs are all done!
August 24, 2015
So I saw this picture on pinterest, and thought “we can do that” (which by the way, I think about almost everything I see on Pinterest) but the difference is we actually tried this one…. The boys were away all week at camp, and we thought they needed a special dessert to come home to.
We bought a plain shell from the grocery store, as well as some raspberries, strawberries, kiwi, chocolate chips, and vanilla pudding. I think you are supposed to use custard, but I couldn’t find it ready-made in the grocery store, and didn’t want to have to buy and make it from the powder, or scratch… So I thought vanilla pudding would work just as well!
The boys couldn’t tell that it was supposed to be a watermelon, but they were impressed anyways…I think it was easier to see the watermelon resemblance when it was sliced.
And the most important thing was that it was yummy!
Btw, I am just about finished the diningroom. Have also just redecorated Dylan’s room- working on a sports theme! Can’t wait to show you pics!
August 4, 2015
I can’t believe it is August already! July has flown by as it usually does. I wanted to share with you what has been taking up most of my time in the last few weeks… Here is a quick update for those of you who haven’t read the last few posts of my blog…l bought these beautiful chairs on Kijiji for a great price…
I ended up getting a little carried away, planning to refinish some for the dining room, and also a couple for the family room, but I changed my mind on the family room and then they wouldn’t fit under the diningroom table. So, I ended up with a few extra. So, i refinished the ones I didn’t want, and sold them…. Here are pictures of the ones I have already finished and sold…
And, after finishing this one, I decided that I really wanted to keep a few for the dining room….(By a few, I mean 8…. If you are counting, that is 16 in total! Lol)
So, as I already mentioned, the chairs didn’t fit under our table…so I had no choice but to sell my dining room table, chairs, and hutch... That makes sense right? Don’t worry, I am completely aware of how ridiculous that sounds…
Here are a couple pics of the diningroom furniture I used to have…
And, here are some pics of the mismatched pieces I had to start with… A hutch that my grandfather made, which I really wanted to keep…
A buffet that John’s parents gave to us when they moved out of their house (and I painted black)…
A table I bought off of Kijiji last week (pictured in the back of my van in pieces… What was I thinking?)
As you can see, none of the pieces are new (or even nice looking!), none of them even remotely match each other, and they all need to be refinished. Whew. (But, before you think I have totally lost it, by the time I have redecorated and have my completely new diningroom set, I will have made well over $1000 more than I spent… So hours and hours of work + old furniture + selling perfectly fine existing furniture = $1000!) im not quite so crazy now am I ?
I’m not ready to show you my new dining room yet, but I will let you in on the technique I used to paint all of the furniture.
I started by sanding everything. Sounds like a lot of work, but I just sanded enough to take the shine off. I used a mouse sander, and just did a quick sanding. I am a loyal Behr paint customer. It is the only paint I use for furniture and walls. For these pieces I used the Behr paint and primer in one, so no need to switch paints. With most of the pieces, I did however need 3 coats of paint. You can see on the photo below what it looked like after the first coat, then the second coat.
So, I figured, rather that stressing everytime a chair bumped into the table, or one of the kids swung the door open too wide, I would just rough it up myself…so here is what it looked like with three shiny new coats of paint…
Then, I gently rubbed off all of the spots I thought would be bumped and worn anyways with a piece of fine grind sandpaper (150 grit) this piece was the buffet that was black, so I sanded really lightly so I didn’t end up with huge black patches…
Like I said, I have a bit more painting and stapling to do before I show you the whole diningroom, but I used the same technique for the chairs…
And the hutch…
But, that’s all you get to see for now… After putting in a few long days in a row of sanding and painting, my arms were aching, and I was starting to lose feeling in my fingers, so I got a lecture from my mom, and was told to take a break. (Thanks mom, love you for caring!) So, it’s getting done, but I’m paying close attention to my wrist and working slowly, just like my mom told me.
I will be sure to send you pictures of the whole dining room when everything is done!
July 29, 2015
it is our first year planting the garden in cedar boxes on the pool deck. Although we have a lot of space in our backyard, the pool deck is the only place where there is sun in the afternoon, and the only spot where the rabbits haven’t seem to have figured out yet….
So as you can see, most of the seeds I planted in the spring are doing really well… We will have a lot of tomatoes, cucucumbers and zucchini…
Every time I go out, we have a whole bunch of snow peas, ready to go! We have been eating them right off of the plant and steaming them, but sometimes they are a little tough or stringy. So, one of my favourite ways to eat them is in a pasta salad. Plus, we have so many visitors over the summer, I always keep a couple salads in the fridge just in case!
Start by cutting off the tops and bottoms, and getting rid of any of the stringy bits you can, then, cut them into smaller pieces, 4 or 5 pieces each. I love adding them to pasta salad because I find that even if they are a little stringy or chewy, the smaller pieces, in combination with the pasta makes it barely noticeable..
One of my favourite herbs is dill, and I am lucky that is seems to really grow well in our garden. So I picked a handful and chopped it into little pieces too… I didn’t do such a great job of taking photos, but this isn’t an incredibly complicated recipe. I cooked a couple cups of pasta, added a couple tablespoons of olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice, and tossed it all together with the snow peas.
That’s it. I find that it makes the best pasta salad when you mix everything together when the pasta is still warm, and put it in the fridge to cool. But, I always taste it before serving, as it may need a little more oil and vinegar added before serving. Enjoy!
July 21, 2015
We were lucky enough to be invited up to a cottage at the end of last week, and while we were up there, I found a flyer for a truckload delivery of Georgia peaches. They had scheduled deliveries in the area where you could buy a freshly picked box of peaches right off the truck… Sounds perfect, right? I know!
Anyways, I showed up at 10:00, picked up my peaches, and the woman said to leave them at room temperature for two days, then they would be ready to eat. So that’s exactly what I did… We got home from the cottage, unpacked, and had people over Saturday and Sunday, then yesterday, I suddenly realized that I had this huge box of ripe peaches that needed to be used….immediately. Just peachy! But check them out, these were some beautiful peaches!
So I peeled, and cut up a whole bunch to freeze to make smoothies with….
I was pretty pleased with myself, until I took a closer look in the box…seriously? That barely made a dent!
And, two more batches of jam, this time peach & cherry, and peach & strawberry… (Btw…starting to get a little tired of peaches, at this point I called in for some back up…lol… Couldn’t help posting this pic on facebook)
So, inbetween all of my peach baking, and preserving, we had workers in and out of our house working on our fireplaces, and company over! But I managed to use almost the entire box without throwing out an entire peach!
Oh, I almost forgot, I also sold our diningroom set yesterday, so I am pretty committed now to finishing 8 more chairs, and a table I am picking up today…here is our diningroom now…
Can’t wait to show you the updates…
I also took some detailed pics of making the canned peaches, and peach pie, so I will post recipes soon…you know, in all my free time lol.
July 14, 2015
Hi! I can’t believe how quickly time is passing. I really meant to post about the other 5 projects I have been working on, but I dropped my iPad and couldn’t access most of my photos.. so I have some blogging to do in the next couple of weeks!
As I posted a couple weeks ago, I found a great deal on some chairs. I ended up buying 14, and I already had 2 to start, so that is 16 chairs! I have finished and sold 4, and have finished but not sold 1 more, and 3 more are pretty close to being done. So, I have 8 left that I haven’t started. I am having a really hard time trying to decide if I should keep them or continue to sell them. The issue is that they don’t fit under my dining room table, the arms are too high! So, my options are to a) refinish and sell all of the chairs and keep my current dining room set b) buy a new black table and refinish the chairs to match the hutch and buffet, which are already black….. Or…. C) buy and refinish a dining room table and paint the buffet, hutch and chairs to match. Decisions, decisions.
Anyways, I am getting pretty good at the refinishing part, so I thought I would share some tips and tricks with you that I have learned through my 8 chairs of experience! I will walk you through the upholstery part, as the sanding and painting part is just as tedious, but doesn’t require as much skill.
By the way, part of what I love about these chairs is how versatile they are… Here are three of my finished chairs lined up so you can see how different the same chair can look…
Here is a before shot of the chairs. To start the upholstery/refinishing process, I used a pair of pliers to pull out all of the trim around the seat back, arms and seat. Then, I picked out any staples that were poking out, and hammered in the ones that I couldn’t be bothered pulling. (Come on, I have to cut some time somewhere… 16 chairs!)
Here is a close up of what the arm looked like after the wood was sanded and stained…
To get the right size of fabric cut for each part, I simply laid the fabric on the chair and cut around. If you are a little more cautious than me, and you love to measure, you could lay a large sheet of paper and draw a template or pattern…. But I tend to just wing it, and it has worked ok for me so far….
So after roughly cutting out the fabric for the front and back, and seat of the chair, I started with reupholstering the back. The first few chairs I did, I pulled out all of the staples, and took apart the entire chair back, but then I figured out that you can also just tuck in the ends of the fabric into the back of the chair, and secure it by gluing trim on top.
Now for the back of the chair! I started by tacking the fabric down by adding a staple in the middle of each side, then stretching the fabric, and working my way out to the corners…After a while I could tell by the feel where I needed to staple, but I definitely pulled up the fabric and peeked every few staples to make sure I was stapling in the right place.
Then, I trimmed off all of the excess fabric. Note -I did have a few close calls while trimming, and I trimmed too much off, had to pull out staples, stretch the fabric and restaple. I would recommend frequent peeking under before you trim to make sure your staples are in the right spot…
Now for the seat! I would say the seats of these chairs were the most challenging because the armrests and seat backs intersect the seat, so you have to pull the fabric around them to cover, which is a little tricky. I started the same way as the seat back, I added a staple at the center of each side, then stretched the fabric as I staples towards the corners.
Here is how I did around the arms. I folded the fabric back and cut a Y shape like this….
The last part of stapling was around the corners of the seat. The trick is to keep pulling and working your way out to the very corner…In this particular chair, the front corner had a bit of a tricky angle that I had to be careful of when stapling…
As you can see, I had to be careful where each staple went. This would be a pretty obvious boo boo, on the front center of the chair, so once again, I peeked under the fabric often and stapled carefully. Once all of my staples were in, then I trimmed all of the the excess fabric off.
So I still have the trim left to glue on, but no time to glue it and write about it now, so I’ll have to post later. Also, I will post pics of my next few chairs….. or my dining room makeover… haven’t decided yet!
July 5, 2015
We are now on summer holidays! Yahoo! So, now I am going down my list of things to do and trying to get some jobs done as well as clear some clutter from around the house. I have been busy posting a whole bunch of things on Kijiji, and facebook.
And, I will admit, I have also bought a few things too… For some reason one day I mentioned to my friend that I wanted a swing for the backyard, and she sent me an email for this chair on kijiji… I absolutely love the design… But wasn’t sure about the colours…but I bought it anyways, because it was a great price, and…. paint exists for a reason, right?
A couple years ago, I bought this old wicker set from our neighbours and refinished it…. Here is what it looked like when I bought it…
And here is part of the set finished…
There is actually 6 chairs, a love seat, and two tables. So, after refinishing that whole set, I feel pretty confident in my ability to refinish wicker, and…I still had some leftover fabric and spray paint. So I thought, why not make them matching?
I started by giving the swing a very quick sanding, with a very fine sandpaper, just to scratch off the shiny surface. Then I used a spray primer as a first coat. I really like the Rustoleum brand. Here is a pic…
Btw, the frame made it so easy to spray paint, I could do all sides at once!
I let it dry for a couple hours, then sprayed it with the actual colour. It took two light coats to cover up all of the primer. I did also spray all of the edges with a bit of clear varnish. I have found that with the other set, the paint does tend to chip off in places where it is frequently bumped. But, I just get out my spraypaint and touch it up a couple times a season.
I forgot to take pictures of the making of the cushions, but I just laid out the cushions on the leftover fabric and cut out a square and circle, sewed around three sides, put them on, and hand stitched them closed…
Here is what the swing looks like finished. Big improvement, I think!
It looks great with our new fire table! Time to start roasting some marshmallows!
Btw, forgot to wish everyone a belated Happy Canada Day from July 1st, Go Canada!
June 21, 2015
So, I have to confess that I have a bit of a fixation with searching the for sale ads on Kijij and Facebook. You never know what you are going to find! But, if you don’t obsessively check, you might miss something good! I have also been selling a whole bunch of stuff that I have been meaning to bring to the donation box… I think sometimes I forget that the stuff that we don’t need or use anymore still has value. I guess it works in reverse too… Someone else’s trash is my treasure!
Anyways, back to my story… A couple weeks ago, I found this pair of chairs on Kijiji for a great price… A great treasure!
They had a few dents and scratches, but the price was right, so I bought them to refinish them. I had been looking for a couple chairs for a homework desk I want to build for the kids in the family room (sorry, you will have to wait for the tutorial for that one) and I thought these would match the chairs we already had.
Step one is to remove the trim. I learned that these chairs have been recovered before, and the trim was glued on with a glue gun, but it came off fairly easily…
Tht fabric ripped a little as I was pulling the trim off, which revealed the second layer of fabric… Here are some of the essential tools. Soon after I started, I also added a more sturdy pair of needle nosed pliers, and a thin flat head screwdriver.
I forgot to take a picture of the back of the chair as I was ripping it apart, but below is a photo of another chair, so you get the idea. What I didn’t realize before I pulled these chairs apart was that there is no actual wood or back to the chair…there are two layers of fabric, and a layer of foam stapled to the frame.
So, as I mentioned before…so….many…staples…as I was trying to pry them out, the fabric was just ripping apart. So I spent a couple hours pulling out staples (and my wonderful husband stepped in to do a bit of pulling too…) my hands were aching by the end of the day! Lol Just to emphasize my point, here are some of the staples from one of the chairs…yup, there were lots!
The next step was to sand down the chairs. I have learned that you don’t have to sand the chairs right down to the wood anymore. The paint and primer is so good these days that you just need to sand the top shiny layer of varnish off. I used my mouse sander, which is perfect for jobs like chairs. And, as you can see in the photos, I moved outside in the backyard for the sanding.
After the chairs had totally dried, I painted them with two thin coats of behr exterior paint and primer.
I should also mention here that I really over estimated the amount of fabric each chair would take. I fought two meters of fabric, but it only took about a meter to cover both chairs. But, as you can see, I picked a black and white fabric with a black trim.
I started with the back of the chair by stapling on layer of the fabric around the perimeter. I also tried to center the design in the middle.
Then, as you can see in the photo below, I added the foam layer in the middle, then stapled th top layer of fabric over top. As you can see, I started by stapling the sides, then I stapled the top and bottom. Then, as I pulled the fabric tighter, I stapled the rest of the fabric around the perimeter. This part was a little tricky because I realized halfway through that only half of my staples were actually stapled into the wood, the rest went through the fabric. So, I had to pull and restaple a whole bunch of staples….because I hadn’t pulled enough staples already!
Because the trim is black, I had to be very careful with the glue because if you put too much hot glue, it would not only burn your fingers (which I am totally used to) but it also shows… Which didn’t look so good. So I had to be careful.
Here is my tip of the day…. If you do end up with hot glue in places that you don’t want it, or you have a lot of strings left by the hot glue, use a hairdryer. The hair dryer will soften the glue and you can roll off the extra glue when it is soft.
After all of the excess glue was removed with the hair dryer, I touched up a few places of the paint. But, I was really pleased with the finished product.
Oh, did I already mention that I have already bought 10 more chairs to recover? Yes, I am being serious, I already have started sanding! I ended up selling the above chairs for a price that I was happy with. I decided That I wanted chairs with arms.
I can’t wait to show you the after pictures of these babies! I’m also working on some time saving techniques…I’ll keep you posted!
June 4, 2015
Dylan has been sick for the last week with stomach cramps, and after several trips to the doctors, X-rays, and ultra sounds, we never found out what was causing the pain. But, the good news is that the pain has slowly gone away on its own and he is feeling much better. What we did learn, is that now that he has turned 12, he should now be taking adult Tylenol, and Advil. Sounds great, but the issue was that all children’s medications are in liquid form or chewable. He has never actually needed to swallow a pill before.
We went through the same thig a couple months ago after Sam had to take anibiotics in pill form, and let’s just say there was a bit of a learning curve. So, I thought I would share how we did it.
We started with some tic tacs, rockets candy, and some apple sauce, and apple juice. We started with candy because we learned the hard way with Samantha that learning with real pills isn’t as easy. The pills taste horrible, and much of the pills end up being wasted. The kids were also far more open to swallowing candy! Whatever works, right?
We started by placing a small piece of candy at a time into a spoonful of apple sauce. The trick is to have them move the candy to the back of their tongue, then swallow. Then wash it down with a gulp of juice.
Once we had that mastered, we tried a real pill. It took about ten minutes, and he was good to go!
The apple sauce worked really well. Yogurt or pudding would also do the trick. It kept the pill or candy in place and made it much easier to swallow. Our next step is to progress to getting rid of the apple sauce and just swallowing the pills with juice or water.
Anyone else have any tricks that work with kids?