Category Archives: Furniture

My dream bed… Finally

My dream bed… Finally

Ok, I know I haven’t posted in a while. I have a whole line up of projects to share! I am really happy with the way my bed turned out, so I decided to start by sharing how I finished my new bed. There are lots of steps, so I tried to keep the words short and share lots more pictures. 

Since we moved into our house five years ago, the bed in our spare room has been on the floor with a headboard propped up behind it… I know, what have I been doing with all of my time, right? It is one of the last rooms in the house we haven’t touched. Anyways, I have been looking for a bed with storage for years, and here is the one I settled on..


Unfortunately, the $3000 price didn’t work for me. But, I wanted a bed with storage, AND a tufted headboard, which instantly made it a really difficult and expensive item to find. So instead I bought this cheap laminate bed for $250.


What I liked about the cheap bed was all of the storage. Here is what it looks like after I put it together. It fits all of my summer clothes! But… Still not quite like the one I wanted. 

The first step in the transformation was to actually add a headboard and footboard. I measured the width of the bed, and went off to Home Depot. I wanted the head board to be 60″ high, but I ended up settling on 48″ because that was the width the 3/4″ particle board sheets are sold in, and plus I figured out that a 60″ sheet wouldn’t fit in my car. So I had the wood cut at the store. The piece for the headboard was 62″ x 48″, and  the footboard was 62″ x 35″. 


I pre drilled the holes then used 1 1/4″ screws to attach the headboard and footboard to the frame.


I added a few screws from each side.  

So far so good. But then there was the issue of the joint showing, as you can see below.  Also, the headboards I was looking at were a lot thicker. 

So for the footboard, I found some scraps of trim to use to frame around the edges and make them thicker. The great part is that the corners and joins didn’t have to line up perfectly because it is going to be covered anyways.  

I used my nail gun to attach the trim to the front and back of the footboard.

And, I used scraps of particle board for the front of the headboard. I figure I wanted the padding to be a little more on the headboard.    

Now for the fun part! The upholstering! Btw, I am well aware that sometimes my definition of fun does not match everyone else’s! 

Here is the close up of the fabric I picked. I bought 8 meters at $8.00 per meter at Fabricland. 

I started by ripping apart a few old pillows I had laying around. The cost of cotton batting is pretty expensive, so once again, my inability to throw old things out paid off! I’m not quite sure why I wasn’t able to throw out our old, flat pillows when we buy new ones, but every time I use something I have saved, it just reinforces my hoarding habits. It saved money, plus is much more environmentally friendly. 

I used my staple gun to hold everything in place, and added a layer of cotton batting on the top to smooth everything out.  

I stapled the fabric on the back of the headboard, and stretched it not too tight because I knew I was going to need a little extra room for the tufting. I finished the corners by tucking the extra fabric under.

And, stapled all the way around to hold everything down.  

This is what it looked like ….
  Here is the most amazing idea… I looked at the cost of covered buttons, and they are close to $1.00 each, plus you have to cover them! So that option was out. Buying silver buttons was another option, but it meant that I would have to pre drill holes in the particle board and use a big upholstery needle the thread each one through, after I had added the padding and fabric. That didn’t sound like fun. So I went to Home Depot (yes again) and bought a pack of 100 washers, and 100 3/4″ screws for about $3 per pack.  

This is one of those rare times that I do measure. Every 6 inches I measured, and drew a dot with a pencil. Once I had measured everything, I used my drill to screw in all of the screws and washers.
       I started to work from one end, but then thought it might be better if I evenly stretched the fabric, so I started randomly adding the screws.


Tada! The whole headboard tufted in not too long, for only $6! Then, to add a little bling, and cover up the screw heads, using my glue gun, I added a little stick on gem from the dollar store. I am so happy with the way the tufting turned out!  

Next step was to add the nail heads. They are the one thing I splurged on. A pack of 25 costs $3.50 at Fabricland. I figure I need a few hundred. I added a twill tape to cover up the seams, and added a nail head every inch and a half. I actually measured this too, if the nails aren’t even, it would show.  

I will just gloss over the next few steps, but if you want details or pics, please email me, I am happy to share! I covered the rest of the frame of the bed, the footboard, and upholstered each of the drawers, with a little but of padding and tufting.  


Here is a finished drawer.  

And… Here is the finished bed!! Well, it’s almost finished… I haven’t finished the drawers on the other side, and I need to add a lot more nail heads, but here is the almost finished bed!!  

The total cost of everything, including the bed frame, fabric, other materials, and the nail heads I haven’t bought yet, was about $600. Much better than $3000!

The problem with making one thing nice is that you realize what else needs to be done… Now I have to finish the quilt I started in the summer, and the room needs painting! Another day… 

Have a great family day long weekend, and happy Valentine’s Day! 

Diningroom is Done! 

Diningroom is Done! 

 Yahoo! I am finally ready to share our new diningroom! If you follow my blog, I have posted a couple times this summer about how to refinish chairs and antiquing furniture, as this has been a summer long project….but now everything is done and I’m ready for the grand reveal!  I will fully admit that I did get a little carried away. I was just supposed to be recovering a couple chairs in June. But we ended up redoing the whole room top to bottom. This is what it looked like before…     It wasn’t horrible…It wasn’t my favourite room in the house, but I could live with it. But then, I bought these cool chairs! My plan was to paint and reupholster them, but they wouldn’t fit under my table! 

So I decided that we might as well update the dining room. I sold all of our furniture, including our table and chairs, as well as the hutch, (and most of the stuff inside of them too) and I bought this beauty of a table for $100 off of Kijiji….  

And was given this hutch that my grandfather made…  

Plus, I decided to keep the buffet from our old set. We still need storage for John’s frequent trips to Costco… So we had a hutch, table, chairs, and a buffet, none of which were the same colour, style or finish. But I wasn’t going to let that stop me, so I busted out my favourite Behr paint (cottage white)..

 Btw, am I the only one that thinks he paint colour names are important? John and I have an ongoing debate…

We sanded, painted, and antiqued the table…

  Buffet and hutch….

And reupholstered and painted the chairs…

We also repainted the dining room and I bought some fancy blue and white China…. (Ask me about that deal next time you see me…. Fantastic Facebook buy and sell deal… Thanks for hooking me up Marlee! -see I gave you credit this time!) 

And tada! (Imagine a drumroll here …….)


Still a couple details to finish, like sewing the table runner, and hanging the chandelier I bought….(another great facebook deal) I just have to figure out what the weight limit is for a standard chandelier… Any one know? 

 Anyways, I am really happy with the the way everything works together now. I think all the old mismatched pieces work pretty well together. The best part is that by the time I sold all of our existing furniture, and some of the stuff inside of the hutch, we ended up making over $1000 dollars! Not bad eh? 

We have also been working on redecorating Dylan’s room… Stay tuned for some great sports decorating ideas! 

Antiquing furniture

Antiquing furniture

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…


Made and sold two of these black and white ones…
Also made and sold two of these ones…  

Refinished and sold just one like this…  

And did two like this for John’s mom…  

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?)    

And, eight of my chairs… Which I still need to finish… 

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.


I was debating whether I should antique all of the surfaces, but then as I was painting, I noticed a few places that the paint had started to already come off, like the hinges…  

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…  

My favourite parts to antique were the parts with the details, like the corners…  

Then, to make it look a little more aged, I used a light brown chestnut gel stain, and painted it in the cracks with a fine brush.  

Then used a cloth to wipe it off, leaving just a little in the cracks…    

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… 

 The table… 


And the hutch… 

 I also bought some antique looking types of drawer pulls and knobs. 


 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! 

Yes!! More chairs!!


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.

  So I took the fabric and gently tucked it into the back of the chair, and as you can see in the below picture, I trimmed it all the way around, starting at the bottom.

  Believe it or not, I tried a few different things, and a butter knife worked perfectly to tuck in all of the ends.

  Then, I trimmed again, and tried to tuck in all of the loose edges….

  It’s not perfect, but that’s what the trim is for… I will show pictures later of the trim…

  The arms are probably one of the easier parts to recover. I started by adding a staple at either end to secure the fabric…  Then, I stapled around the perimeter, and trimmed off the extra fabric…

  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….

  Then, I kept laying it down, cutting a few millimeters at a time, then laid it down again until it fit.

  This is what it should look like when the middle of the Y is tucked in and the edges are folded under…

  And here it is looking from the outside of the chair…

  Once I got it sitting flat, with no wrinkles, I added a couple staples…

  I did the other corners almost the same way except the angle was a little different, so I only had to cut a slit, instead of a Y…

  But, I cut a tiny bit more each time then folded it down until it looked right again…

  Then I stapled it down (which I forgot to take a picture of, but I think you get the idea…

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, here is the upholstering done! Whew…

 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!

Our new swing! 

Our new swing! 

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?   

As you can see from the photo below, it was brand new, it took us 1/2 hour just to unwrap all of the packaging…  

So obviously, it isn’t real wicker, but here is a close up of the colours….love the design of the chair, but not really my choice in colours…

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…

Here is what the chair looked like after a coat of primer…

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!


And here it is with the rest of my set… The only problem is that I didn’t realize how much the other fabric has faded… I am sure after a couple months in the sun, it will all look the same.    

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! 


Refinishing a chair

Refinishing a chair

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.  

Man, were there a lot of staples!!   

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 sanding, I always give the chairs a little wash with a rag to get rid of all the sawdust.  

After the chairs had totally dried, I painted them with two thin coats of behr exterior paint and primer.

 Then, while waiting for the paint to dry, I cut the fabric for the chair backs and cushions. The best way to do this is to use the old fabric as a pattern, just cut it a couple inches larger.  

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!   

The seat cushion is done basically the same way, I put one staple in each side, then added more staples to go around the perimeter.  

To cover around the legs, I cut a slit in the fabric…   

Then, I pulled it tight, and stapled it down. Once all of the fabric was stapled down, I trimmed off the excess fabric.    

Once the fabric has all been trimmed, it leaves a bit of a rough edge, so that is where the trim comes in.. I used a glue gun to glue around all of the rough edges. 

 All the way around the back of the chairs, and the seats…  

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.

Here are what the finished chairs look like…


  Here are the before and after photos…

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!



Kitchen Table and chairs

Kitchen Table and chairs

I can’t believe that it is almost October! It been a while since I have posted, but I have been busy! Just haven’t had time to write.
So I thought today I would share our kitchen table and chairs update! We bought this set when we bought our house, but now, five years later, the chairs are ripping and worn. We never used the table top without glass, because the veneer was so thin, and the finger prints on the glass were driving me crazy! So… time for an update!
I tried listing the set on Kijiji a couple times, but, no takers… Here is what it looked like when I listed it:


My plan was to sell the whole set and buy a new one, but, then look what I found!
Check out these chairs that I got for $5.99 each! Yes, that’s right, five dollars and ninety-nine cents! Needless to say, I bought all 6 of them that they were selling.


So, I decided to get rid of our old chairs, and repaint the new old chairs, but keep the old table. And… since I still had the paint I used for my other furniture, why not use it? I started by giving everything a light sand. John helped and it didn’t take that long, we used out little mouse sander. We didn’t remove all of the paint or varnish, we just made sure we removed the shine off the top.

And the table…

Then we used a little bit of water and an old rag to wipe everything down to get off some of the dust.

Then, It took three coats of the white paint to cover everything, so it didn’t look patchy. To antique it a little, I used a really fine sandpaper and sanded the edges. I sanded where I thought it would get worn anyways. That’s the great thing about antiquing, you don’t have to worry as much about it getting worn! The design of the table means that every time someone pushes in a chair, it bumps into one of the posts of table. So, it was areas like that as well as the edges of the table, and the tops of the chair that I sanded and antiqued.


Then, what I did is add a little line of stain in the cracks with a fine brush, and I wiped off the excess with a paint rag.



So I finished the rest of the chairs and table the same way, sanding, and staining, then wiping off the stain. Anywhere there was a crack or join, I added a little stain or sanded. I also recovered the chairs. They were recovered in a brown suede, and plastic, I just stapled the new material on top…I’ll post another day about recovering chairs, but it is pretty simple.

Here is what the set looks like finished…


I have to be honest here, I did run into to snag at the very end. I thought that I would add a coat of varnish just to the table top to seal the paint. I tried with a varnish spray, but it ended up looking all patchy. Then I tried a paint on varnish, and it still looked patchy. I thought I was going to have to sand it down and start again, but I tried putting the old piece of glass on top, and it worked great. You can’t see any of the imperfections, and it protects the table too… and no more sanding, yahoo
I really like the look of the lighter furniture, I thing it brightens up the kitchen.
Now, I still have a half of a can of paint….what else can I paint???

Making Pillows to match my brand new couch!


Hope everyone is enjoying the second day back to school… only 294 days left until summer next year! I am actually looking forward to this school year. I will try to remember to share some of the stuff I am working on at school in my library!
But first, I am going to try to catch up on writing about some of the projects we worked on this summer…
Since painting the fireplace and family room, we were working on getting the rest of the room done. We got our new couch delivered, and the walls and fireplace are all painted. We are still waiting on one more piece of furniture from the states to be shipped in… can’t wait to show it to you!
So, while we were waiting, I dug up some scraps of fabric I had left over from a duvet cover I have been working on. And I found a few old pillows I bought a while ago…

I am sure I had a plan for the pillows when I bought them, but the hot pink covers just have’t fit in with any of my colour choices so far.
So, they were the perfect choice to recover. I started by tracing the outline of the pillow on a paper and then divided it into quarters, and added a little seam allowance on each side…

I found four different fabrics that I liked, and cut out eight quarters from each.


Next, I sewed all of the quarters together and pressed the seams open. I have found that pressing the seams open makes a big difference in the finished product.

Then, to make the sides of the pillows, I tightened the tension on my machine and sewed down either side of a four inch strip of fabric to gather it a little. I did enough to go around all four pillows.

A few months ago, I bought about 20 yards of cording on sale, for a really good reason that I just can’t remember right now (notice a pattern here?) anyways, boy am I glad I did, because if there is one thing I have learned about recovering uphostry, or pillows is that it always looks better with piping.
Then, I sewed one side of the pillow to the side panel, and put the piping in the middle.
Like this…


And this is what the seam looked like right side out…

Once I had sewn both sides of the pillow to the side panels, I left a few inches open, squeezed my ugly pillows inside and hand stitched the openings closed.

My sewing machine wouldn’t sew over the cording, so I had to figure out how to join the two ends without leaving them raw, because the cording unravels very easily.
So I folded over the edges of a small rectangle of fabric and glued it to the join with a glue gun. Then, I hand stitched the rest of the opening closed.


And, here is how they turned out. I love the colours, and I like the shape
They have already come in handy. They are great pillows for the kids to sit on the floor, because I won’t them eat on my new couch…lol…


Refinishing a Coffee Table

Refinishing a Coffee Table

Because my husband and I are both teachers, we tend to let jobs around the house build up and we save them for the summer. We are so busy during the year, especially during May and June, that I normally have a huge list by the beginning of July! However, we started the first day of our vacation this summer with the air conditioner breaking down, so the unexpected cost of replacing the whole system has eaten into our summer plans a little. I have been trying to focus on getting little jobs done rather than taking a sledge hammer to the fireplace, or ripping out the vanity in the bathroom (which have both taken a lot of willpower to not do, on my part, by the way)

One of the jobs on my list is to look at our furniture in the house. What pieces do we need, what pieces could use some updating? I have had my eye on buying a new coffee table for a while now, but I haven’t been able to find one I liked for a price that I liked. This was the sort of look that I was going for… but the price of almost $550 didn’t really work for me.

So, when I saw this coffee table on Kijiji last week, I thought the design was perfect. The only problem was that it needed a little fixing up. As you can see in the photos below, the table top was in pretty rough shape. a lot of paint and scratches and wear. They were asking $50, but I ended up paying them $40….score!



I started by sanding the top. I used a rough grain sandpaper to start with my sander. The rough sandpaper removes most of the varnish. I tried to only sand in the direction of the grain, everything you read about sanding and staining wood always emphasizes to go with the grain.
Then, to smooth out the surface, I used a finer grade sandpaper (220 grit). I made sure that I sanded all of the varnish off. If you get a clean dry cloth and wipe it every few minutes, you can see where there is still varnish left.

To sand the table top, I sanded until I removed all of the varnish right down to the wood surface, because my plan was to stain the top. But, because I only planned to paint the bottom, I gave the bottom half a quick sanding with the mouse sander to remove the shine off the top layer, and scratch off the surface, not to go right to the wood.

Then, I started staining the top, I used a stain with a varnish built it, so no varnishing needed after… (or so I thought) It started out really well, I carefully brushed the stain on in the direction of the woodgrain. It looked pretty good, but then on the second coat, it went really downhill. It looked really uneven and the brush started wiping off all of the stain. Where my brush overlapped, the stain was too dark, and in other areas it wasn’t dark enough. Maybe I didn’t wait long enough for the first coat to dry, or maybe each coat was too thick, but to make a long story short, I ended up scraping the whole top down, re sanding, and starting again. The second time I used a rag to apply the stain so i applied it a lot thinner, and wiped all of the excess off.

As you can see, I did a quarter at a time and worked with the grain.
I did two thin coats like this, and i was really pleased with the way it looked. The only issue was that because I had applied it so thin, I thought it needed more protection. Knowing my family, I can only assume that this poor table top will be subjected to a variety of elements including dirt, water, milk, jam, cookie crumbs, sand, etc. So, I decided to add a couple coats of clear varnish. I used a satin finish varnish because I didn’t want it to be too shiny.

When I was waiting for the stain and varnish to dry, I painted the base white. I used a water based paint by Behr (my favourite brand, wouldn’t use anything else) and picked a shade called, “Cottage white” The thing I love about this paint, is that it has the primer and paint in one. It does need a couple coats, but because it is water based, it’s easy to clean up.

I let everything dry for a day, then applied another coat of varnish, and decided to antique the base to make it look more aged. Here is what the side of the table looked like before:

I dipped a small brush in the same stain I used for the top and painted all of the cracks and seams.

Then, I used a clean rag to wipe the excess stain off. I did one area at a time, and sometimes had to reapply and wipe off a couple times until I got the look I wanted, but I was really pleased with the result!

I even tried using a tooth brush to add some splatters…

But, then John came along to admire my handiwork, and pointed out a couple places where I had dripped paint….which made me rethink the visual appeal of my splattering technique, so I ended up wiping off the splatters.
I finished adding the stain to the whole table, then added the new drawer pulls. I was so pleased with the finished product!



As a matter of fact, I liked it so much, I walked around the house looking for other stuff to repaint. I found this old coffee table (I think John and I bought this cheap table when we first moved in together …15 years ago…) Here is the table before:

20140712-202153.jpg … which I sanded and refinished.. And, I started painting the headboard and bedside table from the spare room too! I’ll update with new photos when I am done… Here is the coffee table now, I just have to add the drawer pull.




Recovering Cushions


I bought this old wicker patio set from our neighbours a couple weeks ago, and I have been trying to get the cushions recovered, and chairs repaired ever since. Hopefully I will have them finished by the time our reno is done, and judging by the speed so far, it shouldn’t be a problem! Here is what the chairs looked like when I bought them…

I bought this outdoor fabric from Fabricland that I absolutely loved, but of course, they didn’t have enough for me to do the whole set, so I had to find some matchiing fabrics to use. I found a striped fabric for around the edges, and a plain blue and red for the underneath, and I decided to add some piping out of the blue as well.

To make a pattern or template for the cushions, I laid out the cushions on top of some newspaper and traced around them. There was one size for the chair backs and another size for the seats of the chairs. There was also a separate size for the two couch seat backs.

Then, I added about half an inch of seam allowance around each piec, and folded each piece in half to make sure it was even and symmetrical.

I also added about 10 cm to the tops of each of the pattern pieces to fold over so I could sew them closed.
So, after cutting out strips of the striped fabric, strips of the blue piping, and the pieces for the cushion tops and bottoms, I started to sew…


The trickiest part about sewing cushions with piping is rounding the corners. I found that the best way to sew it was to put the piping on the bottom. Then when you get to the corner, you rotate the fabric, then sew a few stitches, and rotate again. The trick is to try to keep the piping straight and rotate the fabric.


Once I finished the cushion tops, I used a blue fabric for the cushion bottoms (I didn’t have enough of the other fabric, and the blue was cheaper. I sewed around three sides and left the back open, then turned it right side out and put the cushion inside and hand stitched it closed. Sixteen cushions later, all I have to do now is stitch a few more closed and add a few ties, to tie them on to the chairs. Here is what one of the chairs looks like finished. I am really happy with the way they turned out….


I’ll post more pictures when I finish the set. I also have to sand and spray paint the wicker… fun fun fun!