January 30, 2010

restuffing the couches

I figured while I'm busy cleaning and doing the more tedious parts of the living room overhaul, I'd share one of the projects I'd previously worked on for it.

About three months ago, we paid to turn our feather-down couch cushions into foam couch cushions. We went local, got a quote, paid the price, and I started questioning the decision immediately. Not because I didn't love the new cushions. But because we paid over $400 to have just the back cushions re-stuffed. We hadn't even switched out the seat cushions yet. Granted, $400 is still cheaper than buying a new couch, but if the price was going to be similar, we could have easily purchased a new Ektorp sofa system from IKEA. But, these are hand-me-down couches from my mom and I'm attached to them for some silly little reason. Give me a few more years and I may be ready for a full replacement.

Here you can see how badly the seat cushions were sagging in their covers--they look almost deflated.

But in the meantime, I still had half foam/half feather couches. We've known for a long time that we wanted slipcovers from Surefit. I'd spend hours drooling over how pristine the couches looked in some of those slipcovers. We finally took the plunge and bought a set. It was then I knew we were going to have to find a simple solution for those sagging seat cushions. Little did they know, but Surefit actually gave me my answer: I'd stuff the cushions myself! The best news? So can you!

  • Sofa, love seat, or chair cushion to be re-stuffed
  • Polyester fiberfil
    SIDE NOTE: Do not buy your fiberfil at Michael's if you can help it. They sell 1 pound bags for $5. Wal-Mart sells a 10-pound box for $20.
  • Slipcover

    Remove your first cushion. I gave my couch a good vacuuming as I removed each one. Flip it around so that the bottom is now facing up, and the zipper is now facing out. Unzip your cushion cover.

    Hopefully, whatever your couch is filled with is enclosed in a casing of some sort. Mine looks like a pillow case. Open your box of fiberfil, and begin stuffing it into the back, sides, and corners of your cushion cover. You're filling in all that extra space the sagging has created.

    Once the cushion cover is taught on the sides, begin filling in the center with fiberfil. I found the best way to do this was to just shove a bunch in there and work it around with my hands. Be sure to "tear" the fiberfil apart to help eliminate lumps and bumps (no matter how good you are at this, you'll still wind up with slightly lumpy cushions).

    Continue stuffing towards the front.

    Depending on your material, cushions size, and a whole lot of other factors, you may stop stuffing in a different area. I stopped about an inch before the zipper.

    Zip up your cushion. This may take a little work, since your cushion cover is once again full.

    Sit on it. I know, "Happy Days Reference." Seriously though, take a seat on your newly stuffed cushion. Does it feel firm? Are there any "holes" where you may have missed with fiberfil? If so, continue stuffing. If not, repeat these steps with each cushion.

    Here I have two of the three done. You can see what a big difference it made!

    Once your cushions are stuffed, dress your couch with your new slipcover. This may require some cursing, crying, and a lot of huffing and puffing (if you're like me), until your husband steps in and tells you to go upstairs while he makes it look all pretty. Contrary to what SureFit says, these things are not the easiest to get on!

    Now all it needs is some throw pillows, a throw, and to be steamed (and the rug will need to be vacuumed thanks to all those fluffy stray bits of fiberfil)! But at least these puppies will last us another few years--and it only cost $20 for the stuffing rather than $400 for the foam!

    This tutorial will be placed in the HOW-TO'S section for furture reference.

    I'll be linking up to Funky Junk's SNS #15.
  • January 27, 2010

    project living room

    Last weekend, my friend Katie and I attended a Pottery Barn decorating class. We had the best time! If you've never been to one of their classes, sign up! They open the store about an hour early, take you around to the displays, and teach you how to layer, coordinate, and accessorize. They talk about using odd numbered items, varying height, and how to blend colors together. Plus, you get to walk around in an empty, quiet Pottery Barn and stare at all the pretty items without someone bumping into you.

    And, not to toot my own horn, but after a few of the comments and suggestions I piped up with in the class, one of the associates asked, "Are you a designer?" when I said, "No," she replied with, "Want a job?" ;) So, that made my little housewife's heart do a little jig!

    While I was there, I wanted to grab items for our upcoming bedroom make-over. But, trying to adhere to my new resolve to work on one room and one item at a time, I resisted and focused on our living room. I had a decent base: the white couches, the black furniture, white coffee table, chocolate jute rug, and a side table I plan to build.

    While we were in the store, I actually found inspiration for our living room in the oddest place:

    A bedroom! Touches will include burlap, galvanized tin, and some bead board floating around the room. But don't worry, it won't look like Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds in our living room. ;)

  • Paint wall unit
  • Apply backing
  • Apply bead board wallpaper
  • Paint coffee table
  • Replace knobs
  • Build side table
  • Sew burlap table runner
  • Sew/purchase burlap pillow
  • Find coffee table tray
  • Accessorize with mason jars, milk jars, galvanized tin, glass vases, and flowers

    So, here we go. Day One...
  • January 26, 2010

    the office reveal

    NOTE: This post is picture heavy! ;)

    Let's get a quick reminder of what this room looked like BEFORE:

    And NOW:

    Who knew wrapping jute twine around a mason jar neck could add such a fun pop of texture?! There was no glue involved as I didn't want to damage my Oregon beauties!

    I'm either really loving or hating the yellow color I picked out for the lamp. In any case it's still better than it was!

    I totally have to point out my patriotic nerdity on this shelf--red, white, and blue books, with a white star(fish).

    These cork boards were only $5 at Wal-Mart. I just painted the ugly orange faux-wood with a glossy black, and it instantly changed their whole look!

    My lovely new antique chair! I decided not upholster the arms, but I think I actually like it this way. Oh and that super sweet desk? Is the old industrial desk from the before photos! It's painted in Behr Banana Cream.

    I did not sew this scalloped edge! I wish, but it came that way, which is why I loved the fabric.

    Remember these baskets? A dose of Rust-Oleum Apple Green added a nice touch of color to that dark shelf.

    (That doll may seem creepy, but it's supposed to be Benjamin Franklin. I got him on my first trip to Washington, D.C. almost 14 years ago.)

    I warned you it was picture heavy! I tried to make them super pretty so you wouldn't realize how may there were! ;) And now for the fun part...

  • Desk: Expedit Workstation from IKEA ($120)
  • Storage Boxes: Kassett magazine box from IKEA ($12 for 2, $24)
  • Chair: Allak from IKEA ($60)
  • Lamp: estate sale ($0, already owned)
  • Mason jars: thrift store ($0, already owned)
  • Wall art: Empire West ceiling tiles (free!)
  • Sewing desk: Step-dad's warehouse with eyelet fabric from Fabric.com (free + $14 = $14)
  • Chair: antique store ($35 for chair + $15 for fabric = $50)
  • Baskets: Pier One ($4 each, $12)
  • Sewing Machine: Singer Simple 72-stitch (Christmas gift)
  • Cork boards: Wal-Mart ($5 each, $10)
  • Bookcases: Markor from IKEA with Martha Stewart wrapping paper lining ($160 each + $8 = $328)
  • Wooden letters: Hobby Lobby ($2 each, $4)
  • Baskets: Target ($0, already owned)
  • Milk glass dish: estate sale ($2)
  • *Accessories: Michael's, Wal-Mart, Estate Sale ($8)
    *Ask if you'd like to know where I found something!

    TOTAL COST: $632

    Less than $650 for an entire room--basically from the ground up! We had nothing in the means of an office before we started this project. Just an old junker of a desk, a freebie chair that was falling off its hinges, and our little computer. I shopped a lot from the house and found some great little accessories to fill up the blank spots in our bookcases (blank spots! a first!).

    Although, that number changes slightly when you factor in that many of our big purchases were made with Christmas money and gift cards! So if we were really going on what we spent out of pocket, it's more like $268! But, I wanted to be realistic in case anyone else out there needs to construct an entire office out of nothing. I'd still like to add a few more things (tags or labels for the baskets under the sewing desk, decor for the top of the computer case, and trash can somewhere) but even if I didn't, I'd happily call this room done!

    You can find tips on the bookcases in my TUTORIALS & HOW TO'S section. Coming tutorials will include the sewing desk, and my antique chair.

    I'll be linking up to:
    - Domestically Speaking's Power of Paint Party
    - Reinvented's Trash to Treasure Tuesday!
    - Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
    - Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a LIVING ROOM that needs to be taken care of!
  • how to upholster a cane-back chair

    When I was doing this project, I searched and search and searched for tutorials on how to upholster a cane chair with a round back. The only ones I could find were for square back chairs, so just a fair warning, I'm not a professional and I was learning as I went!

  • Paint and primer, if desired
  • Chair with cane weaving
  • Wire cutters
  • Fabric
  • Staple gun
  • Polyester fiberfil
  • Batting
  • Cardboard
  • Trim or cording

    This was my little chair in the beginning.

    Remove all the old fabric and foam your piece may have. I found the best way was with a flat head screw driver, rubber mallet, and pliers. Using the old "hammer and chisel" method, it makes it easier to pry the staples loose from the wood.

    If you plan on painting, this would be the time to do it.

    Using your wire cutters, remove the cane weaving from the back. Once the cane weaving is removed, it's time to trace out the round shape of your chair back. I used scrap cardboard for this. Cut out two pieces. Using your batting, trace and cut out the same circular shape (I think I got about four pieces out of two sheets of batting). This is the filling for your chair. Set these aside.

    Next, cut out your fabric according to the size you need. Staple the fabric to the round frame of the chair. Make sure if your fabric has a pattern that it is centered, and straight. Don't be discouraged if it takes you a few tries to get it right. I definitely ended up with a few wrinkles here and there.

    This is what it should (hopefully) look like from the front of the chair.

    Trim off any excess fabric you may have.

    I don't have photos of these next steps, so I'll try to break them down as best I can. Place your cardboard and batting on top of your back fabric. Arrange it however you'd like. I think I did a layer of batting, the cardboard, the rest of the batting, and the other peice of cardboard.

    Once again, cut your fabric to size, this time, taking care to trim it down to size and shape. I used sewing pins to pin the fabric around the chair, just to give myself a guide for when I stapled.

    Using your staple gun, staple the fabric around the chair frame, stopping before you staple it fully. Leave enough room for you to get your hand and arm inside. You'll be stuffing fiberfil into this opening.

    Begin stuffing with the fiberfil, making sure to even it out so you have minimal lumps and bumps. Stuff the chair back until it's nice and full. Once you're satisfied with the firmness finish stapling the fabric to the frame.

    Now finish off your edges using ribbon, trim, or cording. You can also add a cute little bow!

    I hope this helps you if you come across a lovely little cane chair in need of some TLC! To see my little chair in all her post-makeover glory or leave comments, click here.

    I'll be linking this tutorial to Funk Junk's SNS #15.
  • industrial desk do-over

    I thought for sure this old desk was bound for the trash pile when we were redoing our office. It was something that had been shoved in the back of my step-dad's office warehouse. But when I received my sewing machine for Christmas, suddenly the old battered desk got a new shot at life!

  • Behr Paint & Primer paint in Banana Cream
  • Rust-Oleum American Accent in black
  • Painter's tape
  • Foam roller
  • Peel and stick Velcro strips
  • Fabric

    Let me just preface this by saying, forgive all the messiness in these photos! Start by rolling your first coat of paint on. The was my first time using Behr Paint & Primer all-in-one, and I was very impressed!

    If the two-tone look isn't your thing, you can always leave your desk one color. I wanted a black square in the center as a focal point for my sewing machine. But, if you decide to add another color, go ahead and tape off your shape.

    Once you've added your second coat, remove the tape. While everything is curing and drying, apply your Velcro to the sides of the table. I wanted my fabric to wrap around and hide the old metal legs, so I made sure to wrap the Velcro that way.

    I also staggered the Velcro so I wouldn't have to buy three or four packs.

    Next measure your fabric according to your desk size, cut the fabric, and hem it. You can use a no sew hemming tape if you'd like, but since I'm trying to get the hang of this sewing gig, I actually ran mine through the machine. I choose a very sweet eyelet fabric with a scalloped edge.

    Before attaching the fabric to the desk, I went ahead and attached the other side of the Velcro to the desk. That way all I had to do was press the fabric to the exposed sticky side of the Velcro strip.

    It may take a few tries of repositioning the fabric, but once you like the way it hangs, you're done! The fabric can be changed out seasonally and easily since it's only attached by Velcro.

    To leave comments or see the desk in its post renovated glory click here!

    I'm linking this tutorial up to Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Feature Friday and Funky Junk's SNS #15.