Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Memories 2014

Happy belated Christmas.  Can't believe it's been and gone already.  We're still in wrapping paper chaos around here, but I thought I'd post a few pictures from Xmas Eve and Xmas Day.

I didn't buy any new decorations this year apart from a new carriage for the train and a couple of ornaments for the tree.  But the main difference was that we put the tree in the corner of the music room.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

From Gross to Glam: Sweet Brass Chairs Makeover

Remember those brass chairs that I bought from Goodwill for $5 a few months ago?  No you probably don't, it's been that long.  Anyway, I finally busted out the old stapler and got to work.

I decided to go with a plain lilac fabric, despite my usual penchant for patterns.  The chairs took less than a couple of hours each.  I didn't remove the old fabric, but merely stapled the new fabric on top.


The base and back attached to the brass frame by a couple of screws, so it was really easy to  disassemble.

 The brass shined up really well with some help of some Brass.


Total cost for each chair was about $7.50!  Labor not included, of course.

I originally thought that they would work in my office.

I'm still deciding on the picture.

The chairs look okay in here if you only look at this side of the room.

But in the context of the whole room, they just don't fit in.  So they're up for sale if anyone wants to buy them!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kitchen Prettiness

As the weather finally warms up, it's so nice to be able to bring some colorful spring blooms into the house.  Here's some pretty pictures of the flowers that I currently have in my kitchen.

The orchid was a gift from a friend over 2 months ago.  It's doing remarkably well.  I make sure that I only water it a tiny amount once a week.

The hydrangea I bought from Trader Joe's on Saturday.  You have to water it everyday or it will wilt.

The flowers above were part of a tablescape that I did for a dinner we hosted.

The red roses were a Mother's Day gift from my lovely boys.

I'm thinking about putting a shaped mirror above the sink.  It's looking a little bare.  Of course if I was to do the kitchen over again, I would have a full on marble backsplash and counters.  I've been toying with doing a simple subway tile, we'll see.


I love the view from the kitchen through to the bookshelves in the music room.  It's so bright and cheery with all of the different colored spines.

Hope you enjoyed this mini tour of my kitchen!

Monday, May 12, 2014

As Seen On

Well, the blog has certainly seen a flurry of new visitors in the past few days.  Last week, on a whim, I quickly submitted my tutorial to Apartment Therapy.  They liked it and posted a write-up two days later.

For the record, I had nothing to do with what they wrote.  I liked the angle they chose, but they posted the wrong Besta shelf!  Now,  if you're going to submit anything to Apartment Therapy, you have to have thick skin because the comments and opinions can be somewhat brutal.  Thankfully I've never had a negative comment before, but not this time.  But it wasn't my fault.  The culprit was the silly shelf that they posted at the top.  Anyway, it made for some interesting reading.  Apartment Therapy readers really take other peoples' safety seriously.  People thought I was being negligent for building a banquette out of something so obviously flimsy.  Let me tell you, I'm no dummy and I did my research.  The units I used are a lot stronger than the one pictured.  Anyway, that's by-the-by.  On the most part, once I had straightened out the confusion on the base units, people seemed to like my banquette.

The next day it was featured on Centsational Girl in the BOTB (Best of the Blogosphere) series, and has garnered some more positive reviews!  Yay!  You can see that link here.

And for all of you wondering whether it is strong enough to hold adults, here it is in action.

It was out semi-annual "tour de tapas".  We had 10 people seated around that table (6 on the banquette), and I can happily say the bench did not collapse!

And here was what was happening on the other side of the room. 


Monday, May 5, 2014

DIY Tufted Banquette Tutorial

Here's how I made the banquette in 11 easyish steps!  I wouldn't say it was super easy, but it is doable, if you have the patience for it.  For the cushion part, I mostly followed the tutorial done by Jenny from Little Green Notebook.

Step 1- Build your base

I needed a base for my banquette.  I didn't want to bother with building or framing it from scratch so I bought 3 Ikea Besta shelf units for $150 total.  They're also pretty light weight, so I can move the banquette and clean under it easily.

They're not very deep, and I wanted to have enough space to sit comfortably so I made the cushion seat deeper by 3 inches.  The cushion base and seat overhang at the back.  This also allows me to still plug things into the wall sockets that are now behind the banquette.

Step 2 - Chose your cushion base

I decided to use 2' x 4' white pegboard panels for the cushions.  I bought 6 of these for a total of $41.70.  I had Home Depot cut them to size.  These pegboard panels also come in 8' lengths, but they're made out of a thinner and flimsier material.  Because I needed to span more than 4', I joined the pegboards with 2" double wide mending plates.

Step 3 - Cut your foam to size

The next step was to cut the foam to size.  You can buy foam over the internet cut to your specifications, but it is super expensive.  JoAnns and Hancock Fabrics sometime have good deals on their foam, but not as cheap as using camping pads, which is what I decided to go with. I really saved a bundle by using these.  They're 6' by 2' and cost $22 each.  I made sure I picked the firmest I could find.

The easiest way to cut foam is with an electric knife.  I used a long ruler as a guide.  It also helps to hold the knife blades from underneath with your other hand (make sure you're wearing gloves!).

Step 4 - Mark your tufts

Next, decide where you want your tufts to be.  This is where using pegboard comes in handy.

Mark the holes before hand.  Place the marked pegboard on the foam.  Use a marker to create dots on the foam.

Step 5 - Make holes in foam

You then remove some of the foam where the dots are.  I used a hollow end of a broom.  Simply punch it through the foam and remove the cutout foam.

Step 6 - Batting

Next you'll want to glue the foam to the pegboard with spray glue, and cover it with some batting for extra cushiness.  Staple the batting to keep it in place.

Step 7 - Make your fabric covered buttons

Make your buttons.  This is where the project starts to get tedious, and frustrating.  In all, I used 172 buttons!  I bought all of the buttons on sale so they only cost me about 30 cents each, approximately $50 total.

This is where I almost lost it!  Thankfully, I didn't cover all of my buttons at once, because after tufting a few, I realized that the backs would come off when I tried to tuft.  This happened on a number of occasions.  So I decided that I would glue all of the backs onto the buttons.  This was an extra step but so necessary.  I know upholstery shops will make you covered buttons for $1 each which is great if you're only doing a few, but not a couple of hundred.

Step 8 - Measure and cut your fabric

Next stage is to cut your fabric.  Make sure you have enough fabric on either side of the foam to be able to tuft into the holes.

Step 9 - Tuft

Start tufting.  There's definitely a bit of a skill to this, and it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.  I think it was a lot harder for me because I was tufting such long pieces.  I started in the middle and worked my way out.

You'll want to guide the fabric into diamonds with your hands.

To secure the buttons you can either use a staple method, or a button method.  The staple method was difficult because I was using a stapler that didn't have much power, so the staples weren't sitting as tight as I'd like to hold the cotton.  Definitely make sure you use upholstery thread for your buttons.  Pull the thread tight and staple in a zig zag fashion.

My hand started to hurt after a while of doing these, so I switched it up and decided to use some buttons instead of staples.  Use a slip knot to pull the buttons tight.  You probably wouldn't want to use buttons on the seat cushion because they might break when you sat on them, but for the seat back, this method could work fine.

Step 10 - Staple fabric on back

Then turn your cushion over and staple the fabric, making sure you pull it tight.

Step 11 - Make banquette skirt

Next step, the skirt.  I wanted a tailored skirt that could be easily pulled up to access the storage in the bench.

I made some piping, and cut the panels.  I ironed a 2 inch seam on either side of the panels.

The panels were then stapled to the underside of the seat cushion.

Project cost:

Base cabinets - Ikea Besta - $150
Foam pads - $120
Buttons - Dritz - $55
Peg board - $40
Mending plates - $7
Fabric - Warsa Lime Linen, Gray Lines Linen Inc 14 yds - $140
Batting - 4 yds - $20
Upholstery Thread - $3

Grand Total - $535!  

Project time:

Too many hours to count!