Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Porch Progress

Here's what we started with when we moved in.  This picture was probably taken around February 2012.  By summer time, my vintage glider (that doesn't glide) was placed along the railing on the left of this photo.  It was always in the blazing sun every afternoon when I wanted to sit in it.  The dining table was placed on the right side because I feared the cushions would get wet from the rain.

February 2012

By the end of the summer, I was sick of not having a shady place to sit.  So, with the help of my mom and aunt, we worked to rearrange the furniture to make it more functional.  

It was very lacking in the furniture department.  Use your imagination.

August 2012

I found this great faux bamboo chair at a thrift store for $10.  The coffee table is a tree stump that had been rotting in our yard for a year or two.  

September 2012

We moved the dining table to the other side, and with the chairs pushed under the cushions are pretty safe from the rain.  The chairs are covered with outdoor fabric to resist fading and mildew, but I also sprayed them with scotch guard for further protection.  The grill was placed in the far back corner where both sides are exposed to rain.

I've own the glider for over 5 years.  It got painted green way back then, but it's been siting out by the fire pit in all the elements for at least 3 years.  It really needed a new paint job.

I decided I was going to go with aqua and paint the side tables coral.  My other thought was to make throw pillows in the same fabric as the dining chairs, but that fabric was discontinued so I found this as a similar alternative.

After one coat, I realize that this color was way too bright.  You can't really tell from the photo, but I took it back to Sherwin Williams and had them tint it with more umber (it's a brown pigment).  In a side by side comparison, it made a huge difference and was so much better.

The glider got painted solid this time (instead of contrasting squares) because I was planning on adding a cushion to the bottom.  I was lucky enough to find one the perfect size online.  It was around $60, but since everything else came from a thrift store, I figured I could splurge.

Somewhere around this point I started getting very stressed about what colors to paint the other furniture.  All the colors had to be inspired by this cushion (from Pier 1) that I bought way before any of this started.

Enter Photoshop.

Being a very visual person, I needed to SEE the colors before deciding.  This next series of photos shows all the color combos I was playing around with in photoshop.  

I actually painted the above color scheme (with cranberry tables and gray chair) and it stayed that way for the winter.  But I was still on the hunt for throw pillows.  Ideally, Pier 1 would sell throw pillows to match the cushion, but they don't.  The rest of the furniture really needed to draw some of the colors out of the Pier 1 cushion.  I needed some fabric that had yellow or green in it.  And in real life, the aqua with coral, with whatever color pillows I add (like yellow) was looking way too circus (blue, red, yellow).  

So the tables got painted for a 4th time.  They aren't matching tables, but I got them both at Goodwill for $5 each.  I think some kind of stained wood would look nice since there is a lot of painted furniture going on.  But it's too much work to strip them.  I painted them a wood color called "brilliant oak" with a $3 sample pot from Lowes.  Such a calming effect compared to the cranberry color.  If you are still on team cranberry, just trust me on this one.  I bought and tried yellow pillows.  It was crazy-town.

Then something amazing happened!  After looking for the Pier 1 fabric all over the internet, and determining it's not sold anywhere.  A few month later it popped up on under their "just arrived" fabrics for $6/yd.  Made my day!!!

So I ordered a yard and recovered two pillows I already owned.  And found two aqua pillows at walmart for $7/each.

I'm still not totally sold on the white bamboo chair.  I tried yellow but it wasn't working.  I almost tried green, but thought it would be a waste of $5 spray paint if I didn't like it.  White is safe.  White also looks great as a photo prop in a field.

So there you have it.  It took me a year, but I can basically put the "done" stamp on this project.  

Oh, I didn't show you what I found at a thrift store last time I was visiting my parents.  This pair of concrete planters that welcome you as you step up onto the deck.  Classic.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Throw Pillow Covers

Another project I've waited a year to do.  With good reason: I didn't have a sewing machine.  But I got this one for Christmas, so pillows were at the top of my list!

We've been using two throw pillows, one of which was purple and didn't go with anything in the room.  The other was the quilted turquoise one in the photos below, which I got from one of those fair trade things from Africa during the Southern Christmas Show years ago (and I still love it).

We have opened shelving in the kitchen, and italian pottery dishes that are muted green and yellow.  

So, those colors had to fit into the whole room's color scheme.  But since I like bright blues, greens, and grays I added pops of aqua/turquoise to the mix, so our living room color scheme is more like this.

Yellow, green, aqua, charcoal, and white.

It helps that our hand-me-down rug is blue.  There are worse colors.

It was surprisingly hard to find a patterned fabric that had some arrangement of those colors in it that wasn't old fashioned looking or didn't have a white background.  I didn't want a light background because it would look washed out on the tan slipcover.  

I finally found a fabric that had charcoal and green with a little blue in it.  But $16/yard was a little steep.  Luckily I only needed 5/8th of a yard, so I went for it.  I also found yellow duck cloth (canvas-like) that was $8/yard.

One was for a 20 inch pillow, the other for 18 inch.  Pillow forms themselves are very expensive, in my opinion.  Usually $12 for 16in, and $15 or more for a 20in.  I have several bags full of old pillow forms that are still in great shape(many never used).  The larger pillow form is actually from Ikea.  It was a 24 x 20 inch pillow with an ugly royal blue cover on it.  And it was on clearance for $7.  Yes, please!  I got two.

But the rectangular size made them look like bed pillows.  I remedied that by ripping it opened and pulling out a good bit of stuffing and then taking it in 4 inches on one side and restuffing and sewing it back up. 

I followed a blog tutorial for a envelope pillow cover.  It really was as super easy as they say.  You cut one long piece of fabric and fold it around the back, instead of cutting two pieces.  I wasn't ready to try my hand at zippers. 

Here is the back side with the opening.

Applique pillows are all over Pinterest.  Animal appliques are all the rage and I almost did a rabbit or fox.  After browsing I found some naturey shapes like branches and leaves that I liked.  All I did was free hand a design just by looking at the picture.  I drew it straight onto leftover drop cloth fabric.

Cut it out and pinned it to my already hemmed, but not folded around envelope pillow.  Then sewing in a contrasting thread (gray).  This was the time consuming part.  I haven't yet washed it to let it fray completely, but I did try and fray it with my fingers.

This was my inspiration photo.

The last pillow actually wasn't planned out like the others.  I just wanted to make a t-shirt pillow because they are so soft.  And I had a stack of t-shirts that were going to goodwill.

I used this blog as a reference, but also just winged it.

Seriously SOOOO soft and cuddly.  I really need to make more!

Finally a Bookshelf!

Do you ever have one of those projects that you put off for months or years, and when it's finally done you think "Why on earth did we not do this sooner?"  This was definitely one of those.  

If we are friends on Facebook, then you already saw some of these pictures, but here is a more detailed play by play.  No, it's not a tutorial on how to build a bookshelf because I don't know how to build a bookshelf!  My job was to document (and not very well I was told), and then putty, paint, and style.

Matt told me I didn't get close ups of how the pieces fit together so perfectly.  He was proud.  As he should be.

I don't have a close up of the craziness going on in the corner before, but here's a shot of that side of the room taken last year.  If you look close, you can see that the corner does not meet at a 90 degree angle.  Because of a support post holding up the roof, the drywall is actually at a 45 degree angle.

To build a bookshelf behind the TV meant we need to create a 90 degree corner so the bookshelf would have a side.  A bookshelf needs to side pieces to attach the shelves to, right?

 Since we were already having to box in the corner, we both had the thought that we could put a door on it and shove the modem and other cords into.  And since the bottom shelf was going to be raised off the floor 4 inches, why not make it removable and run cords under there as well!

These are the kind of pictures Matt wished I took more of.  Perfect joints.  Most people do their best and caulk the rest (is that the saying?).  But Matt's an engineer, so it had to be perfect.  My dad asked how he knows how to build like this. Matt said, it's just geometry.  It's so easy to him (not so much me).  I don't even think he writes any of this down.  It's all in his head.

The shelves are just screwed in from the outside, so no underneath supports needed.

This is Matt's technique for attaching shelves or even mounting cabinets.  Stack things under it until you reach the desired height.  Keeps things still and level.  Great for those of us who don't have 3 or 4 arms.

Matt's job is done.  He(along with co-workers who saw this photo) really wanted to leave it this natural two-tone color.  It's interesting, but SO doesn't go with the rest of our house.  It would have stood out in not a good way since all our trim is white.

 I should also note that the reason the boards are so dark is because they are 20 or 30 yrs old.  Matt's parents were saving them for the perfect project, which never came up, so they gave them to us to use.  Some of them have knotty holes straight through, which really add a lot of character and make it look like a built in piece from an old house.

The plan was to put the stereo and printer on the shelves and run the cords through holes drilled into the side of the bookshelf.  You can see one of the holes in the photo below.  The bottom shelf is removable by drilling a similar hole into the far right side to stick your finger into to lift out.  Under the shelf are all the cords for the TV, printer, stereo, and the cord thingy that connects a laptop to the TV (since we watch nearly all of our tv either on hulu or netflix).

And inside the door is the DSL line and modem.

And here it is finished and styled.  We have plenty of room to grow and change it up as our needs change.  

I'm completely in love with it.  It's amazing how it's really replaced 3 pieces of furniture(bookshelf in other room, tv tray with stereo, small bookshelf with printer and books).  And does it a million times better than those other 3 pieces ever did!


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