New Chairs...Or Almost New

We love finding furniture at thrift stores or garage sales for a few bucks that needs a little TLC.  Most of our furniture actually fits that bill.  We bought our dining room table right after we got married for $100 at a thrift store and recently, we went to town re-upholstering the chairs for $25!  I've found that if you really want to make things pretty with not a lot of money, you have to be really patient.  I've been looking for fabric for our dining room chairs for a few months but haven't been able to find any for cheap enough.  To re-upholster chairs you really need a fabric that's a little thicker and will hold up after repeated "sittings".  Most home decor fabric is upwards of $15 a yard and I needed around three yards to do six chairs but I didn't want to spend more than $25.

Here's what our chairs looked like before:
The fabric wasn't ugly but some of the chairs did have some small stains on them, and always with used furniture, who knows what the chairs have been through.

One lucky day however, I found some fabric that had caught my eye a few times in JoAnn Fabrics on the clearance table!  I paid $5 a yard for it!  To keep it clean I picked up some stain-guard spray from Wal-Mart and sprayed each piece of fabric before placing it on the chairs.  With Anthony helping me, it took us about 10 minutes to make "new chairs". 
Here are the steps we used:
1.  Remove all old fabric and also make sure all old staples are gone.
2.  Wrap new fabric around seat making sure it's on straight - most important
     if you're going with a geometric pattern.  Our chairs are roughly 21" x 17" and
     we wanted 2" of "left-over" fabric around the back to make sure there was enough
     room for staples so we used a half-yard of fabric per chair.  (One yard of home
     decor fabric usually measures 36" x 54" so we cut them into pieces measuring
     36" x 27".)
3.  Staple about 1 inch or so in from fabric ends (so that fabric doesn't rip) starting
     with the middle of two sides .
4.  Staple the middle of the other two sides and then staple corners (corners will look
     bunchy from the underside of the seat, just make sure they aren't from the top).
5.  Place staples every inch or so to make sure fabric is nice and secure.
6.  Re-attach seats to chair and Wa-la!

Luckily, the existing foam padding on our chairs was in great condition so we didn't have to replace it.  To make sure your fabric has no chance of ripping, you can also use sewing tape, placing it in-between the fabric and staple gun.  Also, I completely washed each chair down with a bucket of warm water and wood-cleaner before re-attaching the new seat to make our chairs nice and shiny-clean.

Here are the chairs after the update:

So, $15 for a durable home decor fabric and about $10 for a stain-guard spray gave us a beautiful update worth much more than that!  The best thing is that if we ever decide we want to change our dining room's look and get a new dining room set, we could probably sell this set on craigslist for a profit.  I like those kinds of projects!  I also have a dream to someday (hopefully soon) take sewing classes and learn how to re-upholster bigger pieces like the $5 rocking wing-chair we have or a couch.  How sweet would that be! Then I could put up tutorials on how to do that!  
Have a blessed day! 

Inspiration Board

Are you decorating a room but not sure what you want?  Or are you planning a wedding or party but aren't sure where to start?  Decisions can be so hard and your mind can feel stretched in so many directions...I know mine is.  There are so many colors, combinations, patterns, and ideas out there that sometimes I wonder how I can choose!
Sometimes it's easier to make an "inspiration board" that has a compilation of ideas and colors all in one spot.  If you already have an idea of what you want you can make one, or if you're like me and there's too many options, you can make a few and pick a favorite.  Any simple photo-editing program will work!  Simply find pictures online of things you like, save 'em, 'cut' them out, and 'paste' them to a blank slate. 

My sister is getting married in October and, as you might now, planning can be hectic.  "What color should this be?" and "If those are this color, then what color should this be?" and "What kind of flowers look good with those dresses and what color should they be?"...and on, and on, and on.  Well, to help her see everything in one place and what she liked, she made an inspiration board.  She found images online of things she liked in the colors she wanted and plopped them all together.  It's fun and full of inspiration! 

Don't have photo-editing software?  You can download Picasa by Google for free at  Have fun putting all of your ideas in one, tangible place!  Your mind will thank you for it!


If there is one thing I'm awful at, it's finding cute, cheap frames and hanging them without putting a picture in them.  I guess it's mainly because one, I want to display the 'cuteness' right away, and two, it takes too much time to find a picture I like and then sometimes, depending on how large the frame, it costs a few bucks more than I'd like to spend to print it out.  Well, it drives Anthony crazy.  So, to appease my amazing husband, I found a way to fill my picture frames that costs a few cents per frame and is oh-so-pretty!
Calendars! You got it! I found these two at Michael's for $1 each! So I cut out some pictures I liked and...

... it's pretty for a few pennies!  The coolest thing is that there are calendars of almost everything out there...landscapes, flowers, babies, cats, dogs, beaches, and tons more so the selection is huge!

Other 'frame-fillers' you could use:
--leftover or cheap fabric
--pressed flowers and/or leaves (I framed leaves I picked up off the ground on our
   honeymoon in Italy)
--a bunch of photo booth pictures
--cool scrapbook paper
--newspaper or magazine clippings 
--your wedding invitations or other such memories
--free art from online websites like or
--of course, pictures you've taken 

Any more ideas?  I'd love to hear them or see what you've come up with!

Out With the Old, In With the New

Oh...plum pudding!  Let me explain.  About three months ago our dishwasher stopped draining and became a "drying rack" instead of a dish-cleaner.  
With just the two of us, we didn't really use it all that often anyway but just the fact that it was pooling water was a little annoying, especially since it's really not that old!  So, we've just tried to push back doling out moolah for a new one and have been washing dishes the good old-fashioned way - with our own two hands.  

So, to add to my plum puddin', yesterday I was making some chicken and rice with our stove, which is ancient and has probably been here since the house was built.  So, she's about 25 years old which in appliance years is, ummm...maybe 100? 
Well, the chicken is supposed to cook at 350 degrees for one hour and after the awful buzzer (which sounds like a dying bumblebee) went off, I noticed that the pre-heat light was still on.  The oven was warm but not the sweltering 350 degrees it should've been.  After my handy-dandy hubby looked at her and she still gave us problems, we knew she was in for.

The point of my story is that no longer can we pretend that an appliance (or two) works fine and "we don't really need it THAT bad...right"?  I could learn to become a chef-extraordinaire using only a counter-top microwave but I have a feeling we'd either starve to death or we'd shell out cash eating out more than eating our "microwave specialties".  On the bright side though (until we see numbers), we've decided we might as well splurge a little and replace all of our appliances since they're all pretty old.  That's what savings accounts are for anyway, right?  New appliances always snazzy up a kitchen too (I've got my eye on stainless-steel)!  We can sell our refrigerator, microwave, and range hood for a few bucks to help out since they still of today that is.  Pray for us and our happy appliance hunting! 

T to the Matoes

We have two ripe tomatoes ready to be picked and one almost there...finally! 

Both plants have lots of little green tomatoes so it looks like buying tomatoes is no longer a care of the Tobin family!  I never knew it could be this easy!  I've gone from farmer's daughter watching corn grow to growing a potted garden of my own!  I might have to dabble in growing more fruits and veggies next year!  You can be sure I'll probably be asking for some ideas and tips!

Given For Us

This weekend we made a road trip up to Virginia to witness two of our great friends enter into life together through the Sacrament of Matrimony.  We filled the 28 hours of being in the car with conversations, music, and listening to talks on cd.  One particular talk by Fr. Larry Richards struck me and I just want to share it.  He was giving a talk during Holy Week and was talking about how Christ died for our sins.  I hear that all the time and you might too but this time was different.  Fr. Larry went through the Passion of Christ in a detailed way, from the thorns piercing His brow to the nails being pounded into His hands.  I thought of the movie "The Passion of Christ" while I was listening and realized that every time I've watched that movie, I've watched it like I'm watching a gory History Channel show.  It makes me sad to watch it but it seems I forget that what I'm seeing He did for me!  He was scourged with whips that had sharp pieces of sheep bone on them that literally ripped skin off of His body.  He had a crown of thorns placed on His head that broke through skin on his ears, forehead, eyebrows, and even His skull.  He was stripped of everything He had on, humiliated, and was made to carry a huge wooden cross while bleeding and in excruciating pain up the hill to Calvary.  Nails were pounded through His wrists and feet and He hung, suffocating on the cross.  What's more is that everytime we sin, we shout "Crucify Him".  Wow!  Just thinking about it again makes me hate every sin I've ever committed.  I imagine myself alone with Him on the hill of Calvary just staring up at his bruised and beaten body, staring into His eyes.  His pain is personal.  It was done for me and everyday I take that forgranted.  How many times in my life have failed to acknowledge Him? 

He paid for our sin with His life and opened up the gates of heaven for us.  But, we have to choose Him!  It's our choice by the way we live our lives whether we will enter into heaven or be miserable in hell for the rest of eternity.  Today's gospel said that 'the road to perdition is wide and many take it, but the road to heaven is narrow and few find it'.  It's not easy to get to heaven and no one has a free ride.  We are 'saved' but we have to choose to accept Christ's sacrifice and live our life accordingly.  My only desire is to live my life doing God's will so that I may one day be counted among His saints and that is my hope for you also.  May God bless your decisions and your journey.  

Table for Four, Please?

Our latest project:  revamping a table we found in our shed after we bought our house.  Since we've lived here, this lone table was the place we just stored Anthony's tools but when we found out his sister was eating off a cardboard box (you do what you gotta to do right after college), we looked at it in a different light.  So, we pulled it out, cleaned it off, and made a game plan as to how we might make her look purdy.  The base is solid wood and in great condition but the top was a rotting piece of composite wood. 

To make it more "feminine" for our sis and to match her current decor, we thought building a new top and painting her white would look snazzy.  I'll tell you one thing, I know my husband can do just about anything, but his wood-working skillz through this amazed me.  He wanted the table to look really nice and not just quickly put together so he took a look at our dining room table and based his plans on that. 

A couple of planks, some wood molding and edging, wood glue, nails, and a bunch of tools later, and we are successful match-makers.  Our top and base couldn't be happier together.  Here they are in all their glory.

The best part of all?  Maria will have a place to rest her elbows and when she does, she can think of her brother and sister-in-law and how incredibly awesome they know it Maria.  ;) 

Dorm Daze!

A visit to a couple of thrift stores, Lowes, some tacos, and caramel brownies and this is what you get:  fun decor for dorm rooms!  Last night the "Fab Four", as I dubbed them, who are a part of the "Mighty Fine Nine" and I had some fun buying super cute, cheap picture frames and mirrors from a thrift store and spray painting them.  They're college-bound in the fall and bound to have the cutest dorm rooms around!  Take a look at the cuteness we created.  :)

These are some of the frames before:
Ugly, out-dated, and very uncool.

But with five cans of spray paint and some creative minds, here's what we made:
So cute, huh?

We could've left them like this and they would've been so cute but the girls showed their artsy sides and souped up these already-cute pieces.

Here's what we accomplished:

Just another project that shows how fabulous spray paint is, especially when combined with a fun girls' night! 

Another Day, Another Project

The day I run out of projects in this house is the day I'm coming to your house!  :)  Look out! 
Here's a peek at our new project.  Can you tell what it's going to become? 
Our deadline for finishing this dandy little thing is next Tuesday so stay tuned and find out what we're making/building/refurbishing!
.     .     .
Other than that I've been keeping myself busy by landscaping our entire
yard...BY MYSELF!

Okay, so I did it on the computer...but you were really amazed for a minute, right? 
I know, it looks really cheesy and really fake but I just liked playing around with options.  I'm sure it'll look a bit different once Anthony's mind starts rolling about plants but it was a blast playing in digital dirt!  The kind you can't eat...or feed to your baby sister for that matter.  Sorry Farrah.

Four Sides + The Bean Team =

One good-lookin' house!  Yes, we are FINALLY done!  It took us roughly a month and half of working weekends and dodging rain storms to paint the entire exterior of our house!  What did we learn from this experience?  Well, we learned that it's really not as daunting as a task as it seems to paint the exterior of a home.  Anthony learned that being afraid of heights is for sissies and I learned that I'm actually ambidextrous when it comes to painting!  We developed quite a simple "DIO" (Doing-It-Ourselves) way of painting so if you're interested in painting your house, send me a line and I'll share all! 
Last but not least, here's some good 'ole befores and afters to document one of our biggest projects yet!  Enjoy!

(I forgot to take a before picture before I painted the trim but you can still see the faded, ugly green.)









(Ten points if you can find St. Anthony)



Next project?  Some much needed landscaping is in order and since Anthony used to be a landscape designer, it should be a fun time.  :)  Come back and see our house become surrounded by lushness!

Rain, Rain, Go Away

We've spent every waking moment today, with the exception of an hour break for lunch, painting the last side.  We would be sitting here right now lounging with the entire side done if it weren't for the darn storms passing through!  But, I thought it'd be fun to post an "In Progress" photo just for kicks.

The feedlot light is gone and our last side is over halfway done!  Yippee! 

Last Side!

So our hope is that this weekend we can finish painting the last side of our house!  

It's arguably the worst side since it gets the most sun and has faded so much.  We're tackling the trim today and tomorrow the permitting.  We also want to take off that horrid light above the side door.  It reminds me of the lights I grew up with over the feedlot's way out of place.  I loved growing up on the farm but I don't need a souvenir.  (I have you Gramps!)  Our, at least my motivation, has waned since we finished the front of the house.  I still really want to finish it but the rush to get it all done has subsided a little since we have the part that everyone sees done.

So, cheer me on as I paint the door and window trim! 

(I already painted the bottom trim with excess paint awhile ago.  Can you see the difference?)

Stay tuned for after pictures too!

What a Little Paint Can Do!

The title of this post should actually read "What a Little Paint and a LOT of Patience Can Do!", but it's a little long.  So, a friend kindly gave us a beautiful hutch in exchange for a twin mattress set we had that we weren't using. 
We placed it in our living room at the time to create a focal point on an otherwise "blank" wall.  At the time, the green, country look of it complimented the colors in our living room and even though I had dreams to paint it one day, I just didn't have the time.

So, we moved it with us down to Alabama and put it in the living room down here as well.  Except, it just didn't jive as well since we had bought a new couch and introduced ourselves to a different color scheme in the room.
Yes, I know.  The red rug and green hutch do nothing for our new aqua colored couch.  So what did I do?  I sold the rug on and painted the hutch a cream color.  


So the reason I said I needed a lot of patience to do this job was because I had to take off each door, each hinge, and each little thingy that was holding the glass in in order to take out the glass just so that I'd only get paint on the wood.  I'm going to post this process on my "Beauty on a Budget" page soon in case anyone wants some 'DIY' tips/ideas on painting a piece of furniture like this.  The patience and hard work paid off and my living room certainly "jives" now.  :)