The 'Over-Achiever' Loveseat

That's what I'm gonna call it.  The idea of finding a gorgeous loveseat on a curb, taking it home, and turning it into a to-die-for piece of furniture with not a lot of money is grandiose, but then the work began...and let me tell you, it is WORK!  I thought I could probably get this baby from broken and battered to luxe and lovely  in a week (maybe two) if I worked on it a little everyday.  Nope, not gonna happen.  I have a great hard-working, "I can do it" attitude but this loveseat will test even me.  I will push through though and someday (the keyword being someday), we will have a beautiful, antique loveseat enhancing our living room.  The good thing is that Anthony is, as I write, taking the exam for which he's been studying for for the past couple of weeks so once that's done, he'll be able to help me.  Anyway, here's what I've done so far:

The first step (I'm no professional...as a matter of fact, I'm a beginner doing what should be a professional's job...but that's never stopped me before) was to remove all the trim bordering the existing upholstery.
This was and will be the easiest part of the whole process.  The trim was simply glued over the staples holding the fabric onto the chair so all I had to do was pull.  At this point I was thinking to myself, "Wow!  This is going to be a cake walk".  Boy was my head in the clouds.

Here's what the 'over-achiever' looked like minus the trim:

Next up was removing staples - TONS of staples!  I decided to work on the back of the chair first so I could get to those buttons to remove them before I started on the front.  I started by just pulling on the fabric at it's edges to rip it and the staples attaching it to the loveseat up.  But, it wasn't going to be that easy.  The pesky glue that held the trim on made me question over and over again "Why am I doing this again?".  I switched back and forth between pulling fabric, yanking and pulling with pliers, picking off glue, and questioning why I was doing this to myself.  Well, I finally got all the fabric off.  Oh yeah, when I first started pulling off fabric I noticed the fluffy, crumbly stuffing underneath and I panicked.  My first thought was "Asbestos!".  I freaked out, envisioning myself or Anthony having to call one of those lawyer hot lines on t.v. that advertise their "Have you or one of your loved ones been exposed to asbestos?" schemes, and immediately stopped working.  I literally ran to the computer and researched asbestos and whether or not it was used as padding in antique furniture.  Lucky for me (not so lucky for those lawyers...ha), it was never used in furniture.  Cancer-free, I went back to the staples.  After pulling off all the fabric and ripping out the padding, here's what I had to work with (sorry for the blurry picture):

And here's the evidence of my hard work:
I'm saving the fabric to use as a template when cutting the new fabric, which I don't have yet.  I want to make sure Anthony can, for sure, get those back legs on and in working order before I put money into fabric.  The trim and fake asbestos will go to our lovely trash can.  Should I also mention that I had battle wounds from working on this crazy loveseat?  Yep, the inside of my hand was bruised for almost a week from death-gripping the pliers.  Some women endure pain for physical beauty.  Me?  I'm a different breed.  :) 
So, that's just the beginning.  It's back to the loveseat for me - as I type it's upside-down on two sawhorses and I'm working on the bottom so Anthony can get those legs on when he's done.  :)  More progress updates later!  I hope you have a Happy Memorial Day!  Say a few prayers for our troops and for God's peace to rule this crazy world!

One Heck of a Trash Pile

Oh boy!  What until you see what I've got to write about today!  In my last post I mentioned it but nothing could have really prepared you for what you're about to see.  First though, I must begin with a little intro.  A few weekends ago, we chaperoned a middle school retreat.  The retreat came and went and before we knew it, it was time to go home.  I rode home in a packed van with friends...emphasis on packed...every seat was full and the trunk was stuffed.  Off we went, down the street, around the corner, through a neighborhood, past a gorgeous, antique loveseat sitting on the curb amidst a trash pile...WHAT?!  Yep, word for word, that's how it went.  And this is what ensued:
Me and friends:  Oh my gosh!  Look at that loveseat!  Who would throw that out?  It is really out there for the taking?  Wow!
Our friend Dan:  Sheena, do you want it?
Me (inside):  Of course I want it!  It has "TAKE  ME AND FIX ME UP" written all over it!  But the van is PACKED...I'm so torn!  Just look away Sheena...look away and move on.
Me (outside):  No, it's okay.  
Our friend Dan:  Sheena, are you SURE you don't want it?
Me:  There's no room!  Just keep going...it's okay.
Our friend Dan:  We'll carry it.
...and they did.  Dan and Kevin carried our treasure down the street, around a corner, through the neighborhood, and to a building on the high school campus where Dan's wife Lauren, their kids, and I drove
to meet them. 
(Right after I took this picture, our friend Kevin (left), who was visiting from out of town that weekend and who doesn't know about my thrifty behavior and DIY mania, asked "So, is this some sort of hobby?"  I thought to myself, "more like addiction" but just responded with an enthusiastic "yes".  Lord, help me.)

You might be wondering too, as we were, why anyone would curb a couch like that.  Well, we'll just say it wasn't exactly in perfect condition.  The front, left leg is broken but still works as a support and the back two legs are just hanging on by threads. 

See the difference in the two front legs? The caster will come off the right leg, making them even.
Also, the woodwork along the top is a little shaky but thankfully, isn't part of the support system.  A few little nails and maybe some wood glue and we'll be good to go sit.  The whole thing needs to be reupholstered, which I'm so excited to try too!  Nothing like learning on something that was free in the first place, right?  For now, this beauty is resting it's haunches on Anthony's toolbox.  I've even already started the process of peeling off trim, fabric, and old batting which I'll write about in the next post! 
Oh what fun it's going to be!  Come along with us on our loveseat adventure!  We promise we'll do all the work, all you have to do is watch the transformation!  :) 

P.S.  If there are any seasoned reupholsterers out there, or even any amateur ones reading this, I'd love some input!

Flip It

A few weeks ago, on a gorgeous, sunny Saturday, Anthony and I decided to go on a date in our own back and front yards.  Winter had come and gone and spring left it's mark of leaves (yes, down here, leaves fall in the spring...and fall...and winter) and dried up flowers in our lawn and the once-pristine pine straw beds we built up last fall looked no more like well-groomed landscaping but more like leaf heaven. 
Here's a glimpse of the mess:
I'd been eye-ballin' this mess every time we left the house and passed by it on our way down the driveway, not looking forward to the soon-to-be day we'd have to go out there and hand pick those pesky leaves out of the beds, one by measly one.  We had plenty of pine straw still in the beds, so that wasn't a problem...just the leaves. 
Well, that day came - our yard duty date - as I mentioned above.  Anthony mowed and edged while I put on my gardening gloves, squatted down on my haunches, and began the tedious task of picking and picking and picking and picking and...  After five minutes of that, I was done.  My quads felt like I had just run five miles and I was simply wasn't feeling productive.  So, I switched up my technique.  I thought, "What if I just pick up small sections of pine straw and shake 'em a little?  Would the leaves and dead flowers just fall out leaving the pine straw behind?"  It was worth a try.  So, I picked up the first little section of pine straw, gave it a little shakeroo, and only a few leaves fell out of the bundle...not what I was hoping.  So, thinking I was gonna have to suck it up and start picking again, I threw the pile of pine straw back down and that's when the heaven's opened and angels started singing...well, not really, but I'm sure God was laughing at me.  You see, when I threw down the pile of pine straw I had been holding it landed upside down in it's spot so that the leaves were underneath and all you could see was "fresh" pine straw!  Glorious!  Away I went, picking a section up, flipping it over, and throwing it back down. 
Here's the same bed shown above halfway done:
Sure there were still a few leaves and a little dirt mixed in, but after the first rain the dirt washed down through the straw and I easily picked out the few leaves that were noticeable.  I'm not sure this is the "correct" way to do it but it works!  I convinced myself this way was actually more beneficial to the dirt underneath though because those darn leaves will decompose and leave nutrients in the soil, making healthier dirt for the plants...am I off my rocker or is that true?  Anyone know?
So anyway, after about 20 minutes of picking up sections and flipping them over, every bed in our yard could once again be labeled "manicured" and I was drinking a tall glass of ice water, relaxed in our back yard.  I wish every fix was this easy...and free too!

"What is it God? I'd love to know!"

We still haven't sold our house.  :(  We've had three open houses with no one knocking at the door to roam around.  We've had tons of people ask us if we'd be interested in leasing to own, but that avenue isn't for us.  However, we had one interested man with whom financing was an issue.  The fact that there are a bajillion houses for sale in this neighborhood doesn't help and sometimes the fact that we're listing by owner (we got two calls from realtors whose clients really wanted to see it but the two realtors couldn't show it without making at least a 3% commission).  Plus, after selling our previous home in a few weeks, going on eight months with this one just seems way too long!  
This past week my minds wheels have been spinning with questions like "Is it your will that we move Lord?", "Do you want us to just sit tight in this house?", and "Should we take it off the market or just be patient?".  Usually, I just sit in patience waiting and knowing that God will take care of it.  But when my mind starts questioning what His next step for us is, then I know I need to take my curiosity to prayer because maybe He wants me to know something else...another plan...the next decision needs to be made.  So the point is "Whatcha want Lord?  We're all ears, er...minds, er...hearts!"
So anywho, I can't write a post and not include some sort of DIY something or other!  I put together a few pictures showing the changes our guestroom has overcome since we began and I thought I'd share.  Who doesn't love a good progress report?  :)

This is before we moved in:

After we moved in and made it "livable" for my grandparents visit...a.k.a. bought a mattress:
  This is also right before I took a foam roller and white paint to every single door in the house including the two closet doors in this room.  :)

This is a few months later:
We added a fresh coat of paint on the walls and trim, a clearanced $20 duvet set, home-made curtains, thrift store (and thoroughly washed) pillows on the window seat, and primer on the desk.

And then we found a picture-frame-we-use-as-a-headboard for a couple bucks at a yard sale, a universal bed frame on craigslist, a two dollar Target bed skirt.  The chair at the desk had been sitting in our outdoor shed, left from the previous owner...gotta love free!
Oh yeah, then my sister gave me those two lamps, which sat on those nightstands for a day or two before I found...

...the nightstands in this picture for $10 each (more on those in the future...they will be getting made-over).
I also went white with the 'headboard', added some flair to the white pillow on the bed, and "Bernie" my gifted sewing machine made her debut into our home and this room!

And last but certainly not least...unless someone buys our house tomorrow...
more throw pillows, a faux roman shade, and revamped thrift store lamps have made this room what it is today...a long way from this:

Picture frames and such won't adorn the walls until we're sure we'll stay in this house (the less holes to fill, the better) so besides making a project out of those nightstands, the desk chair, and the desk someday, we're done in here.  But just wait until you see my next project - a curb-side, antique love seat I'm dying to tackle!  Thank goodness life is slowing down a little because I'm guessing this one will be a doozy!  :) 

Blinds Behind

Finally, it's here!  You might remember that in this post of yore, I mentioned I had an ingenious idea up my sleeve and, literally, on my window.  I just haven't had time to write up a wordy post about it.  But, today is the lucky day because I'm stuck at home without a car...a curse and blessing of being a one-car fam.
So let me start with faux wood blinds.  What can I say about them?  The thought of them tumbles back and forth in my mind between like and dislike.  I'm not a huge fan of their aesthetic appeal (if there is any) but they do maintain privacy and block out light like champs.  Personally, I would much rather get those features out of a roman shade.  But, since my sewing skills haven't had time to develop into roman shade making, I've had to deal with those darn faux wood blinds that adorn every single window in this house.  However, I did come up with a compromise and I'm going to call it "putting the 'blinds behind'". 
Here's what I did:

First, using the same fabric used to make the decorative pillows I wrote about yesterday, I quickly sewed up a 'shade'/valance 42" wide by 20" long finished.

Then it was time to measure how high above the window I wanted the curtains and 'faux shade' to hang.  I actually ended up raising the curtains about six inches from where they were so that in the end, my window would look bigger since the shade would be covering mostly wall space.  Out came the drill and up went the hardware for the second curtain rod on which would hang my shade.

Next, I slipped my homemade shade onto the curtain rod and hung it.

Now comes the part where my valance actually becomes a 'faux roman shade'.  Using the mechanics of the blinds is the vital element in making this come true.  So with this in mind, I sewed the shade to the blinds vertical strings (on this particular blind, there are three).  I attached it with one small knot around each string, between the second and third blinds.  So, in the end, I had three, almost invisible, tiny knots.
This picture shows the sewing in progress, right before I cut and knotted the thread:
Make sense?  I hope so.

At this point, the shade is attached to the blinds and will move with the blinds, up or down.  At night or any other time when our guests want the privacy power of the blinds, the shade is simply a decorative valance.

The same is true during the day when the blinds are down but open to filter sunlight (or a rainy day like it was when this picture was taken).

But here's my favorite - when the valance becomes a shade.  Since the shade moves with the blinds, when the blinds are raised, so is the part of the shade that is sewn to the blinds.  This creates the faux roman shade.
Ta-Da!  Presto chango!  Unless we have guests, this is what the window looks like!  And, unless you've read this post, you'd never know it wasn't a full-length piece of fabric/real roman shade that only cost me around 9 bucks to make (new $5 curtain rod + $4 of fabric)!


See the 'blinds behind'?  :)

I originally thought of this idea after getting some inspiration from a post by Jenny at the blog, Pearl Street Interiors, where she made a roman shade out of mini-blinds (which I can't wait to adopt if we ever buy a 'blindless' house).  After tweaking her idea to fit my own situation, I had to have a trial run to make sure I wasn't going nuts.  So, I grabbed some left-over fabric from making the Berr Chair, and quickly hung and sewed it to a window in our bedroom.  Then I did the happy dance realizing that it worked and that a couple of Beans could have window treatments that looked custom and not-so-cheap on a shoe-string budget!  Here's what my temporary trial run looked like:

Putting the 'blinds behind' would also work if you wanted to make a full-length shade to cover your blinds.  All you would have to do is sew the fabric to the strings of your blinds every 8 to 12 inches or so.  It would cost more, but not much more.  I was going for a super-cheap solution (I spent $4 on fabric vs. $20) but might employ it in the future.  Also, if someone doesn't come buy this house soon, every window will become a victim, or should I say, every blind.  :)    

Seeing Stripes

Anthony's parents were in town for Easter but before they came, I wanted to gussy up our guestroom - not that it needed any gussying up, I just needed a project.  :)  Sounds great, right?  The motivation to take on this minor makeover came the day I found out they had found tickets and their visit was a part of reality...aka 2 months ago.  The problem was that I just didn't have time to do what I wanted - more decorative pillows, a roman shade, lamps...  Well, I found time...a few days before their plane touched down.  The thing about last minute projects like this though is that, being a frugalista, deals are hard to find.  But, lucky for me, my guardian angel is also into interior design - the heavenly kind - and she pulled some strings for me.  :)
I've been hopelessly coveting this striped fabric over at Hancock Fabrics for a year now, but at $35 a yard, it was never my idea of "worth it", me thinking I could get half a weeks groceries for that price.  Well, I happened to walk in three days before Anthony's parents arrived and to my utmost joy and excitement, it was on sale for $8 a yard!  Still a little more than I'd like to spend, but since I only needed a little over a yard, who could complain!  Not me!  Plus, I got two pillows and a 'faux' roman shade (more details on that next time) out of it!
Home I went to whip up two new decorative pillows using my striped fabric for the front and some of the white shower curtain I used to make these pillows last month for the back.

Here are our new striped sensations:
The lighter blue in them matches our existing duvet cover perfectly and they add some "wow" factor into the room!  They also draw attention away from the bare walls, which we're not hammering into anytime soon since we're trying to sell this house.  The less holes to spackle over, the better on moving day.


You might've also noticed that the headboard got a coat of white.  It went from this:

 To this:
The end tables were also added awhile ago (found clearanced for $10 each) and won't stay dark for long either...just not sure what color they'll be yet...silver leafed? mustard or pale yellow with a glaze finish? light green? white with a painted pattern?  There are so many ideas in this little noggin', it's hard to tell what will happen.  :)