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!