The Berr Chair: Prime Time

Onto the next phase of the 'Berr Chair' renovation:  priming.  I made sure to use an oil-based primer which keeps stains from seeping through caused by the wood of the chair...I'm not sure how stains come through or even appear (since I sanded and cleaned it like mad) but I made the mistake of using water-based primer on a wood desk I painted and staining did come through.  A few months after the desk incident, I read that you should only use oil-based primer on wood and had an 'ah-hah!' moment.  Another helpful hint I learned:  you can paint water-based paint over oil-based primer but never oil-based paint over water-based primer.  Got it?  Good.

Here's the chair during the priming process:
 I ended up painting two coats of primer for more coverage, better protection, and just so I could use less paint.

Here it is, all primed and proper:

Going for a smooth, more sleek look, I ended up using spray paint vs. regular, latex paint.  I went with Krylon's (from Wal-Mart for $3) semi-gloss white paint because it has a spray nozzle that sprays in a line (you can change it from spraying horizontally or vertically too) and I think that gives a better coverage...or gives a better coverage in less time than paints that spray in a circle.

So, out came my handy-dandy, spray-painting plywood and away I went.
This is after 4 very light coats.  I wanted to make sure I didn't have any drippage so the lighter the coats, the better.  I ended up putting on 8 coats...I know, that's a lot.  But, it looks amazing!  Just wait until you see a future post!  :)

Missed phase one?  Read about it here.

The Berr Chair (Phase I)

(Pronounced The 'Bear' Chair).  This is the (beginning of a) story about a lone, antique, Belgium school chair...and me...and the family it belongs to.  You see we are good friends to an amazing family who happened to have a chair sitting around that, well, was quite past it's prime.  I was over babysitting one day when I laid my eyes on the tired little chair and (of course) started dreaming of how it could be made 'young' again.  I didn't know what they had planned for it but, for lack of projects going on at our house, I asked if I could refinish it for them.  To my joy and surprise, they said they would love it if I did.  Home came the little chair with me and off went my mind reeling with different colors and fabrics.  Here it is, tired and worn out from the past century:

After removing the old seat (which will return in cushy cuteness), I grabbed some sand paper that had been left over from a Vacation Bible School project and took the project outside.  In order for the paint to stick, I needed to sand down the chair just enough to get most of the existing varnish off (which had already been mostly scratched off by years of use...and Belgium kids who needed their little fingernails clipped). 

Sanding can make quite the mess, so doing it outside makes clean up a lot easier. 
After the "Berr Chair" was sanded enough, I wiped it down with a damp cloth.  I didn't use too much water to wipe it down because too much could warp the 'naked' wood.  The damp cloth, rinsed out a few times, was all I needed to get all the sanding powder off so that it didn't get mixed in the paint.

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Next time on "Bean In Love":  See the "Berr Chair" go to 'prime time' and get the fresh coat of paint it's been waiting decades for!

Also, stay tuned and find out what color we decided to paint it and which of these three fabrics will allow for comfortable seating! 


This past Saturday we were fortunate enough to actually be at home all day and just lounge...okay, so maybe I'm stretching it a little on the lounge we ever just lounge?  We're the couple whose minds are always running.  Even Anthony's runs, along with his mouth, while he's asleep.  So anyway, we spent our day at home cleaning up the leaves in the yard, sweeping the patio, and tidying up the house.  By noon we were done and Anthony began his hide-out in the office for the rest of the day writing a paper for a grad class.  Then there was me.  Of course I can't just sit and watch T.V. or take a, I sought and found a project.

The small decorative pillow in our guestroom is simply an old pillow covered and folded with a standard size (not to mention very irregular) pillow case. 
 Yes, it's weird but I needed a decorative pillow that was white and that was all I had.  The problem, along with the pillow case being way to big, is that there's a gaping hole in the seam on one side.  This is how, Operation "Make a new pillow cover out of the existing case" began.

First, I turned the case inside out so that I could cut it to the shape I needed it to be.  Then, of course, it has to be sewn inside-out to look good right-side-out.  :) 
Can you see how irregular it was?  It figures since I only paid about 50 cents for it awhile ago. 
Since I wanted this to be a quick project because I had to cook dinner, I opted for heat 'n bond tape (so every time I write "sew", I really mean "iron together tape").  So after measuring my pillow, cutting the pillowcase to my measurements, and then ironing my seams together, I had a perfect pillow cover for my decorative pillow.  The end...or is it?

This is when I noticed I had some more time to fiddle around and saw the excess "pillow-edging" or whatever have you, just lying there silently begging to be used.
  And this is how my mind works:  Hmmm...what could I do with that?  Put it around the entire edge of my pillow?  No, it's not long enough.  Just sew one long piece across the face of my pillow to add character?  Okay, maybe.  (Thinking, thinking, thinking.)  Hey, why don't I cut a few pieces of equal lengths, sew in the edges, and create a 'pleated' look down the front of my pillow?!  Yeah!  (I know, my mind is a crazy place.)

So, I measured, cut, and sewed five equal pieces of edging.  

Then I figured out where the center mark on my pillow was and penciled in 5 equally spaced marks where each completed 'pleat' would go. 

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Side Note:
Have excess fabric lying around?  You can give a bland pillow cover character by doing what I did with any type of fabric, ribbon, or ruffles (or all of them together).  Using two or more coordinating colors or patterns would also be so fun.  You can also extend the pleats to cover the entire front (and back if you wish) of your pillow to create an entirely new cover.  Just have fun! 
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Finally, my afternoon delight...a new pillow cover.  

Free, taking up 45 minutes of my time, and just in time for dinner!  :) 

Fab Finds: Yard Sale Style

I love yard sales but I don't go to them very often.  For one, I don't like going alone and two, I feel bad walking away without buying anything.  However, a few weeks ago I laid aside my petty issues and walked from house to house during a neighborhood yard sale near our house.  
I had my heart set on finding some used throw pillows that were clean, cheap, and in good condition.  Once found, the plan was to make new pillow covers out of outdoor material and adorn our porch-side wicker furniture with them.
A few days before I had scoured a few thrift stores around my house for pillows but they were all either too much (and by too much I mean over $4 for an old, used pillow) or too gross to feel comfortable about leaning against.  But back to my yard sale excursion.  I did find my pillows and almost jumped five feet in the air when I looked at the price tag and found them to be $1 each!  They looked like they were brand new, were nice and cushy, and fit the backs of my chairs to a 't' (which I found out later) too!  
   Since then I've been searching for fabric to recover them with but to no avail.  This is where decorating on a budget collides with needing to have lots of patience.  I'll only need a little over a yard of fabric for these two but I really don't want to spend over $15...and I'm picky.  I've already found lots of great patterns but none in my price point.  But, my experience tells me something will pop up and I'll be happy I waited.  :)  Plus, shouldn't outdoor fabrics be clearancing out about this time of year?  I guess we'll see!

So I've found what I've set out to find but I make one last stop before I get back home.  Leaning against other unwanted items at this last attempt of deal-finding is an interesting structure I'm not sure what to classify as.  It is a grid-like, frame thing but there's no maybe it's just a decorative object to adorn or lean against an empty wall? 

 After she notices this crazy person, me, staring into space at this piece the owner comes over and soothes my wandering imagination to tell me it used to be a multi-photo, picture frame but that the glass had been broken...ohhhhh...I see said the blind man!  There was a little sticker in the corner that said $2 so, after asking her if was sure she only wanted $2 for it (it was so big and cool that I felt like I was ripping her off), I excitedly handed her two dollar bills and made off with my new find.  I had an idea for what I wanted to do with it but wouldn't find out until I got home with it if it would actually work.

The Happy Ending:
Our guest room bed has a new headboard and it only cost $2!  I originally wanted to make my own upholstered headboard for this room but this works for now (plus $2 sounds better than $30+).  Who knows, it might stay there forever or it might grace another space in our abode someday!  What color it will be, if it even changes, is the question.  :)

So in the words of MasterCard:
Two pillows to be recovered:  $2
A make-shift headboard:  $2
Getting over my fear of "yard sale-ing" by myself:  priceless  

Playing Florist for a Day

That's right, we acted like we were florists and put together hydrangea bouquets just like the pros...only it was our night-before-the-wedding-girls-only party. 

Farrah and Patrick ordered hydrangeas in bulk from Costco, saving lots of money. 
 Actually, they spent only a quarter of what we spent on our flowers, and we thought we got a good deal AND were on a budget!  Wowsers!  

When the time came to work floral wonders, we went with a simple look using bunches of the hydrangeas to create small bouquets for the bridesmaids, a larger one for Farrah, some simple boutonnieres, and cute corsages for the women in the family.  The best thing about making your own floral creations in a wedding or other event is that you can totally customize anything by ordering different kinds of flowers and any color you want...all for a price that will make your bank account smile.

First up:  The bouquets.  Each bouquet was comprised of three stems of hydrangeas, except the flower girl's, whose had one stem.  We arranged the stems so that they'd form a round bouquet and added some leaves around the edges, then we secured them with green floral tape.  Ribbon, beads, more leaves, twine, excess fabric, or anything else you can think up can be wrapped around the stems over the tape to add even more detail.

For Farrah's bouquet, we used five stems and added pieces of a vine that grew outside of her apartment (her idea and FREE).
 Farrah securing a rosary to her bouquet.  Mama Mary, pray for us.

Next:  Boutonnieres.  Our great friend, Megan, was a boutonniere-making machine.  She whipped those babies up in no time, and considering we had about 15 of them to make, time was of the essence.  While she formed boutonniere art, we searched among the leftover hydrangeas to find small bits of flowers and leaves that would work for her.  We also added some of the vine to them to snazzy them up a little.  Patrick's boutonniere stood out against the others when we used a white rose instead of a hydrangea to adorn him.  (A boutonniere tip:  Place the finished boutonnieres in a cool place close to an air conditioning register rather than in the refrigerator.  The first five boutonnieres we made wilted within 20 minutes after we placed them on a cookie sheet in the fridge.  Oops!  Placed next to a cool air flow, they survived the night and looked great for the wedding.)

The corsages were made with pieces of a bouquet of pink alstromeria that Farrah already had along with more hydrangea, vine, and back by a hydrangea leaf.

The "organized" mess we made.  :)

So that's that for our florist experience.  All credit for this post and inspiration to play florist goes to my good friend, Lizzie.  For her wedding a couple of years ago, all of the bridesmaids sat down and whipped up bouquets while praying a rosary.  I wouldn't have known making bouquets was so easy and fun if it wasn't for her inspiration!  She used bunches of red roses and wrapped the stems with black ribbon to match the bridesmaid's dresses and they looked fabulous!

Any other faux-florists out there?  Show and do tell!