Calling In Reinforements

We're a few steps closer to having a cute, little, antique loveseat adorning our living room space!  Mind you, they're little steps that only took about 30 minutes to complete but it's progress.  Here's where we started:

As mentioned in a recent post, we decided to attached some burlap straps to the back of the loveseat for extra reinforcement.  It's probably not necessary since the loveseat's already pretty sturdy, especially since we brought in some Liquid Nails and added some strategically placed staples (which I'll get to in a minute), but it adds more peace to our minds.  So, back to the burlap straps, all we did was measure out three lengths of burlap strapping and attached each piece with staples to the back of the loveseat.
The bottom strap was the most important since it went all the way from the front of one arm rest to the other.

I know the middle strap looks a little wonky but it had to be that way...we realized that the straps wouldn't lay perfectly straight across because the back of the loveseat is so curved.  So to keep the middle strap flush with that curvature (?) and keep it tight, we had to raise it in the middle.  So, wa-lah, that's that, easy peasy.  Onto the tougher, more dirty...or should I say that went on. 

If you read this post a few weeks ago, you know we had some unsightly cracks going on throughout the loveseat.  Well, after squeezing about half a tube of Liquid Nails into each crack and putting in some staples for extra hold, we're ready to move ahead!  Here's what I'm talking about (granted, it looks a little messy, but after we get wood filler in, sand it a teensy bit, and get paint on, you won't even notice):
  (Sorry the picture's a little blurry.)

While the glue was drying, I finally got to put my fabric ideas in motion and went out to a couple of good fabric stores around here to search for "the one".  I came home with two swatches and a little bit of frustration, but that's okay because I know that patience is needed when a budget is being followed and I will find fabric eventually.  :)  Here are the two swatches I came home with anyway:
A plain, taupe, upholstery fabric that cost just under $10 a yard and...
a fun, geometric, upholstery fabric that I love (cue the wop-wop), but that's $30 a yard!  :(  It's a no-can-do but I had to grab a swatch anyway so I could dream about it...and look for it online for cheaper...much, much cheaper.  I've already prepared myself for the fact that I probably won't find it but I'm thinking that it might make for a good ottoman fabric when we get around to building one for our sectional and by then, the (possible) decreased price paired with the fact that an ottoman doesn't take much fabric might just work.  :)  
So, with all of that said, I'm planning on breaking out the wood filler this week and quite possibly primer!  I can't believe we've come this far...even thought it's taken so long!  If you've missed any parts of this ludicrous project, you can read about them in order herehereherehere, and here.

Now, before I sign off for the day, I can't help but clue you in to our next project...that's right, our next project.  They're always coming one-after-another in this house.  :)  Here's your clue:
Any guesses as to what we might be working on next?  It's going to involve a little sewing, lots of painting, a little bit of stenciling, and possibly, some metal...  It won't begin until after the loveseat's finished of course but it's going to be a good one!  Stay tuned!   

Lights Out

Busy week = zero loveseat progress.  But, we are going to work on it today so hopefully, we'll have an update next week.
We do want to share with you our headlight switcheroo though.  Two years ago we bought a Toyota Corolla - most reliable, never-needs-to-be-fixed, best gas mileage car we've ever owned.  It's a cute little silver thing but it's headlights were really foggy.  I'm not sure how that happens and I'm not sure if it's just a southern thing or what (humidity the culprit maybe?) but they've bothered me from the start (me = perfectionist).  I've seen ads from car dealerships and shops saying that they can be cleaned and 'cleared' but it costs $70 and, well, we're just too cheap.  Plus, we've been told (thanks dad!) that it doesn't really work.  Well, a few weeks ago we got a sweet little, actually, rather big present from Anthony's parents in the mail - new headlights!  Let me tell you, I didn't even know you could just order new headlights like that!  I guess it makes sense that car parts can be purchased by the piece but I've just never thought about it.  So anyway, one hot summer day a few weeks ago, we ripped the two boxes open and Anthony went all auto mechanic on me (he never ceases to amaze me).  :)

Here's a quick before picture I shot of our foggy beams while he was working:
         I wish we could write a detailed post about "How to Switch Out Your Own Headlights", but we didn't take any pictures of the process and Anthony's till too busy with grad school homework to blog.  Maybe next time, next car.  :)

Here's a headlight close up:

Just for kicks, here's a picture of a single, un-installed car headlight.  Who knew this is what they really looked like outside of a car?  Not I.

The new headlights came with new bulbs but we took the old bulbs out of the old foggy lights and saved them since we had just replaced them about six months ago.  No need to throw out something that works that can be reused in the future, right?  More money in our pockets.  :)

Last, here's the new bulbs which actually make our car look brand new:
Sorry about the glare on the left one...they're just so darn shiny and nice, I couldn't get away from it!  The great thing is, our lights shine brighter at night which means we've scored in the safety category.  :)  Yay for new headlights!

.           .          .

Before I have to go to get ready for a semi-busy Saturday, I want to share what we did last week with you in pictures.  We took a bunch of teens from our Life Teen youth group up to Atlanta for a Steubenville Youth Conference, which was amazing, but then we took them camping and whitewater rafting.  It was the first time in my life I had ever been on a raging river in a blow-up raft, clinging on to an oar and the side of the raft for my life.  Terrifying!  The worst part was that I was in front.  Out of the six people (plus the guide who sat in back) on our raft, two of us were first-timers and both of us got stuck in front because, of course, no one wants to sit in front.  It's crazy scary in front and there's really nothing to hang on to or anywhere to dig your feet into so the chances of flying out into a hydraulic (I'll spare you the terrifying details of what those are) or the crazy, swirling, rocky waters are significantly higher.  I was "Shoot, I should've called everyone in my family and told them good-bye" scared.  Anthony, on the other hand, was giddy with excitement (I might mention that he was in the back of the raft...) and thrilled.  Well, as you see/read, I lived to tell about it and actually didn't fall out once.  The company we rafted with actually takes pictures, like the kind amusement parks take at terrifying points in their rides so you can actually get a glimpse of yourself during the part of the ride where your entire life flashes before your eyes.  Then of course, once it's over you can laugh at yourself in embarrassment along with everyone else who was with you at the time.  So anyway, I'm giving you this opportunity to laugh with Anthony and I.  To see pictures of me on my first (and last) whitewater rafting excursion, click here.  To see Anthony's ride, click here.  I hope that makes everyone's Saturday a little more joyful.  Yes, I'm saying you can laugh at us (particularly me, the pansy) and I won't be hurt but only happy that it makes you happy.  :)
Have a great weekend y'all!   


No more staples!  I've got nicks and scrapes all over my hands (I got smart and put on my gardening gloves only after I was 75% finished) and my trusty, little flat head screw driver used to pry up those babies up isn't so flat anymore but staple pulling is over!  To give you an idea of how many staples were in this thing, I took a picture of a three-inch section.
Yeah, there were loads.  I'd say somewhere around 500, maybe more.  Some of them came out with the fabric as I ripped it away, but most of them felt the mighty tug and grip of my mini flat head and needle-nose pliers.

So now that that's done, next up is fixing and filling.  While I was pulling staples the other night, Anthony went to work with Liquid Nails, filling in cracks and reinforcing not-so-sturdy dowels (apparently 'unsturdy' isn't a word).  However, now that all of the staples are out of the way, we can go back over and glue anything we missed or couldn't get due to staples being in our way.  Then we'll get to work filling in small cracks and holes with wood filler.  Pictures of the whole gluing and filling process to come later.

We also are going to reinforce the back of the loveseat with burlap straps, just to make sure she's extra sturdy.  I was a little worried about finding burlap straps but as I was traipsing around fabric stores this week on a hunt for it, I found it at JoAnn Fabrics...who knew?  Not me!  I thought it was going to be the kind of thing I wouldn't be able to find anywhere, therefore having to end up buying it from some specialty place online.  
To add to my joy of finding it so easily, I got to JoAnn's cutting station and found out it was only 79 cents a yard...AND I had a 50% off coupon.  So, I walked out of that place with 10 yards for about $4.  I was happy considering my thought had been, "It's a specialty item and it'll probably run me back a good $20".

So anyway, that brings me to the best part of this whole post.  I get to start looking for fabric!  I've had a few ideas swirling around in my head the past few weeks...or since we pulled the loveseat off the curb.  I want something simple; something I can dress up with decor pillows.  Also, since she's going to be in our living room where we've got an aqua-colored sectional, I want something that will complement but not be overpowering.  The sectional is the main piece of furniture.  Plus, my intention is to one day (in a future house) move the loveseat to either a home office or our future little girl's room.  I think it'd be the sweetest sight with some pretty pink pillows and a curly haired little girl perched on it.  :)

But, back to reality, here are some pictures I ransacked the internet for pictures that show what's going on in my head as far as fabric goes:

 This is the color I'm thinking of going for, in a simple upholstery fabric.  It would probably be the cheapest and easiest to find option.

This is just a snazzier version of the same fabric in the color palette I'm looking for.  I'd love a good geometric pattern.

 Speaking of good geometric patterns, this one is my fave.  However, this particular fabric is pricey ( and I don't know if I could find a similar, much less expensive version.

 I couldn't find a good picture of a swatch of thick-striped fabric and the best picture I could find is this one.  So, picture this fabric, only with white and taupe stripes on our loveseat.  Stripes get me every time!

And last but not least:
My ultimate favorite but very possibly hard-to-find-for-cheap fabric!  I love the big medallions and would love to see this fabric on the loveseat and matching pillows on the sectional (and on a future homemade ottoman for the sectional?) just to tie everything together.

So there you have it.  You've been inside my head.  You should also know that we're (I'll paint, Anthony will watch and cheer me on) planning on painting the wood of the loveseat white.  We thought about other colors but decided she'd fit into any room we put her in if we just went with (my favorite color) white.  What do you think?  Which fabric would you choose?  One of the ones I've come up with or a completely different one altogether?  :)
  Assuming I find the perfect fabric that fits the budget ($50), our goal is to have this curb-side "Over-Achiever" sittin' pretty by the first week in September (we have a busy summer otherwise it'd be sooner).  But, we'll get the straps on next week and get her ready to be painted so stay tuned!  Have a great weekend and upcoming week everyone!

.           .           .

P.S.  So I just found out I've been spelling 'loveseat' l-o-v-e-space-s-e-a-t.  The perfectionist in me really, really, really wants to go through every post I've written about this project and change each 'love seat' but I'm not going to because I don't have the time and it'll do me some good to just let it go.  But, I just wanted to get that out in case you think I'm crazy for spelling it two different ways (even though you probably didn't even notice).  There, now I feel better.  :)

To: Rocky

This post has been a long time coming.  Right after I received my sewing machine, I jumped right in to making curtains.  My thought was, "I sewed a tote bag when I was 10; that's all the practice I need, right?".  And "What's so hard about sewing straight lines?".  Sew maybe I was a bit naive and presumptuous, but lucky for me, the curtains turned out awesome!  It turns out sewing straight seams on a big, rectangular piece of fabric isn't all that hard! 
Sew anyway, let's start from the beginning.  A couple of months ago I moseyed in to one of my favorite places to find cheap fabric and found this gorgeous fabric I had to have.  My first idea was to whip up some new curtains with it to replace the ones that were, at the time, hanging in our living room.  It was a little bit of a bold choice considering it had pink in it (and the fact that I have a very manly husband), but I thought it would be great at bringing spring into the house.
  Sew, I bought it, got home, and sadly realized it wouldn't look as good as I had thought.  :(  The background of the print on the fabric was a creamy white (or so it looked in the store) but when I brought it home it looked a little more light tan than creamy white and clashed with the shade of light tan on our walls.  Sew the wheels in my mind started rolling.  One of my sisters is pregnant, sew I could make them for her to put in her little girl's room...but little girl or little boy, we wouldn't know which until the day he or she enters the world a few months down the road.  Then I remembered that my other sister, Rocky (her real name is Raquel but that's just a technicality) has bedding that would really complement the colors in the fabric.  Sew, hoping she only had one window in her bedroom, I called her with my idea (which I excitedly exclaimed could be her birthday present) and she told me she and her one-windowed bedroom would love new curtains!  Out came my sewing machine!

First, I cut the five yards of fabric in half to create two panels. 
Yes, I used my living room floor as it is the only flat space large enough to make clean cuts.  :)

Then, like a good beginning seamstress, I ironed down the hem on each side of the panels by first folding down a half-inch hem, ironing it down, then folding once more sew that in the end I had an inch of fabric on each side as a hem.  Make sense?  Two folds, one hem.  :)

  After I ironed down each side, I pinned the hems about every two feet just to make sure they'd stay in place until I got thread in them.  Then I got to sewing.  Everything was going great - I figured out how to thread my bobbin (YouTube was extremely helpful), thread my machine, and guide the fabric through...and then the needle broke.  :(
Boo.  Not planning on this bump in the road, I didn't think to buy replacement needles.  Sew, there my fun (for that day anyway) ended until I had time to grab new needles.  When I did purchase new needles though, I learned that there are different types of needles - different strengths for different types of fabrics.  Who knew?  Not beginner me!  :)  So I picked up some light duty needles (which where like the one I had that had broken) and some heavier duty ones (which I really should've been using).
Sew, with a new needle and renewed motivation, I zipped through the rest of the seams and mailed my first-ever, homemade curtains to Rocky just in time for her birthday (okay, so maybe I was a couple of months early) and she hung them up.

Here are a couple of before shots of her lonely window:

I must mention that she hung the curtain brackets and rod all by her lonesome.  I'm not going to say that we're born with innate power tools skills in our family but...well, we are.  I was so proud of her!  :)

Sew, without further ado, here's her new, curtained view:

I even sent her the little piece of remaining fabric so she could dress up the little decor pillow on her bed.  Isn't she good?

Sew that's it folks, my first, I-did-it-all-by-myself sewing project ever.  Needless to say, it certainly wasn't the last, which reminds me that I've got so much more to share with you as it regards curtains (read about my sewing adventure for Trading Spaces here).  I did eventually find some awesome fabric for our living room and I'll share those curtains in the future!  Have a great weekend!

P.S.  We were busy this entire last week running a "Theology of the Body for Teens Summer Party Camp" so, the love seat hasn't been touched.  But, this week should be a little more relaxed so hopefully I'll have some progress (hopefully lots of progress) to write about next week!

A Blank Canvas

Except it's a love seat.  Here's what our curb-side find looked like a couple of weeks ago:
This is, of course, after Anthony fixed the back legs.  After we had jumped over that hurdle, I then felt confident enough in the probable success of this crazy endeavour to move on and start peeling away fabric.  I started with the seat back.  Off came the first piece of old, ivory fabric when what to my wondering eyes appeared?  A WHOLE 'NOTHER LAYER OF EVEN OLDER, GRODY, RASPBERRY COLORED, VELVET FABRIC.  I almost fainted.  Painstakingly prying and pulling out staples isn't my idea of a fun time people!
But, like a good little DIYer, I took a deep breath, said a few Lord-Help-Me's, and kept on truckin' until I had this:

Before I went after the velvet on the seat back though, I decided to get the rest of the ivory fabric off.  So 'apeeling', prying, and ripping I went.
Ha!  Lucky for me, there was no ugly raspberry velvet to be found!  Oh, by the way, to remove the fabric from the seat, I had to remove staples from the back of the love seat.  I had been wondering all along how all of this upholstery was attached and how I'd get it off because it looked a little daunting.  But, I found that the more fabric I removed, the more I learned about how it was attached, how I needed to get it off, and how I need to eventually get it back on. 
 Side note:  Do you see the other two crazy fabrics (the green and pink) peeping out from behind?  Those were two of the five different fabrics goin' on on this thing.  Lucky for me (and a huge relief when I realized), three of the fabrics were remnants sewn to the bottom of the raspberry velvet to extend it's length...not more layers of fabric. 

So anyway, after ripping out staples and giving the fabric a little tug from the front, it slipped right off and left me with a nice clean seat.  The foam is even is such great condition (albeit 'orangey' with age) that I won't even have to replace it!  Score one for the bank account!  :)

Well, last but not least came the old velvet.  It was actually attached to the love seat with old upholstery nails which means it's probably original to the piece...and just plain dirty with age.  I mean dirty.  With every nail pulled out, a cloud of dust flew into the air.  And I must mention that me + dust = lots of sneezing and watery eyes as I'm allergic to the stuff.  It wasn't a pretty sight.  But, I'm dedicated to this inanimate piece of furniture and I blindly sneezed my way through did it.  :)

Almost done peeling!  The fabric was gone but the old padding, with all of it's button-hole craters, had to go.  Before I started this whole process, I read online that horse hair was often used in padding furniture in the old days.  I was hoping they were talking about every other piece of furniture but the one I had.  But, I was wrong.  Embedded in the padding were lots of short strands of horse hair.  I tried not to think about how grossed out I was...I mean, at least it wasn't human hair, right?  Anyway, let's move on.  Finally, here's my blank canvas:
And, since I have had no time to work on little love seat in the past week, this is exactly what she looks like as I sit writing this post.  We're hoping to work on her some more this weekend.  We've actually gotten to another hurdle in the whole process that we need to get over.  :(  She's a little more broken in necessary-for-proper-support areas than we originally thought (or didn't want to think about) so we're trying to brainstorm some ideas on getting that reinforcement back.  It turns out the intricately carved, curving wood on the seat back sides really do contribute to holding the whole thing together and right now, one side looks like this:
Ummm...yeah...that's exactly what I was thinking...YIKES!  But, we'll get through it.  It might take a few more screws, some wood filler, and a little more glue than we had planned, but we can do this!  :)  It's going to be the most imperfect, perfect, character-filled, made-with-love love seat in the world!  And when we're done, we'll be singing the G version of "Baby Got Back" while doing the happy dance.  Until then, I've got fresh angel food cake cooling on our oven to sweeten us up before this love seat tempts our kindness.   :)  Have a lovely weekend and a fun-filled Independence Day!