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Archive for the ‘Home Tips’ Category

I finally finished another project for our dining room! Each time I mark another item off of my to-do list for this room, I get so excited about being that much closer to a finished, complete room. Hopefully soon I will be able to show you the true before and after pictures of the whole room!

There are many tutorials on how to re-upholster a chair seat, but this is how I do it. I hope you find it informative and easy to follow!

Remember the fabric I showed you? I love it and am so happy with how much better it makes our chairs look. The best part of this project is that it is cheap and easy so when I’m tired of this fabric, I can easily change it out. I ordered 2.5 yards for this project, but only needed 1.25. I love having leftover fabric to use when I want!

Here are the supplies I used: a flathead screwdriver to take the seat off of the chair, a compressor with staple gun attached (thanks mom!), extra staples, batting and fabric (not pictured). If you don’t have an air compressor, a regular staple gun will work just fine! The ones attached to an air compressor just make it faster and easier to do this project.

To begin, remove the seats from the chairs using a screwdriver.

A little background on our dining room table and chairs: the leather on these seats is original to this set and while beautiful in its own right, blends into the wood and I needed a little more pizzazz for our dining room. When my parents gave me this dining room set, the only conditions were that I couldn’t paint the wood and I couldn’t remove the leather. It was my great-great uncle’s and was given to my parents as a wedding gift. When we moved to this house, my mom used it as the perfect opportunity to give it to us so she could get a larger table and more chairs for their house. We were happy to help her!

Next, cut out a square of fabric and batting making sure there is enough on each side to wrap around and staple to the back of the seat.

Starting on one side, staple the batting and fabric to the back of the seat. It is easiest to do one staple per side so if the fabric isn’t sitting right for you, you only have to take one staple out as opposed to five or six. As you move around the seat, make sure the batting and fabric are pulled tight but not stretching the fabric too thin. You don’t want the fabric to gape and move but don’t want it to look like it might rip apart from being too tight.

The corners are a little tricky at first, but if you play around with the fabric enough, you can get them to lay the way you want. There isn’t a right or wrong way to do this, it just depends on how you want it to look. I used two small folds to get the fabric to lay as flat as possible and put a staple in the corner where all of the folds met.

Here is a look at the original chair and the updated chair. It only took several minutes to do each chair and seeing these two next to each other made me very happy with the decision to give them a little update.

I love how these turned out! The extra color and pattern helps pep up the first room you see in our house. All it took was about 30 minutes to complete this project. No paint, no sanding, no nothing – easy peasy and a perfect weeknight project to keep me motivated on my quest to get this room finished!

Isn’t it crazy to see how this room and the chairs used to look? Very blah and beige. Obviously knocking down the wall and putting wood floors down helped but a lighter color paint and adding color to the chair seats helps so much!

This room is really coming together – finally! I love how light and bright and fun it feels.

Still left on the to-do list? Re-upholster Conner’s grandmother’s chairs, find something to hang on the wall above the buffet, move the chandelier (the light box is not centered on the ceiling so we need to get an electrician out to fix this – why you would install something off-center I’ll never know) and paint/accessorize my grandmother’s curio cabinet that she gave us. Do you have the problem of a never-ending to-do list? Every time I finish one project, three more are added!

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We did it! My dad and I did it, people. We installed crown molding on our own! Well, we had some help, but the two people who actually did the work? My dad and me! Booyah! Here is our story on how we installed crown molding in my dining room.

This was the blah and boring room that we started with way back when. Yes, way back in Laura years is technically only two years. It feels like way back when to me, especially when I see what it looks like now! The room was in desperate need of character that would require more than paint and my dad graciously agreed to help. (read: my mom said she would help me and then suckered/substituted my dad in to help at the last-minute because she would rather go work with my brother in his yard…sometimes I do this to Conner. The apple clearly doesn’t fall far from the tree!)

This is the crown molding we used. I purchased it from Lowe’s for $11/section. (It would have been cheaper if I used the raw wood but paying a little more for the primed pieces and only having to put on real paint sounded way better!) Each section was eight feet long and we had nine of them. We really only needed eight but a practice/oopsies piece was very necessary!

I got the idea that I (we) could do this on our own thanks to Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick. She wrote a post all about how to install crown the easy way and I was hooked! I like a good challenge, my mom owns an air compressor with nail gun and my dad is great with measuring/math – it was going to be perfect and SO easy.

Oh, I am so funny people. SO funny. Projects like this are NOT easy when using the type of molding that has a curve like mine. See how the back part is flat but the top and bottom that would meet the wall and ceiling are curved? Yeah. Keep that image in your mind while you read on…

(This is my dad. Doing the manual work. Yes, I’m almost 29 and he still does stuff like this for me. The best, right?)

Sarah is definitely correct about the saw – you can use a miter box with hand saw to cut crown molding. This part was easy because the $15 investment from Home Depot has the angles ready for you and the saw fits perfectly in the holes for each angle. My dad was pretty impressed with the tool but I think after the sixth cut was over it and wished we had the fancy electric saw instead. Lets get serious – I was too and I wasn’t even doing the labor! If you have a miter saw, like the real big daddy kind, it would go MUCH faster.

We were so excited about the first two cuts. After much thought and deliberation, we decided on the angle for the first corner and just went with it. We tacked it up with three nails using my mom’s nail gun and stepped back to admire our hard work!

We cut the second piece the same way, just using the opposite angle for the inside corner of the wall. We held it up, ready to nail away and realized it didn’t fit up with the other piece. At all. What the?! We made another cut, thinking we had done it backwards, and held it up again. No dice. Seriously frustrating.

We cut the piece of trim standing up, laying down, backwards, forwards, pretty much every way you could think of but the most important one – holding it at the angle at which it would be installed. OH! Yeah, that thing. Remember the curves in the molding? Pretty crucial little detail when trying to make two corners match up.

Before we could have our Oprah-like ‘aha’ moment, we made a trip back to Lowe’s to talk to the guys in the lumber department about how we should be doing this project. (They were only semi-helpful…as is the case with pretty much every customer service experience I’ve ever had at Lowe’s. Just saying…) The only good piece of information we took away from our trip was that we needed to purchase this coping saw (shown above) to make a secondary cut.

We sort-of knew what they were saying when we came back home so we tried it but then it still didn’t work so we started making some phone calls to our friends who have installed molding before. Praise the Lord for our friend Garrett! He helped us with the very important piece of information we were missing – cut the molding while holding it at the angle it will be installed. DUH!

We ended up having to make two cuts for every corner piece to make it work for my room. Using the miter box, we made a 45 degree cut while holding the trim at the proper angle. Then using the coping saw, made another 45 degree cut while holding the trim piece flat and the saw at an angle.

After 2.5 hours, we FINALLY got one corner finished. WHEW!! We took an hour lunch break and then decided we should get up and do the other corners…which only took us two hours for all three – what a difference! Each time we made our first cuts, even after we started to feel confident, we would only tack the piece up with three nails. We would make sure both pieces fit together and then put up several more nails to make sure it was all secure.

The middle cuts where the two pieces would meet up on the wall were very easy – just as easy as Sarah made it look! All we had to do was lay the piece of trim flat in the miter box, cut a 45 degree angle and then make sure the second piece had an opposite cut to make it match up. That was how all of the cuts should have been and I will definitely pay attention to what type of molding I buy in the future!

The corners all needed a little strip of caulk, as did the top of the molding where it meets the ceiling. Thanks to the texture from the 80s, the molding wasn’t completely flush against the ceiling in all spots. In the picture above, the piece on the left looks more flush compared to the piece on the right. No need to worry about something like that though – a little help from the caulking gun and paint made it all seamless and it looks so, so, so good!! Same with the holes from the nail gun – use a little wood putty to cover those small things and they will completely disappear after you paint.

I am so happy with the results and so proud of my dad and me. It was a long project and was easy once we got the hang of it…it just took a little bit of time to get to the ‘get the hang of it’ part. I definitely recommend buying flat molding for your future projects so you can follow Sarah’s instructions easier than we could! The moldings are all now puttied, caulked and painted and as soon as I finish one more project in the dining room, I will show you the final results – I am in love with this room!!

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A Dyson love story

Today, this arrived on our front porch…

And after one time of using it, in only one room, I am 100% in L.O.V.E. !! Seriously. After using the Dyson Animal Ball in just our living room, I was convinced this pricey piece of cleaning equipment was here to save my life. It sucked up just as much stuff in one room that I normally get from the whole house! SICK.

I love how light it is (my parents have the regular animal and my mom complains about how heavy it is) but still has the serious power of the regular animal. It even got me motivated enough to finish taking down all of our Christmas decorations and start preparing our house for a new year.

Please don’t be like us and waste any more money on the cheap vacuum cleaners. Do yourself a favor and head to Bed, Bath & Beyond to purchase one of these with your 20% off coupon! You will love it just like we do.

P.S. No, I was not compensated by Dyson or Bed, Bath & Beyond to talk about this product. They can if they want to (any takers?!) but I just love our new vacuum and love that we saved $95 by using the coupon at BB&B!

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Have any of you ever had ivy growing around your house? You have to be careful because it can grow faster than you expect and find itself in odd places.

Just like this. On top of the kitchen cabinets? Absolutely not. Lets all get real right now. Fake ivy has got to GO! Nothing like that grows on top of your kitchen cabinets so why use it to decorate? It is just sitting up there, collecting dust in the one of the places that should be the cleanest!

Please make a pact with me that if you are currently committing this major faux pas, you will take care of it immediately. There are so many better options! If a ‘professional’ designer tells you to use it, ask to see their certification immediately!

Look at how great Sarah’s kitchen looks! She is using accessories and getting creative with what she is putting up top. This can be challenging for some but no matter what, don’t feel pressured and revert back to the 90’s kitchens! Use what you have, I bet you have more than you think, and check your local thrift stores for cheap and great items that can be cleaned up and transformed with spray paint!

I have also seen a ton of fake flowers and ivy used for decorating shelves and bookcases. Please don’t. Just, please don’t. Flowers don’t grow away from light and ivy certainly doesn’t grow in this area either. Look at how cool these bookshelves are using, wait for it, books!

Start collecting items from around your house that need a change of scenery or are sitting in closets. I bet you have more accessories than you think and can create much more creative vignettes than just slapping up a string of fake and expensive ivy! Look around, grab some books and go to town in a fresh and so-2011 way!

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So we had a little cold front move in last night but our plan this weekend is to finish raking all of the leaves in the side and front yards and finish the backyard. We raked leaves for almost 5 hours last weekend and collected 35 bags of leaves! Yes, you read that right. And yes, we still have more to go!

This year, I am determined to make our yard and gardens look the best they can without a whole lot of family help. Last year, our moms rescued us and helped us make the front and back yards look amazing and helped our purple clematis (like the one pictured above) bloom well into November!

I hope this year, we can do it ourselves. (I’m very nervous, waiting to see if our pink azaleas will come back in the front yard…) To make it happen, I’ve been doing a ton of research and planning. I also started receiving a monthly newsletter from my favorite local nursery and they send tips each month on what you should be doing to help your yard. I thought I would share the March tips with you and hope they help make your yard the best it has ever been.

For more information from this nursery, visit TLC.

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Best tip ever

Real Simple is genius! They shared the best Real Simple tip ever – how to opt out of receiving the yellow pages. We just got two phonebooks this week and they immediately went into the recycle bin. Between our iPhones and laptops, phonebooks are very obsolete in our house. No need to waste all of that paper! To get your address out of the distribution loop, follow the Real Simple tips here.

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