Category Archives: Decorating

My First Upholstered Chair!

For the tl; dr crowd here’s the shorthand on my first upholstered chair project:

I have always wanted to learn to do basic upholstery projects so I bought this chair last year with good intentions and little free time:

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I liked the lines, and I didn’t even mind the slipper pink fabric and gold trim. I mean, I love tacky stuff, right? But this was cheap and in bad shape so I didn’t care if I messed it up. It was like $7 at an estate sale.
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Shoddy paint job? Eh, I knew I wasn’t going to keep it.

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So I stripped it, carefully keeping the interior layers (I probably put it back together wrong anyway because I’m clueless). And then I lightly sanded it. I probably could have done a better job sanding but I was more interested in the fabric in all honesty.
IMG_1854Then I spray painted the chair black.

And then the chair sat in the basement for about six months collecting broken dreams. I thought I was going to do double welting as the trim because that’s how it came to me. So I felt like I needed to learn how to make welting. That’s a long side project/story that is pointless here because, after I got going? I realized I’d rather just have gimp trim!

So here’s what I did:

IMG_2846Dale set me up with an awesome work station in the garage–on a table he built that he hasn’t given me pictures of. He’s done a bunch of impressive projects that I can’t show you until I get pics from him.

I used a traditional heavy duty stapler and that seriously and totally SUCKED. I really need an upholstery stapler if I plan to get serious about these projects going forward! It also kinda ruined the chair (which was my fault and nobody can really tell unless I point it out but still). Get a real upholstery stapler. That’s my biggest piece of advice for newbies like myself.

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Trying to position the pattern within the frame of the chair was a challenge. I pinned it first and then stapled. IMG_2852

And THEN I trimmed the fabric. Probably a terrible idea. Probably destroyed the cutting tools I used. Live and learn, eh? Top pinned

Put the existing padding in just as it had been before (that was actually in great shape).  And pinned the front to get my staple on. Ugh, my hands were tired!

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You can see some of my shoddier attempts at cutting the fabric here. I literally have no idea how I should have done it. I’m going to have to do more reading next time. Heh. I also winged it with folding the fabric over the corners. The book I had didn’t address that style. IMG_2859

Finally, I got to the part that I’m good at: using my glue gun! I pinned the gimp (that’s the edging) all along the fabric to cover up all my most egregious screw-ups. Then I used my hot glue gun to glue down several inches at a time, careful to shape the gimp as I moved around the chair. IMG_2861

I cut smaller pieces and glued them down around the edges of the chair.IMG_2863

Ta da! I felt pretty impressed with myself all things considered. IMG_2864

And a pic of the back, of course. IMG_2865

And, in the interest of full disclosure? I screwed up a bit, too, but nobody noticed until I pointed it out to them. IMG_2872This is the first step in our amazing bedroom makeover (that is nowhere near happening yet). But I like it!

What the hell have we been up to?

Lots! But I never seem to spend time blogging about it. So let’s do a round up!

Waaay back in February my cousin Randy came to visit and brought his sons Colton and Jack! They are great kids (and welcomed their new little brother Matthew this summer). While they were here we took them to Shedd Aquarium and the Museum of Science and Industry.

In April we painted our living room (after having a hole in our ceiling for two months that our crap-ass landlords wouldn’t take care of because the former owners were in bankruptcy. To celebrate having a ceiling we painted! And it looks ADORABLE (in my humble opinion).

I love the red wall. But I also love that I broke with tradition and made a bold color choice! Red, yellow/green, and dark blue. And it works, very weirdly. I used my color wheel!

 In May I turned 39 (*gasp*) and wrapped up Year Two of Graduate School! Only one year to go! I had to make a poster board presentation. Had never done that before and mine turned out bee-yoo-ti-ful! I did it on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio.

Dale has had a busy summer, to say the least. He’s been building a huge photography studio. This is what it started out as! This is what it looked like back in May when he purchased the materials for the build out.

Dale’s pretty handy! He built an infinity wall. This is the bare bones.

In June my dear friends Sarah and Betsy came to visit. And I got the bright idea to dye my hair red. And it turned pink. For real. I had read dye all over my skin so I had had to hide it with a scarf. Might be the last time I dye my hair while drinking wine with friends. Might not be! Life is short. I’m thinking blue hair for my 40th.

While the girls were here we went to Ravinia to see The Go-Go’s. Rebecca P. tagged along and that was fun! And, as always, it was a feast!

We went on an architecture tour and went to Navy Pier to get some Ryba’s Fudge. We were fudge girls together in 1993! Which makes me 87 years old.

Throughout the spring Monty and Bela continued on being adorable. Blurry because it was taken with my camera phone.

We had a few other adventures, too, but I don’t have good pics of those so it’s my loss. And yours. Sadness. More updates to come…

Something happened! Kinda.

I bought our first fabric shower curtain! I feel like a grown-up. It has a complementary bath rug and even a few washcloths. I LOVE it. It has squirrels on it!

Oh, and Sidney jumped on the counter in the middle of the picture. As he does. And I let it go because it amuses me!

In other news, I’m ignoring the fact that the new bath accessories do not actually go with the horrid floor. I’m just going to pretend that floor is not there. I hate it so. much.

In still further news, we are plotting exciting summer trips that will yield charming and grand photos for your enjoyment.

Our blog URL is probably changing. Stupid Blogger! Anyway, I’ll make an announcement on that soon. Now I’m going to do homework (sob) and then watch a little TV. Just another wild night in the big city…

New Curtains!

This has been our dining room window view since we moved into our apartment nearly three years ago! We’re happy we don’t look in on our neighbor’s dining room (though their place must feel like a cave).

So we picked up these sheer curtains at Target. Light still gets in but blight isn’t quite so visible!

I love it! Also? We got new placemats!

Here’s Dale, enjoying both the curtains and the mats! And some dinner and wine!

Lots of random updates to come because Dale’s brother (Hi, Wayne!!) demands updates!!

Bathroom Storage is Awesome

So we made our semi-annual Ikea trip. You may recall that we revamped our little kitchen with Ikea purchases and it was cheap and efficient! It was well past time to replace the plastic tubs I was using in the bathroom with something more functional/attractive! These tubs held the towels, washcloths and hand towels and they were a hot mess.

And this fit the bill! It fit in the shallow space and is not a plastic tub. I love it! And it is walnut, which has a nice color to it.

My only problem is that we lost the bar where we kept hand towels. I should have thought that through because I’m sure Ikea has an easy solution. Oh, well, the hand towels are in the lower basket when you need one!

Sink Kitty approves of the new organization but is annoyed he will no longer be able to get fur all over the washcloths.

While at Ikea we picked up a new sheep rug for Sidney. This is a photo of him laying on it after Dale set it on the bed. Usually Sidney sleeps on his sheep rug while laying in his basket.

Also? Monty was sleepy and not amused by Dale’s photo shoot of Sidney and the sheep rug.