Thursday, July 22, 2010

Finished Parsons Chairs

First off, I want to point out that this is my first ever sewing project & I did it without a pattern. My mom helped me make one as we went along, she also helped with the layout of everything & gave me tons of helpful pointers & answered all my stupid questions but other than all that, I did all of the actual sewing myself! I'm pretty happy with the way it came out. Sorry for the grainy pictures, I could use a new camera. I love the results though, for this huge change I only spent $10 per chair. They're so comfortable too, that's all I need is another reason to hang out at a table full of food!

Just a reminder of what they looked like when I started-in person you could see the stained fabric, it almost looked like paint spots. Click here and here to see the full "before" post.

Here's a side view- the scrolled back took FOREVER! I do think it makes the chairs look nicer though. So a re-cap of what I did was: removed the long fabric skirts, un-upholster the legs, fill all the staple holes (about 1,200 in all!) with spackle, paint the legs with a base-coat then apply the stain with a wood-grain technique & cover with a coat of polyurethane. The last one is obvious, but I then made the slipcover out of cotton duck so it's washable & hopefully kid proof.
As my mom & I were making the final adjustments on the slip cover I kept telling her how good I thought it came out & that it looked like something from Pottery Barn (keep in mind my crappy camera does it no justice-it looks way better in person). When I got home I looked on Pottery Barn's website & found this chair-looks pretty close to me!
Except for one huge difference:

Total cost for the Pottery Barn chair - $200 (that's a sale price!)

Total cost for my chair - $10 -Thank you Melissa! (she gave me the chairs)

I'm linking this to the following link parties

Furniture Feature Fridays 150 2 Fab Friday #18

PhotobucketFunky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Parsons chairs progress

So after all the fabric ripping & staple pulling (like two hours worth of prying with a screwdriver & needle nose pliers) this is what I was left with. Cheap wooden legs that are too ugly to stain & some blistered fingers.
I decided that my only option for these legs was a good coat of paint. I began by sanding down the uneven layers if wood (notice how there are several thin pieces of wood glued together instead of one solid piece-even cheaper) next I filled the tons of staple holes, there were about 150 per leg, with spackle. Yep I couldn't find my wood filler so I used spackle. There was so much filler that the legs looked white after I was done, we'll see how this holds up with normal wear & tear but I think it'll be fine.
This is what I wished the chairs looked like - a stretch from what they were when I got them but it could serve as a good role model. This isn't the exact fabric I would've chosen but I like the heavier weight, I would've gone with something a little more Mediterranean looking as far as the colors, reds, golds, or greens.

These are the fabrics I went with in the end, although my main deciding factor was price, these will be a lot more practical with kids. Also, because the chairs will be slipcovered & not re-upholstered, I can remove these & toss them in the washing machine. The red & linen floral print I found at Joann when I went to visit my sister in Ventura. It was only $9.99/yd but my sister found a 50% off coupon in their add so I snagged this up for $4.99/yd! I only needed 4 yds total so it wasn't too bad.

The green print I had seen on another blog, Mustard Seed Creations. She had made some beautiful curtains out of the same print only in blue, I liked it so much I almost ordered it for my bedroom but I decided that could wait. I didn't even think of covering the chairs in it until I was out looking for fabric for my 2nd set of covers & I saw it in the moss green. Like Miss Mustard Seed had said in her blog, it went for $37/yd or something ridiculous like that. She was nice enough to include in her post that she had found the outdoor version of it on sale for $9.75/yd at's Waverly the print is called Tucker Resist & is based on an old block print from Williamsburg)! Not only does the outdoor fabric come in a larger width, it's coated in Teflon so spills can be wiped right off. In addition to that it's fade resistant so I don't need to worry about having the chairs right in front of my dining room window.-By the way, the UPS truck just pulled up as I was typing this with my green fabric & I am IN LOVE! I want to use this all over my house. I thought about just making one set of slipcovers & using this for drapes but for some reason it kind of reminded me of the curtains they made the kids clothes from in "The Sound of Music". Besides, you can see the print better if it's spread smooth on the chairs. Ok, it's back to work for me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Madame Chairperson........."

After finding out I was the 4th person in line for these chairs on Freecycle, I didn't think I stood a chance. But the girl who was giving them away explained that she was cleaning out her garage because herhusband thought she had too many projects going on. I told her that my boyfriend had just cut me off of garage space for the same reason! I told her that while she contacted the 3 people in line ahead of me I would try to figure out how to sneak these into my garage without my b.f. noticing. She e-mailed back & said once she saw that she knew I had to have them. Awww, a woman after my own heart! So, here are the chairs in her driveway before I picked them up. I had been wanting chairs like this for years but the cheapest I could find them was $150 budget was $0. The only problem was.......well the fabric itself wasn't so bad (it looks weird in the pics but it's actually just a linen & black pinstripe) it was just stained, & boring, & way too long on the skirt ( full length chair skirts look like they belong in a formal dining room that never gets used). Sounds like the perfect project.

Here's a side shot - I wanted to show you the scrolled back, notice the pleating on that section (something else I cant wait to change-it's probably necessary when upholstering but not slipcovering). Here's my plan; 1. Remove the long skirt attached to the seat 2. Stain the wood legs underneath 3. make a slipcover to hide the stained/boring fabric

Of course, I didn't get very far before I ran into a problem. As you can see, the legs are also upholstered (why the manufacturer thought this was necessary I don't understand) - so weird!
So I'll have to strip them down & see what salvaging techniques I can come up with. Not sure what it's gonna be yet but I'll tell you what it's not going to be.........a long skirt! Check back soon, I'm gonna get to work on these & add some post-deconstruction pics tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Santa Barbara style part II

Here are some more pictures from our trip. We went to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, it's such a cool place to go & I was glad we got to take my daughters because it was one of the places my mom & step-dad took my brother, sister & I when we were kids. Thanks for the trip mom!

This is a fountain that was in the museum's courtyard-this picture doesn't show how pretty the tile work was.

This awesome lantern was hanging in the outdoor entryway to the museum I don't even have lights this nice on the inside of my house! By the way- check out the CFL bulb in it, "California antiques"!

This is another spot where you never expect this much detail-who would ever think you could make a drinking fountain a focal point? I wish this was in my backyard!
These window grilles were on so many of the buildings & homes, all had different styles & they looked so awesome with the local architecture styles.
Here's another one at the museum looking from an outdoor hallway onto one of the gardens.

Another drinking fountain with awesome tile work the concrete bowl & step on this one look like stone.
Here's another shot of the courtyard with it's archways framed with rambling vines & the over sized glazed pots with the detailed wooden bench in the background. This is what my patio wants to be when it grows up.
Each one of the benches was slightly different which gave them more of a collected or handmade feel. At first I thought I would have a hard time finding something with the same feel for my house but once you look a little closer, you notice that it's not overly ornate. Actually, some creative work with the jigsaw, & you could probably replicate this pretty easily. That's a whole separate project though, someday...............

Santa Barbara style part I

This was actually taken at the Santa Ynez Mission on our way to Santa Barbara, it was a variety of Salvia growing in the mission's front gardens, my daughter said they looked like little fairies with red skirts.
This is one of the old wooden benches that line the walls of the mission breezeway, I love how the layers of paint have rubbed of to show the natural wood color but remain in the low spots of the bench to give it a sort of patina.
These rustic metal lanterns hung between the huge wooden beams and ran the entire length of the breezeway where the benches sat I'm sure it looks awesome at night. I wish they sold these in the mission gift shop!
One of the old mission bells, I wouldn't have expected something utilitarian like this to have so much detail, if you look closely you can see all the etched detail on the bell itself & the flower & scrolls that hang above it. Even the cross mounting bracket has an element of old California design to it.
A pot of brightly colored petunias broke up all shades of brown & really stood out against the pale adobe wall.
These two huge pots flanked either side of the main doors to the church.
This is one of my favorites, look how deep the window sill is because of how thick the mission walls are. The sill was covered in varying sizes of terra cotta tiles, it almost looked like a mosaic. I love the wood framed window against the olive branch that hangs down in front of the window's arched top
This shot just shows some more of the carved detail we saw on the doors which were framed out by the "built in pillars" that were the base for the arches above each doorway.
This is what I wish my ceiling looked like. At the top of the picture you can see the various sizes of wood planks that lay on top of the huge dark beams supporting the overhang.
I don't know why this one arch was painted in this deep coral color but I like how it stood out among the row of archways that bordered the mission's front garden.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Once again, this is what it started out as

and now.....
It's finally finished! There are a few things that I will change but for now Olivia is happy with it, so I am too. I was planning on adding an oven but I realized after finishing the top that particle board is NOT an equivalent to MDF. I thought it would be fine so I had all my pieces cut to size in particle board after I attached the new "counter top" I noticed areas where the particle board had chipped & left an uneven edge. So I decided to wait until I had them re-cut in MDF before adding anymore to the kitchen. Once the oven is added there will be knobs, a temperature gauge, etc.

Here's a look a little closer up

The "sink" is actually a dog bowl I found at Ross. I think it was $3.99 . The faucet was taken from our bathroom after we replaced the old ones. I plan to get something nicer at Re-Store (ours is temporarily closed while they relocate).

I looked at at least 50 different play kitchens for burner ideas - I finally found one that used CDs for the bases. My friend Cami had the idea of using a small dowel rod for the grates. I didn't want to go to the store so I dipped into my older daughter's pencil supply, I cut them into segments then hit them with some black spray paint. I was in a huge hurry to finish so I didn't take the time I should've with these. I'll probably re-do them for a sturdier & more finished look

So here's a close-up of the "window" I took a 2 section picture frame from the dollar store & turned it on end then found a picture of a cherry tree on line & had it printed to fit the frame. The curtain is fabric from Wal-Mart that I attached to a strip of molding with my staple gun. I used a remnant of it to cover an empty tomato paste can & trimmed it with ribbon to make a utensil crock. I found the pots & pans pans set at Ross for 8 or 9 bucks (it also included the utensils). The plates & bowls are melamine from Target ($0.99 ea.), I found the shelf at Goodwill for $1.00.

I'd love to make more of these, this was a good "guinea pig" I definitely figured out some what not to do's for next time. I think they'll only get better as I go along. Any requests? : )

I'm linking this to the following blog parties:

Furniture Feature Fridays Photobucket

Monday, July 5, 2010

Empty Nest Syndrome

This is one of two abandoned bird's nests my mom found at her house. This one has one of the cracked eggs in it. My mom gave them to us so my older daughter could bring them to school to show her class. Once she brought them back I didn't want to just throw it away, so I started thinking, I had this little greenhouse for years but could never use it because it was too small to hold any decent plant in it. I tried candles but that was just dumb because you had to leave the lid open when they were lit. So my 2yr old & I decided that it would be a cool "bird house". We went out to our garden & clipped a branch off one of our olive trees & then found 2 rocks from our collection that looked like eggs. She helped me arrange everything & now we have some cool decor for our built in cabinet (which is in a spot that was way too dark for a real plant). I think I just "up-cycled" a bird's nest! Is that even possible?

By the way -please ignore my unfinished paint job on the walls & my ugly blonde cabinets, they're the only ones I haven't refinished yet!

For some reason the polyurethane yellowed in some spots after I applied it so Im on my 4th coat of pink paint! In the meantime Im literally sitting around waiting for paint to dry, I thought this birdhouse post might hold you over till tonight.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


We decided to take the day off & BBQ instead of finishing the play kitchen today. The last element (the surprise) is going to take a little time if we want it to turn out right. So we should be posting the reveal pics tomorrow.

In the meantime-relax & enjoy the day with your family & friends!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Play Kitchen in Progress

Pic #1
The first pic (if I get it right- Im just starting out at this blogging stuff) Is before I did any disassembling to the table. This is what the inside of the sewing table looked like when you lifted the lid this is where the sewing machine was housed - check out the spiderwebs!

Pic. #2
So, here's a pic of how it's lookin so far. This was taken after I shortened the legs according to Olivia's height, removed the front door, relocated the original top of the table to the "backboard" & replaced the top with a piece of particle board cut to size. The hole that contains the stainless dog bowl is the beginning of the sink. So far I've used about a quart of pink paint. Im waiting for it to dry overnight then I'll coat it with some polyurethane to keep it from chipping. After that I need to "install" the faucet, put in a "window" hang a shelf/pot rack add some accessories & figure out what the heck Im going to make the burners out of (any ideas?) I've seen lots online but nothing I loved. And the last element of the kitchen is going to be a surprise - because Im not sure if it's going to come out right or not. It SHOULD be done by the end of the weekend but we'll see how that goes.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Olivia's Play Kitchen

This is my very first post & it's one of my favorite projects. I first saw the idea at Dwellings by Devore (one of my favorite blogs). I saw it right before my daughter's 2nd birthday & I knew I had to make her one. Plus I already had an old sewing table I wasn't using that was almost identical to Mrs. Devore's. This is just the before pic & I should have some "in progress" updates within a few days. In the meantime here's a link to both Part 1 & Part 2 of my "inspiration" kitchen

Im hoping mine will be as cute!

Dwellings by DeVore part 1
Dwellings by DeVore part 2