Slipcover a Couch

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

I’m so grateful for friends, with sewing machines, and talent, and good humor, and sewing machines. Making slipcovers is not my thing – I am one avowed lousy seamstress. Heidi and Mary Jean weren’t fazed, they tackled it just like any other project, one step at a time – while I drug my feet, ordered fabric, wrote checks, and silently panicked. Looking back, I think I was afraid to put so much effort and $$$ towards something I wasn’t at all sure I would like. Wouldn’t it be easier/smarter to just buy a new couch? Ultimately, the retro shape, solid construction, and perfect scale of the two Salvation Army couches swayed me. I remember thinking of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous quote, “The physician can bury his mistakes, – but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines.” In my case vines = accent pillows and throws…OK then…thanks Frank.

Below is a basic outline of the steps for our slipcover. Our goal was never perfection (is it ever?). We were after a decent, fairly loose-fitting cover, that would change the color and update the feel of the living room. The take-away is hopefully this: it’s do-able, you can use things you already have (old sheets for patterns, re-purpose a bedspread or heavy curtains), friends lighten the load both emotionally and practically, and, if you don’t like it – well – there’s always pillows and throws! Continue reading

Hallway Makeover

The hallway, right off my kitchen, leads both to my back door/porch and down to my unfinished but functional basement. It has been creepy and ugly in that hallway forever.

I used to just shut that door and pretend the hallway didn’t exist. But, my washer and dryer are downstairs! I had to open that door. Heidi and I have referred to it as “the murder’s hallway” since I moved into my house many years ago.

I also realized I was missing out on the beautiful natural light that streams into my kitchen when I leave that door open. So, I called in the girls and we made a plan!

The challenge: Improve it easily and inexpensively and use only what I already had on hand? Steep requirements, but we were up for the challenge. Continue reading

Plant tags from sticks!

All you need are sticks (8-10″), a potato peeler/knife, and a fine felt tip pen! Really, for the rest of your life this is all you are going to need – no plastic, no $$$ fancy tags, no disintegrating popsicle sticks…

A few tips:

  • Let the sticks dry out a bit before peeling
  • You can re-use these year to year– just peel again, and again, and again
  • Eat more veggies ;]

many thanks to Martha Stewart for the original idea!

DIY Bulletin Board


This easy little project has been perfect for posting drawings, ideas or artwork I make or get from my talented friends both short and tall.

I also clip photos, fall leaves, concert tickets, teen idols (Flashback – I did that in high school) or anything else that inspires me. I’m constantly adding and exchanging things I pin up. And sometimes I don’t change anything for several days, weeks or months.

It’s like a real life, olden days, analog non-electronic Pinterest board! :) Continue reading

Upgrade a Table Top

This project originally appeared as a guest post on Pretty Handy Girl a couple weeks ago. (So if you have a vague feeling you’ve seen this before, you just may have.)

Update Table Top with Steel and Mod Podge®

 

I had an old Ikea table top (that was basically like a hollow core door) that we used for a work surface in our office. It sat on top of an old table I found at a garage sale. It was all looking pretty shabby, and there was nothing chic about it.

 

Old table top and table base (+kitty), before.

First I painted the table base a dark charcoal gray, then together with my girlfriends, Mary Jean and Monica, we grabbed my grandmother’s old dictionary, a jar of Mod Podge®, flat bar steel, galvanized bolts and washers, and went to work on the table top. Continue reading

Selecting Lumber from Odd-Lot

Our weekly work-day was not very pretty, but necessary. We went to the lumber yard to select lumber for our upstairs window trim.

Upstairs trim: done and not so done. One down and 10 to go!

Vertical Grain Douglas Fir

The interiors of most older houses in the Pacific Northwest were trimmed out with vertical and open grain Douglas Fir. The forests were aplenty with it in the early 1900s. The wood is soft, but beautiful – it ages to a deep orange over time. The fine parallel lines of the vertical grain (vg) are especially pretty. You can find even old growth vg fir at architectural salvage yards, sometimes it just takes some sanding (or planing) to reveal the great wood under layers of stain, varnish and/or paint. This time we needed a lot of stock, so we opted for new.

If you have extra time (and patience) you can save quite a bit of money by sorting through the “odd-lot” section at your local lumber yard. “Odd lot” is where they put the lumber that isn’t quite perfect for various reasons – warped, knots, roughly hewn, cracks, oozing sap. (Monica talked about this option in a previous post.) I have time, but no patience, so Monica and Mary Jean came along to supply that. Continue reading

Pallet House, Garden Shed, or?

Check out this Pallet House by I-Beam Design! Continue reading