Easier Than I Thought

Slipcover Savings

Ahna NicholsComment

Sometimes it doesn't make sense to reupholster a piece of furniture.  Such was the case of this bench.  My cousin contacted me a while back about reupholstering it.  She was keeping her sister's cat who decided to use the bench at her dining table as a scratching post.  The results were disastrous.  As you can see, the vinyl fabric covering the bench wound up in shreds.

She asked me how much it would be to re-upholster it.  After asking her a few questions about how she uses the bench, I suggested it would be less expensive and more practical for her to have me make a slipcover for the bench instead.

She selected a fun, ikat print fabric I had in my stash to cover the bench.  I made sure I washed the fabric prior to constructing the slipcover so it would be pre-shrunk.

The slipcover is attached to the bottom of the bench using velcro.  I stapled one side of the velcro along the bottom edge of the bench and sewed the soft side of the velcro along the bottom edge of the slipcover. This baby doesn't go anywhere.  No shifting or repositioning necessary.

Now she can take it off easily and throw it in the washer!  With two toddlers and two dogs, it's bound to need washing every so often!

Rad New Rocker

Ahna Nichols1 Comment

I have taken quite a break from blogging this summer, but I'm ready to get back to it and show you some of the things I've been working on.  Here's one of my most recent projects:

A client of mine had this rocker in her living room for a very long time.  No one sat in it.  It was hard and uncomfortable.  She thought about getting rid of it, but she really didn't want to.

The dog had even gotten a hold of it and relieved some pent-up angst.

My client's daughter (a friend of mine) insisted that her mother contact me to help make the rocker more attractive and comfortable if it was going to stay in the living room. After going over the options, we decided some cushions might make the most sense along with a new paint color.

After sanding down the dog's mischievousness and lightly sanding the rest, I gave it several coats of a neutral paint color. Then, I drafted cushions for the rocker. I used craft paper to trace the lines of the seat and make a template for the foam and cushion cover.

Working on the cover and cushion

Working on the cover and cushion

The cushions follow the lines of the seat and back and are held on using velcro tabs in the back. 

Arrows indicate the matching velcro ties that hold the cushions in place

Arrows indicate the matching velcro ties that hold the cushions in place

Your family rocker doesn't have to be unattractive and uncomfortable.  With a fun fabric and new finish, it can be a rad new rocker!

A Different Kind of Birthday Present

Ahna NicholsComment

A few months ago, a friend of mine had a milestone birthday.   Instead of getting her a "normal" gift, I gave her a coupon for my labor to make her kitchen valances.  She had talked to me about making valances for her kitchen similar to the ones I made for my own kitchen.  And by similar, I mean really similar.  She basically wanted me to recreate the same valance using the same fabric in a different colorway. I was up to the task.

Before, the windows above the corner sink lacked any focal point and had a lot of empty wall space above the windows. 

Now, the valances help the windows appear larger and more to scale with the tall cabinets that surround them.  The fabric really warms up the space. 

What a difference!  By hanging the valances high, it doesn't take away from any of the natural light that comes in the windows, but it gives the illusion that the windows are tall.

This faux stationary roman shade design gives the look of a roman shade without the fussiness of cords and rings.  We kept the width tight and close to the window framing to give it a more authentic shade look.  I also added dowel rods inside each pleat so that they hang nice and straight.  They are purely for looks, but they're a classic style. 

After completing the valances, I took some more close-up pics for my Etsy store.  I am now offering this as a customizable valance.  You choose the fabric, I make the valance. 

Easier Than I Thought!

Adding Furniture Legs

Ahna NicholsComment

What happened to May?  I can't believe it has come and gone so quickly.  I promised a part 2 of how to change up furniture legs.  The last post involved staining legs to match one another.  This time, I'm revisiting the zebra ottoman I did a few months ago.  The original ottoman had small wheels that were hidden under the skirt. Take a look:

Since we decided to get rid of the skirt, we thought it would look better to add some square, chunky, wood legs.  Adding legs to an existing piece of furniture is something that can easily be done to any piece that has a wood frame.

Here's how I did it and how you can do it too:

Get a pack of claw insert nuts from the store as well as new legs.  Make sure that the screws on the legs (technically known as the hanger bolts) fit the insert nuts.  If all this technical jargon is confusing you, ask someone in the nearest hardware store.  They should be able to direct you to the right hardware if you explain what you're doing. 

First, I used a large drill bit the size of the insert nut to drill holes in the frame where I wanted the legs to go.  I liked the placement of the wheels, so I just drilled a hole in the center of the square where the wheels had once been. 

Then, I placed my insert nut inside the hole and hammered it into the wood so it was flush with the frame. The claws in the nut keep the nut in place. 

Finally, I screwed the leg in and repeated the process three more times until the ottoman had four new legs. 

It's amazing how new legs can update a piece of furniture.  Look around the house and you might find a new look for the chair that sits too low or the outdated buffet.  It's an inexpensive and easy way to achieve a new look!

Changing Your (Furniture) Legs: Part One

Ahna NicholsComment

There are times when you like what you have and there's no reason to throw it out and get something new.  Instead, you're looking to update.  This was the case with this set of parson's chairs my client brought to me (see first pic below).  She had always used these as a set of four.  We agreed that the skirts had to go, but a problem arose after examining the legs hiding under the skirt.  Two of the chairs had dark, stained legs that were curvy.  The other chairs had blonde, straight legs.  My client was open to ideas on how we could tie together the two sets without the skirts. 

I told her I would take care of it.  She proclaimed her implicit trust in me and dropped off the chairs and the new fabric.  Here's what they looked like at the beginning:


Great lines, but the green and gold fabric wasn't exactly on trend.

I decided in order to unify this group of chairs, the legs needed to be the same stain. I wasn't going to take all the legs down to the bare wood, so I picked up Minwax Gel Stain in Mahogany. I always think of gel stain as almost a stain paint. 

I lightly sanded all the legs of all the chairs to remove the poly topcoat.  Next came the tricky part. 

The stain was very close to the color of the stain that the curvy chairs had.  This was a big help because those legs just needed a single coat of the gel stain.  However, the blonde legs required a couple thick coats of the stain. 

Here is a little tip I have found about using gel stain: on the directions, the stain says to wipe the product off.  Don't follow these instructions.  Last summer, I helped a good friend of mine refinish a large bookcase we scored at a garage sale.  We found it much more productive and easier to apply the gel stain using a foam brush and let it dry without wiping.  I followed the same process this time with the chair legs.  The blonde chairs took two coats of thick application.  This stain is almost like chocolate pudding.  The thicker application gave the blonde legs the appearance of the same finish as the other legs.  Check out the difference:

After a lot of drying time, I recovered the chairs in a modern gray fabric that the customer chose.  Here is what they look like now:

Now imagine that there are two chairs of each leg style that look like this.  I couldn't get all four chairs together in a picture, but I made sure all four chairs matched up in the fabric pattern placement. 

What a transformation!  They went from traditional to sleek and modern chairs.  Stay tuned for the next installment of changing your (furniture) legs.



Ahna Nichols1 Comment

I think sometimes people have misconceptions about slipcovers.  It reminds some of sheet like cloths draped over a sofa with a couple of ties on either side.  The type of slipcovers that I make aren't anything like sheets.  In fact, after seeing some of the most recent ones I've made, you might mistake the slipcovers for upholstered furniture.

Slipcovers have come a long way.   They offer great variation to give your furniture a new "wardrobe."  Let me show you what I mean.

The first chair is one that will be paired with the curved armchair I did several months ago.  Here is the before and after:

The linen/cotton blend fabric was really nice material for a slipcover and is really soft to the touch. 

The next slipcover is actually a pair of slipcovers I made for a pair of nice quality armchairs.  The owner had old floral slipcovers for the Arhaus armchairs she purchased years ago.  The chairs themselves were in really good shape, but the floral pattern didn't go with the aqua and blue tones she chose for her new home.  She took the picture of the old slipcover and sent it to me.  It doesn't even look like the same chair with the new slipcover!

For this chair pair, I used the old slipcover as a pattern for the new one.  I ripped the old slipcover pieces apart and cut new ones out of the new fabric.  If you look closely, you'll notice the piping stands out a little.  That's because we decided to use the wrong side of the fabric as the piping fabric.  It's gives a great contrast and adds a little interest without being too complicated.  Here are both of the chairs together in their new home:

Zebra Ottoman

Ahna NicholsComment

I have a fun before and after of an ottoman that my customer just came to pick up this past weekend.

We decided to ditch the skirt and add some dark wood legs.  She obviously opted for a fun fabric to replace the sun-faded purple micro-fiber fabric. 

This project was actually pretty deceiving.  You would think that those large, tufted, pie-shaped pieces took me such a long time to put together.  However, you would be wrong.  I actually used the top piece of the old fabric as my pattern for the new fabric. Although time consuming, it really wasn't that difficult with some careful planning.

Once I pulled the top piece off, I numbered the pieces and cut notches in the middle and the ends of the pieces so I would be able to know at what points they should meet. 

Then, I used a seam ripper to remove each piece of the pie.  I ironed each piece flat and laid it over the new fabric to use it as a template.  I cut the piece of new fabric and was sure to cut the notches in the fabric as well. 

Finally, I reassembled (sewed) the pieces in order.  Each seam also had a channel that I reattached that held strings.  These strings enabled me to pull the fabric taut in between the wedges of foam.  Once stapled securely on the frame, the tufted look was complete!


Le Creuset Dutch Oven Review

Ahna Nichols1 Comment

I know I don't talk about cooking very much, but I have to share with you something that has changed our dinners in our household.  It is our Le Creuset 5 quart Dutch oven.   

Ever wonder what the big deal is about Le Creuset cookware?  I did too.  All I knew is that I wanted a Dutch oven because many of the winter recipes I like to cook call for using a Dutch oven.  I took a look at different options, but I always kept coming back to the Le Creuset.  Besides getting great reviews, the color options are so beautiful!!  I was convinced that if I was going to spend the money, I wanted a Le Creuset. 

This past Christmas, I kept seeing them go on sale at different stores.  I had a Williams Sonoma store credit that I needed to use, so it seemed like the right time.  I first ordered the 3 1/2 quart oval dutch oven.  However, once I got it delivered at the house, I was disappointed at the size.  If it was just for me and my husband, the size would have been perfect.  However, I'm cooking for a family now.  I returned it and got the 5 quart. 


I have to say that I would put this purchase on par with buying my Dyson.  That's saying it's some of the best money we've ever spent.   We love it and use it for everything we can. 

So what's the big deal?  It makes everything taste so tender and moist.  Meats don't dry out. It heats so evenly that it has shortened cook  times for some of our favorite dishes.  I haven't used my 11x13 pyrex casserole dish one time since I got the Le Creuset.  We have been making soups, casseroles, side dishes, and main entrees in this highly versatile dutch oven.  We even made a roast for the first time, and it was delicious. 


Bottom line is if you want a quality product, sometimes you have to pay for it.  I would say this splurge was worth the wait and the price.



New Look!

Ahna NicholsComment

Did you notice the new look?  I have been working on it for a few months whenever I could get a free moment.  Make sure you take a minute and take a tour.  You can even request a quote and upload pictures!  I'm pretty proud of that feature.  I built it using a Squarespace template.  If you have the need for building a website, you should definitely check them out.  Their customer service is awesome. 

I also want to thank my husband for helping me through some tricky coding, etc. to get this thing up and running.  I keep telling him I love being married to a computer genius.  It saves us all kinds of money. 

Here's a quick before and after of a chair I delivered last week.  It was an OLD rocker that I updated.  It's not a dramatic transformation, but it really makes it look more modern.

Blue Rocker.jpg

I have a few things I'm excited to share with you soon.  I have been working on a couple of projects in my own home and have been trying to make the most of this cold weather.  Being stuck inside has really helped me get a lot accomplished around here! 

Winter Upholstery Blues

Ahna1 Comment
You may recall this chair from several months ago.  No?  It is a beauty.  The same customer called me back to do some more work for her. This time it was re-upholstering this gorgeous chair she inherited from her mother.  Here is the progression the chair made in my workshop.

When I first saw it, it had the mauve slipcover on it.  The slipcover was hiding all the beautiful detail and shape of the chair.  Once I removed the slipcover, I was shocked to see the original fabric.  It was in mint condition, but WOW!  I had to laugh when I watched White Christmas this holiday season.  I saw the same exact floral fabric used on a seat cushion.  Keep in mind it was filmed in 1954. 

Needless to say, it needed an update.  The navy and cream colors didn't come through exactly how I would have liked in the pictures, but I think that you can see that the paisley pattern really makes a statement and shows off all her curves.

Here's a view of her backside complete with hand sewn seams.

You can barely see the buttons on the front side. 

The buttons help take up some of the slack and are almost always used on chairs with a curved back.  It's almost impossible to get the back of a curved chair smooth without buttons.  It helps hold the material against the frame so it doesn't get all wrinkled up and wonky when someone sits in it.
Here is a picture that shows where the buttons are.  Due to the angle of the picture, they look crooked. However, I assure you they are straight and evenly spaced if you look at the chair straight on.  

The chair is being paired with buffalo check curtain panels that I made and a tan Pottery Barn sofa. I know the fabric is not for everyone, but my client has exquisite taste.  I am sure it will look beautiful.

One more look at the before and after.

I am dropping it off at my client's tonight and picking up another chair of hers.  That makes three chairs down in the workshop right now.  Just as soon as I finish one up, another takes its place.  Let me know if you want me to add your chair to my list!

Easier Than I Thought!

Linking to: Thrifty Decor Chick,  Tatertots & Jello , Miss Mustard Seed ,

A Customer's Nursery Tour

Ahna1 Comment
Several months ago, I got a request on my Etsy store to make one of these custom valances for a nursery.  Once I got the fabric in the mail, I was in love with the Serena and Lily fabric called Shell Yacht stripe.  My customer found it for a steal at a local discount store.  I played around with the distance of the stripes and the needed finished dimensions, came up with this design, and sent her these pictures before shipping it off to her in California.

And the inside of the corner pleats look like this with the stripes on the inside:

A few weeks later, the same customer contacted me again and said she loved the valance so much that she would love for me to make the crib skirt to match.  She sent me more fabric, got me the exact measurements I needed, and I made the skirt to match the valance. 

Before shipping the crib skirt, she said she had been thinking of two tiny valances to help cover the top of the roller shades on the door of the nursery.  Once again, she carefully measured to tell me what she needed and I whipped up two mini valances out of the leftover fabric.

I just got these photos from her today telling me that,"the nursery is so adorable and it's all because of you."  I love getting these type of notes.  It makes me feel so good.  Here is a little tour of the nursery.
The larger box pleat valance and the tiny ones on the door:

The crib skirt:

I want to thank my gracious California customer for sharing pictures of the beautiful nursery for her new baby girl.  This just goes to show that customization is possible (even across the country). 

Easier Than I Thought!

Creating a Costume Chest

As I was brainstorming Christmas gifts for my little girl, I decided she would love to have a costume chest from Santa.  I like gifts that allow her to be creative.  She loves to dress up and pretend.  With that in mind, I started my search for a chest.  I found a box that was a little beat up but was the perfect costume chest size and was right in my price range- $10. A lot of chests or boxes this size are $40 or $50 at places like Hobby Lobby or Home Goods.

This is what it looked like when I got it from the Craigslist seller:

I gave it a good scrubbing and spray painted it a hot pink gloss.  It took quite a while for it to dry.  I didn't prime it, but I used the Lowe's Valspar spray paint that is paint and primer in one.  This was the first time I tried it, but it has held up to the playroom abuse the chest has already had, so I figure the bond is pretty good. It sucked up the paint.  I used almost two full cans.  The chest isn't in perfect condition, but I wasn't willing to spend a lot of money on something that was going to get a lot of use and abuse in the playroom.

About 6 weeks after painting it, I finally got around to putting the finishing touches on it. I used spray adhesive to adhere pieces of fabric to the inside.  It gave it instant fun and whimsy. Here is the picture of the bottom when I put the first piece of fabric on the inside:

As for the costumes, I bought a lot of them on clearance after Halloween.  Most of them I only paid $5-$7 for.  I bought a cowgirl, witch, supergirl, Belle, Snow White, a fairy, some wigs, and a Rapunzel costume.   It was fun gathering accessories and costumes from different discount stores.  The hard part was getting a chance to buy them since she is always with me when I'm out shopping.
On Christmas morning, we had a costume fashion show.  

I think Santa's idea is a success!

Easier Than I Thought!

Linked to:  Thrifty Decor Chic Mon.: Skip to My Lou Tues:  Tip Junkie,   Sugar Bee Crafts,  Today's Creative Blog,   Homestories AtoZ Wed:  Gingersnap Crafts,   Sew Much Ado,   Thurs: 36th Avenue,  52 Mantels,   House of Hepworths, Friday:Tatertots and Jello,  Serenity Now,  Whipperberry, Liz Marie Blog, Sat: Classy ClutterIt's Overflowing  Sun.: I Heart Naptime,

Just a few of my favorite things


I hope your holiday season is filled with good times spent with family and friends. Before the year is over, I just wanted to share a few of my favorite things I've discovered in 2013. Maybe some or all of these things might fit a need in your life or household. 

Next Step built-in potty seat- This might seem like a strange one, but I have loved having it over the past six months or so while we've been in the throes of potty training.  It was money well spent and something I anticipate we can use for years to come as my little one still continues to grow.  She can always flip the little toilet seat down and scoot her little booty up on the seat. There is no cleaning out a little potty chair pot (gross), no fear of falling in, and no having to deal with storing those small seats that fit on top.  Perfect!

The Perfect Tee from The Limited- Since I am 5'10" and have a super long torso, it's really hard to find shirts that have sleeves that are long enough for my monkey arms and are also long enough to be comfortable.  I hate how most long sleeve t-shirts ride up and are too short.  Let's be real.  Almost everything in my house makes its way into the dryer.  This t-shirt is long enough in the sleeves and the body even after slipping in the dryer.  It's perfect for layering on the cold Ohio winter days. 

 The Perfect Striped Tee

The Wet Brush- I just discovered this brush at the salon a few weeks ago.  It just glides through your hair.  It really makes your hair seem silky.  My little girl doesn't even mind when I brush the tangles out.  It is gentle and doesn't pull like most brushes. 

Tide Pods-  I have to say that I was very skeptical of these after seeing the price.  However, I have since come to absolutely love them in spite of the cost.   They work like no other laundry detergent. Since they are pricey, I don't use them for every load.  I only use them on full loads that could use some extra stain fighting.  The convenience factor is like no other.  No messy measuring or multiple products needed.  These fun and colorful little babies do it all.

Binding Buddy Ruler- I love using this ruler for cutting fabric.  It is really long and has a 45 degree edge on the bottom.  This makes it perfect for cutting strips of fabric on the bias to use for welt cord.  I use this ruler almost every day.

Bostitch Heavy Duty Manual Staple Gun- I have a wonderful  staple gun I run with my compressor for upholstery work.  It's the only way to go.  However, I know that most of you aren't interested in that type of staple gun.  If you go to the aisle at Home Depot or Lowe's where the manual staple guns are, I have had every single gun they carry.  And every single one of them have jammed on me to the point where I couldn't get the jam out, rendering the gun useless.  All that is, except this one.  I have had it for over a year now and use it at least a couple times a week for various projects.  It has never jammed and keeps working.  So far, it's the best manual gun I've ever had.

Bostitch 3/8-in Manual Heavy-Duty Staple/Brad Gun
There you have it.  These are a few of my favorite things.  I hope one or several of them might appeal to you and make your life easier. 
Merry Christmas!

Easier Than I Thought

Minnie Mouse Birthday Party Decor

My little girl turned 3!  I can hardly believe it.  We had a Minnie Mouse themed birthday party for her.  I put together some quick decorations to help add to the Minnie's Bowtique theme.

Here are some paper bows I made for the mantel using this tutorial. I chose a couple different kinds of scrapbook paper to make the bows and glued them to ribbon.  I think I can use these for different kinds of birthday themes.  They're very girly and easy to make!   The bows turned out a lot smaller than I thought they would be, but they are still cute. 

I added all the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse gang from her stuffed animal collection. 

These were fun little table decorations that I made. I was inspired after seeing something similar on a party planning site. 

I did a Minnie Mouse version, but it would work for Mickey too!  Here's a quick Minnie tutorial (pun intended):

  • smooth foam balls (one medium and two small for each)
  • black acrylic craft paint
  • small sponge brush
  • ribbon
  • dowel rod
  • containers
  • florist foam
  • filler
  • hot glue gun

Using a sponge brush, I painted the foam balls with craft paint and let it dry.  Then, I cut the dowel rod into three equal pieces and stuck it into the hole at the bottom of the largest foam ball.

I gathered some containers from around the house and cut floral foam to fit and act as the base.  I stuck the wooden dowel into the floral foam and filled the remainder of the container with the crazy pink zig zag things.  I found those in the gift wrap department.

Then, I glued the smaller foam balls onto the larger ones using hot glue.  I just eye-balled where I thought the ears would go.

I added small bows and glued them to the top of the head. Instant Minnie centerpieces!
All together the supplies cost $12.  Not bad for three table centerpieces!

Easier Than I Thought!

It's all in the details

Ahna1 Comment
I have been super busy trying to get all of my custom orders knocked out for window treatments. The blog has been last on the list.  Sorry!

Here is the latest order I just finished late last night.  It is a double wide version of this valance I made a few months ago. I have been selling a lot of them on Etsy lately.  My customer sent me this fun fabric and told me to do whatever I wanted with the button bands on the side.  I decided to cut the bands on the bias so the pattern would be different than the rest. 

Yep.  That's the shadow of my hand taking a picture with my phone.  It was late. 

Then, I covered the buttons to match the pattern.  These little details created a unique look I'm sure my customer will enjoy. 

I am anxious to see some finished pictures of this one once she has it hung.  It's shipping off to California today.

I'm not going to fool you into thinking all I have been doing is working.  I actually got a five day break to tag along with my husband on a business trip to Puerto Rico.  I spent a few days reading by the pool  Pure bliss.

 We extended the trip over the weekend and stayed at a resort.  Here I am in the ad for the resort :)

Soon after checking in, we witnessed a double rainbow!  It was amazing.

I'm very thankful for my wonderful in-laws and parents who kept my little girl and allowed us to get a much needed break.

Enjoy time with your family.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wingback Wrap-Up

I finished my client's wingback and delivered it yesterday.  Check out the before and after:

I had so much fun working with this material.  Although it wasn't the original plan, it turned out better than I hoped.  Since the clients also bought the gray rocker, they wanted me to give the wingback a makeover so the two chairs would coordinate.  I ended up using the linen I used on the rocker for the piping on the chair.  I know it's not the best picture, but here are both of them side by side. 

Now, it's back to work.  I have a lot of work for clients lined up including curtains, valances, a slipcover, and a chair that needs to be re-upholstered.  The holiday rush is upon us.  Have a great Sunday with your family!

Easier Than I Thought!

Wingback Warrior

Ahna1 Comment
My clients that bought the gray-wash rocker asked me to re-upholster their wingback (shown here)

using the same linen fabric as I did on the rocker.  I encountered a problem with trying to get the same dye lot, so we decided to go with this fabric combo instead:

The one on the left is the linen from the rocker and the one on the right is the wonderful new coordinate.  It has a fantastic texture, and I can't wait to see it on the chair.  I found the new coordinating fabric at Calico Corners.  Did you know they are having a sale through Saturday 10/19? 25% off fabric! 

The fabric just came today, so I am excited to get it out and start working with it.  This is what the chair looks like right now down in my workshop:

Did you see the surprise orange fabric left over on the front?  That is the original upholstery.  That's right, this chair is beginning its third life.  Before I can start to re-assemble it, I am going to give the wood base the same gray-wash finish as the rocker.  I also need to add some batting for some extra padding too. 

Here's some more exciting news.  I picked up these mid-century modern side chairs this morning from a little old lady that is downsizing.  They are in mint condition.  I am going to throw these up on my Etsy store as soon as I get the chance to write up the listing.  They are going to be available for purchase and can be reupholstered in the fabric of your choice.  I don't think these little beauties will last long. Message me if you might be interested.

Until then, I am going to continue my work as a wingback warrior!

Easier Than I Thought!

Some updates

I hope you had a great weekend! I can't believe it's already Wednesday!  I feel like I'm just recovering from the weekend.  Mainly because I've been sick the past couple of days. 

I am proud to report a successful weekend at the Pyramid Hill Art Show.  I sold the gray rocker, already gained several new upholstery jobs and the emails keep coming from potential clients for upholstery work as well as custom window treatments. The holiday rush is upon us and  I am going to be one busy girl!

Here are a few pics of my mobile store from this past weekend:

It rained almost the entire day on Sunday, so I was forced to pack up early:(

I also went ahead and finished the Cinderella dress for my little one for Halloween.  It really turned out to be adorable.  I just have to hem it.  The problem is, I can't get her to stand still long enough to get a good measurement. Here it is:

 As for my upholstery class, I'm working on finishing up the seat of my new chair.  I still have some work to do on it.  If you missed, it, the green vinyl chair now looks more like this:

This picture makes the yellow in the fabric look like the yellow is a fluorescent.  It's actually more of a gold. 

Happy Wednesday!

Easier Than I Thought

Rockin' it Restoration Hardware Style

Ahna8 Comments
It is finished.  Every time I look at it, I keep adjusting things and tweaking things, but it's finished.  This is one of the chairs I have been working on for the upcoming art show at the end of the month.  Take a look at the before and after side by side.

Some of the details were inspired by Restoration Hardware:
 nailhead trim (left), graywash finish (center), and linen fabric(right)

The chair before was ROUGH!! Here is my daughter looking at it (left).  She's probably thinking, "Mom, what in the world are you going to do with this chair?"

Sure, it had a few layers of old upholstery when I opened up the back and it was missing a seat cushion.  BUT  I saw the potential. I saw the lines and imagined the graywash finish with the textured fabric.  I saw the sophisticated styling from this ugly thing: 

As hard as it may be, I bought this chair and refinished it with selling it in mind.  I will be adding it  to my Etsy store in the next week or so.   SOLD!

In the next part of this post I'll share a mini tutorial on how I accomplished the graywash finish.  Read on if you'd like to try it out too.

The Graywash Finish:

First, I removed all the old upholstery and staples and gave it a good cleaning with TSP.   Then, I sanded it down thoroughly with a medium grit sandpaper and gave it another cleaning.

Then, it was time to start the glazing.  I wanted the wood finish to show through, so I didn't want to paint it. I wanted the grain to be visible. 

I mixed about 2/3 glaze (American Tradition brand from Lowe's) and 1/3 paint (a mixture of gray Sherwin William's paints).  Then, I used a cheap chip brush and painted it on then wiped it off with an old t-shirt.  If it looked too solid, I wiped it all off and tried again with a lighter hand.  It was really about experimenting.  The glaze gave me more time to play with the color intensity.  In this picture you can see the before and after of the glaze.  It is applied to one side of the chair but not the other. 

Next, I used an antiquing glaze to highlight all the knicks and gouges and details in the furniture and give it some depth.  The gray finish looked great, but it seemed a little flat and one dimensional.    This rocker was already "distressed" when I got it.  It is very structurally sound, but it has lots of knicks and a few gouges that give it some character.  I wanted the antiquing to help me highlight the rough hewn finish.

Using a similar technique, I used a chip brush and painted on the glaze and immediately wiped it off.  I used a very light hand for this and left some extra glaze in the corners and along all the architecutral features in the arms, etc.

Finally, I applied Minwax Paste Finishing Wax to the finish to protect it and give it a sheen.  It adds to the depth of the piece and makes it look a little more worn. 

Easier Than I Thought!

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Upholstery 101 Week One

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If you've been following me over the last few months, it's no secret that I've started dabbling in upholstery.  I have to say, the bug has bitten.  In fact, I have been working on a handful of chairs I will be taking to an art show at the end of the month.  That's why you haven't heard from me much on the blog lately. Sorry!

So far, I have been very proud of the upholstery jobs that I have accomplished, but I know that youtube videos and google searches (as helpful as they may be) are not going to teach me the hands on tricks of a real upholsterer.  So, I googled upholstery classes and kept coming back to a very impressive ModHomeEc.  I initially viewed this page and thought, " how cool it would be to attend these types of classes that are featured?"  As I read further, I was ecstatic to learn that the studio is in Indianapolis.  It's not exactly close, but it is within driving distance of me. Thus began my upholstery adventure.
Since this class is a workshop, I had to find a side chair to work on and learn from in the class.  I chose this interesting side chair that I bought off of Craigslist.  I'll have to share with you an interesting story about the man I bought it from later.  This is now the second chair I've bought from him.

 You can see that it needs some work.  What you can't see in the picture is how gross the chair really is.  Yay! True makeover potential right there.

Last night was our first meeting.  Here is a very blurry picture of me and my chair.  The lady who took my picture had never used an iphone before and didn't know how to work it.  Lol.

I learned so much at the class.  The instructor, Shelly, was an upholsterer for 20 plus years. She started anew teaching people the art of upholstery in her fabulous studio for about 4 years now.
 I know Shelly is going to be a wealth of information.  I already bombarded her with questions last night with questions.  She was very helpful and happy to answer any and every question I threw at her.  This is just what I need!

Last night's class was all about tearing down.  Here's a look at what my chair looked like once I took the back off:

Before the next class I have to decide on what fabric to use, pain or stain the chair, and get a piece of replacement foam for the seat. 

During the 2 hour drive home last night, I was able to get some quiet time. This is a hard thing to come by as a stay at home mom of a 2 1/2 year old.  I have to say that I enjoyed the time to think and go over everything I learned from class and how I can apply it to my business.

I am excited to see what next week brings.  Thanks, Shelly!

Easier Than I Thought!