Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Beverage Station

Good morning friends! Long time no see!....Read? Write? Anyway. Here I am with more beautiful things to delight.
There has been this empty spot on our kitchen counter that I always thought needed something. I don't know, a vase, a bowl of fruit....something! I have been really into vignettes lately and have seen one or two people with these cute beverage or coffee stations in their kitchen and I decided that would be the perfect thing to fill up the space and make it more complete. Then I had to find all the perfect pieces.

Here is how to build your own beverage station:

First things first. Think about what your specific needs are. Are you a coffee person? A tea drinker? A waffle connoisseur? There's no point in filling up a tray with things you don't use or like. So first determine what things will not only look cute, but also be useful.

* Basically I can't start the day (and be a nice person) without coffee so I knew I needed my coffee syrups out there. I got these mini bottles (Cost Plus) so that I can have two flavors on hand. You can either fill with pre-made syrups or make your own. I have recipes for making your own here. Even if you don't drink coffee you can use simple syrups to create sodas or other yummy drinks. They are so fun and easy to make.

* I wanted my tray of goodies to have some kind of definition, some height and something to hold flowers whenever I have them. So I searched and searched for a tall white farmhouse pitcher. It fits into our farmhouse style and also has an actual use. The perfect thing to use for beverages and decor. I had a really hard finding one that I liked and that was tall enough. I got this cute one at IKEA.

* My husband and I have been trying out the Paleo diet for the last month and I know I could not have survived without some kind of sugar! Raw honey is my new best friend. Its a "healthy" sugar and can be substituted in most cases for normal white sugar. I also got some honey dippers to add a little cuteness factor (I don't know why, but I have always wanted honey dippers!). It made sense to put the honey out so that I can use it is coffee, tea, smoothies or any other homemade drink. Good quality honey can be expensive, but it is so much better than those (albeit) cute honey bears! Cheap honey brands have been known to have fillers in it that isn't even honey! Scary right? 

* I hate drinking water. I really hate it. Its so boring! I hate how it makes you pee all the time too. TMI? Sorry. One way I can handle drinking water is to put sliced lemons in it. But I have been looking for new natural flavors to try out. I thought it would be really fun to grow my own mint and have it in my beverage tray to flavor water or lemonade in the Summer. OOO! Or Mojitos! So off I went to our local nursery and bought some mint seeds and starter soil. The itty bitty leaves started sprouting about a week ago and I can't wait til they are full grown! P.S. I have actually had this in the windowsill while it is starting, so that it can get some good sunlight to grow. But I read that it doesn't need that much light to grow, so I am planning to keep it on the tray full time once it gets going good.  

* I have had this little milk cow for awhile now, but it has been shut up in the cupboard for too long! She adds the perfect touch while still keeping with the farmhouse/beverage theme. I got this at Target about a year or two ago.

 * The last thing I like to keep on the tray is fruit. I always like to have some fruit out in the kitchen so that I may actually be inspired to eat it. I do like fruit, but I just never think to eat it. So it always helps to have it out in plain sight. Pears and apples are my fav. 

Now lets pull it all together with a cute tray and.....

Voila! Your very own adorable drink station!

Some other ideas for your tray:
Cinnamon sugar shaker
Powdered sugar shaker (they have good ones at Container Store)
Raw sugar cubes
Green berry baskets
Other potted herbs and spices
A framed special recipe
Pretty napkins
Anything else that is special to you!

Have fun creating your very own beverage station!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

DIY Sectional Slipcover

I have been absent for a few weeks, but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy! I have been working on something BIG! Probably the biggest project I will ever do. Yep, that's right. I am sure you could tell by the blog post title. I recovered my couch! Man it was a pain in the butt, but it is SOOOO nice to have it done! It took me a good 2 weeks to finish, plus fabric prepping time (which I will explain later). Our couch was a hand me down from my parents when they moved to Arizona and it has been so great. Its one of those couches that everyone loves. It so cozy. But with kids, cats and now a dog, it was in DESPERATE need of a new cover. The cushions originally had removable covers, but with each wash they got steadily worn and ripped apart. I kept patching it thinking we would either get it professionally re-upholstered or buy a new one someday. But that goal seemed to get father and farther away from us, so finally I decided to take matters into my own hands and do-it-myself! One of the best things you can do to save money (but still get things you want) is to use what you have! And I love that I was able to keep our wonderful couch. I scoured the internet for people who have recovered their couches before and found many great tutorials, but nothing that was clear enough for me to follow. So, I kind of used pictures as my guide and made it up as I went along. Here are pictures of the process and the amazing before and afters.

Not terrible on this side. A little sad a slumpy looking.

This is the side that as you can see, had been patched a few times. (It was obviously the favorite part of the couch) Ugh. I can hardly take looking at how ugly it was. WAS! Its gone now!

The most recent hole. Even though it started as a tiny hole, within days it got to this size from the kids stuffing toys in there and the dog chewing on it. Virtual eye roll here.

Goodbye ugly destroyed couch! I hope I never see you again!

The Process:

Step 1. Buy a ton of painter's drop cloth. That's right. Drop cloth. The stuff that they lay on the floor to protect it from getting paint on it. I read that it was just about the cheapest fabric you can get and I had a lot of couch to cover! I love that I discovered this because it is a nice neutral color and it allowed me to have a great base for the rest of the room. Its just plain canvas material and it is durable! And it was the perfect fit for the rustic/farmhouse look that my husband and I love so much. For my very large L shaped couch, I bought two of the largest sized packs I could get (I don't remember what size they were exactly) which were about $60 each. Then one middle sized pack which was about $30 bucks. So for about $150 dollars (plus about 6 spools of thread, which I had) I was able to fix my raggedy couch and get a whole new look for our living room. If I were to get the couch professionally recovered or if I were to buy a new one (the same size) this would have cost me around $1,500! I'm proud to say I won that war!

Step 2. Bleach the crap outta the drop cloth. I hate bleach. I really do. The chemicals in it have real, terrifying effects on people. I never use it, I never buy it. Its total poison and I just don't like having it around. But one or two blogger's said they bleached their drop cloth to get a nice whitish color and I wanted to do it to achieve that clean farmhouse look. So, basically I am a total hypocrite. I tried not to think about it as I bought a few gallons of bleach (only like a buck at Home Depot) and then soaked each drop cloth in bleachy water for about 3 days per piece. I kept my girls away from our bathroom as it soaked and my husband and I would wake up in the morning and feel like we were getting sick and swore it was from the fumes. Anyway, then I washed them and dried them and they were ready for me to get to work.

Step 3. Take a deep breath, realize that you are NOT going to accomplish this in a day and just start already! I decided to start with the base of the couch and work my way out from there. The drop cloth actually had finished edges, so I tried to use those as much as I could (to save myself from finishing edges myself). So for this first piece, I layed the fabric over, tucked in the back and then cut out where the arm would go (on the left). So that I could sew on a new fitted piece.

Here is the view from the back. See how I tucked in that top edge? Basically for the base part of the couch and the arms of the couch, was a lot of tucking and pinning, sewing and re-pinning and sewing again. I just kept going at it, until each piece fit pretty well. 

Once I finished the base for one side of the "L" I couldn't wait to see the finished look, so I went out of order and sewed together the cushion covers for that side. That was motivation for sure. Once I saw that I could do that, I wasn't stopping there. There were a lot of cushions, so it got to be tiring, but they really weren't too hard. I didn't do piping, because I didn't want to make more work for myself (and I actually liked the finished look without. A little more casual) and I didn't want to go out and buy a bunch of zippers for the cushions, so I decided to make ties to keep them on instead. I should have taken pictures of the ties, but didn't think about it. So if anyone wants to see them, let me know and I will add those pics. On every cushion is 4 ties that I tied together in bows to hold the cases on the pillows. I believe using the ties helped my case by being more forgiving than zippers. Its laughable how I did the cushions really. I cut out a piece to fit each side and then pinned and sewed them all together. That's it. Really technical.  

I dreaded doing this part. But since it was the ugliest part of the couch, I had to do it. And since it had that big hole that was getting bigger day by day, I had to do it quick! So again, I went out of order and started working on the opposite side. (On a side note, my husband and I have noticed after having the couch finished a few weeks that this right long side of the couch doesn't slide off as much as it used to with the old fabric. Maybe more resistance with the new tougher fabric? Anyway, it was a nice bonus we weren't expecting! I used to have to pull that heavy piece of couch up all the time because it would slide off after people sat on it. So annoying!)

Getting closer!

One more cushion left!

There it is. My DIY work of art. The biggest project I will ever undertake. Our gorgeous new covered couch!
The ruffle is something I opted to do to get that cutesy, French-y, farmhouse-y look. I wasn't sure exactly where I should stop the ruffle on each side, but after a lot of deliberation, I think the ruffle placement turned out well.

So clean and fresh! Speaking of clean and fresh..... Another great thing about this, is that I can take off and wash each individual piece that covers the couch! So from kid boogers and puke to wine and dog slobber, I can whip those babies off and  have my beautiful couch again in a flash. And I noticed that the drop cloth is slightly water resistant....meaning if you are quick enough, you can wipe off spilled liquid before it even soaks in! AAAAaaaaaaaAAAAAA!!!!

 Its so cute with my lil vintage crate. And I can't believe how much it lightened up the room.

My girls are already obsessed with jumping all over the "new" couch, so I am sure they will have it messed up in no time, but I did read one woman's blog who said her drop cloth cover has been going strong for about 5 years (with boys, no less)! If mine lasts that long, I will be a happy woman!

 Next project. New pillow covers to complete the look. I am on the hunt for some good fabric now.

The only one not allowed on the "new" couch.

Once again for the full affect......




There you have it. That's what I've been up to for the past month. Let me know if anyone has any questions! I would love to help.

Here are some of the blogs that helped me in my endeavors.
* Jen over at Tatertots and Jello had some great instructional instructional photos and she even shows the bleaching process.
* This woman had a great idea and just had her friends come over and each friend did one piece of the couch. Genius! If only I had that many crafty friends!
* I was seriously considering flying this woman out here to come do my couch! But alas, the point was to save money. lol. She has an ebook that you can buy with full instructions on how to slipcover pretty much anything. I didn't buy it, but looking at the before and afters of her work, she is amazing!

Hope this has inspired you to DIY something today. You never know what random things you have laying around that can be turned into something beautiful!

I've got lots more home projects coming up in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!