Thursday, June 28, 2012

I Put the "O" in Ottoman........Part 2

It's done.  The ottoman is done.  And I'm still standing. 

Part 1 left off with me just about to throw the ottoman away and go to the fabric store and pay out the Wazoo for new one that someone else had to upholster.  I had to step away from it for a few days to gather my thoughts and allow my fingers to heal from all the splinters the stupid wood shards left (reference to Part 1).

The rest of the construction was pretty easy.  The reason it took so long to wrap up was a result of my own procrastination.  I last left off with all the fabric pieces cut and ready to sew.  I had already sewn the top piece for the ottoman and had it fitted and lookin' fly. 

The next step was I just added some batting to the large button on top and wrapped it with fabric; affixing it with simple hot glue.

Then I made cording - yards and yards and yards of it! I used the same method for making the cording that I did in the Part 3 of Reupholstering Dining Room Chairs.  I'm not going to even lie to you - the cording makes the ottoman, but it was what made this project over the top difficult.  My one helpful suggestion for making cording is to switch over to a zipper foot on your sewing machine to not only make the cording, but also to sew it to the fabric.  I had never done that before and it made a world of difference. 

Making cording is easy, it was the sewing of the cording to the circle shaped fabric near the top that proved so difficult and time consuming.  I had to go over it about 5 times to make sure it was sewn close enough together so that no stitching could be seen. 

The cording at the bottom of the piece I just hot glued on.  I tried stapling it into the ottoman's lovely cardboard bottom - but I just couldn't get it to look right.  Glue gun was the way to go for this one!  All of the sewing was the time suck for this project.  The stripping, cutting fabric, and recovering took about an hour of time - but I spent probably 3-4 hours on the sewing (including mistakes and redos). 

To finish it up I slipped the cover onto the skeleton structure and had to close by hand the hole I left to slip the button on top through.  Then pulled the cover down, flipped the whole thing upside down, and pulled and stapled and was done!  After that I tightened the strings to pull the button on top more taught and glued the last cording on and was finally done. 

The ottoman turned out pretty darned well. For all the trouble, it was actually worth it and such a great learning experience for me. I've recovered seats on chairs before, but never anything of this magnitude. Taking on a project like this is such a great way for me to excercise my brain. You never know what's going to happen when you rip off that old fabric, that's for sure. And it's such a feeling of accomplishment when you think it out and weigh the options and come up with a positive result!

It looks great in Evelyn's big girl room and I'm about to start making More cording for the chair that the ottoman is going with.  I hope to be able to post about that tomorrow. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I Put the "O" in Ottoman. As in, "O Crap - What Have I Gotten Myself Into?!" - Part 1

So this is a continuation of my Manic Monday post.

I was specifically looking for an ottoman to go with the cane back chair in Evie's big girl room a few weeks ago.  I decided on a whim to hit up my favorite antique mall, Belle's Plantation House Antique Mall in Lowell, and in the next to last booth - I find it!  It's the perfect shape and with a $15 price tag - I literally grabbed it and ran to the register lest anyone else steal my fabulous find.  Here it is:

Hideous, isn't it?  But the shape!  And I can totally play up that tufted button and add contrast cording and make it beautiful. 

So I go into this endeavor Monday with all the confidence in the world.  After the rough start to do the day, I took the recommended bath (thank you Baby Joe) and decided to get some stuff done!

My game plan is to strip the fabric off.  Then cut it up and use it as a pattern for the new fabric.  Make and add some custom cording and viola I'm done within 2 hours.  So I go upstairs and get all my little tools and flip the ottoman over and start pulling out staples with my flat head screwdriver and see a foreign substance has collected at the bottom of the ottoman.

 Yes - that's what I think is hay. 

Now I'm thinking "Hmmm that's really odd.  Maybe it was in a barn at some point.  So I keep pulling staples and get the entire fabric loose from the bottom.  I find the side seam and run my seam ripper down the side, pull it open and find...

What the what?!  More hay!

Yep.  My awesome Monday continues.  So the hay at this point is getting all over the carpet (which lead to my discovery that our central vac system has stopped working as mentioned in yesterday's post).  I did a little test to see how deep the hay goes.  I was hoping it is a layer of an inch or two and I'll just replace it with batting.  No go.  The entire piece is just hay.  But then I take a closer look - not hay.  Wood shavings.  Are ya kidding me? 

And it gets better - look what I found when I completely stripped it down.

I do love me some old, moldy foam.

I decide I have 2 options:  A)  I can toss it in the trash can.  The trash gets picked up Tuesday morning and I'm only out $15 and 30 mins of my time.  Or B)  Why must I be so stubborn?  So I decide I will not let this ottoman defeat me.  It's time to regroup.

First thing I do is grab a trash bag and get that moldy foam out of there.  Next, in order to stop the "bleeding" of the wood shavings all over my floor I wrap the sides with batting.  That's when a good thing happened.  The batting just stuck to the wood without needing anything to attach it.  Score for Beth!

Then, I remove the fabric from the top of the ottoman.  Now, here is the tricky part.  The tufted button is connected to strings that pull all the way through the entire ottoman.  So if you look at the bottom of the ottoman you see this:

I need to untie that knot and let some slack in the strings to make this workable.  After breaking my seam ripper and an ink pen, I found that using two sets of tweezers simultaneously worked easiest to untie the knot.  I then tied a knot at the very end of the strings and moved on.

I had plenty of foam scraps laying around from various projects so I just cut some to fit the top of the ottoman and placed it there. 

Alrighty - time to move on to fabric now that the mess making hay is compromised. 

As I originally planned I cut up the old fabric and used it as a template for the fabric pieces.  The sides were super easy.  I did, however, need 58 inches to do the circumference and unfortunately the fabric I'm using is only 54.  Bummer.  So I will end up with two side seams.  I'm not happy, but I'll deal. 

The top part was definitely 8 times harder than the sides.  I cut 4 triangles, but when I laid them out they didn't equal a circle.  They equalled less than that.  So I placed them on the corner of my cutting mat to make each a perfect 90 degrees before I sewed them together.  I put it on the ottoman to make sure it fit and it did!  Whew.  Dodged a bullet.  Note that I did not sew one of seams up completely so that I can feed the button through.  When I have my finished product, I will feed it through and then sew the remainder of that seam from the inside. So here's what I had at the end of Day 1.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Manic Monday

It's Storytime.  For those of you who aren't my close friends and don't follow me on Facebook - I'll get you caught up...

So I go out to water the flowers on Sunday mid-morning and Hello!  There is a turtle digging under Evelyn's Petunia's she planted (and have totally thrived I might add).  So I scream because it took me by surprise and because this turtle was pretty big.  The shell was probably 10 inches in diameter.  Then I yelled for Evelyn to come and see it.  The entire the turtle is moving it's little back legs digging.  Joe and Evelyn and both dogs come out to see the turtle.  I had this wonderful (not great) idea to move it over to the bridge in our neighborhood which goes across a backwater area of Clabber Creek that only has water if it rains for 7 days in a row.  Joe and I were so proud of ourselves for giving him a shady area to hang out in and that bridge is prime real estate.  Evelyn named him Blue and made up a song about Blue Under the Bridge a la Christina Aguilera style singing. 

As we walked back to the house I thought aloud "Aren't turtles reptiles?  Don't they like to be in the sun?"  We assumed he was digging under the petunias to get some shade.  That one flicker of doubt caused me to grab the iPad when we got home and start researching. 

"Blue" hard at work

After a few minutes of researching I found out we had encountered a red-earned slider turtle.  Very common - he probably had come up from the creek.  But then I read further that they leave water to lay eggs.  And when they lay eggs they do a "dance" when their back legs and pack the dirt on top of the eggs.  So I tell Joe all this and we mark our calendars for 60 days because that's the gestation period. 

Monday comes and I get up early and get E to school early and when I get home I decide to water the newer plants I've planted to help get their roots established.  So I water the back and then the front and I'm standing over in the turtle-ized area and I see a petunia and roots flutter across the yard.  So I look at the petunias................then I run to them.

Some sort of predatory animal had come in the night and dug up the (yes, they were there) eggs the turtle had laid and cracked them all open and ate them.  I cry.  And I am not a crier.  The last time TV made me cry is when Jesus from True Blood** got whacked on Southland (one of the most powerful episodes of TV ever made).  I can count on my hands which movies have made me cry:  Patch Adams, Armageddon, Message in a Bottle, PS I Love You and The English Patient (most of which were during emotional times in my life).  I'm just not really a cryer, but I cried for so many reasons:  I was sad about those poor baby turtles and I felt guilty for moving the turtle before she was done covering up her hole completely.  Maybe if we had let her finish none of this would have happened.  Maybe she pees on the dirt or something and that throws off predators. 

So I text Joe and it's like he can sense my tearducts have opened and he's like "are you crying" and I'm like "Yes!" and I thought he was going to come home from work because he didn't quite know what to do.  So to cope I completely ignore the situation outside and decide to eat some breakfast and shampoo all the rugs downstairs and watch Extreme Makeover - Weight Loss Edition.  Little did I know what this show was about.  So I'm balling the entire episode.  Now Joe's really worried and he tells me to take a bath ( I did do this later in the afternoon).  So I start texting my friends about the horrendous scene in my front yard to kill some time until I have to clean up the mess and get the flower bed back in order.  I did not need Evelyn coming home and freaking about her flowers and then see the eggs cracked open.

When I finally tell myself I need to get out there and clean up the eggs and fill in the hole before it gets too hot; I put on my gloves and get a bag and pick up the egg shells and realize the hole the turtle dug was almost a foot deep.  That turtle must have been working on the digging and laying and recovering all night.  Probably the predator had been watching during all of that.  So I'm crying and cleaning up.  I just hope that maybe the hole is bigger than I thought and some eggs are still down there making a baby turtle.  Needless to say I'm crying during the cleanup and get angry, Very Angry. 

I come inside and google "Animals that eat turtle eggs".  Most likely it's a raccoon - which I see dead in the road in our neighborhood once a month.  Turns out they hate Tabasco sauce.  So I mix gallons upon gallons of Tabasco in hot water and pour them all over my flower beds to hopefully keep them at bay and in case there are any more eggs.  That made me feel better.  I came very close to calling up my good friends at Terminix and having them come set up traps. 

Let me assure you my day did not get better, our central vac system was broken when I tried to use it.  And the reason I tried to use it is going to be the subject matter of my next blog entry about the ottoman for Evelyn's room.  Let me tell you - worst DIY project I've ever encountered.  I'm praying E takes a long nap so I can get the bulk of the sewing done this afternoon and can then make Joe help me staple when we get home and then I can move on with my life - and onto the matching chair. 

As my final advice for the day - audit your EOB's from insurance companies.  I called about 6 different items yesterday and am getting about $500 bucks back.  Turns out our insurance company had my chiropractor listed on their internal site as "out of network".  He's not.  Just ridiculous!  Joe use to work as the financial reporting manager for an insurance company and literally his first day of work he was told that they purposely don't pay anything that's under $15 because most people receive a bill for $12 and say "it's only $12, it's easier to pay it than to argue with the insurance company".  Insurance companies make MILLIONS of dollars a year by doing this.  Don't let them get away with it.  And don't ever pay money at your doctor's visits unless it's a copay.  We were overbilled by 3 different doctors so far this year and I've got refund checks coming.  I received a bill about 3 months after E was born that I didn't understand so I called the company and argued it twice.  It started at $320.  The next bill was $120, then $50, then $12, then $3.  I paid it when it hit $3.  It's SO frustrating how their business is run - what a ripoff.  As my Paga (dad's dad) would have said "It's all a racket".

** And what is up with Jesus from True Blood*** getting whacked off every show he's on?  He was the sister's boyfriend/baby daddy on Ugly Betty who got shot.  Then he gets killed by a gang on Southland.  And on last season of True Blood his possessed boyfriend (yes, boyfriend) stabs him.  Why we gotta keep killing the hottie?

***If I don't know an actor's name I refer to them from their most famous role.  During my obsession with Flash Forward (the greatest show to get cancelled EVER), I referred to the guy that Olivia had a flash forward about as "The Pirates of the Caribbean guy" and I still do because now he is on SMASH. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hearth Room Decision Made

Alright loyal readers - decision was made about the hearth room curtain fabric.  The winner is the Robert Allen Fret in Raspberry:

Image courtesy of

The decision was made after A) I could tell Joe was a little pouty about the other one and B) because I found a picture of the other (Mercury from Lewis and Sheron) and it looked like a map of the female reproductive system.  Here's the pic:

Image courtesy of Chinoiserie Chic

I do still like the fabric, but I think I might use it in the living room instead. Something about that pink didn't look "right" next to the olive.  I also found a fabulous matching fabric to potentially use with it too - also from Lewis and Sheron...

Image courtesy of Lewis and Sheron

Back to the room I'm currently working on.....So I went with the raspberry, but still have no clue what window treatments to create.  I'm going to flip through my magazines and books tonight to come up with some options.  I'm still open to suggestions - so bring it.

Another thing that really helped me decide on the raspberry was a complimentary fabric I found in my pile of samples from when I first moved to Arkansas (circa last August).  It's got olive green in it which helps pull in the wall color and I could use this fabric to reupholster chairs, bar stools, make pillows, cover a couch in it.  It's a great fabric and here it is:

 Image courtesy of

It's Taraz Berry by Swavelle - Mill Creek.  It's actually a coordinate of the Crazy Ole Bird fabric I used in my dining room.  The raspberry in this matches the raspberry of the Robert Allen perfectly.  We've got the ball rolling!!!!

K.  I'm jumping off here to start reupholstering stuff for E's new room.  I painted two pieces of furniture this weekend - but you really need to see the chair reupholstered and not in it's current outdated state.  I'll be showing off the room tomorrow!  See you then.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hearth Room Help Needed!

I'm beat; both figuratively and literally. What I thought would be a 4 hour painting job turned into an all day misadventure.

I did all the taping off for the room yesterday except for the window. I saved that for today bc I also needed to take down the blinds. So I get the blinds ready to take down, climb up on the step stool and the blinds attack me. They came right out of their brackets and went straight for my head - the temple to be exact.  They also on the way down got my shoulder and forearm pretty good before the grand finale on my shin.  So far I have no bruises but I'm not sure how.  I have a little lump on my forehead but that's about it.  I was the most worried during the 3 second incident that it would break the glass on the window.  Luckily it didn't.  It did scratch the glass and take a chunk off the wood window sill and a chunk of drywall but that was it!

On top of those new sore spots are general all over soreness from yesterday's workout (one of the first of the new year.  Remember my New Year's Resolutions?  I'm finally getting around to those).  I did an intense arm workout and then did a speed walk on an incline for 30 minutes.  I was tired, I'm sore, but I'm motivated and feel great.  I can't wait until I start seeing results!  I had a "come to Jesus" with my fatness when I had to don a bikini for the first time this season last weekend.  Yeesh.  Someone should have told me I looked like that.....JOE. 

Anyway, I have 2/3rds of 1 wall of the room left to paint and then I'll be done - other than touch ups here and there.  I'm trying to muster up the energy to knock it all out tonight and then be able to move onto fabric decisions tomorrow.  Can't wait!!!  I'm chugging a Cherry Coke Zero currently to help me realize that goal.

Yesterday I told you I needed some help.  And I still do.  I wish you could all just come to my house and see in person what I'm dealing with.  Let me give you a little background on how I make decisions.....

A few years ago I bought my first car with my own money.  To make a long story short - I test drove cars in 3 different states and pretty much every single mid-size SUV and mid-size sedan on the market (I'm not overexaggerating).  I'm the type that wants to try EVERY possible option before making a decision so that I'm absolutely confident. 

Guess how many paint samples I went through before I decided on the Fresh Olive for the den?  I'll go count........8.  That's a lot of olive green people.  So choosing fabric is no different.  On Monday I received sample number 33 and 34 from Lewis and Sheron fabrics.  This is after I decided that #28 was the one I was for sure going to use for window treatments.  I had totally forgotten I ordered 2 more and I like #33 a lot and don't know what the heck I'm going to do now!!!!

Not only do I need which-one-to-pick advice - I also need advice on what window treatments to do with the fabric.  I need treatments that will let as much light as possible into the room to help brighten it up. 

Our inspiration for our color palette is from the May 2012 edition of Southern Living.  Right on the cover was the solution to our "What are our accent colors going to be?"  Answer:  Hot pink.  I literally took one look at it, flipped to the article and started googling the fabrics.  All were too expensive (ex: $120 a yard).  So I decided to some options plus visit some local stores for options. 

Inspiration Photos from

 There's the olive green that immediately caught my eye.  Joe and I both thought the hot pink would be a great way to brighten the room up!

So now that you've seen the inspiration - here are the two options we have for window treatments:

Option A - Robert Allen Woven Jacquard Ikat Fret in Raspberry

Image courtesy of

Option B -  Mercury Ikat in Orange and Pink

Image courtesy of Lewis and Sheron Fabrics

Those are the fabrics.  I have samples hanging of both.  I'm having trouble finding pics of the full print of the Mercury to see what it actually looks like.  If you find one - let me know.  I have a running Pros and Cons list so if you want to add your two cents on them - go right ahead.  The rest of this post will be pics of the hearth room and the windows that will be "treated".  I need ideas my loves - help me!!!

So here is the main part of the room.  The "den" area.  It's got the windows on either side of the fireplace and then double windows on the side. 

A peek at the fabric samples

A far away look at the fabrics

Windows in the kitchen area - whatever the window treatment is for here - it will need to close.  The sun gets really intense through that window first thing in the morning. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sneak Peek at Evelyn's New Room

There is a sneak peek at the fabric and color palette for Evelyn's room.  You can see some of the paint samples I have on the walls, but those aren't the only 2.  I also put up some blue, pink and a darker green. Can you guess which color I went with?

The tape is going up today and tomorrow while E's at school I'm painting the whole thing!  Paint is already mixed and sitting in the garage.  I also had a chair painted last week to go in the room and the bedding is on the bed!  I can't wait to show you how it's all coming together - hopefully by Friday I can get some things permanently placed in the room and update you again!

I'm going to need some help with the den and living room - I'm having a hard time picking between 2 fabrics for window treatments AND I have no clue what kind of treatments to do.  I need input!  I'll post about that tomorrow - hope to hear your opinions soon!!


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