Picking Up the Pieces

I realized that I haven’t blogged about life for a while. And maybe that’s not what this blog will end up being about, so maybe it doesn’t matter. But here are a few things that I’ve been enjoying lately:

  • Relaxing. After a very busy few weeks at work, I took Monday off, since Michael had President’s day off. Michael went skiing on Sunday, so I had just a bit over 24 hours to myself, and I have never enjoyed it so much. Nor have I ever enjoyed being so very unproductive for so long as much as I did. And then, to top it off, on Monday, Michael and I just walked around the mall and went to a matinee (Frozen is as good as everyone said). I can’t remember the last time we’ve been so relaxed at home. Also, we finished The Office. We’ve been watching it on Netflix for the last three years and just finished the last season. Tears were shed.
  • Cooking. I’ve been making an effort to prepare meals this week, using Pinterest as incentive. I’ve created a new board for food that I actually make, and am having a good time moving pins over to the new board after I make it and evaluating my results. My favorite this week is a thai chicken salad, but I’m going to try to make lasagna in my crock pot tonight so we’ll see how that goes.
  • Planning home improvements. I’ve been on Pinterest like crazy to figure out what color to paint our bedroom and kitchen. It’s fun, but I’m sure I’ll never be able to live up to the standards those Pinterest experts set.
  • Photobooking. I made a photo book with all of our pictures from our trip to London and Dublin. It’s big – like 11×17 big – but we wanted to use it as a coffee table book. It’s so fun to actually have good pictures of our trip, thanks to our new camera.
  • Small Group. We’ve started up with our small group again, which is wonderful. We sure love them. It’s a bit stressful sometimes, when you come home from a long day at work to a houseful of college freshman. But it’s worth every bit (even if it’s several days later and I still haven’t had time to clean up the kitchen).

The Chairs

One of the projects that’s been on my to-do list since we got married has been to paint our dining room table (given to us by my husband’s wonderful parents), and reupholster the chairs.

Here’s the before:

photo 1

The paint, chipped. The fabric, faded. The foam, crushed. Nobody likes sitting on soft boards with staples sticking through, right?

Months ago my mother-in-law helped me buy the foam and the fabric, but this weekend I finally pulled it out and got started. The first thing I did was take all of the cushions off so that I could paint the chairs. You can’t really tell from this picture, but they were stained with a very dark brown until I painted them.

Next, I removed all of the fabric and cushions from the seats by prying all of the staples off using a flathead screwdriver and needle-nose pliers.

The messiest part came next: cutting the foam. I just used the wooden base (which you can see in the picture coming up) to mark the places to cut the foam, which just came in one long sheet. I ended up using a scissors to cut the foam out, which I’m not sure if I would recommend, because it made the sides of the seats a little bumpy (now that they’re finished though, you can’t really tell).

photo 3

As you can see, it took up my whole living room. I basically just cut a square of fabric around the seat cushion and used a staple gun to secure the fabric. Up until this point everything was fairly straightforward and easy. There were several challenging parts about this part of the process, though:

  1. Squishing down the foam while trying to operate a staple gun, and
  2. Maintaining the same tension in the fabric all the way around so that it doesn’t end up looking bubbly.
  3. The corners.
  4. Making sure the fabric was squared up so that the pattern wasn’t crooked.

I wish I had a picture of how I ended up doing it. I really do. For your pleasure, I wish I could show you how awkward I must of looked, or explain to you how my legs burned after each cushion. I ended up just standing on the seat – squatting to pull the fabric tight and trying to man the staple gun at the same time as keeping my balance. It was a good workout, let me tell you. Here’s the final result though!

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I’m really pleased with how they’ve turned out so far. I’m excited to finish the last two chairs and paint the table! I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out.

JC

New Art!

I’m pretty sure I’ve never purchased art in my life! Until now.

Decorating a house may be the biggest challenge that I’ve ever undertaken, as far as long-term projects go. And I’m not very good at it – at least I feel like I’m having to learn from scratch. I’m constantly asking myself:  “What’s my style? What do I want our house to ‘feel’ like? How do I not spend a lot of money on things that serve no purpose and will be out of style within five years???”

I’m learning new things every step of the way, and, while it’s a little fun, it’s also been a bit stressful.

When it came to actually finding things to put on the wall online, I pinned what I liked on Pinterest, and then proceeded to look at these particular pictures for months, just wishing that there was some way I could duplicate them myself for little or no money at all. I have a hard time buying things that aren’t practical. And art, as you know, has no practical value (or so I tell myself).

And then, after months of agonizing, I bit the bullet and bought them.

And today they came!! I haven’t been so excited for something to come in the mail for a long, long, time. Here’s what I ordered:

First Art Purchase Ever

First Art Purchase Ever

I can’t wait to get them up! There’s just one more coming for Iowa, and then I can frame and hang them. I’m from Montana, my husband’s from Iowa, and we live in Minneapolis. Perfect. I’ll show you how it turns out when I get everything framed and on the wall.