Monday, March 31, 2014

Valences - the reveal and a tutorial

So, the fabric we got a good deal on came in from Hancock's all wrapped up and ready!  I pulled out the fabric... and realized we didn't have a good plan for what to do with it.  Advice: know what the heck you're going to do before buying ridiculously expensive fabric.

I set out to figure out what to do.  One of the things we'd thought about was some valances with movement.  I thought I'd see what it would look like if we highlighted the circles on the pattern.  I cut out a trial piece and pinned it to the shade in the window.  This was sent to hubby, who hated it.  

Next plan.  I really wanted just very tailored valences to highlight the pattern, the whole reason we splurged on the fabric.  Hubby wanted something a little fancier.  He showed me a picture, so I set out to recreate it.  Here's my mock up:

It bothered me.  I hate the way the fabric goes in on the sides on the bottom.  Everyone thought I could just change the width of the fabric.  I did some research online, though, and they all looked like the above.  Nope.  Not happy.  So, Winston and I sat down to do some more thinking.

Trav suggested that I do rolled valences like we had in our old house.  To make those, I had lined toile with a faux suede fabric and rolled them up, tying them up on either side with ribbon.  This seemed like a really good compromise.  We headed out to Joann's and bought some fabric.  Hubby came up with the great idea to only use the sueded fabric on the roll and use the lining fabric I had already purchased on the area that wouldn't be rolled up.  This was good because the fabric wasn't cheap AND because you'd still see white/off-white from the street.  I mocked this up when we got home, and neither one of us liked it (yay seam ripper...).  We were starting to feel like Goldilocks.  However, we did finally agree to do a very tailored valence with a 4 inch strip of suede across the bottom as an accent.  And so begins the tutorial.  

In this case, I used the measurement of the width of the window plus hems and the length of the valence plus allowances for the bottom hem and top pocket.  So, I would normally press the bottom up an inch and then another 3 inches, but the suede was so heavy I didn't need to and literally wouldn't have been able to.  My machine grumbled loudly at its density.  I ended up turning it up once, about 1.25 inches.

With the bottom hem ready, it was time to do the first seam there.

Next, I pressed the side seams.  There was a bit of an issue on the width of this particular shade, so my side seams are really little.  However, I'd recommend turning it in 1/4 to 1/2 inch and then another inch in the second turn.  

In order to make sure it was perfectly straight and even, I measured from the center of the valence out to the sides.  

Once the side seams were pressed and pinned, I folded over the top.  These particular shades are going on tension rods that are terrible.  We plan to get new tension rods, so I made that pocket fairly large.  That got pinned, and the whole panel got put to the side.  Next, I hemmed and trimmed the lining.  I turned it up about an inch and then about 3 before sewing the hem.  

That liner then got pinned into the back of the panel.  

I then sewed up the side seams and across the top to form the pocket.  When I got to the transition from the side to the top panel, I just left the needle in the fabric, picked up the foot, moved the fabric, and put the foot back down.  

And with that, they were ready to hang!  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A new welcome!

The plan has always been to de-popcorn our ceilings, room-by-room.  The plan has also been, recently, to change over our paint colors.  Our current paint colors are based on the simple fact that the molding in the house was that color when we moved in.  It was easier at that point in time.  However, we've really been gravitating toward the grays lately.  If you remember, the back room of our first house was painted this lovely grey-taupe color (I picked it out to go with the window coverings I made for there), which we discovered was pretty much "Creamy Mushroom" when we re-painted the interior of that house in preparation for sale.  That same Creamy Mushroom was used in a rent house and then in my brother and sister-in-law's house and then in my mother-in-law's house.  We love this color.  It looks great (and different) everywhere.  So, if he was going to be re-doing the ceilings, which means repainting the trim... it's a perfect time to transform our walls and slap some Creamy Mushroom up there!

Last weekend, he started scraping the ceilings in the front entryway and front hallway.  It went really quickly, and he did a really good job keeping the mess contained.  All you do is wet the popcorn and scrape!  He started out holding a pan under the area he was scraping, but that was taking a long time. He gave up, covered the floor with disposable tarps, and went to it!

Then, he had to patch a couple of spots (mostly where he had accidentally gouged the ceiling with the scraping knife) and sand.  Famous last words: I really don't think this will make much of a mess.  Ahem.  He put up a plastic sheet in the doorway to the great room, but that was it.  

There was dust.  EVERYWHERE.  Correction: after about 50 floor washes, there is STILL DUST EVERYWHERE.  =)

Ahem.  But, see, he did a really nice job - covered the floor and taped up everything so he could protect it as much as possible.

I was working on another project in the next room.  And then I heard "I hate this".  He was covered.  He started out with safety glasses, but those are basically useless, since the dust came down and quickly obscured his vision.  

Once that was done, he gave the ceiling a couple of coats of white paint and started on the entryway walls...

Wow.  Doesn't that door look ugly now?!?  This morning, I was enjoying the new, incredibly bright view from the couch, daydreaming about the color moving into the great room.

Meanwhile, Winston was helping hubby finish up painting the trim work.

After 3 electrocutions replacing enough of the sockets to allow us to move back furniture (it was too dark, and changing them all by the light of my cellphone was not in the cards... that's why the light switch looks black in the picture below), we were ready to bring everything back into the room tonight.  OHH!!!  One more surprise.  I have been asking to paint the inside of our front door the same color as it is on the outside.  That happened today.  We LOVE it.  And without further adieu... 

The door in the picture will be white, but it's oil, so it will have to wait a bit longer...

And, if you look beyond the new, you will see the before in the hallway, which is next on the list to change (as you can see by the drop cloth on the floor).

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Winston forever

An edit for my poor Mom, who thought something had happened to Winston. He's fine and celebrated his 9th birthday yesterday :)

Well, I got hit for the second time this month with an illness.  But this time, I'm not complaining too much.  Because this time, I was fortunate enough to be home when hubby's surprise arrived in the mail.  You see, one day, he told me he would like to find an artist to do a portrait of Winston.  Well, I knew exactly who was our man - Kevin LePrince.  The guy is amazing, and one of these days, I will have some of his birds in our house.  They make me smile to no end.  However, in the meantime, I knew he'd also do a great job of Winston.  I was really worried about the price.  I emailed him, and he was incredibly fast getting back to me.  It was a doable price, and so the plan was launched.

My original plan was to covertly send him pictures, hand cash to my boss (who drives to Charleston to see his wife on a regular basis), and get him to pick up the painting from Kevin.  Oh yeah, Kevin lives in Charleston.  We first saw his work at a Spoleto festival in Charleston.  Ok, but here's the problem: this was an Investment.  I wanted Trav to have some input.  So, I told him I may be getting Winston's portrait done but wouldn't say by who.  He helped me pick a couple of pictures, and off they went.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and nothing from Kevin.  Turns out, he had missed the email with Winston's pictures!  So, after choosing the picture he liked the best and getting the go-ahead from me, he promised it in a week's time.  Last weekend, I was baking in our kitchen, feeling like I could be in heaven with the light pouring in, the breeze coming through the screen door, and an email popped up on my phone.  It was simply an attachment of the finished product.  My heart was so darned happy.  Then it dropped like a rock when I thought I didn't tell him to avoid posting it to Facebook.  Whoops.  There it was.  Guess who is a fan of his page?  Yup.  So I had to call him and tell him.  He was so happy, he apparently missed his turn.  Then, we played the waiting game.

Well, fast forward to today.  He ran out to meet the mailman when he saw there was a box.  He came into the kitchen (where I've been working today) and opened the box immediately.  For those of you who know Trav, you will be amazed when I tell you he even took the styrofoam out of the box himself.  He was that excited.  Well, that painting came out of the box and he literally jumped/danced around the kitchen, smiling like he did on our wedding day.  I'm not sure I will ever be able to outdo myself here.  After some thinking, we decided we definitely wanted it in the kitchen, where we could enjoy it a lot.  So, without further ado...

And since it is so beautifully sunny out there that the painting is a bit dark with the backlighting...

This does not really do it justice, though.  It's even better in person.  Oh, and the picture that Kevin liked and painted from?  Well, hubby brought me his iPad.  This was his background.

Apparently, we picked a picture Trav is especially fond of!  So, there you have it - how I am celebrating 14 years of calling hubby my "significant other." Winston, forever.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Stepping up to the challenge

So Sherry's original staircase was slightly curved and had this weird little section to one side that was floor that collects dust.  We decided to make the stairs go all the way to the wall. After thinking about it, she and hubby decided that it might be too challenging and that she could live with the weird little floor space. Pshaw, I say. 

So we started by drawing stairs on the wall. 

And then hubby realized his version wouldn't work. So I used a long board, to line up where the faces of the stairs should go, and hubby made marks. From there, we were able to get the angle of the stairs. 

So from the wall, he transferred the measurements to the board and we got to cutting. 

From there, we had to make a few more minor cuts to make it work, and we declared it "good enough" and he screwed (and then when he realized his last bit was stripped, nailed) the new stringer to the wall. 

There was also a fault in the original stringer, so we had to cut plywood to reinforce that side too. 

And by we, I mean I held the boards. Et voila!!!

The original staircase and our added stringer... They line up and are all ready for stairs!!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Our bedroom furniture is growing up!

For some reason, having "real" quality furniture in our bedroom is making us feel like "real grownups" these days.  We headed out to High Point to Theodore Alexander a few weeks ago while we were fabric shopping.  Hubby has been looking for a side table for his side of the bed.  It had to be pretty small, and everything we've been seeing has been pricey but poor quality.  Then there was this:

We actually saw this quite some time ago, but at the time, it was too pricey for us to seriously consider.  This particular weekend, however, it was marked down an additional 50%.  Again, it just perfectly fit in my trunk - SOLD!  We are really getting into mixing in mid-century modern pieces with super-traditional stuff.  We loved the wood grain on it, and it's hiding a full charging station!  We think it looks great next to the bed.

Oh, wait, are those new lamps?  Why, yes they are!  Mom found some Drexel Heritage lamps at TJMaxx, and hubby just happened to be there because it was next to where he had to buy the chalk paint for the dining room chairs.  Those beauties are clear glass, although the picture does weird things to them.  We also finally gave away our black bedside table, because we had to do some major room rearranging.  The tall chest of drawers to the left of the bed no longer looked right.  The armoire looked better in the office.  So, a table from the office found its way in to serve as a place holder until we can get another bedside table.

So, hubby called up Theodore and was told they were getting in another shipment the following weekend.  Of course, they did not have another bedside table for us to snatch up...  but what they did have was a real grown-up dresser.  Folks, the dirty secret in this house was that my clothes were half in the office.  The tall chest of drawers held some little things.  So, any time I had to get dressed, I was running all over the house collecting things.  Extra exercise, sure... convenient if anyone ever showed up to go somewhere before I was ready?  Not so much.  Well, there she was.  She was pricey, but considerably less pricey than if we bought her retail.  And she was beautiful and such a presence.  We took measurements, called back, and asked them to hold her.  I got worried when the two big huge guys kept her on the dolly as absolutely long as possible.  Oh, and there was a mirror to go with her that was also an incredible deal.  

Sure enough, we got home, unloaded the mirror, and hubby lifted an edge of her.  He promptly grunted and informed me "we're going to need your Dad and Adam".  Awesome.  Well, the boys swooped in to save the day.  The Harrelsons showed up (a nine-months-pregnant Ang was in charge of Winston), mom and dad showed up, and Trav showed back up with moving pads and a dolly.  I cleared the way, and we got moving.  Thanks to the braun, she arrived safe and sound in our bedroom.  

The inlay echoes the inlay of the mahogany on our headboard.  There is SO. MUCH. ROOM. in this dresser.  It's quite tall and very long with a slight curve.  We discovered an important fact: we cannot completely close off the hallway to the master bedroom.  She doesn't fit through the side door.  We had to take her all the way down the long hallway to get her in.  The next adventure was hanging the mirror.  It's heavy.  Over 50lbs.  So, hubby set out to get hangers, and we put a bunch in the wall.  We just didn't feel right about it, and when we got in bed, we heard a dingggggg of one of the metal hangers, got worried, and took it down.  After consulting dad about the hangers he had used for heavy mirrors and removing the speaker box from the wall and patching it, hubby re-hung the mirror.  It's there to stay, now!

Added bonus?  That big, huge lamp doesn't look out of place any more!  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

More consignment finds

So, we've been searching out 2 more chairs for our dining room for a while.  We wanted something a little different than the 6 chairs we already have, so we've been looking at "captain's chairs" or "arm chairs".  The problem?  Those puppies are pricey.  Holy.  Smokes.  Also, we haven't been able to find ones with fabric that just make us want to drop that much cash in one place.  Hubby was working on his mom's new house one weekend and stopped into the consignment shop in Clemmons.  I got texted a picture of these guys:

To be honest, they look WAY better in the picture than in real life.  But, they had great "bones" and had been marked down, so Mom and I headed his way (Mom provided the transport of these guys - they're pretty big).  The plan?  Chalk paint them and then recover them.  First up, we picked a bunch of fabrics to test.  

I loved the zebra, but the tweed went perfectly with the room and was really custom-looking.  One day while at work, I got a picture from hubby of the chair sans fabric.  And then painted white (picture not shown... I couldn't find it).  After a coat of clear wax, I waxed it with the dark wax to highlight all of the wonderful detail on the chair.  

Here's a closeup so you can see what attracted us to these chairs...

I set out to find an upholstery guy.  One guy who was recommended by the fabric store recommended a friend.  His friend was incredibly reasonable, so I figured why not?  Well, I will tell you why not.  He smokes.  A lot.  He was very nice, and the chairs turned out well, but they are going to have to wait for a final picture because they are currently airing out on our back porch.  Holy smokey, batman, I was overwhelmed by the smoke through my incredibly congested nasal passages.  Lesson learned.  I will now inquire about smoking habits before ever getting anything recovered again!

The great cover-up

I am so behind.  Thanks to a cold rendering me less active than normal, I'm hoping to catch up!  First up, we found a super-cute slipper chair while perusing a local consignment shop a couple of weeks ago.  It was a floor sample, new, and really inexpensive!  Yippee!  It just barely fit in the back of my car, so clearly it was meant to be.  However, similar to "If you give a mouse a cookie...", if you buy a new chair for the kitchen, you're going to need new shades.  And if you buy a new chair for the kitchen, that little ottoman is going to need some TLC.  See?  It just doesn't go any more.

So, we headed out on a fabric shopping adventure one weekend with my parents.  You know my dad LOVES fabric shopping.  Hah.  Anyway, we found the perfect fabric for the shades in the kitchen - more on those later once I actually order the fabric (I found it online for $12 less/yard than the store but haven't ordered it yet).  We also found a great bright lime-y green upholstery fabric to kick up the ottoman (which I bought years ago when first furnishing my house for... drumroll please... $15 at an employee sale).  Mom suggested I have our seamstress make a slip cover.  But, I like sewing and these puppies can be whipped up in no time flat (and me making the slip cover = mucho cheaper than paying someone).  So, after searching out some navy piping (thanks to the mother-in-law for finally finding it for me - Hobby Lobby had every color except navy!), I got to it.  

It was pretty simple.  I cut the top piece out using the ottoman flipped over as my pattern.  Then, I pinned it to the top of the ottoman and (over) pinned the cording around the edges.  That got sewn on...

I measured the circumference of the ottoman and the length and cut a second piece out, giving myself plenty of room for a sturdy hem and room to play in the attaching part.  I carefully measured out the fabric, pressing and pinning as I went, so I had a nice straight hemline.

Once hemmed, I put it around the ottoman, pinned it in place again, and pinned where I needed to sew it up.  Once I had that done, it went back on the ottoman, and it and the top got-repinned to the ottoman.  Basically, the ottoman got to act like my dress form.  

After lots more excessive pinning to make sure it all got sewn together, hubby asked how it was going.  He got a mumbled response that "we will see".  I was a little nervous about that final step.  However, I turned it right side out et voila!

Once we switched the position of the chairs, we decided the bucket chair will remain a keeper for now (we were worried it needed to be smaller).  Then, last weekend, we walked into another furniture sample sale (oh, how I love living close to High Point), and there was a pillow.  Not just any pillow, but the pillow made out of the fabric I want to use for our new valances.  Love at second site.  I think it also really pulls the two chairs together, too.

Order just placed for the valence fabric... stay tuned =)