Project Dining Room: The Chairs

Welcome back to Project Dining Room!! When we last left off I had just finished painting a thrifted pedestal table for our dining room. It’s turquoise blue. My favorite color.

But with the gorgeous pop of color in the middle of our dining room the dirty trashed hideous sad chairs needed an update.

After the Great House Flood of 2011 we picked up a sweet midcentury dining set for $150 on Craigslist. It was love at first sight with these chairs (not so much with the table).

The only problem? They were covered in god-awful burgundy polyester. And polyester? Not kid-friendly. They were stained up the second we brought them into the house.

Then while up on vacation in Oscoda earlier in the summer I found these lovely little armchairs at our thrift shop.$35 total. They’re sturdier and comfy and provide a nice contrast to the straight-lined midcentury chairs. But they were covered in hideous gold fabric. In desperate need of a makeover!!

So one day, while casually chatting, we picked some upholstery fabric via committee on Facebook. We being me, Mom and Tracey. Making decisions via Facebook happens to work great for us.

From many many many exhaustive hours of watching HGTV research, I knew that indoor/outdoor upholstery fabric was what we needed. Particularly one that said “NO Drycleaning”. Cause at this point in our lives we don’t buy anything that requires dry cleaning.

All told it took about 20 minutes to pick out and order 4 yds of fabric from Grand total? $36.

Once the fabric came we had an excuse to finally use the staple gun that’s been collecting dust in Mom’s garage for a while now. And on a Sunday afternoon visit, I put the whole family to work.

First things first, Michael was in charge of taking off the seat covers.

While he did that Mom washed down the chairs.

And Tre and I removed the one million staples holding several layers of yucky old fabric on. (*Side note: Try to pick up all the old rusty staples off the floor before you step on them or your baby puts one in her mouth. Cause tetanus is gross.)

Next, we used one of the discarded pieces of fabric as a pattern to cut out all the new chair covers. We had 4 yards of fabric for 6 chairs and still had plenty leftover in case there are any major stains or whatnot.

Then we put the fabric down, put the seat on top of it and stapled. It would be silly for me to try and describe our technique for this cause we really didn’t have one. We definitely stapled the sides down first, cause they’re straight and easy.

The corners and curves were a serious pain in the ass, and required pulling the fabric tight across the seat and making all these little folds to get it flat. And about another million staples holds all the little folds together.

Then you pop the seats back on. And curse yourself (and maybe your husband a little bit) when two of the 24 screws turn up missing.

And voila. Freshly upholstered dining room chairs.

Turns out, that reupholstering chairs? Isn’t so bad. 6 totally fresh and updated chairs for a grand total of $66 and some sweat equity. Not bad at all…

Next up on Project Dining Room? Styling. Cause without style, it’s just a table and chairs. Styling gives the room it’s own unique personality. Can’t wait to show you what we did there. Pinterest (and Tracey) to the rescue yet again.

Also, I just wanted to give a special shout-out to one of my biggest fans, Mrs. Gartin. Thanks for reading every single post and for being my very first and most dedicated subscriber. Sorry this took so long, as I know you were super curious as to how it all turned out. Hope it lived up to all that anticipation :)




(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: The Olympics

This year’s Summer Olympic Games have been truly an event in our household. There’s something so incredibly riveting about the games, and honestly if we’re at home the TV is on NBC (though this is honestly the first time in years that I’ve wished we had cable so we could watch more events live).

The drama of the competition. The inspiration of all the individual stories. The perseverance and tenacity of all of these athletes at the peak of their form trying to bring honor and glory to their country. What’s not to love?

To me the Olympic are such a brilliant way to learn about different countries and cultures. And this year’s Opening Ceremonies were a perfect example.
How incredibly English were they? Very.

In honor of the games we had some delicious diner food from a favorite local spot, appropriately named Olympic Broil.

Cedella stayed up for the entire program, even every second of the Parade of Nations. The P of N is my absolute favorite part of the Opening Ceremony. I love seeing all the different team uniforms and costumes. How incredible for some of these tiny nations to send a delegation to compete with the giants of the world?

I really wanted her to see the delegation from Lebanon since we were discussing that her Jiddo and Teta were going there. Sadly her patience was wearing thin and the Lebanese athletes were only on the screen for 5.2 seconds. Boo. Oh well, maybe she’ll appreciate it in another 4 years.

As a learning tool I think the Olympics ultimately serve as a way to understand competition, sportsmanship, teamwork and cooperation. While watching events like Gymnastics or Diving or Synchronized Swimming I talk with Ella about how hard these athletes work, what a team is, how beautiful and special each event is.

So far she loves Gymnasts and Diving. She keeps trying to do somersaults off of the furniture, hopefully that stops when the games are over. And when she sees the dives she smiles and says “Yay!” or “Good job!” every time someone splashes into the water. It’s adorable.

And someone is a big fan of the “fast man” Usain Bolt. Here’s my girl Bolting.

The other day we decided to make an Olympic Rings painting a la Toddler Approved’s 6 Simple Activities for Celebrating the Olympic Opening Ceremonies.

The invitation was simple. Paints in 5 Olympic colors (with brown because we didn’t have black) on a paper plate. Popsicle sticks. Toilet paper rolls. Paper.

She really enjoyed using the rolls at first.

But this child is tactile by nature.

She was born to finger paint.

Or whole body paint as the case may be.

The painting turned out great and will hang until the Games are over, like our very own Olympic flag.

My little Olympic Torch.

We are going to work on a few more projects this weekend and I may even get a bit more ambitious and plan a mini-Games for our friends coming to visit us Friday night, with medals and everything! What in the world did we do to be creative before Pinterest?

Why do the Olympics matter to your family? How did you celebrate the Olympics with your kids? Have any toddler activities to share?

Thanks for reading and have a happy W Wednesday!!



Project Dining Room: The Table

Blame it on Pinterest or HGTV or my dear sister Tracey but I’ve got a DIY bug…

A few weeks ago I was stalking staring obsessing browsing through Pinterest when I came across this beautiful gem…

I seriously adore this entire look. How warm and intimate the round table is. The cool glass pendant. The giant ‘e’ on the wall. I even love the bent wood chairs which manage to go from country to hip in this setting. But the real star of the show is that kelly green pedestal table. I’ve been drooling over it for weeks.

During one of our endless conversations about home design I mentioned I wanted a pedestal table that I could paint a glossy turquoise blue. Like the photograph I’ve been drooling on, only with my signature color.

So on a recent thrifting trip with my sister she hollered at me from the back of the store. She found a beat-up but solid oak pedestal table for $23.32. That’s right. Under $25. We thought about whether or not we should get it for about five seconds. Then we had to figure out if we could get it in the car.

I wish someone had a camera on us as we loaded up the leaves and the base into a cart and I rolled the table top through the entire store and out to my car. It must have been a sight to see.

Only here’s the thing. I’ve never painted anything but a couple of walls in my bedroom when I lived in Chicago. But when it comes to painting an actual piece of furniture, well, I’ve never been to that rodeo.

My sister, the DIY and thrifty home decor diva that she is, said it wouldn’t be too hard. Gave me a list of things to pick up at the hardware store and said she’d come and help me with the project.

And so Project Dining Room was born.

Cause if I’m going to paint the table, I’ve got to cover the chairs. And if I’m gonna cover the chairs I’m going to need new accessories and a new furniture arrangement. Right?

Well maybe we’ve bit off more than we can chew. But I hope not cause the table is nearly done and it was one hell of a project.

We started off sanding as little as humanly possible. Cause I hate sanding.

Then we raised it up onto empty storage bins so that it was easy to get into all the intricate details on the base of the table.

Thanks to several really helpful Pinterest posts we were convinced that using Zinsser primer we didn’t need to sand.

So true. That primer is brilliant. Went on super smooth and covered everything so nicely in just two simple coats using a brush on the base and a roller on the top.

Then we took a well-earned beer break. Cause that’s how we roll…

Once the primer was dry (not too long on such a hot summer day) we noticed we had a slight problem.

The brushes we so diligently wrapped in foil and put in the freezer until we were ready for the next step? Totally goopy and destroyed by the oil-based primer. We didn’t think to wash them before we froze them. And they were too far gone at that point for paint thinner to even work on them.

Two brushes. $20 a piece. Gone.

So we ran to the hardware store and got some el-cheapos that would go on to leave horrendous brush marks and shed bristles like crazy. At that point though we just wanted to get the paint on and figured it wouldn’t matter if we used the roller on the top.

We went ahead and started painting. By that point we had a little helper in our midst.

And another little helper parked outside the garage just cooing and waiting with her furry sister.

Even with shedding bristles the base of the table was covered nicely and had a beautiful glossy finish.

But the top? Problematic to say the least. There were a few cracks along the table that were pretty hard to disguise, marring the ‘perfect’ look we were going for (Shabby Chic is just not really my thing).

Also, the roller the seemingly well-meaning older gentleman at Home Depot recommended? Complete shit. It had a bit of a nap to it and left the surface of the table full of little threads and not at all smooth and glossy.

We tried our best to sand it out between the first and second coat but that roller was just wrong.

In the end I went back to HD, returned the roller, and got foam ones for a high gloss finish. Despite having said what I was trying to achieve to the ‘nice’ old man he still gave me that crap-ass roller. Oh well. Live and learn.

This paint color is Martha Stewart Living in Hummingbird Blue. It’s the absolute perfect Tiffany’s box robin’s egg blue. I want to paint everything in my house this color now. (Tracey – PLEASE don’t let me do that.)

In the end I listened to my Mom (cause she knows everything) and scuffed up the surface with steel wool, removed the dust with tack cloth and gave it one more thin coat of paint with the foam roller.

So at the end of the day the table came out to roughly $100. That includes the extra set of brushes/rollers I had to buy. Without them it would have clocked in around $75. Not bad, huh?

The sad thing is this poor beauty is still sitting in garage awaiting a couple coats of varnish. Between traveling, visiting relatives and 90+ degree heat there hasn’t been a good day to finish it up. But I’m making myself get out there and finish it Monday, regardless of the heat. Cause it’s just too pretty to not be used, don’t you think? As soon as it’s finished I’ll post another picture.

Next up? I tackle the reupholster the dining room chairs. Another first. I think I can, I think I can…

A HUGE thank you to my sister and BFF Tracey. Thanks for inspiring me and sharing my love of taking on these crazy projects!