Monday, January 31, 2011

New Old Chinoiserie Dining Chairs

Happy Monday morning! I hope you all had a great weekend!

I just wanted to share my latest craigslist acquisition.

Our existing kitchen table and chairs were driving us nuts (the set was a bit too small and the chair backs had a wrought iron detail that would constantly get stuck on my husband's belt when he sat down!) so on Saturday morning I drove out to Annapolis to pick up a pedestal table and a set of 5 of these babies...

I know they look a little rough right now, but I think they'll be gorgeous after some TLC. My head is swimming with paint(perhaps inky blue or dark teal/peacock?) and fabric ideas!

Have I mentioned how much I love CL? I sold our old set for $25 more than I purchased it for 2 years ago and purchased the new set for $25 more than that, so i'm only out $25 for the change!

I could use your help- I know I've seen tons of great chinoiserie chair makeovers out there, but I can't seem to put my finger on the images online. If you know of any great chinoiserie chair makeovers/ images out there- please share!


Friday, January 28, 2011

DIY Drapes and Valance from Sheets

This image from Decorpad was one of my inspiration pics for the nursery drapes (I have no idea why blogger is cutting off the right side of the photo, but if you click on it to enlarge you can see the full image):

I pulled down the valance to show you a photo of the top of the drapes:

If you were using a decorative rod, the drapes would look just fine by themselves, but adding the tailored valance allowed me to hide the cheap rod and the top of the roller blind!

How to make drapes from a king sized flat sheet:
  • Cut the sheet vertically down the center (so that the top edge with the wide decorative hem is at the top)
  • Finish the raw edge you just created on each panel by turning it under twice and either sewing it in place or using hem tape (you can face that edge toward the wall if you're worried about any imperfections)
  • At this point you could just shirr the panels onto a rod (you may have to open the side seam of the decorative top hem part to do this) or hang them from clip rings, but I opted to make slits on the back side of the wide top hem allowing them to hang like back tab drapes which forces the drapes into nice folds. Clip rings have the same effect, but why pay for clip rings when you can do this for free?
  • For each "back tab" just cut two vertical slits into the back side of the top wide hem (be careful not to cut through the front layer of fabric) about an inch long and an inch apart (make sure not to cut too close to the top edge- leave about half an inch from the top edge) with 5 inches in between the "tabs".
Here's a photo of my "back tabs"- make sense? The tabs will have raw edges, but no one will ever see that part. If you want to be able to wash them, run a little fray check along the edges of the tabs.

  • Hang your panels on your rod, mark the length for hemming and either sew the hem or use hem tape. I read on a professional drapery site that you should always mark your hem line all the way across, because the hem will pull up at the edges and I have found this to be true. I don't quite understand the physics behind it, but you have to leave a little extra length at the bottom corners if you want your drapes to uniformly brush the floor.
  • Lastly, add some trim! I just used inexpensive grosgrain ribbon and fabric glue.
Now on to the valance! Here's a closeup (and could you please pretend not to notice my ugly ceilings?!):

It's basically just one long rectangle of fabric, pleated in the corners and attached with duct tape to...

the very cardboard box the sheets were mailed in!!

And attached to the wall with...thumbtacks!

Now you know all my dirty little secrets.

Here are the specifics:

My window is 41" wide. I hung my curtain rod 56" wide to give me room for the panels to gather on either side (I actually hung my rod a bit off center to camouflage my off-center window.)

The first step in constructing the valance is to make a form out of cardboard or foam core for the fabric to hang from (I actually got this idea from Jenny's foam core pelmet tutorial!). You really only need a top and a back- the back edge will slide behind your curtain rod. I opened up the box completely until I had one large flat piece of cardboard and used duct tape to tape the flaps together so that I had one large solid piece of cardboard to work with.

You want to end up with a piece of carboard slightly longer than your curtain rod (mine was 56 1/2"), with a horizontal fold across the middle. The portion above the fold will be the top/overhang and the portion below the fold attaches to the wall.

My overhang was 6" and my back side was 4 1/2" so my cardboard started out as 56 1/2" long x 10 1/2". I cut away about an inch and a half of the bottom part on either side to allow it to slide behind the curtain rod.

You can kind of see in this photo how the back side of the cardboard is notched out on the side to allow it to slide behind the curtain rod...

Now for the fabric. I actually used one of the king sized pillowcases for this part. I just cut open the top and bottom seams of the pillowcase, leaving me with one long rectangle of fabric measuring 21 1/2" x 80" long. This seemed to be the perfect length for my window, but you could just as easily cut up the fitted sheet instead if you needed more length. I hemmed the long bottom edge only (the side edges were already hemmed for me- they were originally the open end of the pillowcase) and added the trim to the same edge. My finished valance has a 12 inch drop.

To attach the fabric to the cardboard:
  • Find the center of the long edge, measure 12 inches up from the finished bottom edge, and temporarily attach it to the front center of the cardboard with a pin.
  • Keeping the fabric straight, pull it smooth to the front corners and pin.
  • Line up the ends of the fabric with the back edge of the cardboard and pin.
  • Pull the excess fabric into a pleat at each corner and temporarily pin.
  • Now just smooth the extra fabric over the top of the cardboard form and wrap the corners like you're making hospital corners on a bed and use duct tape to attach the fabric in the back.
  • Remove the pins.

Now just slide it in place and use a few tacks to attach it to the wall. I think this looks best hung all the way up at ceiling heights. It weighs next to nothing, so the tacks really are adequate, but I suppose if you were using heavier fabric you could use a couple of "L" brackets from the hardware store.

That's it!

It's a little tricky to write a tutorial after the fact, so if you're confused about any part of this, please contact me or leave a question in the comments and I'll be happy to help!

Here are a few more fun sheet options I found...

Overstock $39.99

Smart Bargains $29.98

Smart Bargains $34.98

These last two are available in blue, brown or linen (beige)

I particularly like the first two options for the same reason that I like my Carleton Varney sheets- a) I love graphic prints and b)the larger scale makes them appear less obviously like sheets in the final product!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Little Green Notebook!

I'm so thrilled to announce that my nursery drapes are featured on Little Green Notebook today! If you read my blog, you know that Jenny has inspired me endlessly, so to say that I am flattered to be mentioned on LGN is beyond an understatement! You can check out the post here.

If you are visiting here for the first time from LGN- welcome! I hope you enjoy your visit! More info on the nursery can be found if you scroll through my last few posts, and please check out some of my other recent projects on my sidebar!

Please check back tomorrow and I'll have a full tutorial on the drapes for you!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More Nursery Progress...

I finished backing the bookcases (white foam core trimmed out in red grosgrain) and arranging them (sort of- I can't seem to stop rearranging them!) and I refinished the chandelier and got it in place (thanks honey!!) ...

The chandelier started out looking like this:

The colors weren't really working and I wasn't in love with all the little crystal doo-dads, so I removed them and started by covering the pink flowers and spray-painting it creamy white. I decided it looked too shabby chic- not at all what I was going for. I've been in love with Britt's nursery chandy for a while so I decided to shamelessly copy her paint job (imitation is the highest form of flattery, right?!) and paint the leaves and stems green and the flowers and candles white.

I didn't want to get into hard wiring the light fixture, so I swagged it (I bought a $9 swag conversion kit from Lowe's) hid most of the cord behind the drapes and made a cord cover for the visible portion of the cord and chain....

I hung my paris scenes water color series above the crib and I think it's a perfect fit! The sweet knitted mobile is from a company called blabla. Mobiles like these retail for around $75, but I found mine on ebay for $5 right before my second daughter was born.

Here's the changing table- I found it on CL after my second daughter was born for $15. I planned to sew a cover for the cushion out of the remaining Carleton Varney sheeting, but I discovered that the king size pillowcases included in the set are the perfect size for a standard size contoured changing table cushion!

Do you love the needlepoint pagoda picture as much as I do?! My mom made it in the late 70's/early 80's.

Here's a close-up:

I love the gold bamboo frame too. The portrait of baby F's big sisters above the rocker is framed in a very similar gold bamboo frame I found at a flea market.

What do pagodas, paris scenes, bamboo trellis print and a vintage-y cabbage rose print have to do with each other? Other than color scheme, I have absolutely no idea, but I love them together and since I'm the one who will be spending the wee small hours of the morning in that rocker, I figure that's good enough!

I still have a few sewing projects coming up in this room like new basket liners and hopefully a moroccan pouf to put my feet up on...

BTW- I'm having the hardest time getting decent pics in here, which is weird because it gets great light. I'm using a canon SX20IS. Any tips?

P.S.- I'm in love with the new drapes! I forgot to mention when I posted about them before how ridiculously easy and inexpensive they were to make. I basically made back-tab panels by cutting a king sheet in half hemming the raw side edge and then just making little snips on the back side of the cased edge of the sheet. Then the panels were hung from a super cheap-o $2.99 rod which was covered by the tailored valance- which is just attached to some cardboard. If anyone is interested in an actual tutorial let me know!

Tutorial posted here!

PPS- If I can ever decide on this baby's middle name I plan to stencil her monogram onto the shade. If you're curious about her first name, it's spelled out in blocks on the left bookcase- if you enlarge the image you can see it!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Knock-Off Decor!

Unless you live under a rock, you've probably heard of Beckie's original blog Infarrantly Creative, but did you know that Beckie launched a new site called Knock Off Decor? It is a site focused solely on knock-off catalog projects! If you love a good knock-off as much as I do, you should definitely check it out!

So, I recently got some fun news.

Remember when I made these for my sewing area:

as a knock-off of these from PB?

Beckie is featuring them today at Knock-Off Decor! Please hop over and check out her fun new site!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nursery Progress...

Weekend Bloggy Reading

I finished the drapes the other night...

and picked up the white bookcases (ikea hensvik) for $25 each on CL.

I picked up the storage bench/trunk (ikea alve) on a few months ago but it was unpainted so I just gave it a couple of coats of paint and recovered the cushion.

The swivel rocker was another CL find a few months ago (it replaced my old creaky glider). It's covered in a pretty diamond matelasse fabric.

And thank you all so much for weighing in on my crib skirt dilemma! Thanks to this stylish lady's comment I decided that another graphic pattern in here would be a bit much. I found a PBK diamond matelasse crib skirt on CL and picked it up the other day and I think it's working.

I still have a bunch of little projects in this room like:
  • Paint and hang chandelier and make cord cover
  • Back the bookcases and arrange them
  • Hang the artwork
  • Use some of my extra fabric (thanks Alicia!) to sew new liners for the changing table baskets
  • and stitch up one of these diy moroccan poufs


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bibbidi Baby Girl Nursery Plans...

My nursery has been sitting empty for nearly the last year and a half since my "baby" transferred herself to a big girl bed at 18 months. I haven't changed a thing since it was her nursery and here's how it looks today:

I still love the bedding for the most part so I'm planning on keeping that but changing the blue gingham dust ruffle and curtains which are looking a little sad to me.

I also have a laundry list of other little projects to freshen up this room, like paint all the trim, wall art, accessories, I think I'm stuck with the berber carpet but I think I'll add a rug to disguise it a bit... and the list goes on...

And I recently purchased a pretty floral tole chandelier on CL. It'll be getting a new paint job and will be hung in the room.

Here's a closeup of the bedding. It's Amy Coe "Three Acre Farm" from Target about one meeellion years ago...

Bumper closeup:

Yesterday this arrived in the mail:

It's a king sheet set from Carleton Varney's collection on HSN. It was on major clearance. I'm planning on turning it into new drapes.

I tucked it into the existing curtain rod so I could see if I liked it and I think I do...

Now I can't decide what to do with the dust ruffle. I could use more of the C.Varney trellis fabric, or maybe one of these:

Waverly Chippendale Fretwork in Mist (look familiar?!)

Premier Prints zig zag

Waverly Lovely Lattice in Lagoon

Which would you choose? More C.V. Trellis? Chippendale Fretwork? Lovely Lattice? ZigZag? Or something different altogether? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bibbidi Baby Boy Nursery?

I was so sure I was going to have a boy this time... that should have been my first clue. You see, during my first two pregnancies I was also certain I was going to have a boy. But I had two beautiful little princesses.

I'm thrilled to announce that despite my sneaky post title, I'm actually having a third little princess!

But, having months to consider the thought of a baby boy, I couldn't resist planning out how a baby boy's nursery in my home might look. Maybe someone else out there can benefit from my schemin' and dreamin'...

I started by delving into one of my favorite pastimes. Am I the only weirdo who can wile away the hours searching through fabrics online?

I came across this fabric while searching through vintage feedsack fabrics on ebay and thought it would make a great jumping off point for a colorful, vintage-y, chinoiserie/well-traveled nursery. It was inexpensive and it was the only one on ebay, so I went ahead and purchased it.

If you'd like to view other vintage feedsack fabrics on ebay, click on this search.

I thought these two fabrics by Premier Prints would pair nicely with it:

Premier Prints Zig Zag in Corn Yellow available here for 6.95/yd

Premier Prints Togo in Arizon/Denton available here for 9.98/yd

I would use the feedsack fabric for the outside of the bumper (I think there's just enough), Togo for the crib sheet (if it felt soft enough) and the Zig Zag for the crib skirt, trimmed out in orange-y red.

Then while perusing the sale table at a local upscale fabric shop (Alexander Blank in Timonium- if you're local go check it out! Their sale table is great!) I found a 6 yard remnant of this P. Kaufmann Suzani print in chai marked down to $30 and then an additional 50% off! That comes to $2.50/yd! You know I couldn't resist a bargain like that, so I bought the whole piece.

I thought it would make great drapes with a shade made from the Togo print, trimmed out in more orange-y red.

And remember this watercolor series? It's been moved all over my house and is currently homeless, but I thought it would be perfect in the nursery...

Here's how I envisioned the room looking...

What do you think?

I still love the bedding I currently have for a little girl, so I'm going to reuse it for this baby, but with a few updates for the room. I'll show you my plan for my little girl's nursery soon!


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