If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stool Project

One of the projects I intended to take on this summer was a re-vamping of our master bedroom closet.  Well, so far all that has happened is that I moved all our shoes around and vacuumed under them and set them up in rows with mates together.  Well, you've got to start somewhere...

I thought I'd like to set it up to be more like a dressing room and put a small ottoman in there to sit on for tying shoes or slipping socks on and such as that.  I've been on the lookout for such an ottoman and tripped - literally - over one recently at one of the local junk-tique stores.  It was less than $30, so it came home with me.

Well, first, it didn't even make it out the door with me before it lost a leg.

A leg that I couldn't get screwed back into the base.

So, it spent the night at the consignment store until the next day when the husband of the owner repaired it. 

bargain ottoman

It was covered in a nice embroidered silk fabric.  However, when I got it home, I decided it was just too short and we would never be able to get up if we ever sat on it unless I also added one of those stainless steel pull bars like you see in a handicap bathroom. 

Then, I noticed that it is just the right height and size to sit in front of the wingback chair there in the master bedroom.  So, I plunked it down there and left it for a couple or three weeks to see if that would be its new home. 

The only problem is, the coloring in the nice embroidered silk fabric doesn't really fit in the master bedroom.  So, today I tackled reupholstering it.  First, I decided to remove the silk fabric to save for another project.  This also meant I had to remove the black cotton fabric that was glued to the plywood base.  So, I unscrewed the legs and set to work.
removing the fabric

A screwdriver, a pair of pliers, and lots of pulling were required to take the fabric off.  I discovered a nice cotton sheeting covering the cushion.
The silk now became a pattern for cutting the square which I'd use to recover the cushion.  My next step required fabric, a staple-gun, and some scissors.
beginning to recover

Years ago I had some fabric that I had bought to slip-cover the chair with which this stool would be paired.  (I haven't mustered the courage to make a slip-cover, yet.)  So, I dug that out and set to work.  I had borrowed an electric stapler from my mother and father a couple of weeks ago.  So, I cut my fabric square and got it all lined up, dug out an extension cord, and was ready to stretch and shoot.  The stapler, however, was not cooperative and would not shoot.  I unloaded, re-loaded, turned it off, turned it on, squeezed, pushed banged, and cursed and still it would not shoot.

So, I gave my favorite sister-in-law, JoAnn, a call.  She thought my niece, Julie, had one and rustled it up and sent it over by her grandson, Jayme.  Soon, I was in business and shooting staples left and right.  The stretching and stapling seemed to be going well and then...I ran out of staples.  Thankfully, Mike's son, Stephen, came by at about the time I discovered the lack of staples and said he had some.  So, Toby and I walked to the top of the hill and got a couple of strips of staples.  Soon, we were back in business and finished attaching the fabric to the plywood base.
newly covered ottoman

It was a wonderful project to complete out on the back porch on a cool, breezy fall afternoon. 
in the master bedroom

a closer look

I think it turned out looking fabulous!  Now, if I could only find somebody who wanted to take a practice run at making a slip-cover that I could offer my chair as a practice piece!  I have enough of this damask/leaf/tone-on-tone print left to make a chair cover.  Any takers?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Birthday Wishes - Belated

Well, best laid plans went to the wayside... again.  I started this post a couple of weeks ago and thought I'd have it ready to go for yesterday.  Didn't happen.  The wishes were just as strong and today my thoughts, appreciation, and love for this guy are just stronger by a day.

He was a cutey when he was this little and has that flirtatious grin like his dad!
Doesn't he look sweet here?
I think this might be where that mischievousness began...
Here he is sporting a debonair look!
Innocence for the camera...
Working on some sort of serious business.
Stepping big
Rock on with somebody's borrowed specks!
Sacked out!
Hard at work
Isn't that an infectious grin?
Sporting the team hat
Building the dream

Carefully laying it out by the numbers

Painting the store
Loading out merchandise
Filling an order with a personal touch
One-to-One with a customer
Still a cutey!
Happy Birthday, Stephen!

I may not have given birth to you but I do feel fortunate to have you as a bonus son.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Week for Bargains

A couple of weeks ago I bumped into a run of bargains.  First, I mentioned one afternoon that I wish I had a footstool on the deck and low, and behold, a couple of days later when I was looking for a lamp shade at Goodwill, I tripped over this beauty!
You can read a bit more about it HERE.

A couple of days later, Mike tried to raise the umbrella which sits down into the dining table on the deck and the little cord/rope which pulls it open broke - old age made it weak and pitiful - the cord/rope, not Mike. The canvas fabric was sadly faded anyway, so we decided to invest in new ones.  Then, the next day, we got a sale flyer from Tuesday Morning advertising umbrellas.  So, I trekked over to check them out. 

My color choices were John Deere yellow, brick red, navy blue, and chocolate brown - none in the hunter green that we had.  So, I went in search of the brown thinking that I would stick to earthy colors.  Mike and I had decided to go ahead and get two - one for each of the tables on the back porch.  Sadly, there was only one brown one at the store and I didn't want to trek all over the place looking for a second one.  So, I settled for navy ones.  (You know me and blue...)
Doesn't it look like they are just inviting you to come sit in their shade?

Here is a little closer look:

The one on this smaller table seems to look so well coordinated with the pretty blue pot filled with a deep purple verbena. 

One final bargain that I stumbled upon was my new hummingbird feeders.  I had seen them in a couple of places and liked the larger size of the bottle and the sturdiness of them back earlier in the spring.  Then, one day at my local Kroger grocery store, they were marked down from $8.99 to ninety cents each!  (Why didn't I buy more to give as gifts or to hang elsewhere in my yard?  ARGH!!!)
The cute little hummingbirds have really enjoyed them.  There have been times when I have seen up to six fighting to eat at the two feeders hanging on the back porch.  They are so quick, I have only captured one photo, though!
Isn't this little red-necked one a cutie?  (I know they are really called 'ruby throated' but here in the country, it really needs to be referred to as a red-neck!)
These bargains should bring a smile to my face day after day.  Don't you just love it when you find a bargain - or, even better, a run of them like this?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Slipcovered Pillows

Sometimes I just need a bit of a change.  I've always liked the throw pillows that came with my sofa.  They were sort of an added bonus when I got the second-hand barge napping-spot sofa several years ago.  I searched high and low for a new one for the new house I was moving into.  I would go into furniture stores, thrift stores, and second-hand furniture stores and plop down on sofas and stretch out on them to see how they fit me.  I'm sure the sales personnel were smiling behind my back but I knew what I wanted. 

I had the space and placement mapped out in my mind and just knew it was going to be elegant and beautiful.  Then, my son, Bryan, and my dad picked it up and hauled it into my new den and it was much longer than I had anticipated and wouldn't fit where I had thought I'd put it.  I still loved the shape and style and the big old roominess of it, though, and I still do.  I had thought to put it just in front of but in the space between the column and the wall at its right.

Since it didn't work out there, I simply placed it along the longest wall in the room. 
It looks like almost everybody in the family thought it was a pretty good choice that first night, huh?  Of course, if you wanted to sit - that was the only place to sit in the den at the time!  Those of you who know me, know well that didn't last for long, though.  If you look back up at the previous photo, you can see how I filled up the room.
Mama, Bridgette, and Bryan testing out the new couch.
Then, when I moved to here to Mike's house with a much larger den, I thought I had the perfect spot for it at last.  Again, I wanted to put it jutting out from the wall toward the fireplace just as one entered the front door to create sort of a foyer area there. 

Again, it turned out to be much too large for that area and left no walking space to get into the rest of the room.  So, I compromised and angled it to make it work. 

Recently, I decided it was time for a little change - just to spice things up a wee bit.  So, after seeing a tutorial on Pinterest (and please forgive me but I cannot find the source right now), I decided to make some pillow covers.  Here is how my throw pillows looked in the before shot:
Notice the two-tone floral ones...this is the after shot:
The fabric is some that I have had for about twenty years or so - no joke!  Mom and I made some cushions for my porch rocker out of this fabric years and years and two houses ago.  This was a scrap left from that.  (There is still a bit left for another project, too!)  Here is a closer look at one of the pillows while I was testing it in one of the chairs in the den:
 (See my 'new' lamp? You can read about it HERE. You can also see a Frame Makeover HERE.)
I like how it continues to draw in my reds and blues scattered throughout this room.  For one of the pillows, I did a little detail on the back that I had noticed in another Pinterest pin.  I added ribbon loops and wooden buttons to hold it closed.
I like the look and may make this a feature on some other pillow covers yawning in the future...

I shopped for pillow forms at some of my favorite sewing and craft stores and found the least expensive ones listed for about eight dollars.  Then, I had the brainstorm of looking at discount stores and Goodwill for pillows that are a nice size and shape and making pillow covers to fit those.  Is that a genius idea or what?

For now, I'm just glad to have a little change and a project completed! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

What do you do with leftovers?

I've always been one who likes leftovers - for as long as I can remember.  It means I have a meal with very little effort. 

I was home alone because Mike was working - on a weekend - again.  So, it was wonderful to have leftovers to just heat and eat. 

HERE is what I did with some leftover pork loin for lunch. 
Hot Pocket

More of it will be sauced up with some bar-b-que sauce and served up to load up a baked potato for dinner.

I wonder how many days I can stretch the leftovers from this weekend to feed us...

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Not long ago I wrote about my favorite relative.  Well, today is her day! 
Happy Birthday, Rebecca!

Ah...Nice Weather!

Why is it that when it is summer we wish for cooler weather and when it is winter we wish for warmer days? 

Today dawned with nice breezy sunshine and cooler temperatures.  I've been so glad.  I puttered around outside for a bit and then when I had to come in to do some work I opened the kitchen windows and kept the door like this
Toby's enjoyong the cooler weather on the deck, too!

I'm sure that later I'll be mumbling curses and swatting with this friend...

For now, though, I'm enjoying the outdoors while I'm indoors and getting a professional development session mapped out for one of my middle schools.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Home on the Grill

I would love to become adept at cooking foods on the grill.  I try, but I'm never as satisfied as when the expert does the cooking.  It just tastes so much better then!

Recently I did make an attempt, however.  My friend, Renee, gave me some cute little eggplants that she had gotten in her CSA package. 

I brought them home, washed them, sliced them in half, brushed them with a wee bit of olive oil and put them on the grill.
My loaded grill
That is the cute little eggplant there in the gill basket.  I also brushed slices of a garlic loaf with some Mediterranean dipping sauce and marinated some special Smith pork chops with a secret concoction. 

The garlic bread toasted up nicely and was quite delicious.  Then, the flame under the pork chops got a little carried away on me and blackened them a bit more than I wanted.

They were still nice and moist and flavorful - probably because I kept slopping sauce on them the entire time I was cooking them.  However, I just don't like them when they are blackened like that.
I sprinkled the eggplant with a little cheese right before I took them off the grill.  I'm wishing I'd just grilled them till tender and sprinkled a bit of Parmesan cheese on them.  They were tasty but not as light as when Mike cooks big eggplant with only a bit of Parmesan. 

My light, hot off the grill dinner looks beautiful.  However, it wasn't quite as light and tasty as when the master chef does all the cooking.  Is it because I am not at home on the grill or is it because anything tastes better when it is prepared special for me?