Affordable Kitchen Stools

Our kitchen island still houses mismatched chairs. When we first moved in I wanted to change them
right away but we needed curtains, rugs and paint and ... lots of things. Our island, in the kitchen has
a curve and can easily seat four in which chairs with a backing would look best. However, I do love
the look of backless stools as well. Recently, I've found some affordable kitchen stools that might help
you and me find something either neutral or with a color pop that works for your kitchen.
Affordable Kitchen Stools

1. Director's Chair $74          2. X Back $105                        3. Tufted $100               4. Windsor $90
5. Mint x2 $89                      6. Mustard Metal $80                7. Industrial $84            8. Pop of Red $70


Tips for Styling Bookshelves

I was thrilled when we built our library to have a place for our books, but lets be honest I did not have THAT many books to fill this whole wall of built-ins. I love that my hubby and I designed the look of the bookshelves. He built it and we both painted it, but when it came to styling, he turned to me and said "have fun." Love that guy!

I got loads of deals when shopping for books at thrift stores, yard sales and library book sales. I got some knick knacks at yard sales.  A BIG tip is to look for things at thrift stores and yard sales- you will find tons of things that would look good on a bookshelf to add interest. 

I styled the bookshelf and was happy. However, over time there were some things that were not quite right and started to bother me, like I tried to lump too many books together. There were some things that needed to go in the baskets and I needed to figure out the spacing of things. Recently, I took most of the books and things out of the bookshelf and started again to style. Sometimes we just need to start afresh. 

Here are some BEFORE shots:
See how I don't have enough books to stack tall? I think the plates are pretty but not large enough. There are some awkward spots.

With five bookshelves in a row I tried my best to add symmetry into the mix and break up the books. Here are a few tips/ideas that helped me.
Add some art: I put in a few black and white photos of our family and this beautiful old painting that my husband's great great grandmother painted. Some modern art would look good in here too. I like the idea of hanging art in between the shelves, but I haven't convinced my husband yet, hence the leaning of art.
Add baskets and bins: Baskets can break up the books or you can put books in the baskets. I love that you can throw what you want in those baskets and they might be messy on the inside but on the outside it looks organized.

Stack books in different directions: It's easier on your eye to have two stacks of books on one shelf and then the next to have them standing. Variety is key!

Use bookends/knick-knacks: This is where you could have a lot of fun with some accessories. I got these two dog bookends at a yard sale for $2. It doesn't need to be expensive to look good. I also shopped my house to bring in some more white pieces of urns, busts, pots, milk glass all of these items helped break things up more and add interest. 

I'm really liking how our shelves look now. Styling can be the fun part but it may take a couple of times to get it right. What suggestions do you have for styling a bookshelf?


Give Away Winner and Hotel Design Inspiration

The winner of the Art Print Give Away is:

Lisa from Shine Your Light

I'm glad she won a gorgeous print from Heatherlee's Etsy store, Lady Poppins. Her art prints are affordable, unique, and absolutely charming. Go check out her Etsy store! 

I hope you are all thawing out from winter. This weekend, I ran a 1/2 marathon in the DC Rock n' Roll marathon. I don't know if I told you but I'm one of those crazies who likes running. A few of my girlfriends and I stayed at the Lowes Madison Hotel for the night before the race. I absolutely loved the design of the rooms and their furniture was killer. I wish I had more time to take pictures of it, but I felt so inspired from the design.
                                    I've been thinking about how I could DIY this mirror.
                                   I loved this toile George Washington wallpaper on one of the walls.
This shows only part of the lobby with its tone on tone design. I like the curved buffet with its geometric design. 

  Lastly this is me running near the Lincoln memorial on my rainy race day. I was glad to finish and get warm. 


Girl's Room: Art On The Walls And a Give Away!

First of all, thank you for all of your kind comments on the upholstered sofa. I feel like a proud mama of a blue
velvet couch! Ha! Today, I wanted to talk about art in children's rooms, namely my twin's room. Our girls
didn't have much on their walls and they were excited when we put up a gallery wall of pretty
art work for them. Squeals of delight!
Most pictures in their room are DIY,  thrift store art and a gorgeous print from Heatherlee Chan. You
don't need to spend a lot of money to get the look you want, but you do have to be willing to make
something. I hope you'll be inspired to make some art for your home. First, let me give you a tour of the
On the dresser, my husband and I made this frame last year and I love the picture of our girls in there.
Above the large frame is this darling print, Sisters Art, I bought from Heatherlee Chan. Her art is
charming, whimsical and feminine- perfect for our little girls. They actually picked the print out, but I had a
hard time choosing just one. All her art is darling! I framed it in an Ikea frame and used a gold sharpie
to make some polka dots around the mat.
The flowers painting in the corner is one of my first attempts at oils in a long time. I had a great time
painting again and thought it would look good with the paint in their room (which is Benjamin Moore's
Love and Happiness). The ampersand and the silhouettes are also painted/cut by me. For the
ampersand, I sketched out the shape on fabric and cut it out. The key for this was to have thin material.
The 'Be Brave' banner was also cut pieces of fabric and adhered using Fabri-tac. The Degas' Dancers
print is from a thrift store and the calendar is from Rifle.

For my $5 thrift store chair I spray painted it white and used a gold sharpie to make the crest and vines. I
loved the chair when I saw it because I could see some kind of art or monogram going in the middle of it.
On the other side of the room, I had my two girls paint some watercolor art and I put them behind a
white mat. I can easily change out their art here if I want. They had a fun time making art for their room.
The map is from artist Judy Kaufmann. Love her work too!
After Christmas I spent a long time weeding through clothes and toys that were not used anymore. It felt
good to organize and simplify their toys. Putting their toys in plastic, labeled bins has been a HUGE
improvement from the catch-all baskets I had in here before. The girls now put their toys away and in
the right spot! Hallelujah!
These lamp bases are from Ikea and I used some Rub N'buff on them to give them a gold/brassy look.
I'll show you the rest of the room soon. We recently put their beds into bunk beds which makes
this room feel larger. The girls have a great area to play in now.
Heatherlee is kind enough to give one of you lucky ducks an art print. You get to pick which one 
you like/love. Her art will get you excited for Spring with so many floral prints and if you have a
 little child in your life it makes charming art for kid's rooms. 
Blog Give Away

To enter the Giveaway: First go to Heatherlee's Etsy store, Laddy Poppins to find your favorite print. Then, comment below and tell me what would be your favorite Lady Poppins print. One comment per entry. One winner will be chosen at random and will receive an art print. Make sure your comment is not a "non-reply" or else I won't be able to get in touch with you. 

For additional entries:
2. Follow me on Google Connect or Bloglovin
3. Follow me on Instagram
4. Like me and follow me on Facebook.
5. Subscribe to Heatherlee's mailing list
6. Like Heatherlee on Facebook.

The Give Away will close Friday, March 13th.

********** The Give Away is now closed. *****************

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The Courage To Reupholster A Sofa and (a Sort of) How To

I'm finally writing about this pretty camel back sofa I got last year, which went through a makeover. Now, I know this sofa is not perfect. I fully recognize areas that might be too lumpy or not pulled tight enough. Therefore, I must apologize to all of you perfectionists out there, but I'm just thrilled it's done and not looking half done. I am by no means a professional upholster. I upholstered a small chair a few years ago. I really wanted to bring this to an upholsterer but that darn budget forces me to take measures into my own hands, literally. I am so glad I did it. I had several friends come over and help me take this couch apart (I bribed them with lunch) and a good friend that helped me sew the cushion. 

One friend who came over to help me said encouragingly, "Tracy, you just have to look at this as your practice sofa. Who cares if it's not perfect? Try your best and don't worry about it." Oh, how wise! These were just the words I needed to hear to get over some of my fears of upholstering a whole sofa, which sounded daunting sometimes. Actually, it's good advice for anything we do, especially in design. There has to be some trial and error and we learn from our mistakes which help for the next project that we do. 

If you ever find yourself wanting to rescue that chair or sofa and you know you'll need to reupholster it, then know you can do it! You will need to have some determination, goals and band aids near by when you take that sucker apart. 

The sofa project took a long time because it got put on the back burner with other projects several times. I hope to be able to explain some tips and things that helped me upholster the sofa. Every sofa or chair is different and I'll explain the things that helped me with my particular sofa. 

Step 1: Find your vision and sturdy fabric
I had read how velvet is a wonderful durable upholstery fabric so I wanted to go with that type. Also, I knew I wanted to stick to something solid in color (as a beginner upholster). It would be difficult to match up stripes or a patterns. 

Finding navy blue velvet was not common. I ended up finding some on Ebay for $12/yard. 

upholstery chart
                                                          image source
This chart helped me know about how much fabric to expect. It's always a good idea to buy extra fabric than what it calls for so you can feel safe you have enough.

2. Research
I looked up some You Tube videos and found this one most helpful here. Also, Jenny from LGN has some incredible upholstery tutorials. There are also several books out there that are helpful like this one, which I got at the library. 

Step 3: Stripping the sofa
You need:
-flat head screwdriver
-a bowl (to collect staples) and band aids (it's easy to hurt your hands doing this part. You could wear work gloves.)
Save all your pieces of fabric and label them. You will use these pieces as your template for your new fabric.Also, save the welting/rope to reuse it for the welting. My little girls added some stuffed animal friends on the sofa to keep me company. 
Step 4: Stapling the sofa:
You'll need: 
-Staple gun
-Air compressor with upholstery staples in the gun. This way it went fast!! (optional)
-the new fabric (cut pieces)
-Curved needle (I needed this in one section)
- I used cardboard for the front arm
- Fabri-tac adhesive
-Nail head trim (optional)
Once all your fabric has come off then you're ready for the stapling to begin! And yes, this looks like a mess. The other major motivator to work on the sofa was so our puppy wouldn't eat the whole thing. Don't you love all the little stuffing on the floor?
The curved arm originally had welting around it. I decided to make a separate piece to cover this area. Here's a good shot of the air compressor we used too.
Once I stapled the arm as best as I could I traced the shape of the arm onto a cereal box or thin cardboard.
The cereal box got covered with velvet using  fabri-tac upholstery adhesive. This stuff is great because it doesn't show any marks of glue once its dried and it really sticks well (it's a permanent adhesive that says its washable too).

                      Once the fabric was covered then I used brass nail head trim to hammer into place.

Work with what you have. Towards the end of the project I was running out of fabric. It wasn't too difficult to sew two pieces together on the machine and then staple the whole thing to the back. Again, this is not a perfect job, but I figured mostly the sofa will be against a wall so we won't see the back sewn piece.
The front bottom part of the sofa was tricky because the seat cushion was tightly sewn covering the springs and I didn't want to take that apart (which would have been a ton more work). I ended up using a curved needle and hand sewing the velvet to that section and stapling the bottom section.
Curved needle sewing isn't as scary as I thought. If you have the right tools, things go a lot more smoothly.
The cushion was sewn by my friend who has a great sewing machine. I asked her help because there were some sections where we were sewing through four layers of velvet (because of the welting). My basic sewing machine would not be able to handle all that work. I'm not going to explain the cushion sewing since she did most of it.
Overall, I'm happy to have a piece of furniture in our library room now besides our piano. Someday, we will add side chairs and a small coffee table, but this room is baby steps to being done. It's good for the soul to try challenging, out of our norm projects and I'm glad I did.

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