Love You More burlap pillow with felt lettering – includes print out!

DIY "Love You More" Burlap Pillow with felt lettering!

DIY “Love You More” Burlap Pillow with felt lettering!

Let me start out by saying that I DO have a sewing machine, however I always gravitate to projects that are easy and don’t require a sewing machine. So if you know how to use scissors, trace something, and can do an easy basic hand stitch (we’re talking 6th grade home economics level), you can make this pillow!

Here is what you will need:

A burlap pillow cover (mine is from IKEA for $10)

A pillow insert (from IKEA as well for $4)

A piece of white felt (23 cents at Walmart)

A piece of fabric or a burlap bandana, which is what I purchased from Hobby Lobby. (You get a large bandana for $1.99, or $1.00 when they are on sale which seems to be every other week.)

Fabric Glue

A fabric pen or other marker

A needle

Button Thread

If you want to do my exact pillow you will want to download and print these files:

LOVEYOUMORE

LOVEYOUMOREreversed

Ready to get started?

First you want to print out the files above, or your own designed words from your computer and put them on a window with painters tape while you still have adequate lighting outside.

IMG_20141007_133728_425

 

Now you cut out an area of your bandana that will fit the wording and a heart at the bottom with at least a half inch margin for the stitch. I just eyed mine. The pillow has a hand made look so I didn’t want the lines to be perfectly straight.

Put the piece of fabric over the lettering and trace lightly. You can use any type of pen to trace. Since my fabric was dark I used a fine tip white paint pen to lightly outline the letters.

IMG_20141007_134431_066Here is how it looked when I was done:

IMG_20141007_135201_729

Then you want to use the reversed version for the felt. I trace it in reverse so that the pen doesn’t show on any of my felt letters.

Here is how it should look after tracing:

IMG_20141007_135208_397Then you want to very carefully cut out your felt letters and fabric glue them to the other fabric piece you traced the lettering on. The traced area will help you place the letters perfectly on the fabric. The fabric glue will also hold the letters in place when you stitch them to the fabric.

At this time you’ll also want to cut out a felt heart with your scraps. I drew mine by hand then cut it out so it looked hand made and not computerized.  Glue the heart underneath the lettering, or wherever you choose.

Then you get to stitching. Simply stitch around all your letters and the heart. I just stitched right in the middle of all of mine with a gray/tan button thread.

IMG_20141013_162705_276

 

Once you have your piece stitched, fabric glue it in the middle of your burlap pillow cover. Then stitch around the whole piece with more basic 6th grade home ec skills.

Stuff your cover with the pillow insert and you’re done! This project only takes a couple of hours but it has a wonderful hand made look and adds great texture to a chair or couch.

DIY "Love You More" Burlap Pillow with felt lettering!

DIY “Love You More” Burlap Pillow with felt lettering!

 

 

 

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The art of upcycling

I’ve been busy keeping my Etsy shop stocked over the last month and have been having so much fun finding new treasures to rescue, upcycle and sell. And with all of these projects I have forgotten 99% of the time to take before and after photos. The following item is the 1%.

I thought I’d write a post that explains what I look for in an item, and how I transform it from a piece of junk on its way to the dumpster, to become something that others want to actually have and display in their home. It’s really neat to give an item a complete make-over and a second chance. There is so much potential in many of these forgotten pieces. It takes vision, creativity and time, but the end product is worth it.

The item I’ve chosen to use as an example is this old sewing/craft box:

craftbox insideboxI found it for $1.49. I liked that it was made of solid wood. I also liked the general shape of it. What I didn’t like was the nasty mustard yellow felt lining that had seen better days, The chips on each corner of the bottom drawer, the scuffs/dings/scratches, and the awful pin cushion fabric. But all the things I didn’t like about it could be changed. The doors on top still functioned just fine, the pulls were intact, the lines were cute, and the solid wood was a huge plus. I knew when painted it would feel higher quality.

I wanted to get rid of the yellow felt and replace it with something else. I also wanted to cover the old fabric with something cuter, and I wanted to paint the entire box a different color to give it new life. All of these things were totally doable and didn’t take much time.

It was easy to rip off the top pin cushions. They were just hot glued on so they peeled off. I just covered those and used a stapler underneath to secure the new fabric.

While I had the pin cushions off, I painted the entire box and Aqua color (acrylic paint), distressed it and waxed it with a protective coat with Annie Sloan’s clear wax.

After that I attempted to get rid of the felt. The yellow felt peeled right off. I measured those areas and cut scrap paper to size, then glued them back in.

The scrapbook paper made a huge difference!

The scrapbook paper made a huge difference!

Upcycled Sewing Box

Ahh… much better!

Since I already made this look shabby, it was no big deal that there were chips in the drawer.

I just distressed these areas to make it look more intentional. It still functions the way it needs to.

I just distressed these areas to make it look more intentional. It still functions the way it needs to.

Projects like these are rewarding because the material cost is very low. In this case I used 1/2 small bottle of aqua acrylic paint, 2 scraps of fabric and some scrapbook paper. Since I already had the vision, it only took about 2 hours to complete the project and it was fun to do!

Here are some other projects I’ve done recently that don’t have before pictures but hopefully they can still be inspiring:

Owl bookends made out of 2 secondhand mini wall shelves.

Owl bookends made out of 2 secondhand mini wall shelves.

Earring organizer made out of a vintage weather barometer, some chicken wire, and scrapbook paper.

Earring organizer made out of a vintage weather barometer, some chicken wire, and scrapbook paper.

Cake stand made from a secondhand candle holder, plate and glass dome.

Cake stand made from a secondhand candle holder, plate and glass dome.

As always, if you want to support our upcoming adoption efforts or get ideas for more DIY projects, please visit my Etsy shop to see more items I’ve created from secondhand pieces.

My first experience with Annie Sloan’s Chalkpaint (and Furniture Refinisher)

I’d heard a lot about Chalk Paint and seen tons of things on Pinterest related to painting old furniture with this “miracle” paint, so I decided it was time for me to take the plunge and try it out. To be honest, I was nervous. I guess the special brushes and the pricey-ness of the paint itself along with the whole wax thing made me feel a little intimidated.

What really encouraged me in this direction is when I found a Chippendale-style dining set at my local thrift store for only $75. The finish was not good though. The top was majorly scratched and dinged and the chairs were covered with a dingy old fabric. But, the table was a nice size, with a leaf included, and there were 5 chairs.

Thrift store Chippendale-style dining set. $75.

Thrift store Chippendale-style dining set. $75.

I wanted the top to be durable, so I googled a bunch of different ideas. The one I liked best, suggested using an antique furniture refinisher to rub off the old stain on top with steel wool. I ended up using Fromby’s Furniture Refinisher:

Awesome stuff, but plan on using multiple cans of it if you're stripping a large surface!

Awesome stuff, but plan on using multiple cans of it if you’re stripping a large surface!

I found this YouTube tutorial that I mainly followed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7OW60YncY4

Here are a few things that I learned from this process.

1) DO NOT BUY LATEX GLOVES. Don’t even buy just regular rubber gloves. You need to buy the gloves that say they are made for working with strong chemicals. And even when I used those, eventually they would eat through after enough use. You may have to buy several pairs of gloves (2-3)

2) You will most likely end up going through a lot of refinisher if you’re stripping a large area. I ended up having to buy 3 jugs of refinisher.

3) I think I used an entire package of the steel wool when all was said and done.

4) You also need a metal bucket to put the refinisher in. I found using 2 metal buckets was best, because each time you dip your steel wool back in to get more refinisher on it, you end up dirtying the rest of the refinisher. It was best to have refinisher in 2 buckets. One for rinsing and squeezing out as much old stain as I could, and the other for getting some cleaner refinisher to go back to the table with. If the second bucket started getting too gross I would add it to the first bucket and add some clean refinisher to the 2nd again.

Once I finished this process, this beautiful underlying wood was revealed:

The stain had darkened so much and was so dinged and scratched that I didn't even know the wood had a pattern in it until I stripped it!

The stain had darkened so much and was so dinged and scratched that I didn’t even know the wood had a pattern in it until I stripped it!

I used Minwax Polyshades to stain the top of the table. I chose Bombay Mahogany in the gloss for the shade.

There is a dark cherry quality to this stain. I love the way it classed up the top of the table.

There is a dark cherry quality to this stain. I love the way it classed up the top of the table.

The YouTube tutorial above does a good job explaining the kind of brush you need. Usually you’ll only need one coat of this since the protective agent is mixed into the stain. We only used one coat and were happy with it. If you want it darker you can add another coat after 6 hours. Make sure to lightly sand between coats.

After taking care of the stain, I tackled the chairs, and base of the table with my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I chose the white color since all of our molding is true white. The nice thing about it is you don’t have to do any prep work whatsoever. I lightly dusted all of the chairs and the table legs, but no sanding is necessary. This makes the process a lot quicker and easier.

chaircloseupdetailBecause I chose the only paint that doesn’t have any pigmentation to it, it required 2 coats of paint to get the chairs how I wanted them. But since I wanted them to look distressed, I was satisfied with the results. If I had wanted them to be more opaque and smooth, I would’ve probably done a 3rd coat. Here are a few things I learned in the process:

1) The paint dries super quickly. That means that once you finish your first coat, you can usually start immediately on a second coat.

2) You don’t have to purchase the special brushes. You’ll want a good quality brush, but it doesn’t have to be an Annie Sloan one. I used a nice Purdy brush and it worked beautifully.

3) The chalk paint washes easily out of the brushes. Even after having a blonde moment and forgetting to wash my brush one evening, I was able to easily wash it out almost completely in the morning.

4) You can pretty much finish a painting project within 30-40 minutes since the paint dries fast and as soon as you sand/distress (if you desire), you can start the waxing process immeditately.

5) You can use an old t-shirt to rub the wax into the piece.

6) The paint goes a long way. With pieces that I’ve painted that have more pigmentation, I’ve only had to use 1 coat.

7) There are TONS of tutorials on using Annie Sloan wax on YouTube, so take advantage of this! I watched several before starting this project and I recommend you do too.

To recover the chairs, I used some fabric and plastic covering for the seats along with a staple gun, just like I did with my pub set. My goal with this table was to have a very elegant looking table to was also practical for having children.

I utilized the fabric in a way that I could get 2 seats covered from one yard. If it hadn't been so darn economical, I would've probably turned the pattern 90 degrees CCW. But frugal-ness won... again.

I utilized the fabric in a way that I could get 2 seats covered from one yard. If it hadn’t been so darn economical, I would’ve probably turned the pattern 90 degrees CCW. But frugal-ness won… again.

I also opted for the distressed look because it is sure to be dinged up and damaged by my 3 year old and our soon-to-be adopted daughter.

So I have to admit, I haven’t quite finished this set yet, because I have to work within my monthly budget and I can’t buy more fabric until the 10th, but it’s a good start:

You'll notice that I've included that antique chair I repainted and recovered for now, until I sell it (or don't).

You’ll notice that I’ve included that antique chair I repainted and recovered for now, until I sell it (or don’t).

And since this project I’ve done several more, but all with the intention of selling them to make money for our adoption. It will be hard to part with these pieces, because they were so fun to make!

Adorable curio cabinet with antique key. Painted Duck Egg Blue.

Charming curio cabinet with original antique key. Painted Duck Egg Blue. I love the patina on all the brass hardware!

Adorable antique Dixie night stand/end table. Painted Duck Egg Blue.

Adorable antique Dixie night stand/end table. Painted Duck Egg Blue.

Chalkboard created from a thrift store mirror. Painted with Annie Sloan's White chalk paint.

Chalkboard created from a thrift store mirror. Painted with Annie Sloan’s White chalk paint.

More refinished pieces

So, it’s been awhile since I last posted, but I have a good reason! My husband and I just began a new and exciting journey. A few weeks ago we met with an adoption agency in Colorado, and we are hoping to adopt a little girl off the waiting list in China within the next year.  We have always had a heart for adoption, but recently we’ve felt like this is the time to start the process and we are excited!

Immediately my brain starting reeling trying to think of ways I could raise some extra money for adoption costs. I figured the best thing to do would be to stick with my talents/skills and try to make some money that way. So last weekend when Salvation Army had their 50%-off-everything-in-the-store sale, I was in search of some pieces I could purchase and refinish to try to sell on Craigslist for a profit.

The first item I found was this adorable vintage chair:

Vintage Chair

Small vanity chair for $25 at Salvation Army

The picture doesn’t show it all, but it wasn’t in great shape. The wood was pretty scratched and cushion fabric was stained and dingy. I wanted to make a cute shabby chic chair out of it. I already had white paint (from zillions of other painting projects) and I had left over fabric I’d used to make a roman shade for our dining room with. All I needed to buy was some black braiding.

Here is how it turned out:

shabbychairfullview

DIY Refinished Shabby Chic Chair

The left-over fabric I had was perfect for the look I was going for.

Refinished Shabby Chic Chair

I distressed the edges with some sandpaper.

The second piece I found was a yellowish, scratched, wood end table with brass hardware. I am upset that I don’t have a before picture, but it was a pretty hideous sight. You know it’s ugly if it’s still left after a 3 day 50% off sale! I got this end table for $10 and thought it would be perfect in red with aged bronze hardware.

DIY Refinished End Table

I loved the bone structure of the piece. The red makes it really “pop”.

DIY Refinished Red End TableI’m sure there will be a lot more to blog about in the next few months as I continue to try to refinish pieces to sell. I will eventually start an etsy shop to sell items that are easily “shipable”. Didn’t want to hassle with it for furniture though. My vision for my etsy shop is to make unique pieces from thrift store items, combined with a few sewing projects. We will see how it goes!