We are a young couple remodeling our first house...one outdated / ugly thing at a time. This blog documents our remodel projects and ideas.


Reupholster Ottoman 101

If you have read some of my posts, you now know that I am cheap. Maybe not cheap...thrifty is more like it. I always want to do it the cheap thrifty way, and remodeling the Man Cave is no exception. I have made artwork for about $10 and curtains from sheets. Well, today I'm reupholstering the used-to-be-black ottoman with the extra sheets. This storage ottoman has been with us since we first moved in together, and it is great to have around and still in great condition. (I love storage ottomans!) But, I really wasn't liking the little black box anymore with the gray/blue color scheme.

Here is what the ottoman looked like before the reupholstering:
Needed supplies to reupholster an ottoman - 2 sheets (or 1 sheet if making it the same color), scissors and a staple gun.

First I reupholstered the top. Since it is still in good condition, I left the black material in place and just covered over it - much easier. Lay the sheet remnant face down and align the top with the pattern of the sheet. Staple the sheet into place, making sure to not cover the lip of the lid. Trim excess material and the top is done.
Next up is reupholstering the rest of the ottoman...and this is how I did it. Lay the ottoman on its side with the bottom of it facing you. Remove the screw-in feet. Place the sheet on the ottoman close to the edge and staple into place on the bottom of the ottoman.
Continue stapling the sheet into place all around the other three sides. The ottoman should be wrapped up like a burrito now.  :)  Fold over the edge of the sheet and staple into place to secure. Trim the excess from the bottom of the ottoman and reattach the feet.
The ottoman should be completely covered in the new fabric now. However, we need to secure it to the inside.  Snugly fold over the sheet and staple into place along the inside top rim of the ottoman. Trim the excess material and you are done!

Wanna see what the ottoman stores? Old-school Nintendo games!

Project cost breakdown:
Sheets - $0, already owned
Total      $0

It only took about 10 minutes to recover the ottoman, and zero dollars! The "new" ottoman is a much better fit in the Man Cave compared to the old black box.

Any ottoman reupholstering experience? Or have you ever reupholstered something with sheets?


Man Cave - Sofa options

The seating in the Man Cave is seriously lacking. When we moved into the casa, we stuck the left over apartment futon in there as a place holder. It sits on a wood frame and has a thin pad for a mattress – not a good combination. It’s not comfortable to sit on, and certainly not comfortable to sleep on - it makes you want one of those old sleeper sofas. Even the old bar under your back felt better than this! That is definitely not the way I want guests to feel. Futons are out - at least in this space.

Given that we already have a room dedicated to guests, with a comfy queen size bed, the Man Cave is a bonus sleeping room. We don’t have to have a sleeping option in there; but it is really nice to have when there are multiple overnight guests crashing at our house. And with limited space to work with, since the primary purpose is a hide-out / stash-the-stuff sort of room for the hubby, a full size bed is not an option.
So with a futon and a full size bed out of the picture, and the need for some seating and sleeping space in the picture, the only option left is a sleeper sofa, or in my case a sleeper loveseat. (Cue scary music.) A sleeper sofa? Yup…and I still have doubts about how comfy a sleeper sofa will be for guests, given past bar-in-the-back experiences, but it seems to be the best option. It’s time for some Internet shopping to see what is out there in the gray/graphite/charcoal color scheme.

Option #1 - CB2            $999.00
Option #2 - Klaussner   $708.52
Option #3 - IKEA           $149.00

All three of these options meet the requirements for the space. And all three are drool worthy. Hmmm, wonder which option I'm going to go with. Duh - option #1. Just kidding, option #3 it is! The IKEA Solsta sofa bed looks like a cheaper-little brother to option #1, which is perfect for my cheap-o self. And with some throw pillows for extra comfort, it is the definite winner. However, I don't have an IKEA any where remotely close to me. It is a 6 hour drive, one way...better start driving!

Well, there it is in the Man Cave, along with all the hubby-stashed stuff. It fits the space perfectly and folds out into a bed...with no bar across the back!

For $149, I couldn't be happier. The Man Cave remodel is almost complete!

Let me know about your sleeper sofa or futon trials and tribulations. Do you love them or hate them?


I'm Thankful/Grateful For...

"Gratitude is the heart's memory." - French Proverb

Since I decided not to paint a pattern on the curtains in the Man Cave (and found the perfect sheets to make curtains), I had extra paint laying around.

I don't need 5 extra bottles of gray paint, so I returned them to the store. And while I was standing in the return line, I see the perfect notebook/journal for my gratitude journal.

What is a gratitude journal you might ask? A gratitude journal is a way to consciously give thanks to the things for which we are thankful each day. By focusing on gratitude, we become aware of those things and create a shift in our thinking to the positive.

I plan to write at least three things that I am thankful for in my gratitude journal every night before I go to bed. It won't be anything extravagant, just little snippets from that day that I am grateful for. I'm thankful that I get to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I ate turkey and dressing, and it was amazing. Got my Black Friday shopping plan of attack ready.

Back to the journal. I instantly fell in love with the pewter color and pattern. The tag says it is handcrafted in India and the paper is handmade and eco-friendly. And the string to tie it up is like icing on the cake.

I was going to wait and post about this topic until the New Year, as it is my New Year's resolution. (Yes, I already know what my resolutions will be. I plan ahead...sometimes a little too much.) However, with it being Thanksgiving and the time to be thankful and grateful for things, I thought it would be better to go ahead and start my gratitude journal today.

What are you thankful/grateful for? Do you have a gratitude journal that you write in daily? Or do you journal at all?


Me Woman, You Man Cave - Part 2, Curtains

Okay, I have a confession to make....I semi-lied to y'all. So sorry. In the numero uno post I stated that Wal-Mart does not make me think of remodeling. Well, it doesn't. But it is a semi-lie because I found a kick-awesome comforter set which I had to snag for the guest bedroom, and I used sheets from Wal-Mart for curtains and pillow covers in the Man Cave.

Which brings me around to this post - curtains for the Man Cave. I had planned to use sheets all along as curtains in the Man Cave. (Got that bright idea from my crafty momma whose house sports sheet-curtains in two rooms.) I was just going to hang white sheets for an airy feeling. Then I thought I would paint stripes on the sheets for more of a graphic / Man Cave feeling, and it would go along with the artwork I made. But that plan changed when I went to get the white sheets. I found the perfect color striped sheets...no painting (or sewing) required.

Let the no-sew sheet-to-curtain project begin. Supplies needed: two twin flat sheets, steam-a-seam, scissors and an iron.

I said two flat sheets and guess what I did...I came home with a fitted sheet. Grrr! I got so excited about the sheets I didn't double-check to make sure they were both flat. Back to Wal-Mart. (And I didn't exchange the fitted sheet, I'm going to use it to make floor pillows.)

Step 1 - position the sheet so the top end is towards you, and the sheet is face down

Step 2 - Add steam-a-seam along the seam that is already in the curtain. Fold the top part of the sheet over and iron (as seen in the above picture). Ta da, instant curtain rod hole.

Step 3 - Hang on curtain rod. Here's a trick for curtain rod height - since these are twin sheets and I have 8' ceilings, place a level along the top of the wall flush with the ceiling. Then place the curtain rod mounts flush to the level and mark the holes to drill. This will leave a little space at the top of the curtains and they will fall almost to the floor. If you want the curtains to puddle, move the curtain rod down from the ceiling.

I really like the horizontal stipe in the sheet-curtain. That was an added bonus!
One hung, one to go.

Project cost breakdown:
Two twin flat sheets       $8 for the pair
Steam-a-seam               $0, already owned
Total                             $8

$8 for a pair of curtains, can't beat that deal! And they were so easy to make too! I also have pillow cases to make some pillows for the couch using my tried-and-true no-sew pillow method. And don't forget about the fitted sheet mistake which will soon be floor pillows for that empty corner in the picture above.

Have y'all made any curtains lately? Ever made curtains from sheets? Or taken an idea from the parents' casa and tried it in yours?


FALLing Behind

I will not cheat on Thanksgiving with Christmas... Although as much as I am ready to get my Christmas decorations up, I must wait until the day after Thanksgiving. It's an unwritten rule in my family. And since this is Thanksgiving week, and I am falling behind because I have yet to show my fall decor, I thought it was about overdue time to post some pictures.

My dining room table is on the small side - pictured above. However, this does not mean it doesn't deserve some decorating love. A simple runner, driftwood, a vase with sticks and a bowl of mixed nuts = instant fall table. 

 Next up, the entryway table. I added some faux pumpkins, a crow, some thrift store books, and free zinnias - found in my backyard. (A post about the asymmetrical wall art hanging above the table is in the works, promise.)

Finally, the mantle. Being a Southern girl from Arkansas, I have a little country/folk in my blood. So, of course, I had to include scarecrows into my fall decorations. And burlap.
That's it, nothing much. Glad I finally got these posted before Thanksgiving. It is almost time to take it all down and decorate for Christmas...and I'm wringing my hands in anticipation.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm spending mine with the family.


Me Woman, You Man Cave - Part 1, Art

Man Cave. I think it's every man's dream, and my hubby's got one. It's the extra bedroom and it is his place to store and stash his many, many hobbies and deconstruct bicycles....not for my touching. I have touched and remodeled everything else in the house, the way I wanted it. I thought the least I could do was have a dedicated space for the hubby, the Man Cave.

We have lived in the house over a year and I have held true to the "no-touching-the-man-cave" policy I set in place.......until now. It's like an itch you have to scratch or shaking Christmas presents.  I just couldn't wait any longer. And does the hubby know that I touched the Man Cave? Heck no! He's off at deer camp again which equals an entire weekend that I could be in the Man Cave, with free reign. He he he!  Basically - I'm like a little girl, giddy with anticipation.

Let me remind you of what the room looked like for an entire year before I entered it.

Where to start? I want to hang curtains, add pillows, and the room is in major need of something on the walls. Let's start with the something on the walls. And in the spirit of DIY, we need to make the artwork, of course! Since it is a Man Cave, I want the art to be simple, yet graphic and "manly"....but not dead animal-ish.

Needed supplies for graphic/simple/manly artwork: canvas, spraypaint, and masking tape.

To make the pattern, add strips of masking tape in no particular pattern to the canvas. Be sure to extend the strips onto the edges so the pattern continues. Here is what mine looks like while adding the tape.

After you get the tape on the canvas, it's time for spray paint.

Give the canvas two coats of spray paint and let it dry. Then the fun part, peeling off the tape.

Looks great! Yipee! Hang on the wall and enjoy. This was almost too easy; hardly took any time to make. Double yipee! 

Project cost breakdown:
Canvas                  $6.30 (30% off)
Tape                     $1.99 on sale
Paint                      $2.40 on sale
Total                     $10.69

I love it...especially for $10. And when the hubby got home, he loved it too - the entire room. (I'll post about the other projects I did in the room - no sew curtains from sheets, no sew pillows, and asymmetrical wall art grouping.) He thought the artwork was inspired by Van Halen's Frankenstein guitar...which it wasn't, but it does look similar. So now the artwork is extra great for a Man Cave.

Have y'all made any artwork lately? Ever made any artwork inspired from a guitar? What are your thoughts on a Man Cave? Should it be a no-woman / don't touch zone? Or is a little woman-design-touch okay?


Build a Desk Workshop

I need a desk...one that will fit in limited space. I want a sawhorse desk...one that will fit in limited space. (Those two requirements don't jive well with each other.) After some Internet shopping, I realized that I could get a sawhorse desk that would fit. Yay! But I also realized that I would have to pay much more than I am willing. Wa-wah. Scratch buying a desk the easy way...enter building a desk the easy way.

What do you see? A bar stool on its last leg in a flea market? Not me...I see desk legs. And I can picture a desk using these bar stools as desk legs...something along the lines of this:
Nice, huh? And a nice price tag - on sale for $299!  Bummer.  Not to worry, I'll build a sawhorse-esque desk with two cheap (as in $12 for the pair) bar stools using the picture for inspiration.

On the way home from the flea market with the bar stools, aka soon-to-be-repurposed-desk-legs, I stop by the hardware store for a pre-cut tabletop...to the tune of 15 bucks.

Once home, I lay the tabletop on the ground and position the bar stools seat-down towards the ends of the top, making sure they aren't visible. I also check to make sure my chair will fit in the space, which it will.  Draw a circle around the bar stools to outline their proper placement.

Pre-drill screw holes into the bar stools so they won't crack when they are screwed to the tabletop. Before final placing the bar stools, use some wood glue (I love gorilla glue) on the seats for extra holding power. Place the seats in the circles and screw the bar stools into the tabletop - I used 5 screws per barstool.

Flip it over and you've got yourself a desk...although probably on the ugly side since the legs and tabletop totally don't go together. Better give it a coat of primer and paint.

Project cost breakdown:
Bar stools/desk legs      $12
Tabletop                        $15
Paint/Screws/Glue         $0 - already owned
Total                             $27

Not too shabby for $27...and a savings of about $270!! When time avails, I'll build shelves for the legs to make it look more like the inspiration photo, and post about that too.
Inspiration photo:http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/new-logan-sawhorse-desk


Operation "Remove Metal Mini Blinds"

When we bought our house, we were extremely fortunate to get 1" metal mini blinds....on every single window. We even had them on the side lights next to the front door. Gag! I am thankful that we had some window coverings, but operation "remove metal mini blinds" quickly began.

See those blinds by the door? Not the best option. I want light to filter in; however, I need some privacy and don't want everyone driving by to see inside the house. I really don't want to put blinds back up, don't really want curtains. Hmmm...

Etching? No, too permanent. Stained glass? No, too hard to match to changing decor styles.....but wait, what about clear stained glass??? Is there even such a thing? It's off to the craft store to investigate. And guess what - bingo. cha-ching. yes! I grab 4 bottles and head to the casa.
It is water-based (easy clean up if I mess up...which I usually do), and "simulates the look of cathedral stained glass...".
Sounds great, let's get started. I clean the windows so there won't be any hidden dirt or smudges.  The product comes out of the bottle looking like glue, so it is easy to see where applied. I just go to town on the windows, scribbling in circles and waves - no particular pattern - until I get the window covered.

After it dries, crystal clear, I love it! On to the other windows.

The entire project took 30 minutes, and the only negative side effect is a sore hand from squeezing the bottle. The finished pics were taken at night, so you can't see any light filtering in. But you can see the white mums in the bottom panes of glass on either side...and tell that the clear stained glass does a great job of adding some privacy.

Total project cost: about $15


Rescue Ugly Bench

While driving to pick up my new couch, I see it - an u.g.l.y bench - sitting in the front yard of the Junk Queen's shop. The world stands still and I hear it calling my name.

It has glue and screws holding it together and it's missing chunks of wood. But it has so much potential! Poor thing is in sad shape and in major need of some love. I must rescue it! How much did this rescue ugly bench cost me - $10....SCORE!

When I get it home, so proud of myself for finding this $10 treasure, my hubby calls it ugly...and sadly, I couldn't disagree. I sit the bench in the corner of the living room for two weeks while I plot my plan of attack and order the fabric for the seat cushion. Yes, order fabric. It is the same fabric as the chair in my living room.

Finally I decide to tackle the u.g.l.y bench, and sanding the chipped, old paint is up first. I start with 100 grit sandpaper...this is too slow. I need power tools. Enter orbital sander.

I made sure to have my safety gear - although I couldn't find a dust mask so I made one from shop paper towels.

After sanding away the old paint, next up is filling in the cracks with wood putty. Let the putty dry for a day and then lightly sand over it to smooth it out.

Then I drag the bench to the backyard for some one-on-one rattle can action. Since the furniture in the living room is dark, I decide on espresso brown spray paint. Three coats (2 cans) later and we get this.

I didn't paint where the cushion goes...and ignore the dog eating dinner.

Looking better! A new pillow seat cushion and this will be done...this should be a snap given my recent pillow success. 20 minutes later and I've made a pillow for the seat...go me!

Finished and in its rightful place,the used-to-be-empty corner of my living room. And the u.g.l.y bench is no more!
Like the art above the bench? I'll post about how I made that.


Pillow Fight

This weekend, while the hubby was at deer camp, I tackled a project that I have been wanting to do for a while - pillow making, sans sewing machine. And not only pillow making sans sewing machine, I want piping and tassels. Gulp... I am not a seamstress. I did not inherit this DIY trait from the long line of sewers (not the pipe underground) in my family. But I'm not letting a little thing like that stop me from making a pillow seat for my desk chair.

After a trip to Hobby Lobby to gather the needed supplies, I was ready to give it a go.

First step, cut the fabric to the needed size by using the foam as a guide. Easy.

Next up, turn the good sides of the fabric towards each other and iron the wrinkles out. Easy.

Now I am ready to "sew" the seams. Enter steam-a-seam...a no-sewer's best friend. This is my first time using it, so after a quick check of the directions, I cut a strip and place it on the fabric where I want the seam. Add the piping (double checking to make sure it is on the right way) and press the iron onto it, 10 seconds and counting down. Yes, it sticks!

Repeat steam-a-seam with the other piece of fabric. Voila...a seam! (I'm jumping for sewing joy now!) Easy.

Onto the tassels, aka the seat ties. In order to get both sets the same length, I measured and then placed a piece of tape around them to mark where to place the steam-a-seam. (Don't worry, the tape will be hidden inside the pillow.) Steam-a-seam the piping, place the tassels and steam-a-seam the other piece of fabric. Iron for 10 seconds and holy smokes....I've got tassels! (Now I am really jumping up and down!) Easy.

Finish the other two sides with steam-a-seam, making sure to leave a stuffing hole. Turn pillow right side out and take a breather admire your handy work. Stuff the foam insert into the hole.

To finish the job, pinch the two pieces of fabric at the stuffing hole together and pin. (I only had safety pins.) Add steam-a-seam and iron for 10 seconds. TaDa....enter my first pillow (to a flourish of trumpet sounds)!!