Friday, June 29, 2012

Slipcovering a Chair

Although I am not a sewer, I wanted to try making a slipcover for a bedroom chair. Since it's not in a high-traffic area, I hoped my limited sewing skills would work for this project.

I had an old chair sitting in the basement that was passed down from my mother-in-law. It had a nice shape but not such nice fabric. I knew this would be the perfect chair for Moussia's room since the glider that was still there since she was a baby was going to soon move to another room for my daughter's new baby (due any day now)!
I did cheat--I had both cushions professionally made by an upholsterer and I sewed the slipcover for the frame of the chair. I knew my limits and chair cushions with cording and zippers are not something I felt comfortable doing.

Here is the before photo. I already took off the cushions and sent them to the upholsterer but you can still get a good idea what it looked like. I liked the lines and it was in really good shape.

The first thing I did was cut off the shirt.
It seemed to date the chair and made it look fussy.

Next I cut fabric pieces to fit each side of the chair and pinned them in place.
This took a while but after each side was done it was time to sew.

This took a good part of my day since there were so many seams to sew.

When I was done I turned the whole slipcover inside out and had to do some "touch-up's" where my sewing wasn't quite correct.
Slipcovers are a great option to update and freshen an older upholstered chair or sofa for not much money.

Linked up to:
Fingerprints on the Fridge 
French Country Cottage
Sew Much Ado

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Painted Ceilings

As many of you know, our house is on the market. Moving is can be overwhelming and stressful, but when you're all unpacked and ready to decorate... Well... That's when the real fun begins!
I have been avidly collecting ideas on Pinterest to try out in our new house when we eventually move. One idea that I've seen done fabulously well time and time again is painted ceilings. How many of us are guilty of slapping a clean white coat of paint above our heads and considering ourselves "done" ? 
Hopefully some of these pictures will convince you otherwise. Start small--with a bathroom, office, guest bedroom, or porch.

I love a white kitchen but sometimes they can look TOO white and a bit sterile. This blue/grey ceiling sets it off the white cabinets and adds so much to a colorless room. Seeing the individual planks of wood also add great depth and texture.

Same on this porch--the rest of the room is neutral so the ceiling really adds an unexpected punch of color.

Pattern can also look amazing on a ceiling. Time consuming, yes but worth it!

How fun is this? It gives the illusion of a circus tent even though the ceiling is flat.

An understated nursery gets the wow factor with this yellow and white striped ceiling.

Not only is this blue and white striped ceiling terrific but so are the narrow floor to ceiling ledges to hold books.

I'm hoping to stencil at least one room and this photo inspires me to do the ceiling while I'm at it.

Did I inspire you to paint a ceiling? Make sure to get the rollers with the super long handles. Your back will thank you. Happy painting!

Linked to: 
Domestically Speaking

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bowls as Storage

Our granddaughter Moussia is approaching five-years-old, and quickly accumulating lots of accessories--hair clips, jewelry (right now she's obsessed with stick-on-earrings) and the usual nick-knacks most four-year-old's collect.

Her mommy and I thought maybe a jewelry box was the answer but instead I went with decorative bowls for storage. You can quickly find  exactly what you want and it's easy to put the right item back into the right spot.

Here is what the dresser top looked like before...

I started with a tray I had in our guest room that was not being used. The size was perfect but the brown color was not going to work for a little girl's room.
After a few coats of non-toxic purple craft paint it was time to gather the bowls. The large sea-green bowl was found at a local thrift shop, the small white bowls are from Pier One Imports and the pretty patterned bowl and colored glass were on sale at Anthropologie.
Although I used this idea in a girl's room, a collection of bowls can work in any room in the house. Great for a bathroom (cotton balls, floss, bobby pins), office (paperclips, rubber bands) or kitchen (salt and pepper, tea bags, sugar packets). Remember to put them on a tray!

Linked to:
i should be mopping the floor 
Keeping it Simple 
Not JUST A Housewife 
How to Nest for Less 
House of Hepworths 
Beyond the Picket Fence 
French Country Cottage 
Somewhat Simple

Friday, June 22, 2012

Shabbat Wish List

Just as your home should reflect your taste and give a sense of who you are, so should your Judaica.  I am  always on the look-out for great new pieces, whether they're made to perform these functions or not. Why can't candlesticks from Pottery Barn or a cutting board from Crate and Barrel work just as well as their equivalents from a Judaica store?

I grouped my most recent favorites into three categories: Traditional, Modern and Organic Inspired. I tend to be eclectic and could go with any of these. Check them out and see which one reflects your taste.

1. Silver-Plated Candlesticks, Pottery Barn
2. Sterling Silver Spice Box, Gallery Judaica
3. Hammered Sterling Silver Kiddush Cup, Gallery Judaica
4. Raw Silk Challah Cover-Seven Species, Yair Emanuel
5. Silver Challah Knife with Challah handle, Yair Emanuel
1. Anodized cast aluminum Kiddush cup, Yair Emanuel
2. Laura Cowen's Adam & Eve Candlesticks, The Jewish Museum
3. Plata Cover (keeps food warm), Yair Emanuel
4. Set of six Anodized Aluminum Cups, Yair Emanuel
5. Anodized Aluminum hand washing cup, Yair Emanuel

Organically Inspired
1. Raw Silk Wheat Appliqued Challah Cover, Yair Emanuel
2. Pine Cone Kiddush Cup, The Jewish Museum
3. Challah Board, Gallery Judaica
4. Beeswax Shabbat Candles, Amazon
5. Michael Aram Botanical Leaf Candlesticks, Neiman Marcus

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Button Knobs

A friend is giving us a dresser she no longer needs. With Ariel's baby due less than two weeks away, it's great timing since the baby will need a dresser of his/her own. That means playing a game of musical dressers. In the end Moussia will get the new dresser in her room.
Although it's going to be painted with a fresh coat of white paint (neutral to balance out the new color-block nightstand and all the other colorful stuff going on, click here to see her room), I thought it would be fun to glue colorful buttons to flat knobs to jazz it up just a drop.

It's not the first time I glued things to flat knobs. Last year, I updated an old console table and glued river rocks to knobs which you can read about here.

For this dresser, I started with a pack of flat knobs from Target and some fun buttons I found at Jo-Ann fabrics.
The buttons should be at least the size of the knobs or larger. You don't want the knob peeking out from behind the buttons.

If you plan on using Gorilla glue, which I recommend, use sparingly!
It expands when it dries and I used too much here. Half this amount is plenty!

Can't wait to see how they look on the dresser! Check back soon to see the finished result!

Linked up to:
Sew Much Ado
Not Just A Housewife 
Creative Jewish Mom 
House of Hepworths 
Somewhat Simple 
The Shabby Nest 
 pinterest challenge summer

Monday, June 18, 2012

Farm Share

Our daughter, Ariel gets a farm share every summer. There are many to choose from in Amherst, Massachusetts and it's a great way to have lots of fresh organic produce in your kitchen all summer. When I was visiting last week it was a "pick up" day so we packed the kids into the car and drove to the farm. 

Moussia bagged some fennel...

and picked strawberries.

Yosef helped mommy pick fresh dill...

Note to self: honey will be great for Rosh Hashanah--buy some next time!

Baby turnips and radishes will be yummy sliced into salads.
Local farms are my favorite thing about summer!

 The Lettered Cottage

Friday, June 15, 2012

Kosher Delights: Fig Preserves

People tend to either hate figs or love them. I am the latter. In the U.S. you usually find them in their original form, fresh or dried, but on an Israeli Kibbutz they've gotten a little more creative. I found this on the Challah Connection website.

You can eat this any way you would fresh or dried figs, and then some. Pair it with a ripe blue cheese or some melted Brie and serve with a dry white wine. Try spooning it over vanilla ice cream, make a salad dressing with balsamic vinegar and a good extra-virgin olive oil, or get creative and use it as a base to marinate meat or chicken, or vegetables (asparagus broiled in a fig sauce glaze.... mmm).
Bon Appetite! Or, as they say in Israel, Betayavon!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Toy Store Decor

When you're a grandparent, you spend a LOT of time in toy stores. Sometimes, when I'm babysitting and it's not a "park" day, it's a toy store day-- our afternoon outing. I always try and buy a little something to not be rude since Moussia and Yosef tear up the store out of sheer joy.

Being obsessed with interior design, I'm always looking at how to incorporate things into room decor and a toy store is no exception.
Take these foam flowers--how cute would they look in a girl's bedroom?

Or these paper parasols?
 You could use them to cover an unattractive light fixture in any room of the house.

This display could be a great inspiration for a children's play room. It would be easy to find some wood balls, paint them and attach to the top of a bookcase or bed.

A favorite of many designers are globes.

A collection of these in various sizes can look great on top of a bookcase or desk...
Like this photo I found on Pinterest.

How about these gorgeous wood balls made for babies by Manhattan Toy?
I would totally have these sitting on a bookshelf for display or in a bowl on my coffee table!

And, these paper mobiles from Djeco Toys are so beautiful, it's a shame to only use them for the kids!
I'm thinking of adding one to my new studio...
Happy Decorating!

Linked to:
Sew Much Ado 
Naptime Review 
House of Hepworths 
The Shabby Nest

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hartford Show House 2012

One of my favorite things about Spring is visiting the Show Houses that are open in the area. This year I only made it to one--the Junior League of Hartford Show House. They always pick a big historic mansion with beautiful grounds. This one was no exception. It was built in 1921, takes up 7,000 square feet, and was home to former Connecticut State Senator Alfred Wechsler.

I often get great ideas from these annual Spring field trips and file them away for my own use.

The foyer was done by Ammatti Design. I loved the round table in the center of the room and the orbs and vases staged on the top. (By the way-- can you see that amazing wall in the bathroom? Yes, the one that looks upholstered. Well, that's tile!)

 I thought the floor was a wood inlay but when I took a closer look I realized it was stenciled!
Having just completed a stencil project, I can't imagine how long this took. But it is gorgeous!

On the opposite wall in the foyer was a small sitting area.
The salon style group of artwork is beautifully done, and check out that gorgeous embroidery on the seat below.

Next I wandered into the sun porch by Gallway Stallard. The white and turquoise are so fresh and inviting! It's a little breath of tropical for New England.
I love how they didn't use traditional porch furniture like wicker and gave the windows an "indoor" window treatment.

Furniture is another thing I photograph to steal copy get inspiration from for future painting project.
This tortoise matchbook faux painted chest in the dining room by Lafalce, Campbell & Robbin took my breath away--I'd love to do this but wouldn't even know where to start!

This one in Richard Ott's space might be easier to do with some chalk paint and molding.
Notice the tacks hammered into the edges of the sisal rug. Great idea!

My all-time favorite room in the Show House was this child's play room by Period Design and Hahn Interiors. 
I always seem to be working on a bedroom or play area for my grandchildren and this one is so inspirational--playful yet so sophisticated! LOVE the subtle yellow stripes on the walls and the center of attention light fixture.

Another favorite room was this boys room by Cynthia Mason Interiors. Check out what she did with canvas! She wanted it to feel like a tent and a wilderness camp.
Our son Ben, who is very outdoorsy, would have loved this room when he was a boy.

Great idea--using real branches for drawer pulls.

The last area I visited was the garden by General Landscaping. So many simple ideas that anyone can incorporate in their own yards.
Left: a floating deck...I always think of a deck being attached to a house but there's no reason is can't just "float" in the middle of the yard. Right: You don't have to use flowers to get a lush beautiful pot--a variety of greens looks great!

These stones are a great alternative to mulch and give much more contrast.

This raised vegetable bed shows that you can grow veggies and make it look great.  (Take note, gods of the zoning committees.) Painting the boards of the raised bed makes it look much more sophisticated.
Great way to spend a spring day!

Linked to:
Not JUST A Housewife

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