Reupholstering Dining Chair Seats

I am no upholstery wiz.  I leave the big stuff to the professionals.  But no-sew little seat cushions, no problem.  I showed you my neighbors new/old breakfast area dining set here.  Now, here is how we covered those seats.

This is what the chairs looked like before:


My neighbor had done her homework and bought 2 inch foam padding for the seats and cut them to size.  We glued the foam to the old woven seats.


Then we laid out the fabric and measured.  With the 2 inches of foam, the 1 inch of the original seat and at least an inch to staple, we needed to cut our squares with an additional 4 inches on each side of the seat.


I am an advocate of measuring twice and cutting once!  I am also an advocate of cutting squares, not cutting to the shape of the object being covered.  Why, you ask?  Because you can always trim excess fabric but you can’t put it back on!


That’s my neighbor, cutting away! Smile


Now, you lay the seat with the foam on top, foam side down, and pull up one side of the fabric.  Then you staple it into place.  Then you pull the fabric from the opposite side nice and tight and staple into place.  I do opposite sides so that the fabric gets pulled very tight and looks nice and smooth.


Keep the staples close together so that the fabric stays stretched.  You can replace the cushions on the chair frames and voila!  It’s just like new!




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Home Stories A to Z

Weekly Menu 8/26–8/30

Today is the most gorgeous Carolina day!  Clear blue sky, perfect temperature, no humidity!  I am so content.  I’m cooking up some of my favorites to celebrate the weather.

Monday – Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Tuesday – White Chicken Chili Tacos (chicken tacos with white beans and cilantro)

Wednesday – Pasta Bolognese

Thursday – Corn Flake Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas

Friday – Grilled Shrimp and Corn with Cucumber Salad

A Neighbor’s New Breakfast Area


A couple of weeks ago, one of my fantastic neighbors asked if I would go fabric shopping with her.  Um, YES! 

She had inherited a dining set from some neighbors that were moving and she wanted to refinish it and put some cloth on the seats.  She read my blog and knew I loved decorating.  She wanted my advice on what direction to go in.  Her family all felt that it was time to brighten up their house with lighter finishes.  The new dining set was off white with a wood top.  My neighbor had been working very hard on stripping the top and repainting the legs and chairs.  She did a great job!!!

So, before we went shopping I asked her some questions about colors.  She said her favorite colors were magenta and indigo.  My first thought was that we were headed down a purple path.  Now, my neighbor has a husband and a son so I was guessing a “girly” purple wouldn’t work for them.  As we headed to the fabric store (her awesome daughter was with us too) I just figured we would be looking for a muted purple with some earthy brown or gold and cream just to keep it masculine AND feminine.  I was WRONG!

When I am assisting someone with their décor choices, I don’t like to run the show.  It is their house, not mine.  They have to live there and be happy.  I’m just there to tell them if it is ugly and what would go well with their choices.  I’m more of a color consultant, if you will. 

As we strolled aisle after aisle of fabric I noticed that my neighbor and her daughter were leaning in the blue direction.  And their pattern choices were very organic – natural pallette, free form pattern, etc.  Nothing we came across was really knocking their socks off, until we found this:


Beautiful!  That was the one!  There was no hesitation and no question about it.  This was the direction to go in.

The chairs started off like this:


Now they look like this:



( I will do a tutorial in another post so you can see how we did it!)

I also suggested this rug:

Bar Harbor Gelato Rug (8' x 10')


And these curtains:

Pair of Rod Pocket Curtains in Village Blue and Natural Chipper Ikat print

from Etsy

I thought they would really complete the space.  It is still a work in progress because all good things take time, but the hard part is done.  A color scheme has been chosen and a beautiful refinish has been done.  Don’t you love a happy ending?

(Thank you, Marisa, for being a wonderful neighbor and seeking my advice.  It made me feel wonderful!)

Taming the “Junk Drawer”

C’mon, you know you have one!  We all do.  It’s that drawer in your kitchen that you just toss everything in to – spare keys, batteries, pens, tape, old candy, those crappy toys your kids get in goodie bags.  Yes, that drawer.

Yesterday I decided to clean mine.  And just an FYI, I actually have two of them.

This is just a sample of what I pulled out:

(Sorry for the bad photos.  My digital is giving me trouble lately.  Had to use the iPhone!)


And I filled the trash can!


I bought drawer organizers at Target.  I believe these are intended for just this purpose.  Actually, I found them with the silverware.


After all of the heavy purging I ended up with a lot of stuff.  I designated one drawer for household items we use regularly.  The other drawer was for quick access home improvement stuff like nails, hammer, screwdrivers and paint touch-up.  By tossing all the packaging and keeping only the product, I found a lot of space!

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Now I am left with an organized “communication” center.  Pads, pens and pencils are at the ready.  Need new batteries?  They are right here!  A picture needs hanging and I know just where to go!  On top of the counter I have quick access stuff – a basket with the dog brush, a note pad, pens and scissors, a box of tissues and a file with school papers.  Plus the phone and my iHome speakers for some tunes while we clean and cook!


Home organization makes me happy!  Next up- THE PANTRY!!!


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A Bowl Full of Lemons September Link Party

Weekly Menu 8/19–8/23

It’s the first day of school!  My house is quiet (and messy)!  I’ll be able to get a few things done!  Yippee!  But I’m also a bit sad – my youngest started Kindergarten today.  She’s so grown up!  And my other one barely said goodbye this morning.  He just jumped out of the car and headed to class.  They don’t seem to need me as much anymore.  Boo hoo!  So I always remind them that if I wasn’t around there just wouldn’t be any good food to eat!  And the house would be a mess.  And there wouldn’t be fantastic decorating.  And no clean clothes.  Or shopping.  I could go on.  But they seem to get the point…. sometimes.

This week is meant for yummy suppers with a hint of fall comfort.  I loooove fall and nothing signals fall like the first day of school!

Monday – Spinach Grilled Cheese with Tomato Basil Soup (there’s that Meatless Monday again!)

Tuesday – Chinese Chicken Salad ( I use real chicken instead of canned – eeeewwww!)

Easy Yummy Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe

Wednesday – Dijon Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin with Apple Salad

Easy Brown Sugar and Dijon Glazed Pork Loin

Thursday – Flank Steak Roulade with Smashed Garlic Potatoes

Stuffed Flank Steak

Friday – Salt and Pepper Sea Bass with Asparagus and Hollandaise Sauce (super easy Hollandaise that I can’t wait to try!!)

Sea Bass with Spring Herb Hollandaise Sauce Recipe at

Paint Choices–Always Test Them!

My painter is coming today and I just decided what color to use – yesterday.  I have spent so much money at Sherwin Williams on sample quarts.  I have to think of a way to use them elsewhere in the house.  A bathroom,  perhaps?

Right now, my walls look like this:


Each beige is labeled.  I have held up fabric swatches to them.  I have looked at them in the morning light, evening light and candle light.  I have agonized over the perfect beige.  Because basically, I get one shot.  I have 2 story walls and an open floor plan.  It has to be the perfect color because a “do-over” is quite pricey.  There will be very tall ladders here in just a short time.  And several painters.   If I had not tested them I would have gone with a color that is terrible for this room.  But it looks great on the paint swatch!  And then I would have had to live with it.  Terrible..But I’ve made the choice after sampling.

No going back now.  The color I finally chose is Softer Tan by Sherwin Williams.


It looks very dark here.  But on my walls it looks like this:


Kind of grey, but warmer than a grey.  I like it!  It will go with everything and lighten up the space.  Right now it is painted a soft gold, which is fine.  But it is original builder paint and has seen 12 years of wear and tear.  It’s time for a refresher!  I can’t wait to hang pictures and share it with you!!!!

Weekly Menu 8/12–8/16

I can’t believe that it is the last week of summer!  Where did the time go?  We have had a fantastic summer, but I think it is time to go back to school.  I crave the structure and the schedule that goes along with school.  I think, secretly, my kids do too.

Monday – 3 Bean Enchiladas – we are sticking with Meatless Mondays!

Tuesday – Spaghetti Carbonara – this is one of my favorites!!


Wednesday – Shrimp Stir Fry

Thursday – Burgers and Grilled Corn on the Cob

Friday – this weekend is going to be spent getting ready for school so it’s a chefs choice day.  Whatever I have in the fridge is what is for dinner. 

Mission Accomplished: Family “Drop Zone”

The first day of school is rapidly approaching and I have vowed to get organized!  And by get organized, I mean my whole life.  But baby steps, right?  I can’t accomplish it all at once.  I know it’s a process to get organized.  And it can come undone quickly!  I proved this with my 2 moves this past year.  I also proved that living in chaos is not good for my mental health!  So, now that we are in our permanent residence, I see no reason to reside in a state of chaos.  My children have gotten so comfortable just dropping their stuff wherever that I trip over piles of junk whenever I walk in from the garage.  And my kitchen counter has bits of paper, mail, post it notes, you name it, with no particular home.  I don’t have a visible calendar for the whole family to keep track of one another.  I frequently forget to put stuff in my computer calendar.  We were 20 minutes late for the princesses dance recital because I wrote it down wrong.  I am a mess!  But I WILL get organized before 2014!  With you all as my witnesses!


For organizing our lives, I decided to begin with the door we enter our house through – the garage.  My kids kick off their shoes and toss them into the adjacent laundry room, drop their bags and skip off to do whatever they want.  I toss the mail on the kitchen counter and whatever items of importance are lying around.  The entry and counter look like this:


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I had all of these great organizational items from my old house, I just hadn’t done anything with them yet.  And I wasn’t sure how to arrange them on the walls.  The space isn’t that big.  So I unrolled some craft paper and began making templates.  You can see my favorite pooch, Murphy, jumped in to help.



I traced and cut templates of all the items I planned to hang.  Then I hung them on the wall just to get proper placement.  I didn’t want the dry erase calendars hanging too low because my kiddos would rub up against them and then I’d be rewriting all the time.  And the hooks had to be at child height.  And everything had to be usable.  I messed around with some placement and finally settled on one.

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I measured and leveled and hung.  I used the “tape method” for proper hanging.


Now I have this:

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Everything has its own place.  Mail has a basket, chore charts have a basket, hats have hooks.  The calendars are hung and a bulletin board displays awards, art and important messages.  Now if I can just find a narrow little bench to set the backpacks on, we are in business!!  But it will do for keeping it together when school starts!  One organizational project down, a hundred more to go!

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Baskets are from Pottery Barn, hooks and calendars are from Target, bulletin board is from HomeGoods, backpacks are from Pottery Barn Kids.

Southern Summer Sipper


On my last beach vacation to Kiawah Island, SC, my family had dinner at a fantastic BBQ place on the island.  All of the meats are smoked in house and all of the sauces are made in house.  Even better, this year they had a new cocktail menu.  I tried a cocktail called the Black Buffalo because I was intrigued by two of its ingredients: basil and balsamic vinegar.  Seriously?!  I a cocktail!  I had to try it.  I knew it would back a punch because it was made with Kentucky Bourbon.  But what goes better with real barbeque, but bourbon?

Needless to say, it was delicious.  But once we got home I couldn’t remember what else was in it.  I knew it wasn’t all bourbon and balsamic!  I tried a little concoction of my own.  It tasted very similar so I was thrilled.  I’m not going to steal their name, the Black Buffalo, but I like Black and Basil.


Black and Basil

1 shot Kentucky Bourbon

1 large basil leaf, torn into smaller pieces

1 tsp. good balsamic vinegar

Juice of 1/2 a lime

Ginger Ale

Place the torn up basil in a rocks glass and fill with ice.  Add the bourbon and balsamic.  Fill to the top with ginger ale and squeeze in the lime.  Stir and sip.


I have visions of this going perfectly with a grilled steak and a balsamic reduction sauce.  I’m going to have to try that!  Soon!

Weekly Menu 8/5–8/9

I have decided that my family needs more vegetables.  This is not a new realization, its just the first time I’m going to do something about it.  I am prepared for the meltdowns at the dinner table and the whining about how disgusting green foods are.  But I will be strong!

Monday – Meatless Monday with Vegetable Lasagne – layers of veggies create the noodles and lots of gooey cheese!

Tuesday – Broiled Fish with Asparagus and Hollandaise Sauce – I had dinner at a fancy pants restaurant on Friday and got something similar.  This will be my attempt to recreate it.  The kids will have homemade fish sticks.

Wednesday – Italian Pasta Salad with Sopressata

Thursday – Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Apple Spinach Salad

Friday – My son has a book club meeting so we will all go out to dinner after.  My guess I pizza.  Ugh!  I swear that I need a pizza oven in my kitchen!!