Decorating for Autumn

I usually don’t put up autumn decorations (because I didn’t really have any), but this year I decided to change that.  I had a hard time figuring out how to decorate my mantel without going out and buying more things, but I think it turned out cute in the end.  How do you decorate for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or autumn in general?

 

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The pumpkin picture I took in 2012. The banner I bought at Target for a few dollars. Everything else was purchased at various places like Jo-Ann Fabrics and HomeGoods.

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3 Year Blogiversary!

I created the project board exactly 3 years ago today.  I’d like to highlight some of my favorite posts from the past year.

Click on the picture to be taken to that post.

  1. Autumn Leaves – October 3, 2014
    October2. 2015 Calendar – December 10, 2014January
    3. Coffee Chocolate Cake – January 11, 2015

    Coffee_Cake4. My Starter Story – January 18, 2015
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    5. I Made Bread! – January 19, 2015
    IMG_633426.  Foggy Day – March 10, 2015
    IMG_64217. Refinished Buffet – July 14, 2015
    Buffet1_words8. Moths and Butterflies – July 25, 2015

    moth9. Morning Light – August 28, 2015
    IMG_976010. I Opened an Etsy Shop! – August 30, 2015
    CongratsDots1You can see the highlights from my first and second year of blogging are also available.

    Thanks to everyone who has followed me over the past three years!

My Starter Story

My husband and I recently looked at pictures we took when we were house hunting during the summer of 2011.  The first house we looked at was located on an acre of land just outside of a small city.  Three things I absolutely loved about the house: it had a huge bay window in the living room, about 30 beautiful ash trees in the front yard, and the location was ideal for us.
house

We put in an offer on the house, but another couple came in with a higher offer, so we had to continue searching for our first home.

Throughout August, September, and October, we looked at several houses each week and didn’t find anything that stood out to us. Then we received a call from our realtor.  The couple who put an offer on the first house we were interested in changed their minds and the house was up for sale again!  After a week or two of negotiating, the house was ours.

On a lovely November weekend, our families helped us move from our tiny apartment to our new house 25 miles away.

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(left to right) my mom, sister, and me on moving day. The house was a bit of a mess!

After we bought our house, I was really excited but also a bit overwhelmed because I knew we had a lot of work to do before the house would look and feel like a home to us.   Our 900 square foot apartment didn’t allow us to have much furniture, so our new place looked rather empty by comparison.  People who came to see our house would ask, “Where is all of your stuff?” to which I would reply, “We don’t have any!”

Since we had just spent a majority of our savings on the down payment for the house, we couldn’t afford to rush out and purchase new items to fill up the empty space.  Instead, I had to get smart and creative.  Emily Clark’s Blog was super helpful to me because she posts before and after pictures of furniture she’s refinished.  Prior to reading her blog, I had no idea that old pieces of furniture could be brought back to life like that!

Here are some projects I’ve completed over the past few years:

Hall cupboard
I found this at a Goodwill store for $25.  You can’t tell from the picture, but it had a bunch of scratches on it and the color of the wood was outdated. The paint I used was only $3, bringing the total to $28.

Cupboard

Wood Pew
My father-in-law bought this pew for $5 and gave it to my husband and me.  We originally had it outside on our porch, but I thought it would look better inside.  I sanded it, stained it with red mahogany stain, and topped it with three coats of semi-gloss polycrylic.  There are two pillows on it – one I made and one I bought, and I also made the cushion.  Total cost comes to about $30.

Pew

Bed Frame
When I moved in to my college apartment, I bought a brass bed frame from a garage sale for super cheap.  It was fine for back then, but I didn’t like the look of the brass and it didn’t match anything in our new house.  I painted on primer and spray painted it black so that the bed frame went with the other furniture I had planned for the guest room.

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I also refinished a glider chair, a night stand, and my dining room table, but I won’t go in to depth about those as they were featured in previous blog posts.

And when you put it all together with a fresh coat of paint on the walls and some decor:
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The biggest mistake I’ve made so far is the paint color I originally picked out for our entryway.  I remember telling my husband that one of my least favorite colors is country blue and then weeks later I picked this color for the entryway.  In my defense, I didn’t realize how blue it was going to look until after it was done.  Below are pictures of what the room started as (it was a light yellow when we moved it), the horrible blue I picked out, and then the color it is now.

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If you’re interested, you can find additional pictures and stories of our home in the below posts that I’ve written previously:

1. Our Home Then and Now (September 2014)
2. Adventures in Removing Wall Paper (May 2013)
3. Kitchen Gets a Facelift (April 2013)
4. Bedroom Makeover Pictures (January 2013)
5. Bathroom Before and After (October 2012)

Thanks so much for reading!

Empty Frame Wall Decor

I’ve been looking for something to hang above an antique couch for a few months.  I wanted to get something other than a picture.  Maybe a large clock or a shelf of some kind, but I couldn’t find anything I liked that was in my price range.

Then, a coworker left this picture behind when he took another job and I saw its potential.  Here’s what it looked like:

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You can’t really tell from the “after” picture, but I put a layer of teal paint on it and then a layer of white paint.  Then I took a piece of sandpaper and distressed it.  And I removed the beach picture.

Here it is now:

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It was super fast and easy because I already had everything I needed.  Hooray for free decor!

Our Home Then and Now

We moved in to our place about three years ago and we’ve worked hard to make our house a home.  Shown below are now and then pictures.  The “before” pictures were taken a week or two after we moved in and the “after” pictures were taken today.

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Living room

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Living room

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Living room

bedroom

Guest bedroom

entryway

Entryway

I hope you like what we’ve done!

My Old Bedroom

My old bedroom at my parents’ house went un-lived in for 10 years and it started to turn in to a storage space.  It was painted a greyish lavender after I moved out but my mom thought it make the room look too dark and she was ready to clean the space up and get it ready to use as a guest room.  That’s where I come in!

I bought some pictures, made curtains, picked out some paint, and got to work.  With the help of my mom, we completely made over the space in 7 hours.  Here are the before and after pictures.

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My mom painted the picture hanging above the dresser

Before_After1 Before_After3The paint we used is “Silver Marlin” by Behr and is a light grey color.  The curtains are “Suzani Slub Yellow/White” by Premier Prints.  There’s no bed yet, but we’ll get one in there soon.

Refinishing Cushions: a How-to Guide

Here is how I refinished the cushions on my glider chair.

1. Figure out how much fabric to use
If your cushion is like mine, it will have creases that you will have to account for.  The first thing I did was lay the new fabric upside down on top of the cushion and push the fabric in to the creases.

IMG_4383Then I drew a line on all four sides of the cushion, where I would need to sew the seam.
IMG_4385Then I removed the cushion and cut out the shape, about and inch out from where I drew the line.  Then I cut an identical piece for the back of the cushion.
IMG_43882. Iron the fabric and hem the bottom.  Do this for both pieces (the front and back of the cushion).
IMG_43893. Sew the front and back together.  Only sew the two sides and the top.  You’ll need to keep the bottom open so you can pull it over the cushion.

4. Make the loops.  Instead of trying to cover the existing loops, I thought it would be easier just to tuck the old ones under the new fabric and then make my own.  I measured the old loops and then folded and sewed fabric of the same length.  I then pulled the cushion fabric right side up, opened up holes for the loops, pinned them in place, pulled the fabric inside out again, and then ironed.  It’s hard to explain; I hope the picture helps:

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I pushed the loops in to holes I created in the fabric and then I pinned it in place. (as shown above). After this picture was taken, I pulled the fabric inside out and then sewed the loops in place.

And now you should have something like this:
IMG_43965. Make the creases. Pull the fabric over the cushion and then pin the fabric down into the creases.
IMG_4397I then hand sewed the creases.  My cushion had a crease in the back as well, so I made sure to follow both the front and back creases as I went.  This part took some time.

6.  Sew the bottom.  Once your crease is sewn in, you’re almost finished with the top cushion!  The only thing left is to sew the bottom shut.  You can do this with a sewing machine.

7. Cover the bottom cushion
I actually don’t have any pictures of this process because I didn’t know what was going to work until I was finished.  Here’s what I did:

  • I cut fabric that would go on the top and bottom of the cushion and then I cut fabric that would fit on all three sides. Now, this is the first time ever sewed something with 3 dimensions (vs. something 2-dimensional like a pillowcase) and it took me a while to get it right.
  • For the back side of the cushion, I only sewed it to the top of the fabric.  I left it open at the bottom so I could fit the fabric over the cushion once it was finished.  Like this:
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    It’s not cut very pretty, but that’s okay because it ends up hidden.  The bottom piece (that has the jagged edge) is the fabric that is for the bottom part of the cushion.  I just left it long  so it could fold up over the back.  The part I’m holding up is a piece I cut for the back edge. 

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    Fold the fabric down and now the back of the cushion is covered. This makes it easy to take the fabric off the cushion and wash it if needed.

    • For each button on the cushion, I cut a round piece of fabric, pulled thread around the outside, fitted it on the button and then pulled the thread tight to tighten the fabric on to the button.  Then, once the slip for the bottom cushion was finished, I cut small slits in it and then pulled the buttons through the top.  The end result was this:

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That’s it!  Sorry if any of this was confusing; feel free to leave a message if you’d like clarification on anything or additional pictures.  Also, I am no expert, so it’s okay if you come up with a different plan for your project.