Welcome to the North

Sunday was so busy!! JP had to get ready to leave for Saskatchewan and we needed to get his work van from the shop, so we left our place early (well, early for me on a Sunday) to grab it. We came back home and JP made us Sunday morning breakfast. We opted for bacon and eggs instead of pancakes this time. After that he headed to band practice and I met up with a friend at hot yoga. I hadn't gone in over a month and nearly died! Plus I don't think bacon is the best choice of food right before stretching and balancing in a sauna-like room. I definitely sat most of the class out, but I'm still feeling it today! lol. JP and I got home from yoga and band practice around the same time. He left for work  and I met up with one of my best friends, Simran. She just got back for the holidays from Australia where she's going to med school. I'm so proud of her!! She's my friend that took photo developing with me in high school, so we had to go out on a photo adventure like old time together!!
(jacket - Gap, jeggings - 34 Heritage [Aritzia], sweater-vest & scarf - Forever 21,
bag - Spring, boots - Sorel, hat - American Eagle)
(tights - H&M, cardigan - vintage, purse - TNA)

How to Upholster a Chair

Upholstering is an often overlooked way to update older chairs or to change them to match your style. It's easy (yes!) and lots cheaper than replacing furniture. Plus, there's just something about having old furniture... it's so much more more sturdy and classic than anything you can buy new. Plus, it often has special significance, like these dining chairs that were my husband's great-grandma's. There's no way way we were getting rid of them, but the fabric on them just didn't really match the look we are going for in our dining room. I decided to re-upholster them and I was able to do all 8 in one night!
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You will need:
  • chair(s) with cushioned seats
  • screwdriver
  • upholstery fabric
  • staple gun with staples
upholstery 01
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The first step is to carefully measure the chair seat(s) to be upholstered. Add 4-6 inches of fabric to all sides, depending on how cushy the seats are, and you're all set. We purchased our upholstery fabric at Joann's Fabric. I believe that most Joann's stores carry *some* upholstery fabric, but we went to a "Super Joann's" for the most selection. They had tons of choices, from very classic designs to super contemporary. We brought along paint chips for color matching and that worked great! Also, if you shop at Joann's often, you'll know to be sure to clip a 40 or 50% off coupon from the paper before you head out because upholstery fabric is kind of pricey (though still cheaper than a new chair!).
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After you have your fabric, remove the seat from the chair. (Not all chairs are made the same... some seats are not removable, some have cushioned backs, etc. You will just have to adapt this tutorial to fit the chair(s) you are working with.) My seat was attached to the chair with screws at all four corners and I found it easiest to un-screw the screws by *carefully* placing the chair I was working with upside-down on top of another. This put an even amount of pressure on all four corners, even after some of the screws had been removed.

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While the chair is seat-less, it's a perfect time to get out the dust cloth and furniture polish and go to town!

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It also helps if you have a cute assistant to hold your screwdriver until you need it again!

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Ok, back to the upholstery. As I noted before, there are lots of types of chairs and therefore lots of ways to do this. When I examined my chair seat, I realized it had a covering on the back and I decided that instead of removing all the fabric and then trying to replace the backing, I would just upholster over the previous fabric. Another bonus to this is that everything I am doing is now reversible, should we ever decide to revert back to the old fabric.

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Cut your fabric to fit your chair seat, leaving 4-6 inches extra around all sides. If your fabric has a large symmetrical pattern (like mine does below), you will probably want to make sure that the center of the pattern is in the center of your piece - before cutting! Then after you cut, line up the fabric on your chair seat, being careful that everything is centered and straight (this is not really an issue with some fabrics - solids or those with small repeating prints or patterns, but was a BIG issue with the fabric I picked).

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When you are satisfied that everything is centered nicely, start folding the top and bottom edges snugly around the seat.

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Put a single staple in the center top and bottom of the fabric along the outside edge of the back of the seat. If you don't use a staple gun often, you may have to practice a little to get your technique down. Make sure to use even, heavy force throughout the gun. I put extra pressure on the top part of the gun as shown below. If the staples aren't going in straight, you can pull them out with a pliers and start again, or you can tap them in a little farther with a hammer.
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Check again to make sure everything is lined up and then put a single staple in the center of both the right and left side. At this point I took some time to make sure everything was lined up perfectly because it was still easy to remove staples. Later it will be harder to do, so make sure it's straight and just how you like it!

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Once it's all lined up and each side has a staple holding it down, start tacking down the rest of the fabric with staples. I like to work symmetrically, it keeps the fabric from pulling and getting wonky. (Wonky is a bad thing when upholstering!) I would add a couple staples to the top (usually one to the right and one to the left of the previous staple(s)) and then do the same thing on the bottom. Then the same to the left and right sides of the seat. Staples should be 1-2" apart from each other for the best hold. You'll want to make sure the fabric is snug as you're working (so that you don't get wrinkles or loose fabric), but don't pull too tight otherwise the fabric will stretch irregularly and your seat will turn out wonky (see, there it is again!). Check as you go to make sure everything is still lined up correctly Keep this up until you have staples along the length of each side up to about 3" from each corner.
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Now you can trim the excess fabric. I left about 1/2" to 1" of fabric along the staples, just so nothing comes loose. I also left extra fabric in a strip at each of the four corners so that I could fold them up nicely.

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Here's how I did the corners. I tucked the extra fabric underneath the center strip so that I had one long strip and then pulled the fabric tightly from the corner of the seat to the backside of the cushion. You may have to fanagle it a little to get it straight and pretty. Also don't be afraid to trim more fabric so that it lays nice and flat. Then I stapled it down really well. My staples went in really tightly, but if you are concerned, you can put a few extra staples in the corners.

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Then just trim off the excess.

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Do the same for all four corners and you're done!

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Now just screw the seat back onto the chair (I used the same chair-upside-down-on-another-chair method and it worked great because I could use pressure on the screws while not harming the chair).

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Flip your chair over and VOILA! Just like new!

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As I mentioned in the beginning, all chairs are slightly different, but most aren't too difficult. Just don't be afraid to play around with the fabric until you figure it out. With a little TLC, even an ugly chair can become your very favorite!

thanksgiving oh ten

thanksgiving weekend,

you are a glorious 5 nights long & i love you.  it is good to give thanks.

heart-
jen

this weekend has been so blessed.  lots of relaxing, feasting, friends, family, learning, decorating, shopping & more.

after work wednesday evening benny & i packed up & headed off to northern kentucky to see his family.  i was so looking forward to this trip.  it is so rare that we get to go home so i really cherish that time.  we got up there around 7:30 or so...just in time for homemade pizzas.  yum yum.  i'm lame & plain so ben was forced to share a boring pepperoni & cheese with me but it was oh so very nice.  theeeen we played fact or crap.  ever heard of it?  it was hilarious & fun.  i lost.  i'm the opposite of competitive so i'm perhaps the perfect loser.  the only troubling thing is that my non-spiritual, spiritual gift is guessing and i was terrible in a game all about guessing so...i hope i haven't lost it!

thanksgiving day was beyond chill.  we hung out around the brzinski household, snacked, visited, watched the macy's parade, football & home alone.  kind of a veg out but still very nice.  ben's pop made all the fixin's.  he is a great chef!  he even fried us up a turkey.  and an opportunity to eat pumpkin pie?  sign me up. 
{set up for turkey day: round two}
{pumpkin roll}
{mmm pumpkin piiiiie}
{it looked like this all day...but the next day we had snow!}
{what i did during avatar...colored like a 5 year old.  i'm a notorious hand-turkey artist}
{neat coffee, i just want the can}
friday i was getting restless.  stir-crazy if you will.  i was terrified of black friday shoppers so i didn't want to go out and about but i desperately wanted to get out of the house.  ben & i went to lunch {skyline lunch #1} and ran a few errands.  then after coercing we also went to nky's yl leadership.  it was so great to see some of our friends.  ben davis talked about the kingdom & about living like it matters today.  living today with eternity in mind. it was really awesome to be reminded of that.  from there ben headed to the ryle/trinity playoff football game.  we both graduated from ryle and love to cheer on our raiders but i don't like to cheer when the temperature is anywhere near the teens so i bowed out.  ben & his brother went, saw old friends and watch our team suffer a loss.  i think they still had a good time.

i was hoping to get ahold of my dear friend tudge to visit during that time but failed...so what's a girl to do?  probably go to the mall on black friday night.  this is genius. i can't believe i'm sharing my newly found secret.  no one was there.  just me and like 3 other people.  and there were still sales!  i should do all my christmas shopping on black friday night next year!  if i had the slightest clue what i was getting for my family it would have been tremendously helpful that night.

i made some purchases for cheapity cheap {h&m, i love you} & then headed to the margrave's for a hangout.  i love our friends.

saturday we had discussed a big plan of ikea & north face outlet shopping but after much deliberation decided against it.  instead we went stopped by verizon {ben got a new phone...one that hasn't taken a dip in the hot tub} and it is working perfectly!  turns out that verizon is on a mission to punish anyone who isn't interested in a smart phone or a data package.  there we two, i repeat two phones available in the store that didn't require you to pay for a monthly data package.  those thieves!  and then we went to old navy where i got a new pair of jeans {$15}.  i am in desperate need...i have worn my original pair of o.n. skinny jeans thread bare.  then off to lunch with two of our favoritest couples, the margraves and the ridds {skyline lunch #2}.  james was there to eat with us and is a doll!  rach finds out if she's having a little boy or girl tomorrow so we discussed our guesses {i guess girl} & just visited & visited.

here we are...i'm dirty and pale.  this picture mades me feel sad about myself but i really like my husband so i'm ok with it.  look at that beard.  it's no shave november.  what a cutie.
from there we cut our trip short and headed home.  i just felt like we had so much to do and so little time so we needed to get back.  i was desperately wanting to put our christmas tree and get festive so that is exactly what we did.  {post coming soon to a blogger near you}  while still doing plenty on napping and lounging we got so much accomplished: grocery store trip, christmas tree up, mini tree up, kitchen table, dining room table & sofa table christmafied, trip to two fabric stores to clean up the deals, errands to collect girl christmas craft supplies, clean bathrooms, laundry, visit to holly & jenna's, campaigners  & team meeting all complete!  and our front yard was raked because we literally have the nicest neighbor in the entire world.  that man deserves some banana bread.

late to bed, late to rise.  that was my unintentional theme for the week.  i know i will inevitably be a mess as early monday morning rolls around.  i dread it already.

O.K. last one...

I promise..

For now!

Sweet Babies.

How sweet this baby sleeps.. and if you're thinking my new grand-daughter is here, you would be wrong...
This is my baby doll, isn't she sweet?


Meet one of my 'Carlos' dolls and yes.. I got them at auction! they came with their original folkloric clothes which aren't shown in this photo, these are my gown and cap.




 This I made today, a diaper stacker to match the previous set.





Greetings from Paris!

Paris, Texas, that is!


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On Saturday, hubby and I took a little trip. We love antiquing and couldn't pass up the chance to take a drive and look for cool old stuff! We got a late start, so we decided to go to Greenville, Texas because we checked online and there seemed to be several (5-6) decent looking shops. One thing about antique shopping is that most stores don't have good websites, in fact most have no websites, and you are lucky to find a listing in an antiques circular or local webpage. In fact, I think that the best ones are those that have no advertisements... mom-and-pop-type stores that look like they've been there forever... dust half an inch thick... I love it! Those are the kinds of places where you feel you could make a great find, because *anything* could be hiding under a pile of boxes in the corner!

The store pictured below was not one of them (lol, kind of crappy) but was a beautiful building!

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Our favorite store in Greenville was this one called "Muzzy's Alley". Half of the building had been a sports bar or cafe and parts of the restaurant were for sale right along with the antiques. There was everything from player pianos, to motorcycles, to boats, to carnival rides and everything in between. The main floor of the shop was chaotic, to say the least. But then, we ventured upstairs. This place was crazy cool. Like the old, dilapidated, freaky, floor-might-fall-out-from-under-you, or something-could-grab-you-from-the-shadows type of cool.


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Seriously, to actually see all the stuff up there you would need a flashlight. But the excitement of knowing that you *could* find something special that has long been forgotten made all the potential dangers fully worth the risk.


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We didn't actually find anything in the freaky attic (though we might have to return later with a flashlight!), but hubby did find a treasure in the main part of the store - a Tom's Peanut's tray that would have been carried around a man's neck and sold at baseball games. My husband has lots of Tom's items and hadn't ever seen one of these... so he had to have it!

Here's another unique building we saw in Greenville. It used to be a car dealership, but is now a costume shop.

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We didn't find any more treasures in Greenville (though I did find a beautiful buffet with a mirror that would look great in our house... if only we had a spot for it!), and after we ate lunch it was still early, so we decided to venture on a bit further. We drove to Commerce, Texas which had a gorgeous old town square... very Western-ish with brick-paved streets and low-slung buildings with awnings and front porches. Unfortunately no pictures. Also, unfortunately it was almost completely empty. Like a ghost town. We found only one antique store, though there were signs that there had been others since closed. The one antique store was closed for the day, but it looked pretty neat. Too bad.

So, then we were more than 2/3 of the way to Paris... and if you're that close, you just have to go... if only to see the miniature Eiffel Tower! So we drove out there and lo and behold - they have a TON of antique stores in Paris. We went to as many as we could in the short time before the stores closed and found a couple more treasures. Hubby found a coin-operated postage stamp dispenser that was in great shape and cheap. I picked out some fabric that was so ugly that I just had to have it. It has text and pictures of Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley all over... not only that but the colors are pink and purple. hehe. Not sure what I'll be doing with that, but I couldn't just leave it in the store now, could I?

After that, we quickly drove out to the Eiffel Tower for a photo op just as the sun was setting. We had a long drive home, but it was worth it after such a lovely fall day! :)

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Stylish Blogger

Hi Guys!! I am so excited! Monica of Freesia, and Cee of Coco & Vera both awarded me the Stylish Blogger Award! Monica is not only fashionable and chic, but is also a talented artist, and Cee has a wonderful, classic sense of style. Both of these ladies are inspirational, and their blogs are definitely worth checking out!! Thank you so much Monica and Cee. I feel very honoured to have been chosen by the both of you. 

Stylish Blogger x2
So the rules of accepting this award are that I must thank the blogger(s) that gave me the award, I have to reveal seven facts about myself, and pass on the award to seven more stylish blogger.

Here are the facts:
  1. I can't stop listening to Minus the Bear. I just don't seem to ever get sick of them. I can listen to them on repeat everyday :) 
  2. JP and I met lifeguarding. We were friends for a year before we started dating. 
  3. I learned how to develop film in a dark room when I was 16. One of my best friends and I were in a photography class in high school. It was just the two of us. We would take black and white film photos on our free time, and then develop them at school on fridays. We only have a handful of photos though. We messed up on the developing process so many times. 
  4. I figure skated competitively until I was 13 years old.
  5. I have two brothers and a sister.
  6. I have a BA in Psychology and hope to do a masters and a Ph.D someday.
  7. I love Sunday morning breakfast. JP always makes the best pancakes and coffee. 
Now to pass on the award to seven stylish bloggers:

Louise - Fifth Sparrow

Christening Gown

Today I finished the gown, bonnet and bib.

I just love playing with lace, especially here in Dubai where I can have fun with it. This is mainly because there are plenty shops that sell it and the customers can't have enough of it, put together... I'm a happy bunny.



With this picture I used 'Photo Scape', a kind blogger http://marijkevanooijen.blogspot.com/  suggested to use it to make pictures look antique. These are the results.

 






 Here is the bib and bonnet to match.