NO SEW UPHOLSTERY SPORTS CHAIR? DON’T MIND IF I DO!

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Posted by muffintopmommy | Posted in MUFFINTOP DIY, Uncategorized | Posted on 05-02-2014

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Last year I bought a very well loved (aka grungry) kick butt Ethan Allen French Country arm chair with ottoman. You can read the post here. For multiple before pics, please visit the original post.

Here is the after:

photo-105-2

WHAT CAN I SAY? IT WAS MID WINTER IN THE FROZEN TUNDRA AND I LIKE COLOR!

Here is the chair a year later, after I painted and rearranged the room:

SEE HOW DIFFERENT THE PALER BACKDROP MAKES THIS CHAIR SEEM, BTW?

SEE HOW DIFFERENT THE PALER BACKDROP MAKES THIS CHAIR SEEM, BTW?

And we are sidewards again! My point in posting the chair a year later is that every DIY project can look great when you finish, but you have to wonder how some of the “Pinterest” pins or blog post projects hold up? How do you know that shitz doesn’t all fall apart once the shot it taken?!! The chair has held up very well over the past year I think, considering that I flop in it every, single day with my unskinnay bod-aaay, it’s had kids jumping on it, off it, around it, and, because of the way I did it (as in, not at all correctly!), I cannot flip the cushions! OH MY. My small investment is crazy comfy and has served me well as I’ve slurped many a coffee and beer on it while I check Facebook or read a classic piece of literature People mag.

I had originally planned to get it professionally reupholstered and then…dun, dun, dun, our dishwasher kicked the bucket. Poverty (all right, I’m embellishing but you know what I mean!) breeds inspiration, and so I thought I’d take a stab at redoing it myself! Shazam!

Since then, I’ve gotten emboldened to try other upholstery projects. This fall the plan was to big boy up the bedroom my middle and youngest share. Enter the ugly ass $7 chair. Hubs woudn’t touch it. Deemed it “disgusting”. Made THE FACE. At me! ME! Prima. Donna.

IT ACTUALLY WAS PRETTY GROSS!

IT ACTUALLY WAS PRETTY GROSS!

The random, grungy corduroy, the dirty arms, and the flipping tacks that I had to take out one by one–owww! I can understand why someone would doubt my skillz. I only bled a little (hear me roar!), I washed the hell out of the wood with Murphy Oil soap, primed and painted it in a lovely Benjamin Moore red I had left over from my son’s desk project, and then, had the idea to reupholster it in Red Sox material. I found this awesome fleecy Red Sox fabric that I thought would be forgiving and soft–and it is. Bonus, it was only $11 bucks a yard! You can get this material in other Major League baseball teams but not sure why you’d want to!? (I’m waiting for Big Papi to call me with his order. Cue up Blondie, “Call meeeee! Call me any, any, any-timeeeeee! Call ME!!!”) Who needs PR people? I got this! (No.)

Here are some after shots:

OK, WORDPRESS IS TRYING TO RATTLE ME WITH ALL THESE SIDEWARD PICS. WON'T WORK, WP--KEEP TRYING!!!

OK, WORDPRESS IS TRYING TO RATTLE ME WITH ALL THESE SIDEWARD PICS. WON’T WORK, WP–KEEP TRYING!!!

 

WE'RE FRONTWARDS. #DANCESJIG

WE’RE FRONTWARDS. #DANCESJIG

For a total cost of less than $20, I’ll take it. It’s a perfect size for the corner of the room, and could easily transition to a rec room or family room if future plans change. It’s an awesome spot to read a book, or, if I’m being honest, drop a pile of folded laundry til I can put it away! I will say that reupholstering a chair is not difficult–this chair was 800 times easier than the French chair because of it’s size, in part, but mostly because there were no cushions that detach to contend with. I took the old fabric off carefully, used it to make a template and traced it onto the new fabric, and stapled—that is IT. It’s like putting a puzzle back together–after you see how it comes apart, you can see how it will all go back together again. Honestly. That is IT. If you had staples showing, and you don’t know how to sew upholstery welting, aka, piping, like moi, you can hot glue gimp like I did on the French chair–and you can see how I did that in that post–sew easy! (Sorry.)

Dare to think outside the chair–you can’t buy something like this at the store, and any chair that you can buy, is at least a few hundred bucks. 

After I did this chair, naturally oldest bro was all, “What about a chair for MY room!” Fair enough. He was over the blue gingham glider in his room. I took to my beloved Craigslist to find an appropriately sized chair and boom—$19 (I know, random price and now that I think of it I handed the woman $20 and she did not give me mah dollah–but I was in no mood for a tete a tete in her random garage in the sticks–know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em, people!).  $19 was a steal for this vintage, caned chair. It is SO COMFY. It was a pecan colored wood and slightly beat, with a 70′s gold velourish type material. AND THERE ARE NO BEFORE PICS THANKS TO TOILETTE IPHONEGATE OF 2013. I’M NOT BITTER, SON!

This chair took some brute strengh to take apart, and it was tufted so BUTTONS, ALL THE BUTTONS, dude. I was not gonna rebutton it. No way. I spray painted this chair in a high gloss red paint and primer combo—likey! I thought that woud be the best way to cover the caning and it didn’t disappoint. Love the gloss. Here are some after shots. To be different, I did this chair in similar fleecy material, but chose Patriot’s instead of The Sox to mix it up. (Brady? Call me. How perfect would it be to sit in this chair and read Jinxelle bed time stories in your Uggs. Check it! Ya think Manning has a cool chair like this, Brady? Um, no.)

I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY. SIDEWARDS!!!

I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY. SIDEWARDS!!!

 

SIDE VIEW

SIDE VIEW–THAT CANING. MUAH!

Here’s a brighter pic! ( I LOVE FOTOGRAFY–ha ha ha.)

I'm bright! I'm upright! Jazz hands! Woo!

I’m bright! I’m upright! Jazz hands! Woo!

Check out the curves and the legs–oh my! Flutter!

That’s it, peeps—I’m living the DIY dream!

From shizz to shine, all on a dime.

I gots to save mah money for fun shoes and wine! 

And remember, dare to think outside the chair! What do you have to lose? (Besides some blood and burnt skin. Wo-man up!)

 

 

 

 

 

NO SEW UPHOLSTERY? DON’T MIND IF I DO!

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Posted by muffintopmommy | Posted in Awesomeness, Mom-ness, Retail Therapy, Things that make you go....awwww, Uncategorized | Posted on 24-01-2013

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Oh yes, yes I did. I’m talking no sew upholstery today. First, a friendly muffin top warning because I love you long time.

Do not read this post if you:

A. Are type A

B. Can sew

C. Are a perfectionist

D. Have reupholstered a chair the correct way or ohgodno are a real upholsterer person!

E. If you are all of the above, run, run for your life! AND DON’T LOOK BACK, WHATEVER YOU DO!

If you don’t heed my warning, I am not responsible for any injury that may occur, both physical or mental. I am not responsible if you throw up or break glass from your shrieking. My methods are not recommended for all, but only meant as a rough how to if  you would like to potentially upholster a chair in all the wrong wrongity wrong ways! Believe me when I say I searched hi and low for a slacker’s guide to upholstery and found NOTHING. Nothing!!!

So! Now that we have our muffintop surgeon general warning out of the way, the rest of you lovely readers type B slacking em-effers in da housee! who are still with me and wanna know how you can DIY upholster a Frenchy chair in 52 easy, totally wrong, and barbaric steps, buckle up!

You will need: a cheap chair to practice on (Don’t start with granny’s antique!), pliers, scissors, fabric, a staple gun, a glue gun, fabric, adult beverages, a spirited vocabulary, and Band-Aids.

So! New Year’s Day, I decided to grab this fabulously sh*&%y French Country armchair with ottoman (bonus!) I spied on Craigslist. Though it had great bones (Ethan Allen—excuuuse me) it was a grubtastic dog! The owners were very proud of its former glory, but hel-lo.

You can’t even tell how gross it is—YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE ME.

WAIT!

PLEASE IGNORE THE POST XMAS PLAYROOM SQUALOR. AND THE CUTE PHOTO BOMB!

Obviously, I did not think these “Before” pics through! You really can’t tell how grungy the ottoman was amidst the playroom squalor!

So, first, after I got home with hubs having not been stabbed with a pitchfork (We’re 3 for 3 on living through Craiglist purchases—not to get all braggy!), I vacuumed underneath the chair (don’t even bother to ask!) and washed all the wood with Murphy Oil soap. Then decided it needed a fresh coat of paint.

DUDE, THIS WAS AFTER WASHING. SEE WHAT I MEAN? BLEACH YOUR EYES! BLEACH YOUR EYES!

 

Hence, the paint. And the beer. To wash away the memories.

THE BEER HELPED FREE MY INNER PICASSO.

 

I’d planned to get the chair reupholstered, but after I got home (file under I can’t make this shizz up), my dishwasher went kaput.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO MEEEEEEEEEE!

LET’S REVIEW. Now I have:

1. a hangover

2. a grubby chair

3. and I’m getting jiggy with mah old pal from my apahtment days, Dawn, “It softens hands while you do dishes!” (Bullshit! That’s to make poor souls who have to wash dishes by hand feel better! To me, “NOT DISHWASHER SAFE” is just a dare. You take my dishwasher? You take my SOOOOULLLL! ) And  hey, nothing against you Dawn, but you ain’t my style! (Which is Lazy. Capital L. Party of one.)

Despite my obvious appliance emergency, and because I loooove to laugh out loud…I dared to dream.  The scene in mah head: Muffintop skipping through a meadow full of flowers….LOLOLOLing all the way until she plunks down in her pillowy soft, clean, newly upholstered in chic fabric, French Country chair whilst cradling an adult beverage and smut magazine….ahh. Then came the reality: I decided to get some upholstery quotes even though I needed to make a date with an appliance man. The upholstery quotes ranged from $275 plus fabric to $275 for just the OTTOMAN plus fabric PLUS $675 plus fabric for the chair.

L NO L to that fuzzy math!

Btw, $275 is a good deal as it turns out, but at this point, I figured this thing is going in the corner of my office (and by office I mean, the room I call an office but is really the place more accurately known as school paper graveyard/where I grab envelopes to send in lunch money/field trip money/conduct other super serious hausfrau banking/order shoes online). (Call me, Donald. I will totally hawk crap in Times Square on Apprentice! I have glue gun cred, Donald.)

I looked at the chair and thought, “I can do an ok job on this chair, stuff myself in the corner on it with my beer and Kindle, and that is good enough for meeeeee!”  Scratch the frolicking in a meadow. But seriously, if you can sew, you could for real do a kick ass job on a chair like this. Since the cushions aren’t attached like a regular arm chair, this is a good type of chair to start with! (And possibly, ahem, end with.)

I trolled online for fabric (the upholsterers said fabric would be $10 to $40 per yard and I’d need 7 yards). I found  Waverly Solar Flair Fruit Punch fabric for $8.50 a yard at Jo-Ann Fabric (coupon code–halala!). Suck it, upholsterers. I’ve not seen it for less than $16 a yard elsewhere online.

IT IS RAINING SUNSHINE UP IN HERE!

 

BOOM!

It’s not for everyone and I think speaks to a caged in muffin top’s psyche on a 5 degree January day. Ahem. I also thought maybe the pattern might hide mistakes?

So, I started with the ottoman, figuring that would be easier than the chair.

First I had to pull off the double welting trim–double welting trim is what covers up upholstery staples. If you’re fancy and you can sew (why are you still reading this?!) you can make new trim, but I can’t sew, as we know, so I had a plan (more later!).  I swear that trim was glued on and stapled to that chair better than my house is put together.  They must have upholstery ninjas at Ethan Allen. What. the. frack. I envision a mean man with a fireplace poker prodding hunched over, underpaid workers sneering, “More glue! More staples! If anyone should find a Craigslist bargain on one of our chairs, they shall never, never, never be able to pull it apart and must live with the original fabric forevaaaaaah!” in a meany, old school, 18th century, I own the whole world and several colonies, British accent. (I’m not talking about you Fergie. Or you Prince William. Let’s party sometime!) But that’s just me. I’m sure the good folks at Ethan Allen are just like you and me! (Nooooo.)

I needed pliers to start prying off the cemented on welting, and had to put some muffin top into it. Ultimately, the chair was no match for my laser beam focus. Actually, I bent my hub’s pliers I had to pull so hard and almost took my eye out. (Safety first! Meep. I recommend goggles! Can you see it? “Good news! I saved $275 upholstering this chair! Bad news, I’m blind in one eye!” Dum de dum dum dum….)

PULLING OFF THE DOUBLE CORDING TRIM. IT WOULD BE EASIER TO SKIN A CAT. NOT THAT I WOULD WANT TO SKIN A CAT. BUT IF I DID WANNA? I JUST KNOW I COULD!!!

The next step should be to pry off all the upholstery staples and then the fabric. But this is lazy ass, muffin top DIY, so after it took me like twenty minutes and one finger cut to pull out three staples, I said, “Schluck this!” , took a swig of my beer, and ripped the fabric off sans staples and decided I’d just staple the new fabric OVER the old staples. Sing with me Montell Jordan, “This is how we do it!”

FABRIC OFF. STAPLES STILL IN! YOU WIN, ETHAN ALLEN, YOU WIN. SMUG BASTARD.

 

Next I saved the ottoman fabric that was remarkably intact –despite my bastardization of the pulling off process–to make a template. I traced the old fabric onto the back of the new fabric, cut it, and stapled it.

YES, I DID. I CUT THAT FABRIC WITH MY RUDOLPH CHRISTMAS WRAP SCISSORS.

THESE ARE THE PROFESSIONAL GRADE TYPE TOOLS YOU WILL NEED…..

It looked like this:

I’M AN OBVIOUS PERFECTIONIST.

 

YOU DO THE CORNERS LAST. YOU PULL AS TIGHT AS YOU CAN AND FOLD AS NEATLY AS POSSIBLE.

AND THEN….

GIMP! A NO SEW PERSON’S BEST FRIEND! I GOT LIKE 800 YARDS FOR $12. OK, LIKE 15 YARDS. BUT STILL. I JUST HOT GLUED IT ON TO COVER THE STAPLES INSTEAD OF FANCAAAAY DOUBLE PIPING.

BUT WHAT, THERE’S MORE?

NOT BAD FOR A TYPE B, L NO L’ING, MUFFINTOPPER!

 

This was my best work, peeps. It got harder from here.

THE PROPER THING TO DO WOULD BE TO SEW A ZIPPERED COVER, BUT WE ALL KNOW THAT WASN’T GONNA HAPPEN. SO I DECIDED TO WRAP THE FABRIC UNDERNEATH.

 

Like so….

HELLO HOT GLUE, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE? ALSO, I CAN NEVER FLIP THE OTTOMAN CUSHION, BUT, ETHAN ALLEN DIDN’T EITHER—THERE WAS VELCRO ON THE BOTTOM OF THEIR CUSHION SO EH, WHAT’S THE DIFF?!

 

And the finished ottoman:

LIVING UP TO MY TYPE B EXPECTATIONS–FABRIC IS NOT CENTERED, NATCH!

 

PART B, THE CHAIR. Dudes, this is getting long and I’m thirsty and want to schlump into mah chair, so I’m gong to illustrate most of the rest through pics.

The decking turned out to be the easiest part. I couldn’t rip the whole fabric bottom off because it was sewed on. No WAY was I was gonna mess with that Ethan Allen scary ass shizz!

I USED MY SCRAP MATERIAL FOR THIS PART. SCORE!

 

CAN I GET AN AAAA-MEN FOR STAPLING OVER STAPLES, PART DOS?! VIVA LA MEDIOCRITY!

 

THE FABRIC WAS SURPRISINGLY EASY TO SLIP BEHIND THE ARM OF THE CHAIR. I WENT BACK AND STARTED THE SEAM NEXT TO THE ARM SO THE GIMP WOULD COVER IT.

 

VOILA! AND HEY, WHAT’S A FEW THIRD DEGREE HOT GLUE BURNS! I AM MUFFINTOP. HEAR ME ROAR!

 

The arms weren’t bad at all!

I RIPPED THE FABRIC OFF THE ARM IN THE SAME PRECISE FASHION AS THE DECKING. AHEM. AND THEN USED IT AS A TEMPLATE.

STAPLE, STAPLES EVERYWHERE! SNIP SNIP WITH MY RUDOLPH SCISSORS TO GET RID OF HANGING THREADS!

 

OH GIMP! WE MEET AGAIN. YOU MAKE MEDIOCRITY MAHVELOUS, DAHLING!!!

And without further ado, meet my *new*, clean, BRIGHT and SHINY, if monstrously perfectly imperfect, fun French country armchair and ottoman!

DONE! THIS IS WHERE THE MUFFINTOP SHALL RESIDE WHEN SHE WANTS TO!

Is the chair perfect? Hell no! Far from it. The cushions don’t have double welting (piping) trim, can never be flipped, and the fabric is not as “tight” as I would have liked. The cushions are squishy so trying to pull the fabric tight underneath, to then (Gasp!) glue the fabric like I did the ottoman–which was firmer—was much more difficult. But hey, for only a coat of paint, some elbow grease, an inexpensive chair with only $60 worth of fabric, I have this fun-can-never-be-moved-from-the-corner-chair! Oh and bonus—I had enough fabric left over to upholster my desk chair (aka a Queen Anne style dining chair) and make two no sew curtains (deets to follow).

From shizz to shine, all on a dime! I gots to save my money for new shoes and wine!

Salud, Muffintoppers! I swear my wine tastes better in my fun chair!

Oh, and p.s. Yes, that is Mommy Mixology: A Cocktail for Every Calamity on the table next to the chair. Now available on Amazon, Barnesandnoble.com, and other fine retailiers! (What? I have a new DIY habit to support! Forgive the shameless plug!)

 

 

SHOPPING IN BULK. SQUEE!!

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Posted by muffintopmommy | Posted in Awesomeness, Mom-ness, Retail Therapy, Some things just don't fit into a neat little box. The uncategory!, Suburban Madness, Yo! It's a girl thing! | Posted on 03-03-2010

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Oh, honey! That ain't gonna be big enough!

I love me some shopping in bulk.

Shopping in bulk makes me go boom. Yes, I’ve already established my first love is, and always will be, Target—my life, my passion, my love! Shopping warehouse style is not the light, bright, “cheap chic” social hour shopping experience of Tarjay. Still, something about buying in bulk puts some bounce in my butt. Something about cradling a 36 pack of individually wrapped cookies in the middle of a suburban concrete shopping jungle makes me wanna shout, “SNACKTASTIC!!!”

The warehouse club? It’s momma’s playground.

Warehouse “clubbing” (Yeah, new rules. New definition of clubbing. What? People call me ma’am now. I can’t go into a real club without looking like I’m missing from a bingo hall. Come on, you know I’m more Irish pub anyway.) is pure shopping A.D.D. Or is it A.D.H.D.? Either way, it’s sensory overload in the biggest, most funtabulous way. It’s awesomeness in a box. A big, big, biggity big ass box. Everything is bigger. And better. And did I mention bigger? How do you not get sucked into paying a few bucks more than you would at a regular store to get a much larger quantity of something? This is to speak nothing of the vast range of goods and services all housed under one ginormous warehouse roof for your shopping convenience.

Leather furniture purchased in conjunction with a 200 pound drum of pretzels and a 30 pack of beer is what I call EEEE-fficient? And well? The ability to test out the sofa with beer and pretzels in sight? Now you are singing my song! Take THAT Ethan Allen!

Like Tarjay, there’s a $100 cover charge–$200 if you don’t keep your head down and your wits about you. When you walk in the door and grab two supersize boxes of diapers and a box of wipes (Sorry environment, I double pinky swear I’m so getting you back when everyone in this joint is potty trained!), you’re pretty much there. And that’s before you sample the jalapeno/artichoke/dip/spread on the new!/flatbread/toasty/bread/thingys or spy the 500 count daily mega vitamins for women–totally worth the price. (Health before wealth!) Speaking of 500 count? Give me summa those 500 count thread count sheets! (Oh, you’re dead to me Bed, Bath and Beyond, you’re so dead to me. 20% coupon? Pfft…Thanks for playing!)

“I just know if I get some cute new workout pants it will really inspire me to get my Richard Simmons on,” I whisper out loud. ”But, build me up butter cup! Is that a vat of olive oil the size a gallon of milk? A must have for a gourmet chef such as myself!”   Barefoot Contessa? You better put some shoes on woman, because I be coming for you! Fresh herbs? Bring it. I have  a year’s supply of EVOO and cumin for $14.99! And Giada, watch your back, girl–you and your beloved pancetta (I’m sorry, I mean, pannncheeet—ttaaaahh.) Yeah, me be getting some of that in bulk. So suck it!

30% off books? Should we take one more whack at the crock pot? I mean, 1,001 crock pot recipes for only $9.99–there’s gotta be something good! (Yeah….probably not..remember? Nothing good comes out of a crock pot!) 50% off cards? Oh squeeeee! Happy birthday to meeeee!

Need new tires? Have them put on while you snack on a  jumbo dog or ice cream while you shop for…face cream? Ray-Ban polarized sunglasses? Small appliances? Big appliances? And more! Oh, so much more! Deeeep breaths….deeeep breaths. Wait! I know! A yoga mat!

Every day could be a party at the warehouse club. With all the free tasty treat samples, they’re halfway to margaritaville!  Just uncork some of that wine in aisle 12 and call momma a cab! Who needs a club? Crank up the Bose in aisle 7 and we’ll get this party started. Sorry Pauly D, we’re beating up the beat without you, bro!

The worst part is, I’m so club crazy I have memberships to two different warehouse clubs. Costco I love for produce, meat, antibacterial wipes, and diaper wipes. Their frozen fish and wine is fab too, and last time the hubs got “lucky” there….no really, he did. But why do I have on dork jeans from Kohl’s today, but my husband is sporting Lucky jeans? Costco! Over the years, we’ve bought….a swingset.. a fridge.. a tv, too… oh, Costco, I’m just sooo in love with you! (But seriously? Selling fridges? That is kinda akin to a drug dealer selling you a container for your stash, no? I mean, I ended up buying so much meat, frozen fish, and drinks at Costco that we needed another fridge for the basement to store said bargains and OH, LO AND BEHOLD, crafty Costco happened to sell just the perfect one….I believe that’s called entrapment!)

But BJ’s, sweet BJ’s, I love you, too. So I guess I’m all about the two timing and some might even call me a warehouse ho. (Harsh, but true. I will slut around for the best deals.) But BJ’s is closer to my house, and carries diapers, food, and drinks the kids like. It also takes coupons. They send out their own every month–good ones too for like $1 to $10 that really add up–not these piddly ass buy five and save .35 cents nonsense—BJ’s plays to win on the coupon front. They also take  manufacturer coupons (but we all know how well those coupons usually turn out for me…remember?) But seriously, last week BJ’s sent me a friendly email saying based on what I purchased last year, I saved over $1,000 on grocery items alone. Whoa. If I saved a grand, what the hell did I spend? I know they thought they were being all smarty pants sending me that, but ho’ing it up big ain’t cheap apparently! Perhaps I should re-examine the thrill of buying in bulk?

And I will say I’ve figured out the hard way a bargain ain’t a bargain unless you really need it. I’ve been “Costcoed” and “BJ’ed” before. Have you? You get home and realize it’s not really cool to have two giant bottles of salad dressing that you don’t end up loving or 4,000 of the wrong size garbage bags. So I guess the lesson is, “caveat emptor” or let the buyer beware. Or I should say, bulk buyer beware! But… as long as you know the rules going in, oh what fun you’ll have playing the game!