23 March 2016

Dear Houseplants, I Will Try Not To Kill You

I love having plants in the house. You wouldn't know that by the number of plants I've killed. One might say that I love my plants to death. I don't claim to have a black thumb; I just forget about them. I smile lovingly at them, then promptly forget to water them. Combine that with an utter lack of understanding about HOW to care for them, how frequently to water them, is fertilizer important?, where to place them in proximity to the sunlight, it makes my head spin, so I do nothing at all. 

But they're pretty, and I love the touch of nature they add to our home. So I keep trying. 

I bought a pretty little Jade Plant when we settled into this house, about 18 months ago. Something unprecedented happened. Not only did the plant continue to live after crossing the threshold, but it began to grow. It's as if this plant thrives on Netflix marathons, coffee/red wine,  and the Black Keys, like me. He is my spirit plant. He gets me. He has grown so big that I had to put him in a bigger pot. I'm emotionally prepared that it probably won't happen again.

With my trusty little survivor by my side, I felt confident enough to secure ownership of two snake plants. Snake Plants are my absolute favorite. Vertical and dramatic. These also continued to live despite the dry soil - dry like ashes in a fireplace - not dry like I forgot to water them last week. But they are ALIVE!

For those of you who may be keeping track, I have one thriving jade plant and two "hanging in there" snake plants. 

And that guy there with the red-rimmed leaves. I actually don't remember buying that one, which kind of weirds me out now that I think about it. Mystery plant. Seriously...where did that plant come from?

I gathered my sweet survivors and all of my empty plant containers. 

I paid a visit to the local garden center and asked about dirt - they call it potting soil. I asked about fertilizer - they call it plant food. I left with both of these things, and several new green friends.

They look so happy and healthy.

I repotted, fertilized, and watered the survivors, and found containers for the new guys.

My goal is to grow that snake plant. It has been the same size for about a year now. I may not have killed it, but it sure isn't getting any bigger. 

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07 March 2016

March Fab Furniture Flippin Contest: Mix and Match with Fairfield World!

** This post was sponsored by Fairfield World, but all opinions and thoughts expressed within this post are my own **

I'm back with another furniture makeover! I accidentally fell off the face of the earth, which happens sometimes with kids, a family, a job, winter in Ohio, the holidays. I woke up and just like that, it's March and House of Cards season 4 is out.

Boom! There goes the weekend!

This month we are partnering with Fairfield World.

Contest Details: 
March 2016 Theme: Mix & Match with Fairfield

Submission Deadline: 
11:59 p.m. Friday, March 25th

For the Winners:
1st place: $100 / 2nd place: $50

I decided to re-work a set of vintage barrel chairs that I updated six years ago. 

The original, before, circa the 1970's:

 The intermediate before, or the chairs I quickly grew tired of, 2010:

My how tastes change in a matter of years. I fell out of love with the chairs, and day-dreamed about how I might update them if I had the opportunity. Then opportunity knocked in the form of Fairfield World.

This type of chair is only slightly more challenging than updating a dining chair, which simply involves removing the seat and stapling fabric to the frame, then covering the staples with trim. It is the perfect intermediate project. 

Choosing fabric is always a struggle for me because I can't make a decision to save my life. And also, man, do I  regret painting the caning and exposed wooden frame six years ago. (shakes fist at Pinterest!) I just don't have paint removal in me right now. But the black frame is so harsh, and not in step with my decor. A nice stained wood frame sure would look nice with the fabric I chose. Sigh.

So after a week or so of trolling my favorite sites, I decided on this fabric, paired with a painted gray frame. 

When I brought the fabric home, and laid it across the chair, it felt like it needed something more. I pulled the perfect piece of deep indigo fabric from my stash, and had just enough to use on the back of the chair. This is my idea of karma. I must have done something right because the fairies of fabric and happiness blessed me with the perfect accent fabric. Thanks fabric fairies. 

I just love that dark blue material against the gray frame.

 The vintage kilim pillows were an Etsy purchase. 

Furniture and decorating geeks will relate to that spark of giddiness you experience when you lay your eyes on the materials of a project and it looks awesome, all in a pile on the table. I'm known to high five myself in my kitchen. Then I dance awkwardly, which may be what the fairies of fabric and happiness reward me for. 

So, with the decorative elements out of the way, I got started with materials from Fairfield World. I was not happy with the way the cushions turned out after my first upholstery job. Initially I reused the original foam, and it was too thin and lumpy from the tufting. This time I ordered 5" thick foam for the seats and batting for the chair backs and seats. I wanted the seats to be thick and full. 

I set the wooden seat frame on the foam and traced around it as a pattern. 

Electric carving knives work great to cut through this type of foam. Like a warm knife through butter. 

 I made a sandwich of fabric (right side down), batting, foam, and wooden frame, and wrapped the fabric very tightly around everything, pulling, and stapling until there were no lumps. The batting also went into the chair back, between the fabric and cardboard center. This layer of batting just gives the chair back some body. 

Oh! I also removed the caning on the sides. I felt like this dated the chairs, and I really wanted to give the chairs a whole new look. 

Let the March contest begin!

This month's contest is open to the 35 entrants who signed up on the Facebook member page. If you are interested in participating in future months, please email us at info@fabfurnitureflippincontest.com for details. We are always excited to meet new talented furniture flippers!

Now hop over to See what Charlotte at Ciburbanity created with Fairfield this month! And be sure to check in with all of our hosts for inspiration.

Evey | Stacy | Charlotte | Lynn | Carrie

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01 March 2016

Tackling The Craft Closet - Kon Mari Style

This month I decided to take on the craft closet. The contents of this large closet used to fill an entire craft room. We had a room dedicated to crafts in our former home, but I decided not to recreate that space in this house, not yet.

I love collecting crafty things, inspiration for future projects, colorful papers and fabrics, patterns, yarn, buttons. But the ratio of actual projects completed to unfinished projects is sobering. Frankly, my tastes have changed, and I don't have the time to do half of this stuff anymore. 

When we moved into this house I had all of the boxes from the craft room stored in the closet in the guest room. Over the past 18 months, the kids have rifled through these boxes, dug into the piles, strewn fabric and paper everywhere, and Jasper discovered the joy of yarn. I am also guilty of hastily digging through piles for the perfect gift wrap or scrap of fabric. In that time, this closet has become an absolute nightmare. 

"Oh hey! Let's form a Kon-Mari group and organize things!" I said, full of good intentions. 

 One great thing about blogging is the commitment you make to other people...which is also kind of a sucky thing for procrastinators like me.

I decided to tackle this closet because the contents were slowly killing me.

Too dramatic? Let me explain.

This closet was basically comprised of several years of my creativity, as a stay-at-home-mom, as my kids grew up and started school, as we moved from one state to the next. I tried to stay on top of these projects, but that became more difficult with each move. Very little of this "stuff" brought me happiness anymore. It became a black cloud of unfinished projects; the contents weighed on me like failure and wasted money. In short, it felt wonderful to let it all go, to kick it out of the house. 

I gave myself three solid hours to sort through the hoard. There were six main categories: tools & paint (I consistently use this, so I plan to create a work space), kids' sentimental items, home decor, kids' craft supplies, fabric & yarn, and gift-wrapping supplies. Aside from those categories, I had a "donate pile" and a "throw away pile." 

I threw away a ton of crap that I was happy to see go, and donated a small box to Goodwill. 

I only kept items in excellent condition, items that "sparked joy."

Any art & craft supplies that the kids can use were relocated to an empty dresser in the basement. They are welcome to use anything in the dresser, as long as they keep it organized.

The "happy birthday" banner is always tangled up or missing when we look for it. Now it's easily accessible. 

The white boxes contain school and art work from each of the kids.

I would love to add shelves and get those boxes off the ground, but, baby steps. I'll allow myself to enjoy this clean closet for a sec before adding an item to the honey-do list. 

So what is different about the Kon-Mari approach? In past organizing efforts, the emphasis was on organizing everything into containers and making it all accessible. This leads to keeping years worth of crap that I just don't need or value. I'm on a mission to minimize, and having excess "stuff" is keeping me from that goal.

This time I took a different approach. I emptied the entire closet, and thought about the best function of the closet. What is the best use of this space? I only returned items that are meant to go in the closet. Wrapping supplies, clean linens and extra pillows for the guest room, a box of fabric, yarn, kids' cherished items (that I want to keep out of their reach for a few more years), and large projects that I intend to happily tackle. That's all, nothing more. 

Anything else was relocated or removed from the house. Done! 

 I also plan to store off-season clothing to this closet. So once winter is over, I will store snow pants, mittens, boots, scarves, coats, and anything of this nature that might still fit next year. 

If you love a good organizing success story, visit my friends who are showing us their newly organized spaces.

The Crowned Goat
My Life From Home

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