DIY · Home Decor

A Sad to Glad Chair With a Thrifty Re-do

Here’s a story about a very unloved chair that found happiness under my guidance. OK, I’m just goofing. In reality though, it WAS an unloved chair. The thrift store had marked it down several times and ended at $22.00 and they still could not get rid of it. Until I happened along that is. The chair was solid, the cushions were in good shape, it was comfortable and in a style that I like. What’s not to love? Oh yeah, the totally outdated upholstery fabric and the has-been white washed finish on the pale wood. That was OK though, because I have paint and I know how to use it.

thrift store chair
I I removed the upholstery on both arms and the batting off one arm before I thought to take pictures to share. THEN I took pics at every step of the re-do. Now this is the only surviving picture of this chair from my old camera of several years ago. It is blurry, but you get the idea. The other pics are taken just last week. They are not the detailed process, but they show what happened along the way.

Les was not convinced when he came by with the truck to pick the chair up. I would not have called him because I knew what he would think- that I had lost my mind. He said as much when he laid eyes on my special find. Unfortunately the chair was just too big to fit into my car.

After stripping the blue upholstery, it looked better immediately. A coat of white paint came next and then, after that was dry, a coat of black acrylic paint followed… Oh! I left the upholstery fabric on the back side of the chair and just painted over it with the black acrylic paint.

back of an upholsterer chair painted with acrylic paint
Back of the chair with two coats of black acrylic paint. This was painted before I added the cream colored drop cloth fabric that you see in this picture.

When the paint was dry (I left it over night) I gave it a good sanding. The goal was to be able to see just a bit of white and the original wood showing past the black paint.

Now, for upholstery- my favorite upholstery fabric is a painter’s drop cloth. It is made of heavy cotton, usually unbleached and CHEAP! I get a 9‘ x 12‘ piece from Harbor Freight for $8.00 when it is on sale.

chair body covered with an inexpensive drop cloth
Chair body covered with an inexpensive drop cloth.

I covered the body with the drop cloth by cutting out pieces and stapling them right on to the wooden frame. The staples are covered with braid and a glue gun.

detail of braid covering staples on a chair
Braid covering the staples and attached with a glue gun. Some of you may wonder if that glue holds well enough. Believe me, where I made mistakes, it was nearly impossible to rip the braid off the drop cloth fabric. I should tell you though, I use a very large, hot glue gun with industrial type glue sticks that I bought in the Sears tool department years ago.

I thought that I wanted a contrasting fabric for the cushions. I sewed the top cushion and then was not sure, so the bottom cushion has just been wrapped for, oh let’s see now…about two years. Well, I have finally decided that after the holidays, I am going to cover the cushions with the more natural colored drop cloth.

Recycled chair in black and white.

The happy ending to this story is that the chair that Les hated at first sight has become his favorite because it is so sturdy and comfortable. In fact, that thrifty chair is the most popular chair in the living room with visitors. (In spite of my indecision on a cushion fabric.)

Woman reading in chair
Stephanie in “The Chair”. By the way, here a link to a free pattern for that crocheted afghan. It was the first time that I had ever done cables. They turned out to be easier than they look.
Home Decor

My Halloween/Fall Living Room Reveal- Part Two

I cannot believe how fast this month has gone! It’s almost Halloween and I haven’t even posted my reveal- part two. Well, here it finally is.

You may recall (from part 1) that this is the entryway wall before the seasonal decor change. I wanted to point out the black console table that is now moved to the concrete wall.
Concrete wall before fall decor. The white chippy table is now over by the entry wall as you saw in the part one post.
And after: this is the concrete wall with it’s new/old table. To get a kind of window frame look for this wall, I cut and glued 1×2’s into a grid pattern. It, by no means looks like a window frame, but I think that it adds a cute touch.
On a side note, Les skim coated this wall with a concrete patch mix a few years back. I just love the way that it turned out.
handmade window frame for a rustic Halloween
The wreath is ( what else?) a thrift store find. There is a fire alarm at the top, so I added the ribbons and the fall looking vine piece to conceal it.
Living room before fall decor
The “Power” wall before fall decor. It’s called that because of the power sign that Les made for me. It was supposed to go in my gym, but he made it to point out the window. I CANNOT have my workouts flying out the window! I love it though, so it ended up in the living room.
And after seasonal decor. This wall is what you see when you look straight ahead as you enter he house. I’m going to make a post to show you what that chair looked like when I got it from the thrift store. I bought it even though it was ugly because it is really sturdy and comfortable and it was only $12.00. When we moved out of state, we had to pare down a LOT of possessions. But I just could not part with most of my rubber stamps. Those drawers are where I keep most of the stamps.
Halloween collectables and primitive decor
More Halloween decorations. You can see what I mean when I say that the direction is blurred. My whole house is kind of prim, kind of grunge, kind of handmade, kind of vintage, kind of modern and on and on. It is especially bad since both Les and I are collectors and makers. Oh well, who needs a nice cohesive house anyway?
There is a line in one of the television series that I used to watch. The nice lady asked the other, “Do you know what surprises me the most about this house?” The snooty lady answered, “What? That nothing in this house costs over twenty-five dollars?” That cracked me up because it describes my thrifty house perfectly.
Living room Halloween decor
In case you were curious about my concrete wall, this is how it fits together with the “Power” wall.
more Halloween decorations
When you open the front door, this wall is to your right. I’m not showing a before pic because the only thing that I changed is to hang a wreath over the mirror and to line up cute collectables on the top shelf.
a group of Halloween collectables

And now it is almost time to rearrange once again. LOL, but I love it and will continue until it is no longer fun for me.

Happy Halloween!
art · DIY · Home Decor

My Halloween Living Room Reveal, Part 1

Doesn’t it seem like Halloween, Thanks Giving and then Christmas decorating is too much to do in too small of a window? Or is it just me being lazy? This year, I’m putting out most of my fall and Halloween decorations at the same time regardless of style. That’s right, I’m being crazy and mixing primitive with rustic, with 50s kitsch with modern…well, you get the picture. I am also combining fall with Halloween so that as soon as Halloween is over, I can clear it out and replace just a few things like the runner on the coffee table with a Thanks Giving runner.

You may ask your self, “Why is she doing this if she just wants to be lazy?” The answer is that I still love seeing my little seasonal accessories at least once a year. Unwrapping and playing with the toys is just fun for me. You should see me with the 50’s Christmas music and the peppermint- hot chocolate come time for the Christmas decor. Oh wait! I think that you will. hahaha…I’ll get Les to take a pic this year.

Anyway, on to the before and after pics.

Here is what the living room looked like before all of my Halloween decorating. Our living room is small but so I rearranged the furniture and decorated the whole room. This is the view from the entry. Behind the sofa, you can see two of the doll houses that I’ve been working on. I have nowhere else to put them so they will stay right where they are for this season.
This is the “after” picture. First, I changed out the pillows (of course). The wall behind the sofa has become a Halloween and Fall art gallery. I put links to some of the pics that were free printables in previous posts. The chairs that are now across from the sofa are the two entryway chairs melded together with a folded quilt.
If you are looking for free printable art for your seasonal decor, I’ve put a lot of links in these three posts. They include some of my own paintings that you can print out if you like. https://sandramccall.com/2019/10/17/more-awesome-free-printables-for-your-fall-decor/ and https://sandramccall.com/2019/10/13/where-to-find-the-best-free-halloween-printables/ and https://sandramccall.com/2019/09/10/free-printable-halloween-art/.
You can see Ali patiently waiting for me to leave the room so that she can test drive the coffee table arrangement. Actually, I had a three tiered stand that she promptly knocked over, so I backed it down to two tiers. I’m happy to say that she is now leaving it alone. As soon as Halloween is over, I will replace the skull table runner with a Thanksgiving version.
Two chairs that used to be on the entry wall are now “melded” with a folded quilt and a colorful pillow. Note the cute skull table runner on the coffee table. That will be changed out to a Thanks Giving runner as soon as Halloween is over.
Halloween wall with free printables and other Halloween art
Gallery wall. The skulls that you see just above the black shelf were done by Les. His stuff is so cool.
Halloween prims
I try to wait until the end of season to buy but I could not resist the resin figures from Michael’s and this cute felt garland from World Market this year.
Halloween collectables
My little Witchy lady is a favorite and stays out all year, usually in my art studio
entryway wall
Entryway before Halloween decor. The black console table will e moved over to the concrete wall that you will see in the reveal- part two. The two chairs will be moved directly across from the sofa.
entryway ideas for Halloween decor
And after. The dollhouse shell that you see was on the dining table. I had to move it in preparation for our feasts to come, so it goes here for now. What to do with an elephant in the room? Decorate it!
Fall decor ideas
To make the entry wall look more cozy for fall and winter, I hung a rustic looking coat rack and stuck a woolen scarf on it. A couple of throws tucked into the crate under the little white table adds to the fall effect I think.
Halloween decorations and collectables
The I’m a sucker for cats so this little guy in the yellow clown costume is another favorite collectable
Halloween cats from World Market
Happy Halloween!
DIY · Home Decor

Fall Decor 2019 part 1- Plus an Easy Project Idea

This year’s holiday decor will start off as a mix of Halloween and fall. It seems to me that the months are speeding by way too fast to be able to fully decorate for Halloween, Thanks Giving and then Christmas right on the heels of everything else.

Here’s the deal. I’m figuring that if I can combine holidays from the get-go, then I will just have to modify a little as each one arrives.

The tall cabinets get a touch of fall too.
Continue reading “Fall Decor 2019 part 1- Plus an Easy Project Idea”
DIY · Home Decor · tutorials

An Easy Way to Age Wood and Fabric

Doll efore aged transformation
Ms Pumpkin in her original condition and before her Age-It Easy application. Notice that the muslin looks too pale and new. Also note her lack of flowers and her plain hat. We’ll just SEE about THAT! 😃

When I bought Ms Pumpkin at an art booth, I thought that the style and shape was perfect for my primitive/rustic Halloween decor. I knew that she looked too new and that I wanted to tea stain her to look a little more primmy, if you know what I mean.

Once again, my mother of invention was laziness. Since I really did not want to take the time to get a good tea stain, I wondered if this aging liquid would work on fabric as well as wood.

Age-It Easy weathering treatment for wood
I love this stuff for aging my raw wood minis, but I also love it for an easy way to age cotton fabric. https://www.micromark.com/Age-it-Easy-Brown

Age-It Easy truly does make it easy to age wood. I ordered this product online at Micro-Mark. The only thing that I have thought to use it on, before this, was wooden miniatures.

Prim doll for Halloween
Notice the addition of Ms Pumpkin’s flowers and her hat enhancement too.

The process is simple. This aging liquid comes ready to apply in any way that you like. I used a paint brush. It seeped into the fabric fast. I did not have to use much of the liquid at all. Part of the reason that I did not want to make a watered down acrylic or ink wash was that I was afraid that it would come out too dark or streak beyond my control on the muslin.

Easy way to age a rustic cloth doll
A gracefully aged lady.

You can see by the results that it works great. It is not as mottled as a good tea stain or even real aging would be. However, for a quick and easy aging process, I think that it turned out to be perfect. I will admit that if Ms Pumpkin was for anything other than a once a year use, then yes, I would give her a proper tea bath.

If you already own this for wood crafts, maybe you will want to think about using it to age fabric as well.

art · DIY · Free Printables · Home Decor

Free Printable Halloween Art

Fall and Halloween decorations will be combined at my house this year. I wanted to get a jump start since everything holiday-wise always seems to get away from me. I’m going to try to mesh styles as well as holidays this season. I figure that I can mesh Fall/Thanksgiving with Halloween and then I won’t have to use up as much time switching out decor before Christmas. I have Prims, cute collectibles and vintage style pieces that all need to go together.

Collectible Halloween figures

I’ve already torn down the living room to make room for holiday redecorating. Now that the new furniture arrangement is in place, the next step is to add in a few new pieces with the old, so I’m starting with paintings.

Sandra McCall recycles old thrift store canvases into new Halloween paintings
These little primitive paintings started out as thrift store canvas prints. I drew my design right on top of the print and then used acrylic paint to color it in.
Halloween paintings before and after sanding
I sanded my paintings after they were dry. You can do that on your prints if you like. On the canvases, I was surprised that sanding brought out the white of my grease pencil drawings, but I like it.

Click on the pictures below for a download of a larger PDF image. I was torn as to whether to make the printable an 8 x 8 for a standard printer or to make the file larger so that you can resize to whatever you like. In the end, I decided to make the PDF 8x 8, but in a higher resolution.

Primitive painting of Happy Halloween pumpkins by Sandra McCall
Click on this picture for a download of the large PDF picture.
Primitive painting of Halloween Trick or Treat y Sandra McCall
Click on this picture to download a large PDF file. I made the downloadable pics large so that you can then resize to whatever you like or put it on a flash drive and take to your office supply store so that they can then print a large poster.

Further posts will be coming on the holiday redo progress so be sure to check back. 🎃

art · DIY · Home Decor

How to Make a Display cabinet on the CHEAP – $28.00 total

I promise you, this display cabinet only cost us $28.00 from start to finish. Les Gains, my husband, makes things. Lots and lots of little things. If he does not have a guitar in his hands, then you will find him in his studio creating fabulous little treasures.

resin figures sculpted by Les gains

Above is a crowd of funny little guys that Les made with resin. He first sculpts figures out of modeling clay, then he makes molds, then pours resin into the molds. When the resin has set up, Les unmolds them and then paints each figure.   THEN he assembles his elements into really cool little sculptures. As much as I am fascinated by his work, a lot of little things spread all over the house drives me nuts. I like to group small things together to form a larger display unit.

IKEA cabinet

Several years ago, I bought two of these cabinets from IKEA. The photo on the left shows the cabinet with the clear glass door open. Sporting adjustable shelves, it is perfect for small collectibles. Generally, Les works small. Most of his items range in height from 1″ to 9″.
As prolific as he is, the IKEA cabinets were full in no time at all. I needed a larger display shelf that would compliment the style of the old cabinet and our eclectic home decor.
So, off we went on yet another mission. Seeking cheap building materials, Les and I scoured junk yards and thrift stores. We finally found exactly what we needed at Khules, a salvage store in Prescott.
From the salvage yard, we bought a large galvanized utility box. Probably some type of electrical junction box? After finding the box, the rest was easy to assemble.

Knock-off IKEA cabinet


This photo shows the larger, finished box and a close up on the right so that you can see the side detail. It’s easy to make – just follow our step-by-steps listed here.

  1.  (after a thorough cleaning) Drill holes into the sides of the box. You will need two sets of holes on each side of the box for each shelf.
  2. Cut 2 rods for each shelf that extend past the sides of the box. Thread them into the holes cross ways.
  3. Cut plastic shelves to fit inside the cabinet. I also bound the edges with copper tape and used an antiquing solution to age the tape.
  4. Finally, we got little caps to finish off the raw edges of the rods that stuck out of the cabinet sides. The whole assembly only cost only $28.00

Les Gains' art figures
altered art sculptures from Les Gains
altered art by Les Gains

Here are a few of Les’ sculptures. He solders, shapes wire, polymer clay, resin and found objects to make wonderfully detailed figures.

DIY · Home Decor

Make a Fireplace Mantle that only LOOKS Expensive

My sister had a really horrible looking fireplace when she first moved into her house. It’s OK, she said it first. Jenny turned to me for my help since I am pretty good at working something out on the cheap. We started our project by going to see what the stores had in stock. Holy cow! Nice looking store bought mantles are EXPENSIVE.! Mantles in our local hardware store were in the $300.00 to $500.00 range.

This is what the mantle looked like when Jen bought her fixer upper. It was just raw wood with an exposed drywall cap.

We were convinced us that we could duplicate one of the expensive store bought mantles with stacked strips of lumber and molding. So we went through all of our options at the store and came up with a combination that mimicked one of our favorite mantles. Not too plain and not too fancy was perfect. Continue reading “Make a Fireplace Mantle that only LOOKS Expensive”