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 Oh yeah, the totally outdated upholstery fabric and the has-been white washed finish on the pale wood.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!

The Mystery Of the Errant Fabric Pin

A blast of an almost forgotten memory hit me as I was re-reading an old Art Doll Quarterly. The events are still so strange to me that I decided to share the story for your Halloween spooky-story month.

This advertisement from Anima Designs popped up to surprise me at how baffled I still am, after all these years. The ad featured one of the sample fabric pins that I made for them using their rubber stamps.

Advertisement from Anima Designs

The mystery happened in the middle of a rubber stamp class that I was teaching at Cloud Nine in Monrovia. Well, let me back up…it really started when Kim from Anima Designs e-mailed me to say that one of the pins that I made was stolen from her last rubber stamp show. It is heartbreaking when that happens in classes or at shows but, as you can guess, it happens a lot. Theft of handmade goods or artwork is so sad that I had to learn not to take it personally. I had to tell myself that it is the price of doing business and let it go.

The class that I was teaching was probably to be my last as I was moving out of state and did not know if I would continue in the same direction. I had mentioned it to my group a couple weeks earlier.

Well, in the middle of class, a student walked in and I thought, “late as usual”. (Lateness is one of my pet peeves and, in a full class especially, it is so not fair to the other students to be interrupted by a late comer. OK, that is a whole other story.)

Dried flowers for fall

But, in walks this regularly pain-in-the-butt student. She surprises me by saying that she is not in the class, but that she wanted to bring me flowers for being one of her favorite teachers and to say that she will miss me. OK, now I’m completely turned around emotionally because I was in a totally negative state at first and then put into a suddenly happily-surprised state. I was just thinking that it was strangely kind of her when she announces, in front of everyone, that she brought something to show me that SHE had made. Yep, you guessed it- it was unmistakably my pin.

It was not the pin in Kim’s ad that you see above, but it was the pin that Kim said had been stolen. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of that pin to show you. But it was unmistakably my pin. You see, I had hand dyed the fabric and all of the trim, so I recognized it immediately. I flipped it over to see my signature on the back, but it had been crossed out with a black Sharpie.

I was shocked and appalled. So now I went from happy state to WTF?! A million thoughts crossed my mind. Should I confront her? Is she crazy to think that I wouldn’t recognize my own handiwork? What is her game? And, finally, is she the one who actually stole the pins or did one of her friends do it and then gift it to her? I don’t understand. All of these thoughts put me in a practically catatonic state as I kept smiling and mumbling about how nice.

I didn’t want to be rude in front of the other students who were all smiling at how nice this lady was for bringing me flowers. What to do, what to do…. In the end, I did what most women my age do when being slapped like that. I did nothing.

Obviously this still bothers me and is wrapped in a bunch of strong emotions. I do realize that it is yet another one of those just-bury-it and let it go things.

Mostly though, I’m posting this because I wondered what others would do in the same situation. What would you have done?

Still perplexed
autumn flower arrangement
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. and and
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!
art · DIY · Free Printables

More Awesome Free Printables For Your Fall Decor

I WAS going to put links for the free printables that I used in my Fall/Halloween decor this year, but then the post became too long, soooo…. Here are some links that I used this year. Check out my other post on free Halloween printables too. There are some really cool and generous sites out there!

Halloween prints
Pictures waiting to see if they make the cut on the Halloween gallery wall.

Another primitive painting from me to you. Just click on the picture for a download. It is in 8 x 10 at 300 dpi, so that you can enlarge if you have a bigger printer.

Halloween primitive painting by Sandra McCall
Skull sculpture by Les Gains
Les’s little resin skull head sculpture with one of the watercolor Halloween printables.

Just click on the pictures below for the free printables/downloads.

Fall Printable 5
vintage Halloween post card
35 Best Halloween Wallpaper Ideas (27)
35 Best Halloween Wallpaper Ideas (19)
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.

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.

Food · Recipes

Low Carb Shrimp Salad with Avocado

In spite of the promise of fall temperatures, we are still getting hit with a few days of heat. This is one of my favorite meals for those too-hot-to-cook times of the year.

Shrimp and avocado salad- perfect for a nutritional high fat, low carb meal.
This easy, low carb salad should become a staple in your recipe box since it is packed with nutritional value PLUS it’s pretty enough to serve to guests.

Shrimp and Avocado Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

    about a cup of cold, cooked shrimp cut into little pieces
    2 avocados, sliced or chopped
    2 or 3 leaves of leafy green lettuce per serving (optional)
    1/4 cup Avocado Mayonnaise
    a couple squirts of Dijon mustard
    1/4 tsp lemon juice
    1/4 cup finely sliced spring onion
    1/2 tbs dried parsley
    1/2 tbs smoked paprika
    salt and pepper to taste

    1. Combine all ingredients except avocado and lettuce into a medium sized bowl. Stir together.
    2. Arrange lettuce, topped with a bit of avocado and then a scoop of the shrimp mixture onto plate. Serve cold with a couple slices of lemon if you like.