When my eldest daughter turned one while our family was stationed in Hawaii, we embraced the local tradition of elaborately celebrating the milestone with a big birthday party. An Under the Sea Birthday Party theme may not have been the most original idea, considering the island culture, but the planning and execution of the party details, food and beverages, decor, games and prizes was fun and simplified since all the necessary resources were at hand. You can go as over-the top or basic as you want when planning an Under the Sea birthday party for a boy or girl, and you can customize your party to your child’s age, favorite color, ocean animal, and food. For my daughter’s party, I chose coral and sea mist for colors, and a range of animals depicted in the decor, games and food. Continue reading
My daughter is nearly two and over the last few months at daycare she has begun finger-painting, sponge-painting and coloring with crayons. I am not yet brave enough to venture into the realm of toddler-painting at my home, but crayons do not seem nearly as daunting. The regular crayons at the PX here at JBLM are too small and fragile for her sweet, chubby little hands to grasp and use effectively. I saw some chunky toddler crayons online for a pretty penny. So, I spent an afternoon creating some star-shaped homemade toddler crayons. These crayons are great for regular, home-use but they also make fantastic party favors. Continue reading
Last Friday I was all ready to travel to Guam on a Space-A flight, but unavoidable hotel and car rental issues stopped the impromptu trip in its tracks. Instead, I went home and stopped procrastinating on a long-overdue project: Recovering my Dining Room Chair Cushions!
I ‘salvaged’ these chairs from my grandfather’s steaming-hot attic in Houston, TX several years ago when we were cleaning out the house to put it up for sale. They belonged to my great-great-grandmother. The cushions are pretty uncomfortable, not to mention stained and utterly unattractive. But I loved the structure and lines of the chairs, and surprisingly they are still very sturdy, if a little on the small size in terms of scale.
To update these beauties, I unscrewed the chair seats and stripped off a few layers of old fabric, removed all the deteriorating batting, and pried off hundreds of upholstery nails (do NOT attempt without a Tetanus Shot!). You may need an assortment of tools for this step; I used fabric scissors, a rotary blade, a flathead screwdriver, pliers, and a hammer to remove the assorted upholstery nails. TIP: If the idea of inhaling decades of skin cells and dirt grosses you out – like it does me – wear a professional grade face mask… protective eyewear is not a bad idea either!
The wood seat forms were still in good shape (despite all the upholstery nail holes), and although I would prefer to start this project with a fresh seat form, paying for custom woodwork in Hawaii is cost-prohibitive on this project, and I do not own a router to DIY.
I used the existing seat form as a template to cut out my new fabric. For solid fabrics, trace your form on the backside of the fabric in an upholstery pen or pencil; for printed fabrics, like the one I chose, I opted to free-style my cuts on the front of the fabric so that I could more easily line up and center the fabric design. Cut the fabric a good three inches wider than the seat form on each side. To facilitate cutting, I used a rotary fabric blade and a cutting mat. TIP: For vintage pieces (read “handmade and not mass-produced”, I recommend using each seat form individually to cut out the fabric, batting and foam cushion; handmade items will vary ever-so-slightly in dimension.
Layout the batting on your work surface and cut it three inches wider on each side of the seat form as well. Used standard quilting batting that you can purchase at your local fabric store or Wal-Mart. Next, lay the seat form on top of the foam. I used 1″ foam. Trim the foam so that it is at least ¼” wider than the seat form on all sides. This makes for a more comfortable seat edge on your legs and thighs. To begin securing all the layers of the seat together, you can either dry stack each layer, or use a little spray adhesive between the layers. I did not use spray adhesive for this project. The batting is the bottom layer, then the foam cushion, and then the wood seat form. Pull the edge of the batting up and over the side of the cushion and seat form and using a staple gun, staple the batting onto the seat form starting from the middle of one side and working out to the edges. Staple one side of the seat at a time, and then do its opposite side next. Lastly, fold the batting into the edges for taught corners and staple down the excess. TIP: Use staples with pointed tips, not blunt tips; this makes it easier to get the staples all the way into the wood without resulting to hammering each staple down later.
Once all sides of the batting are stapled to the under side of the wood seat form, place the fabric face down on your work surface and then place the seat cushion on top with the stapled side up. Line up the fabric edges and/or pattern and follow the same process as with the batting, stapling from the middle of one side, working out to the edges, and then stapling the opposite side next. Fold in the corners for the desired look you want on your edges and staple down the excess fabric. For this project, I used oilcloth (aka laminated cotton), so my fabric did not easily bunch at the corners; I opted for making “hospital bed” corners to get a crisp, clean fold. Trim the fabric edges to within an inch of the staples to get a straight line, and then trim away the excess batting sticking out beyond the edge of the fabric cover.
Flip over your chair cushion and admire your work! This easy, DIY Chair Cushion Recovering project can be completed in an afternoon and is one of the first projects since my daughter’s birth that I have started and finished within 24 hours! Recovering simple chairs like these yourself really helps save money; leave the complicated re-upholstery jobs to the professionals and save your money for then!
The total costs for this project to recover four chair cushions were:
Oilcloth Fabric in Purple French Lace: purchased on ebay.com, 2 yards for $22.15 (inc. shipping)
Chair Cushion Foam: purchased at Wal-Mart, 2 packs of 2 for $7.94 each
Quilt Batting: purchased at Wal-Mart, 1 roll of 81″x96″ for $6.81
Tools: already owned all necessary tools
Total money spent: $45
Newly wed and PCS’ing often the last few years resulted in several of our prized possessions living permanently in storage. Included among the towering boxes are all of my treasured Easter decorations that I have saved from my childhood. Baskets, figurines, music boxes, snow globes and a huge porcelain Easter Rabbit with basket. Because I already own these decorations, I am always hesitant to buy anything to fill in the gaps around my home during the Easter holidays.
However, it is very difficult to pass up a good Pottery Barn sale (with free shipping which makes a HUGE difference when you currently reside in Hawaii!). Last spring, post-Easter, I purchased various sizes of shimmering, pastel, Easter eggs of papier-mâché. They perfectly fill my three-tiered server. I’d love to have more throughout the house, but the sticker-shock is prohibitive!
I purchased on Amazon some papier-mâché craft eggs last spring, but I found myself preoccupied with making outfits and memories with my newborn. So, the eggs have sat unattended in my art drawer for the past year. Rather than paint elaborate decorations on the eggs, as was my intention, I decided to use the Pottery Barn shimmering Easter eggs as inspiration for decorating my plain craft eggs.
For this project, you will need the following supplies:
1) papier-mâché craft eggs
2) Paint brushes
3) Wax Paper
4) Empty egg cartons (preferably plastic)
6) Sewing needle
7) Acrylic paints: white, and assorted colors, and interference gold (fine)
8) Optional: glass jars with lids (Gerber work well)
The steps are very simple. First, prep your work space. Put wax paper down on your work surface; this protects your counters and prevents the painted eggs from sticking to the counter. Poke holes in the high points of your egg cartons. Using the sewing needle, poke a single hole in the bottom (or other site of your choosing) of each papier-mâché egg. Insert a toothpick into the hole at the bottom of each egg, and holding the toothpick end, paint each egg with a single coat of white acrylic. This acts as the primer. I opted to do a second coat of white paint after the first coat dried, about thirty minutes later. Set each painted egg into a hole in the egg carton; be sure to space the eggs out so that their sides do not touch and damage the paint job. TIP: plan on drying 6 eggs per 12-egg-carton; this gives you adequate spacing. Also, plastic cartons are preferable to the paper kind because the paper can stick to the painted eggs.
Allow each coat of primer or paint to dry completely. Check the label on your paint for the dry time, but usually it should take about 30 minutes between coats. You will do two color coats. Use prepared colors or mix your own! If you do mix and customize your own colors, keep in mind that you have dry time between coats; mix customized paints in bulk and store in air-tight containers (Gerber glass jars work very well!). Paint each coat and dry the eggs on the cartons.
Once the last coat of colored paint has dried on the egg, it is time to apply the interference gold (fine) coat(s). Apply each coat very thinly, being sure to spread out the gold paint evenly across the egg. If you want more of a shimmer effect, apply a second, thin coat of gold. TIP: If you apply gold to white colored eggs, 3-4 coats of gold paint has a nice effect. Allow the eggs to dry and then store in a carton or set them about in your home decor and enjoy!
There are several options for displaying the eggs. You can arrange them in bowls or glass vases as filler, or place them around candle bases, plates, and cake stands. Glue them to picture frames, set atop candlesticks, or glue magnets on them to hold prized photos and artwork on your refrigerator. You can string them up on fishing line or clear crafting wire and use as garland or upon a wreath. TIP: if you plan on preserving these for years to come, especially if they will be used on a wreath outdoors, seal them with a non-yellowing poly or shellac coat(s).
How do you use Easter eggs to decorate your home?
This post contains amazon affiliate links; click here to read my disclosure. You can purchase craft eggs from several Amazon sellers:
Need some extra motivation to get your home unpacked and your personal items squirreled away in closets and under beds? Island Palm Communities is promoting an Interior Decorating Contest for all residents.
Submit up to ten (10) photos online at IPC’s contest website that best demonstrate your interior style. Contest ends November 30, 2013. Only current IPC residents are eligible.
- 1st place $300 visa gift card
- 2nd place $200 visa gift card
- 3rd place $100 visa gift card