Chair Upholstery

I’ve wanted to reupholster a chair for a long time.  Although I have no prior experience, after watching it being done over and over on TV, I felt I had learned the basics of how to get it done.

In 1996 on TLC, I  would watch a show called Furniture to Go (Which previously was Furniture on the Mend & then after Men in Tool Belts) hosted by Ed Feldman and Joe L’Erario.  It was one of my favorite shows and way before all these home repair-do-it-yourself shows on cable these days.  The guys would start out the show with a classic comedy skit or reenactment, and all throughout the show there would be tons of puns and jokes that you had to have a quick-whit to catch.   Sometimes the projects would be a wood furniture refinishing or reupholstering.   I’ve always been fascinated by this type of stuff, and would love to be able to do that kind of stuff on my own. 

21 years later………..  Joe and Ed have gotten together again (on YouTube) to share their tips and quick fixes and I finally dove in and did my own project!

I bought an old chair from an estate sale with the intention of re-covering it.










This was the hardest part of the project.  The seat was screwed into the chair and I didn’t realize that for a long time as I struggled to try and remove it.  Then there were the hundreds of staples I had to remove.  First I had to begin to carefully remove the original fabric, which I would then use as a pattern to cut out pieces of the new fabric I had selected.   


After getting the fabric removed I did a good cleaning and polishing of the chair frame. 

 It was at this point, when trying to lift the chair onto my work table, I had banged it into the edge of the table and popped a hole into the woven arm (#@!$%#%$&!!!).  Well it is my first project and mistakes were going to happen.  I continued on with other parts and would deal with this later. 

The back rest had buttons, so since I don’t have a mechanical way to cover/create buttons, I had to make a decision to discard them or try to somehow convert them to my pattern.  First I decided it would be too difficult to do and added some extra padding to cover the indentations from the buttons.  As part of the learning process, I first upholstered the back part and then the first.  So when I decided to go ahead and use the buttons, I couldn’t pop them through the fabric and I had to start over again. 

Here is a close up of the old and new covered buttons (buttons, but they have a brad-backing).  I cut a small square of material and wrapped it around the button and began to sew the back side as tight as I could.

To start, place the material face down on the table, and lay the cardboard-cushioned back on top.  Pull the material over the edge and place a staple in the middle.  Then pull material to make sure it’s smooth and tight as you put more staples across the top.  Now you can flip the piece around and do the same to the bottom and the sides.  It was like wrapping present, making sure all the edges were creased and even. 

This is the finished back rest with buttons and a first look at the material I chose. 

Next I worked on the seat. I also added and/or replaced the cushioning as necessary.  

I generously cut the material larger than I needed it to be. 

Always start with a staple in the middle first and then keep pulling taught and smoothing the material around the project. 

While working with the material, I had to make several release cuts in order to make sure that all of the material was smooth since this had more rounded edges than the back.

After everything is stapled into place, trim off the excess fabric. 


Now that the main pieces were covered, I attached the back to the wood with staples

Then I had to deal with the arms.  I decided there was no way for me to fix it, so I would have to cover both the inside and outside arms.  I took some poster board to make a pattern.  For the inside arms, I then transferred it on to a heavy cardboard (tv box) and hot glued the material to the cardboard and then stapled it to the arms. 

The outside arms were done the same way except I used the poster board and nothing heavier, that was hot glued to the chair

Now was the time to affix all the remaining pieces to the chair and add the chord (gimp) to cover the staples.   I used hot glue again around the back and down the sides. 

It took me 5 days to finish (I only worked on it an hour or two a day).  I know I didn’t do it exactly the way I was supposed to, I’m happy with the final product. 

Here’s the finished product !

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Red Bird in the Moonlight



This hardy Cardinal’s brilliant red feathers are illuminated against the backdrop of a full Winter’s Moon.  The blustery wind out of the North Pole has kicked up the snow flurries into a swirling vortex, adding a chill to the air.   No need to worry though, this red-bird has a tight grip on the tree branch and an abundance of berries to snack on throughout the night.

This is the third painting that I have completed since starting back in early November.  This time, I found a picture on line and did what I could to re-create it without instruction.  Initially the canvas was supposed to be for a Bob Ross landscape, but it wasn’t working for me so I took a color and covered the canvas with a dark background to blot out my first attempt.  Because I don’t want this to be too expensive of a hobby considering I’m just starting out, I wanted to be able to re-use it.

When my mom said she liked it (mothers always do), but then hung it up on the wall, I knew it had to be half decent.   This painting served a dual purpose and I also made it into my Christmas Card design.  I took a picture of the painting and then put it decoratively on a card.  

Part-time Passion for Painting

I’ve started painting! I’m not good at it, but I started ! Here are my first two projects.  Up to last year, I still wanted to learn how to paint and was saving up to get the Bob Ross starter kit I saw for sale at Hobby Lobby.  Saving up was going to be one big obstacle as the kit was $100 and some of his other tools and brushes at least a quarter of that.   I’d like to say that my inspiration to paint comes from channeling my inner Michelangelo, Da Vinci or Raphael, but that’s not the case.  (yes I know I just named the Ninja Turtles).  I probably couldn’t even identify any of their paintings and do not hang out in art museums.  In fact one time I had to apologize to a co-worker of mine one time when I said that I ‘hated art’.  It was more of a mis-understanding of certain concepts of art. But Jared was such an art fan that to make it up and prove that I wasn’t a jerk, I visited the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the Renwick Gallery, and the Portrait Gallery to show that I could appreciate art.  I found several pieces at each gallery that I could identify with.

So I guess, if I had to pick a favorite painter, it would be none other than Bob Ross.  I grew up watching him on public television and was amazed at the beautiful landscapes he could create in such a short amount of time.  I always wished I could do that too, but seemed to always take my creativity into different directions.

There was an offer on Groupon for a deal on a session at a local art studio that taught painting.  Teaching is a loose term because it’s more of step by step instruction to create a painting they chose. I was ecstatic when I found this offer and jumped on it.  I didn’t want to wait around for the right design… I wanted to go right away and signed up for that weekend class.  My friend Lisa joined me and I was happy she did.  It was so much more relaxing to have someone there to take the stress away.

This was the art studio in Sussex, WI called Uptown Art.  


This is the painting we were learning to do.  It’s called Autumn Walk in the Park by Karen Tarlton




Mine didn’t turn out quite the same way.  I was ok up to the point of the trees and the grass and the people.  I wish I could paint over the bottom and try again.  But all and all I’m not that disappointed and I didn’t get as frustrated as I thought I would.  Normally I’m the type of perfectionist that it has to look like the sample or its wrong.  I’m learning to get over that.  



So after saying that Bob Ross is my favorite painter…. what do I do, but go on my own with my first unassisted attempt, I paint something that is very “not Bob Ross”.   I had planned on going back again to Uptown Art, but I got my dates mixed up and I missed signing up for this Van Gogh style Tree.  



So I went to the crafts stores and assembled all that I would need to paint at home.  I think I came pretty close.  I did’t quite get all the swirls in and I decided not to put dots on the spheres, but I’m happy with it.  


 If I don’t make it back to Uptown Art this year, I did borrow a few Bob Ross instructional DVDs and I think I will try one of those next. 

Stay tuned for future art projects! 









I’ve been wanting to write for quite a while, but hadn’t found the time or resources.  Tapping my fingers on my desk at work, & looking all around I wan’t going to let my 45 minute lunch to go to waste.  In that amount of time I could create a new blackout poem.  However, the only reading material I had in my desk to use was the Fleet Type Submarine Manual and the Torpedo Data Computer Manual which are not exactly choice verbiage for creating poetry.

Then I remembered I could access my Kindle Cloud reader on the computer.  Randomly, I chose from my fiction library the book Free Air by Sinclair Lewis and scrolled through with the mouse until I stopped on page 105 (because that is what time it was).  I read this book in the summer of 2015 so it wasn’t fresh in my memory.  I first skimmed the page, looking at it like a word search puzzle to see which words popped out.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a blackout poetry & usually I have to be in a particular mood when I make one.  This time, not so much of a mood came through, but more of a theme.  Nearly every day since the beginning of this year, my family has been watching past seasons of the reality TV show Survivor on DVD,  and have just completed Season 13.  Thus when I saw the name Jeff on the page of this book…. my mind immediately conjured up an image of host Jeff Probst. On the show, love or hate the castaway, it’s always an emotional episode when they have the “Loved Ones Visit.” The castaways are always surprised to see loved ones & then compete to spend time with them.  That’s what I thought of when making this…especially those who lose the challenge.

Because it was an e-book page it’s a lot wider than a photocopy of a regular book so you’ll have to click on the picture to read it full size.  In the event it doesn’t load because of the size, I typed it out below the picture.


Shacks and tents
She ambled to the shore, feeling feeble
Three days ago she was muttering
Jeff…. homesick
Crouched on the shore, forlorn figure
Reflection of sunset
A roar, a rush
A trim figure darting-
People she loved
He had shouted only, “I Miss” before she had rushed to him
Into the comfort of his arms and kissed him
Ridiculously wonderful to see you !
Must trot
See you very soon
Alone with Jeff in his cap, and his keen smile

Free Air- Sinclair Lewis

Free Air- Sinclair Lewis, Page 105 (electronic)



Tie-Dyed Easter Eggs

A few years back I used a natural way of dying my Easter Eggs with things such as leaves and juices with varying results. (you can review that by clicking the hyperlinks). This year I went a whole new direction after I saw a video on the Internet on how to dye eggs with silk ties. (I’d post the video but I don’t know how to link it from Facebook. If you can find it outside of that leave the link in the comments).
It worked, but the desired results need a little work. Here’s what you have to do.
Your supplies are: Patterned silk ties that you don’t mind cutting up, string, white cotton fabric.


First cut the ties into square pieces (mine aren’t exactly square for the first time but I wanted to make sure it would wrap around completely).


Wrap the silk around the egg with the right side, bright side, pattern side on the inside.  Then generously wrap it up with string.  This will hold the material tightly to the egg.


Then cut a square of white cotton and wrap that around as well and tie. 



Take 4 cups of water and 1/4 cup of vinegar in a pot. Place the eggs in the water and bring to a boil then simmer for 30 min.



This is what my eggs looked like when I unwrapped them. The pattern DID transfer. Some not very dark and not always smoother but I was satisfied and would call it a success.









Happy Easter! !!


Not too much to this craft project, but it was a cute and inexpensive holiday item that I managed to finish in time (i’m known for being a procrastinator and not finishing projects).

This started out as a $3 wooden shamrock.  I had a vision to paint it and then dressed it up with a yellow outline and the edge is white on top and black on the bottom.  I then painted across the front my name: 4LeafClover1343.  I know, I know…. this isn’t a 4 leaf clover, but they are few and far between.  

I’ll find some nice silk ribbon to hang it up on my door.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day !


Homespun Harvest Quilt

I have been waiting a long time to post this, but I had to because the quilt I made ended up being a gift and I didn’t want to spoil the surprise online.


At the beginning of January 2015, I decided to put aside my scrapbooking and cards and bring out an old project.  About 10 years ago, I saw this free pattern at Walmart and decided it was something that I wanted to make.  The pattern was a 24″x 24″ wall hanging, but I had designs to make it into a quilt so I bought enough material and first had to iron out 10 years of wrinkles before I could get started.  


I loved this pattern because of the Autumn feel and all the harvest and rust-like colors.  I had never made a quilt like this before so it was going to be challenging to understand all the directions and geometric shapes. It involved a lot of cutting and measuring that took days in itself.  

Then I started piecing the blocks together, step by step and color by color until I had one square. 



These first few weren’t too bad, but I really got tripped up when I came up with the left hand picture below and somehow had to turn it into a square.  You can see it ends up being a diamond shape in the center and not a square.  What I had to do was measure so far in on the outside strips and cut them off.  I then capped off what was left with a plaid triangle.  


I made 9 blocks and you can see once I sewed them together, where they met, they created a whole new diamond pattern.  


Traditionally, I don’t use cotton batting for the inside.  Seeing as this was such an odd size, I probably should have.  What I do is find a blanket to put inside, but because of this size I went with some plain (blaze orange) fleece cut from a bolt.  However, even the standard with of that was not enough so I had to piece it together and then trim the edges once I laid them on top of each other.  


For the back I used an Autumn leaf print and folded it over to create an outline.  I can’t find the photo of the finished quilt, but here you an see how the edges come together. 

It was quite a huge undertaking for me and my quilting skill level.  Halfway though the project, I decided that when I finished it I was going to give it away as a gift.  The plaid patterns and Autumn colors and leaves reminded me of my dear friend Andrei and thought he might enjoy it as a Christmas gift.  He certainly did.  I hope it keeps him warm in the chilly months, and thinks of me as he wraps up in it. The one obstacle is that he lives near Moscow so I had to try and find the right way to package it up so it wouldn’t be so big of a box, as the post office loves to charge you for shape, weight and distance for international packages.  I used a vacuum space bag to flatten it as much as I could and then a slim type box.  Slightly more than a month later it arrived…. thus the posting of this blog now.  I don’t regret giving it away after all that work.  It just means now I can move on to my next project.



Memorial Day Greeting Card

Originally called Decoration Day, today’s Memorial Day we need to take a moment to honor the American heroes who died in service of our country while battling the enemy in order to preserve our freedom.  I chose to honor and remember by creating this.  

From time to time, I enjoy making greeting cards from rubber stamps and scrapbook paper.  I created this patriotic card last year.  It doesn’t have a specific Memorial Day theme, but could be used as a sympathy card for someone who lost a loved one in the military, or it could be used on Veteran’s Day (I chose to stamp Thank You on the inside).


I chose a black card base because it really accented the colors of this card well.

The red and white stripes are actually on one sheet of scrapbook paper that I cut down to size.

I took a navy blue piece of card stock and embossed it with stars and then brushed over the stars with white ink and applied 5 gold brads.

The dog tags are made of grey paper, punched with a rounded edge rectangle punch. At the hardware store I bought some chain and snipped it down to size.  (This makes the card very puffy and hard to send through the mail with regular postage, I would recommend a puffy envelope) I took a grey marker and edged the shape and finally used a sentiment stamp inside that says In everything give Thanks -1 Thess. 5:18.  Another idea would be to hand write a persons name or put dates on the dog tags.  

The remembrance ribbon is a thin red white and blue band that I twisted and glued in the center.  The “Brave and Strong Hero” sentiment was stamped in black on a gold sheet of paper and circle punched.  It is popped-dotted in the center of the ribbon. 

The heartfelt banner at the bottom was stamped on tan paper and distressed with a brown ink around the edges.  It is also popped-dotted for dimension. 

Custom made T-shirt Design Using Bleach

I found this idea on Pinterest and thought it was something that I could re-create.  It’s a T-shirt where a picture was created by using bleach around a pattern.  I pinned it on my craft board, but this shirt was actually for sale on Etsy so I had to guess on the instructions.  I felt it had a more definite result than tye-dyeing.



  • T-Shirt
  • Bleach
  • A spray bottle
  • Stencil design
  • Plastic to protect the surface you are working on
  • Gloves to protect your hands
  • Goggles to protect your eyes
  • A washing machine to finish your design


The design I wanted to use was the old Amtrak logo because they have since changed it to a new design and it is hard to find the vintage look.

I went on the computer and enlarged the logo to the chest size of my T-shirt and then went ahead and cut it out, using an exacto knife. I then placed it on the front of my shirt and taped it down. 

I wanted to make sure that the shirt was completely flat.  I used a large piece of cardboard to insert inside the shirt, and I also covered it with a plastic bag so that the bleach wouldn’t soak through to the back side. 

Next I wanted to make sure that I didn’t spray any bleach on parts of the shirt that didn’t require it so I taped another bag around my design to cover the other parts of the shirt.

Next I got the bleach treatment ready by pouring a bit of liquid bleach into a spray bottle.  I also bought a bleach pen to make sure I got clear lines. 

I took the shirt outside to the back yard and did my spraying on the pavement. I saturated the T-shirt and the stencil.  And let it dry outside in the sun.  Next I put it in the washing machine and dryer to set it.


Looking back at the design I saw online, I can see where I went wrong by reversing the negative and positive spaces on the shirt with my design.  If I try again in the future I’ll know to do it the opposite way. Where they used an outline and sprayed the bleach around it, I sprayed the bleach into my outline.  That’s where it came out looking like a sweat stain.  But at least I got the logo nice and straight with the help of the bleach pen.  I failed on this project and ended up using the shirt to wash my truck with.