Easy Breezy

Easy Breezy
Being creative every day and making it look Easy Breezy!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened at UGA

On Wednesday, my daughter Tabetha and I took my oldest son Seth up to the University of Georgia for student orientation and registration.  We got up at 4 a.m. and headed to Athens!  All I can say is, what did we ever do without a GPS?  I have no sense of direction whatsoever.  Seriously.  Some days I have to think about which way to turn out of my driveway!  It's bad.  Thanks to Keith, the Austrailian guy on the GPS we drove straight to the university without getting lost!

So we get there and we get signed in and get our meal tickets and parking pass and we get my son checked into his dorm and then we drive over to Tate Hall for an orientation meeting.  That would not be our last I can assure you!  After a fun introduction they whisked our kids away and left us parents to listen to information about financial aid and something called Dawg Bucks (a credit card to be used on campus) and pretty much told us who to make the check out to.  Several hours later they loaded us parents all onto buses and took us to the dining hall for lunch.  I'm not sure where the kids were but I assume they were fed as well.  Luckily we were among the first to get on the bus so we got a seat right up front.  The air conditioning was blowing and it was a lovely drive across campus to the dining hall.  Dining hall my right eye!  This was more like a food court!  I think I gained my freshman fifteen during lunch!  It was d-lish! After lunch it was back to the bus.  This time we weren't lucky enough to get a seat and we had to stand holding on to those straps hanging from the ceiling.  We're standing there making polite conversation and this one lady compliments my outfit!  I was thrilled!  You have no idea how I agonized over what to wear!  I didn't want to be too casual and wear shorts and a t-shirt, but I didn't want to look like I had tried too hard either.  Turns out khaki capris and a chocolate brown tank with silk ribbon flowers sewn on the left side was perfect! Whew!  Crisis avoided!  I really would have just layed down and died if I had gotten there and looked like country come to town!  My worst fear would to be like the lady from "Macon, Georgia" on the scrunchy episode of Sex and the City!  So anyway, back to me holding on to the strap.  For those of you who don't know, I am vertically challanged.  Try to visualize a 5'2" girl, holding a strap overhead, invading the personal space of the man who is seated.  Picture where my right boob and armpit are.  That's right.  In. His. Face. Then a horrible thought occured to me!  Did I remember to shave under my arms! OMG!  I couldn't remember!  I did know that my legs were clean shaven because the day before a four year old little girl asked me why I had eyelashes all over my legs! Ooops!  Time to shave!  Of course I couldn't look because that would have been awkward and if I had looked and there were "eyelashes" on my armpit I would have just died right there!  Then the bus started to move.  Along with having no sense of direction, apparently I have no sense of balance either.  I felt like a rag doll being dragged around by her arm.  I'm pretty sure the bus driver was taking the turns on two wheels!  I was being slung all over the place, yet I noticed everyone else was standing perfectly erect and chatting with one another like we weren't even moving.  And then it happened.  I got tickled.  I couldn't help myself, I just started laughing.  I was trying to show some class and I wasn't hootin' and hollerin', but I was doing that silent "Mutley" laugh, (remember that dog from saturday morning cartoons?). The tears were pouring down my cheeks.  Then I got my daughter laughing. I thought I was going to wet my pants.  It has happened before.  Seriously.  One time on a girlfriends weekend a friend bought me a box of panty liners just in case I got tickled!  It's bad.  I am days away from needing that bladder tack surgery.  Seriously. I didn't need the panty liners this time though!  Whew!  Another crisis avoided.  Oh, and while I was being slung around I was able to catch a glimpse of my armpit and I'm happy to announce it was eyelash free!

Okay, so we are back at the UGA orientation and if you've ever been you know it is one seminar after another and it goes on  for HOURS!  HOURS I SAY!  So here we are, Tabetha and me, sitting in a lecture hall at one of the last seminars before we break for dinner.  Let me just say, in my defense,  that I had been up since 4am, drove 2 1/2 hours to Athens, and had been sitting in seminars since 8am except for the hour break we took for lunch and the bus ride of death afterwards.  It was now close to 5pm and  this guy, who was over student housing passes out this magazine and tells us to please not look at it just yet, but to pay attention to what he has to say.  So I turn the magazine over so I won't be tempted to read it and I try my best to listen to this man.  I think I heard him say "Bueller... Ferris Bueller.... Bueller...  It is all I could  do to keep awake!  I caught myself doing the nap jerk on several occassions (you know when you start to doze off and your head falls forward and you jerk it up!)  I decide to look down at the magazine thinking surely there is something interesting to read that will keep me awake.  This man is obviously trying to keep us from the good stuff!  On the back there is a listing of all the dorms at UGA.  And next to each dorm it lists its amenities like if its co-ed, carpeted, has a sink in the room, what type of bathrooms etc.  Well I see where it it says Heat and Air Conditioning.  I was curious to see whether my son's dorm had air conditioning because he is living in the oldest dorm on campus. I  know this because it is described at "Historic Payne Hall"  Historic is code for OLD!  So anyway, my daughter and I are looking at the list and next to Payne Hall it says "AC ONLY".  So we are thinking what the heck?  No heat?  That's crazy!  And then on the list of things NOT to bring it said space heater.  No heat and space heaters are not allowed?  What kind of place is this?

So this guy finishes his talk and next up are some students to do a parent Q&A.  Many a boring question went out like "what is the one thing you wished you had in your dorm" , "should my child join a fraternity" or "how do we get tickets for the games".   Then my hand shot up! Oooh oooh ooh Mr. Kotter!  And I say, " my son will be living in Payne Hall and it says here that it has AC only.  So what does he do in the winter?  Should I pack a Snuggy?  Lots of sweaters?  An Electric Blanket?

                                                                        ..... crickets....

Okay, so apparently what AC Only means is that he will be able to control the temp of only the AC  in his room.  The heat is set the same for the whole dorm.  Oooooh!  Now I understand!  My daughter did jump to my defense and cry out "well this brochure is very deceiving!"  Thanks Tatty!  After the laughter died down and a few more less humorous questions were asked we were dismissed for dinner (only to have to return at 8:30 pm for another seminar, where we'd get to see our children again).  I made a quick stop in the ladies room before leaving and I heard snickering from the other stalls!  When I came out to wash my hands this lady next to me says "Bless your heart, you didn't want your baby to be cold!"  Now y'all know as well as I do that when a southern woman says "bless your heart..." she is really saying "you big dummy..."  Whatev!  You know you were thinking the same thing!

After dinner, we returned to campus once again for more information on UGA and at 10:30 p.m. we were dismissed to go to our lovely hotel.  My son stayed in the dorms with the other students.  Not Payne Hall though because they are renovating it.  Apparently, it is sinking.

So this morning I had put the whole Q&A debacle behind me and after the parents breakfast we went to meet up with our kids again at the Resource Fair.  There was table after table of information about every aspect of campus life. I was super interested in all the tables that were giving things away.  I came away with lots of plastic cups, ink pens, paper fans, refrigerator magnets and even a frisbee for the dog! Woo hoo!  Tabetha and Seth had walked on to another booth and when I caught up with them they were howling with laughter!  Apparently, at one of the student meetings last night one of the counsellors told this hillarious story about this mother who was worried about her sons dorm room not having any heat, and needing to know how many snuggies to bring! OMG!  Seth says, while he's listening to the story he's secretly praying that it was not his own mother who asked such.... but alas Seth it was!  That's right, it will be a story to go down in history.  It will be told at orientations for years to come.  Future students of Payne Hall will be packing snuggies just to be on the safe side!

So, somehow, I became the talk of the orientation!  Are y'all surprised?   Well bless your heart!

Monday, July 25, 2011

She's a Real Looker!

I am so excited y'all!  I finally finished the ugly chair and she turned out to be a real looker! I am thrilled with how she turned out, especially since this was my first time ever upholstering anything!  She is not perfect by any stretch - there are some things about the paint finish I might go back and tweak, and the seat cushion is not as perfect as it could be, but all in all, I love her!

Remember how she used to look?

Well look at her now!

I ended up using the white gimp to trim out the chair and I love how it looks!  Thanks for the inspiration Miss Mustard Seed 

And don't you just love the monogram!  I think it really makes the chair special.  If you haven't made anything using a painters drop cloth, you really should give it a try.  I love the texture and the color of it.  I even had a little left over that I'm going to use to make a throw pillow.

I learned so much in recovering this chair.  The first thing I learned is that I did not take nearly enough pictures of the before and the during.  You might think you'll remember how things looked, but trust me, you won't.  I'm pretty sure that I did not do the back of my chair how the original was done, but I will never know, because I didn't take a picture of it.  The hardest part of the entire chair was the part you don't even see - the seat bottom under the cushion!  Trying to work around the chair arms and legs was a real bear, but I worked it out and am pleased with the results. 

Now on to the next project!
Ugly Chair #2

There isn't a single thing I like about this chair. The shape is blah, the fabric is dated, it doesn't go with anything in my house.  In fact, I'm not even sure where we got this chair.  I think The Hubs brought it home one day from who knows where!  It sits in my sons room and is usually covered in laundry.  He leaves for college in a couple of weeks, so I will wait until he is gone before I confiscate his chair.  I might do something fun with it like covering it in Georgia Bulldog fabric!  Hmmm.... we'll see.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Monogram Sneak Preview

I am so excited!  I got the monogram for my chair back tonight, so that means tomorrow I will start putting the fabric on The Ugly Chair!  I can't wait!  I should have the chair finished and sitting in my living room this weekend if all goes as planned! Yay!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Son-in-Law Shirt

I know you are expecting another post about the Ugly Chair, but I am still waiting on the monogram to be finished, so I'm kind of at a standstill. I've made many a New Year's Resolution about not starting a new project before I finish an old one, but to be honest, they seem to go by the wayside along with the lose weight, exercise and save money ones. This was a super quick project that I knew I could finish in a afternoon, so I figured it wouldn't do any harm.

My son in law sent a bag of hand-me-downs to my two teenage sons and there was one shirt that neither of them claimed. I was going to put it in my Goodwill bag, but on further inspection I decided I really liked the fabric and figured there was enough of it to make some really cute pants for a friends new baby boy.

I found this adorable and FREE pattern and tutorial here.

It didn't take long at all to whip up these baby pants and if it hadn't been for the snaps and pocket on the front of the shirt I would have had enough fabric to make a second pair. Then I came across this cutie here . Are these bibs precious or what? And did you see the other projects she made using old button down shirts? So cute!

So I got to work cutting out the bib pattern and in no time at all I had a precious (and free) baby gift.

Okay, I did have to run out and get some coordinating bias tape for the bib, but everyone knows I would have found my way to the fabric store this weekend anyhow. Now I can't wait for the next bag of hand-me-downs. I think I'll be going through it before the boys do!

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Wow Us Wednesday
The Shady Porch

Monday, July 18, 2011

Christmas in July

Can y'all believe we are only 5 months away from Christmas?  I was in Hobby Lobby the other day and they already have all of their Fall stuff out and several rows of Christmas stuff.  If you are a crafter, especially if you sell your crafts, its time to get started making your holiday items.

As a preschool teacher I tried to come up with an ornament that will be a true keepsake for my students to give their parents at Christmastime.  Not that we don't make our fair share of popcicle stick reindeer and pipe cleaner candy canes and such, but I wanted to make something that would hold up for years and years.  This is what I decided to make.

I purchased the softball sized ornaments.  They come in clear or in frosted.  I've used both, but the frosted version is shown here.  Most craft stores sell these ornaments and they usually come four to a box.  Here's what you'll need:

Red, Green and Lime Green Acrylic Paint (GLOSSY)
Black dementional paint
Round Sponge Spouncers
Baby Wipes

Step one is to paint the palm of the childs hand.  Have them hold their hand out straight and stiff.  Place the ornament in the palm of their hand then tell them to grab it and immediately let go.  I usually do a run through of this process before I paint their hand so they know exactly what to do.  If they move their hand and the print gets smeared, no fear, when it is still wet it will wash right off with water and then you can try again.  When you have the handprint on the ornament set it aside to dry.  You can stick a few dowels in a foam block as a drying rack or go ahead and hang them from an ornament hook to dry.  Wash the childs hands off immediately with baby wipes or at the sink with soap and water.  The paint comes off of skin, but will stain fabrics, so be careful.

When the handprint is dry I go back with my round spouncers and add polka dots.  I've found that doing three different sized and different colored dots works best without it looking to polka dotty.  When the dots are dry go back with your black dementional paint and write the childs name and the year.  When everything is dry I tie a piece of coordinating ribbon to the ornament cap and there you go! Easy Breezy!

I'm linking this post to:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bloggy Love

A few months ago I discovered Blogs completely by accident.  I had heard of blogs and I even watched that movie Julie and Julia about the girl who blogged about cooking her way through Julia Child's cookbook, but I thought to myself, number one, there is no way I'm cooking every day if I don't have to and number two, who'd want to read about me anyway.  So I poo poo'd blogging as being something that was not for me. Then my sister had a baby and I wanted to make some baby clothes for her. Martha Stewart had an episode on her show about making baby clothes and a woman was on there making some super cute baby bloomers.  Martha said the pattern could be found on her website so I got online and found it and printed it out. It had to be blown up 250% using a copy machine.  Try as I might I could not figure out how to do it. I even brought in some helpers who I thought were more copy machine savvy than I.  We just couldn't get it right.  So I got back on the computer to google "how to blow stuff up"!  You can imagine the sites it led me to! YIKES!  Needless to say, I never could figure out how to use Martha's cute pattern and was lamenting this fact to a friend who said, "hey, I've got a bloomer pattern you can use!"  SAVED!  Turns out it was the same pattern as Martha's - atleast the shape was the same from what I could tell in Martha's online picture. I actually ended up using Martha's pattern instructions because I loved how she used elastic thread around the leg openings instead of casings and elastic.  Maybe y'all will have more luck blowing the pattern up than I did.  Here are the super cute bloomers I made for my darling neice.

I think the bows make them even cuter. I figured she couldn't just run around in her bloomers,(well, she probably could since she's just a baby) so I decided to make a pillowcase dress to go with them.  Once again I had no pattern.  I actually went to the fabric store to purchase one but every variation of pattern was sold out.  These dresses are super popular around here.  I knew I really didn't need a pattern so I got back online and did some googling and came across this blog.  Oh. My. Word.  I love this blog.  If you are a beginning sewer like me you are going to love Eva Marie at Couturier Mommy!  She has lots of video tutorials that have helped me so much.  Here is the dress I made my neice. 
Is that cute or what?  I made this for her to wear to a family barbecue we were having.  Every southern girl since Scarlett O'Hara knows a good barbecue dress is a must!

  I made the bloomers and the dress out of $1 bandanas that I found at Hobby Lobby.

Well after finding Eva's blog, that was all she wrote, I was hooked!  I found some awesome blogs on sewing and crafting and home decor.  Pretty soon I found myself starting my sentences with "I saw the cutest thing on this blog..."  The more blogs I read the more I realized I was a lot like these women  - just a normal girl who likes to be creative and decorate and entertain.  I figured since I had been so inspired by these blogging women that maybe I could be an inspiration too.  Atleast that is my hope.

Here is a list of my top 5 favorite blogs just to get you started:

Also, check out this blog.  She's new to blogging (like me).
 On Sutton Place
                                            On Sutton Place
I found her through Kim at Savvy Southern Style.  She's got some beautiful paintings and she's hosting a giveaway celebrating her 6 month blogging anniversary. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Ugly Chair Part IV - The Cushion

I am so excited to say, that I have made my first cushion.  I'm not claiming perfection on this thing, but I think it turned out pretty well for my first try.  I layed the foam onto my fabric and traced around it leaving  enough fabric to go half way up the side of the cushion and for the seam allowance, then I cut it out. Next I layed the cording on the right side of the fabric and pinned raw edge to raw edge.  Then using my new handy dandy zipper foot (I'm telling y'all, this zipper foot has changed my life!) I sewed around the entire cushion top so the cording went all the way around.  Check out this tutorial on how to join the beginning and end pieces of the cording here .  Next  I took the bottom piece of fabric, lined it up with the top, right sides facing and sewed around 3 sides of the cushion. 

Just a quick note,  the drop cloth fabric ravels like a big dawg!   Next time I might cut my strips a little wider to cover my cording just to allow for some of the raveling.    

Then I turned the fabric right side out and slipped the cushion inside.  The most tedius part was blind stitching the cover closed.  My original cushion had a zipper so the slipcover could be removed, but I wasn't brave enough to tackle that yet.  Maybe next time.

Here is my lovely new cushion.   It's not perfect, but I'm proud of it.  Ignore the rest of the chair as it is not anywhere near being done. 

I have hit a bit of a snag with the double welt cording for the rest of the chair, so Plan B is to try it with single cording.  If that's not wide enough to do the job then  Plan C is to use gimp.  Gimp is a kind of braided trim. Miss Mustard Seed  uses it a lot on her gorgeous chairs, so I know it will look good on mine too!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fabric for the Ugly Chair

Now that the chair is stripped of its upholstery and painted its time to think about fabric.  I looked around at my local fabric stores and found these two beauties -  you can't see from the swatch but the beige fabric actually has birds on it!  With a name like Wren you know I'm lovin' me some birds!

Being my first upholstery project I was nervous about purchasing the fabric.  I was also afraid of working with a pattern my first time out especially since I picked the hardest chair ever as my first project!  So after doing a little reading on Miss Mustard Seed's blog here I decided to use a painters canvas drop cloth for my fabric.  It's inexpensive and you get a lot of fabric!  Depending on the chair,  one drop cloth could be all you need.  I picked one up while I was buying the paint at Home Depot.  Miss Mustard Seed makes the most beautiful slip covers from drop clothes and has reupholstered some chairs using old feed sacks!  LOVE that look.  I didn't have any feed sacks laying around though so I started preparing my drop cloth.  I put my washing machine on the soak cycle,  soaked the drop cloth in bleach for a good long time (a couple hours) and then washed it again using lots of fabric softener to get rid of some of the stiffness.  It worked like a charm! I love the texture and color of the fabric!

I decided, after draping the fabric over the chair and trying to get an idea of how it's going to look, that it needed a little something.  I had seen this little lovely on the Pottery Barn website here and knew a monogram would be perfect for my chair.

I contacted a friend of mine who has a monogram machine and she referred me to another friend whose machine was capable of larger monograms.  I picked out a font and marked where I wanted the monogram to go and now I'm waiting.  The monogram should be ready in a couple days.

Meanwhile I've been busy making the cording for the seat cushion. Let me just say that this has not been Easy Breezy!  The actual making of the cording was, but finding the proper foot for my sewing machine was not!  My local fabric store was clean out of zipper feet so after 3 visits on days they said "the truck is coming in"  I gave up and bought a cording foot.  The first one I bought was the wrong size for my machine, so I took it back and swapped it for one that did fit.  Once again I bought the wrong thing.  I think that cording foot was more for sewing on things like beads and trim, or to make tiny cording for baby clothes or something.  Instead of sewing right up against the cording it sewed right down the middle of it. Can you say frustrated!!??  I  had watched Miss Mustard Seed's tutorial on making cording and it looked so simple.  She used a zipper foot, so back to the store I went to take back the cording foot and to another store I learned about to get my zipper foot!  It was the weirdest looking thing I'd ever seen, but they promised me if it didn't fit my machine I could return it.  Well, lucky me, it worked wonderfully!  And here is my cording! 

I was so excited over the results I was squealing and clapping.  My 9 year old came running in to see what the excitement was all about.  Imagine the look on his face when he realized I was excited over cording!

I have hit a snag on the double welt cording that I need to cover the staples on the chair.  The upholstery shop in town has gone out of business.  I've done some looking online and I can buy a big reel of 250 yards, but I don't think I'll need quite that much.  I heard of another upholstery shop not far from here so I will call them tomorrow and see if they will sell me some.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Ugly Chair

Well, here we go. Time to tackle the... UGLY CHAIR! I began the "un-upholstering" of the Ugly Chair one bright sunny morning and 1 million staples later I finished on one hot-as-all-get-out afternoon! Let me tell y'all, that fabric and trim was on good! My poor hand was so sore that my fingers couldn't move from their death-grip-on-the-pliers position! I'll be honest, I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into, but after some thought, and some Motrin, and a big glass of sweet tea, I decided I could do this thing! Here are a few pictures of the process. Here is Ugly Chair prior to the un-upholstering.

The fabric is dreadful and the wood finish is from the "I've got geese in neckerchiefs in my kitchen" era, but I've always loved the shape, so I believe there is great potential here. I'll admit, while I was pulling off the fabric I was secretly praying that someone had used this chair to hide their life savings, but instead I found an ice pop wrapper, what is possibly "droppings" of some sort and a dime.

I added the dime to my laundry room All Monies Found in the Washer/Dryer Become Mama's piggy bank and got back to work on Ol' Ugly. Here she is after I stripped the fabric and trim off (except I forgot to take it off the arm rest thingies until after the picture was taken).

The next step was dealing with the wood. I decided after reading many a blog that I would paint that baby white. I've been reading lots of good things about Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint here and I am definitely going to order some for my next project, but I was impatient and decided while I was at Home Depot I'd just grab a couple cans of Rust-oleum Painters Touch in Satin heirloom white. The can said it gave 2x coverage and was ideal for wood, metal, wicker and more! SOLD!
Before I began painting I lightly sanded the wood with a sanding block I had on hand, then wiped it down to remove the dust.  Now, the key to looking good while spray painting is to use pretty pink plastic party table clothes as drop clothes! haha  Actually I was just using what I had left from a baby shower I threw a while back and since they were cheap and I don't know of any other baby showers I'll be hosting anytime soon I decided to use them.  That and I didn't want to run back to the store to buy a drop cloth!

And here she is all painted.

This last picture is a little blurry, but you can see how I sanded some of the paint off to give it a worn look.  That's right, old is the new new!

I'm so happy with how the paint finish turned out. I sanded around the edges to give it a distressed look, wiped it down to remove any dust and then applied a clear wax to seal it. I've got a long way to go, but my ugly chair is starting to look pretty again! Stay tuned for my adventures in covering double welt cording! YIKES!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Getting Started

I guess this is the hardest part - the getting started.  I decided to jump on the blog bandwagon a few weeks ago after reading some awesome blogs out there but I had the hardest time coming up with the perfect bloggy name.  I ruled out names like "Crap Miss Wren Makes" (apparently there is another blog out there about crap somebody else makes  http://www.crapivemade.com/  Check her out, she's a hoot!)  and "I'll Show You Mine if You Show Me Yours" (I thought twice about that one.  There's no telling what people would have expected to see when they logged on!)  I'm not sure that Easy Breezy is the perfect blog name, but it is something I catch myself saying a lot.

So on to the Easy Breezy stuff!  It seems I always have atleast one project in the making - for instance I have decided to try my hand a reupholstery.  I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing, but I've been reading up on it and I think I can pull it off.  Now, I have re-covered the seats of many a dining room chair before, but I've never tackled any thing big like a wingback chair!  I've had this ugly chair for many years.  It wasn't ugly when we got it, but after 18 years that's how it ended up.  It wasn't new when I got it and its been sitting in my garage for the past four years so I figured what the heck, if I ruin it I'll take it to Goodwill.  I actually checked into having it reupholstered but CHA-CHING!  So I've taken the plunge on my own.  Here is the ugly chair (along with a step ladder and a carpet remnant to add to the charm!).

There used to be buttons on the cushion, but three little boys later, they are nowhere to be found.  I probably should have started with something easier that wouldn't require me to learn to make piping with double welt cording (I had never heard of such!), but I figure if I can pull off this chair everything else will be easy by comparison.  Kind of like learning to drive a stick shift - if you can do that then driving automatic is Easy Breezy!

Okay, I've already gotten WAAAAY too long winded  (be warned, this could be an issue!) so I'll hush now, but  I will return with updated posts on the ugly chair!  Thanks for visiting my blog and bear with me as I figure this thing out! :)
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