Archives for March 2017

Chair covers from kitchen towels

While furnishing the new house, I’ve kept my eyes open for affordable furniture that might help fill in gaps and make the home more comfortable.

One of the things I’d like for each master bedroom is some kind of chair. When we got the smallest coziest master bedroom finished, we decided it would indeed fit a chair, but it needed to be a small one.

My friend had an old chair that she was getting rid of that fit the bill perfectly size-wise.  It was comfy and had a nice shape.  But it needed recovering.  When offered the chair, I accepted it happily, and began thinking of what I might like to use to recover it.

A day or so later I happened to spot some kitchen towels on clearance at Target for a couple bucks each.  When I grabbed the towels, some smooth cotton with a pattern, and some terry cloth, I had dish-drying on my mind.  But at home I happened to set the towels on the new/old chair, and suddenly my wheels were spinning.

The pattern on three of the towels was appealing, and blended well with the colors I already had in that master bedroom. What if I made a chair cover out of the towels?

I started draping the towels across the chair, and discovered that two towels, sewn together lengthwise like a pillowcase, would exactly fit the straight back of the chair.  The third towel covered the top and front of the seat with a little to spare.  But I didn’t have enough of the patterned towels to cover the sides of the seat.  What to do?

I liked the smooth feel of the patterned towels better, but the terry cloth towels I’d also bought were a match color-wise.  I decided to see if I could use just enough of the terry cloth to put together a chair cover.

I started by sewing together the two towels to cover the back of the chair, trimming them just a bit shorter to fit.  Then I attached the seat towel to the back piece

The scraps that I’d cut off the other towels were long enough to cover part of the sides, but not all.  I filled in the rest of the space with narrow strips cut from a terry cloth towel.

It took more than a little fiddling, and lots of pinning and re-pinning to make it all go together smoothly.  I went bit by bit, sewing a few seams, and then trying it on the chair again, to make sure things fit as I intended.  I also used the finished edges of the towels as much as possible to be the bottom edges of the slipcover since that saved a bit of sewing.

I was very happy with the end product– a cute seat cover made from four towels, at the cost of $8 and a little less than two hours of sewing.

And I discovered an unexpected benefit from my little stripes of terry cloth.  That fabric was a little more stretchy than the patterned fabric, which allowed me to end up with a snug-fitting cover that was stretchy enough to be removed for washing, should that be needed down the road sometime.

This success so emboldened me that I’m now thinking of making slip covers for a couple of my old couches, maybe using painter’s drop cloths?  Anyone else ever tried that?  Or seen a good tutorial?  I’d love to hear about it!


Affordable wall art!

With the beach house so close to completion, I’ve been realizing I need WAY more wall art than I have, but hello??  We have a budget and I’ve already spent it.  So I’ve been trying to think of some affordable solutions.

I have a LOT of 5×7 and 8×10 picture frames that are that old golden oak color.  I am kind of tired of the look of that type of finish, and over the years it seems like I’ve collected more that I really use.

For Christmas this past year, one of the things I did was spray paint some of the frames and then just hunted for some free printables that I could put in the frames.  Here’s a (distant) shot of the framed Christmas printables on a wall above some new coat hooks that John made for me.  I chose simple black and white printables with the silver frames and I think it turned out really cute.


I decided to do a similar fix to fill in some gaps in small spaces at the beach house. I first tried painting some frames with a coppery gold craft paint, which did freshen up the yellow gold oak.  Here are a couple of neat prints of ships that I put them in.  I think they will be fun in small dabs of space in the ship room.




Though the ones I did in gold look fine, I ended up liking the silver look better. Here are some prints that I did for the laundry room.  I think it will look nice against the sea salt paint.

Then here are a few sweet old prints of little children that I framed in silver to go in the children’s bathroom at the beach house.  Most of the metal in there is brushed nickel and I think the silver will look nice there.  For some reason I am charmed by the old fashioned prints.  I found most of the old fashioned looking prints on the Graphics Fairy website.


One of the printables that I ended up loving the most was this sweet one of cottages by the sea.  As you can see, we spray painted this frame black, and I think it has a really nice look about it.

My daughter Julianna, who is 12, did all the spray painting for me.  It was literally the first time in her life that she’d spray painted anything, and she did a great job.  This is not a hard project at all, and I am really excited to have a few more pieces of art to put in small places around the house.  All for the price of some printer ink and spray paint.  Gotta love that!