Catching Up – DIY Fails

I didn’t realize until this Thanksgiving weekend, that I haven’t updated in a while. Here are a couple items that had to be redone.

Last time I updated on this chair, it wasn’t complete. For months, I started at the incomplete chair, at all the wrinkles, and finally decided that I had to get it professionally done.

It cost a pretty penny but it was well worth it and Floyd definitely approved.

Another lesson learned, was using the wrong moulding. I thought using MDF type pieces would be best because they had nice, rounded corners. What I didn’t realize was on exterior doors, and how it can affect the integrity of the moulding. In my case, the door to the backyard had to be redone.


I bought wood (real wood) a few months ago and just found the time to finally install them. Eventually all exterior doors will have this trim and then I’ll be slowly replacing the interior doors I had previously replaced.

Still needs caulk and then touchup paint but it should not expand like the previous pieces.



A Do-Over on the Fireplace

A couple years ago, I redid my fireplace and everything seemed okay. Fast forward to most recently when I realized the faux beam was actually coming off the wall.

I had to do something before it caused an accident so I started to research on an entire surround piece and over the weekend, finally put it up.

First I had to take down the old piece. I did save the reclaimed wood to be used in future projects.


Once it was up, I was going to leave it until the morning but the two toned thing was driving me crazy so I primed it. (Only, I didn’t use real primer, I used some ceiling paint since it was super-duper flat.)

The next morning I painted it a smoky navy color (Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore).


Paint was still drying when I took this picture but it is done and looks pretty cool. I wanted the unexpected pop of color to make it less traditional.

Litter Box Enclosure

Over a week ago, I adopted another kitten, Mousse. With the new addition, it meant that I needed a new litter box set up in addition to the existing one. 

For over a week, I just had a tray in the living room. Not a great visual, but I wanted to make sure the little one would be able to integrate into the household first. As Floyd and Puck began to warm up to Mousse, I began to do some research.

Years ago, I found an idea online where a toy box was used to enclose the litter tray. It seemed pretty simple so I ordered one online and then assembled it.


Since I didn’t have a jigsaw, I ended up just cutting the side piece to give a walkway for the cats. I lined it with a rug I had in the house and added the tray. I moved it from the original spot I took the photo. So now they have an extra spot to do their thing and it won’t be too much of an eyesore. 

New Ceiling Light

I changed out my front hall light from one that used the funky CFL bulbs to standard ones.

The before:


The after:


Testing it out to make sure it works.



With the diffuser installed:


It’s not quite done because I have some plans to make it an even cooler fixture. It needed the standard type bulbs first and foremost.

New Window Coverings

There has been a progression in my window coverings in the Living & Dining Room since I’ve moved to the house nearly 3 years ago.

The original window coverings looked like this:

Realtor pics

Realtor pics


I changed them almost as soon as I moved to some wooden Roman Shades.

After painting

After painting



They worked up until I got the wood floors and then the window coverings became too dark and heavy. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if Floyd and Puck gnawed on the strings in the back.

I went back and forth on the type of coverings until I finally decided on Roller Shades. I looked at a couple places and many samples before deciding on a lighter, more neutral shade.


These were the final contenders and I chose the one on the bottom.


Unlike the roller shades I had growing up where they were poorly spring loaded, these are controlled by the chain on the sides. I used 2 in the living room and 2 in the dining room.

Once I had them up, I noticed the lightness of the fabric. The only thing was it was too plain and I now had the opportunity to add a valance. I was never a fan of those things but I had a feeling they would work with what I now had. I searched online on how to make valances and looked at a bunch of fabric before coming up with these final choices (on the right).


I ended up making one of the valances today. Built out of foam insulation panel—very light and scraps can be recycled.


I didn’t take many progress pictures you can see I used duct tape to secure some of the pieces. I also used finishing nails too.

I added some really light batting and then pinned the fabric down.


IMG_3348 IMG_3349

Right now, it’s being held up by command strips but I don’t think they’ll stay up for long. I will need to figure out other means of securing it onto the wall.

Next one will be a little easier since it’s a narrower window.


Reupholstered Vintage Chair

Earlier this year, I bought this chair at a local vintage store. The intent was to eventually reupholster it to look like my other accent chair but maybe without the nail head trim.

I finally decided to tackle the project this past week. The first thing I did was sand down the old varnish from the legs and use use an oil finish. Some of the old stain remained giving it a reddish color. I also fixed any loose areas with clamps and glue.

photo 1


The next step was order a new cushion while I worked on the body of the chair. It took probably 8 hours to carefully remove the fabric so I could use them as patterns for later. I tried to save as much of the old stuffing as much as possible unless it was in bad condition.

photo 3


In addition to old fabric and stuffing, I found some money and an old Christmas label from 1987. I am almost certain this chair had been previously recovered since there were random nail tacks that I found. Then probably sometime during the 80s, it was refreshed with the cobalt blue velvet. The label is “Lineage” from the “Heritage Furniture Co.” I did a little search on that brand and it was sold off to Drexel around the 1950s so it is a possibility the chair was from that era.



Putting the chair back together was painful, especially since my sewing is remedial at best. I took my time in getting things to fit and there were still a few booboos along the way. I used the heavy canvas fabric from the wicker cubes to line the bottom. I thought it would be fun to add a little bit of flair.

photo 5

I did change out the buttons for slightly bigger ones. The only problem was the center button ended up just slightly lower than the other two. 😦

photo 2 photo 4

It finally added the legs this morning. All that needs to be done is to create a new cushion cover.

photo 5

While it wasn’t my best work, I now have an appreciation for those who do this for a living. This was HARD WORK. There were several times when I just wanted to load the chair back into my car, along with the roll of fabric, and take it to a shop to get it done. Perhaps if the imperfections get TOO bad for me to see, I’ll do just that.


New Coffee Table

A while back, I modified my blocky coffee table and added some hairpin legs. (Okay in looking at the time stamp, it was less than a year ago.) It was cool because I had that center area to put things like my remote and stuff.

It didn’t take long for me to realize it wasn’t practical because I ended up using only a small portion AND I had cut it down too short.

Thanks to Etsy, I bought a Russian Olive slab. It was cool because it’s considered an evasive tree, much like the juniper I have for the cat trees. I would have felt bad if someone clearcut a forest for these slabs but that wasn’t the case.

photo 1 (Puck inspecting the slab to make sure it’s okay)

After peeling most of the loose bark, I used a couple different oils to protect the slab. I used the remaining clear penetrating oil from the cat trees and my fireplace redo (it had some dark earth pigment blended in) and then followed it up with mineral oil (it’s a food safe product and you can get it at the drug store – just don’t buy too many bottles at once because it is used as a laxative).

I didn’t want any shine on the slab, which is why I didn’t use a varnish or polyurethane product.

photo 2 Top

photo 3 Bottom has a slightly rougher finish but still looks cool.

After a few coats and it had soaked in, I added the hairpin legs and brought it inside.

photo 4



It is perfect (though I did rotate it 180 degrees). I can eat comfortably on the table and have my laptop up at the same time with no problem. (In case you’re wondering, the thing in the background that’s wrapped up is my blue velvet chair that I’m reupholstering).