Thursday, October 10, 2013

Front Porches, Boys, and Machines (Sewing Machines)

We have almost lived in our "new" house for two years and have been working on repairing things that have to be fixed; such as the driveway that was flooding our garage and the rotten "about-to-fall-off-front-porch-our-inspector-missed".  These were unexpected expensive repairs, but were unavoidable and would not have kept us from buying the house.  But it reminds me how much I liked living in an apartment, before kids.  :-)

I was getting excited about decorating/painting some of the rooms inside the house, but after watching my poor husband struggling to paint the new front porch (I painted the outside trim of our last house and swore I would never do that again), we decided to go ahead and hire someone to paint the entire house since it has been almost 8 years since the last paint job.  Another necessary expense, but it still hurts...

One of the reasons we purchased this house was that it had porches, and the front porch is like an extra room for us.  So now I had a beautiful "new" porch with old, ratty wicker furniture.  I wish I had a "before" photo, but the white paint was dirty and flaking off, and the seat cushions were this horrid, washed out tropical pattern that would give you nightmares.  Since I am too low on funds to get new furniture and cushions, I decided to renovate everything.

I spent one afternoon washing and scraping off as much of the paint I could (2 chairs, one couch, one table) and then another two days priming/painting and getting brain-damage from the fumes.  The wicker looks almost new now, but I noticed that the paint is still flaking off since I didn't strip the paint off the wicker completely (is that even possible?).  Oh well, I will just whip out my can of spray paint every few months.

After all of this hard work the seat cushions did not match my shiny "new" furniture.  I decided to go super cheap and went to Walmart and purchased a few large microfiber, fabric tablecloths.  They were $13-$15 each and they are soft and water-resistant/sun-resistant.  I covered some porch chairs with them before and they have held up great.

I safety-pinned some quilt batting to the tops of the cushions to make them softer and then wrapped the cushions up like presents with a tablecloth piece and safety-pinned them on the bottom.  They look nice and aren't shifting too much, and I can  unpin and wash them if needed.  And it will be needed because we have pets and young boys and wine-drinking friends.

So the seat cushions were finished, but as Erma Bombeck said: "If God had meant us to walk around naked, he would never have invented the wicker chair."  These chairs needed back pillows!

Duke has been wanting to use my sewing machine (since it is a "machine") so I put both the kids to work.  I cut and pinned the pillows from tablecloth fabric  (I used an 18 inch x 18 inch poster board piece to trace around for the pillow, then I cut the fabric about an inch out from the lines so we could sew on the lines), Duke sewed, and Imp stuffed.  And in just an hour or so we had five new (lumpy, crooked) pillows!

Here is one finished chair.  Doesn't it look comfy?  My grandmother gave me a fox-tailed fern for some greenery, and now my porch is almost perfect.  I will post photos of the rest of it later as I am going to be too busy drinking a cup of tea out there this afternoon.

It cost me around $80 for paint and fabric to redo the furniture, which is a fraction of the cost of buying new furniture/cushions.  And this was such a great afternoon family project.  Right now Duke is sewing Imp a flannel pillow for his penguin and it is really cute.  It makes me happy that the boys are cool with sewing.  I always tell them that they are probably going to marry women who can't cook or clean, so they better learn how to take care of themselves.  So in the future, if they ever need a pillow they can whip it up themselves.  ;-)

I will post some freebies tomorrow and this weekend. I have some really fun new things coming out.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


  1. Very cute! I am all about making old stuff work for me, because I just can't justify the ridiculous expense of new furniture and decor. Also glad to see some other people teaching their boys to sew. My 5-year-old was helping me pin quilts tonight. Not enough people can do for themselves any more, and it makes life so much easier and cheaper to be able to fix what breaks or make your own things. :)

  2. LUV your revamp of your wicker furniture, Rita. And, you know, as long as they survive, those beautiful, lumpy, crooked pillows will be worth more to you & your boys than any designer pillow ever! ;-)

  3. I've taken a liking to a Bernina sewing machine in Orlando FL I've tried out. I've gotten behind on my work since my last one broke.