DIY Bench Cushion

Thursday, August 27, 2015

One of the things I have wanted to add to our master bedroom is a bench at the end of our king size bed.

Instead of purchasing a new bench, I decided to re-purpose an old coffee table my father built me for my first apartment.

You can see the original update for this coffee table here. 

Soon after painting this coffee table orange and using it as a bench seat for our temporary kitchen table, we inherited my husband's grandmother's dining table from 1968, so this bench was moved back into the basement until I figured out a new home for it.  (And you can't see it clearly in this picture, but our dog Hercules tried to chew on it again so it had to be moved so he would leave it alone.)

To make the new cushion to convert this coffee table into a bench, I simply used 2" foam cushions, outdoor fabric, and a very simple DIY technique that didn't require any sewing.

I purchased the 2" foam cushions and the outdoor fabric at JoAnn's (with a coupon of course).

The foam cushions came in 22" x 22" x 2" pre-cut sizes which were slightly too wide for the bench. So I had to measure the bench and cut the cushions to the correct size to fit the top of the bench.  This was easy to do with a sharp kitchen knife and my T-Square to keep the cut straight.

After ironing the fabric for a wrinkle free look, I simply just wrapped the foam cushions in the fabric like a present.  I secured the edges with safety pins and used fabric glue to seal the seams.

The glue needed to dry for a couple of hours so I put books on top of the seams to hold the seams down to allow a more secure seal.

I decided to also add a non-slip treatment to the bottom of the cushion to keep it from sliding off the bench when you sat on it.  I found an easy solution in the sewing department at JoAnn's and that was Anti-Skid Gripper Fabric for children's sleepwear.  (Sorry for the fuzzy picture I didn't realize how much the overhead light was interfering with this shot.)

I attached this fabric to the bottom of the cushion the same way, with safety pins and fabric glue.

And that is it!  If you can wrap a gift or present with paper you can easily wrap foam cushions to make a bench cushion.

I will share more updates for the master bedroom in later posts this winter.


Modern Farmhouse Inspiration Board

Monday, August 24, 2015

I really like the new farmhouse style. In fact, if we ever consider buying a vacation home I would be very tempted to buy a farmhouse out in the country somewhere.

However, as much as I like and appreciate farmhouse style, I would still have to add some modern pieces and flare to my farmhouse.  (Those closest to me understand why.)  For this reason I created a inspiration mood board to show how I would style my more modern farmhouse.

The farmhouse style pieces would be the traditional style sofa, the neutral chair with the nail head trim, the rustic storage box seat, the sack cloth pillows, the sisal rug, the industrial metal and wood side table, the vintage globe and the adorable dog bookends.  

The more modern pieces would be the mid-century inspired console, the traditional style chair with the modern fabric, the slick and modern lamps, the cross-legged coffee table in it's slick modern style, and the ever popular mid-century inspired wish-bone side chair.

The secret to making modern pieces of furniture work with any style is to mix them in similar colors and wood tones so that they blend in instead of competing with the overall feel of the room.


Details of Farmhouse Style

Thursday, August 20, 2015

With the ever growing popularity of shows like Fixer Upper on HGTV, with their updated style on the classic farmhouse design, I thought it would be fun to take a closer look at what exactly makes up the farmhouse style.

But first a little history lesson.

Farmhouse style started out not as as "style" at all but as a lifestyle.  Any house first built and settled on agricultural land was called a farmhouse.  And since the immigrants and early settlers usually built their own houses, the styles of original farmhouses will have different details such as the wrap-around porch or large columns, depending on the country they came from and of course, available materials at the time.   As technology changed such as the railroad and new materials became more available to these settlers, then they were able to rebuild or add to their farmhouse from generation to generation.  That is why a true farmhouse will have an eclectic mix of wood walls, kitchen cabinet styles, oddly added on rooms, and converted closets into more functional spaces such as bathroom.

My own mother tells the story of how growing up her father was a tenant farmer in rural North Carolina.  They moved often as he farmed different plots of land, but she claims they moved just so he could add an indoor bathroom to every house they moved to for her mother to be happy there.  I'm sure the next farmer for the land had a happy wife since my grandfather had already updated the house.

Of course there are several different opinions, inspirations, and interpretations of the farmhouse style, but for the most part a successful attempt at the style will include some or all of the following details.

1.  Wood walls and white paint

Even if your home doesn't have wood walls, white paint or very light neutral colored walls is a must. The wood doesn't have to be on every wall, but it certainly helps to give the authentic vintage quality to farmhouse style.  Original farmhouses were usually not painted at all, because of lack of money and materials, but if the house was painted, it was often times white because the whitewash paint was home made and easy to match in color from batch to batch.

The FarmHouse
2.  Wood floors

Wood floors are another must for vintage farmhouse style.  Whether they are light or dark or some color in between, wood floors help to set the stage for the warm feeling most associated with farmhouses.

3.  Mixed Cabinetry

Kitchen cabinetry that is a mix of styles, open shelving, and glass front doors.  Since the original farmhouse kitchen needed to be the most functional space in the home, storage would have been added over time as each new generation had a need for more space.   And with each new add-on of storage, you would find new materials available in the latest styles of the time.
  Notice the industrial old school light pendants in this kitchen.

4.  A large farmhouse table

Multiple generations would often live in the same home, so the dining table had to be long, and fit a lot of people.  Bench sitting was often common to the original farmhouse table.

5. Front porches and rocking chairs

No doubt about it, a large front porch or wrap-around porch and rocking chairs is an iconic look of farmhouse style.  A rocking chair would definitely be an authentic piece of furniture to be expected on any farmhouse porch.  The styles may vary but the feel is the same:  homey and welcome.  Even without a covered front porch, rocking chairs out front say welcome and sit for a while.

6.  Mason jars, rustic lighting and simple furniture.

Because of the function of a farm, mason jars and canning would go hand in hand with the farm lifestyle.  Today we use mason jars more for fun and decorative purposes, but the mason jar had an important function to preserve food and feed the family during the long winters.  What we see as a fun style to line our shelves and display our treasures in mason jars, they would have lined their open shelving with jars of food.  It is beautiful either way to me.

Rocky Mount Telegram site
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration photo
I just love this old photo I found on a search of Google Images.   It brings back memories of my Grandma Radford's pantry.  (Family members reading this will agree.)

Lighting would have been primitive and functional at the same time.  Luckily we can recreate that original look with fabulous lighting options available today at any number of online retailers and home improvement stores.

Original furniture styles would have been simple with clean lines and often hand made.  Today's styles may have more available flair, but the concept is still the same in that current modern farmhouse style furniture is still very neutral with clean lines.
Notice the use of mason jars as the chandelier in this room.

The simple neutral furniture, rustic details, wood floors, and overhead beams make this room a great combination for farmhouse style.

Thankfully today, you don't have to live in a original farmhouse to enjoy farmhouse style.   With the current popularity of farmhouse style, you can find rustic and charming accessories online at many retail locations.  Etsy has a fabulous collection of farmhouse style decor from vendors all over the world.

In the next post I will talk about combining farmhouse and modern style together.


Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips

Monday, August 17, 2015

I was first introduced to this simple and delicious treat while living in San Antonio, Texas.  It was very common for most of the meals served at our church functions to be a mix of Mexican foods with a Texas twist.  I immediately loved them and kept going back to the dessert table for more every time someone brought them in.

And they are so easy to make.  This is the recipe I was given by a friend while living in Texas, so not sure of the original source, or if it is just a family recipe adapted over time.

For this recipe you will need:

10 Flour Tortillas
1 Tablespoon butter - melted
1/2 Cup of Sugar
3 Teaspoons Cinnamon

Preheat the over to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter in a small glass bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until completely melted.

Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in another bowl.

Cover the cookie sheets with wax paper or parchment paper.

For the first flour tortilla, brush the melted butter on one side and place it butter side down on a cutting board.  Then brush the melted butter to the top side.  Place the next flour tortilla on top of the first one and brush the butter to the top only.  By stacking the flour tortillas you only have to brush one side of the tortillas shells at a time.

After brushing on the melted butter, cut the stack into six or eight equal triangles.  You may find it best to only stack five of the tortilla shells at a time for easier cutting.

Dip each individual triangle into the cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Place the triangles on a cookie sheet being sure to keep them from overlapping or touching.

Bake for 10 - 15 minutes until golden brown and crispy.  Allow to cool completely.

These are also great to crush up and serve over vanilla ice cream, or as a cracker to dip fruit salad, with chocolate sauce, or a cream cheese dip.  Or if you are like me, you eat them as fast as you make them.


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