A year in the making – 1 Year Blogiversary

365 days ago, a dream of mine became a reality.TFP Sign

It started probably a year before that when I stumbled across a blog called House of Hepworths. Who even knew DIY blogs existed? It was the first one I’d ever heard of and I was instantly infatuated with Alison and her amazing DIY skills. I was hooked. I read every post she’d ever written and waited anxiously for new posts to be published (yeah. . . I was kind of a creeper). I began to dream and really think, I could do that!

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At the time we lived in a tiny 2-bedroom duplex whose owner barely let us install a ceiling fan (it had NO ceiling fans. . . in the middle of west Texas. . . . yeah, not smart) so I knew a DIY blog was out of the question as long as we lived there. Time went on and I began to follow other blogs like I Heart Organizing and Primitive and Proper and as the DIY bug grew within me and I worked on small projects around our home.

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In January of 2012 this all changed when, through a series of God sized events, we bought our first home. I was ECSTATIC. Long before we moved my head began to spin with renovation ideas, paint colors and flooring options. (Side Note: I didn’t join Pinterest for a long time because my friend Katie told me it was like my brain on steroids. She was right.) I immediately knew the time had come to launch my very own blog, and that my friends is how it all began.

I was so excited I had probably 2-3 posts written before we moved. That’s right, in two weeks time I packed our entire house, we cleaned our new house, did all the techy stuff that goes along with starting a blog and I wrote several posts. Oh yeah, and we both worked a full time job. Needless to say, we were pumped about this dream coming true.

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Over the past year we’ve learned a lot. A LOT. We’ve learned about working together and communication. We’ve learned that if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want something to drink. We’ve learned that I am a mouse. . . .and I want a cookie. We’ve learned that I have big dreams and can always see the final product where as Phillip never sees the final product and often says things to me like,

“You aren’t finished with that project. . . are you?”

“You want to paint what?”

“Those things don’t match.”

Yet he always loves the result. It’s been an entertaining year of growth and discovery.

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I’ve learned 3 things about myself over the past 12 months;

  • I love to dream up big projects and see them through to completion.
  • I love writing about what I’ve done. I do the staging, shooting and editing. . . .so that I can write.
  • I love that there are people out there whom I’ve never met who actually read the things I write. It never ceases to amaze me.

So to you, faithful reader, thank you. Thank you for reading, dreaming and learning with me. You are the reason that I continue to write so thanks for the encouragement and love.

Speaking of love . . . . wouldn’t you just LOVE to win a new purse?? I thought so.

Daily Tote Giveaway - thefrontpoarch.com

Without further adieu, the winner is. . . .Heather Jernigan!

Heather be sure to check your email for prize details.

 

Here’s to many, many more DIYing years to come!

How to Upholster Chairs

Last week I showed you my newly redone kitchen chairs and now I’m back with an upholstery tutorial!TFP Upholstery 25

Here’s a basic overview of what you’ll need:

  • flat head screw driver
  • hammer
  • pliers
  • sharpie
  • scissors
  • upholstery or other heavy weight fabric
  • foam batting
  • staple gun
  • husband or other handy helper
  • Scotch Guard

Start by removing your cushions from your chairs.

Mine were attached with a screw at each corner and came off rather easily. Be sure to save whatever screws/clips you pull out so that you can put your chairs back together when we’re done!

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Now we’re going to remove the old fabric from each cushion. Most fabric will be attached with upholstery tacks (small nails) or staples so let’s start with upholstery tacks first.

Grab your flat head screwdriver and place it, flat side parallel to the wood, between the wood and the fabric at the base of your tack. You want to see-saw the screwdriver underneath the head of tack and use the leverage of the screwdriver and the fabric to loosed and pull the tack free.

If you have really old fabric like mine it may rip instantly, now worries, just go ahead and rip it completely off the tack so you’ll have a better view of the screwdriver.

(Sorry for the blurry photo – my handy helper wasn’t around to help at this point!)

TFP Upholstery 2Ahhh. . . . much better!

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If you have a few ornery tacks, grab your hammer and pull them out the old-fashioned way.

TFP Upholstery 4Onto staples! If your fabric is attached with staples you’ll want to use your flat head screwdriver for a tap-and-loosed approach and then use your pliers to pull any staples that break or need a little extra encouragement. I found it easier to enlist the help of my handy husband, Phillip (aka, he’s does the hard work around here).

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Throw away all that nasty fabric and be sure you pick up all the little pieces of upholstery tacks and staples, they are not fun to step on. And if you feel like you need a tetanus shot you’re not alone!

You’ll then be left with a wooden seat bottom and whatever kind of padding was underneath. Next you’ll need to determine how gross the padding is and whether or not you want to reuse it. For me, I kept the old padding and added some batting to it (more on that later). Just trust your gut – it never hurts to start fresh.

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*Bonus Tip: after I pulled all of my tacks/staples out, the bottom of my seat cushions looked like they’ed been to the gun range. I grabbed my sharpie and circled the hole that I was for attaching the seat to the chair. This helped me not cover it with fabric and easily reassemble my chairs.*TFP Upholstery 7Now it’s time to densify! Is that a word? I don’t think so. . . .

Back to the chairs, my cushions measured about 14″x15″ at the widest point so I chose this densified batting that was on sale at Hancock’s and this floral print which also made an appearance on my recently added, Kitchen Command Center.TFP Upholstery 24

Before you can attach your new fabric, you’ll need to cut your batting down to size.

Place your seat bottom, top down, on the batting, trace it with your sharpie and trim the excess.

I cut on the outside of my sharpie lines, knowing that I could always come back and trim more later. I also cut batting for each specific seat bottom. In theory they should all be the same size but I wanted to be double sure that everything fit perfectly.
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Now it’s time to staple! Lay your fabric, print side down on a smooth surface (I used my living room floor). Next, layer the batting and then the seat bottom, again, top side down. Grab your staple gun and get ready!

TFP Upholstery 8Start at the back of the cushion and secure the fabric with one staple in the middle (just eye ball it).

TFP Upholstery 10From there work your way to the edge and repeat for the front edge.

As you staple, it’s a good idea to flip the entire cushion over to make sure the tension is correct. You want it to be tight but not look strained. When you first start, you’ll probably want to turn the cushion over after each staple but as you go you’ll get the hang of it and only have to check once per side (or so).

TFP Upholstery 9See what I mean?

TFP Upholstery 11Now comes the tricky part, the corners.

You’ll want to play around with your fabric and figure out the best way to fold them so they’ll look finished and professional. My advice – find something that works and go with it. Don’t feel the pressure to make it perfect with some kind of hoyty toty fold!

For my fold, I took the piece coming from the back (or front) side and folded it first meaning that the side that is already attached to the wood goes on the bottom. I then took the side piece (not yet attached) and made a top, pretty fold. Clear as mud?

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Staple 1 corner and then work your way toward the other corner, picking up the slack as you go and tucking it into the 2nd corner. Repeat on the other side.

After stapling the corners, my seat bottom looked like this. At this point you want to trim off the excess fabric, remember those holes we circled with the sharpie? We want all of them to show!TFP Upholstery 13

Flip it over and the top will look like this. Give it a few coats of Scotch Guard and you’ll be ready for reassembly!TFP Upholstery 14So there you have it! What chairs are you going to upholster? Be sure to share your finished product, I’d love to see what you create!

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Thrifted: Chair Restoration

Last weekend I was busy busy busy painting painting painting, here’s the before. . . TFP Kitchen Bar 10here’s the after. . . Can you spot the difference?

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My recently thrifted kitchen chairs got a new coat of paint and new seat cushions! An upholstery tutorial is coming soon.

TFP Upholstery 16TFP Upholstery 22Do you remember the built-in kitchen desk that I recently restored? It’s chair got a face lift too!

TFP Upholstery 18TFP Upholstery 19Hello beautiful.

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The pantry door also got a fresh coat of paint which I simply love. . . . I think gray and yellow could be my new thing.

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Oh hello yellow polka dots, thanks for brightening my day!

TFP Upholstery 20What color scheme are you digging right now?

 

 

Entryway Bar

Man oh man, as we approach our one-year blogiversary I am constantly surprised by how much our home has changed in just a few short months! Take for example the entryway. . . here it is during our house tour in July.

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Here it is today.

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What a beauty!

Let’s see, we took down the wall paper, textured and painted the kitchen, added some built-in benches, thrifted some new-to-us chairs, and just earlier this week I showed you how I redid my kitchen desk. Whew! We have been busy bees! (I also got a new camera which helps a LOT!)

Did you notice something else that’s ‘new’? Here’s a hint. . .

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That’s right, we’ve updated our kitchen bar! When my in-laws were here last fall, you know, updating my kitchen, they were also on the hunt for a Christmas present project and they found it in that ugly blue laminate bar.

My father-in-law, Greg, is a fanominal wood worker had the idea to build a cover for the existing counter-top so we sent him the desired dimensions, he built the cover in Florida and we brought it back at Thanksgiving. Side note, the bar had a large over hang on the the eat-in kitchen side which made it really uncomfortable to sit on the bench. When my brothers were here at Christmas they helped Phillip cut the existing bar down to size.

They started by removing the counter-top. . .

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. . .which caused a few stones to loosen and fall . . . .

TFP Kitchen Bar 2. . . which got put back in place with heavy-duty adhesive. . .

TFP Kitchen Bar 3. . . .ahhhhhh, much better.

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The counter-top was cut to fit the cover and screws were attached to the bottom (this part will make sense in a minute). . .

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. . . concrete was mixed and put in the center opening. . . .

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. . . the counter-top was placed on top (screws went into the concrete) and checked to make sure it was level.TFP Kitchen Bar 8

We let the concrete sit for a few days and then began the process of staining and sealing the cover.

My dad is a farmer which means he has lots of awesome (as Phillip says, “old”) stuff. A few years ago he gave some old barn wood to Greg and he’s been using in on projects for us ever since. This particular piece has a walnut inlay from the barn wood.

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The outer pieces got a few coats of stain and then the whole thing got LOTS of poly which brings us to the almost-finished final product.

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I say almost because you see that little white square at the end of the bar? That’s how far the original counter extended and it needs to be sanded, textured and painted before we permanently attached the cover.

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I’ll just add it to the list of 100 other small things that need to be done around here. . . . but there you have it, a brand new bar! What room in your home to you feel has made the most progress?

 

 

Kitchen Desk Restoration

When we were working on my dream eat-in kitchen I mentioned that I finally got tired of looking at the ugly blue laminate on the built-in desk in the kitchen. Luckily for me, this beauty was underneath. . .

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So 2 weeks ago I drug out the sander and set to work.

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Most of the desk was covered in the glue left over from the laminate but there wasn’t any poly or other finish so it made the sanding process fairly easy. After a few passes you could already tell the difference in the color of the wood.

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It then got a few coats of my favorite Minwax Poly Shades Bombay Mahogany and an extra coat of poly just for good measure. Here’s the after:

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(Just imagine that my kitchen chairs have already been painted and reupholstered.)TFP Kitchen Desk 5

The desktop has space for my cookbooks and my recipe card box. . .

TFP Kitchen Desk 6. . . and remember that hippo is recently thrifted for $1? Turns out his mouth is the perfect size for my iPhone which comes in handy when I’m making my grocery list from recipes that I’ve pinned on Pinterest.

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Here’s the before:

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And the after:

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Do you prefer wood that is painted or stained? A mixture of both? I’d love to hear what you think!

Thrifted Lately

Over the holidays I thrifted several items that I wanted to share with you today. First off my work friend Jen gave (that’s right, GAVE) me this awesome rack card holder.TFP Card Display 1

I haven’t quite decided what to do with it yet, any suggestions? Photos? Recipes? Paint it? Don’t paint it?

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I think it was origianlly intended for CDs but could easily hold cards or notes.TFP Card Display 3

One day we happened upon a mid-week garage sale and among other things, I picked up this adorable hippopotamus. When I saw he was only $1 I knew I couldn’t leave without him.

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Finally, you may know that I’ve been on the hunt for chairs for my kitchen table for several months now. Last fall we added some built-in benches to create my dream eat-in kitchen but I still needed a few chairs for the other side of the table. (We have some vintage wooden folding chairs that were serving as place holders up until this point.)

As luck would have it, I was able to snag these 3 beauties from my grandparents’ house.

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The chairs are in good shape but the cushions definitely need some love. . . and some matching fabric.

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The details however are stunning, hello curved legs! Hello scalloped back brace!

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I see some sanding, painting and cushion re-upholstering in my future. . . what color do you think I should paint them?

The Trip of a Lifetime

If you’ve been around the Front Poarch very long, you know that I love all things mid-century or as Phillip says, “old”. I’m not really into true antiques but there is something about simple, classic design that I just can’t pass up.

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One of the “old” things I love the most is Fiestaware.

I mean hello, concentric rings and rich, bold color! Swoon! (And yes, I’m well aware that Fiestaware was first produced in the 1930s.) We registered for it when we got married nearly 4 years ago and I love it more and more every day. It’s my china and my every day dishware. It holds our Christmas turkeys. . .

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. . . and our leftover Chinese.

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My most favorite of all Fiestware is this beauty.

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When Phillip’s Poarch grandparents got married in 1951 they received a complete set of Fiestaware. The only problem was that Anita thought it didn’t match so she gave it away. GAVE. IT. AWAY. Needless to say, if she still had that set it would be worth thousands and more importantly, it would be a sight of sheer early Americana beauty. This is the only piece she kept from the set and several years ago, when Phillip and I were dating she gave this teapot away too.

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She gave it to me. It is one of my most prized possessions and by far my favorite “old” thing.

To me the best, most awesome, over the top cool thing about Fiestware is that they make it in a factory. In Newell, West Virgina. And you can go there. And go on a factory tour. And shop at the factory outlet store. And buy lots of really cheap Fiestaware. And MOM AND I ARE GOING OVER SPRING BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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That’s right! After years of planning the tickets have been purchased, the tour reservation has been made and come March 9th it’s going to be me and mom and Fiestaware for 5 straight days!

In addition to the blog, I’ll be documenting our journey vis Instagram to be sure to follow me @FrontPoarch.

Just 56 days until the trip of a lifetime begins!

Christmas Time is Here – Christmas Tour

Welcome to our 2012 Christmas home tour!

Our front porch is filled with paper hanging ornaments and a simple tree on a cabinet door.

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Our entry way is filled with my DIY Faux Mantle.TFP Mantle 10

Our Christmas tree has gone through a few small changes with the addition of a tree skirt ($2 blanket from Goodwill) and a backdrop ($3 blanket from Goodwill).

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Our dining room contains a simple holiday sign and my treasured Willow Tree Nativity scene.TFP Holdiay Tour 1

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As well as my star and lights centerpiece and. . .

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. . . this DIY Christmas Centerpiece.

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The Star on Martin Road

Christmas in our family has always been a magical experience. Growing up on a farm and spending the holidays with my grandparents in the big city of Houston was like a dream come true. My grandparents  did their best to spoil us, stocking their house with what seemed like endless Dr. Pepper, Blue Bell ice cream and fresh donuts from the Shipleys store down the street.

Their cul-de-sac was transformed during the month of December as each house lined their yard with large strands of lights covered with red solo cups creating rows and rows of little red gum drops. At the entrance to each house’s sidewalk stood walk-under silver star wrapped in a strand of large red lights and sliver tinsel garland. This star was the gathering place for many family photos and yearly Christmas memories and just happens to be the inspiration for my last Christmas project of 2012.

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I started with a small star made out of popsicle sticks and then moved on to the lights.

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I found these bulb shaped ornaments at Hobby Lobby half off last week and I knew they would be perfect for this project.

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I filled each one with a small amount of red craft paint. . .

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. . .and swirled it around until they were all coated.

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I then grabbed my trusty globe vase (which I commandeered from my grandparents house) and set to work filling the bottom with Epsom salt and intertwining the light bulbs with silver tinsel garland.

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The star got a quick coat of silver spray paint and I called it good.

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**Update**

I know a lot of you have been wondering about the original star on Martin Road so over the holidays I dug up a few old photos. Here are a few of our traditional star photo from 96 or 97, enjoy!

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A Dream Come True

Can you guess what’s finally finished?

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That’s right! My eat-in kitchen! I’ve been dreaming about it for months and when my in-laws came in October, they did the hard work of building the benches. After several weeks of procrastinating, I made myself  ‘sit down’ and stain them (see what I did there?).

Here’s the before:TFP HT 9

And the after:

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I used what I’m now referring to as the Front Poarch stain, Minwax Bombay Mahogany in PolyShades. I know true woodworkers are cringing right now but I know myself and if it was up to me to stain and poly (double the amount of time on every project) nothing would ever get done! Plus, it’s very forgiving as long as you just keep going and don’t try to sand once you’ve started. (Trust me on that one.)

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I love the rich brown color of the stain and how it lets the grain peak through.

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How’s coming for dinner tonight?