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January 14, 2013

Jazzing things up on a budget

The T.V. networks have been running this Ashley furniture ad lately where one neighbor starts questioning the other about whether or not his family has won the lottery, gotten a raise, or an inheritance because a delivery truck is parked in front of their house full of new furniture. Of course around the holidays they would start airing these types of commercials to inspire self conscious hosts to "jazz" up their space with something new and improved.

Anyone with a busy home life can attest to the wear and tear every day living has on their space. Having lived several years in our active home with both children and pets has surely taken a toll on the furniture. I would love to win the lottery, a home makeover from the DIY network, or a mega gift from Ellen to spruce up our abode. However, I just don't see any of those things in the cards we hold at this time. The poor economy hasn't helped to improve my attitude about buying new anytime soon either.

I am not beyond feeling self conscious about my space. I strive to first and foremost create a comfortable yet beautiful space for my family and myself on a budget. If I can't do this then I am not opposed to going without. As long as there is a roof, water, lights, and heat I can be content. I say can be, because we just completed our Annual cookie exchange and holiday party. This in itself should be a joyous time with family and friends conversing, eating, playing games... One is supposed to be grateful and thankful and all that. There is not one negative thought I should have about this aspiration to be both thankful and grateful. Yet, this year I was more than a little  distressed about seating arrangements. What we had was not adequate in number or looks.

I looked around our space for seating options that would suit the number of guests and surmised that we would have to use our worn dining room chairs which were not in any shape fit for company. So instead of robbing Peter to pay Paul (credit cards are evil) I vowed to try my hand at another DIY project to spruce up our space. The cream colored leather on our chairs had been stood on, prodded, poked, written on, and torn by little critters. (a.k.a. our kids, friends kids, and family pet)

It's just the way it is with kids (two or four legged) and it's not our first nor will it be our last time having to "ball on a budget" or DIY our space.  After the initial panic wore off I got to thinking about the tools that are gathering dust unused in our cramped workroom. I created a mental check list of items I would need to improve the seating with my own two hands [or four if I could get help].
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Foam
  • Fiber filling
  • Upholstery fabric
With my mental list written down I set off to find fabric that would be suitable for the reupholstering job I had decided to undertake. I set off with my main partner in DIY projects (Ebony) to get an idea of what the cost would be for a "quick" fix. After calling a few places while driving around south Minneapolis we started to feel hopeless. Hopeless because I have a goal of buying and supporting local shops in my community if I can. The first two shops from our internet search were no longer in business, the third place was open but all the inventory was being moved to East St.Paul.

After a good half hour of driving I remembered a small shop my mother used for quilting supplies when she visited last year.  Glad Creations, Inc. is the name of it and they are located in Midtown Minneapolis. The ladies here were sure they did not carry what we needed but one of them was so kind as to brave the elements and walked out to my vehicle to give us the name and  directions of a place that she thought would carry what we needed.  Her kind act led us to a futon store named Depth of Field Futons which is located in the Seward neighborhood.

At Depth of Field I ordered fabric that would work for the project and it was delivered by the next week. I gathered the remaining supplies and my partner in DIY and I we went to town transforming a small part of our space. I don't mind tooting my own horn so check out these before and after pictures. Boop Boop!

The old chair (not bad but you should have seen the others)
The finished chair after reupholstering - Love It!
Side by side you can see the dramatic difference.
Sitting you can also tell the difference 

There is nothing like the feeling of satisfaction you get from successfully tackling a project on your own. These four chairs signify beauty, pride in our home, a frugal nature, cooperation, and determination. Our Cookie Exchange as well as our winter holidays were a huge success this year as in years past. None of our guests were even aware of exactly how much hard work went into creating the ambiance down to the fiber on the chairs. There should be mysteries in life, we don't need to know every detail of every little thing. This I think is how it should be. Minus the fact that I am sharing it with you now. (lol)

Which I'm only doing to inspire someone, anyone out there to re-purpose and reuse first instead of buying new. If I can do it I know a lot more people can too.

Happy DIY'ng Folks,