It’s a Boy!

Baby Riley

Riley John Franklin arrived safely on the 24 March 2013 at 7.05pm weighing 7.7lbs (3.5kgs).

He is absolutely perfect in every way (‘course I do have to think that though, don’t I?).

I’ll spare you all the birth story (for nows, anyway :-) except to say that it was a 21 hour labour which all started with a coughing fit, followed by a minor non-related car accident, and, despite some challenges, concluded with a successful VBAC delivery!

Thank you soooo much to everyone for all the well wishes (and, in advance, thanks also for your patience during my momentary blog lull whilst I enjoy some family time).

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Some New Dining Room Photos…and an explanation

When I first became a Mum (almost two whole years ago now – yikes!) I felt the need to share with my readers my intentions regarding my blog, so I mentioned that whilst it was always my ambition to continue blogging (’cause I LOVE it!), family would inevitably be my top priority, so posts might be a little less frequent. At that time I was unsure what ‘less frequent’ meant though when I launched my newly designed blog (a few months back now) I set myself a little resolution to try and post at least once a week.

Now, I know many ‘proper’ bloggers who’d rather die than publish just one measly post in SEVEN WHOLE DAYS though for me it felt like a realistic goal, and whilst I was never completely confident I’d be able to maintain my measly weekly post, I was actually doing surprisingly okay up until about a fortnight ago when a few little occurrences derailed my flow.

You see, as I’m sure is the case with many Mummy-bloggers, post writing is pretty much reserved for during naps times and late in the evenings. Soooo…when your 20 month old decides to stop sleeping during the day and you finally concede, at nine months pregnant, that you’re too tired and top-heavy to bother staying up beyond 9pm, your only designated blogging slots suddenly disappear – phoof!

Though, not all is lost! Whilst post writing time is currently scarce, I have actually been working on, and dreaming up, lots of exciting new projects which I’ll be sure to share as soon as I can (some of these include the home office reveal, Charlotte’s big girl’s room, a few budget room transformations over at my Mum’s place, easy bed skirts, a re-purposed glass ceiling light, a faux hide rug, another mini drawer hack, and some new free printable labels, large scale wall art and textiles – plus lots, lots more!).

Anyhoo, rather than waste a precious posting opportunity by blabbing on about why I haven’t been posting (oxymoron?), I thought I should use some of my time to actually post about something home related…

Fresh Cottage Style Dining Room

As mentioned in a few previous posts, a little while back I styled and shot some of my rooms for inclusion in a soon-to-be-released book. One of the spaces was my little dining nook.

Country Style Rustic Dining Room

At the time of the shoot we were using the pressed-back cottage chairs I refurbished with some grey paint and metal seat plates. They have since been sold as they were actually a set of six – two too many for our little dining nook. We’re currently back to using our galvanised Tolix replicas.

Country Cottage Farmhouse Dining Room

In some of these pics you can see my lumbar pillow when it was still a tea towel!

Cottage Dining Room

I’ve blogged about most of the furniture and décor in this room before though if you’re new here and are seeking further info check out the ‘At A Glance’ section at the end of this post for a list of sources and prices. Otherwise, feel free to ask any questions :-)

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PS Today is my due date and apart from a popped belly button sadly I haven’t really got too much to show for it…waiting, waiting. If things don’t progress naturally I’ll have to have another c-section in a few days time :-( so I’m super hopeful something does happen shortly!

Either way this baby needs to come out soon ’cause at the moment I’m at serious risk of honey smeared carbohydrate overdose!

AT A GLANCE
SOURCES
Dining Table – eBay ($80)
Dining Chairs – eBay ($5 for a set of six)
Sideboard – eBay ($50)
Block-out Day/Night Roman Blind – Spotlight ($180)
Pendant Light – Recollections ($80)
Mirror – Local Market (Yarra Valley) ($40)
Wall Colour – Dulux Chalk USA

Most of the décor accents are thrifted second-hand items from charity stores, garage sales and antique shops.

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Simple Tea Towel Lumbar Pillow

Grain Sack Pillow from a Tea Towel

This is one of the easiest pillows you’ll ever make. There’s no hemming, seaming, measuring, or even cutting! And, if you use fusible tape, then there’s no sewing involved either!

The trick is using a cute tea towel. I know, I know, it’s not a revolutionary idea, though it’s one I reckon can often be overlooked. Conveniently hemmed, perfectly sized and usually affordable (especially when compared to comparable fabrics – hmmm, is it wrong to use a differentiation of the same word twice in one sentence?), tea towels are just right for creating quick and easy folded envelope lumbar cushions.

About a year ago I was lucky to stumble upon an imitation coffee sack tea towel for just five bucks in Bed, Bath n’ Table. I loved it so much I bought it with no intention of actually ever using it to dry a single dish – the rustic textured cotton and bold typographic print made it far too awesome for the kind of abuse I subject my kitchen towels to.

Coffee Sack Tea Towel

Suffice to say they no longer sell them though if you keep your eyes peeled you can find similar (or completely different though equally as cute!) tea towels in lots of places. Here are just a few I found via a quick online search…

Flour Sack Tea Towels

House 8810 | Target | Amazon

Of course there are loads of different methods to create pillow covers from tea towels. This is simply the lazy-girl way I decided to make mine…

1 Lay your tea towel right-side up on a flat surface.

2 Fold the top end down – around 12cm (3″) – then fold the bottom end up so it slightly overlaps the base of the top end – by around 3cm (1″) – then pin both sides in place (refer to photos).

Envelope Lumbar Cushion from a Tea Towel

In theory this step sounds a bit convoluted though as per the photos it is actually really straight forward. Essentially you are just creating an inside-out envelope with a concealed top flap. Of course depending on the appearance (graphic size and placement) of your particular tea towel and the depth you want for your envelope flap the dimensions you use may vary. You may even want your envelope closure to be at the rear of your pillow.

3 Sew (or fuse using iron bond hemming tape) your sides together.

Easy Sew Lumbar Pillow from a Kitchen Towel

I simply ran a straight stitch line inside the existing hem. If you find your tea towel’s existing hem is too bulky you can trim it off first. I didn’t have a problem with it.

4 Turn your pillow in the right way, stuff it with an insert and you’re done!

Easy Sew Grain Sack Cushion from a Kitchen Towel

I used a toddler pillow ($5 from Kmart) as my insert because I found it was the perfect size. I also added some rustic timber buttons ($1 each from Spotlight) as embellishments (they are simply hand-sewn on to the envelope flap and are not actually functional). I am loving this style of button at the mo’. If you’re interested in finding some though are having trouble there are lots available on Etsy.

Coffee Sack Tea Towel Pillow

If you find the bulkiness of your insert causes your envelope flap to gape open (I didn’t have this problem) you may want to use some kind of fastener to help keep it closed. Velcro dots/strips or press studs are great no-sew options though of course you can also always make proper button holes or use cute ties or loops.

I am loving the texture, interest and comfort my little lumbar pillow brings to our new Chippendale desk chair. And, given that the chair is usually tucked under our desk I am totally digging the fact that the faux bamboo fretwork means the pillow, along with its lickable grain sack graphics, peeks through the rear of the chair too!

Easy Envelope Top Grain Sack Tea Towel Pillow

Having a decorative envelope closure at the front of the pillow (rather than a plain envelope closure in the centre of the back) makes the pillow completely reversible.
Don’t ya love those happy ‘accidents’?

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Bamboo Chippendale Chair Makeover

Faux Bamboo Chippendale Chair Makeover

Something slip-covered, something leather or something with loose cushions.

Something timeless, something with a little pop and something kinda statement-y.

This was my loose criteria when deciding on a new chair for our home office space.

You see, our home office space is just that; a space. It’s in a prominent and highly trafficked area just off our kitchen, which means any residing furniture is; 1) at extreme risk of grubby-fingered attacks, and 2) seen by pretty much everyone who visits. Hence my desire for a chair that was both practical (easy to clean and comfy to sit in) and pretty (not overly office-like and totally fabtabulous to gaze upon!).

I must admit, I sorta agonised over choosing just the right chair for waaaay too long before finally realising I was being more unnecessarily indecisive than usual and concluding that what I knew I always wanted was a bamboo Chippendale era armchair (with an easy to re-upholster drop-in seat). The problem with my conclusion however was the reality of actually finding one for less than one zillion dollars!

I knew from previous experience that simply stumbling upon an affordable second-hand Chippendale-style armchair was RARE (even on eBay they usually sell for over $500 each) so I set about hunting down the most affordable brand new option I could.
Enter…one of my slightly obsessive, ridiculously exhaustive, though sometimes surprisingly fruitful, internet quests!

After dismissing a few over-priced (to me) designer-y options I finally came across a manufacturer (amazingly based in my own home city!) who actually hand-produced the chairs from scratch out of solid mahogany and was willing to sell me a raw, un-upholstered frame at a discounted price – awesome! By buying the chair, not only was I able to help support locally made though it was of fab quality and the price was totally do-able (not overly cheap, though definitely justifiable).

Bamboo Chippendale Armchairs

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For my Aussie-based readers: as stated and linked-to above, the chair I bought is from Mahogany By Hand and can be purchased and collected from their Moorabbin showroom (south-east of Melbourne). They also ship nationally though in my experience the cost of freight usually negates any initial monetary saving unfortunately.
Complete Pad also sell these chairs (in raw, un-upholstered form) for $325 each through their website here. My understanding is that their supplier is Sydney-based and free collection can be arranged directly from the manufacturer. They also offer nation-wide shipping, though again, freight charges may be cost prohibitive.

Deciding on a colour for the frame and type of fabric for the seat took me almost as long as settling on the style of chair to begin with! I know current reincarnations of Chippendale chairs are generally quite bold though I wanted something reasonably subtle with a gentle colour hit so eventually opted for a muted green for the frame and textured canvas (drop cloth) for the seat.

Faux Bamboo Chippendale Chair Makeover

Gotta love having a semi-obedient pet who’s willing to sit in the foreground of your photo to help balance the composition :-)
I just had to take my shots quickly whilst he wasn’t chasing flies, making his ‘extra-sad, extra-droopy’ face or barking at the school kids walking past!

Given the frame was already raw I simply sanded it lightly with some fine grit paper to smooth any roughness then applied two coats of paint by hand using a brush (the colour is ‘Field Maple’ by Dulux). The amount of detail in the frame meant hand painting was a little fiddly and time-consuming (spraying would have been easier and faster) though for whatever reason I had my patient hat on that day. To finish the frame I applied two coats of spray sealer (I used Cabots Cabothane Clear Oil Based in Gloss).

Green Bamboo Chippendale Armchair

If you missed my previous post about upholstering the seat from scratch you can check it out here.

Chippendale Chair with Drop Cloth Fabric Seat

It’s a pretty in-depth tutorial which clearly covers each stage of the process, including how to tackle those pesky corners…

How To Upholster Chair Corners

I contemplated painting grain sack stripes on my seat though decided instead to make a graphic grain sack style lumber pillow using some fabric I already had (the tutorial for that is coming up soon too – promise!).

Grain Sack Lumbar Pillow

All up my chair ended up costing around $260 total – not too bad, especially when considering the prices of the comparable chairs I found. I love that the drop-in seat can be easily re-covered when needed/wanted. And, having a removable seat also makes re-painting the frame heaps easier too!

Now we finally have a proper chair nestled beneath our computer desk the home office is pretty much complete (it’s only taken me ten months, give or take)!

Impending baby permitting, with any luck I’ll be able to share it in a week or so.

Chippendale Armchair Before and After

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DIY Lifestyle Magazine Feature…and freebie!

I’m totally stoked to have had my IKEA Card File Drawers Hack project included in this months edition of DIY Lifestyle Magazine!

DIY Lifestyle Magazine Feature

Though, clearly there was some kind of editorial mix up, because not only is it featured within the pages, it’s actually on the front cover too! What the?

DIY Lifestyle Magazine Cover

If you have an iPad, as I sadly don’t :-(  and are looking for some fun inspiration, DIY Lifestyle Magazine (which is an Apple Newstand e-zine available exclusively on iPad from the iTunes store) are offering my readers a complimentary copy of the February issue!

To download your free edition simply head to the iTunes store here and use the promotional code “1monthdiy” (valid until February 28). If you have any trouble visit this page for step-by-step instructions on obtaining your complimentary issue.

Enjoy!

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