Before and After: Desk Chair

It’s amazing what a little spray paint can do, huh? I found this chair a couple of years ago at a Salvation Army. I’m pretty sure the price tag was $3.99. I knew it needed some paint and a new seat cover. But it wasn’t until we upholstered our headboard that I felt confident enough to try it. (And it’s the first time I’ve had my very own staple gun.)

I started by flipping the chair over and unscrewing the seat. I laughed when I saw that someone had covered some gorgeous gold silk with this cheap old cotton. To quote my design savvy sister: “Do you people have eyes???”

Next I took the chair frame outside into the alley with some precious spray paint. (Precious because we must drive 30 minutes to purchase it outside of the city limits.)

It took a couple of coats to properly cover the whole frame. (There are some good spray painting tips over here.) So while I waited for each coat to dry I went inside and worked on the upholstery.

I used a remnant we still had from our headboard so this project cost me exactly $0. (I’ve had the chair for so long that I don’t think that $3.99 counts.) $0 is good when you have a husband in full time grad school.

Start in the middle, pull taught, and staple away. Beware of whatever fabric grain you’re working with.

I let the spray paint dry over night and then screwed the seat back in place. It makes a loverly desk chair in our guest room.

If you have an eye sore in your home, don’t wait any longer to do something about it. I held out for too long on this one because I was a bit intimidated by the recovering process. But it was way easier than I expected. It also helped to “practice” on something that I didn’t really care about. So if you’re noivous about ruining a piece you own, go check out your local thrift store for something to practice on. You might even end up loving the result.


Blueberry Kuchen

You know that feeling you get on Sundays when you know the weekend is just about over and instead of thinking about Monday’s reality you just stretch out Sunday by cramming in as many fun weekend things as possible? Well, that’s how I’m feeling about summer these days. So even though it’s about time to start making apple and pumpkin desserts, I need to stretch out summer just a wee bit longer. So I went out and bought the last few containers of over-priced blueberries and got in touch with my German roots. (I did used to be a Schmunk remember.)

This is one of the recipes Sally Wilgus passed on to me as part of a wedding gift, but this is the first time I’ve tried making it. So easy and so gorgeous! Hurry up and get some blueberries before they’re gone for winter. You’ll most likely have everything else you need.

Start by mixing up the crust and pressing into a tart pan or pie plate.

Coat the blueberries with the sugar/flour/cinnamon mixture and fill the crust. As a little experiment, I made a bit of extra crust and tried making some bite-size tarts in a mini muffin pan. It worked beautifully!

Bake for 45-60 minutes (the mini tarts were more like 30 minutes). Then top with some fresh blueberries and powdered sugar immediately.

We’re taking the full size version over to some friends this weekend. But the mini versions would be great for easily serving at a party, or you could reduce the recipe to just make a bite of satisfying dessert without the temptation of a whole pie sitting around.

This is as delicious as it looks! Especially served warm with a bit of homemade whipped cream on top.

Here’s the whole recipe for Blueberry Kuchen:

1 cup flour
2 T sugar
Pinch of salt
Mix with 1/2 cup of softened butter
1 T white vinegar

1 cup sugar
1 T flour
1/4 t cinnamon
3 cups blueberries
dash of lemon juice

Press the crust into a tart pan or pie plate. Fill with blueberry mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Top with an additional cup of fresh blueberries immediately. Then dust with powdered sugar.

Custom Onesies. Or in this case, Twosies.

I’ve been dabbling in custom onesies for quite some time now. They are usually just a fun little accompaniment to a baby gift that a new mom actually wants. But I love making gifts personal and I’ve found this to be a fun way to give a nod to training your kids in the ways they should go. And by that I mean teaching them from day 1 to love the same things you love. Important things like Reese’s Cups and Michigan State.

Our upstairs neighbors had not one, but two babies this week! So today I made some onesies for the twinsies. (We haven’t met them yet, but they’re both doing well.)

This is a quick project. Just requires some onesies and iron-on transfer paper. Both found at your local Target or JoAnn. Then get creative! I’ve enjoyed finding logos of things I know the new parents like. These are some I made for a friend a while back:

The only tricky part is reversing the image on the transfer paper so that you can actually print it out backwards.

Then print out your designs and iron them on just like the directions say!

For these girls, I made some graphics that reference a Chicago Blue Line El Stop. And we happen to have this awesome drawing that Alex did of our building for his side business, Flat Forest. So that was perfect for our neighbors (who also happen to be our landlords and own the building).

This would be a great project with kids too. One of my friends transferred her kids drawings onto t-shirts. They looked so abstract and awesome, you’d have thought they were from Urban Outfitters.