One woman and a reciprocating saw

The weather has been wonderfully cool in the morning this past week. Its pretty abnormal for June but it makes the perfect time to get big projects done outside. I decided to tackle all the overgrown bushes in the front of our house and with the help of a reciprocating saw, two days later the house is refreshingly sans bushes.

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Here is a before of the house. The bushes had probably been growing as long as the house has been here, which means over 30 years if not 40. As you can imagine we weren’t sure how to get them out at first. With the root base being so large and established pulling them out with a truck didn’t seem likely, plus with the well lines going out from the house in the area of a couple of them, digging them out with a backhoe might damage those lines.FullSizeRender 22

Zach has been working 70+ hours a week at the hospital because they are short staffed so he’s been too wiped out to help me do manual labor around the house when he is off. His Brother Brady cam and helped me pull out one side of the first bush to open it up so I could reach the center to cut them out. We had thought there would be a chance the root base might be shallow and the truck pull them out but that thought was squashed in about two seconds.

The bushes were so overgrown that I had to climb under them to get near enough to the larger branches to cut them out. The space was too tight for a chainsaw, so Zach rigged me up with his reciprocating saw one evening and the next morning I went to town on these giant green meatballs that were taking over the front of the house.FullSizeRender 20

I successfully removed two the first day in about two and half hours in the morning since I had some things to do the rest of the day. The feeling of cutting out those bushes was so satisfying that I went out later that evening and cut off the bases of the three bushes that ran along the north end of the front of the house, leaving them lay right where I cut them until the next morning. I hauled away two loads of cut up bushes that evening also and the next morning I attacked the rest.

In all, the hours it took me was just a little over one day and Its incredible the difference it makes on the house.

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The front of the house is actually visible now that the bushes are gone and I am so empowered by the fact that I did this alone. Its amazing what a person can do with some motivation, a saw, a trailer, and some know-how. Now that I have taken these out I feel confident that almost anything I want to complete in the yard is fair game!


Dining Chair Reupholstery

In my post on my dining room and dining table, I showed a before and after of the waiting room chairs from the 1970s that I have reupholstered. I’m going to go into a little more detail now in case anyone else is looking to redo similar chairs and could benefit from my process and what I learned.

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The chairs were made by Jasper Seating Company in Jasper, Indiana. I can’t find a specific date on any of the tags on the chairs, but the style is similar to Danish mid century modern. The wood is listed as Walnut and is very pretty even still. I contemplated sanding and refinishing them, but in all they are in great shape and I wanted to leave them original if I could.

My parents purchased them for their dental when they launched in 1974, but I think the chairs had a previous owner because the tag on the bottom list the customer as SHREX. These chairs are likely between 45-55 years old and its amazing how great they still are. One was even still being used in an operatory at my Dad’s dental office before I snagged them.

I worked for my Dad over the years during high school, and again after college, and it was during one of those stints that I discovered four of the chairs being stored in the back room of the office basement. One chair was being used in a hygiene operatory, as I mentioned, and another one of a slightly different style was being used in the staff lounge area. At the time I didn’t have any place to put the chairs so I left them there until after Zach and I got married and I could use them in my own house.

I purchased my fabric from Joann Fabrics. I considered ordering some fabric from a retailer with more selection, but after a visit to the store I found exactly what I wanted so there was no need. I researched the style of chair to figure out how much fabric I would need per chair and found some charts that said I should have a yard and a half for each chair. This was way too much fabric. Even though I thought I needed 6 yards, I only ended up purchasing 5 yards of Nate Berkus Wareham fabric for the seats because there was not enough on the roll for 6. I am pretty relieved that there wasn’t because that would just be more fabric leftover in my closet now. I think in all I used a yard of fabric per chair or less, so the estimate of a yard and a half was way more than enough.Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.20.20 AM


The fabric was originally $50 a yard but thankfully it was on sale and I got a large additional percentage off for signing up for Joann’s coupons. for $500 of fabric I ended up spending less than $250 for it, and that was including the 3 yards of black faux leather for the back rests.IMG_6279

I took the back and seat cushions and began to remove the hundreds of staples connecting the fabric to the seat base. I kept on original cover to use as a template for the new covers and tossed the rest. I skipped some of the details like the seam down the sides of the seat cushions in favor of simplicity.
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The original foam on the chairs was in unbelievable condition. It wasn’t dry rotted in the least and was still incredibly comfortable. I reenforced it with some new batting but otherwise decided to save the $ and stay with the old foam. IMG_6363_2

The chair backs were a little tricky, but after the first try I got it down. The key was folding the corders well and keeping the material extremely taught.
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I attempted to use upholstery tacks that were folded inside the fabric like the originals but it was pretty hard to work with and didn’t want to go through the pleather . Instead I decided to use upholstery nails in a brushed pewter and I love how they turned out.IMG_6366FullSizeRender 17FullSizeRender 16

The seats I didn’t really document because it was very simple and just like doing the backs. The key is to keep the material pulled taught and just fold it well, stapling as you go. Super simple and anyone could do it.

Steal of a Deal

This weekend was our official town-wide garage sale. After yoga this morning, I decided to take a spin through a few neighborhoods to see what was out there since I had found a great old picture frame and mat for $3 the night before. I have been collecting frames and matting to makeover so I was thrilled to find this baby to add to that collection. You can read more about the gallery wall DIY process here.



The picture in this frame is pretty awful. Actually the whole thing is pretty outdated. The frame is a little more ornate than I would choose perhaps if I was purchasing it from a store, but as I didn’t I can live with it. Still trying to decide if this baby should be black or white.

I found the frame while I was driving back into town Friday afternoon and almost passed on it, but then decided to turn around and go back. That seems to be my style with garage sales because today I did the same thing. I saw this table from the road and drove by three times before deciding to stop and get out. I know.
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From the road it looked pretty promising, but there have been a few occasions that I have been disappointed on closer inspection by what looks to be a great piece from the road. This coffee table was bigger than I thought from the road, but other than wear on the top it was in great condition. The price listed it at $10, and then the owner said that everything was half price to help get rid of it all since it was Saturday. I had to hide my excitement when I heard him say it would be $5. It was very sturdy and I decided it would hold up to my rambunctious brood of dogs better than my current table was.
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I love how it goes with my couch (Ikea Karlstad!) and the style is a lot more me than the other coffee table.



This is not my current living room setup, but it shows the tiny little coffee table that we were using before. The picture doesn’t show it but it has a mirror top. It was an antique from that belonged to my Grandma, but the joints were all rickety and the constant tussling of the dogs knocking up against it was taking its toll. I really don’t want to lose it because it was my Grandma’s, so I have been thinking about finding a replacement for a while.FullSizeRender 13I love how this table ended up working perfectly. Piper, our German Shorthair Pointer absolutely loves it already.



The detail of the wood is incredible, and the dovetail joints add a unique flair to the top of the table. Other than surface damage its in wonderful condition, and I am grateful there are no deep gauges in the wood that couldn’t be fixed by a light sanding.

After a little research on it, I found that my $5 deal was an incredible steal. The Acclaim coffee table was made by Lane Furniture base in Altevista, Virginia in 1960. In addition to being a great quality piece that was expensive in its day, it is going for between $200-$300 today, sometimes even more. I’d say that’s a pretty good days work for bargain hunting. I can’t wait to get the top sanded off and refinished and I’ll be sure to document how that goes.