Thursday, December 29

Mawmaw's Dining Room Makeover

Well, I promised Mawmaw that I wouldn't post the before pictures. :)
It was basically a shell of a room filled with boxes. No light fixture, no draperies, no table and chairs.
We had to demo some corner shelving, then start from scratch.

So here's the finished product!!!!

We painted EVERYTHING, I installed a bronze chandelier and ceiling medallion, re-upholstered the chairs to this dining set she found at a garage sale...

(Side Note: Don't be scared to mix and match dining chairs! That is very in style right now... If it scares you a little, try what we did and just use different chairs on the ends- sticking to a similar finish. If ya wanna go a little fancier, nice arm chairs- even small wing back chairs are great on the ends! Just make sure the seats are close to the same height as the other chairs- proportionate to the table. :)

I found this rug in the clearance bin at Home Depot (SCORE! Large rugs can get SO pricey! Tip: Neutral rugs really warm up a dining space. Just make sure the rug is large enough for you to pull your dining chairs all the way out.

I added casing above the window to give it a finished look and eliminate the need for a valance. Mawmaw's biggest complaint about this room was the afternoon sun streaming through when they were trying to rest, so the draperies were made with black out lining.

The 3 ring mirror, traditionally called the "wedding ring" style, had an outdated gold finish. Rather than spray painting the entire thing, I sponged it lightly with a silver color to create a 2 tone affect.

Giving a nod to the "wedding ring" mirror, we placed family wedding photos of their children and grandchildren on the opposite wall.

In the center of these photos: the couple who started it all; cutting the cake at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration.

Wednesday, December 21

How To Re-cover Dining Room Chairs

My grandmother bought a dining table with these chairs at a garage sale:

If you're thinking they don't look that bad, you should have tried sitting on them :)
The foam was deteriorating, making for a rather uncomfortable seat.
Also, the fabric looked kinda gross up close.

Remove the old fabric (however many layers you find, :) and old foam with needle nose pliers.

Purchase foam (I bought 2") at your fabric store.
Simply set seat base over foam and trace with a marker, then cut to size.

Glue foam to base. If you want a rounded edge, just glue around edges and sort of fold it over as shown in the picture above.

Next, cut squares of fabric leaving plenty of inches for stapling. My fabric was a tiny stripe, so to ensure I got it straight, I nipped the center of each side with my scissors. It helps you line it up to the center.

Next: Start stapling!
(Pereferably with an ELECTRIC staple gun! I used a manual, and it was a PAIN!!)
Pull as tightly as you can, starting from the center and working your way out. I stapled a few times in the center of all 4 sides then finished each side. It helped my fabric not to move around too much. You can play with the corners. There isn't really a wrong way, just fold and pleat till you like it, then try to make sure all corners are as identical as possible.

When finished, screw onto the chair and walah!

There's the finished product!
I just re-did this entire dining room for my grandmother, and I'll be showing y'all the pictures soon! It was a lot of HARD WORK, and I'm SO excited it's almost ready to show off! 

Thursday, December 8

Making your own All-Natural Household Cleansers (For pennies!)

Lol... don't vintage cleaning ads just crack ya up?

I've wanted to switch to all-natural chemical-free household cleansers for some time now. The only thing stopping me was money. See, I'm a penny pincher... and I coupon. I was getting most of my cleaning products for free or close to it with my couponing... so I just couldn't bring myself to pay (a lot) more money for the natural stuff I saw in health food stores and catalogues.

Well, I've finally gotten to the point where I realize our health is more important than money. I'm tired of holding my breath while I clean, and knowing my kids are inhaling those dangerous fumes.

WELL! I've finally discovered a solution!!! MAKE THE STUFF MYSELF. SO cheap, SO eco-friendly, SO healthy, SO effective.... Am I missing anything?

The thing I use most is an all purpose disinfectant (for wiping down counter tops, toys and baby stuff, laminate floors etc.) So I decided to mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 2 parts water, adding a few drops of lavender oil. If you aren't familiar with hydrogen peroxide: it's simply amazing. It kills more germs than Lysol and it's actually safe to ingest. In fact, if you do ingest it, you'll be a little bit healthier. *smile* The Lavender oil is a naturally anti-bacterial as well, and it smells SO nice! You can play around with different essential oils for whatever smell you like in your cleansers.

You know how name brand chemical cleansers "smell good", but if you breathe in deeply it kinda burns your throat? Well, now when I clean I can NOT stop breathing in the smell. There's no burning; it just smells so pure and clean and WONDERFUL! Nick keeps commenting on the great smell as well.

Okay, so I've been researching recipes for other cleansers too and here's what I've found:
(Let me know how they work for you if you try them... also let me know if you have a fantastic laundry detergent recipe. I'm "shopping around" :).... the cheaper to make, the better! 

General Cleansers:
1.Vinegar and Salt: Mix to make a good surface cleaner.
2. Baking Soda: Dissolve 4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water for a general cleaner.
3. Baking soda on a damp sponge: Cleans and deodorizes any kitchen or bathroom surfaces.
4. Liquid castile soap and baking soda or Borax: Use in different ratios. Try a little soap and soda/borax with large amount of water for floors, walls and counters. Try more soap, soda/Borax for tubs and sinks and anything that can be rinsed well.
5. Paste of baking soda and water: Makes an effective scouring cleanser.

1. Half-cup of borax and 1 gallon hot water: Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary or lavender. Steep for 10 minutes, strain and cool. You could also add essential fragrant oils instead of fresh herbs. Store in a plastic spray bottle.
2. 2 tablespoons Borax, 1/4 cup Lemon Juice, 2 cups hot water: Combine the borax and lemon juice with the water in a spray bottle. Use to replace any commercial all-purpose cleaner.

Wood Furniture Polish:
Try a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice. (Always test your mixture on a small out of sight part of your furniture first!)

Glass Cleaners:
1. Undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle
2. Equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle
3. 1/2 lemon juice and 2 cups water in a spray bottle

Oven Cleaner:
Sprinkle baking soda all over stuck-on food and grease in the bottom of oven. Spray with water until moist. Continue to spray every few hours keep it moist. Let set overnight. By morning it should wipe clean easily.
(I have to inject here that I bought a commercial oven cleaner a few months ago. I thought I had no choice- had to get it clean somehow... the fumes were SO incredibly bad I felt we should all be wearing hazmat suits. I'm not kidding. I hope this recipe works as well as I've heard it does, but either way: I will NEVER buy that other stuff again!)

Toilet Bowl Cleaners:
1. Baking Soda and Vinegar: Sprinkle baking soda into the bowl, then squirt with vinegar and scour with a toilet brush.
2. Borax and Lemon Juice: Mix enough borax and lemon juice into a paste. Flush toilet to wet the sides, then apply the paste. Let sit for 2 hours and scrub thoroughly.
3. 1 cup borax, 1/2 cup white vinegar: Flush to wet the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle the borax around the toilet bowl, then spray with vinegar. Leave for several hours or overnight before scrubbing.
4.Liquid castile soap and baking soda or Borax: Scrub with a toilet brush.

Drain Cleaner:
1/2 cup baking soda
1 cup white vinegar
1 gallon boiling water
1/2 a used lemon

Pour baking soda down drain/disposal, followed by vinegar. Allow the mixture to foam for several minutes before flushing the drain with boiling water.

Tub And Tile Cleaners:
1. Baking Soda: Sprinkle baking soda just like scouring powder. Rub with a damp sponge. Rinse thoroughly.
2. Vinegar and Baking Soda: Apply vinegar full-strength to a sponge and wipe. Then use baking soda as you would scouring powder. Rub with a damp sponge and rinse thoroughly with clean water.
3. Vinegar: Use 1/4 cup (or more) vinegar to 1 gallon water.
4.Baking Soda: For grout cleaning, use 3 cups baking soda in a medium-sized bowl and add 1 cup warm water. Mix into a smooth paste and scrub into grout with a sponge or toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly.

Porcelain Cleaner:
Rub with cream of tartar sprinkled on a damp cloth.

Plumbing Fixtures:1. To clean stainless steel, chrome, fiberglass, ceramic, porcelain or enamel fixtures, dissolve 2 tbsp baking soda in 1 qt of water. Wipe then rinse.
3. Hard lime deposits around faucets can be easily removed by covering the deposits with vinegar-soaked paper towels. Leave the paper towels on for about one hour before cleaning. Leaves chrome clean and shiny.

Metal Shower Heads: To remove deposits combine 1/2 cup white vinegar and one quart water. Completely submerge the shower head and boil 15 minutes.

Plastic Shower Heads: Combine 1 pint white vinegar and 1 pint hot water. Completely submerge the shower head and soak for about one hour.

Rust Stain and Hard Water Deposit Remover:Apply full-strength vinegar or lemon juice and allow to set until spot disappears, rinse and repeat if necessary.

Pretty sure this goes without being said... but in case you're wondering: just purchase some spray bottles for your homemade cleansers, and label them accordingly! :)
Oh yeah, and I'd recommend using distilled water in your recipes for less residue left behind.