0 Another post about fabric

Because I apparently have a problem, here is another post about fabric. Exciting, I know.

I told y'all last week that I picked up a few fabric options at the mill for recovering the drop-in seats to our dining room chairs.

The dining room chairs have been covered in a plain khaki fabric for years (at least eight years with me, perhaps longer because they came from my sister and there's no telling when she recovered them). Although plain fabric often works well because it's so versatile, it also can be terribly boring. 

Some of the seats--like this one--still looked okay after all the years. 

But others, not so much. I'm pretty sure that stained seats are not appetizing.

I originally wanted to go with this fabric, which is actually part of an old Pottery Barn duvet cover that my sister was no longer using. The print is small and has a French Provincial feel (I think), but it really is sheet material, not upholstery material. I worried it would rip and stretch and just altogether end up looking worse than the stained khaki (and that's saying something). So it was out.

I told you I picked up a couple of remnants from the mill: two of ticking--one blue and small, and the other black and large; a remnant of a French laundry/linen-ish thing; and a remnant with monkeys and crocodiles. Here they are in that order.

Blue, small ticking:

Black, large ticking:
French laundry/linen-ish thing:
Monkeys and crocodiles: 

And then here's a piece from some shams my mom had but was no longer using.

So what did I decide? Well, the monkey/crocodile fabric just wasn't right for the chairs (so I'm making pillows for the sofa out of that fabric now); the red, floral sham fabric was too, well, red and floral; the French laundry/linen-ish thing looked like it would get too dirty; and I just wasn't feeling the black, large ticking even though it looks pretty great in the picture above--it just felt off in real life. So the small, blue ticking it was--traditional enough to be a neutral, and it's actually the first striped fabric in our downstairs, if you can believe that. I should have the seats back soon so I'll share some "after" picks with you then. (Oh, and because I had so much of the small, blue ticking, I'm using some of it for the backs of the monkey/crocodile pillows, which hopefully will help pull the living and dining rooms together a bit more. (And you know I love a good reversible pillow, as evidenced by my last post.) 

Okay, now what would your pick have been?

**Special thanks to Zelda for providing a bit of perspective in the above photos. She's so helpful. 


0 The pillows

The pillows . . . are marvelous! (Check out my last post if you're clueless about the pillows of which I speak.) 

The pillows are actually for our guest room (they are standard sized), but because I couldn't wait to capture them on film, here they are sitting on our little red sofa. (Check out this post and this post if you don't know about the little little red sofa of which I speak.) 

Who knew you could have so much fun with $14.75 worth of fabric and trim from the mill? (I did.) 

And here's a close-up so you can appreciate the contrast between the fabrics I chose for the fronts and the backs and so you can see the jute-ish trim I chose in hopes of giving the pillows a more polished look. What do you think?

The best part: the pillows are entirely sewn in so they are reversible. I'm a total sucker for versatility.

Okay, and here you have a completely gratuitous picture of Heidi, who was curled up on the other end of the couch when I took the above pictures. Change isn't really one of her favorite things, but she's generally okay with a new pillow here and there. 

Sweet girl.


0 Quality Time

I took a day off of work last week and headed up to Greenville to spend a long weekend of quality time with my folks. To be expected, mom and I had a few special outings in mind. 

The mill, for example. I went in search of fabric to recover the four drop-in seats on our dining room chairs. I didn't find any on Friday.

Instead, I found this:

A wonderful piece of toile -- it's "fishing village" by Thibaut. I'm pretty sure this stuff is something fine that sells for many, many, many dollars per yard in the decorator world, so yay for $5.00/pound remnants at the mill. This was the only piece I could find of the fishing village, and I figured it gave me enough for the fronts of two standard pillow shams, so I just needed to find something interesting for the backs. For whatever reason, I really liked the juxtaposition of the menswear-inspired houndstooth with the toile, so I threw that in the cart. And then, so this whole project doesn't end up entirely too homemade-looking, I picked up some jute-ish trim for the shams and asked mom's upholstery man what he would charge to put them together. For $15 a pop, I was sold. I cannot wait to see the finished product. 

So I walked out of the mill on Friday with nothing for the chairs, but I spent only $14.75 on the (unnecessary) pillow facbric, so I considered myself successful.

Mom walked out of the mill on Friday with a stack of precious fabrics to sew lots and lots of her sweet baby burp cloths. (I apologize for the colors in this photo; it was night and I'm still working on my manual shooting skills.)

I love her new cards: Her grandmother name is "LaLa," and she's working on selling a few of her sweet burp cloths. (I really think Etsy would be a perfect place or her wares, but we're not quite there yet technologically speaking.)

Okay, so that was Friday. (Well, that and a trip to the Habitat re-store, the T.J. Maxx, and the Ross.) So guess what we did on Saturday. 

Yep, we went back to the mill. I really wanted to find something for our dining room chairs' drop-in seats, and mom's a good sport like that. 

So I dug through the remnants for the second day in a row and finally found some success. Too much success actually, because in the end, I couldn't decide. (Kid in a candy store!) So I bought four different remnants: a couple pieces of ticking, a French laundry-looking striped thing, and a colorful piece of linen with monkeys and crocodiles. (You know me.) I brought everything home so I could see it in our space, and I've narrowed it down, but you'll just have to wait and see. In all, I spent $35 the second day so, still, not too bad. Because eventually I'll come up with something fun for everything I brought home, even if I just have to hoard it for a while.

And just so you don't think our entire weekend was devoted to fabric, we also found time to . . . try a new-to-us meat and three in the middle of nowhere called Boots & Thelma's.

(They definitely asked us where we were from because two of these things were not like the others. But we enjoyed it and would do it again in a heartbeat.)  

And we did a little antiquing.  

And then we did a little dumpster diving, too.  Because who can resist free wicker? (The real thing!) Not these two ladies, that's who can't.

So two precious cafe chairs and a coffee table with a lower magazine shelf made their way to mom's porch. We scrubbed and pressure washed them the next day, and then, because mom's porch already contains enough wicker to choke a dragon, I threw them in the back of the CR-V and carted them down to Charleston, where they are now stacked in the corner of our dining room waiting for their new life. (Tod really is such a good sport when I bring home spoils and clutter up the place; I should remind him that at least I'm not a cat who leaves dead moles on the doorstep, because that would be much harder to deal with in my opinion.) Anyway, I'm thinking I just may have to force these finds upon my in-laws. They're beachy, right? And I'm thinking a couple cans of lime green spray paint might be fun? They could live downstairs by the swing perhaps? Or not. I just couldn't resist the free wicker. Maybe I'll just paint them and sell them on Craigslist. We love Craigslist. 

Oh, you know what else we did? We picked up a couple of those balls of fresh pizza dough from the grocery store (ours came from Publix) and made homemade pizzas. Totally a worthwhile activity. Mom said she may never order pizza again, in fact. (Note to potential pizza makers, however: the whole wheat dough cooks much faster than the white dough!)

All in all, it was a weekend of quality time with my parents, just me as their daughter and them as my parents, and for a newlywed I guess that's a rare but much appreciated thing. Because even though our family has changed and grown into a multi-layered thing over the years--which is, of course, a beautiful thing itself ("the circle of life," my mom might say)--it's always nice to know that beneath all those layers, the foundation remains. It breathes and it stretches--it settles in a bit, of course--but the important thing is that it remains, that it supports the changes. I could ask for nothing more.


0 By Self/Homemade

I'm a fan of doing things "by self." That's what I called it when I was three.

Who am I kidding? That's still what I call it.

But I guess it's only in recent years that I've recognized just how honestly I get this trait.

As my dad would tell me when I asked about our "homemade" grass, why would you pay someone else to do something you can just as easily do yourself? 

Ah, the homemade grass . . . 

(And no, I'm not talking about that kind of grass; I did not grow up on a marijuana farm despite any present impressions I may give.) 

The homemade grass I'm talking about is the kind of grass you might have in your front yard right now. It's the kind of grass that we had in our front yard. Homemade grass is not sod. Because sod is not homemade. (Unless you live on a sod farm, and then I guess it is.) Homemade grass is the kind of grass that (sometimes) grows from seeds--from seeds that a person spreads around the yard using one of those handheld whirly-ma-gig things. 

And yes, depending on the season, our homemade grass came complete with brown spots--brown spots that let us know just how homemade our grass was. But brown spots = character. (Even the kind that show up on legs after too much time in the sun. It's all just character.) 

Back to the concept of "by self" though.

Because this weekend, rather than driving our cars to one of those pay-whatever-the-price-is-and-watch-someoene-else-wash-our-cars institutions, which is exactly what I wanted to do if I'm really going to be honest here, Tod and I gathered up our car wash supplies, hooked up the hose, and did it "by self." It took forever . . . because it had been that long . . . and because we park beneath prolific crepe myrtles . . . and because we have very furry dogs. And it's a little bit embarrassing how much of a work-out it was. But the results: totally worth it. Because no way would someone we paid have worked so hard to remove all the Heidi and Zelda hairs from the carpets. No way. 
The best way to admire your homemade car wash is with a hand on your hip and a cold beer in your other hand.

Who would guess that's Tod's car just turned fifteen? Not me. Here's hoping for another fifteen.

Now because "by self" and homemade are just two sides to the same coin, here's something else we did this weekend.

Remember all the edible plants that I put in the dirt a few weeks ago? Well, our jalapeno plant has taken off so we have lots of peppers! (Yes, that sentence deserved an exclamation point; I seriously get so excited for every new pepper that appears. It feels like a really good magic show.) 

With fresh jalepeno peppers on hand, Tod made jalapeno cheese grits this morning. They were so delicious that I licked the spoon like Zelda does. (Not sure why I needed to admit that though.)

Anyway, I ran with the jalapeno-and-cheese theme and made a giant bowl of jalapeno pimento cheese. I will look forward to lunch tomorrow.

If that's not too much by self/homemade for you, I also pulled out my sewing machine today. Shocking, I know, but it's something I've been meaning to do for a while. (Inertia can be such a hassle.)
I guess I was thinking girl today.
And I guess Zelda was thinking: "I'm a girl--is this one for me?" 
Either that or she was just doing some quality control.


0 Brooklyn Flea

One of the things I was excited about doing (and talked Tod into doing with me) on our recent trip to New York involved a trip across the river to Brooklyn . . . to go to Brooklyn Flea

Our first glimpse of this part of Brookyln was not really what we expected.

Ahh, here we go. This looks more like it. We walked through the Fort Greene neighborhood, and yes, as you can tell, trees do grow in Brooklyn.

And then we hit the market.

I know, enough with the sunglass-reflection shots. I just can't help myself.

This market has a little bit of everything--with a whole lot of hipster thrown in. So basically it was just what we expected. 

Like I said, a little bit of everything . . . 

The market also has lots of great food options, so when we got hungry, we hit the milk truck tent for some grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum.

This was definitely a worthwhile field trip . . . filled with so many interesting things. I walked away inspired. Oh, and aside from lunch, I only spent $20 . . . on a pair of very large vintage scarab earrings. I don't have a picture because I've shared them with my mom--who has a little bit of a thing for scarabs--but I'd guess they're from the sixties or seventies judging from their size and style, and as for the materials, I have no clue whether the gold is real or whether the scarab is stone or glass. What can I say? They spoke to me. So did the lady who sold them to me . . . she spoke and spoke and spoke . . . about her sister the Egyptologist. I couldn't not buy them. 

All in all, this was my kind of adventure.

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