Is Upholstering Furniture An Option?

We see lots of people on HGTV and DIY shows talking about upholstering old furniture, but is it really an option worth considering?

Here’s four things to think about before you jump in:

Consider the cost

Upholstering furniture is not cheap. I’ll just put that on the table. If you’re thinking you’ll save money by upholstering an old chair vs buying a new one, in most cases you would be mistaken. Of course, it depends on the style of chair and the part of the country you live in etc., I’m sure I pay less where I am in West Texas than someone in Dallas or New York. Remember you’ll be paying for labor on top of the fabric of your choice. Two way to lower your costs are: 1. Getting your furniture free (on the side of the road/ friends giving it away) or at a fraction of the cost via estate sales and garage sales and 2. Shopping discount fabrics or buying vintage fabrics at estate sales.

Green chair CatrinaAtHome.jpg

We found this old chair at an estate sale for ten bucks. She reeked of cat pee and was threadbare, but she was a super stylish mid century piece that was comfortable and a rocker! I just had to take her home.

Don’t think about the cost

If you find a piece of furniture that you absolutely love, with “good bones”, it would be worth the expense to have a chair or piece of furniture that you love to look at and love to have in your home. It’s rare to find a piece that, for lack of a better term, you connect with. So when the magic happens, lol I would encourage you to run with it. Sell or trade whatever you have to, to make that new piece happen. It’s a rare treat to find a piece of furniture in the size and shape you want AND be able to choose the fabric that you want.

Plan your new piece carefully

Buy knickknacks or a plant on a whim but whatever you do, don’t jump into upholstering furniture on a whim. Poor, hasty decisions will end up costing you an arm and a leg. Take your time figuring out where your piece of furniture will go. Get large samples of a few fabrics to see how they will feel next to your other furniture, curtains and rugs. If you’re someone who has trouble making decisions, set a deadline for yourself on the fabric choice. If you’re someone who makes hasty decisions, make yourself take at least three days to think about it more thoroughly.

Get recommendations

Most importantly, get recommendations  and look at examples of finished work. Upholsterers are not created equally and you likely will get what you pay for. Don’t think you can go the cheap route and end up with a great result. There are many examples of upholstery jobs gone wrong. Make sure you go with experience and be clear on any special instructions.

IMG_0169.JPGHaving said all that, “rescuing” beat up and rejected old furniture and giving it new life is something I really enjoy doing! It’s an expensive “habit” but a worthy investment when you follow the tips above.

Have you restored or upholstered an old piece of furniture? If yes, I would love to see your before and afters! Feel free to post your pics on my Facebook page: Catrina at Home. 

Blessings,

Catrina

 

 

 

 

Size Matters! Let’s talk area rugs.

I love area rugs.

The end.

Seriously. I love what an area rug can do for a room. Should so much power be given to one object? Too late, it’s already done.

What does an area rug bring to your home? I’m so glad you asked.

  1. Noise reduction. If your flooring is tile or wood, a large rug will absorb the noise and greatly decrease the echo.
  2. Warmth. Nothing says warm and cozy like a plush rug underfoot.
  3. Artistic expression. Stay with me on this one… Many times we play it safe with our large furniture pieces, sticking to basic browns and no-nonsense neutrals. Your area rug is where you can play a little bit. Maybe introduce a few colors in your color scheme that otherwise would get relegated to small accessories. Try it!
  4. Defined areas. With the rise in open concept layouts, it’s easy to lose clear definition of where one room begins and one room ends. Believe it or not, this is pretty important, psychologically speaking. Our brains don’t want to have to work harder to have to figure these things out, it actually causes stress when the lines are blurred, so to speak. An area rug says- this is the living room, this is the dining room and this is the bedroom. And this is a good thing.
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Photo credit: unknown. :( 

 

Two common pitfalls when buying an area rug:

  1. You think your rug has to match or even coordinate with your couch. This is false. Your couch is likely a neutral (Black, gray, white, beige, tan or brown) and does not contribute to your color scheme. Think of your sofa as a backdrop or a blank canvas for your accessories (pillows and throws). Refer to number three, above.
  2. You buy a rug that is too small. As a general rule, (and rules are made to be broken, so take it or leave it) the front legs of all your living room furniture should be on the couch by a least 5-8 inches. Most folks buy a 5×7 rug when they should be buying an 8×10 rug. Is it more expensive? Yes. But this is one item you don’t want to chintz on. It’s worth it to save up for it, buy used or check out discount websites like overstock.com.

An area rug can bring so much to a home, if you don’t enjoy yours I hope you will do something about it! Life is too short to hate your rugs. :-)

 

Blessings,

Catrina

Kitchen renovation continues..

We bought our Craftsman home in 2010, she was 102 years old then.

There were two rooms that needed renovation started on before we moved in, one was the (not so) master bathroom and the other was the kitchen.

1912 kitchen before

This kitchen gave new definition to the term- old school. Check out those tiny cabinets!

1912 kitchen before 2

We lived for nearly 4 months on a construction site (in our home) to get these two rooms livable. Plastic draped over everything with construction materials and dust everywhere.

The kitchen was small. These old homes have awesome living and dining rooms but the private areas are often tiny compared to modern counterparts.

We were fortunate that there was a small butlers pantry between the kitchen and the dining room, so down came the wall dividing the two and our little kitchen gained five more feet in width.

1912 kitchen before 3

When it came time to choose cabinetry and countertops, I confess it was a rush job. I was sick to death of the mess and wanted to move things along as quickly as possible. So I made big decisions literally in minutes. Bad idea.

1912 kitchen mid after 1

I had lived in a house for nearly 17 years with white cabinets and I thought I wanted the opposite. Good grief was I wrong. White cabinets might show smudges and spaghetti sauce over time but dark cabinets show every spec of dirt and have to be dusted every few days. Major pain in the butt.

Between then and now we renovated three other turn of the century homes and a few  ‘newer’ properties. So needless to say, our home renovation got pushed aside.

Fast forward to 2018. I decided that this was the year I was going to finish the renovation on my kitchen, even if it took all year. And I was going to paint those dark cabinets once and for all.

It’s a pretty lofty goal, I admit, it’s going to be a ton of work. But if we never start, we can never be finished. Amiright? So, dangit, we startin’! Lol

I will update the blog regularly with all baby step changes we make throughout the year.

Wish us luck! :-)

What projects are you determined to finish this year? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Blessings,

Catrina

 

Three Tips for the best Christmas ever!

Christmas is just days away and if you’re like me, you’re in serious planning/stressing/working mode and the internal tension is starting to build.

Will I be able to finish all the decorating in time for my party?

Will Uncle Joe start telling off color jokes again at Christmas dinner?

Will I have time to make my famous cookies that everyone loves?

Sooooo much going on right now, right?

Here are three tips to help you have the best Christmas ever:

Relationships: Let it go

The very best thing you can do to deal with family and relational issues is to not bring last years trash to this years festivities. Did someone offend you last year? Leave it in the past. Was someone rude, late, obnoxious, insulting, impatient or ungrateful? Leave it in the past. Don’t bring it (those hurt feelings and bad memories) to this years party. Is that easier said than done? Well, yeah, but it doesn’t make it any less effective. You have a choice here, don’t forget that. You can choose to hold on to resentment and bitterness or you can choose to forgive, wipe that slate clean and start fresh, to have a great holiday.

Perfectionism: Release it

We all have ideas in our heads on what would make the holidays PERFECT. If you’re like me you may struggle with wanting things to be a certain way and people to act a certain way, etc.. (Maybe you just want them to act like adults, that’s not too much to ask, is it?) This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I know its popular to rag on perfectionists but the fact is- we need people with high standards in our world, we need goal setters and achievers. The question becomes, what lengths are we willing to go to, to achieve this illusive “perfection” and how do we respond when it is not achieved? Total transparency- I have struggled many times with not responding well. I want to get it ALL done and I want it ALL to be perfect! And in years past I have made myself sick with trying to DO IT ALL. And I have gotten upset with those who have messed up my plans.

Somewhere around 2010 I said, enough is enough. No more striving, no more doing things I don’t want to do, just to please others and no more killing myself to achieve my crazy standard of perfection. It’s been a process (I’m still working on it) but I can tell you, this has made the BIGGEST positive impact on my Christmas season. I have more joy in my heart when I’m not pursuing something that in truth, can never be achieved. I would encourage you to consider dropping your high expectations of yourself,  your family and your home decor this Christmas and embracing the ‘imperfections of reality’ for a happier holiday.

Focus: What is important?Best Christmas Ever CatrinaAtHome.com

We read and hear this all the time, right? Remember the “reason for the season” etc.      We KNOW what’s MOST important is the birth of Christ and spending time with family during the holidays but something happens… somehow our focus gets… off. We start striving to be admired for our cooking, our decorating, our Christmas card photo, our outfits, our perfect house, our gifts, our instagram photos, our blah, blah, blah and the “reason for the season” gets pushed down to 4th or 5th place (if it’s even on the chart). So how do we get back on track? How do we make this right? Does something terrible have to happen to a family member for us to recalibrate and remember whats REALLY important? Dear God, I hope not. But that will definitely do the trick. Somehow, when we have a near fatal car accident or we lose track of a child in a store for 10 seconds that everything that’s important rises to the top and all the other stuff fades away with lightening speed. Remember, you are the pace setter in your home, you determine what is important and what is trivial. You can choose to focus on family time over all the distractions of the season. Also, remember the little ones are watching, be the person you want them to grow up to be. Focus on what you want THEM to focus on.

Remembering what’s important this season and letting go of bitterness and perfection will help you have the best Christmas ever. I promise!!

Blessings to you and yours,

Catrina

 

Quick & Easy Christmas Cobbler

Christmas Cobbler- CatrinaAtHome.comI’ll be honest.. this recipe is really called DumpCake. I’ve used it for nearly 25 years and it’s a family favorite. But there’s just something about that name that turns folks off.. so I exercised some creative license.. and changed the name. Lol

This dessert is so easy to make, you may feel a little guilty for all the compliments you’re going to get from your people, just for making it. It’s that good. And it’s dang easy.

Ingredients List

1 box of yellow cake mix

1 can of cherry pie filling (20oz)

1 can of crushed pineapple (20oz)

2 sticks of butter (1/2 pound)

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°

Dump the cans of cherry pie filling and crushed pineapple into an ungreased 9×13 pan, mix together well and spread fruit over entire bottom of pan.

Dump entire bag/box of yellow cake mix unto the cherry/pineapple mixture, spread it out evenly.

Cut the two sticks of butter into slices and place on top of cake mix.

(Optional) Chop 1 cup of nuts and spread evenly over the butter slices.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until top is golden brown. (The ideal time for me and my oven seems to be 55 minutes.)

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream (Or just by itself!)

-Store leftovers in fridge (You MAY need an accountability group if you have leftovers, because it will take the strength of Sampson to resist EATING IT ALL. Lol No lie. So… fair warning.)

Enjoy!

Catrina

 

 

 

 

3 Tips For a Brighter Christmas Tree

Have you ever noticed that some Christmas trees seem so much brighter than others? Well, if you’re wanting to know how to brighten your  tree, you’re in luck. I have three simple ways to brighten your Christmas tree.

1. Add more lights

This one may seem obvious, but have you tried it?

Even if you have a pre-lit tree, running a string of lights up the center of the tree will add dimension and back light your ornaments for a brighter tree. But unless you’re interested in removing all your ornaments and running another strings of lights on your tree, this tip would be best used as you’re setting your tree up. Have no fear, though, these next two tips can still save the day.

2. Remove light blockers

Too many solid ornaments, pinecones or thick ribbon on a tree will block the light and cause your tree to look dark. Either greatly minimize the solid ornaments etc. or play with the lights a little bit to intentionally bring light in front of these light blockers.      Take a look at your tree? If it’s too dark, is your tree heavy on the light blockers?

CatrinaAtHome Christmas tree3

3. Add reflectors

Adding reflectors is a great way to maximize the light you already have on your tree. I find my old fashioned tin reflectors at estate sales, garage sales and thrift stores. They fit right over the lights and instantly brighten the tree.  They can also be found on eBay.

A great cheat for this is to use plenty of light colored, shiny, reflective ornaments. If you’re not up for a potentially brassy look that can sometimes come with reflective ornaments, just intersperse them with your preferred ornaments, variety adds dimension and dimension creates interest. If you want solid, non-reflective ornaments on your tree, make sure to add in light colored solids to help keep the tree bright.

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Remember- Dark absorbs, light reflects.                                                                                   Dark objects absorb the light on your tree and light objects reflect the light. If your tree is too dark, add some more lights, remove the light blocking objects and add in reflectors or light ornaments.

Bonus tip: layer your ornaments one, two and three deep on your tree (depending on the size, of course). Put those inner branches to work for you. This is a great way to use up extra ornaments while giving your tree depth and dimension. 

CatrinaAtHome Christmas tree1

I hope these tips were helpful to you, let me know how your tree brightening efforts pan out!

Merry Christmas,

Catrina

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Gorgeous Folded Dinner Napkins

The cloth dinner napkin has become not only a necessity on a finely dressed table but a serious contender for top billing as the most eye catching feature. And with its rise in popularity comes the quest for the hostess to find an interesting folding technique.

Only problem is, most folds are overly complicated and more importantly, take up a ton of your precious time. Here are three quick and easy folds for your Christmas/holiday dinner taught in simple, easy-to-follow steps.

 

If you’re looking to add in a little more creativity to your place setting, here’s some inspiration for the “pocket square” fold.

CatrinaAtHome Pocket square fold picks

Create your own picks for the pocket square fold.

Pocket fold napkin by CatrinaAtHome

Ruscus branches for the pocket square fold.

CatrinaAtHome Pocket square fold

Ribbon background for the pocket square fold.

CatrinaAtHome Pocket square fold

Velvet and frosted berries for the pocket square fold.

CatrinaAtHome Pocket square fold

Simple eucalyptus leaves for the pocket square fold.

CatrinaAtHome Pocket square fold

Red velvet leaf and greenery for the pocket square fold.

CatrinaAtHome Pocket square fold

Gingham check and frosted berry pick for the pocket square fold.

Of course, these folded napkins can be made with any napkin you choose! Just coordinate your napkins with your dinner ware and have fun!

If you use one of these folded napkin designs, I would love it if you sent me a photo of your place setting.

Merry Christmas!

Catrina

 

Three Quick and Easy Napkin Folds. CatrinaAtHome.com