I changed my mind on my DIY project for January.  Why?  Because grout is boring and I didn’t feel like doing it.  Instead, I chose something that would have a big impact on my home and bring in more color, which I love.  I recovered my sad, stained padded dining chairs with colorful cloth I bought online ages ago.  I know this is a very easy project, but I put it off a long time, I had never done this before, and I actually had to google some things to get it done (like how to load the staple gun…)

recovered chair

This is the before picture.  Lots of food and drink stains.  I’m willing to be the one in the middle is red wine.  Anyway, this is 4 years of use and hey, they are WHITE seat covers.  What do you expect, people?!

before pic

The steps to reupholstering a chair are simple:

1.  remove the covered pad from the base of the chair.

underside of chair

This is the underside of the IKEA dining chair.  All you have to do to remove it is unscrew those 4 screws.  

2.  Remove the current cover from the seat and measure it.  

measuring original cover

Make sure to measure both the narrow and wide ends of the chair cover. Look at those cute handmade socks that made it into the photo!  

drawing of covering measurement

3.  If your fabric is printed, find a way to get pleasing parts of the print oriented on your chair and mark the fabric with pencil on the back.  I added 2 inches on each side (4 inches per direction) to ensure that there was plenty of overlap.  Then cut out each cover.  Before I cut the other three, I made sure the first one fit my seat on all sides.  

fabric photo

This is the gorgeous, pre-ironed fabric.  LOVE those colors!

4.  Iron the fabric.  I hate to iron too, but I would hate looking at the same stupid wrinkles for years more than ironing.  The fabric I used is a thick upholstery fabric so I used a bunch of steam to get the wrinkles out.  

5. Wrap the ironed fabric over the seat and ensure placement is correct.  Staple it down, pulling really tight on the fabric to keep it taut.  

stapling cover

Much nicer finished project when I drink the LaCroix than wine.  Also, I kept all my fingers.  

6. Screw the seat back onto the chair base and admire your beautiful work.  

before and after photo

All four chairs took a total of about 2 hours to complete.  Not too shabby.  


PRACTICE – Monthlies

Each month I plan to do several practices:

  • Write an honest-to-goodness real letter to someone.  I have a penpal now, and I am enjoying writing to my grandmother.  
  • Take a hike with Pi.  This will be a new practice, but I already know that I want to do this at least once per month.
  • Clean a closet/drawer. 
  • Watch a documentary.  I love documentaries, but when I think to watch them, I often choose something trashy instead. With a goal of once a month, I hope to help myself become a decently educated, compassionate person rather than root for the least jerky of the real housewives.  
  • DIY home project – this will be fun!  I have so many ideas for this, and will post about them as they arise.  

It is now January 10, so I best have a good start on them!  

1.  I already wrote my letter – to Tammi Salas. It feels so good to send actual mail out with a stamp and an address on the front.  If you want to receive a letter from me, use the contact me portion to send me your address privately.  

2.  I took Pi on a hike!  I didn’t bring my camera because it was so flipping cold, but here is one of me right before i took off.  

bundled up selfie
trail shoes

It was pretty cold, but we did a good three miles.  I would have gone longer but his little feet seemed cold.  And I couldn’t feel my face.

3.  Clean a closet/drawer.  I have a very loose interpretation of this.  I chose the large shelf in my en suite bathroom for this month.  I had old things on the shelf and the shelf itself was pretty dusty and needing love.  I have a few photos, but I was a dummy and didn’t get a true before shot.  I might need a class in how to write a blog so appropriate photos are included.  

crap from the shelves
All this crap was on the shelves.  
empty Ikea shelf

This shelf gets extremely dusty and those little grooves are a bitch to clean between.  This level of tortuous detail could only be brought about by the folks at IKEA.  

And here it is all dressed up and ready to go.  It makes me so happy.  

Finished shelf

4.  Watch a documentary – I haven’t watched it yet, but plan to watch “There’s something wrong with Aunt Diane” on Amazon Prime this weekend.  It is a movie about the 2009 wrong way crash that killed a mother and seven others on the Taconic Pkwy in NY.  I have heard it is incredibly difficult to watch, especially for those of us who have had our own issues with alcohol.  But whenever someone says something like that, I really want to see it.  

5. DIY home project!  Ok, this one is not a lot of fun, but it is manageable.  I plan to decide my February project early so I can choose something more involved.  I haven’t started yet, but before I bought my house, it was pretty much completely renovated.  The people did good work, but the grout around the bottom of the shower is coming out.  It needs to be replaced and sealed with silicone (I think – gonna research other opinions first), but I will do that and it will be beautiful before the end of the month.  

Anyone out there have projects of your own?  Any documentary or DIY project suggestions for me for upcoming months?  

This weekend I will post an update to my January Whole30 PRACTICE and announce what I have chosen for February – very excited about it!