Category: Uncategorized

New Outdoor Pillow Covers

sewing outdoor pillows title

As I’ve mentioned before, this summer I’ve been focusing on fixing up our outdoor living area (for example how I spray painted our patio table). We spend so much time outdoors (God bless that beautiful Southern California sunshine) that I want our outdoor space to feel like an extension of the house. And what better way to bring color and comfort to the outdoors than with a set of outdoor cushions?

Chris almost always rolls his eyes when I mention making new cushions (what is it with husbands and their universal disdain of accent pillows?). But even he was happy with how well these outdoor pillows turned out. Especially since I reused the old outdoor cushions for the stuffing — Chris is always happy with a recycle/reuse project.

chevron pillow

Joann’s had a sale on outdoor fabrics (everything 50% off) so I picked up some beautiful fabrics in shades of blue, aqua, and green. The trellis and chevron patterns are by Waverly Sun ‘n’ Shade and the floral is PKL Outdoor “Rosette”. Our old outdoor cushions were about 18″ square, so I made the new covers to fit. I made these outdoor pillow covers the easiest way possible — using envelope closures.

ikea outdoor couch

You’ll need outdoor fabric, a sewing machine, an iron, scissors, a yardstick (or cutting mat) for measuring, and Outdoor Thread. This last one is very important! Outdoor thread is made of heavy-duty polyester and is designed to withstand rain and UV rays. Don’t use regular cotton thread unless you don’t mind your hard work falling apart after a season of use. (Read more about how to sew using outdoor thread at the Coats and Clark blog. I followed their instructions to a T except that I used a size 16 needle instead of 18 and it worked fine.)

One yard of fabric is just enough to make two 18-inch cushion covers because they usually cut it a little bigger than 36″, but make sure you measure out exactly how much you need…you don’t want to be short an inch or two. For one pillow, cut a 19″ x 46″ rectangle (this length gives you extra fabric for the overlap and hemming of the envelope closures as well as the top and bottom seam allowance).

sewing pillow

Fold over each short end twice (right side out) and iron down flat. Outdoor fabric doesn’t iron down too easily, and you want to avoid using too much heat as it can melt the polyester. So after you’ve made a crease, pin the folds to hold them down. Hem them on your sewing machine, backstitching at each end. Sew slowly, as the thick outdoor thread isn’t as flexible as normal thread.

(The hardest part of this whole project might be threading your sewing machine with the outdoor thread…I always have to look at the manual to make sure I’m getting each step right! Be sure to increase the stitch length a little bit to allow for the thicker thread.)

measuring outdoor pillow

With the wrong side out, fold the rectangle so that the hemmed ends overlap. Use a yardstick to measure 18″, and adjust the overlap so that you’ve got an 18″ x 19″ rectangle. Pin in place.

Sew the raw top and bottoms closed using a 1/3″ to 1/2″ seam allowance, making sure to catch the hemmed ends of the envelope. If you like, you can backstitch over the envelope opening to give it some extra strength.

Turn it right-side out and stuff your pillow form inside! I used an old outdoor pillow (that I washed and bleached to make sure any dirt/mold was gone), but you can also order a pillow form online, like this 18″ Polyester Pillow Form on Amazon.

sewing outdoor pillows

You can use this super easy method to make any envelope pillow cover, not just for sewing outdoor cushions! Just use regular fabric and thread.

My total cost for this project was about $22. The chevron fabric was a half-yard remnant that I got for $2.22 and the other fabrics were 50% off. MUCH cheaper than buying new outdoor pillows (average $12 each for the cheapest ones).

outdoor couches

I am really diggin’ my new outdoor cushions! They dress up the IKEA outdoor sectional soooo nicely and they give that free-by-the-side-of-the-road patio set a new lease on life! I’ll have to take better pics later when the sun isn’t as bright, but this gives you an idea. I love sitting out there with a cold drink!

Sharing at SavvySouthernStyle, TheShabbyCreekCottage, RemodelaholicShabbyNest, NotJustAHousewife, ThriftyDecorChick and IvyandElephants!

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Painting Grout Lines

We only have one operational bathroom in our house, so it is used for our needs as well as guests. The other bathroom is gutted down to the studs right now so this bathroom is it, for two adults and one baby. I mean, first world problems, right…three people sharing ONE bathroom, oh my! I really can’t complain.

Our current bathroom isn’t in terrible shape… It’s definitely livable. It was updated at some point, probably during the 90s, so there’s nothing major that is in dire need of an overhaul right now. However, the grout lines between the tiles were nothing short of icky.

dirty grout

I don’t think they had ever been sealed to begin with, so every bit of dirt just stuck onto the grout like white on rice. And I don’t think the grout had ever been cleaned either. In the photo below, it looks like the grout lines are brown/gray, but they’re actually supposed to be WHITE! It’s so dirty it just looks like they’re dark.

dingy grout floor

After living with it for a year, the grime just started to get to me. It made the whole bathroom feel dirty. Even after I tried covering it up with bath mats, it just made the whole space dingier and it just wasn’t a happy place to be. So finally, we headed to the Home Depot and picked up some supplies to remedy the situation.

We grabbed a bottle of Polyblend Grout Renew in Delorean Gray, which is a nice steel-gray color. I chose a darker color to ensure that it would cover up any dirt that still remained.

First, we cleaned with TileLab Sulfamic Acid Cleaner, a strong cleanser recommended on the grout paint bottle. You mix it with water (8oz to a gallon) and apply it with a toothbrush.

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It worked pretty well. You could really see the difference after using the grout cleaner.

grout contrast

It wasn’t quite good enough though. There was still quite a bit of dirt embedded in there. A good reminder to SEAL, SEAL, SEAL your grout if you don’t want to end up with a similar mess!

That’s when we broke out the Polyblend grout paint. The instructions said to use a toothbrush but we used an old craft paintbrush with pretty stiff bristles for better control.

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You apply the paint to the grout, working it back and forth with the brush so it really gets into the porous grout.

applying grout paint

It’s best to work in small sections at a time (for me, one section of one line at a time). Wipe off any excess paint on the glazed tile immediately, or it will start to dry and you’ll have a harder time cleaning it up.

It might be a good idea to start behind the toilet in case you mess up a bit at first.

NOTE: I wouldn’t recommend this product for use with unglazed tile or natural stone. It might stick on the tile and never come off.

remove excess grout paint

I used a piece of tissue, wrapped it around my finger, and ran my finger in a continuous line along the side of each grout line to remove the excess grout paint. This was the hardest part, and to be honest, it took me a while to get the hang of it so I wasn’t smearing paint everywhere.

You’ll probably still have some smears of paint on the tile here or there. Don’t worry. Just wait until the grout paint has a chance to set  for about 30 minutes. Then use a damp rag and buff the extra paint off the glazed tile, being careful not to scrub the paint off the actual grout.

The whole process took me about 2 hours, for a pretty tiny bathroom. It wasn’t quite as easy as I expected, but the results are pretty nice.

painted grout

The grout paint dried a tiny bit darker than when it was wet. It definitely covered up any dirt that was left after the grout cleaning, and it looks like grout, not like paint. In fact, our bathroom looks like it has been newly tiled!

how to paint grout

The faux marble porcelain tile wasn’t my favorite tile to begin with but the grout paint makes it look 100 times better. I like that the gray of the grout picks up the gray in the “marble” so it feels like it belongs (unlike the yellowish off-white grout before). And I LOVE that my bathroom doesn’t feel dirty and grimy anymore! The Polyblend grout paint is a paint and sealer in one, so I’m hoping the results will last for quite a while. And since we still have plenty of grout paint left, we can always do touch-ups later.

Again, here’s the before:

dingy grout floor

And the after:

how to paint grout

A subtle, but significant, difference.

Are you thinking of refreshing some old dingy grout in your home? If so, I’d definitely recommend using grout paint! Although it takes a bit of elbow grease, the results are awesome.

8 Month Update: The grout paint is holding up great by the way! See more pictures of the bathroom here!

Sharing at HopeStudios!

Super Easy DIY: Baby Block Photo Holder

baby block photo holder

My little sister recently had a beautiful baby girl and I threw her a shower while I was back in Canada a few months ago. My other sister and I made these cute baby block photo holders as a party favors for the shower guests and I really like how they turned out!

You’ll need:

Wooden baby blocks
Wooden clothespins
Acrylic craft paint + paintbrush
Hot glue gun

Paint the clothespins with the craft paint in the color of your choice (I chose yellow). Let it dry (I pinned mine on a piece of cardboard to paint and dry, so I didn’t have to be holding onto it anywhere).

block back

Decide which side of the block you want facing outwards, and hot glue the clothespin to the back of the block.

It’s as simple as that!

The guests had a lot of fun looking for the letters of their choice. We also used them during the shower to hold baby pictures of the future mom and dad! They were a fun and budget-friendly party favor (less than $1 a block when you buy a set of blocks).

block with pic

I think a fun twist on this idea would be to use washi tape to decorate the clothespin instead of (or perhaps in addition to) the paint. If you wanted to make it fit your color scheme you could also paint all the blocks a uniform color. Can you think of other variations?

Sharing over at See Vanessa Craft!

Super Useful IKEA FILUR Bins

I was over at IKEA shopping with a friend the other day and I found these great organization solutions: the IKEA FILUR Bins. (This is not a sponsored post…I just enjoy sharing products I love!)

My issue was that I don’t have a small recycling bin inside our house, so I used to just keep the recycling in a brown paper bag that I would take out to the big bin outside every day. The baby was starting to get into it though, so the paper bag ended up on the dinner table most of the time. It’s not very appetizing to have a bag of garbage sitting on your dinner table all the time.

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The IKEA FILUR bin was an awesome way to corral the recycling, but it actually still looks nice, with it’s clean lines. It doesn’t look like a “trash” can. This one is the 7-gallon bin and it was $10.

I’m toying with the idea of stenciling a design on it but for now I’m enjoying how it’s just clean and white.

recycling bin

Never mind the weird peeling wallpaper behind the fridge. It’s one of those little things that comes with buying a fixer-upper that we just haven’t gotten to yet. Eventually Chris will finish adding a cabinet around the fridge and we’ll strip and paint that back wall.

I also got a 3-gallon bin for the bathroom.

IKEA FILUR Bin with Lid

You know, it really is the little things. Before, I just had a small open trash can and having it open was just unsightly. Stray tissues, hair balls, bits of floss….just not clean and inviting. So this little IKEA bin hides the mess out of sight and fits perfectly in our small and snug bathroom! This one was $5.

IKEA has a lot of nice-looking storage solutions that I never noticed before…and they’re super affordable. Often when I go there I get drawn into all the cute pillows and accessories and I don’t actually look at the “boring” storage containers. But these two bins have already made my life a little more streamlined and a little neater!

How do you store your recycling? Have you found any great storage solutions at IKEA lately?

Hello Sunshine! Painted Patio Table

I’m so happy that I finally finished this project! It took longer than I thought, not because it was difficult, but just because we had to go back to the store several times. Also, the baby has been majorly teething (4 molars at once, are you kidding me?!) and she has been pretty much a ball of misery the last few days so that has been occupying most of my attention.

yellow patio table

But I finally made over the patio table and I’m super happy with how it turned out! Spray paint is a wonderful thing.

spray painted yellow patio table

Remember, the patio table used to look like this:

old patio chairs

The paint was scratched up quite a bit and it was just a little dingy and sad.

We just polished off any loose bits of paint with some steel wool, wiped it down with a rag, and then primed with a medium primer.

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I like to be super cautious when using oil based paint, especially spray paint, hence the HEPA mask and long sleeves/pants. Not only are the VOCs not something I want in my lungs, but with spray paint the droplets get EVERYWHERE…and I definitely don’t want droplets of paint in my lungs. The HEPA filters are the pink ones, and this HEPA mask only costs$14 (and is surprisingly comfortable). Totally worth it for your health!

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An associate at Home Depot told me to use the medium primer (the gray primer), but I’m not sure that was a great idea. It took SEVERAL light coats of yellow (Rustoleum Sunburst Yellow) to cover it. I feel like a white primer might have been better. I used 3 whole cans of paint and realized I needed more coverage, so I had to go and get another can. Then I had to wait a whole 48 hours before I could re-coat the table.

After the table was finally painted I had to go back to Home Depot to get new hardware for putting it back together because the old hardware was all rusted out.

Although the process took a long time (about 4 days), actual spraying time was short — perhaps an hour in total. The table just sat out in the yard in pieces for a few days while it cured (and then was re-sprayed and cured again).

spray painted yellow patio table

I love how bright and happy it is, and I can’t wait to enjoy many summer dinners out on the patio.

yellow patio table

Don’t you just love spray paint? Have you spray painted anything lately?

Sharing over at TatertotsandJello, Suburbs Mama, A Stroll Through Life, Miss Mustard Seed and If It’s Not Baroque!

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