Tag Archives: vintage

refurbishing furniture


So I’m about to move into an unfurnished apartment and being a cheap college kid I’m looking for as much free/second hand/cheap inexpensive furniture as possible.

About four years ago my grandma got new living room furniture. She gave the old stuff (super 70s style) to my dad so that he could get rid of it for her. It consisted of an old-fashioned love seat glider and a spring loaded rocking chair to match. Well my dad is not one to get rid of perfectly good things – being a pack rat kinda runs in my family – so the furniture, as well as the indoor cushions, has sat on our outdoor back porch ever since.

My mother thinks it makes us look like “the Clampits” a reference that is lost on me but apparently means hickish. So she told me she’d practically pay me to take it off her hands. Before that stuff ever sees the inside of a home again it needs a lot of help, so I took it upon myself to make entirely new cushions for it. That picnic table also helped my confidence with refurbishing furniture so I’m going to sand down the wood and re-stain and finish the entire thing.

Here is what it looks like now, I’m mostly done with the new cushions (fingers crossed they should be done by tomorrow) and I’ll take pictures of that when I am entirely finished.

I hope it looks better when I’m done with it!

Stay tuned,

Captain Neen


OK, So here are the new cushions!

I grossly over estimated the amount of fabric I needed. I made my own pattern by tracing the cushions that were already there and in the process I decided that I would probably mess up once or twice and therefore need the extra fabric. Its kinda nice to underestimate your abilities but at the same time I wish I had been in the same ball park. I ended up buying 15 yards of light green fabric on sale at Jo-Ann’s for $37.90. The foam was also on sale (Yay for the fourth of July!) and it was around $48 which is less than the price for one sheet of 3″ thick foam so hurrah! Unfortunately I have about 8 1/2 yards of green fabric left because I forgot about cutting things on the fold while in the frenzy of the sale. I guessed pretty close in terms of the foam which was the most expensive any way so that was good. I have no clue what I’ll do with the rest of the fabric… maybe an ottoman? Meh I’ll figure something out.

Anyway, aside from the thread and the quilt batting which I already had (and only counting the fabric I used) I only spent aboutย  $65.00 on the whole thing! I dunno about you, but $65 beats anything equivalent that I could buy at Walmart or Ollie’s. Plus, I have the experience and the confidence to do it again if I ever wanted to ๐Ÿ˜›

To make these new cushions I used the following,

Roughly 7 yards of the fabric of your choice
A sewing machine (I am awful at hand stitching anything)
couch foam of your desired thickness (this can be expensive so I suggest waiting for a sale, it’s worth it) I used 3″ thick for the seat and 2″ thick for the back.
Something to cut the foam with, I used a serrated knife which worked out well
quilt batting (for extra cush)
A couple buttons, clasps or Velcro.
newsprint or large sheets of paper
cotton stuffing
pen or pencil, scissors, etc

They’re not perfect, but for a first time making cushions I’m OK with them and they’re super comfy. I can definitely see myself lounging around in ’em, sitting on my laptop and finishing up my Master’s thesis ๐Ÿ˜›

I apologize for the lack of pictures, I didn’t realize that I would be making a tutorial when I started. I don’t know how useful this one will be because who else but my family keeps 40 year old furniture around? I’m posting it anyway because hopefully it will inspire you to give new life to your old furniture instead of going through the hassle of shopping for new. Plus, we can always do more to reduce, reuse, recycle right?

I started on the chair so this will be a tutorial for the chair cushions but the materials are enough for both. I traced both the seat cushion and the back on my paper and then measured a 5/8th seam allowance (my fabric unravels readily and I wanted plenty of room to allow for finishing the edges) I cut this out and pinned them to my fabric. I then measured around the seat cushion edge to get a perimeter and cut out a 4.5″ wide strip of paper that measured half this length, and pinned it on the fold. I cut out two of everything and stitched it all up right sides together When I was sewing the bottom of the seat cushion to the edge strip I left the back open and stitched an extra strip of fabric (about a foot long and 4.5″ wide) to the bottom side of the cushion. This slides behind the original edge piece. I finished the edges of both side strips and this created an opening which allows me to remove the foam inside if I ever need to wash the covers. Here you can add a strip of Velcro or other clasps to the corners of the inside flap so that the ‘mouth’ doesn’t open.

The bottom cushion covers are a little loose in the picture because I haven’t sewn in these clasps yet.

I cut out the back cushion the same way with a 5/8″ seam allowance. There are two sets of ties on the bottom corners of the cushion and four loops to hook around the posts on the top peaks. For these strips I cut out 8, 3″x15″ strips of fabric and folded the sides in to finish them resulting in roughly 2″x14″ strips (I’m estimating here). I stitched the front and the back of this cushion together and in each corner I tucked the respective strip, making loops (like the awareness ribbon loops) for the top corners and putting ties, two together with wrong sides facing each other (so it would be right sides facing out) in the corners on the bottom. It was a little tricky to sew and I back tracked over each strip to make sure it wouldn’t pull out. I left the bottom open so I could turn it inside out and put the foam in. I traced the pattern through to the foam by poking through the tracing line of the original cushion with a pen and connecting the dots on the foam, you don’t want to cut the 5/8th seam allowance for the foam or you’ll never get it to fit. I ended up cutting two triangular pieces and a rectangle. I inserted an edge triangle, as well as a matching piece of quilt batting, into my right-side-out cushion cover and then stitched the edge of the foam, down the middle of my cushion cover (these covers are not removable unlike the seat cushions, check out the pictures), I did the same for the other edge, leaving my rectangular section open. In doing this the center rectangle should be made smaller about a half inch on the width due to the extra fabric needed to make room for the stitching. After all the foam and quilt batting was in place I noticed some of the areas around the loops and ties were lacking some fluff so I added the cotton filling a handful at a time. I then hand stitched the bottom of the cushion up and my chair cushions were done. It was really very simple after I finally started working on it.

Next was refurbishing the actual chairs.

I started by removing the skirt by literallyย  ripping it off, the fabric was so dry rotted it practically turned to dust in my hands. The strings hanging down are all that remains. Tomorrow I plan on getting rid of that by ripping out the rusty staples with some pliers (Tetanus shots last for four years right…or is it two?)

Check back in a day or so and I’ll have the frame sanded and painted as well and it’ll be like new (almost) furniture for my brand new apartment!


I decided instead of re-staining that a nice coat of white paint might modernize these chairs a little more.

For this step I used

wire nippers
medium and fine grit sanding blocks
white paint Try Mythic
paint brush Try Purdy

Well ripping out those staples was a pain in the neck, whoever put them in never wanted that skirt to come off that’s for sure. Anyway, I’ve got the chair sanded down and the first coat of paint is happily drying. Check it out and let me know what you think!

I think it will look nice with my new green cushions. ๐Ÿ™‚


My chair is officially done (second coat is drying)! Now for the couch, if it ever cools down outside! It only took about an hour to sand down the flaky varnish on the chair and the two coats of paint took about an hour and a half over two days.

I’ll take a picture of it tomorrow with the cushions on it. I’m so pleased with the way it turned out. Maybe I’ll make a quick ‘before and after’ thing, I always think those are nice. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t wait to finish the couch! Also, I cut out about 30 strips of fabric to start working on the braided rug that crotchetycrochetlady talked me into making. Right now it’s going to be a 3′ x 5′ oval but I’ll post a tutorial for that separately.

All done!

Hope you enjoyed!
Captain Neenmo


P.S. this is about two days after I finished my chair and I’m working on the couch only to flip it over and find mold growing on EVERYTHING. I’ve cleaned it with Clorox and I’m letting it dry but I’m THIS close *holds fingers really close together* to throwing the whole bleepidty bleep thing away -.-;ย  I think I’ll take the day off and revisit it later.



They look gorgeous! Check it out. Now to work on the coffee table and the rug ๐Ÿ™‚ I absolutely love the way they turned out. I probably would not have gotten done with the couch had it not been for my awesome mother who helped me sand and paint the thing in record timing!

Check it out!

I feel so relieved that they’re done!!


I hope you enjoyed.

Captain Neen

Todays Creative Blog

Santa's Gift Shoppe

Funky Junk Interiors

Anthropologie Knock Off Bracelet


Yes, yes I know, carve your own path and be your own person etc… However, imitation is the highest form of flattery and when you see something that seems relatively simple which costs $298.00 (not including shipping) and you feel reasonably sure that you can make it yourself, what would you do? You get out the dremel and make it yourself.

I was visiting my fiance’s family last week and I was browsing the internet one night and came across this bracelet from anthropologie.

It is made out of brass and cotton. That is all. So when my fiance wanted to go to the hobby store to pick up some remote control helicopter parts I had this image in mind as I browsed the art supplies. What did I find but a 1″ x 12″ brass sheet. The anthropologie bracelet is 2.5″ wide but I have itty bitty wrists so I thought that 1″ was plenty wide enough. So now that I’ve been holding on to this piece of brass for about 2 weeks while I was away, I finally came home and am able to use it. This is what I made. I originally had a piece of white ribbon in it but then I found this folksy ribbon that was actually the remnants of what my mother had used on a dressed that I wore as a baby!

I enjoyed making it, I think I made the space between ribbon too wide so I think I’ll make another with only about an inch in between (there’s about an inch and a half there) and I think it’ll look much better.

In order to make it, I simply cut off about a 5.5″ section of brass and marked off two slits so that they were roughly 2.5mm from the edge (width wise) and 5mm from the edge length wise. I then bent the brass so that it would fit my wrist in a “U” shape. After that was done, I marked off another slit about half an inch from the curve, about an inch and a half apart as I mentioned earlier. I got the dremel out and went to work tracing my slit marks with a cutting blade. After snapping a couple blades I got the hang of it and it went smoothly. The brass heats up from all the friction so it’s best to wear gloves or hold it with a pair of pliers. Then I weaved the ribbon through, and ta da!

Happy Crafting,

Captain Neen



My grandma asked me a while back if I could pick her up some size 10 crochet thread so that she could make her ladies aid group some doilies as a gift.

Since then, I have seen doilies EVERYWHERE! I never knew there were so many things to do with them. I was under the impression that you just put them under lamps or picture frames or what-not. However, there are several fashionable things to do with them.ย  Pillow covers seem to be the most common use but I have recently seen them sewn onto dresses, wallets, clutches, necklaces, bracelets and much more.

Anyway, I decided to make a couple myself since I would be traveling and needed something to do in the car anyway. It was really not bad, I did skip a couple stitches in my first one by accident and I will never do the spider web pattern EVER again, but it really wasn’t that bad ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll have to post pictures later (my camera’s dead) so you will have to wait!


Here are my doilies that I forgot to post pictures of ๐Ÿ˜›

This one has very nice points at each green clump (also I messed up somewhere in the very beginning so that two points are too close together. It still looks nice though, and what do you do with doilies when you have nothing to put on top of them and no end tables to put them on?

You make them into dream catchers.