The Perfect Tray

I recently purchased a glass and metal table for the living room. I love that it doesn't take up very much visual space (because you can see right through it), but that it's large enough to store all of the necessities. I've been looking for a tray to keep on it. One that would be a combination of warm and slightly heavy, to contrast with the table.

Last night I went shopping at Winners with a friend and found this beauty! It was $12.99 - the perfect price.

I love the warmth of the wicker and the size of the tray. Things just seem so much more organized when you corral them on a tray.

While I'm showcasing a tray, I thought I'd share another tray that I use on a table in the dining room. (I moved it over to the coffee table because the lighting is better by the window). A few weeks ago I was shopping at Indigo (which I'll have to do a post on because I'm in love with their housewares section) and donated to their charity. My name was entered in a draw, and a week later I got a call telling me I had won a basket! This tray was base that held all of my winnings together. I love the woven pattern.

I have a few plants around the house that are constantly dying, and then coming back to life. I'm not very good at watering them. When I saw this watering can for 50% off at Indigo (wait long enough and everything goes on sale - at least 30% off) I hoped it would help my poor plants. And it has! The little dish and the vase/milk jug are also from Indigo. I know, I have a problem.

How to Recover a Parson Chair

After I bought and refinished my kitchen table, I started looking for chairs. I knew I only needed 4 because the condo is small - only 651 square feet! When I have company for dinner, I figured I'd make it work somehow.

After visiting several stores and not finding anything I loved, I decided to search kijiji. After a few options I liked fell through, I decided on a set of four parsons chairs. They were a dark brown pleather and had little tears in them - the owner must have had a cat! She was asking $80 for all four, but when I mentioned I'd be reupholstering them she dropped the price to $60 - so $15/chair wasn't too shabby!

Here's what I used to reupholster the chairs (plus a sewing machine)

I took the chairs apart and enlisted the help of my favourite seamstress - my Mom! Here's what they looked like before (with the back already taken apart from the seat):

As you can see, they were in pretty rough shape. After discussing our options, my Mom said that it would be easiest to cover right over the pleather as opposed to taking the pleather off and completely reupholstering them. Plus, if stains get on the fabric they won't sink into the chair. Seeing as I've already spilled red wine on one, easy stain removal was important!

I bought this fabric from Designer Fabrics downtown Toronto for $12/meter.
The first thing we did was measure the width of the back of the chair. We then measured the fabric and pinned it so that we'd know where to sew. I'm using the term "we" very loosely... It was mostly my wonderful seamstress who figured all of this out. She even made sure that the pattern matched up perfectly on the seam down the sides.

The plan was to cut a long piece of fabric and fold it in half so that we could sew the fabric together like a pillow case down the sides and to slip it over the back part of the chair. This meant we had to sew it perfectly so that it was snug enough not to wrinkle, but not too snug that we couldn't slip it over the top. Luckily Because my Mom is so skilled, it was perfect on the first try, but we had extra fabric just in case. (Notice that they were sewn with the fabric inside out).

Here's what it looked like after step one of the process. I cut the extra fabric off of the bottom and the back and stapled it to the wood (just where the staples were in the pleather). You can see that it was one long piece of fabric that started at the front on the bottom, and went over the top of the chair and down the back. That way we only had to sew the sides.

See how perfectly the sides match up?! She's amazing.

Above you can see one chair that I had already finished (cut off the extra fabric and stapled) and the two beside it still need to be finished.

Here's a close up of what it looked like with the staples. It didn't have to look perfect because the bottom half of the chair would fit right in and cover all of that. Unfortunately I didn't take a photo of how I recovered the seat of the chair, but it was just like wrapping a present! I made sure the pattern was straight and then folded the sides around the bottom and stapled them.

And here's what they look like now!

Budget Breakdown
Chairs - $60 for 4
Fabric - $68
Staples and staple gun - already had them

Painted Pedestal Table

I figured my first DIY post should be the first big DIY project I ever did! I bought my condo pre-construction, so after the initial purchase, I had almost a year to plan and get everything ready.

The first purchase I made was this solid wood pedestal table. I searched kijiji for a few weeks until I found one I liked for a price I loved ($40!). It also came with two leaves which was a bonus. You can see it had a few water stains and scratches on the table surface, but it was easily fixed with sanding and wood filler.

The inspiration for this project came from Kate who is the author of the amazing blog, Centsational Girl. I followed her post Painting a Kitchen Table to a T! It was the first time I had ever refinished any piece of furniture, so I wanted to make sure I did it well. I even bought the same primer (Zinsser) and paint. Check out her step-by-step instructions if you're looking to do a similar project!

Here's what the table looked like before:

And here's what it looks like now :

Some more before photos:
(Sorry for the crappy phone shots!)

You can see from the photo above that the table top was in rough shape. I sanded the table with 100 grit sand paper and an electric palm sander. I also sanded the base and legs with a sanding block, but only found out later that Kate only sanded the top. That would have saved time, but you learn as you go, right?

I tried each step of the process on the leaves first, because I figured if I completely messed it up, it wouldn't be as big of a deal as ruining the table top. You can see them (already sanded) leaning against the wall in the above photos. Like Kate, I used a combination of rolling and spraying to get an even coverage over the table.

I rolled as much as I could on the base, and then sprayed the rest with the spray paint primer to make sure it covered every nook.

And here's what it looked like after I had finished! I left the table slightly apart so until it dried. I didn't want to close it and then chip the paint if I were to open it. I didn't go into detail about the steps I took because whatever I say, I'm sure Kate says it better!

Budget Breakdown
Table - $40
Zinsser primer (spray) - $9
Zinsser primer (quart) - $12 (half left)
Paint (Benjamin Moore Advance in Swiss Coffee) - $29 (half left)
Minwax Furniture Wax - $8 (almost all of it left)
Sandpaper - already had it
Orbital sander - borrowed from a friend

Total: $98

It may seem like a lot for a DIY, but I have lots of materials left over for the next project!

This post is linking up with Remodelaholic

The Very Beginning

I love blogs. There are several that I read on a daily basis. My favourites tend to be home decor/design/organizing blogs, photography blogs, and blogs about personal finance. I love being inspired by others, and there are so many blogs out there that do just that!

After thinking about it for a while, I decided to start one of my own. I'm not exactly sure what it will look like or where it will take me, but I'm excited!
I have recently moved into my first place, and I've enjoyed budgeting and saving for the down payment, as well as finding ways to furnish and decorate it for less. I also love photography and traveling. This blog will probably be a mixture of all of those things.

I spent a long time trying to think of a name for the blog. I decided that "A Place of Gratitude" captured what it is I want this blog to be. It's so easy to take things for granted, and I want this to be a place to share the things I love as a daily reminder to be grateful for what I have and experience.

Thanks for stopping by.