New life for old cushions

Simple sewing and a sale on towels upgrade an old glider

My former next door neighbor was a super lovely woman with an interesting life history. She also had a love of outdoor furniture, and I had asked her once where she had bought a particular set because I was looking for something similar for our screened in porch. She didn’t
remember, but several years later when she decided to replace that set, she gifted it to us.

Technically she said it was a loan, but we both knew she was never going to ask for it back.

The main piece is a glider, and it was probably built in the late ‘60s. It isn’t that cool vintage kind of piece, it’s just an old glider that had seen better days. Some scrubbing and some WD-40 fixed up the metal glider part, but the cushions were a whole other story.

The main fabric was stiff and scratchy, and they had bare spots from use and from where mice had burrowed into them when they were in winter storage.

new life for old cushions
Here’s a before look at one of the old cushions. And this is the “good” one without all the bitten off parts

My plan at the time was to replace them, so I threw an old sheet over them and we used the glider that season. At the end of the season I saw cushions go on sale and tried to find three that matched in the size I needed, and that wasn’t possible.

I repeated this scenario for, uh, 10 years. Didn’t mean to, just never remembered to do anything about it, or refused to pay the price for new cushions. I really don’t understand why outside furniture and accessories are so expensive.

At the beginning of this summer, Mom handed down a really great sewing machine. And I saw on another blog a post about how to make simple cushion covers. The technique didn’t really work for the cushions I had, but it got my wheels turning.

And then I saw this tutorial on making an envelope style pillow case, and I began to wonder if I could make something like that for my
cushions. Make cushion covers, not buy new cushions.

At the beginning of the summer, Target had a sale on beach towels. Boom! (that’s the sound the confetti cannon in my mind makes when a project comes together).

I didn’t use a pattern, but the process was pretty straightforward – sew two towels together on  the short end, right sides together.

Towels give new life to old cushions

Set the cushion on the new double long towel and overlap the top and bottom so the tucked in envelope portion would be invisible on the back. towels create covers that give new life to old cushions

I measured and pinned the sides, and sewed using the stripes as my guideline.

Envelope style cover made from towels gives new life to old outdoor cushions

 

I sewed double seams to make this extra sturdy. And while each cover is defective in it’s own way (I often lose track of right sides and seam allowances when I work), they are light years better than what was there before.

Towels sewn in an envelope style pillow cushion cover give new life to old outdoor furniture | suzerspace.com

Wrestling the cushions into the covers was also a little challenging, but it was worth it, because the finished look is great, and they can come off and run through the wash if needed.

And if they get super grungy or I just get tired of the color scheme, I bet Target has a towel sale again 🙂

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Hand Painted Ladybug Planter

Another quick Sharpie upcycle craft

Buoyed by my success with my Happy Face Planter, I set about to use my new skill set (tracing shapes and filling them in with Sharpies!).

Ladybugs seemed a good choice for this craft, since they are basically a bunch of circles.

I traced a quarter and a dime onto a cereal box and cut them out with scissors. And then I cut out a pie shaped slice out of the quarter circle.

templates for the ladybug planter

Using a red Sharpie, I traced that shape onto my terra cotta pot. I didn’t even wash it, and I don’t care about the cracks. Switching to a black marker, I slid the dime size circle slightly downward into the big circle for the head, and slightly upward into the big circle to give me the guide for the reveal of the body. For the head and body parts, I didn’t trace the whole circle – just where it met the red one.

Outlined shapes for the ladybug planter

And then I colored them in. Just as with the Happy Face planter, you really only need a steady hand close to the edges; you can be pretty sloppy on the fill in area. I freehanded the swirls for the antennae. I let the red wing parts dry before free handing the little dots for the body.

I repeated the pattern mostly randomly around the pot, and now I have another cute planter for my deck.

 

Featured at Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make

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Etched Glasses

An easy way to personalize barware

 

Mr. SuzerSpace and I like ice-cold drinks on the weekends. In fact, we even have a special recipe for a beer based drink.

Unfortunately, one of us tends to put down her glass and lose track of it, and then drink the other person’s drink.

The obvious solution would be to etch our names on our glasses. But what fun would be obvious be?

Instead, I chose to etch “Mine” and “Not Yours” on a set of glasses.

This is an easy craft – all of the instructions are on the back of the etching cream bottle. And using my Silhouette Cameo to create the stencil made it even easier.

In Silhouette Studio

I set up in Silhouette Studio two rectangles the maximum size of what I wanted the words to be. And then I typed them inside that rectangle in a big bold font. From my paint stencil project, I know it’s best to give yourself extra taped off area so as not to drip on the finished piece.

words for etched glasses

I sent that to cut on contact paper, and then weeded the letters out of the big rectangle.  The goal is to make a stencil for the etching cream. Contact paper is a good choice here because the stencil is going to be thrown away, but it needs to be super sticky to protect the areas you don’t want etched.

I used transfer tape to move the stencil to the glass. I probably could have moved the “Mine” one without the tape, but the “Not Yours” version has those little parts inside the “o” (those are called counters) and it’s easier to move that with the tape.

Final Assembly

After I washed the glass and cleaned it one last time with an alcohol wipe to get off any grease, I applied the contact paper stencil and then applied the etching cream. I wore gloves and worked outside for this project because etching cream is an acid and I don’t want to lose any skin (or countertop).

mask for etched glasses applied to with transfer tape
Gridded transfer tape makes moving a contact paper mask for etching glasses easier.

After the required time was up, I washed off the cream, washed and dried the glass and then repeated the process on the second glass.

And now I have a very unique set of glasses for weekend drinking!

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Small purse from a dress shirt

A quick upcycle sewing project

Recently I became the new owner of a really nice sewing machine (thanks mom!).

I hadn’t been sewing lately, so I didn’t really have much of a stash of fabric to work with. But Mr. SuzerSpace has recently lost quite a bit of weight, and he had a nice pile of old shirts in the give-away box. I decided to spend a rainy weekend morning cutting those shirts into usable sections. I didn’t have any real projects in mind – I was just looking to square up large sections and salvage interesting bits (cuffs, button plackets and buttons, etc.)

One particular shirt had a pocket on the front, and suddenly I had a quick project idea.

I didn’t use a pattern for this – I just centered the pocket left and right and cut straight down on the sides until the material could no longer be straight (the shirt had tapered seams, so I cut off above where that started). So the width of the bag was determined by that measurement.

To chose the height of the bag, I folded the material to simulate the bottom and then adjusted the top edge until I could fit in what I wanted (my wallet, phone, keys and sunglass case).  I added a bit more for seam allowances, boxing the corners and general sewing mistakes 🙂 , and then trimmed carefully.

I pressed down a hem on the short sides, and sewed it with a straight stitch. I turned the wrong sides together and sewed them on the long sides to make a bag. This quick tutorial helped me remember how to make a box corner. For the handle, I used the buttonhole side of the button placket – I stitched each short end inside to the side seam. I topstiched around the entire top to catch the handle again and to give it a nice finished edge.

This little bag is perfect on weekends when I only need essentials, or I can drop it into my backpack during the week to keep those items separate from all my other work items. I’m definitely going to make another (there were several shirts with pockets!) – next time I’m going to step up and tackle a lining.

Featured at Snickerdoodle Create Bake MakeI was featured at Craft Schooling Sunday

Happy Planter

A super quick upcycle craft

While looking up Mother’s Day ideas, I came across this pin.

Super cute.

But I don’t have any small pots with matching saucers, or any bright paint colors.  (Also, my mom is 500 miles away, and I’m not mailing her a potted plant; but that is beside the point).

As with most craft pins, I’m faced with two choices:

  1. Leave the pin on my Pinterest board and try to remember to pick up those items on my next monthly run to the craft store.
  2. Take the spirit of the craft and do it my way.

If you haven’t guessed which option I chose, you haven’t been reading very closely 🙂

The timing was actually perfect – we spent a weekend afternoon clearing up the winter trash from the yard and patio. Raking, trimming, dusting, bagging. We almost thought about painting the outside of the porch again (it’s only been two years since we had the house painted and the porch doesn’t match). But we successfully avoided that project again.

While dumping out the leaves from the terra cotta pots I use for container gardening, I realized I had the perfect canvas for my craft.

And it couldn’t have been easier. In fact, with a little help, this would make a great kids craft, too.

I traced a coffee can lid onto a cereal box, and I traced the bottom of my glue stick as well. I drew a line across the circle at about the halfway point.

The template to create a happy planter

And I cut both parts out with scissors.

I taped the circle to my pot with tape, and positioned one eyeball. I traced around them with a black Sharpie. And then I moved the eyeball template to the other side, trying to keep it level and even. After tracing that, I removed the template pieces and threw them away.

Template on the pot to make the happy planter

And then I colored the outlines in with black Sharpie. It takes a bit of a steady hand near the outlines, but then you can go to town filling in the center. I let the first coat dry in the sun and then went back over it.

Next weekend we’ll get dirt and seeds and start our garden!

I was featured at Scraptastic Saturday

Bicycle License Plate

Upcycle a bit of plastic to personalize your bike

Personalized bicycle license plates made with the Silhouette Cameo

 

One of the great things about getting older is getting be to young again.

What?

Well, when I was about 10, I had a bicycle, and there was an “S” on the seat, which I was sure was for “Susan” but turns out it was for Schwinn. And I wanted a license plate wth my name on it, but I never had one. Not sure why. My adult guess is that my sister’s name isn’t as common and it wouldn’t have been fair for me to have one and her not.

Fast forward 40-cough-cough-years, and I have a bicycle with an “S” on the post, which I am still sure is for “Susan”, but I bet the guys over at Specialized will disagree. Although they did send me some extra stickers when I asked, so they are still cool.

And when I realized I still wanted a license plate, I made one myself.

Continue reading “Bicycle License Plate”

Bicycle Pant Leg Keeper

An upcycle craft

Bicycle riding season is getting close, so I’m crafting to get ready.

In the Spring and Fall, I’m still wearing jeans when I ride, and even though my chain has a guard on it, I’m still pretty fearful my pant leg is going to get caught. I tend to have a more pant leg around my ankles than the average person, because I’m short.

I know how to hem jeans. I just don’t 😉 .

Continue reading “Bicycle Pant Leg Keeper”

Aldi Quarter Keeper

A simple vinyl cut upgrades a basic pill bottle

I am very late to the shopping at Aldi Party.

If somehow you haven’t heard about this, Aldi is a chain of discount grocery stores. They originated in Germany, and have brought their shopping strategy to the US. The stores are purposely small, with limited offerings in smaller categories than the big US chains. Most of the brands are their own private label. There are no frills – the stores are mostly warehouse style with items stacked in boxes or on basic metal racks. There are no staff roaming the aisles – they are all either at the cash registers or are unloading items. You bring your own bags, and bag your own items.

We’ve found Aldi a great way to stretch our food dollar. We had previously been doing that by couponing and leaving expensive treats (like good blue cheese, nuts and olives) off our list. But Aldi lets us have all that back, plus better pricing on many basic items.

If you google “what’s good at Aldi” you will be presented with pages and pages of bloggers views on what to buy there.

And of course I’m going to add in my top 5:

  1. Cheese. Sliced, block, shredded or specialty. All good.
  2. Flatbread. Better and cheaper than the name brand.
  3. Produce. Especially 50 cent avocados and the multi-color peppers
  4. Garlic Flatbread Pizza. It’s in the frozen section. And it rivals Papa Murphy’s Garlic Bread.
  5. Eggplant Parmesan. Also in the frozen section. Comes in single serve or family size portions.

The good thing about waiting so long to shop at Aldi is they used to not take credit cards. But now they do.

There is one big trick though – you have to bring a quarter. You use it to unlock a shopping cart at the front of the store. You get it back when you lock your cart back in.

I can’t be trusted to keep a quarter in my wallet. What if the Cheez-Its start calling me from the candy machine when I’m at work?

It’s better to craft a quarter keeper!

Click the arrow below to see how I made mine.

How SuzerSpace created this

Upcycled Jean Pocket Coasters

A no-sew project

I’ve been working (like everyone else) on purging items from my home that no longer belong. I’m not so much in the “does it spark joy” camp, as I am in the “why do I still have this sh*t” camp.

I’ve actually found the clothes closet the easiest place to work – I have a small box in the back and anytime I put something on, only to take it off again because it isn’t right somehow, I drop it in the box. Maybe it doesn’t fit, maybe it has a hole, maybe I have never found a matching shirt, whatever it is, if I keep on not wearing it, it has to find a new home.

Of course, the box does present a dilemma – donate or turn into crafts?

Continue reading “Upcycled Jean Pocket Coasters”