Birds of a Feather

Project: Dining Room Chairs (Again) February 5, 2013

Filed under: Crafty,Home — kcfeather @ 3:29 pm

If you’ll recall, when we moved to Cambridge, we gave the dining room chairs in our apartment a little facelift.

Upon moving to Philly, we had to get all new furniture (our previous apartment came furnished, so everything stayed there). This was quite an undertaking (a fun one, but also one that took lots of time and work…and money).

While my parents were visiting in late July, we found a steal of a dining room table at the Restoration Hardware outlet – but we weren’t quite sure what to do about the chairs. We had placeholder chairs that worked for awhile, but they weren’t a good long-term solution. The greyish stain on the table also made it a little hard to match chairs that had any sort of natural wood stain. When I found a set of bentwood chairs (2 sets actually – a set of 2 and a set of 4) at bargain-basement prices, I was torn. I really love the shape and look of bentwoods, but they just didn’t match well with the table.

Around the same time, I saw a few photos that made me think I could go ahead and paint the chairs whatever color I desired. I wasn’t (and am still not) working, so I had the time on my hands, and I decided to go for it!

I chose a mint green paint color that I am still really happy with (although I think a royal blue could have been fun, too).

Here’s the before:

The during:

And the after (like I said, there were actually two styles of chairs. We have four of the one with the white seat, and 2 that have a wood seat – with pink Ikea cushions):

The full dining room (from the stairs):

And from the other direction (note the beautiful side table – a gift from my dad):

All in all, I am happy with the result, although I will say that this was a more involved “facelift” than the one we did in Cambridge. Sanding and then priming and then painting and then sealing takes a LOT of time. I had the time, but some days it was a little hard to motivate to head down to the basement and paint…and paint, and paint. The project would have been a MUCH easier one if we had outdoor space and I could have used a sprayer. But it was A LOT cheaper than buying new chairs.

I did three of them in September, and then lost motivation for awhile – but made a goal of finishing them all before we left for Christmas. I made it (barely) and REALLY enjoyed coming home after the holidays to a table with a full set of chairs around it!


Google art love March 15, 2012

Filed under: Crafty,The everyday — kcfeather @ 2:50 am

I’ve mention my appreciation for Google doodles before, once or twice.  And now they’ve done it again.  Today’s doodle reminds me not only of the many, many lessons on origami (Japanese paper folding) that I completed as a part of my cultural education in the Seattle Public Schools, but also of my “study break” project during my sophomore year of college.  Each night, I would fold a few paper cranes, and before too long, I had a long, long chain.  Origami is a great form of art for those of us who are better at following directions than we are gifted in the fine arts…

101st Birthday of the Grandmaster of Origami, Akira Yoshizawa



2010: Projects December 28, 2010

Filed under: Crafty,Holiday,The everyday — kcfeather @ 7:40 pm

This past year we’ve both had a chance to try our hand at some new hobbies.  Here are our “favorite things we’ve learned how to make in 2010”:

C: Kimchi

To the amazement of some (who have compared C to their Korean grandmother), C has become quite the pro at making his own kimchi.  It really is his own, because the other member of our household isn’t a fan of the smell (the process of making kimchi involves letting it sit out on the counter while it ferments for several days). Nor is she a fan of the taste. All the better for C, who will eat kimchi for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and a midnight snack). Other projects of C’s include trying to make cheese (not so successful); yogurt (success after many botched attempts); and gravlax (cured salmon – so far, so good!)

K: Quilts

I’ve posted about this before, and have continued to have fun quilting: choosing new fabrics, making new patterns.  Even the hand-binding is pretty fun (and a good excuse to watch a movie!)  Our closet is filling up, though – but I have a feeling that I will be giving a few away in the next year. Here are a few pictures of my recent quilting endeavors:


Craft Sale November 30, 2010

Filed under: Crafty,The everyday — kcfeather @ 5:37 pm

We had a great time in the Big Apple.  Some highlights, in no particular order: exploring the Village, Thanksgiving dinner on Roosevelt Island (and a Korean BBQ Thanksgiving the night before, the Met, walking through Times Square and Rockefeller Center, Crack Pie from the Milk Bar, late-night Artichoke Pizza, Purl Soho (a fabric store…you can guess who was excited about this).


Our church is having a craft sale the next few Sundays, and before I deliver my contributions, I thought I’d post a few pictures.


A set of cloth napkins

Pretty yellows and grays

Neatly mitred corners

All tied up with a bow

And a few sets...

...of notecards

Now it’s time to get started on some Christmas shopping!


Project: Making a Quilt! September 8, 2010

Filed under: Crafty — kcfeather @ 2:07 pm

Even before we moved, I had my eye on getting a simple sewing machine for little projects, but it didn’t seem to make sense to buy one just before a cross-country move.  Once we arrived though, I pretty quickly made a trip to Target to buy myself a sewing machine (a Singer Esteem II).

It’s been great – my first project on it was the rug.  Then, I finally finished the cloth napkins that I had cut and pressed over a year ago.  I had a few other things in mind, too.  Learning to quilt, and sewing throw pillows.

Quilting seemed like quite the undertaking, though – but in July I made a friend at the gym, and it turns out that she is a quilter and was more than happy to teach me!

This is the basic process:

1. Pick a pattern (I borrowed the Yellow Brick Road pattern from my friend/quilting teacher – this was her first quilt, too!)

2. Pick your fabric/color scheme (I chose purples and blacks/whites/greys)

3. Press and cut the fabric (this part was really fun!)

4. Sew the blocks

5. Arrange the blocks

6. Cut and sew the border, backing and binding

7.  Do the actual quilting

8. Sew on the binding (this is the step I’m on)

This has been a fun process, and I can’t wait to finish up my first quilt.  It is definitely stretching my little Singer to the limits…I am already thinking I might need a new machine if I decide to keep making quilts!  Though for now I think it is fine.
Here are a few pictures of the process (I’ll of course post a picture of the end result once the binding is done).

Arranging the blocks

Arranging the blocks

With the border and binding (not yet attached)

Quilted! (Hard to see, but I did stitch-in-a-ditch around the inside of the border, and diagonal hatches inside of that)

Close-up of the quilting (still a few threads hanging loose)


Project: Living Room Rug September 7, 2010

Filed under: Crafty,Home — kcfeather @ 12:21 pm

The rugs that came with the house were also not our cup of tea.  We rolled them up and put them in a corner, and then I began shopping around for rugs.  But, it turns out that rugs are expensive – and particularly since we won’t be in this apartment forever, it didn’t make sense to invest in a nice rug that might not fit the next place we live. I scoured Homegoods, where there were some decent options, but none that I loved.

Then, I came across this tutorial and realized that I could make my own rug!  I found a great indoor/outdoor fabric with a pattern and color I loved that was 50% off at the local fabric store.  Here are the results:

Finished rug

Close-up of the quatrefoil pattern


Project: Dining Room Chairs September 4, 2010

Filed under: Crafty,Home — kcfeather @ 12:38 pm

The past few months have been a great test of creativity – what does one do to keep themselves busy all day, when they don’t have a job and don’t know many people where they live (particularly if they dislike cleaning the house all day)?  One thing I (K) do is go to the gym a lot.  But you can only work out so much.  I’ve also taken on a few projects that I’m going to write about over the next few days.

Our apartment came furnished, which was great except for that some of the furniture had gotten a bit yucky from years of use.  Particularly the dining room chairs, which originally had white upholstery that had gotten discolored. I had a dream of recovering them with a fabric that was a) clean and b) more colorful. We’re pretty happy with the results – here’s how it went down:

Original chair

Close-up: Original Upholstery

Putting the new fabric on the seat (staple gun required!)

Screwing the seat back on

Finished chair!

You can see just a peek of the rug in the room behind the chair – another project I’ll post about soon.