Making progress with pillows

Our living room is slowly coming together thanks to...pillows! I found the large textured pillow at HomeSense. I wasn't sure about it in the store (Is it too big for our couch? What about that silver stitching?), but I'm glad I went for it; I think it's exactly right for the room.

That is our cat, Henry. He likes it, too.

The striped pillow is actually DIY'd out of two tea towels. I blogged about sewing pillows with tassels in a bit more detail here, so check out that post for the how-to (it's super easy).

I'd like to add another pillow to tie in the light blue of the faux romans, but I haven't stumbled across "the one" yet. I did pick up this little guy for our leather chair, which I think is pretty cute.

I completed one MEGA project in our living room over the long weekend that I can't wait to share. In the meantime, check out our slow and steady living room progress here.


Joining a CSA: Week 4

After much talk, we finally made the decision to join a CSA (I know, we're a little late to the bandwagon - oops!). Each week, I'm posting about what we got and what we made with it. Read more here.


We got:
  • Celeriac
  • Pea shoots
  • Cabbage
  • Peeled squash
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Beans

We made:

Stray observations:
  • Our fruit share was missing this week. We go to a self-serve pick-up location, so when there's a mix-up you're unfortunately out of luck. A quick email and we'll get a double share next week.
  • You guys! I learned how to grill tofu under my broiler and my life will never be the same. Never.
  • The tahini yogurt sauce was also tasty with salmon. And the next day with raw veggies. Definitely a new go-to dip for me.
  • Celeriac is another new-to-me veggie that I can't wait to have again. It was slightly intimidating at first glance, but surprisingly easy to prepare.
  • Another week, more delicious recipes from Plenty More. Seriously, buy this cookbook :)


On changing tastes and figuring it out

One of the biggest differences between hiring a professional and doing something yourself is surely the amount of time it takes to complete a project. Case in point: our living room. This room has changed a lot over the years. I've experimented with trends, my style has changed, and I've just generally struggled to find a balance between what looks good and what functions for our (changing) needs.

The picture above is what the back wall of our living room looks like today, but funnily enough, it started out as a gallery wall way back in 2011:

Um yes, that room had A LOT going on. Eventually, I got rid of some things, figured out a better layout for the room, and took the gallery wall down:

Since then, I've had to admit that rugs aren't safe around our dog, that our shelves are better off holding books (and my magazine collection, woo hoo!), and that as ugly as they (and their components) may be, record players are worth making space for (now if only ours was working properly!).

The gallery wall, however, is back, albeit on a much smaller scale.

The rest of the room is pretty neutral, so this is our crazy wall of colour (and, I guess, clutter). I like that we're personally connected to all of these pieces in some way, and I've found myself sitting on the couch, or in our new leather chair, gazing up at this wall and smiling on more than one occasion, which must be a good sign, right?

You may have also noticed that I removed the trim from my Billy bookcase hack. I was just tired of the look and wanted something a little less traditional. Eventually I'd love to have proper shelves made for this room. You know, the kind that won't sag under the weight of a few good books? Some day!


Joining a CSA: Week 3

After much talk, we finally made the decision to join a CSA (I know, we're a little late to the bandwagon - oops!). Each week, I'm posting about what we got and what we made with it. Read more here.


We got:
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Sauerkraut
  • Onions
  • Popcorn
  • Two HUGE honeycrisp apples
  • Apples
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber

We made:

Stray observations:
  • I was completely intimidated by the idea of making gnocchi, but this recipe was so easy to follow and the gnocchi turned out great. We served it with this equally delicious creamy walnut sauce from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty More cookbook.  
  • Pizza is our Friday night ritual. My brother and his fiancee gifted us a pizza stone and I bought Adam a peel for his birthday. Now we just need the wood-fired oven.
  • The sauerkraut threw me for a loop, especially since Adam isn't a fan (i.e. veggie dogs with sauerkraut were out). The beer-braised kielbasa sauerkraut was a hit, but next time I want to add mussels.
  • We ate out a couple of times this week, which is pretty out of the ordinary for us, but we had friends in town and it's always fun to have that excuse to let someone else cook for you! 


How to quickly and easily disguise a recliner

My leather chair makeover is complete! I found this leather recliner on Kijiji in need of a little TLC. After I repaired the upholstery, I decided to add some feet to make it look less recliner-y. Recliners don't get much love in Blogland, but anyone who has ever sat in one knows that they're actually awesome.

I picked up some unfinished "feet" at a home improvement store and stained them with Minwax Wood Finish stain in Early American. Once the feet were dry, I applied Minwax Paste Finishing Wax to protect the finish and give it some sheen. The feet came with pre-attached dowel screws, so to install them I drilled holes in the chair's frame and hand-tightened them in place (I used chalk to colour the end of the dowel screw so that it left a mark where my hole needed to be when I held the foot in place).

The new chair is SO comfortable and we all love that it reclines. I love that the new feet help disguise that feature :) Form + function is really all that you can ask for!


How to repair holes and tears in leather upholstery

We're making a few changes in the living room and I've been on the hunt for a comfy leather chair. I found the perfect chair on Kijiji and picked it up for a song because of some damage to the back and arms. The back was easily fixed, but there was a large tear in one arm and a nickle-sized hole in the other. I did a little research on repairing leather upholstery and picked up a leather repair kit for less than $15.

The repair kit's directions are pretty straightforward, but I learned a thing or two in the process. As you can see, my results aren't perfect, but I think they're pretty good considering the size of the damage.

There are basically four steps to the process: insert fabric backing, apply adhesive, mix and apply filler, then apply grain paper and heat to set the filler. Applying the filler is the tricky part: the key is to apply multiple, thin layers with very little overlap into the surrounding area. It's time-consuming work, and I was impatient (no surprises there). I went a little too heavy with the filler (in an attempt to get away with fewer layers) and covered more area than I needed to. Not a huge deal, but something I'd do differently next time.

That said, unless you inspect the arms closely, you really can't tell that anything is out of the ordinary. And it looks loads better than when we first brought it home.

I have one last tweak to make to this chair and then I'll share the full transformation. As much as I love my DIY gold chair, Adam has always complained that it's not comfortable enough (I later added a back cushion, to no avail). And as I've mentioned before, we're in the process of transitioning to stylish pieces that can stand up to our lifestyle, because who has time to worry about furniture?


Joining a CSA: Week 2

After much talk, we finally made the decision to join a CSA (I know, we're a little late to the bandwagon - oops!). Each week, I'm posting about what we got and what we made with it. Read more here.


We got:
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Spinach
  • Pea shoots
  • Frozen tomatoes
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • One HUGE honeycrisp apple
  • Apples
  • Apple juice

We made:

Stray observations:
  • Pea shoots are a new-to-me food, but I'm so glad I got to try them. They're yummy to eat straight out of the bag and they're a great addition to a sandwich or salad.
  • Frozen tomatoes, slightly crushed, make a great pizza topping.
  • That honeycrisp apple was one of the best apples I've tasted in a long time.
  • I used to hate beets, but I think I'm officially a convert!

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