Good Housekeeping, how to, Style

How To: Recover Patio Seat Cushions

When I married Bryan, I inherited this adorable cafe table and chairs.  B’s mom lovingly, and carefully painted it bright red, and covered the seats in red and white canvas for us, and it was truly a great set.  But, years in the sun faded out the canvas, and then a year in storage didn’t do much for the fabric.  It was high time to recover the seats, especially since I have a little party coming up this weekend.

I am neither as good at, nor as equipped to cover chair seats as my mother-in-law (who owns a staple gun! I admire this woman so much!), and I am also cheap.  Lucky for me, I grew up watching Todd Oldham on MTV’s House of Style, so I know all about faking fabulous.  He used to do these great episodes about recovering chairs with old sheets, hot glue, and buttons.  I thought about that after a couple of weeks worth of me hunting for what I wanted on the internet failed, and I decided to hit up Ross and see what I could find.

What I found were three great, vinyl tablecloths for $4 each.  Just enough to cover the cafe table chairs, and give some new life to my other patio dining table and chairs.  Along with a roll of duct tape that cost about $2, I can spruce it up nicely.  Tonight, I worked on the cafe table.  Tomorrow night I’ll hit the bigger set.

I started with this Waverly tablecloth. It was felt backed, so I thought that would give the covers a little longer life.


I plopped a seat cushion down in the corner of the tablecloth (60″x120″ sized rectangle), and started cutting as though I were wrapping a Christmas present.


Those of you who have received Christmas presents from me will not be surprised to find out that I used an obscene amount of tape to secure the cover. I pulled and tucked, and taped as I worked for a smooth top of the cushion, and sides that were flat enough to fit into the chair rims. Duct Tape. Is there nothing it can’t do?


The finished product looked like this.


Thor gave the newly revived seats two thumbs-up.


I had enough tablecloth left to cover the glass top of the table, which has become smokey over the years. I tucked the tablecloth into the table frame, then went to work cutting around the edges like it was a pie crust.


And now, for $6, my little table is ready for the party. And when it’s said and done, I won’t feel bad about having to recover it because I only spent $6.
Lancient History, Style

Chairs, Children, and Feet

Lest you think I only buy clothes at Ross, here is a picture of our new chair. My in-laws graciously gifted me with a nice-sized Ross gift card for Christmas, and I used it toward the purchase of the chair and ottoman. After seeing so many people in my living room with no place to sit, I decided it was time. Ross had a chair that matched the color and texture, if not exact style of our loveseat, so I bought it. The ottoman has storage space, and I’ve put a couple of our lap throws in there. We are a family who loves blankets.

The throw on the chair was a wedding or Christmas gift–I don’t remember which. We have used that thing like crazy! If you’re reading this, and recognize it as a gift you gave, THANK YOU! BLESS YOU! Who knew how much you could love a throw?

You see a little red carpet on the floor. We don’t have a dining room table in our townhouse, so we use the coffee table for dinner. Thor has a wee, miniature leather dining room chair that sits on that carpet. That way, if he has a spill, we can just clean it up easily. That is his abandoned breakfast milk on the table. I love that kid.

So, I bought the new chair and ottoman, and I also bought a pair of boots.

When I was small, we lived in Virginia. Right there where the A is, though the treeline was much less robust 30 years ago. Geez! 30 years ago. Anyway.

You see the water line behind the treeline? We had a dock that slipped out into the water, and that water ran a ring around our entire neighborhood. It was lengthy. And, in the winter, it often froze over.

Once, when I was eight or nine (it was the 70s, there weren’t daycares or drop-in care gyms on every corner), Mom was forced to leave me at home during a stretch of snow days. She came home to check me on her lunch hour, and called frequently, and an elderly neighbor was keeping an eye out that I didn’t burn down the house, but otherwise, she had no choice but to trust me (now, a mother myself, my heart really goes out to her.) I was pretty fearless, and also pretty stupid. I thought it would be fun to play in the snow barefooted. I also thought it would be fun to go walking on the frozen water. After my naked toed explorations, and after having fallen through the ice twice, yes, twice, I ended up with some frostbite on my feet. Not bad, and nothing that required immediate attention, but I didn’t even tell Mom about it until years later, so she couldn’t have taken me to see a doctor anyway.

Thirty-some-odd years later, I am still suffering for those poor choices. Three toes on my right foot, and two on my left are always much colder than the others. Frequently, my feet are so cold it actually hurts. In the winter, my feet ache with the cold. You will not see me without socks or slippers when temperatures drop below 75, unless I’ve just gotten out of a foot defrosting, hot bath. I thank God for the person who created microwaveable slippers and socks!

In the winter, I really don’t care how ugly the footwear is. If it is warm, and if it will keep my toes from feeling like they are about to snap off, I will wear it. I have a hideous pair of knock-off Uggs, and responded to a story about those with the comment, “I don’t care how ugly they are. You can pry them off my warm, toasty, dead feet.” I’ve almost worn those $12 beauties out though. So, last night, when I saw what looked like warm boots, I went to inspect.

I am now the happy owner of a pair of Skecher Shape Up Boots. I do not care if they shape or don’t. They have a thick sole that will keep my feet far from the cold ground, have a thick inner lining, and are also surprisingly comfortable. And warm. Oh, they are warm!

What they are not, is pretty.

That fur cuff rolls up, and that’s how I am wearing mine as I type.

Come March, I will find myself in a strange funk, and I will realize (as I have done for years) that it is because I have been wearing ugly shoes for too many months in a row. I will try (as I have done for years) to find shoes or boots that are as pretty as they are warm. Maybe one day… Until then, I will just walk around in boots or shoes that make my feet look like stuffed animal hooves. And I will be warm.