old shelf – new shelf

We’ve been in need of some shelving for Finn’s reading nook… It’s a very small nook at the top of the stairs (it used to be my office) and while its been his ‘space’ for the past year, it was in need of a little re-do. It needed shelves and it needed white paint on the floor (it had been a dark red not a nice red).

So I re-painted the floors (with floor paint we already had) and then hoped for some type of shelving or bookcase – something to keep books and toys on, while keeping things organized and easily accessible…and as luck happens, I found one. In the wood pile. At the dump. The very next day…

shelf - before

shelf – before

Now, this was certainly no beauty – obviously… Oh no. Typically I wouldn’t even had noticed it, but as I was walking past the wood pile – I thought, “I wonder what a coat of paint will do for that?” Then I thought, “I do need shelving for Finn’s reading nook…” My next thought was, “If it fits in the back of my car, I’m taking it.” And it did.

As I was unloading it and hauling it across the lawn, Michael says, “Wow, that’s nice…” Can you hear the sarcasm…? My immediate response was, “I know, I know – it’s not my style (at all) but just wait and see!”

So I got right to it. I scrubbed it, bleached it, lightly sanded it and then asked Finn to help me paint it and he was so excited to help, that we finished both coats, in one day (don’t worry, we were outside and it was a VOC free paint).

finn painting

finn painting 2

So two coats later and some gingham contact paper ($2.00 for the roll) and we now have a (useful and sturdy) ‘new’ shelf in the space.

shelf - after

shelf – after

Too bad it didn’t fit next to the window, instead of being slightly over the frame…

reading nook

Oh well, things don’t have to be perfect to be lovely…and in the end, it was free, useful and needed.  It didn’t end up in the wood chipper (see here for the other shelf I saved from the wood chipper). I didn’t drive all over looking for the ‘right’ shelving and I’m going to use the rest of the contact paper to re-cover the interior shelves in my pantry; money (and time) well spent I’d say.

contact paper

Added bonus, the shelf is not only useful now, but it could (at some point) be used elsewhere in the house (thinking laundry room), or we could add more shelves to allow for varied storage abilities or even paint the sides with chalkboard paint or magnetic paint and Finn could play away…free, versatile and useful, what’s not to love?

What have you turned into treasure lately?

enjoy

green deliciousness

Avocados. Love them. Sliced, chopped, cubed, or pureed. I eat them on toast, with eggs, black beans, pizza, quesadillas, soup, sandwiches…but when I’m in the mood for guacamole, I smash ’em up. I had a few ripe avocados and thought, why not? So while Finn napped, that’s what I did. Guacamole can be simple or complex – I went for simple.

1.guacomole ingrediants

2.scooped avocado

Cut avocados in half, remove pit/seed, scoop out deliciousness – I used an ice cream scooper (I usually just use a spoon) and realized, this is, the perfect tool for this job….

3.smashed avocado

Smash avocado (with a masher) with the fresh lime juice, and then add a bit of salt (to taste), cumin, chopped cilantro and and that’s it.

4.deliciousness

We enjoyed dipping organic blue corn chips into it, then into chipotle salsa…enjoy it as you wish…

Guacamole

3-4 ripe avocados

1 teaspoon cumin (or more, if you like)

a good pinch (or two) of coarse salt

freshly squeezed lime juice from 2-3 limes

1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro

Variations to add…

a bit of chipotle powder

dice fresh tomato

a dollop of sour cream

finely minced red onion

The great thing about guacamole is it can be as simple or complex as you like. Its only drawback is that it needs to be eaten fairly quickly – it doesn’t keep too long – but, is that really a drawback? (:

And below you’ll find a printable version – yeah, I figured it out (well, mostly…)!

How do you like your guacamole?

avocado PDF

Happy smashing!

how to start seeds indoors

It’s not as complicated as you might think. You’ll need some seeds (then plans as to where your going to eventually plant them), peat pots (I often use cardboard egg boxes), starter mix (how to make your own), water, a tray with an edge (to keep pots on and help with any water run-off), plastic wrap or a plastic ‘dome’, a warm place and an area (relatively warm) which gets indirect sunlight throughout the day. And most importantly, patience.

I don’t have any gadgets or anything fancy from ‘specialty’ garden shops – I just use what I have.

I buy the seed starter mix from a local gardening shop (the bigger bag usually lasts me two seasons). I typically (though not for these photos) re -use egg cartons (cardboard) and pierce small holes in the bottoms of each holder for drainage.

egg cartons

 

A large sheet pan (picked up at the dump) comes in handy for storing all the pots while the seedlings are emerging – it also makes moving them around very easy…I picked up a spray bottle for $1 and use it just for watering the seedlings (year after year) and while I did re-use a plastic dome for years, it finally gave way and now plastic wrap is what I use (and re-use). I know, plastic wrap? I haven’t been able to find a suitable (and earth friendly) substitute…any ideas?

So that’s what you’ll need and here’s what you’ll need to do;

1. Place pots on a large tray (with sides preferably, but not necessary). I fill each ‘set’ of pots on a smaller tray, first, then move onto the bigger tray once complete.

pots filled

2. Fill each pot (peat pots, seed trays, or pierced egg cartons) with the seed starting mix . I use an old metal measuring cup to scoop and fill…be sure to fill each to the top, the mix will settle once moistened.

watered

2. Water thoroughly.* This will take a bit of time…I water the mix and then let it rest awhile before planting. The water may rest on top for awhile before finally settling, fully into the pot. Do be sure the entire pot is moist before planting and then be sure to keep it moist once the seeds are planted.

*I sometimes use a watering can with a very narrow spout for this. It allows more water, quicker, than the spray bottle. Though, if you try this method, do go slowly as the water will quickly accumulate on top and spill over the edges if done to rapidly…seed starter is made to absorb and hold onto water, it’s different than soil, thus absorbs it differently – at least at first…

making holes

3. Take a pencil or pen and use its’ bottom to create holes (at the recommended depth) in each pot of soil, for each seed to be planted in. No gadgets necessary…

read your seed packet

4. Read the planting instructions for each seed type (some like to be deep, others do not) and plant accordingly.

seed in

I typically place two to three seeds in each pot to ensure one will sprout…I then usually end up with three seedlings, though I simply ‘thin’ once big enough and keep the strongest looking one. If I have the space, I’ll even re-plant the ones I’ve ‘pulled’…it’s hard ‘throwing’ those little ones away…above is a coriander seed I had saved from last year…

cover gently

5. Cover with soil, gently (if necessary – some seeds need to sit right on top).

spray seed

6. Water thoroughly with a fine spray mist.

cover with plastic

7.Cover the pots or trays with a clear plastic bag, plastic wrap or dome and be sure to label each set of pots with the date and seed type. It can get confusing after awhile…

8. Place in a warm location with indirect sunlight. I keep mine next to the wood stove at night and then once morning arrives, I move them onto an ottoman in the dining room

covered on tray

and once the sun comes ’round to the sunroom (which we can now start to use!!) I move them again, onto the ottoman in there. Yes, I am busy with these seedlings, but it’s worth it. If your lucky enough to have a spot which receives indirect sunlight all day, all the better.

If you don’t have a warm spot to overnight them, consider using an electric blanket (do be cautious and mindful about possible fire hazards!) or making your own. Check out what Kate over at The Museum of Forgotten Pickles has done to make her own heating mat.

9. Lift plastic daily and check moisture levels. I check them first thing in the morning and then just before I go to bed. You want to be sure to keep the seedlings properly moistened. Try not to let the ‘soil’ dry out or the seeds won’t be able to grow. Using your spray bottle, moisten daily (if needed).

emerged seedlings

10. Remove plastic when seedlings emerge. Oftentimes a few will emerge, though others haven’t yet. This is where the plastic wrap comes in handy, because I can pull back the area where the seedlings have emerged and leave the others covered…sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. These are baby tomatoes…

11. Keep seedlings moist until they are big enough to transplant. Want to learn how to transplant?  Read here.

12. ‘Thin’ seedlings to one plant per pot, once big enough… Meaning gently remove all but one plant; best to do after watering, as the water will help keep the seedling you want to keep in its’ place.

13. Keep growing the seedlings in these beginning pots until each grows the first set of true leaves. Once they have this set of leaves they are able to be transplanted into bigger pots before going outside.

14. Keep in mind, plants which have started off this way will need a time for ‘hardening off’ before being able to be planted outdoors.

Hardening off simply means allowing the little tender plants time to get used to be outdoors  while still in their transplant containers, before they make the ‘big jump’ outdoors…

Starting seeds is not a complicated process. It usually takes anywhere from a week to a few weeks to see the first seedlings sprout (my tomatoes above popped up after only five days!) and when they do, it’s so exciting!

You’ll not only be proud of the fact that you’ve started your plants from seed, but you’ll also know what’s in them. If possible, avoid any Monsanto tainted seeds and go for organic or locally procured seeds…there’s enough GM seeds out there, let’s not add to them!

Have you started any seeds lately?

Enjoy.

lovely lentils…

No pantry should be without these fabulous legumes…they are super simple to prepare, inexpensive, and versatile. Plus, no soaking is required, they are quick cooking, nutritious and tasty – what’s not to love? Give ’em a go with this easy lentil soup recipe…

Never cooked lentils before? Have no fear. Three easy steps and they’re ready to go. Simple ~ really…

dried lentils

Any amount of lentils can be cooked in this way. Just keep the ratio the same… Most recipes call for a 2C (water) to 1C (lentil) ratio, though I like to add 1 more cup water into the ratio. So, double the water, plus one cup. That’s it.

How to prepare and cook lentils; 

1. Wash lentils – measure 1.5 cup lentils into strainer. Pick over – remove any debris, rocks, shriveled or ‘bad’ lentils. Thoroughly rinse under running water.

2. Pour rinsed lentils into saucepan and add 4 cups water. Add bay leaf.

3. Cook. Bring water to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, and then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 20-30 minutes, uncovered. Add water if needed to ensure the lentils are just barely covered – this is why I add the extra cup of water in the beginning…to prevent possible burning…

4. Lentils are cooked once tender and no longer crunchy…strain lentils (if necessary) and remove bay leaf. Return to pan and add a generous pinch of salt or more to your taste.

They will stay fresh in your fridge for about a week (or freeze for longer storage – add a bit of cooking liquid or stock if freezing) Season with olive oil, herbs, lemon juice, vinegar and enjoy them on their own or add to curries and serve with rice or make lentil soup.

Lentil Soup

Ingredients

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic – chopped

1 cup minced celery

1 cup chopped carrots

3/4 cup freshly chopped tomatoes, or canned whole tomatoes, chopped or as I did – crushed tomatoes (I didn’t’ have fresh or whole) – they all work.

2.5 cup vegetable or chicken stock

2-4 Tbsp. lemon juice (depending on taste)

2 Tbsp. wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

3-4 cups cooked lentils

What to do; 

cooked lentils

Prepare 1.5 cups dry lentils (see above)

carrots, onions, celerySaute onions (in butter or olive oil) until browned , add mined celery and chopped carrots. Cook until veggies are tender.

Add veggies to lentils, be sure to get all the ‘juices’… Stir.

lentils, stock, veg.

Add stock. Stir and simmer 20 minutes over low heat.

Add tomatoes (whichever type you have on hand), lemon juice, and wine vinegar. Stir and simmer another 10-15 minutes.

Season with coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Simmer on low 10 minutes. Taste and season as preferred…

lentil soup servedTop with freshly grated parmesan, feta, goat cheese or a dollop of plain yogurt…add some freshly chopped parsley, thyme or basil, a bit more freshly cracked pepper and voila – deliciousness is served.

Also, a spritz of fresh lemon juice can be added just before serving!

eaten...Yum.

Simple. Hearty. Warming.

Enjoy.

birthday express…

I have been busy with the fabulous festivities of a boy turning 3! We celebrated Finn’s 3rd. birthday this past Friday (hence, no post). The day started off with a VERY early morning wake-up…(I went to bed at 1 AM – so it felt VERY early to me!) – I should say, a sprint down the stairs is how it actually started – and I wasn’t the one sprinting…

presents

I had been up, late the night before, creating a train cake complete with wheels, track, cargo and a chocolate covered smoke stack. Not the best time of day for photographs…hence the not so great lighting…

train + little people

Then busy wrapping presents and helping Michael hang streamers, blow-up balloons and create the party atmosphere so vital to the morning ‘of’ that I had no time to post…

presests + bear

nemo

…it was a lovely day of simple pleasures… breakfast and opening presents (just the three of us) then a drive down to Portland to visit to the children’s museum – funny enough, serendipity and its willingness to ‘give’ – gave us free passes to the museum – Finns birthday was ‘Free day’ at the children’s museum – we had no idea, what a fun surprise for us (and our wallet) – as Finns’ grandparents and great-grandparents met us there too!

future farmer? fireman finn

little chef

Celebrating a birthday doesn’t have to break the bank. I picked up streamers, balloons, wrapping paper, fun party napkins and plates all from the $1 store. I baked the cake, prepared the icing (no food coloring used) and purchased small amounts of candy (for the cargo) from my local health food store (no chemicals here)… the total cost was about $15, a far cry from a store or bakery bought, chemical laden cake…The passengers are from Finn’s train set as are the little trees and house.

Going out to eat after the museum did cost more than dining at home, though we wanted to celebrate with family who had traveled so far to meet us in Portland – so out for Mexican it was! Appetizers to share kept the bill low (relatively speaking) and decorating the table and chairs with balloons, party hats and festive napkins made it fun – being able to enjoy the cake in the restaurant made the night complete!

Decorating your house for the morning of is easy enough (use stuffed animals with leis or party favors to stand in as friends – until the real ones arrive), hang streamers, balloons and birthday banners. If your going to have a party at home – keep it simple and remember, bouncy castles aren’t a requirement for fun – creativity is. Kids love bubbles, art supplies, music, face painting and fun food – so why not keep it simple while keeping your budget in tact?  Happy Birthday little man – I’m so happy you chose me to be your momma!

handmade with love

Is your christmas tree in need of a little handmade love? Well, if so, here are three simple (and inexpensive) ideas to do with your kids or for yourself…why not bring out the child out in you this holiday season?

1.Bake-art dough

Bake art dough is not edible, but it’s a super fun project for kids and grown-ups alike. You can use cookie cut-outs or design your own. Bake, cool and decorate. Use non toxic paint, markers, glitter, tissue paper, ribbon…whatever your fancy. We kept things simple – paint, glue and sparkles, perfect for 2 year old (or 40 year old) fun!

All you need is; 

2 cups unsifted all purpose flour

1/2 cup salt

3/4 cup water

Decorations/art supplies

Ribbon or metal hook to hang with…

How to;

Blend flour and salt, add water and stir. When water is mixed in, work dough into ball. Knead dough for about 5 minutes, or until the consistency is smooth and pliable. If it’s too sticky, add a bit more flour, if too watery, more flour…

Roll dough out on lightly floured surface to 1/8″ thick.

2.dough rolled

Cut out ornaments and place on cookie sheet.

3.finn printing

Using a straw, make a small hole near the top of each ornament – before baking.

Bake at 350 F for about 20-25 minutes – or until completely baked through.

With spatula, remove baked pieces, place on cooling rack and allow to cool, completely.

Decorate till your hearts content…

4.christmas ornaments

Wrap carefully once the holidays are over and store in a dry place.

*These also make sweet gifts for friends and family.

Write the year it was made on the back and by whom, it makes for a lovely keepsake…

2. Pinecones, glitter + ribbon 

Another beautiful, and nearly free idea – pinecones. Decorate with glitter and hang with ribbon.

5.pinecone ornament

*This idea is also great for gift wrapping. Notice the ‘cookie’ cut-out decoration in the background, they look wonderfully festive on the tree…

3. Thrift shops

You just never know what you might find. I recently found these beautiful decoupaged vintage christmas balls (a set of 12 – each one is unique).

7.thrift find8.santa + pipe9.christmas ball6.box

Complete with ribbons and storage box, for only $12. If you love thrift shops as much as I do, then you know the feeling – it’s like being a kid in a candy shop. What’s not to love?

Magic abounds…

enjoy.

garden beginnings and endings

We’re almost through the second week of November and my garden is showing it. It looks terrible, I know.

While I still have lettuce, spinach, parsley (this is one hardy herb) and carrots (not sure if they will mature in time) – the rest of the garden is in that sad state of needing to be cleaned-up.

Fallen leaves have taken over, strong and deep rooted weeds have infiltrated the area where the pumpkins once were…

Well, the pumpkins that made it through the attack of these little buggers;

Does anyone know what they are? And if so, how to keep them away, without chemicals?

I love my rustic backyard garden – its’ chicken wire fence, its’ aged front gate, the posts in need of repair, the yard it is surrounded by, the sound of the ocean in the background… It’s far from perfect, but it’s my garden. I can feed myself, my family and my friends with it – nothing is more beautiful than that.

I’ve expanded it over the years, it’s nearly four times it’s original size. If I had know we were going to be living on this property for as long as we have, I think I would have designed it differently, wider. But, it is what it is, and when everything is in full bloom, its’ simply charming.

A lot of planning, work and love needs to go into a backyard garden. The planting of seeds, months in advance,

transplanting baby seedlings.

transplanting the plants again,

and then finally moving each into the garden.

Organizing the layout of the garden, keeping in mind what was planted where the year before and which plants should be planted next to each other in the coming year. Companion planting is brilliant. It not only helps to minimize pests and maximize complimentary plant attributes,  but it is also cost effective and natural.

Late winter I begin preparing the soil; adding amendments, turning the soil with pitchfork, picking and cleaning the soil and then leveling with rake…

I then cover my entire garden with black plastic. I hate the fact that its plastic, but at least they are recycled lumber tarps…I get them for free, from our local small town lumber yard. I started using them a few years ago to help minimize weed growth and help to warm the soil. I need help dealing with the mosquitos (once the mosquitos are out, it’s no longer pleasurable to work in the garden) – I cover myself as much as possible and use citronella oil on my hands…and try to ignore the insane buzzing!

Minimizing my weeding time is beneficial to my sanity, plus, the sooner I can get seeds in the ground, the better. Once the ground and air temperatures are ready for more planting, I cut openings for each row of seeds or individual plants, mark with a stick (writing name of plant and date of planting), water and wait.

…then as the days and nights warm and one season blends into the next,  I continue adding more seeds and more plants,

until everything is planted and then enjoy the benefits…

until the seasons begin to change and the weather begins to turn cold…then the cycle begins again…

So until the garden looks like this again, I will continue to enjoy what’s left and look forward to what’s to come…

What’s your favorite vegetable to plant? What do you love about gardening?

Enjoy

planting bulbs indoors – all winter long…

Do you miss the scents and sights of flowers outdoors? I do. I live in Maine and winter is quickly approaching, thus flowers are but a distant memory…so what is a flower lover to do? Plant flowers indoors. It’s easier than you think, low maintenance and inexpensive. I personally love Paperwhite Narcissus and Amaryllis.

While Amaryllis are more common to find, boxed with ‘everything you need’ – paperwhites (above) are just as simple, with less waste (no packaging and no plastic pot). You only need four things – of which, two may be used year after year – bulbs, rocks, vase and water – that’s it.  Simple beauty, love it!

Now to start. Gather what you’ll need;

The bulbs (about .80 each), a small vase (think individual bud vase), small stones/rocks (5 lb. bag white rocks $2.99) and water. The stones can be rinsed and re-used for years – I’ve been rinsing and re-using mine for about four years. The water and the bulb will need to be discarded or composted once the flowers have past.

It’s done in 4 easy steps. Pour rocks, place bulb, pour a few more rocks, pour water. It’s that simple, really.

Here you go;

If using new stones, rinse stones first. Place about 1-2″ of stones in vase – amount is dependent upon height of vase. This flower tends to flop over, so the taller and narrower the vase, the better (you can always stake and tie the stem if using a more stout vase).

Place bulb, root side down on top of rocks.

Pour a small amount of stones over the top and sides of bulb, not completely covering bulb, but enough to help weigh it down (again, it’s a top heavy plant, so once roots start shooting downwards and the stem upwards, the stones will aid its’ ability to stand upright). If the vase is quite tall and slender, less rocks are needed on top, if any. (I always like to use a small amount of stones on top, simply to help keep the bulb in place, regardless of vase style).

Then add enough water to cover/reach the root base.

It’s that simple. Be sure to place in area where it will receive indirect sunlight and can enjoy cooler temperatures (60-65 F ) and that’s it – really. Maintain water level and only add when it falls beneath the root line (careful not to overfill as rot may set in), check it about once a week…then watch it grow.

The best part of forcing bulbs indoors is that you can plant subsequent plantings and have fresh flowers all winter long – regardless of your hemisphere! Narcissus typically flower at around 4-6 weeks after planting (depending on conditions), so if you plant every 3 weeks your guaranteed to have sweet scents week after week – even throughout the doldrums of a dark, cold New England winter….The other practical side to plating paperwhites during the winter is that they like cooler temps and indirect sunlight – which is great news for those of us in New England as it is cold and sunshine is fleeting…love this idea below too.

Incredibly scented flowers atop slender bright green stems what’s not beautiful about that? These bulbs also look fabulous planted as a group of 2 or more, in one larger container – just remember to space each bulb and place rocks between each.

Looking for an inexpensive, simple, yet lovely gift? Plant a bulb (or two or more) two weeks prior to gift giving and wrap vase with a bit of red ribbon, the recipient will enjoy loveliness for weeks to come…as will you.

Narcissus planted now, will become divine in December…enjoy.

red floors white floors

White floors. I have them. Well, I have them now…I’ve always wanted to paint the floors in this house, white. From the very first moment I walked into the house (we rent) until the moment I (we) painted them. The house needed white floors. Actually, what it needed was anything but the dark red, dank floors it had…regretfully, we lived with those dark, dank floors for years before taking the leap into white – our landlord didn’t share our vision initially and after a few winters here, I said, that’s it – we’re painting them, what’s the worse scenario, we paint them back to red? Plus, they needed fresh paint. They were chipping and peeling and just a downright wrong surface for a baby to be crawling on. Of course we had rugs, but surrounding the rugs, was the red floor – ugghhh. Personally, I think we did the owners a favor. Once we started, there was no looking back. The only problem was the guest bedroom down stairs – it just never got painted. We did the main living areas, the stair case and the upstairs, but we never painted the guest room floor. Well, more accurately, we just couldn’t seem to find the time between adjusting to life with a new baby (he’s nearly 3 now), our business and living the life we live in Maine.  There was little time left for ‘redecorating’, to say the least. But that floor still needed to be painted.

The room needed it, the overall house needed it. The flow downstairs was interrupted by that red floor – it was time for it to be painted. I needed it to be done – and I’m so glad I finally did it. What a difference.

It’s incredible how simple changes in our surroundings effect our overall being. Granted, my house is far from perfect; perfect is weird anyway – how can anyone live in a perfect house? It’s the little changes that make a big difference – next project, that chair…

The paint cost $28

(I went for low cost paint since it is a rental) and now I have plenty left over to freshen up the other rooms too.

It took three nights, one hour each night of painting and now it’s done. My environment is very important to me – in particular, my home. I feel our quality of life is greatly affected by how we live in our home as well as how our home reflects who we are – the more your home reflects you, the more you can be you. So go ahead and make your home more yours (even if you rent). Paint the floors, rip up the carpet/linoleum (ok, this is a major project, I realize this) but if you hate your floor coverings (and can afford to) – do it.  Paint the walls – even just one room or one wall can shift how you feel in the space. Move furniture around within a room or exchange pieces between rooms – free ‘shopping’. Buy a low maintenance plant – amazing what a plant can bring to a space…or simply hang that picture you’ve been meaning to hang … do something to improve your overall being, through your surroundings – it doesn’t need to cost a fortune either, usually it’s the small stuff that makes the biggest difference. Even something as simple (and free) as organizing your junk drawer can make you feel good. Do it. Get organized, do that ‘thing’ you’ve been meaning to do – clean and clean out. You’ll feel better for it.

Curious to check out the rest of my house? See here.

Want some inspiration for more flooring ideas? See here.

What’s one simple change you’d like to see in your home?

an old chair becomes new again

I was bored with my kitchen chairs. They were looking tired and just said, blah. With the long dark winter approaching, I decided they needed a change. A simple and low cost solution – recover the seat bases. Voila’ new chairs. They are much happier now, as am I. The chairs themselves cost me $2.50 each at auction. I liked the delicate curves and the price.

The vintage ticking (picked up at Brimfield a few years ago) cost me $2.00. Total cost $4.50 for a ‘new’ chair, not bad. I wanted them to have a lighter look for the upcoming long dark winter – what better way than vintage ticking.

The whole process only took about 20 minutes. First I removed the bases from the chair. Look under the seat base to see how it is attached;

If it’s screws, it’s easy – simply unscrew.

Then you can remove the old fabric (I’ve already removed a few layers so I didn’t bother this time – this isn’t the first time these chairs were recovered!) and then recover with new or just cover over the old as I did.

Cut the fabric slightly larger than the base itself.  Mine is a bit longer than needed, but I wanted to use up the remaining yardage I had.

You need enough to be able to pull it taught on each side. You can measure or not. I don’t. I keep it simple. I place the seat on the new fabric, pull on each side to see how much I will need to ensure a nice tight fit and then cut. If you do prefer exact measurements – measure and add 1 inch to each side. Be sure to include the height – measure just under the lip on the bottom,  then up the side and continue across the top to bottom and then again, side to side. In this example, my fabric was on the narrow side, so I didn’t have to cut the left and right sides, I had to work with what was there. It could have been a bit wider, but I made it work. These are going to have a lot of use and I’m sure I’ll be recovering them again in the spring, so I didn’t get all crazy with perfection…I just wanted them to look pretty again, quickly and inexpensively.

Start on one side. Begin in center. Pull fabric taught, press down firmly with staple gun and staple. Continue working outwards from there. Repeat with the opposite side of the seat. Pull firmly against the first row of staples to be sure you’ve gotten rid of any wrinkles or bunches. Again, start stapling at the center and spread outwards. When you encounter curves, fold the fabric, making sure all the bunching occurs under the seat and is not visible from the top. Secure the folds with staples. If you make a mistake, pull out the staples and start over. Experiment with corners – try wrapping it like a present; if it’s to bulky, cut away excess, being careful not to cut away too much.

Once all sides have been stapled, remove/trim excess fabric – I don’t, no one is going to see the underside but me.

Return to chair base and screw back in place.

Joy has been returned to my chairs – simple changes create simple pleasures…

Enjoy change.