Lowe's Spring Makeover Reveal Tour | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you been following all the Lowe’s Spring Makeovers? There were 10 in all, and each one is truly a miraculous transformation. If you remember, there were 10 bloggers who were sent to 10 different areas that were hardest hit by this past winter. We all combed through hundreds of applications to select 10 homeowners who deserved a fantastic makeover. There were challenges; there were lots of Lowe’s heroes who stepped up to help with those challenges; and there were lots of happy tears in the end. You’ll definitely enjoy reading each story and seeing the reveal!

If you’re ready to start the tour, grab a cold drink and head this way—>>> Read more

Build a Temporary Pergola with Trellises | Pretty Handy Girl

This tutorial to build a temporary pergola is perfect for a wedding, photo shoot, for some shade, or for your garden if you are okay with it not lasting forever.

My sister and I constructed it for our Thompson’s WaterSeal Bali Dream Deck to provide some romance and shade from the hot Bali sun.

Bali Dream Deck for Thompsons Water Seal | Pretty Handy Girl

Materials:

Build a Temporary Pergola with Trellises | Pretty Handy Girl

  • 2 Trellises (with double vertical construction)
  • 1 Trellis
  • 4 – 2 1/2″ wood screws
  • Drill bit
  • Drill
  • Clamps

Optional:

Instructions: 

Dry fit your trellis pieces together to create the pergola shape. Make note of where the top trellis intersects with the two side pieces.

Build a Temporary Pergola with Trellises | Pretty Handy Girl

Pre-drill holes through the top trellis piece at the four intersecting points.

Build a Temporary Pergola with Trellises | Pretty Handy Girl

Pre-drill holes into the top outer pieces of the vertical side trellises (where they meet the top trellis.) Read more

Yes, you can sew your custom bench cushions and add cute piping trim to it. It’s not hard and I’ll show you how easy it can be to Sew a Bench Cushion with Piping.Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Before you run screaming, “I can’t sew to save my life!”, let me tell you I thought sewing a bench cushion was going to be difficult. But, I thought sewing a bench cushion with piping would be next to impossible. Little did I know, once I figured out an easy way to create the box, it was actually very easy!

My Secret Fabric Source:

Before we get started I wanted to let you in on a little secret: The bench cushion and side table fabrics you see below are shower curtains!

Sewing a Bench Cushion

You read that right. Shower curtains are not only inexpensive, but they are durable and can stand up to moisture. This makes them perfect for outdoor use. I bought both of these at fabric shower curtains at Target for under $20 each!

Sewing a Bench Cushion Fabric Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Sewing a Bench Cushion Supplies

Okay, let’s get started!

Preparing the Foam Cushion

Lay your foam on top of the bench. Mark a line where you need to trim.

Sewing a Bench Cushion Prep Cushion

Use an electric carving knife to cut through the foam.

Sewing a Bench Cushion Cut Foam

Wrap batting around your foam. Then trim the edges down to size. I had enough to put two layers on top of the foam and one layer on the bottom. This will make for a cushier and less “squared” cushion.

Sewing a Bench Cushion Wrap Foam

Cutting out the pieces

1. Lay out your fabric (err, I mean, shower curtain) folded in half. Place your cushion on top. Trace around the cushion about 3/4″ wider on all sides.

Sewing a Bench Cushion cut pieces

Cut through the two layers. This will give you the top and bottom panels for your cover.

Sewing a Bench Cushion bottom panels

2. Next cut out four strips of fabric for the sides. Cut your lengths 2″ longer than your cushion.

Sewing a Bench Cushion fabric strips

If your foam is 3″ and you use 1-2 layers of batting, you can use these measurements for your strips:

  • Front: 4.25″ wide  by length + 2″
  • Sides (left and right): 4.25″ wide by length + 2″
  • *Back: 5.5″ wide by length + 2″
  • *Back Fold Over Flap: 3.5″ wide by length + 2″

*The back is wider and has two strips because we need to sew an overlapping flap and velcro to make the cover removable.

Sewing a Bench Cushion fabric measure

Assembling the sides

1. Wrap the 4 strips around your cushion right sides facing in. (Reserve the back fold over piece for later.) Pin the edges where they meet at your cushion corners. The back strip should line up with the sides on the one edge. But, the other edge will extend 1.25″ taller than the rest.

Sewing a Bench Cushion assemble sides

2. Remove the sides and stitch where the pins are. When you get to the back strip, fold over the excess so it matches the same height as the rest of the strips.

Sewing Bench

Then stitch along the back strip’s folded over fabric to secure it.

sew fabric for cushion

Set your sides aside for now. It is time to pin the piping to your cushion top.

Adding the Piping

(Tutorial for Making Your Own Piping Here)

1. Lay the top panel right side up on top of the cushion. Pin the piping on top of the fabric. Line up the piping with the edges of the cushion. Be sure the raw edge of your piping is facing the raw edge of the fabric.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

When you reach a corner, snip into the raw edge of the piping all the way (but not through) the rope piping. Then turn your piping at a clean 90 degree angle and continue pinning.

bench cushion piping

When you reach the beginning of your pinned piping, simply overlap the two about 2″ and cut off the excess.

sewing bench cushion corners

Your top should look like this:

bench cushion top diy

2. Set the top panel on your sewing machine and sew the piping into place. Your needle will be very close to the piping, but it shouldn’t stitch into the rope. This is where your zipper foot really helps!

sew cushion piping

Carefully sew and backstitch over the place where your piping overlaps.

sew backstitch cushion

Connecting the top and sides

1. Lay your top panel onto the cushion. Pick up your sides and begin pinning them to the top of the cushion. The hem on the back side should be facing up and away from the piping. Position your pins close to the piping but not on top of it. Try to line up the corners of your sides with the 90 degree corners of your piping.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

2. Stitch the sides onto the top piece. Again, your needle will be very close to the piping but not over it. This is a little trickier because you can’t see the piping, but you can feel it. Just use your fingers to guide you. (Piping shown by the red arrowed line below.)

Sewing a Bench Cushion

Turn your top cover right sides out and test the fit on your cushion.

DIY Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Repeat the steps above for “adding the piping” for your bottom cover.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping bottom cover

Adding the back flap

1. NOW, pick up that back fold over strip that has been sitting all by its lonesome. Fold the edges over twice on three sides (2 short and 1 long) to hem your flap. Press the hem with an iron.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping back flap

Go ahead and stitch along the folded hem to secure it.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping back flap sew

2. Center and pin the flap along the back edge of the bottom panel (right sides together) as shown. The raw edges should be facing out.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping sewing corners

3. Stitch the back flap onto the bottom panel next to the piping. About an inch or so of the panel will extend on both ends. Leave it loose so it can tuck inside the cushion.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping stitch edges

3. Turn your top panel and sides wrong sides out and put your cushion inside it. Then lay your bottom panel on top as shown.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping top panel

Pin the bottom panel to the sides just like you did for the top panel. This time leave the back side unpinned (where your two flaps overlap.)

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

4. Now is a good time to trim any excess from your previously stitched seams. (There will be a lot of fabric on the sewing machine, and this is just one less piece that could get caught while stitching.)

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping cut excess

Trim off the corners at an angle.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping trim edges

Ever so carefully, peel the pinned cover off the cushion.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping top cushion

5. Stitch along the two sides and front of your cover. Leave the back length of the cover open. Remember, use your fingers to feel for the piping.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping sew piping

6. Turn the cover right side out and slide the cushion into the cover.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Check the fit and make sure you don’t have any stray fabric that might have gotten caught while sewing.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

You should have an opening in the back like this.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Adding the velcro closure

1. Take out your coordinating velcro tape.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping adding velcro

Pin the hook and loop velcro tape onto the backside and the back fold over flap. I used 4 strips of 3″ velcro evenly spaced along the length of the opening.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping velcro

2. Stitch the velcro onto the cushion. You can use a zig-zag stitch for extra strength (if you have destructive little boys like I do!)

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping sew velcro

Check the fit of the velcro.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping fit velcro

3. If everything looks good, you can turn the cover inside out and trim off any excess raw edges. Then turn the cover right side out and insert your cushion.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping trim raw edges
And that’s it! You are done and you have a professional-looking, washable, piped slipcovered cushion! Phew, say that 10 times fast.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping finished

 

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Want to see the rest of my screen porch makeover? I spent less than $125, that’s what I call an extreme budget!

Ladder Shelves

I’d also love to have you join me for some more easy sewing tutorials!

Sewing Tutorials

On a personal note: This week will be a busy one, I have several projects to start; several to finish; I need to pull a permit and I REALLY need to order a refrigerator. If you have one you absolutely love, I’m open to your suggestions. Currently, we have an 18 year old side by side. I’m thinking a 25 cu ft or larger french door fridge might be better suited to a growing family of boys.

do it yourself crafts tutorials ideas

Recently I decided my garden bench that used to be a Craig’s List bed frame, needed to be refinished. I repaired, sanded and repainted the bench before setting it onto our porch where it would get less exposure to the rain.

Well, it wasn’t weathering the elements too nicely. Or maybe I should say it was weathering them poorly. Regardless, I really liked the bench and decided to strip it and start over again. I believe the main problem was that the bed frame was not solid wood, it was glued pieces. Then, if you factor in that I used spray primer and spray paint, the rain and moisture got in easily and caused the wood to swell and some of the glued joints to come undone.

But, the bench was still structurally sound, so we moved it onto the screen porch and I got ready to refinish it.

Refinishing a Weathered Garden Bench

Safey First, (as Meri-K will tell you.) Because I was sanding and scraping the old paint I had to wear eye protection and a dust mask. I also wore ear plugs while sanding and gloves to keep my hands from getting rough.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Instructions:

Begin by using the wire brush to remove any flaking paint and to get into the grooves of the spindles (and other hard to reach places.)

Tip from a Handy Girl: I am about to share with you a helpful time saving trick, so pay attention. If you have a power sander that holds the sandpaper with a clip. You can stack your sandpaper. I put the 220 grit on the bottom, then put the 1oo grit on top of that. After sanding my bench with the 100 grit, I simply tear off the top sheet and expose the finer 220 grit.

Sand down the bench with a rough 100 grit paper first, then follow up with a finer 220 grit sand paper.

Secure any loose pieces of the bench. To use Gorilla Glue, you need to moisten the two pieces that you will secure.

Then put a small amount of Gorilla glue onto one of the pieces.

Clamp the joined pieces and allow to dry overnight. (By the way, don’t waist your money on cheap clamps. That little black & orange number below just bit the dust last weekend. My Irwin clamp is a CHAMP!) Check back after 30 minutes to wipe off any Gorilla glue that has spread out of the seam.

Because the posts on my bench were really falling apart, I decided to remove the ball finials.

Use a saw to cut both finials off.

Patch the hole using toothpicks and wood glue.

After the glue has completely dried, saw off the toothpicks.

Add a curtain rod finial on top of the sawed off posts.

It looks like those finials were there all along!

Clean your bench off with a damp rag to remove any sawdust.

Cover the entire bench with one coat of KILZ Clean Start Primer. Want to know why I use KILZ Clean Start primer for all my projects now? Read how much I love it in this post where I used the same primer for painting a bamboo rug. I’m never buying any other primers (unless I’m priming a tricky surface, then I’ll use BIN 1-2-3 oil based primer. But, I won’t be happy about using that stinky stuff.)

After the primer has dried, use a piece of fine grit sand paper to gently remove any burrs or imperfections.

Then wipe off the bench with another damp wipe. I used Benjamin Moore Impervo Semi Gloss paint for the top coat on my bench. It leaves a really tough coating and will hold up to wear and tear.

Roll on the paint in one area. Then follow up with a brush to even out the paint. Remember to run your brush in the same direction as the grain of the wood.

Lightly sand after the first coat has dried and finish up with a second coat of Benjamin Moore Impervo paint. I didn’t add polyurethane, but if you are really concerned about a piece of furniture that will be exposed to the elements, go ahead and add two or more coats of polyurethane.

My bench should successfully last outside now for three reasons:

  1. I moved it inside the porch and out of the direct sun and rain.
  2. I primed the bench with a good quality brush-on primer (instead of a spray paint type.)
  3. I brushed on two coats of paint making sure I got into all the cracks and crevices of the bench.

Here she is in her newfound home, our screen porch:



With zero VOCs and the quality that is standard in all the KILZ products, this primer is a must have for the DIY painter!

 

Disclaimer: The products mentioned in this post are products that I use and stand behind. The opinions expressed in this post are authentically mine. I was sent a gallon of KILZ Clean Start Primer and the Irwin Quick Grip clamp to try out, but I was not paid or swayed to write favorable things about the products. If I don’t like a product, I won’t write about it. And I certainly won’t pass it off on my valued readers.

 

 

Ahhh, the birds are chirping and the flowers are in full bloom. The azaleas in our yard look like fireworks exploding with color.

I long to open the windows and let in the sounds and the sweet smells.

But, alas, the pollen bomb is still in full dumping mode.

I’m not going to let that get me down. I decided to bring the outdoors in and finished switching out my Valentine’s Day decorating (yup, I like to get the most out of my seasonal décor.)

So, without further ado, here is how I’m celebrating Spring!

I saw the window idea at Classicly Amber (via Pinterest) and had just pulled a few old windows out of a curbside pick up pile. Speaking of Pinterest, if you haven’t tried it yet, you are missing out! It is a great place to “pin” ideas you see and be able to refer back to them easily.

Beth at The Stories of A2Z gave a tutorial on using Pinterest HERE. She’s the one who introduced me in the first place, so I’ll let the master show you the ropes!

I always make it a point to refer back to the original source if I get an idea somewhere else. (Granted, some things are so widespread amongst bloggers, that it is hard to credit the original source.) Pinterest has helped me keep all the ideas together and makes it easier to find the original source. Plus, you can follow other people’s pins and boards. Feel free to sign up and follow mine HERE. Then you can steal my ideas before I blog about it…just kidding!

The striped pedestal holding up the plant is actually a cake stand I made recently using a plate and a candlestick. I’ll be blogging about it later this week, but trust me it is nothing new. You’ve probably seen this trick somewhere else.

This little adorable birdhouse was lovingly painted by my 7 year old son. I always have a stock of $1 birdhouses that they like to decorate on a rainy day. This one brings so much sunshine into my heart.

I love how easy this centerpiece was to create. I rested the ceramic bird into  a shredded paper bag nest. Then set the nest on top of a ceiling medallion ($3 at a yard sale) and surrounded the medallion with ivy.

And finally, my favorite: a robin’s egg nest that I made with chicken eggs.

You can view the tutorial for making the eggs and nest at TLC’s Parentables today.

If you struggle with decorating and creating vignettes, you might want to read a few of the guidelines I use when designing groupings and seasonal décor HERE.

Entering this post into the CSI Spring Decor and Vignettes challenge:

Visit thecsiproject.com

Fall Accessories for the Screen Porch | Pretty Handy GirlHow to Turn a Craig’s List Bed Frame into a Garden Bench

While visiting one of Raleigh’s local shabby chic boutiques, I fell in love with a sweet bench made from an old bed frame. But, the $350 price tag meant that our relationship was not meant to be. I began scouring Craig’s List for the perfect bed frame to make into a bench in our front yard. Finally, I found a full sized cannonball bed frame that looked very similar to this one:

The bed was in good shape. It was made from real wood and it had wooden side rails. Best of all, the price was $40 (and I didn’t have to drive more than 3 miles to buy it!)

After researching the web for ideas on how I wanted my bench to look, I found this site: https://www.robomargo.com/bench.html which has many photos of bed frames turned into benches.

Then I stumbled across Karla’s bed over at: https://itsthelittlethingsthatmakeahouseahome.blogspot.com

Her husband had declared the bed frame a piece of junk when she asked him to turn it into a bench. I can’t help giggling now that I’ve seen the finished project:

Isn’t this bench A-DOR-ABLE!

Here is my best effort at directing you through the transformation from a bed to bench (I neglected to photograph the process on this project since it was a pre-blog project.)

Begin with the headboard and footboard, and set the side rails aside for now.

I pre-measured another bench and determined that I preferred a 18″ seat height. Luckily the footboard worked perfectly in my plans. But, I needed to trim 3″ off the bottom of my headboard legs.

Then determine the depth of your bench. I wanted mine to be 18″. (This is a little deeper than a chair (15 – 16″), but it allowed for pillows behind our backs and a more substantial size.

Your footboard needs to be cut in half so it can become your arm rests. You might have to trim more from the center as I did to achieve your desired bed depth.

What you are left with is two sides for your bench:

Now you need to grab one of your side rails and cut it down to size for the front skirt of your bench. Simply measure the distance of your headboard from post to post:

Then cut your side rail to this exact width. (Or if your bed frame came with metal sides, you can use a 1″ x 6″ x 8′ pine board instead.)

Now you will need to build a frame of 2″ x 4″ boards for stability. This frame needs to be able to fit between the front skirt piece (side rail cut to size) and the back of your bench (the headboard).

This is a picture of my bench tipped over so you can see the base support structure built of 2 x 4’s (in red).

Now you have all the components to construct your bench frame.

Attach the arm rest to the back of your bench (used to be the headboard) by pre-drilling holes through the bedposts and then screwing in 3″ long wood screws through the post and into the arm rest. Be sure that the arm rests are securely attached.

Here is a picture showing the screws from the back of my bench. and how the arm rest looks when attached.

Next you will attach your 2″ x 4″ frame to the back and sides of your bench. You can use screws, nails, and/or L-brackets to attach it.

Then, you can attach the front skirt piece (cut down side rail of bed) to the 2″ x 4″ support base using small nails or brads.

You are almost done with the construction! Time to cut some wood for the seat of your bench. I used two 1″ x 10″ boards cut down to size. Then cut out notches to fit around the corners of the bed posts.

Then use small nails or brads to nail your seat to the bench 2″ x 4″ frame.

After assembling my bench, I added wood putty to fill my nail holes and then caulked all the seams to keep water out of them.

I finished off my bench with one coat of spray primer and 2 coats of Rustoleum French Lilac spray paint (the color my boys picked out!)

Unfortunately, I neglected to coat my bench with polyurethane, so you will notice that the paint has chipped in places. After a few rain storms, I realized that my bed frame was made from several layers of wood that was glued together. So, you will also see some gaps in the wood.

After some time, I repaired and re-painted the bench. To prevent further splitting, my bench spends its days on our screen porch.

Fall Accessories for the Screen Porch | Pretty Handy Girl

If you want to learn how to make a custom piped bench cushion, head on over to this tutorial:

But, in the meantime, won’t you come join me for some cool lemonade in the shade?

Step right this way.
Did you spot the blooming hostas and hellebores?
 Oh, you were too busy staring at this lavender beauty?
Won’t you sit down in the cool shade…
…and sip some nice cold lemonade with me?
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Feel free to comment, especially if you have any questions.