A Ottoman Project (DIY)


I made a coffee table into an ottoman, this was one of my first projects and it set the bar high for me.

I started by finding a cheap but durable coffee table from a second hand store. $40 was what I spent..

I wanted my ottoman tufted so I drilled holes in the table (9 total), before doing anything else.

This step is annoying simply because you have to measure equal measurements so that your peice is symmetrical.

After drilling the holes in the table I realized that the sides had a sort of trim which would stick out and be a huge bruising situation if not addressed properly. I squared off the sides by using plywood to create a smoother edge, much less dangerous for knees and clumsy people such as myself.

I then cut the 5 inch foam which was very overpriced at Joanne fabrics, make sure you bring a coupon.

I made sure to cut the foam so that it was flush with the table.
Then you simply spray an adhesive spray on the table top wood and stick your foam on carefully. Give it about a minute to dry.

Now comes the batting. It looks like the fluff that comes out of your pillow but it makes a big difference.

Roll out the batting on the floor so it’s flat and place your table, with foam attached top side down on top of it.

You can now gently pull the batting to wrap it and then staple (with a staple gun) under the table. No one is looking under the table so it doesn’t need to be perfect but it does need to be tight enough so don’t pull too hard so it rips but keep it secure.

You are basically wrapping it as if it were a present.

As you can see it is wrapped and secured and staples are under side.

Now comes the exciting part. The fabric! If you are like me you want a pattern and that’s great but make sure you are extra careful when placing the fabric because if it’s crooked… You will not be happy.

Follow a line that is the easiest way.
When you are securing the fabric attach one side and then pull the parallel side and secure it before doing the perpendicular side. This way everything stays secure, but don’t pull too tight or tufting will not be an option.

The corners are tricky but you just want to pretend you are wrapping a present and fold them uniformly so each corner will look the same, and staple under the table

Going around the legs is tricky but I’m sure if you’ve gotten this far that you can dig it right.

Now for the tufting. This part requires two people. Flip your now fully stapled ottoman on its side.

**Make sure your thread is through the needle so the thred is double length.

Remember those holes we drilled in the begining… Take a large sewing needle preferably 8-10 inches. Using fishing line or a strong vinyl thread, thread your needle, go through the center hole of your ottoman being careful to go straight through once you’ve gotten it through and it’s straight you can thred your button on.

The button can be a fabric one, you buy the kits for those, and they are a pain but they look nice, or any button you want.

So you have your giant needle through and you have a button, thred the needle through the button hole and you can cut the thread to release the needle keeping the two peices of thread together tie a knot  to secure the thread to your button. This step is crucial because you must make sure that the thread is doubled on the button knot but also that the thred is doubled through to the other side because the tufting is literally being held by a thred.

Now you need a partner. One person pushes the button into the foam and the other pulls the thread tight on the other side, and places a staple on the back near the drilled hole. The staple should be lose enough to thread but tight enough so that is is secured. I did more than one staple after tying it to the first.

Let me tell you that tufting is a bitch, there’s no sugar coating it. You pull you push you secure it and you just get frustrated, but once you do one, even though you want to give up don’t! It’s worth it!

Now 8 tufts later aren’t you glad you didn’t just do one!

It is now a chic peice of fabulous furniture… You made it, sweat, tears…  and hopefully no blood… But it’s perfect and it would have cost close to $500 for a comparable size and pattern. For about a $100. Good work!

Now you can reupholster anything! You don’t have to necessarily tuft everything but at least you have the skills!
Bravo and cheers!


5 Lady-Skills to Consider..

1. Be honest about what you want, with him.

This is a major point because so much social media show dishonest men leading women to mistrust, without even giving the benefit of the doubt. Don’t assume his phone is going off because he’s talking with someone else, give him a chance. Maybe you’ve been burned before, maybe you just need a reason to be angry or keep your guard up, but what if you were wrong? Some men, aren’t jerks. Some men, don’t cheat. Some men do, but if you’re honest and you’re nose is clean, you walk away with integrity.

In thinking your date isn’t worthy of trust, many women feel like it’s okay to lie to their partners, then justify it with… “They do it too…” If that’s the case, just get out now.  STOP THE CYCLE OF BAD RELATIONSHIPS. Lying in a relationship is like lying to your doctor, it’s not going to make you better…. Just be honest with each other, because you could continue for 10 years in a relationship with someone you always knew wasn’t right for you, but stayed for all the wrong reasons. Do yourself a favor, and be honest, and if he doesn’t like it… find someone else… It’s not that hard these days, there’s apps for that.

2. Cook. 

Women scorn the kitchen for their 1950’s role of housewife and all their feminist counterparts… But really it’s a life skill. Everyone, yes even men, should know how to make some basic meals, and it is pretty satisfying.  No one is naturally good at cooking unless they have at least given it an honest effort… Ladies, just because we are women doesn’t mean we can’t still make a fantastic meal, we aren’t giving into a stereotype, we are simply making a meal. It’s also a fantastic way to broaden your horizon and do what you are so scared to… Try something new. Try a meal kit hello fresh or blue apron are great for beginners, or just follow any recipe on Pinterest.

If you burn it, throw it out and try again. I promise if you make something that is truly delicious you will be proud and as I’ve said before, bragging rights are an added bonus.  Make yourself a 5 star meal, or make it for your mom, but just try!

 This chicken dish took me a good year to perfect, but it’s worth it every time. It’s chicken,spinach, red roasted peppers, tomato, artichoke hearts and fresh mozzerella in a lemon butter sauce. This obviously was not made with my innate skill set it was made with trial and error.

3. Educate yourself on current events.

How many people follow the local candidates on Twitter? How many women are exercising their right to vote, they should. It has been a long road for equal rights and still woman are under represented in the polls, and in politics. The difference between a woman who has an opinion based on hear-say and the one that has something relevant to add to a conversation  is clear.  An opinion based on facts sticks out very clearly to those who know what the subject matter is. The term it is better to be seen and not heard would apply ONLY if you don’t know the content of conversation. The more you know the more people will respect you.

Respect is better than frivolous attention. Be seen and be heard and make your opinion count.

Be able to talk to anyone on any setting that is a valuable asset.

4. Be polite and praise your fellow lady.

We all feel insecure. We all worry if we have something in our teeth. We are all human but ladies need each other.  Respect your fellow woman. Compliment instead of criticize. Be a woman’s woman, we aren’t all catty cliques stuck in high school. Some women are worthy of friendship but all women are worthy of appreciation because if not for nothing else, we are women!

Be silly if that’s what it takes to be kind but open your heart to your fellow woman and honor her for her. Men have a fundamental difference in relationships with other men, and that is simplicity. A boy meets another in the school yard with a toy he also likes and they are friends for life… A girl meets a girl, they play for a while, and then challenges her until they can no longer tolerate eachother. Let’s invest in the future by showing our fellow humans respect and honor. Women, be nice to each other, celebrate each other and teach our daughters to be better women too.

Give an extra compliment… Just because.

5. Be present.

Listen. Don’t just wait to speak or hold your next thought while there is a break in conversation, really listen to those who speak to you. You would be surprised what you can learn by simply listening to someone’s story or simply what anothe knows that you do not.  Put your phone away and talk to your company.

Take a breath and realize that nothing in life is permanent and every moment is precious. Try something new, and don’t be so close minded.

If not for nothing else at least you tried…

Check out more posts, like these, and if you’re interested in coaching, check out The Tribe page for more info!

One Man’s Trash…is Another’s Fixture

This is the chandelier I found burried in a pile of junk. I saw a diamond in the rough (literally the gems were covered in “gook” and it was looking pretty rough). When I showed my friend who is in renovations the old chandelier… She said and I quote “Oh wow that really was a price of shit”.

Needless to say it wasn’t when I was done with it. 
First I took off all the gems and soaked them in dishsoap and hot water, and scrubbed the scum off.

I then took an extension cord and cut off the peice where you would plug in a lamp or charger or whatever into it, and attached the two wires to the exposed wires at the top of the chandelier.

This would be best done by a licensed electrician, and probably what you should start with, if you aren’t sure the fixture actually works…The reason I did this was to test if it actually worked. Luckily it did so no re-wiring was needed. 
I took off the cylinders which held the bulbs and spray painted them with a “rubbed bronze” spray paint.

I then taped the top of each insert where the lightbulb would go so no paint would get in.

Then I sprayed the whole peice with the rubbed bronze spray paint being careful not to get too close, as thatt will cause the  spray paint to run. 12 inches is a good distance.

  I placed the cylinders back into place.
This is the color in the light.

 As you can see, this really needed some love…
This is after….

  I then attached the crystals in their respective hole hooks.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to leave  just the top or just the candle like cylinders with gems but once I started I put them all on and it was beautiful!!!   Finally we had an electrician wire it into a dimmer switch because neither joe nor I want to worry about wiring incorrectly. It could be wired to a switch easily but I did enough beautifying and felt like leaving the wiring and mounting to a pro. I also wanted to make sure it was up to code and correct so there were no fire hazards.
So I took a free chandelier and a can of spray paint and made a vintage relic look up to date, and I found comparable light fixtures in the $200-400 range….

Saving money is always a plus but knowing that I made it beautiful, is a constant reminder of all the possibilities out there.

Up cycling really solves two basic problems, saving money, and second saving our planet from another piece of senseless trash. This is the happy ending I love when doing these projects. Mindfulness is so important to our future, and to our home.

For me, I like to look at things and give them life again, I don’t consider myself a hoarder by any means but if it can be reused I think it should. With a little imagination and a lot of love, anything can rework in your home and the bonus is bragging rights!!

How an Old Chair Became French

Step 1. Find your chair

   This chair needed the legs tightened, some new fabric and a lighter color paint or stain.

Step 2. Pop off the chair seat and pick a fabric that you like. I chose a patterned blue and white fabric to give a French country flare.

Step 3. Place the fabric on the floor and the seat faced down so that the underneath part is facing toward the ceiling.

Step 4. Take a staple gun ****carefully**** and staple the fabric to the back of the chair seat. You want it to be tight enough to hold its form but lose enough so that you don’t rip it when you sit.  Cut any excess fabric from the edges and check your seat to make sure it has no lose corners.

If you find one side is pulling more than the other you can simply tighten the other side and stapling again. The process is very forgiving so give yourself a little credit.

Drink some wine too that helps me.

 The seat is right side up here in step 4 the seat should be side down.

Step 5. Sand any varnish off your chair frame using a hand sander or a sand block. If there isn’t a shiny varnish you can get away with lightly sanding instead of going down to the grain.

Let it fully dry and apply a second coat of paint. I used behr paint and primer for this one but you can use any paint you want, chalk paint is very popular because it goes on even and you don’t need too much of it.

Step 6. This is optional, you can distress the edges if you like that look by gently sanding along the corner of the chair legs and making a few strokes along the middle, not too symmetrically though because you want it to look naturally vintage and not forced.

Step 7 is place your set on top of the completed frame and you can either glue it in or screw it in depending on the chair itself, if the chair has drilled holes for screws, utilize them if not, glue will do.

Ta da buds and gals you did it, you made an ugly old chair beautiful again!

Now celebrate by sitting in your new chair proudly!

Love is More Than Plastic

Valentines Day, is a day for all those loves to come forward and be faithful to their loved ones. This day is subjective.  The most subjective of all days. For most people the candy, card, flowers, maybe dinner or a special treat is enough. For some, the lavish excursion to some destination. For others it’s simply a card or a gesture.

For me,  I expect very little. However, I am blessed to have a wonderful love who knows that even though I don’t expect much, that the thought behind the gesture is what is most important.

So rewind to a former love who was the “high school sweetheart” for the purposes of explaining this. He was not a thoughtful guy. He was also on drugs, which probably led to the failings of all gifts, but nevertheless I thank him for the learning lesson.

Expectation and reality are a hard lesson to learn, and luckily between the high school sweetheart and my own father I was lucky because the lesson was this: Get what you want for yourself because you can’t count on anyone else to know better. I’m not cynical enough to think that you shouldn’t count on anyone but know what you are up against, and don’t set yourself up for failure.

So this is the scene, valentines day, a box with flowers in it. The box is almost as good as the pre-vased flowers but it leaves an element of surprise which is nice. So the box is strategically placed on the table, this was one of many failed attempts at gift giving…

As I opened the box to my dismay, there lay 2 dozen long stem carnations…yes the filler flowers.

They were red.

They were ugly.

I was pissed.

This was not the first failed gift, a few weeks prior, Christmas, there was another one. This one was by far the worst gift of all.

Thoughtless, and cheap.

The worst part about a bad gift isn’t the gift itself but the fact that it was offered without any consideration or mindfulness. Gift giving is about presenting something the other person will like, because it’s something they like…..

This gift, was pink, it was plastic, and it had dolphins on it. Now, I know what you are thinking and no it’s not a pool float… it was wind chimes.

This ladies and gentlemen had absolutely no relevance to my taste nor did I collect wind chimes nor was I an advocate for dolphins.

So there you have it, I hope you feel better about you half ass gifts from CVS or the roses that died after the first day. At least they weren’t pink plastic dolphin wind chimes. I still have one of the dolphins, and when I see it now I laugh, because it was so stupid, but it taught me something very important, other than not to use drugs.

The wind chimes taught me that a partner in life knows you, they know what means something to you, they know your favorite flowers, and they do things for you that they know you will enjoy out of the simplicity of the love they have for you.

Presently, Joe, the most amazing man there ever was, outdid himself once again.

I walked into the house, candles lit (I love candles), Flower arrangement on the table, (no carnations-he knows the story), a tiny box,and a record player playing a record I bought at a show we went to in New Haven a few months back.  He also made me corned beef and cabbage, and we bought our first kitten.

I mean it doesn’t get better than a kitten…. but let me give you the backstory.

Naturally I cried.

My father passed away 7/11/14 he was a sentimental guy, or a hoarder, but he definitely kept the things that mattered to him. One of the major keepsakes were a box of original vinyl records from the 70s. Everything from Led Zeppelin’s stairway to heaven, to Janice Joplin in the 60s. There were amazing records, but no record player. I bought a record because records are returning, for their amazing sound quality, and general nostalgia. So It was my intention to get a record player. However I never got myself one.

So when I saw it I obviously started crying. That was just the perfect gift. It was not only for my new record but for all the hundreds of records we left at my dad’s house. They were also picked up and presented later with the new record player. So not only did he think about this very thoughtful way to rectify our lack of record player but he took it a step further and brought home the records my father so carefully kept for a rainy day. (Gentlemen take notes)

Corn beef and cabbage has relevance because each year for St. Patty’s day, I’m fasting for lent. During lent I give up meat. To most people that sounds extreme but to the Greek Orthodox that’s just the half of it. Typically, a devote Greek Orthodox person, would give up meat and dairy, and essentially become vegan for 40 days, as a means for repentance, and to honor Christ’s 40 days in the dessert. So I look around every year at those eating their corned beef and cabbage on St. Patty’s day and I cry a little inside because I love it. Hence, the clear gesture of making this very annoying and time consuming meal.

There were no red roses, there were no chocolates, in fact there was not even a card purchased from Hallmark. In fact, he made it. He made the card out of cardboard and glue and he wrote it out. He knew that the act of doing this would mean so much more than a generic hallmark card with the words already decided.

There you have it. Thoughtful and perfect in every way. If I could offer a piece of advice to someone trying to buy someone something… I would tell them. Listen to what they talk about. Really listen.  Think about the things they like to do. Think of where they like to be. Put yourself in their shoes. And for the love of god, do not give them carnations and do not buy them anything of the plastic dolphin nature, and if all else fails, make the card.

Be honest.

I’ve found in working my 8th consecutive Valentines Day in a restaurant that people are only on their best behavior on occasions. They don’t do actively participate in the love they have until they have to. I think that is how people get divorced. Although I’ve never had a marriage I’ve seen many and I took a lot away from the good, the bad and the ugly. The most important part of love is being in it. All the time not just occasionally.

Love and gifts are subjective, but for those endless searches for the perfect gift, ask yourself this, are you doing the search with their heart in mind? If they truth is, if he or she really knows you love them and you really do your best to show them, then even wind chimes will suffice (only if they are relevant). Love is for those of depth and quality not thoughtless and careless expressions.

To be in love I find to be rare, and when I see it, I know, because I have the best and most wonderful love. When I see others in the kind of love I have, it’s like a mirror.

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Trading Flowers for Adventure