Electric Media Fireplace Furniture

Electric Media Fireplace Do Exist!

The only time I visibly squealed in a store in public was a few months ago. I was standing in the middle of Big Lots admiring their fireplaces when I noticed that one said “Electric Media Fireplace Center”. I didn’t know that it existed until then or that you could even have a TV close to heat.

Electric Media Fireplace

Why I Need One & So Do You!

I spend a lot of the winter months sitting close to a space heater. Then I turn it off and go about my business until I get cold again. I figure I could at least be watching TV during this time. Some manufacturers do say that putting electronics on top may be a problem even though it’s made for a tv. I also like that the glass is supposed to stay cool on the fireplace because I accidentally burned my hand on the glass of a gas fireplace though. The biggest downside I can see is that the flame might look a little bit “cheesy” or fake. However, it has to be better looking than that space heater I’ve been sitting in front of.

Pros & Cons of an Electric Fireplace Media Console

I was so excited as to be embarrassed in public just because it solves multiple problems. I really want some kind of a fireplace to lay in front of in the winter like I was used to growing up but I live in an apartment and they usually aren’t too keen on tenants building in fireplaces. However, I would also have competing focal points on one wall because there’s only one spot to put my TV. Plus, I want my apartment to have a little bit of detail and character to it and this gives the feeling of added architecture.

I decided to wait and shop online. I also wanted to see if they would go on clearance in the summer. I wasn’t thrilled with the cheap fake oak versions at Big Lots and wanted something with more storage. It seems like in the summer months at least at Amazon it’s about 30-40% off of what it was when I checked in the winter just in general. There are also more styles and price points to choose from.

Remember that you’ll need room for your components too. This might be open bookshelves or closed doors. You also need a shelf between the TV and the fireplace to hold DVD players.

High and Low End Models

Media Fireplace

Always check the weight requirements and how deep it is to ensure that your TV will fit. Remember that you’re going to need space for other components too. This is why I gravitate more towards the expensive entertainment set look. I find that it looks more like a built in when it has bookshelves on either side of it.

A pretty inexpensive brand seems to be Stone gate. You can find many versions for under $300. Check the BTUs because this probably won’t heat a whole house. The descriptions tell you how many square feet it can heat. It’s usually around 400 square feet. If you like the idea of zone heating or you’re just in one room throughout the day this saves you the cost of heating the entire house. I mostly just want it because I’m cold all of the time. So whether you have a few hundred to spend or a thousand there are many options to choose from. I find that the more oversize it is the more it will feel like a built-in. Narrow looks are great for solid black or espresso pieces where you want a pretty modern look. Corner units will usually be a little bit cheaper too.

Fireplace Media Center Styles for Every Room

Sure, most people have the same black or silver flat screen TV and the same gaming consoles. That doesn’t mean that your room has to feel overly modern. I love how this takes the same TV that everyone has and can give it a French Country or farmhouse vibe. You can always stick with black finishes and smoked glass shelves to keep it sleek and contemporary. For the French style consider something like an Antebellum style with a shutter type of doors and a distressed painted finish or weathered wood.

A big reason that I skipped the Big Lots purchase was that it looked more like a portable one than a built in. The SEI Cartwright line is successful at this with more of a tile or faux slate look. This works well for a country theme but the neutral colors make it suitable for any type of theme.

Lift Cabinets: Techy Electric Fireplace TV Stands

You might want a little bit more versatility. I recommend this style if you aren’t a big TV watcher or if you don’t have a formal living room for entertaining. When guests are over you can just press a button and the TV basically disappears. I watch too much TV for the added expense to be worth it.

So is this going to be a big energy hog? Some descriptions say that it isn’t going to use any more than a coffee maker.

I also love this look because it’s portable. That means that while it might be part of my living room now, someday I might use it in a bedroom if I live in a house with a “real” fireplace. If you’re short on space like me or just hate how modern your TV is then considering a fireplace, media center, and bookshelf all in one!

How To Say Thank You with Thank You Notes

Thank You Notes

In almost every culture within Western Civilization, it is considered right and proper that one sends a thank you notes after receiving a gift. These notes should be handwritten and should be sent in a timely manner. By “timely”, most experts agree that the note thanking a giver for a gift should be done within three weeks of having received the gift. Exception to this “three week” rule is usually given to new brides and grooms, because newly married couples often spend a week or more honeymooning after their nuptials.

Thank you notes are a relatively simple concept. The idea is to express appreciation for a thoughtful act, expression, or gift. They don’t have to be long, but most experts agree that they should not be electronic. Even in today’s “connected” world, there is something to be said about a tangible envelope that is sent by postal mail. An envelope that comes in the mail that is not an advertisement or a bill is a rarity. When a person takes the time to get out the stationary and personally write out a note thanking someone for a gift, it shows a type of caring that is not evident in an electronic piece of mail that can be written and sent within minutes. A tangible thank you note is also permanent; it can be held and read over and over and even shown to others.

Thank you notes are so important that it is not only women and etiquette experts that make use of them. It has been said that when he was campaigning, President George H.W. Bush (George W’s father) carried a box of cards with him on the campaign trail everywhere he went and wrote a note immediately after each event to the volunteers or hosts.

When writing out a thank you note, it is important to make mention of the gift received or the reason the note is being given. Don’t say “thanks for the lovely gift”. Say, instead “thank you for the beautiful necklace. It goes very well with a pair of earrings I bought last year.” Discuss how you plan on using the gift and tell the person a little bit about what it means to your relationship with them. Allude to the future. You might say something like “I am so glad you were able to come to my Christmas Party. I hope our kids can get together for ice skating in January.”

Another time that it is appropriate to write a thank you note is after a prospective employee has a job interview. It has been said that it is important to get that note written and sent by return mail. The prospective employee thanks the interviewer for taking time to speak with him or her and re-establishing why he or she would be a good fit for the job. Surveys have shown that thank you cards have often given prospective employees a keen edge over other interviewees when the decision of which person to hire is made.

Thank you notes are an important aspect of culture in the Western Hemisphere, and it is vital that each person know when and how to send them.

Restoring Antique Desk – Having Some Woodworking Tasks

Restoring Antique Desk – slant top around 1890
You want to restore an antique desk? Here’s how I restored this antique slant top desk.

Perhaps you are restoring your own antiques and can find some good ideas by following this. If you have questions, I am only too happy to be of help.

Antique Desk Ca. 1890

A very sad and unhappy desk

restore antique desks
Here we have in for restoration a Slant Top Writing Desk.
German
ca. 1890
Veneer – Walnut
Ground wood – Pine

It is an unusually small desk of its type. You don’t find them very often, even the big ones have become rare. They went out of fashion of course the moment people found a computer would not quite fit. Now with notebooks, I am a little lost as to why they haven’t come back in. Such a desk is a practical piece of furniture for a small house or flat with all that storage space.
Where do we start?
Lets have a look and see what needs doing

Outside:

The finish is patchy and very dirty.

  • Top has veneer missing and bubbles.
  • Top too much exposure to the sun – finish cannot be revived.
  • Sides – both have spits and loose veneer.
  • One side someone has squirted glue into the bubbles and it has rundown.
    Could be tricky….
  • Turned molding on left side missing.
  • Drawer fronts – mostly ok – few loose bits and a couple of bubbles.
    Escutcheons all there.
  • Holes where someone has added an extra handle.
  • Front Flap – mmmm…. Someone has had a go with a rather rough sanding machine and left ring marks. Luckily they left most of the veneer!
  • Large crack goes right through.
  • Other side of flap is rather different – has been taken to with an electric planer – all veneer taken off and deep plane marks left. Will have to be planed smooth and re-veneered.
  • Feet missing

    Inside:

  • Two little drawers missing.
  • Finish on small drawers has been irreversibly damaged by sunlight.
  • Various ink stains and other stains.
  • Paper Labels to be removed.
  • Middle drawer runners have been removed.
  • One small drawer half side missing.
  • One small drawer needs re-gluing.
  • 3 big drawers all need side runners renewed
  • 1 Big drawer needs re-gluing.
  • Runners inside just need establishing.

Some of the tools I used for this project:

  1. Circular Saw ( A must Needed )
  2. Hand saws, a router and two router bits
  3. Saw Sharpener – I recommend to use best chainsaw sharpener
  4. Combination square and tape measure
  5. A power drill
  6. A hammer and some screwdrivers

The Small Drawers

Make two new drawers.
diy restoring antique desk
Have taken all the fittings and locks off. Decided to start with the small drawers. Must be careful to make them the same as the others. Found some old wood in my stockpile the right width, cut to size and from then on its all by hand.

The front of one missing was there, so made sides back and bottom. The other is made and veneer put on. Decided to put another veneer on – was not happy with first choice.

Have re-glued bubbles in others and where needed sides re-glued.

Removed old polish with alcohol. Old polish was totally destroyed by sun. – Yellow and flaky. Sanded and stained a little to bring life back in to the veneer.

Then they can all be polished.

Big Drawers

Sorting the runners out.
restoring antique desks
Have removed all locks and escutcheons.

The runners on the big drawers have become very uneven over the years, making the drawers very difficult to open and close.

Rather than taking the drawers to pieces I run the router along the bottoms, taking off the bare minimum and then cut new strips to size and glue them on. I can plane them back to get a nice even fit.

The drawer fronts I have cleaned with alcohol – leaving most of the polish on them as we want to keep the patina. Depending on how the flap comes out I can tone the polish to get an even color overall.

restoring antique desk

Next we start on the carcass
Fill cracks, clean, polish.
The cracks in the sides need filling otherwise they will get bigger as the wood dries out, not forgetting the damage to the veneer.

First we clean the dust and debris out of the cracks. Find various left over pieces of veneer of varying thickness which can be used to fill the crack.


Make a fresh batch of animal glue and cut the strips of veneer to the right length. I will be putting them in horizontally all the way down so that the shrinkage is less. My little Japanese Hammer which I use with my chisels is also very useful for hammering the wood into the cracks.

A messy job with the glue and a long one as the small pieces of veneer have to be pushed up against one another.
restore antique desk
Job completed – must be left to dry overnight before I can go over with the chisel to even them up.

The bubbles must be cut through with a scalpel in most cases so that I can inject some animal glue into far recesses. I can spread the glue around with a veneer hammer and then rub it a little to get some warmth in – cover with tinfoil or plastic and weight down.

The Top

Lift veneer up remove bubbles and replace missing piece
Veneer on top is very thin and fragile.
restoring antique desk diy
Must lift up quite a big chunk, so I can clean the ground wood and get the bubbles out. To do this I lay a damp cloth over and use an iron on lowest setting to melt the old animal glue. Using a knife to lift the veneer up, letting the air in so it doesn’t re-glue itself.

This is slow going as the veneer in places is very fragile and will tear easily. Slow is also necessary as the veneer can also stretch which makes laying it back very tricky.

Can only reglue bit by bit so I can get it relatively flat. Have put two new slices of veneer in to replace what was missing. Luckily I had some old veneer from an old drawer there that I could use. Have put this in leaving the polish on – saves a lot of coloring work afterwards.

Must wait a few days for the animal glue to harden before I can clean the old polish off and sand down a bit. Here one must be careful as the friction causes heat, which in turn loosens the animal glue and then the bubbles are back again.

So having removed old polish and sanded lightly I can stain and re polish. Has turned out well and the new pieces of veneer are barely noticeable.

The flap, the small drawers and the turnings
Light at the end of the tunnel?

The Flap:

First the crack. Again I have put the wood in horizontally using old thick veneer. Cut off the excess the next day.

Managed to get the back of the flap fairly flat – needed quite a bit of a plane and sand.

Found some new straight grained walnut veneer in my stock. Not very wide so used four pieces book matched. Cut to size and laid on one at a time using my veneer press. Animal glue is used for this as well. Have to work fast on such a big piece but works well and I can place the next piece slightly overlapped to allow for shrinkage.

Here again we must leave for some days for the glue to harden before we can sand. Meanwhile I can add veneer to the sides and replace missing pieces on the top side where the lock fits.

Sand the veneer very fine and then we start with the polishing process. First the grain has to be filled. Have painted on a couple of coats of fairly dark french polish, so the pores take on an old look. Sand off the excess polish and then start the process of filling the grain using powder. This is a long process but the more the pores are filled the better the end result. As we don’t want a perfect mirror finish we can leave a little open grain. Then the proper polishing starts. Using a little oil I can put as many coats on as I like. I have put a bit of spirit color in the polish to get a similar finish to the rest of the desk.

Now the flap must stay put for a week or so before I can turn it over and start on the outside.

In the meantime I have polished the drawer fronts and they are now ready for the little porcelain knobs to be put back on. Found we were missing one so must order. Luckily they are still available.

One side turning was missing. Found various old turnings from backs of chairs etc in my storage. Cut these through the middle and using parts of the original, now have two the same. Have glued together colored and polished. They are now on the desk and look very much like the original.

The front side on the flap must be cleaned and sanded. The veneer in places was sanded through with whatever machine was used. If I put new pieces in, I shall have to cut away quite a lot of the veneer that is there – due to the thickness. learn :  how to sand the wood perfectly .

Have decided to leave as is and get my water colors out. I can mix the colors and paint on the grain where needed putting a coat of polish over. Have to do this in layers. Must make sure that the front of the desk is all the same color. The moldings for the flap need cleaning and a bit of a polish before being put back on again.

I have put in a shelf for the middle drawer adding a freeze to the front as it would originally have had. This is now colored in and polished.

The Home Run

FINISHED – yeah!

diy antique desk

Am still fiddling with the front of the flap, but its getting there. Drawers are all finished and just need the escutcheons putting on.

Ended up doing the middle piece of the flap three times before I was happy!!

All locks and escutcheons back on.

Had to put bigger hinges on the flap in the end as the old ones just were not stable enough. Added a strip at bottom of flap so it would lie flat when open and not pull the screws out with the weight. Its the bits like this that take so much time.

Re-aligned the side runners inside the desk so the drawers now run smoothly.

One can still see the sanding marks at the front where it was attacked with a heavy machine. The veneer was already very thin so I couldn’t sand very much- where the veneer was gone I used water color to paint in the grain. Anyway, all with pleasing results I think.

So there we have it – ready for delivery ……. and then its on to the next project!

Finished

End result pretty good considering!
Restoration Questions and Comments
Feel free to ask advice -shall give where I can.

Sometimes I get pulled in to do talks on antique furniture or restoration. I enjoy doing this (once I am there!) as every time is different; the subjects are different and the questions are different. Its just the fun of sharing information with interested people.

If you have ideas as to how I can improve my lens, I would really appreciate it.

Questions? Ask -costs nothing -and I shall help where I can….

Top 10 Tips When Selecting Fabric for Slipcovers

fabric for slipcover

How Do I Know What Fabric to Pick for My Slipcovers?

Do you easily become overwhelmed with a large selection of fabric for slipcovers?

Unless you have narrowed your focus on what exactly you are looking for, the vast fabric selections available can be a bit daunting and can overwhelm you. If this is how you feel I know for a fact that you are not alone.

I have worked with clients for over 20 years and many have depended on me to help them narrow their selections down.

So if you are not one that likes to look through rolls and rolls of fabrics or books and books of fabric samples then I am here to help.

In this lens I will give you 10 quick tips on what to look for and to consider when you are trying to decide which fabric is the best for your slipcovers.

Recovering your furniture, whether you are slipcovering or re-upholstering is a large investment of your money and you want to make the right decision. After all you are hoping to live with this decision for a few years.

Answer each of these questions and it will help to narrow your selection, fine tune your focus and save you lots of time and money when you are trying to make your decision.

First and foremost enjoy this process. It’s intended to bring you joy with your surroundings and finishing’s in your home. it’s not intended to frustrate you. If this process does bring frustration then check for a local contractor to help guide you. You may be surprised with how much free advice you may receive.

I have been working in the home décor sewing industry for over 30 years and I enjoy helping others with fabric decisions by passing along free advice and suggestions. If you should have any additional questions from this info please feel free to contact me.

1. What Piece of Furniture Will I Be Covering?

What piece of furniture are you covering? That may have a significance in the decision making of the type of fabric you purchase.

Are you covering a piece of furniture that is a focal point? Then maybe a large print will do and add enough fabric to introduce accent pillows.

Are you covering an accent piece of furniture? How about a mini print? How about a solid colored fabric? You could also select a large print and centering the main pattern.

Take these into consideration when going through your decision making process. If it’s easier, start with process of elimination. What you know you absolutely will not use.

2. What’s the Style of My Room?

First and foremost consider the style of room you are purchasing fabric for.

Is the fabric in keeping with your room décor?

If you aren’t sure what fabric style goes with what room style you have, then do a little research.

**Food for thought: Would silk fabric fit into a room full of rustic pine furniture; does denim fit a room full of antiques? May sound silly for some but not for those who truly struggle with this.

3. Do I Want My Fabric To Be Print or Solid?

slipcovers fabric

When considering fabric to slipcover a piece of furniture first keep in mind the style of your room and where in the room the fabric will be used. This will help you to decide what type of pattern you may choose.

If you are leaning towards a large print you may want to use it on a smaller piece of furniture as an accent. Consider adding a few throw pillows out of the same fabric to your sofa, or another focal piece.

The large print on a large piece of furniture may become overpowering and you may grow tired of it quickly.

Which leads to the next tip to consider in making your fabric decision.

4. Will I Be Able To Live With This Fabric for Slipcovers?

This may seem like an obvious Q &A, but you may be surprised that sometimes our minds play tricks on us when comparing a piece of fabric vs. the memory of your room.

I would encourage you to first purchase a yard of fabric, take it home, throw it out on your furniture and live with it for a while before making your final selection.

An investment of a yard of fabric is much more economical to find out if you can live with this selection than to invest in your total amount, get it home and decide it isn’t really going to work after all.

5. Will My Fabric Selection Keep My Original Cover From Showing Thru?

This tends to be a general concern especially when your original cover on your furniture is dark fabric and you’re ready to lighten up.

I will repeat this tip again and again to drive the point home but I always recommend to buy a yard of the fabric being considered. Live with it on your furniture for a couple of days to see if it will indeed hide the old cover in addition to checking how well it covers in the different light settings of the room.

If it doesn’t cover then consider having the slipcover interfaced which will increase the labor cost or just throw an old sheet over your furniture under the slipcover. It may not sound attractive but it’s cost effective and you aren’t going to see it anyway. The sheet should hold it’s shape once the fitted slipcover is on it.

6. Will This Fabric Coordinate With the Other Fabric In My Room?

fabric for slipcovers

The general rule of thumb to create continuity in your room if you are using a large print with a large pattern repeat of 13″ or more, is to introduce your print a minimum of three times in your room.

A few examples to consider are your windows, a small accent piece of furniture, a cushion, floor cushions, throw pillows or maybe a footstool.

What else can you come up with?

Another consideration when using prints is to introduce one to two coordinating pieces in the room. This will also help in creating continuity into your room decor.

7. When Using a Monochromatic Theme, Use Lots of Texture

slipcover fabric

If using a monochromatic theme in your room then I would encourage you to use different textured pieces of fabrics.

Allow the texture to rule the room. There is no limit as to how many different pieces of fabric to introduce.

8. Is This Fabric Durable Enough For the Use of My Furniture?

Does your fabric need to be durable?

If your furniture to be slipcovered sees a lot of traffic and wear then definetly lean to a durable fabric that will hold up under the stress for a longer period of time.

I never recommend using a light weight cotton (dress/craft weight) but there are always exceptions to the rule.

So consider wisely how durable you will need your fabric.

9. Is the Fabric Washable?

Do you have pets or children? Then you may want your fabric washable.

Several people select slipcovering over re-upholstering for the simple option of having a removable and washable cover.

Keep in mind the fiber content of your choices when shopping for your fabric. If you aren’t sure what to look for always ask a sales clerk for help. Any clerk working in a fabric dept should be knowledgeable of the product. If your still not sure I offer free advice, feel free to contact me with your questions.

**Helpful Tip: When washing your slipcovers, do not allow them to completely dry. Leave the covers slightly damp and replace it back onto your furniture. This will allow the slightly damp covers to stretch and conform back to the furniture’s shape. If you allow your slipcover to dry completely before putting them back on your furniture you run the risk of too much shrinkage and never fitting properly again.

10. Should I Consult with a Contractor?

Ultimately in the end the choice of fabric is yours. You are the expert in what you like. You will be living with the fabric. Not your friend, not your contractor, not your decorator.

But if you have a contractor you are using I encourage you to take advantage of their knowledge on the topic before making your final decision. Allow your contractor to share their suggestions and advice from their years of experience.

As a contractor myself, I’m always glad to make suggestions, to coach my clients with selections or answer any questions when trying to make their decisions. But in the end you have final say.

Never let anyone else make that final decision for you. Listen to you and trust it. But remember, you can’t take the fabric back if it doesn’t turn out the way you expected it to look so take your time in making this decision. It’s one you will probably live with for some time.

I can’t stress it enough, if there is any question buy a yard or two and live with it for a while, It would be more cost effective to loose a few dollars on those few yards than hundreds of dollars on both fabric and labor of your slipcover.

Share Your Fabric Shopping Experiences.
Let’s hear your funny, scary, overwhelming, best bargain fabric shopping stories.

I love hearing from my guest. Share any tips or shopping stories you have had when shopping for fabrics.

Please sign in if only to say hi. I enjoy hearing your comments or suggestions.

Thanks for stopping to visit

Quick Last Minute Easter Bunny Craft

Looking for a quick last minute craft to do with the kids today for Easter? I have a good one for you! I made these yesterday with my 4 year old son’s preschool class and they turned out so cute I thought I’d share them with you!

easter bunny

Easter Bunny CD Magnet

Supplies

  • 1 CD (when burning CD’s or DVD’s I save the ones that fail or do not work properly I had pretty good stash)
  • CD Labels
  • White and pink foam sheets
  • Google eyes
  • Magnetic tape (self sticking)
  • Crayons or markers
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors

Directions :

  • Cover the CD with a white CD label
  • Cut out a set of white ears, pink ear insides and a nose from the foam
  • Glue eyes, nose and ears onto the CD
  • Draw whiskers and a mouth onto the face
  • Stick magnet to the back of the CD
  • Hang up and enjoy!

Getting Ready For Fall: Throw Pillow Covers

First, I cannot even begin to tell you all how thankful I am for your words of love and encouragement on some of my previous posts on another blog. I sat at my computer so many times the last few days wanting to write something, anything, about our experience.

I was in a fog and the haze of self doubt that made me believe you all would tell me that what was said was true. I cannot begin to tell you how much it meant when you reminded me of words I’ve written, that you told me about how I have encouraged you and inspired you to live simpler, better. I was truly overwhelmed and really, I just didn’t know. So, thank you.

I am sorry so many of you have gone through the same thing. Sometimes in blogland when you reach out to similar people, it can be easy to forget that not everyone values these same things. It’s nice to know I have a place to come to where you get me. Again, thank you.

For today, I have a little fall nesting for you.

I refuse to engage in conversations that involve anyone saying it is fall yet. It is not fall. It is still summer, and here in Florida we have the heat and I have the frizzy hair to prove it. But I know fall is just around the corner and most importantly I felt the need to do something. To busy myself with an itty bitty project that would brighten my still somewhat sour mood.

I decided to make some covers for the throw pillows on my couch. The colors in our living room are yellow, turquoise and orange. I would’ve taken a full shot of the room but you know how it goes. It would’ve taken all afternoon to get the kids to pick up all the train tracks.

So, here are the pillows before:

Throw Pillow Covers

Throw Pillow Cover

I remembered a tutorial from a while back from one of my favorite cottage home bloggers, Cottage Magpie, so I went to her site to find it. Here is her tutorial on How To Sew a Throw Pillow Cover in 10 Easy Steps. It was truly easy. Even easier for me because I totally skipped some steps 🙂

And here is the Throw Pillow Covers what I came up with:

Throw-Pillow-Cover-design

Throw-Pillow-Cover-designs

I chose the white canvas first. It was in the clearance bin at Hobby Lobby for $2. I was able to make one full cover out of it and then the other one I backed with burlap since I didn’t have enough for two. Whatever. Makes it more imperfect and unique, I say. Off of that, I went with the orange and white swirl duck fabric since it coordinates with the room and the other covers but is fun and new and adds a little needed freshness in the space what with all the stripes and solids going on.

Throw-Pillow-Cover-diy

So, there you have it. A little fall nesting. Even though I refuse to say it’s fall.

What are you doing to get ready for the looming change of season?