Cottage Foodie Diet Recipes

Avocado Potato Salad (Vegan, No-Mayo)

January 4, 2017

The new year brings new hopes of getting in shape, changing our diets, exercising, etc. – basically endless things we want to do – but when coupled all together, seem daunting and unobtainable. We need to learn to take baby steps. Think of how many years (months, weeks, etc) it has taken you to get out of shape.  You won’t be in shape by the end of January and you won’t change your eating habits by the end of January. What you will do instead is fail because you have put very unrealistic expectations on yourself.

Start slowly. I know so many people in the over 50 crowd that make it a goal to run a marathon, thinking this will cure all of their problems. That’s nice and indeed a lofty goal, but none of them actually lose weight nor do they change their eating habits because they think they can eat like a marathoner (uh, no).  That’s a lot of work with no rewards. Instead, start walking every day. Start cooking one meatless meal every week, one vegan meal once a month. Once your body becomes adjusted to these changes, you will crave them.  Trust me! I have been walking since I was in my late 20s.  When I used to go to the gym I was one of the only ones walking around the track (everyone was running). I walked through both pregnancies and now I walk 4-5 times a week on my treadmill – I still weigh what I did 25 years ago. My joints actually hurt more when I don’t walk, proving that exercise is good for the body as well as the mind.

Start slowly with your diet changes, or you will end up very cranky and craving sugar. I am not a carb free person, but I do follow a plant-based diet which includes very little to no meat products (I do like to cook with chicken broth over oil) and no sugar. I do not believe in diet fads: the way you eat has to be a way of life.  Your goal at the grocery store should be the spend most of your time in the produce section, and little to no time in the boxed food section. Give yourself three to five weeks, and not only will you see a change,  you will feel the change.

This recipe will get you on your way – and I promise you will love it.

I first came across this salad on a quest to find a potato salad with no mayonnaise.  Yes, I said no mayo. None. Zip.  It’s on my list of foods that I just won’t eat.

This was originally called “No-Mayo Potato Salad (Vegan) which said nothing about what was used to replace the mayonnaise, so naturally I was intrigued.  It is very easy to make and it absolutely one of my favorite side dishes. The avocado and lemon create a creamy base for the potatoes, and you don’t even need to use salt, which makes this even more heart-healthy. Avocado is one of the healthy fats we should be eating more of, as opposed to oils and mayo.

Avocado Potato Salad (Vegan, No-Mayo)

Ingredients

  • 10 organic gold potatoes ( I used a mixture of reds and gold) small in size and rinsed

  • 1 whole avocado

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

  • 2 Tbsps. fresh chives, minced

  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

  • Salt (optional)

Directions

  • In a large pot with cold water, add potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes until fork tender. (You can also do this in the microwave!)

  • Drain potatoes and rinse with cold water to cool.

  • Once cooled, cut each potato in half, and then quarters if necessary (bite-sized pieces).

  • In a large bowl, mash avocado and combine with lemon juice, chives, optional salt and pepper.

  • Stir in potatoes and mix until potatoes are fully coated.

  • Adjust seasonings and add more lemon juice and chives if desired.

 

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Cottage Design Holiday Home Decor Recipes

Pretty and Easy Ways to Serve Beverages at Your Holiday Parties

December 29, 2016

Satisfying your guests’ many liquid refreshment demands at your holiday gathering can be a daunting proposition. The following options provide ways to please any fussy guest, so you too can revel in the merrymaking.

The first thing my guests say to me upon arriving is, “I’ll start with water.” Have a designated area only for water and keep it closest to the food, preferably in the kitchen. If you are using a large decorative water dispenser as opposed to water bottles, infuse it with fresh cucumber slices. Water will have a stale taste after sitting for even an hour, and the cucumber keeps it tasting fresh and light. Add a sprig of mint to each glass instead of directly to the water; adding it to the water tends to overwhelm the taste. Serve water in your best glasses, not plastic; your guests want to feel special no matter what they are drinking.

 

 

Another great way to satisfy your guests is by setting up a wine bar. Always have more white wine than red available, as white is always the most popular choice. Rosè is an excellent option around the holidays as well and looks particularly festive in a pretty wine glass. Set out all the stemware you own and when you run out, it is perfectly suitable to substitute clear plastic cups at your wine station.  Offer individual serving size bottles in wine glasses lined with vintage napkins for a decorative touch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When guests walk through the door, I like to have a table in the foyer with champagne flutes filled with sparkling cider topped with fresh raspberries. This is an alternate option and, when the bubbly flutes are placed next to a beautiful bouquet surrounded by white sparkly lights, can add an elegant yet inexpensive touch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, a coffee station is essential. Be it iced or hot, you will want to make ample amounts and serve it up in your largest urn or decorative thermos. Always use your best china! In addition to milk, cream, and various sweetener options, offer Baileys and Kahlua in small vintage milk bottles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The key to a successful evening is planning in advance. Having fully stocked beverage stations throughout your home ensures that your guests will never have to approach you to tell you what’s missing, only to compliment you on a great evening. And remember, never let your friends drink and drive, use Uber or let them sleep in the guest bedrooms.

 

 

Happy New Year!

Design Family Holiday Home Decor

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas…….

December 24, 2016

And all though the house… Well , of course not many people were stirring because we are empty nesters, but we bribed our son who is local to come and stay with us and help put out the Christmas treats for Santa.  He’s 25 so he only said OK so as not to hurt our feelings. And I secretly think he’s afraid of getting coal in his stocking 🙂

And speaking of stockings….

 

 

 

 

 

I add  a bow and fresh greens to ours.

 

Christmas is very low key at our house. You might look at my decorations and think otherwise but I only decorate three rooms – my foyer, family room (where I have one tree) and dining room. We are not extravagant, we buy each other one gift, add a few sweet treats to our stockings, my husband makes an awesome brunch which we usually try to eat at our coffee table in front of the fireplace, and then I make dinner which consists of homemade pizzas.  We are almost always joined by my daughter’s best friend Becky, who is part of our family.

There are a few important reasons for our laid back Christmas day.  On December 12, 2011, I had a heart attack. Due to some major complications, I ended up in critical care for four days.  I came home to a different way of life.  I had not shopped; had not planned anything. I used to have Christmas dinner for 13-14 people every year. Trying to get everything done on time and make everyone happy had just about taken over this holiday. I will not go into the details on this post but needless to say, we made a change in our lives because of this. That year, we did nothing. We had virtually no gifts because as the one who does the shopping I was home bound healing for a few weeks.  The kids were home from college (of course Becky was here too) and we made homemade pizzas, listened to music, and played games.  It was totally awesome. That year we vowed to never make Christmas Day any different.  At first it was very hard for me because I felt tremendous guilt for not having everything perfect.  But the important part of what happened was how it affected my family – in the most positive way possible.  I am so thankful for the tremendous support from my husband and kids.

So on to my very first Christmas House Tour!  My favorite thing to decorate is my foyer.  I put out my vintage Santas and bottle brush trees that I have been collecting for almost two decades.

 

The painted brick above that acts as a doorstop was made by my son in preschool.  It’s one of my favorite Christmas decorations and I leave it out all year long.

 

I purchased most of my trees and Santas from eBay. I have a few that are mainly primary colors but I don’t get them out and will be selling them soon in my Etsy store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like to add minimal decorations in my dining room – a nice table centerpiece, and preserved boxwood wreaths tied to the back of the dining room chairs with a pink ribbon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like to dress up my vintage ironstone pitchers by adding santa hats.

 

 

The one thing I like most about my dining room is no matter what decor I have, it looks different every day. The light changes, the view changes. That’s the appeal of good home design and decor.

 

 

Next on to the Family room where I have my Christmas Tree with a zillion lights.  Yes, a zillion.  You can feel the heat from the tree. It takes about three days to put up and decorate.

 

 

 

These photos are from our family brunch last year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View from the kitchen.

I try to add a bit of cheer to the small things in our home.

 

 

 

 

 

This year, I wanted to find a way to celebrate our daughter Julia who is deployed on the USS Makin Island and will not be home for Christmas. So first I hung her ice skates from when she was 7 years old on my favorite cabinet adorned with a bow and fresh greens.

Then I decided to make Gingerbread ornaments in the shape of an anchor, to celebrate ALL of our sailors who are at sea during this holiday season.

 

 

They smell amazing!  I will be posting a tutorial later on how to make these amazing ornaments (in any shape you want).

 

And of course the best part of the season, spending each day with this cutie pie.

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy Hanukkah. And never forget this wise saying (which is my favorite):

 

 

Cottage Design Floral Holiday Home Decor

A Beautiful and Affordable Tablescape for Thanksgiving Week

November 21, 2016

I am not one to change the look of my home on the inside for the seasons or holidays (Christmas is the exception), and I am not against it at all.  I do love to keep the fall decor outside and will add a few pumpkins, mums and pansies to the front porch and, very occasionally, I will break out the velvet pumpkins and add them to the front hall table. Fall to me is nature at its best. I love being outside in the wind with the leaves falling and the brilliant hues of the season. When the sun is out the changing colors of the leaves beam through my windows and reflect off the white interiors, reminding me of the beauty that is fall.  Once the leaves are gone the sun can fully come in – and I love the brightness it brings to my home. The bare trees showcase the many variety of  birds that come to visit our yard and were once hidden by the greenery. We have woodpeckers who visit and a huge family of chipmunks that I feed daily.

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{I have the best assistant}

 

I love tablescapes, and try to keep fresh flowers on my table daily. This can get expensive, unless you know what to look for. Most grocery stores sell flowers and greenery, and you will find that they sell “leftovers” for almost half the price of a full bouquet.  If they don’t have enough roses to make a dozen – they separate the flowers into smaller bouquets and sell them for a fraction of the cost. These are the bouquets I purchase.

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Start with a plain runner down the center of the table. This is an important step because if you need to  move the arrangement, you can just slide it forward or back and I have even moved it to a different location by sliding a piece of cardboard under the runner. Next add greenery that does not need a huge amount of water to thrive – specifically Eucalyptus. I recommend silver dollar eucalyptus for a light and airy look, then add seeded eucalyptus. I usually remove the leaves from the seeded stems because they are not very pretty and tend to die off before the seed pods.

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Next I like to add dry flowers and my favorite is pink or purple Limonium.  Separate the flowers and you will have literally dozens of small blooms to work with.  Add them to the mix, here and there, mainly around the perimeter for color and fullness. Cut stems back whenever possible so all you see are the blooms.

After adding in dried flowers it’s time to add your embellishments.  I found these adorable velvet acorns at my local Safeway food store, and I went back the next week and they were 50% off so I purchased a few more.  Place them randomly down the center of your table.  You can also use the real mini pumpkins, which I love.  I recommend white, but any color will work with this arrangement. I also like the larger velvet pumpkins but find they can be a bit clunky on the table and save them for the foyer or sideboard.

 

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I found these sweet gold acorns for half price last week – there are almost 30 in the container! They really add a great touch of color.

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After the pumpkins are in place it’s time to reevaluate and tweak and add flowers here and there. I had a few leftover roses from the foyer so I added five small glass vases to the mix. No need for dozens and dozens – this arrangement is very simple, yet makes a huge statement.

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I have not posted in a long while – getting used to thinking about my daughter being on a ship in the middle of nowhere was weighing heavily on me.  But I know in my heart she is safe and has a job to do. She is also a part of something bigger and I am so proud of all that she does. Here’s a photo of her on her first port call – Singapore, enjoying a well-deserved beer.

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Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

 

Cottage Foodie Diet Recipes

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten free, no butter or white sugar, no oil)

October 26, 2016

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 I have so many great memories when my kids were in school of having their friends over and baking cookies for “back to school” festivities.  Here’s a great cookie recipe that both kids and adults will love, with minimal fat, no white sugar, no butter and it’s gluten-free. They are amazingly thick and chewy and taste better than the usual chocolate chip cookies you are used to making.  Promise!

This recipe is for one batch of cookies.  Trust me – you will need to double it.  They are amazing.

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Ingredients

1 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter (not natural – natural pb will change the texture of the cookies)

2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 large eggs

2/3 cup rolled oats (I use Gluten free)

1 teaspoon baking soda

2/3 cup chocolate chips

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Instructions

 1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  In a small bowl, mix together the oats and baking soda, set aside.

3.  In a large bowl, beat peanut butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until creamy.  You can use an electric mixer, but a spoon works just as well.

4.  Add dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture, then gently fold in chocolate chips.

5.  Roll cookies into two inch balls and drop onto a baking sheet lined  with a Silpat.  You can also use a tablespoon measure to drop the cookies onto the sheet.  Do not flatten them.

6.  Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes, just until edges begin to brown.

They will look underdone, but will continue to cook on the baking sheet while cooling.

After they have cooled, transfer to a wire rack.

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Makes 16-20 cookies.

Enjoy!

Cottage Design Home Decor

Decorating with Architectural Elements

September 20, 2016

I love scouring flea markets and antique stores for architectural elements to include in my home decor. Using these vintage pieces adds visual interest and is a way to incorporate an antique vibe into your home without breaking the bank.

One of my favorite ways to add vintage architecture to your home is to look for old windows.  Antique windows come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they add visual interest to an otherwise boring wall, look great over a fireplace, make great “frames” for photos and I’ve even seen some made into chalkboards.

This is one of my all-time favorite vintage window frames used to decorate the space behind the sofa.  It has a very beachy vibe and a light and airy look. The glass panes were removed:

Here is another great example – an old window remade into a cabinet. I love the way this fits seamlessly into the decor:

 

Finding two of the same windows is very unusual, not to mention very lucky.  I love the way these windows are displayed here and the way the light plays off the glass panes:

And of course I love the window I found almost fifteen years ago-  for a song –  that I have displayed over my fireplace:

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Another great way to decorate with architectural embellishments is with antique pediments.  Doorways used to be framed with gorgeous, ornate pediments and they have become a rare commodity in the antique marketplace.

Here is a pediment used in a nursery.  The blue paint fits in perfectly with her blue antique cast iron cribs! The entire look is so perfect (and not just for a boys room – blue goes with everything!)

 

And here another is placed over a doorway in a hall.

Another easy way to add architectural interest in your home is to use old mirror frames. Many of the old frames are quite ornate and beautiful – with carvings and details that you won’t find on a more modern frame.  And, of course, you can have the mirror replaced and use it for it’s intended purpose, or be creative and use it like the one below which is fashioned to frame out her thread collection in the sewing room.  It looks amazing!

Still another way of adding vintage architectural items to your home is by using old corbels to make tables or shelves. Corbels were used outside on very decorative buildings and homes  under the eaves of the roof (either for support or decoration), and were also used to hold up awnings over front doors and around windows.

Here are some very large corbels made into an outdoor potting table:

This is my favorite and I want to do this in my bathroom:

Smaller corbels can be used as bookends or can actually be incorporated into your kitchen to add decoration to your kitchen island or cabinets.

If you are concerned about the paint on your antique pieces, you always have the option of stripping them and repainting or staining the pieces.  There are some great products on the market now that will seal off the paint and prevent it from chipping (I have used a few and they really do work)!  If you need the product names, feel free to contact me.

Start your search for these great architectural pieces at your favorite antique stores, flea markets, and barn sales. Ask to look out back where they keep salvaged items and pieces they might be repainting or fixing up for a future sale  – you’ll be amazed at the great things you’ll find right at your back door.

 Enjoy!

Check out my Pinterest for more great architectural ideas!

Cottage Design Home Decor Styling

Charm in Colorado

August 12, 2016

I was so fortunate to be able to write about my amazing and sweet friend, Victoria Hayden, for the September issue of Romantic Homes Magazine. I hope you enjoy her story as much I enjoyed writing it. Click the link to follow Victoria’s amazing Instagram feed, @the.frenchmade.home.

 

As you look out any window in Victoria Hayden’s Colorado home, your eyes are met with sprawling views of the Pikes Peak Mountain range and the Colorado Springs valley below. The views inside, however, are decidedly French Cottage, thanks to Victoria’s skills at styling along with her large collection of vintage French accessories.

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Victoria and her husband, Walter, bought their home four years ago and were met with a builder-grade family room that had bright and glorious views from four large picture windows surrounded by 18-foot-high ceilings. Rather than cover these windows with heavy drapes, Victoria chose to let the light shine in and emphasize her love of all things French. “I have always been drawn to everything French and cottage since I can remember,” she says.

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Throughout her many years of treasure hunting, Victoria has amassed a wonderful collection of French enamelware. “What once was used for everyday life is now highly collectible by many,” she says. One of her favorite ways to display her enamelware is to add fresh flowers in a variety of colors. “I like to think about who might have used it and what their life might have been like,” she says.

 

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To balance out the large space above her fireplace, Victoria and her husband designed a French Trumeau mirror.  “I am the dreamer and visionary, and my husband is the logician and craftsman,” she says. With a few pieces of molding, a base and her ingenuity, (as well as a little help from Walter), she crafted the gorgeous mirror that now adorns the area above her fireplace.

 

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Victoria fills her light-infused home with pops of her signature colors: red, pink and turquoise. These colors add a bright touch, yet appear subtle and soft when paired with her white sofas, natural woods and gold highlights. She prefers to accessorize with vintage items as opposed to purchasing newer accessories.  “I would rather buy something for my home that is old and has character. To me, vintage and antique pieces tell a romantic story,” says Victoria. She adds “It is very important to me to fill my home with only things that I love.”

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Victoria will be coming out with her own blog, online store and her very own fabric line later this year.  For now, you can view her gorgeous home and follow her DIY projects on her Instagram, @the.frenchmade.home.

Cottage Foodie Diet Recipes

Lemony Arugula Zucchini Spaghetti

July 22, 2016

I love a great dish of pasta – be it made with real Spaghetti or some sort of spiralized vegetable, like zucchini.  Most people think that they are ditching the calories by spiralizing the zucchini then dumping a ton of red sauce or meat sauce on top with cheese. WRONG. The sauce is what is bad for you. Next time, go your garden or produce section for your sauce. Fresh arugula, parsley with lemon and garlic.  That’s all you need! You will end up with a healthier, lighter version that is made with no oil, no salt, and can be made gluten-free and vegetarian. And Vegans can skip the cheese. A win-win.

I like to mix regular spaghetti noodles with spiralized zucchini for the best flavor. And you meat lovers can add crispy pancetta or bacon.

Lemony Arugula Zucchini Spaghetti

12 ounces dried spaghetti (or 4 cups spiralized zucchini – if mixing – use 6 ounces of spaghetti to two cups zucchini noodles)

1/4 cup chicken broth (or vegetable)

3 tablespoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons black pepper

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 -1/2 ounces freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

3 cups baby Arugula

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Chopped fresh parley to taste

Finely diced and lightly sautéed pancetta or bacon (optional)

 

1. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling water. Reserve one cup of the pasta water, drain, set aside.

2. With a spiralizer or Vegetti (you can buy these for $3 at your grocers) make enough vegetable “spaghetti” (see measurements above)

3. If you are using pancetta or bacon, cook in a large skillet until crisped. Add chicken stock, garlic, red pepper flakes and black pepper.  Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

4. Add the lemon juice to the skillet, then add the drained pasta and zucchini and toss to coat. Add the parm and toss; if it is too dry add pasta water slowly –  a tablespoon at a time – just enough to help the cheese coat the pasta. Add the arugula and toss until it wilts, about 1 minute. Season to taste with additional pepper and red pepper flakes. Top with the lemon zest and fresh parsley and add extra parm if you so desire.

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Enjoy!

 

Design Home Decor Shopping Slipcovers

The Care and Keeping of Slipcovers

July 20, 2016

Slipcovers.

You’ve come a long way, baby.

 

{Yikes it’s Great Aunt Gladys sweating on a vinyl slipcover}

 

Back before home air conditioning was available, plastic or vinyl slipcovers were made for upholstered furniture during the summer months to protect it from sweat (and you thought your mom was just doing this to be annoying!). Slipcover tailors in the United  States were often referred to as ‘”Summer Millionaires” because of the high demand during the hot summer months. Since then, slipcovers have evolved into an industry of their own.

Most major furniture manufacturers, whether high-end or discount, offer many of their upholstered pieces with a slipcover option. Whether your sofa is soft and cushy with tons of ruffles or modern and edgy with clean lines, chances are there’s a slipcover just ready and waiting for it.

{A very modern chair slipcovered from Crate and Barrel}

 

{A lovely modern chair with patterned slipcover by Serena and Lily}

I’ve been using slipcovers for over two decades, and have learned the best ways to care for them and want to share that knowledge with you.

I have always had white slipcovered furniture (with one exception – when my husband – then boyfriend – bought a 20 piece sectional sofa that was brown plaid and it was so big we could not fit the whole thing in one room. I still have nightmares.)  My fabric of choice is heavy, white denim.  I have used less substantial fabrics, but they drastically cut back on the life of the slipcover. Repeated sitting, spot-cleaning, washing and stretching them to fit after cleaning breaks down the fibers in the seams. The sturdier the fabric, the longer your slipcovers will last.

 

{The cute slipcovered chairs on the right look awesome with the modern leather chesterfield sofa}

 

Custom made slipcovers are a bit more expensive than ready-made, but they will last much longer than those produced en masse. If you do opt to buy manufacturer’s pre-made slipcovers, always ask if they have been pre-washed.  Many upholstery fabrics have been treated with stain resistant chemicals that will wash off in the laundry and they MUST be dry-cleaned. If your slipcover says “dry clean only”, I would heed that advice.  If you have a stain you cannot remove, and you’ve gone against the recommended cleaning guidelines by washing it at home instead of dry-cleaning, chances are you will void any warranty that was included with your purchase.

 

{a lovely slipcovered ottoman/coffee table}

 

I have been singing the praises of my white slipcovers for years and for good reasons. Here are a few for “going to the white side:”

1.  No fading from the sun.  It is amazing what ambient UV light can do to fabric.  White does not fade.

2.  You can bleach away just about anything, from red wine to dirt, to jean dye that has rubbed off from new jeans (yep, I’ve experienced all of this).

3.  They always look clean and fresh, even with just a quick vacuuming.

Mine have been through 20 years of family life: from toddlers to pre-teens, teenagers to twenty-somethings, and survived. Are they flawless?  No.  But they are still extremely presentable and there are only two small spots on one cushion that I can’t get out and I think this might be leftovers from when my daughter tried to color them orange with a Sharpie. (Dad was on Mom Duty that day.)  It is best to purchase your fabric first, and wash and dry it several times. This will just about guarantee that there will be no shrinkage and it also breaks in the fabric nicely so it is soft and pliable.

Most fabric stores have tailors that work exclusively for them. This is how my slips were made.  A wonderful man came to my house and took all my furniture along with my pre-washed fabric. He returned everything several weeks later with custom made slipcovers that fit perfectly. Some tailors will measure your furniture at your home then make them in their studio. But for a truly custom fit, it’s best that the tailors have access to your furniture while they are sewing the slips.

Line the skirt (the bottom portion of your slip) whenever possible. This makes the skirt slightly stiffer and it will hold the shape nicely.  And you need a bit of extra “oomph” at the bottom because that area of the sofa will see the most abuse from shoes, dust, etc.

Include piping whenever possible, especially on seat cushions. Piping adds another two layers of protection: You have a regular seam which holds two pieces of fabric together – add some piping- and you have four layers of fabric and two seams.  Very tough to rip through.

{A beach-inspired slipcover with white piping.  Your piping can be a different color or the same color – but it is safer and easier to clean if you stick with one color}

A Word on Zippers

 

 

Always use the best-quality zippers possible, preferably with large teeth.  I think the belief is that matching the color of the zipper to the fabric is the right thing to do – but those zippers are plastic and you should never use plastic zippers on slipcovers. There are many affordable metal ones made from brass or aluminum, and they will not show at all.  My slipcover zippers are similar to the one on the top right, except the teeth are silver.  They have never broken or bent and are in perfect condition.  I advise pre-washing these too – as some cotton tape on the zippers will shrink causing the fabric to bunch up.

Some tailors use buttons instead of zipper for chairs.  I think this is fantastic and I am a big fan of dressmaker details for slips. I don’t recommend them for larger pieces though.

 

{Love the gorgeous covered button details on this chair}

{and this chair}

 

 

 

{love these nautical themed slipcovers and how they have transformed these very plain and inexpensive bar stools}

 

Washing your Slipcovers

They key to keeping your slipcovers white and fresh is washing them every few months. I have used diluted bleach in extreme circumstances in the washer and for spot-cleaning, but there is a better option.  I have had tons of success using Rit Laundry products. Both of these can be purchased from Amazon (no affiliate links here – just honest advice!)

 

{Rit Whitener and Brightener powder}

{Rit Whitener and Brightener liquid}

Rit products have been around for decades and they are truly wonderful and affordable.  I add the powder or liquid (depends on which one I have on hand at the time) in addition to Oxi Clean and my regular detergent.  The slips come out of the wash looking brand new. If you have stains, I recommend spot treating with the diluted bleach option first.  The best stain remover I have come across is Club Soda (this is how I removed the red wine and orange Sharpie).  Sometimes I will just add Club Soda to the wash load. It is an amazing stain remover and brightener.

Remove your slips from the washer and lay across chairs – not across your upholstery pieces as this will create a mold environment.

 

{My dining room turned in to a slipcover drying station}

 

Spread them out over chairs, so that the air can circulate around them.  I usually just do one sofa at a time (for lack of drying room).  Once they are dry,  you can fluff them in the dryer on the “no heat” setting or put them back on the furniture immediately – they will soften up on their own over time. Some people recommend putting the slips back on when they are damp,  but I do not. Under damp conditions, mold can grow between the slip  and sofa.

Putting slipcovers on can be a hard work.  You will have to work your way around the sofa, easing and pulling fabric, so that each corner fits.  Start with one back side, then move to the corresponding arm, then to the next arm, and lastly, over the back of the sofa.  It may require several tries to get them back on. You will work up a sweat and are allowed to skip the treadmill on slipcover days.

After the slips are securely on the sofa, the loose fabric on the seats (underneath where the cushions go) will need to be tucked into the sofa.  I use a spatula or wooden spoon, ruler, or anything
straight.  This ensures that the slips will stay put and you get a nice, crisp look doing it this way.

 

{my spatula being put to good use!}

 

Lastly, put the fresh slips on the cushion pillows. Remember, if one side of your cushion gets ruined, you always have another side.  And you will add years to your slips by flipping your cushions often. If you want a more tailored look, lightly steam out the wrinkles with a hand-held steamer.

I am not a slipcover snob, I have two white sofas in my basement that I purchased from Ikea, covered with white slipcovers.  I have washed them and they came out perfect. Ikea slipcovers are very wrinkled – both after washing and when you take them out of the package new.  There is a way to get rid of those wrinkles.  Using a spritzer bottle filled with water, lightly mist the wrinkles and smooth them out with your hand. This really works!

 

(these are absolutely my favorite slipcovers, found on Pinterest}

 

Vacuum your slipcovers with the upholstery brush on your hand-held vacuum ever other week or so.  They will sparkle.

One of my favorite photos with freshly-washed slips:

 

famroom

 

Slipcovers transform the old and extend the life of your furniture for years- or in my case – decades. And to me they are worth their weight in gold.

I would love to hear your thoughts on slipcovers and how you care for them!

Enjoy!