Alina Sewing and Design

I’m Here and I’m Alive!

The first time I typed my title, I typed, “I’m Here and I’m Alice!” So, just call me Alice today! 😉

We’ve been doing so much that I feel completely disoriented. I’m so used to traveling on the weekends that, after moving this weekend, I felt like it was time to drive home to Kansas City. What a strange feeling to stay! Since I was off yesterday and today, I feel like maybe I’m just staying for an extra couple of days before driving “home.” So weird…

But, I’m happy to report that our move went smoothly, everything is here, and almost everything is put away. We have some really, really super awesome friends (Alex & Krissy!) that helped us move. Lauren’s parents were moving (across town) this weekend too, so her and Tyler were already here. Since I had previously moved everything but the last few bits of furniture, it only took about 30 or 45 minutes to unload once my stuff we got here. We then found out that Lauren’s family was quickly approaching their deadline to be out of their old house and they were only halfway done, so Alex, Krissy, Cowboy and I drove over there to help. It was a looooong day, to say the least. Sunday, we all slept in, had a big breakfast and just hung around until everyone left mid-afternoon for KC.

As far as the new house, we are loving it! Furniture is in place, for the most part, and I’ve been doing the small 5-minute projects here and there so that I feel like I’m accomplishing something! I’ll be taking pictures for a preliminary house tour and updating you with the small projects I’ve been doing this week. I hung the first item on the walls tonight (a mirror in the entry way) and can I just say that I am not a fan of plaster walls? HOLY.COW.

Anyway–more to come this week…can’t wait to show you the new digs!

P.S. Is everyone done decorating for fall? I’m so ready to start mine, but I’m afraid it will be time to decorate for Christmas by the time I get settled, lol! Oh well, bring on the Christmas trees!!

Spray-Painting Your Countertops

Umbrellas, I originally had a different post planned for today, but then I saw something WAY better. Lauren’s mom, Maureen, recently started a blog and as I was reading through her recent posts, I came across this.

She took this countertop:

to THIS:

using these!

Brilliant. B-R-I-L-L-I-A-N-T! I have a feeling this will be an answer to prayer for those of you who can’t afford to replace your countertops, but still want to update things. She gives a full tutorial on how she did it here.

Go visit Maureen’s blog My Love of Home and thank her for her brilliance!

The Characters of My Life

**Note: I do realize that the followers box isn’t working about 99% of the time. It’s a google problem and I’m stuck waiting for them to fix! Sad. 🙁 Thanks for your patience!

Umbrellas, I realize I’m always talking about all of the wonderful people in my life, so I thought why not give you a short bio about each of them? I refer mostly to Cowboy, Lauren and Krissy (and their husbands). Lordy, there are so many awesome people around me, but since I don’t want to overload you with awesomeness today, you only get these five people!


Simply put, he is the love of my life and my almost-husband (3.5 more months!). He earned the nickname, Cowboy, on our second date. His name is one that can be shortened, so I asked what he preferred to be called (implying the short or the long version) and he said, “You can call me Cowboy.” Thus, the name was born. I first told you about him here, but you can read our story here. Somewhere between juggling med school, being an officer in the navy and planning a wedding with me, he has forever become my hero (for lots and lots and LOTS of other things too…like his heart for serving others, his spiritual leadership and his ability to get along with anyone on the planet)!
Lauren & Tyler

Um, they’re just about the cutest couple ever, right?! Lauren and Tyler were both a part of my life in the past (in Wichita), but we weren’t close until we all moved to Kansas City. Lauren’s brother played basketball with my brother and Tyler’s dad was my track coach in high school. Then they got married and moved to Kansas City. When I moved to Kansas City, Lauren and I decided we should follow through with our intentions to hang out. So, we met for coffee…and then Lauren ended up getting a job at the same ad agency I work for! A year and a half ago, her husband, Tyler, invited me over for Lauren’s surprise birthday party. While we were all waiting for them to arrive home, I met…

Krissy & Alex

They swear they are going to move to San Diego as soon as possible, so it’s only fitting that I include a photo of them on the beach. Alex went to school with Lauren, so the four of them started hanging out. When we all met at Lauren’s surprise party, I was welcomed into the bunch. When Cowboy came into the picture, he too was grafted into the group (although, he actually knew Tyler in high school…small world, right?!). And it should also be noted that Alex also now works at the same ad agency as Lauren and I. Awesomesauce. 

P.S. This is Cooper. He is my 7-pound malti-poo (maltese+poodle mix). He turned one in March of this year, so he’s really still just a puppy. 

And that, my friends, is a round-up of my most-mentioned friends. Expect to see much more about these people (especially Cowboy…haha!)! 🙂

IKEA Hack: Planters

Happy hump day, umbrellas!  You’re basically halfway through the week, which practically means it’s the weekend, right?! I mean…it IS practically Christmas already (at least Hobby Lobby thinks so). 😉

A few months ago, Krissy, Lauren and I went to Chicago for an IKEA trip. Yes, our trip truly started as a way to get ourselves into the nearest IKEA asap! All three of us girls had been eyeing their white ceramic planters for several months before going, so it was a definite on all three shopping lists. We all came home with three or four (or five) planters, but we all were a bit befuddled (ten-point word) as to why there were no drainage holes in the bottom!
Lucky for me, my friends are really smart. Lauren’s husband Tyler whipped out his diamond drill bits and we went to work giving our planters a drainage system!  
The trick is to apply steady, even pressure and to go slooowww. You want to feel like you’re applying pressure, but not so much as to put any weight into the drill (or so I hear…they actually did all of the drilling!)
Pardon the poor picture quality. Cell phone camera + dark = pitiful photo
Ta-da! We now have holes in our planters. 🙂
On a side note…here’s the tip of the day. If you don’t have a plastic liner for your pots (or are planting from seeds), you can use a coffee filter as a liner for the bottom. This allows water to drain while keeping the soil from falling through!
What have you guys “hacked” from IKEA (or any other big box store)?

DIY Tufted Ottoman – How I Did It for $50

Warning: this post turned into a novel, so grab some popcorn, a blanket a nice cold drink and enjoy your weekend!

All of this started with Pinterest. I love Pinterest…but it does nothing short of make my to-do list at least three times longer. And it sucks away my time. Seriously…it’s like I go into this pinning-coma. I forget to eat. I forget that staying up until midnight isn’t fun anymore. I forget to take the dog out (sorry, Cooper). However, despite having to set a Pinterest timer (so I’ll get OFF!), it’s paid off by bringing me some pretty stellar ideas (and making wedding planning easier).

Let me back up. When I moved to Kansas City (two years ago this past Monday!), I didn’t own a coffee table. In classic Alina fashion, I stalked Goodwill until a decent one showed up. It was solid wood and heavy as all get out (a requirement for me to buy a piece of furniture from Goodwill. It MUST be solid wood. Pressed wood and particle board make me shudder). It was in pretty good shape with only some minor wear and tear on the top, it was mostly modern/clean looking, it was simple and it was marked for $20. But I didn’t love it. I never have. It’s just kind of…blah. Nothing inspiring about it, you know? And I don’t like to be surrounded by things that stump my inspiration. 😉 (Additionally, the lip around the edge makes it painful to rest your feet on since it cuts into the backs of your ankles. No bueno!) I’ve toyed with the idea of painting it, stripping and re-staining it (to take care of the damage on top), and I’ve even thought about tiling the top with some kind of glass tile. But none of it really struck my fancy.

Enter Pinterest. There I was, sinking deeper into the abyss, when I saw this:

I stopped everything and immediately straightened up from my slumped position (I might have even stopped breathing for a second). I looked at the blog post behind the pin, looked at my coffee table, looked at the picture, looked at my coffee table. And the biggest light bulb to date arose above my head. I immediately pinned it, “DIY Tufted ottoman…yes, I will!!!”

And yes, I did. Within five days, I had started this project with no intention of stopping.

The original blog post is from Five Days…Five Ways. Turns out, I’ve pinned multiple pins from her blog without even realizing it! She offered a GREAT jumping-off point for this project, but I ultimately followed a tutorial she linked to within her post; Kristi at Addicted 2 Decorating offered a step-by-step tutorial (with pictures) on how to make a diamond-tufted upholstered headboard.

Here’s how I did it:

Last Friday night, I had gotten home from work, picked up my computer and opened Pinterest (it’s a problem). I saw this pin again and knew I wanted to start this project ASAP, so I texted my two best friends here in KC (you might recognize them from our recent trip to Chicago) to see if either of them (i.e. their husbands) owned a saw. I needed to take at least six inches off of the table legs to make it short enough. Within a few minutes, Lauren had invited me over to hang out…and to saw my table legs in half. (Seriously…I have the coolest friends ever.) As luck would have it, these legs screw into the bottom of the table, so I just unscrewed and loaded them up.

Here’s where her husband, Tyler, took over and became a project hero. I marked a line six inches from the bottom with a permanent black marker and he went to town with the saws (his electric saw wouldn’t go all the way to the middle, so he made finishing cuts by hand). Awesome. As you may notice, three of the four legs have masking tape around them; when Tyler made cuts on the first leg, a corner splintered off. Lauren lent me some masking tape and I wrapped the edge I was keeping, which saved us from any further splintering!

(Side note: aside from being a DIY-project hero, Tyler shoots and edits awesome videos like this in his spare time. Tyler = awesomesauce, I know.)

The next morning, I got out my electric sander to clean up the bottoms, edges and the corner that had splintered. The stain Cowboy and I used on the entry way table we built earlier this year just so happens to match the table, so I gave the raw wood one coat and left it to dry for the day.

After measuring the table and deciding I wanted four inches of foam for padding, the girls and I went to Hobby Lobby…hands full of their on-the-website-every-week 40% off (of one item) coupon. As [more] luck would have it, I ended up buying two packages of poly foam and batting (which = three items). Three items, three girls and three 40% coupons later, I had spent only $29.38 on $48.96 worth of material. All for printing off a coupon (or ten. seriously…do it…this foam isn’t cheap!).

Lauren and Krissy with foam, batting, my coupons and my cash!

Also…this requires super friends who will go to Hobby Lobby with you and will go through the line with your item and cash, just to save you some money. 🙂

Later that night, I marked my diamond pattern on the back of the table in a 7-inch pattern. I used my dremel to drill the holes where I had marked, put the legs back on (and added the original pads back onto the bottoms) and flipped it over to start adding the foam padding. You’ll want to use an electric carving knife to cut the foam. It cuts like butta’.

The next day, I went to Jo-Ann’s to get my fabric and fabric button kit. The girls and I had gone the day before, but after Krissy asked an employee, we found out that they had a 50%-off fabric coupon in their mailer…that was valid starting the next day. Additionally (this is important!), she told us about their quarterly “fashion magazine” (that’s what they call it and that’s what you need to ask for). It costs $3, but it has six coupons on the back for 50% off (x2), 40% off (x2) and 30% off (x2). So, what I’m telling you is that I went home and came back the next day to buy that fashion magazine (the coupons weren’t valid until the next day!). I ended up getting 50% off of both my fabric and off of the fabric button kit, which saved me $17.99 (minus $3, the cost of the fashion magazine). People, ALWAYS ask about available coupons. I never would have known about this magazine had Krissy not asked. When I asked for it at the register the next day, the cashier said, “Oh, you must be a seasoned Jo-Ann’s shopper if you know what that is!” (Little did he know it was the first and only purchase I’ve ever made at Jo-Ann’s. Thanks for the credit, Mr.)

Next came the tufting. (1) Cover the buttons with your fabric. (2) Lay down your batting and fabric…and make sure you’ve gotten all of your wrinkles out before starting this part! (3) I used cotton string from the dollar store. It’s pretty thick, so I think it should hold (and not stretch), but I’ll let you know. 🙂 I also didn’t want to spend several dollars on an upholstery needle, so I just used the longest one I had on hand.  Once I had hollowed out holes in the foam (4), it was easy enough to reach through for the needle. (5) Start tufting and stapling the string underneath (6). (7) Once all your tufts are done (and you’re happy with how they look…I actually ended up re-doing one of my original ones because it was much tighter than the rest), staple the extra fabric underneath, pulling everything nice and taut! (8) Tackle the corners. I found it easiest to pull the center down from the top, secure with staples, then pull the sides across one another. However, this left me with unfinished corners and exposed staples.

To clean up the corners, I created a strip of fabric from the extra fabric. I wrapped it around a piece of cardboard I had trimmed to the width I wanted, then hot glued the fabric to itself (creating a “tube” of sorts once I pulled the cardboard out) and trimmed off the excess. I then laid it on the corner, lining up the top of the strip just over where my staples were. I secured it with a couple of dots of hot glue (so it would stay straight and not move), and then covered the seam with upholstery tacks. These tacks are not meant to be driven into solid wood without a little help, so I used a finishing nail (its width the same size as the tack) to start a hole for them. I used 13-14 tacks on each corner and then pulled the rest of the strip around and stapled it underneath. (Side note: I never stapled or glued anything directly into/onto the legs, just in case I ever need to take them off. They are literally just wrapped in fabric.)

Before I finished the corners, I REALLY liked the ottoman. I just didn’t like how the legs looked so separate from the top. However, once I “wrapped” the legs and finished the corners, I LOVED it! It gave everything a polished look and made the legs and top feel like one seamless piece.

Are you ready for the final reveal??!

Here she is!

And just because I’m a sucker for a good before and after:

Finally, a few breakdowns for those interested…

List of materials I used:

  • Saw (Lauren & Tyler’s)
  • Stain
  • Spray adhesive
  • Poly foam
  • Batting
  • Electric carving knife (Krissy’s)
  • Fabric
  • Fabric button kit (7/8″ size)
  • Cotton string
  • Needle
  • Staple gun & staples 
  • Hot glue gun
  • Decorative upholstery tacks
  • Measuring tape & pencil/pen to make measurement marks
  • Dremel + drill bit
  • Hammer
  • Finishing nail (to start a hole small enough for the tacks)

Amount of time invested:
This was done in bits and pieces over the weekend, so here’s how it broke down:

  • Sawing, sanding and staining legs: 1 hour
  • Drilling holes in table, piecing foam together, marking foam: 3 hours
  • Tufting and stapling: 4 hours
  • Finishing corners and adding nailhead trim: 1.5 hours
  • TOTAL: 9.5 hours


  • Foam: $38.98 regular, I paid $23.38 after coupons (Hobby Lobby)
  • Batting: $9.98 regular, I paid $5.98 after coupons (Hobby Lobby)
  • Gray microsuede fabric: $25.98 regular, I paid $12.99 after coupons (Jo-Ann)
  • Button kit: $9.99 regular, I paid $5.00 after coupons (Jo-Ann)
  • Upholstery tacks: $4.47 (Jo-Ann)
  • Spray adhesive: already owned from previous project
  • Heavy cotton string: already owned, but purchased a large roll at the Dollar Tree
  • Tools: already owned 🙂
  • Stain: already owned from previous project
  • Table: already owned (but I only paid $20 for it at Goodwill!)
  • TOTAL: $51.82 (without coupons, this would have cost $89.40, so I saved $37.58!)

I will leave you by saying that my ottoman is a little bigger than this tufted bench from Restoration Hardware. And it cost me at least $450 less. 🙂

And with that, my friends, I bid you an awesome weekend. See you Monday!

You can also see me at:
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
At the Picket Fence
Simply Designing
House of Hepworths
Perfectly Imperfect
Miss Mustard Seed
The DIY Showoff
Sugar Bee Crafts
Giggles, Glitz & Glam
Tip Junkie
Coastal Charm
All Thingz Related

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Repurposed Burlap Coffee Bag

You guys may remember when I came home with this burlap bag last year from the Roasterie. I’ve been saying I was going to do something with it since then. That was almost eight months ago! I thought about framing it, hanging it on a wall, using it to make burlap baskets (which I still might do), but last month I finally decided: I was going to make a custom pillow for the chaise lounge in my living room.

I cut out the piece I wanted to use…

…and backed it with some cream-colored canvas.

I sewed those pieces together and then sewed that piece to the back, flipped it back to outside-out, stuffed it and whip-stitched it closed!

I love it! Really fun memory too.

Since the burlap coffee bag was free, the only cost for this was the canvas and the polyfill. I actually found a bag of unused/unopened polyfill at Goodwill for 99 cents a couple of months ago and Hobby Lobby’s canvas was 25% off last week, so this pillow cost me around $7 (and I have quite a bit of canvas left over!).

Mostly, this pillow cost me some sanity. I don’t claim to be great at sewing, but my sewing machine (a Christmas present this past year) has been having some issues with jamming, mis-threading and just simply not working correctly. I asked my friend Ashley (who is an expert in my opinion…at least compared to me!) to look at it and she was stumped too. Her husband had taken hers to Missouri Sewing Company in Overland Park. So off to the experts we went. Apparently my machine is a “coffee maker machine”…basically meaning it was really only made to sew really thin cottons…or you will use it for a few months and it will break. I beg to differ since it started acting up when I was sewing really thin cottons. Regardless, the lady who helped me was extremely nice and helpful! She told me that between her and the other woman working, they had a combined 80 years of experience with sewing. Then she sent me off with a machine that seemed to be working and a brand new needle. I highly recommend them for any sewing questions if you’re in the area!
So, I may not be sewing any more burlap & canvas combos on my machine in the near future, but at least I have this one. 🙂


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