Alina Sewing and Design


Everyone, meet Amy. Amy, this is everyone!


Amy is a 20-something mom to Brady and wife to Jimmy. Brady made his entrance into the world eight months ago (which is crazy to me that it’s already been that long!).

A few months ago, Amy & Jimmy made the move to the community group that Cowboy (and I, by extension) lead. They have been at our church for a couple of years, but happened to live just a couple doors down from where our group meets, so they decided to join us a few months ago!

I don’t think I ever mentioned this, but my nanny job ended at the end of January when the youngest started school full-time. In the Lord’s providential timing, I was almost immediately flooded with upholstery jobs. By the end of January, I was booked through the end of May and had a wait list seven people deep!


A few weeks ago, Amy asked some of us girls in group to pray over her need for a part-time job where she could make some extra money that would work with having Brady or would be flexible with Jimmy’s rotation schedule. Almost immediately, light bulbs started coming on! Here I was, knee-deep in a tight schedule of jobs (I crammed as much in there as I could) where I had no leeway and was started to feel overwhelmed.

I grabbed her afterward as we were cleaning up some dishes and mentioned my idea to her…she called me the next day to see how soon we could start and the rest, as they say, was history!


Amy is a nurse by education and trade, so my line of work has been full of new information for her! So far she’s learned how to strip old upholstery off of furniture, thread a bobbin, thread my machine, cut on the bias, sew piping, and hand-sew cushions closed. I have to say, for someone who had never sewn until three weeks ago, I’m pretty blown away by her ability to learn and adapt quickly. She’s an extremely hard worker and she’s been a huge help to me! (AND she’s awesome to hang out with! It can be kind of boring to work by yourself in your house all day long!)


So now, I’ll let you get to know her a little better!

Amy, what is your….

Favorite color: PINK!
Birthday: December 24 (Christmas Eve baby!)
Favorite childhood food: crab rangoon
Favorite food as an adult: hummus! (She got excited about that one.)
Least favorite chore: dishes
Favorite chore: dusting
Favorite form of exercise: Zumba (I need to try that out!)

If you…

Had 30 minutes to do anything, what would you do? Drink coffee while reading a book
Had the chance to change your first name, what would you change it to? My middle name is Noel and I’ve always really liked it, so I would probably go by that!
Could stay a certain age forever, what age would you be? MAN! I don’t know…these questions are hard! I like all of the different experiences that each age brings.
Could learn how to do anything, what would it be? Probably speak all languages. “Hello, my name is Amy and I’m OMNI-lingual.” (OK, we’re seriously laughing over here! Oh, hold on…I think she’s injured herself…….OK, we’re good…I shouldn’t interview her while she’s stripping furniture.)

Now for some random…

What did you do growing up that got you into trouble? When I was learning how to play piano, I mastered the Entertainer…so much so that I eventually decided to see how fast and long I could play it. Every time the ice cream truck would come, I would run to the piano saying, “I can do it faster!” I played it until everyone in my house was yelling at me to stop!
What is something you’ve learned in the last week? I’ve really been learning to let go of the control we think we have and be willing to however God wants my life to go! It’s always such a relief to let God carry the burdens. (Easier said than done, friend, I know!)


How lucky am I to have her around?!? Both of our husbands start their first year of residency this summer, so we’ll both be moving, meaning this partnership of sorts is temporary. BUT, their top choice for residency is in North Carolina and if they get in, they’ll only be three hours away from us in Portsmouth, VA! Their match day (when they find out which residency they got into) is next Friday, the 15th, so say a little prayer for them! (And cross your fingers for me…I would love to have a friend that close!!)

Shelbi’s Side Chair and Shara’s Wingback: Before & After (+ a Custom Roman Shade)

*PHEW* I’m finally back! A couple of weeks ago, I decided to go ahead and update my Mac OSX to Mountain Lion (I was still running Leopard!), which means I was three system updates behind! It had gotten to the point where I couldn’t play videos or music because my browsers weren’t supporting flash or java without updates that required an updated OS. So….I finally did. What.a.mess. It crashed my harddrive. Luckily I had backed up with Time Machine a few days before, but when I restored everything, it had somehow managed to NOT capture any of my photos from the last two months. Then, I couldn’t back up anything with Time Machine using my existing external harddrive without completely erasing it and reformatting it (so now I have nothing saved that I don’t already currently have on my computer…I hope there’s nothing I needed!). THEN, none of the programs in my Adobe CS4 Design Premium would run. No Illustrator. No Photoshop. Nada. I uninstalled everything and was going to reinstall with my original disks, but they wouldn’t run the setup.exe file. I contacted Adobe multiple times and they were maddeningly unhelpful (and this is coming from someone who is very calm and kind to customer service reps…I know it’s not their fault!)….long story short, it was a long and arduous battle, but I finally got CS4 reinstalled this morning, so I can finally edit/watermark photos for blog posts again! So, you may be happy (or maybe not) to know I have a lot of backlogged posts coming this week. 🙂

So, first, I bring you two more recent upholstery jobs done!

This side chair came to me in the below shape. it was fairly obvious that it had several layers of paint on it, including green below the cream. Structurally, it was in great shape, it just needed a cosmetic update!

Shelbi Chair Before

And here she is after fillings in some cracks with wood putty, a few coats of glossy black paint and some luxe gold & cream fabric!

Shelbi Chair After

Just goes to show you how far some vision can go!Shelbi Chair Before and After


When Shara’s husband dropped off this wingback chair, it had definitely seen better days. Turns out, she had seen it while driving through a local neighborhood having an estate sale. And it was $5! She convinced her husband to buy it and have it reupholstered and it would be more like a $1,000 chair! Shara Wingback before

It had definitely seen better days; something (cats, I think) had clawed the life out of it, and it must’ve sat in the same place for many years, because one side was severely faded compared to the other side (that’s not just the lighting in the last picture above! It was really that faded!).

After spending a couple of days with it, it was a brand new chair! It got a brand new cushion, the wood got a refreshing coat of oil and, obviously, new upholstery.

Shara Wingback AfterShara Wingback Before and After copy

Some seriously dramatic differences, huh? I love my job!

Oh, also, if you follow the MYU facebook page, you’ve already seen this, but I also finished and sent off this custom roman shade for a client last week! The wide white and red canvas stripes are going into a little boy’s pirate-themed bedroom. So fun!

Justin Roman Shade


P.S. Here’s a sneak peak at what’s coming tomorrow! My favorite natural moisturizing oil combo + recipe.


What have you guys been up to?! I, for one, am glad to be back!


Stripping Old Upholstery, Rebuilding Seats and Reupholstering: Ginger’s Chair & Ottoman Play-by-Play

You guys…I am in love with this chair and ottoman. Seriously. But before I show you the finished product, let me first tell you about its meager beginnings with me. 🙂

When Ginger text me a picture of this chair, it definitely looked like it needed some love…in form of a completely rebuilt seat. When she dropped it off, she told me she had picked it up at a garage sale; the man she bought it from had tried to upholster it himself, but he suspected it was at least 60 years old (and he hadn’t bothered with the seat at all). This is the beginning of a verrry interesting story the chair began to tell me as I stripped back the original upholstery…

Let’s start here: the before. A collapsed seat and a chair entirely upholstered with tacks (i.e. abnormal). And the dust cover on the ottoman was hangin’ a mess. Not sure how or why, but it was. And, this may be something that only I pay attention to, but when you’re working with a pattern, you want it to be centered and/or at least line up with other parts of the furniture. I think, if all of these stripes lined up, the end result would have been much more impressive and aesthetically pleasing.

Ginger Chair 1

As I started to work the fabric off of the ottoman, I quickly realized that the previous owner had simply upholstered OVER the “original” upholstery. And then…THEN, I noticed what it was stuffed and padded with.

Ginger Chair 2

Let’s zoom in here, shall we? Hay. That’s hay in there. The stuff that horses eat. I’ve found some interesting things in furniture (lost sewing needles, anyone?), but never hay. That’s the stuff I only read about. “Congratulations,” I told myself, “you’re a REAL upholsterer now…”

Ginger Chair 3

I quickly texted Ginger about my discovery (after thanking the Lord that I don’t suffer from allergies!) and made sure she was OK with me stripping it all clean and starting fresh. She was. So, I pressed on to the hundreds of tiny little gold staples (is that what they used in the 70s?).

Ginger Chair 4

As I started pulling off the green, I noticed strands from other fabrics that must have graced the furniture previously–in blue and red. So, by my estimations, this was at least the fifth time this furniture (or at least the ottoman) has been reupholstered!

Ginger Chair 5

Did I mention I was grateful I don’t suffer from allergies? My husband would be a goner if he got anywhere near MOST of the furniture I upholster.

Ginger Chair 6

Once I had the ottoman stripped clean, I moved on to the chair. Yep, also stuffed with hay. Also: fun fact…you don’t use the jute webbing with black stripes for seats as it’s not strong enough to take the abuse in the long run. Always use jute webbing with the red stripes for seats. Save the black for arms (like inside of a wingback) or seat backs. Exhibit A: black striped jute…collapsed seat.

Ginger Chair 7 Ginger Chair 8

At the end of day one, I had completely clean frames (halelujah!), ready for rebuilding. If you’re doing this yourself, here’s another great place to stop and look over the frame itself. Watch out for weak/loose joints, cracks in the frame, rotting wood, etc. Any one of those things and you’ll need to spend some time with the frame itself. Or, you may decide it’s not worth it. Either way, know that this is your foundation; if it’s not strong, it won’t matter how well you upholster it.

Fortunately for me, Ginger and this chair, this frame was in perfect condition. Unbelievable condition for being 60 years old. The most it had going against it was the hundreds of staple holes from being upholstered so many times.

Ginger Chair 9

Day two: rebuilding the seat! First, the jute webbing (remember: red for seats!).

Ginger Chair 10 Ginger Chair 11

Then, the foam…

Ginger Chair 13

Then, the cotton…

Ginger Chair 14

Then, the actual upholstery.

Ginger Chair 15
Repeat process on ottoman…

Ginger Chair 12
And FINALLY…the finished product! You can see why I’m in love here, right?! Ginger is a photographer here in Wichita and there’s already been talk of using the ottoman in a newborn shoot. Killer. A piece of me goes with every upholstery job, but this one is really special, and I think it’s the ottoman that puts it over the top for me.

Ginger Chair 16Ginger Chair 17Ginger Chair 18Ginger Chair 19Ginger Chair 20Ginger Chair 21Ginger Chair 22Ginger Chair 23

I know…incredible, right? I asked Ginger if I could keep it and she said only if I stayed in Wichita…temping, friend.

Ginger was given my name and number by a mutual friend who heard she needed someone to upholster a bench back in Deeember. So, this is actually the second upholstery job I’ve done for Ginger! Be on the lookout for the blog post about her bench–she found it in a dumpster and it was missing a leg, so she ordered a replacement leg (ha!) and is waiting for it to arrive, and then will snap some “after” pictures for us! (Mine are just of a legless bench sitting on the ground, haha!) Ginger is SO sweet and we were fast friends AND she’s so talented. If you’re looking for a photographer in the Wichita area, Ginger would be so great to work with!


Linda’s Cottage Cane Chairs

Good morning, friends!

If you’ve ever worked with me or gotten an upholstery quote from me, you know how I do things: you e-mail/message/text me a picture or two of your furniture, I ask my questions (i.e. do you want it re-tufted, do you want the cushion to have a zipper, etc.), and then I give you a quote.

A few months back, Linda, of Embellished Rabbit (she is a vendor inside of The Cottage Collective!), started a conversation with me about upholstery and redoing some pieces she wanted to sell. That conversation has grown to include multiple pieces of furniture and continues to be ongoing. She’s SO great to work with–she has a vision that she can communicate clearly and is so, so nice. She even warned me to protect my eyes when she sent me the below “before” pictures. 🙂

Let me stop here to tell you how talented this woman is…if you’re local to Wichita, you NEED to get to The Cottage ASAP to see her room. She never ceases to blow me away with how beautifully she styles her room. And she does it all–furniture, accent pieces, signs, antique and vintage knick-knacks, handmade items, then styling it in such a way that you feel you need to either take it all home or not buy anything so as not to disturb the beauty (but of course you buy whatever it is that caught your eye because you can’t possibly go home without it). Seriously…talent. And I don’t say that lightly. My mom and I LOVE her room.

OK, back to the matter at hand: her chairs. She sent me the below “before” pictures of two cane chairs she had picked up. Before she brought them to me, she actually stripped them back and painted/distressed the frames. (see? talent.)


I didn’t get a good picture of what they looked like when she brought them to me, but you can see them below in one of my Instagram photos!


And after a day with them, I had them back in clothes. 🙂 They’re upholstered in drop cloth, which gives you a beautiful linen look that will be very durable. The end result was completely a team effort between Linda and I and I LOVE how they turned out.

LindaChairsAfter1LindaChairsAfter3 LindaChairsAfter2LindaChairsAfter4

There are two available and she’s going to be selling them in The Cottage Collective–make sure to contact her!

FREE Antique/Vintage Chairs!

A few months back, this lot of antique and vintage chairs found their way into my possession. And they’re hanging out in my garage, begging for love and attention. They’re just the bare bones–if they even have a seat/seat back, the guts are falling out of the bottom. BUT, they’re so unique and SO beautiful…they’re in the perfect stage to be completely customized for someone.

MYU Antique Vintage Chair Deal

So since I don’t want to move them across the country in a few months, I’m offering them up for free–all you have to do is pay for the materials and labor. Paint, stain, distressing, waxing, fabric…you customize every detail!

The middle three are rocking chairs and the two on the ends are regular chairs. And actually, the middle guy is already sold for a client’s nursery!

Consider this the preliminary introduction–check out the album on our facebook page to see lots of detail shots!


Meet Monroe.

Antique Chair 1

And Serena (my personal favorite).

Antique Chair 5

Winston. (Who’s already sold!)

Antique Chair 7

This is Sadie.

Antique Chair 10

And, finally, another favorite, Isybella.

Antique Chair 13

Make sure you check out the facebook album to see the rest of the pictures!


P.S. If you are a hardcore DIY-er and want to fix/finish and upholster the frames yourself, you may buy the frames for $99. (Still a steal for antique frames!)

New in the Shop :: “The Stephanie” iPad Case

A few months ago, I sat down to make my list of Christmas gifts I wanted to make and buy. Mostly, I erred on the side of handmade. For my step-mom, specifically, I knew I wanted to make an iPad case. I hadn’t made an iPad case before, and she had mentioned wanting a Vera Bradley case for Christmas, so I nonchalantly asked her over lunch one day to sit down and tell me which styles of iPad bags she liked best out of what I had pulled up online. She was unknowingly telling me exactly what she wanted for Christmas, haha! *cue sneaky face* It worked beautifully AND she had some good ideas that I did implement (having a more “fancy and expensive” option and then also having a more “simple and affordable” option for people to choose from).

So, I drafted some patterns and launched the “fancier” design last month. And now that Christmas has passed, you get the simple option!

Without further ado, I introduce you to The Stephanie iPad/Tech Case. 🙂

The Stephanie Collage

They are lightly padded for protection and have a front pocket for pens, paper, power cords, glasses or whatever else you may want to carry. The theme for this batch is polka dots, anchors and paisley. And a little unique, fun feature on this batch is that they all have vintage zippers! They’re going to be priced at $24.50, so they’re priced to sell! Get them while they’re hot! 😉


Happy Tuesday, friends!




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