speaking of…

I went to get my hair cut and colored today, which is always a treat, but it does take a lot of time.  When I got home, I was ready to make the most of the two hours I had before I needed to pick the boys up from school.  I walked into the family room and saw my new rug from Pottery Barn had arrived.  It’s the Heathered Chenille Jute Rug.  It was in our room at the inn we stayed at in Charlottesville and it was just what I was looking for.  Fortunately, it had a tag on the bottom, the rug was still available AND it was on sale!  It’s natural jute, so it’s neutral and provides great texture, but it’s also soft, so we can play on it and exercise on it, which is important.  I bought my other jute rugs off Joss & Main, since softness wasn’t really a factor, but in in the family room, it had to be perfect.

So, I knew what I was going to work on!  Getting that rug in place, that’s what.  Now, I will say, this rug was really heavy…and I move stuff a lot and do P90x!  This was a challenge, but when home decor is involved, superhuman strength can take over.  I love it.  Jeff loves it.  Even my son said, “Oh mommy.  I like your rug you put there.”

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I love how it provides a neutral, yet interesting backdrop for my blues.  I just got it, so I’ll let you know how I feel about it after it’s been down for a few months.

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And, I had a “if you give Marian a morning” moment and noticed the awesome twill ties that came on the rug.  I have just the place for these!

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My mom and I made a custom feather insert for an antique grain sack and I still needed ties for it.  The cream twill is just what it needed.

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I cut them to size and sewed them on by hand.

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I usually have no problem hacking up grain sacks to use for projects, but this one has my first and middle initial, so I really wanted to keep it intact.

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Speaking of pillows, I made one on Wednesday out of a piece of vintage needlepoint made by my husband’s grandmother.  She did beautiful work and I’m glad I was able to use something she made.  It has a lot of blue in it, but brings in some other colors as well.

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And, speaking of sewing and vintage linens, my mom and I also finished the cushion cover for the sofa in the living room.  Here’s a peek at it…

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Remember this one?  It’s my $100 Craig’s List find…

All of the upholstery was done in antique hemp sheets, which looks amazing.  They give gorgeous texture, but are thick and durable. I will be adding some to my online shop soon!

Instead of trying to make everything perfect, I showed off the hand-stitched seams and imperfections in the fabric.  I think they are lovely and give the piece character that you just can’t get with new fabric.

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Instead of loading it up with pillows, I’m just going to make a small bolster for each side and maybe have a small pillow.  This sofa just doesn’t need a lot of pillows.

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And, speaking of sofas, I saved up enough money for “the sofa” for our family room.  (See it in the plan below.)

family room collage

It’s the Brooklyn leather sofa in toffee from Pottery Barn.  I ordered it yesterday and actually had a pit in my stomach afterward.  I am such a bargain hunter that it’s really hard for me to drop a bunch of money on one thing.  Forget buying a car.  My husband has to go without me, because I’m a mess.  And buying a house?  Let’s not even go there.  So, anyway, this is not anywhere as stressful as that, but it was tough.  I was able to sell other things and get creative to be able to buy it without pulling from our regular household income, so that eased the blow.  I’ll share how I did that in a separate post.

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So, the new sofa will be delivered next week, which I am so excited about.  I had no idea I would get it before Christmas!  Merry Christmas to me.

And, speaking of sofas…

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I have an extra one.  It’s a nine year old Ikea Ektorp sofa with a white twill slipcover.  And I would like to give it to someone.  So many people have been generous with us and God has blessed our business and family beyond measure, so we would like to give our sofa to someone in the hope that it would be a blessing to them.


I’ve found a wonderful home for the sofa with some newlyweds who I met (the bride, anyway) at the women’s conference I spoke at earlier this year.  It’s so interesting, because I actually thought of her when I was typing up this post and that’s just the kind of home I was hoping it would go to.

Speaking of getting rid of things…  I’ve decided to sell the antique 1800′s hutch in my living room.  I love, love this piece and it makes me sad to sell it, but the truth is that it’s too big for the wall I have it on.  I was going to paint it to make it blend in better, but I think it’s better to sell it and get something that is scaled better for the space.

I’m selling it for $850.  So, again, send me an e-mail if you’re interested in it and I can give more details.

Speaking of the hutch, I just bought a huge lot of ironstone from a local dealer and I can’t wait to pick through it all tomorrow…

Related posts:


  1. Lovely! I love everything. When you say “custom feather insert” do you mean you can buy feathers and just stuff your own size cushion insert you’ve made? Hmmm, will have to look where I can buy feather stuffing here in Australia …
    So excited to have your MMSMP over here by the way! Have been chatting with Veronica and getting excited with her about shipments arriving soon!

    • We actually took apart two other feather inserts that I had in my stash to make one that was the right size. You can buy just feather filling here in the US, though, so you can use them for custom projects. Get ready for a mess and a tickly nose!

  2. Congrats on saving up the money you needed for the new sofa! It’s going to look great in your space. I’m sure someone special will come to get your old sofa and will get many more years of use out of it. It’s pretty awesome that you’re giving it away.

    I love the pill you made! Beautiful colors. It’s always nice when an heirloom like that can be used and enjoyed. So many times things like that are shoved away in a drawer and no one ever sees them.

    I didn’t get a real good look at your rug, but it sounds wonderful!

  3. You simply amaze me Marian! Wow – the things you accomplish in such a short time are incredible! I am so excited for you getting your dream couch before Christmas! That’s a bonus for sure! I love how you’ve used the hemp sheets on your living room sofa. I would love to get my hands on one to slipcover an old chair, but I often look in our local antiques stores and never find any that are in good shape. I think the hand sewn seams are simple art – beauty in the hand-made-ness! I’m inspired to look through some of the old crewel and needlepoint that I have stashed away and just see if there is anything pillow worthy! I’m also still on the hunt for a dresser with broken/missing drawers that I can copy your shelf idea with – I think it would help keep our sunroom better organized! Thanks for sharing your lovely projects!

  4. Oh, why don’t I live closer? We need furniture, and I want a white one…. sigh!
    BUT What a grand thing to do- to give one away-
    it really IS better to give than receive, and God is going to honor your giving heart. Way to go friend!
    Can’t wait to hear who is blessed!

  5. With regard to your Ektorp couch, I wondered how and if you ever washed the cover? I just got one and I am unsure how to properly do this. I think my new cover is not preshrunk so I am not sure how to proceed…any advisement?
    Thank you!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

    • I just throw them in the washing machine in 2-3 batches on cold and then dry on low. Though they look bright white, they are a little off white, so bleach will spot them. I just use detergent and spot treatments.

  6. Jennifer Norrell says:

    We are looking at purchasing the Ikea Ektorp sectional & chair. Would you recommend this line since you’ve had yours for 9 years? Pros & cons? Thank you!

    • I think it’s a great budget sofa. We bought it for $300 nine years ago and it’s still in really nice condition considering the age and abuse. That’s a huge pro in my book. The cons…The seat cushions are made of layers of foam, so those layers are starting to separate from taking the slips off and on over the years. I was planning to fix them if we kept the sofa, though. It’s not as deep as more expensive sofas. My husband thinks it’s not very comfortable, but I’ve always felt like it was. If I only had a few hundred to spend on a new sofa, this is the one I would buy again, definitely.

  7. Wow! I can’t believe you just ordered your sofa and it’s coming in so soon. I order lots of things from Pottery Barn and it seems to take forever. Lucky you. I LOVE your grain sack pillow with the C and I on it. It would be so perfect in my home. Why you ask? Because my husbands name is Calvin and my name is Irene. : )

  8. Sarah Walker says:

    Love love the New French sofa. I love the cover you’ve made. Are you going to sale any iron stone? I havent had any luck finding any around here for a reasonable price!

  9. I can’t wait to see what your new sofa looks like and how you fluff your room with it!!

  10. Hi Marian! Not sure if you remember me, I met you at The Chapel Market. I was with my friend Linda of Coastal Charm. Luv, luv, luv your sofa! Just had to share mine with you, here is a link to the blog post I wrote about it:http://www.flower-child-designs.com/2013/01/my-bargain-sofa.html

    Debbie @ Flower Child Designs

  11. Hi Marian! Not sure if you remember meeting me,but we met at The Chapel Market. I was there with my friend Linda at Coastal Charm. I luv, luv, luv your sofa! Just had to share mine with you, here’s a link to the post about it: http://www.flower-child-designs.com/2013/01/my-bargain-sofa.html

    Debbie @ Flower Child Designs

  12. Dijana says:

    Our baby girl is 5 and we STILL haven’t decided is it time to invest in our forever sofa. So yeah, I feel you about that pit in the stomach feeling. We have gone shopping for a new sofa many times than I care to admit and either end up arguing or just lounging around on different sofas in the showroom. Meanwhile my baby threw up on the sofa a few nights ago and with one look at each other we knew: it is definitely not the time for a new sofa yet!

    May you use and abuse the new sofa for many more years to come in health, happiness, wealth with your family. XOXO from NYC

  13. Dear Marion
    I’m Susanne from Denmark. I have been following you on facebook for some time now, I’m a “furniture-girl” my self and I love the inspiration you give on your blog and facebook. I like to get inspiration from all over the world, and mix it into my own style.
    I’m the owner of a small internet webshop in Denmark, specialized in just furniture of all kind. I have my own workshop as well, where I do custom made cupboard, diningtables etc.
    Maybe it could be of interest to you to have a look :-) Just for international exchange of inspiration and ideas.
    My website: http://www.slitage.dk
    My facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Slitage.dk .

    Thanks for your inspiering work, and for sharing.
    Christmas greeting from Denmark


  14. Gilda says:

    it’s not needlepoint, it’s crewelwork

    • Mouse says:

      I was wondering if another needlework fan would chime in :) It’s gorgeous! You’ve done a beautiful job of showcasing it on your pillow.

    • Elaine Randall says:

      Yes, it is. I have the same sampler and am now considering making it into a pillow. It isn’t being appreciated now framed and in a closet.

  15. Courtney says:

    love it ALL. I can’t wait to hear about your budgeting for the PB Sofa! Will you be selling any of your ironstone on your online shop? I bought a gravy boat from you at Lucketts- it’s now in shattered pieces after my son accidentally knocked it off its vignette!!!! perhaps i can buy another one at Lucketts- knowing it was purchased from MMS made it AWESOME (my husband laughed when I asked him to glue it back together). I’m sure other blog followers can understand, right? Marian, love it all!

  16. Susan Clark says:

    I can’t wait to hear how you like your rug. This blogger addressed all the natural rugs she’s owned and how each performed, and the Jutes were susceptible to staining, even water stains. So wanted to share that with you and see if it’s the same for your particular rug. http://acountryfarmhouse.blogspot.com/2013/11/natural-fiber-rugs.html
    I’m going to look for a house tour link on your page. With the mention of the new leather couch, I’m so confused on what rooms are what as I look at the gorgeous furniture makeovers and pillows and couches! If there isn’t a tour, maybe you could stand in the doorway and get a room pic of each room? Just to get me straight! As always, thank you for your inspiration!

  17. maggie says:

    Your new sofa is going to look so nice on the new rug! I’ll be curious to know how the rug works out since I’ll be needing one in the spring when we have our wood flooring put down in the living room and I lOve that one.
    You will laugh when I tell you that the sofa I have in my living room is from the 40′s (!!!!). It weighs a TON but it’s so comfortable to sit on as the cushions have springs in them. It’s pricey to have reupholstered but I think I’ll hang on to it.
    The little pillow you made from the needlework is precious!

    <3 Maggie

  18. Looking for a hutch just like that! Where are you located?

  19. Rondell says:

    I think that is so wonderful to give your sofa to the newlyweds…I’m sure you made them smile.
    Please let us know how the PB rug wears, I’m so interested in buying one like it.
    Your home is beautiful!

  20. Love the new sofa! Can you please share with me where your throw came from? I’m, looking for one exactly like that. Thanks!

  21. It’s always a treat to see what you’re up to! Absolutely love your call on the antique hemp upholstered sofa…love those seams!

    Haha…I’m right there with you on the knot in the stomach feeling. Thrifting and finding those phenom finds really makes it hurt to pay full price! But what a great feeling to find and aptly afford those items. Enjoy! You’ve earned it!

  22. Shawn says:

    Hello is Shawn over here in Hagerstown, Md. I am right up the road from you. I wanted to know if after you go thru your lot of ironstone and decide if you want to sell some of it. I AM VERY INTERESTED! I am just getting started in collecting it for my newly done dining room renovation. Can you PLEASE email me if you are selling some so I can set up with you to take a look at what you have and see about purchasing some.
    Thanks so much, Shawn

  23. I love the hemp sheets that you used to upholster the French sofa! You made the perfect choice in fabric :) I also love that you incorporated your husband’s grandmothers needlework when making a new pillow AND the fact that you gave your old sofa away. Great post!

  24. Shawn says:

    Marian can you please send me a picture of the hutch piece also. I am in the process of looking for both a new table and hutch or maybe just a hutch piece. I have a open hutch and am thinking I want my pieces behind glass for the reasons on not getting broken easily and for the low dust factor.
    Thanks so much, Shawn

  25. Kathy says:

    I have been following you for awhile and love,love your home and your projects. I live in Canada in Victoria, and am not having any luck in my hunts for ironstone. Do you ship? We have a daughter in The state of New York if you won’t ship here?

  26. Darleen says:

    Hi Marian,
    Love seeing what your up to!
    Are you ever going to get the German glass in stock?

  27. You make me smile. Who but Marion would immediately think to use the ties off the rug for the new pillows. They are perfect BTW.


  28. Elaine says:

    Gilda is right. Your grandma’s pillow cover is crewell work. Congrats on your new sofa.

  29. Wow! What a difference in that sofa! I like how the “makeover” worked. And those ties worked perfectly with the pillow covers, too.

  30. Marian,
    First off, congratulations! I am so excited for you! The PB sofa for Christmas.. I can hardly wait to see how you style the room. Secondly, the living room sofa is truly lovely. Good job! As is the beautiful pillow you made from your husband’s grandmother’s needlework… beautiful!

    Have a wonderful day!

  31. Hannah says:

    The French daybed you recovered is absolutely gorgeous. I am wondering if you worry at all about bringing in bedbugs with used upholstered furniture, or if you have any tips on how to prevent that? I just got a FREE leather sofa that looks ok, but I have read horror stories online and am a little scared to bring it indoors. Thanks!

  32. Hannah says:

    Also, I searched your site to see if you wrote a step-by-step about the daybed redo, but I didn’t see one. Any chance there is an entry and I missed it? It came out so, so beautiful!

    • No, I didn’t do a step-by-step for that. I have written an upholstery tutorial for HGTV.com, though and have many upholstery posts on my blog. I will be making some videos on it soon. Another great resource for how-to on upholstery is the book Spruce. Awesome book!

      • Hannah says:

        Thank you! Were you worried about bedbugs at all, or did you feel confident you would notice an infestation while you were working? Any tips?

  33. Wowza! How much fun you’ve had! Everything looks beautiful – I love your upholstery job and the lovely pillow and…. well, all of it. I think you deserve a cookie! ;)

  34. Ralinn says:

    I’m so excited for you. Can’t wait to see the photos of it in place. Yippee!! I absolutely must know where the blue throw came from in photos 1 and 2.

  35. Donna w says:

    Hey! What a great use of the twill ties! That made me smile! I think that piece is not needlepoint, but a crewel piece done on a piece of cotton? Needlepoint is done on a heavy canvas that is bought in sizes according to the size of the stitch. Both are hand made….just entirely different. Crewel maybe??

  36. Sarah Lahrman says:

    Love the hemp sheets used to cover the sofa! Devine! Can’t wait to see the leather sofa make it’s appearance too….Merry Christmas!!!

    Have fun looking through all that ironstone :). Like many fans, I would love to see if any finds it’s way to your shop – always looking to add to my collection too!


  37. Marian, please send details on the dining room cabinet, and more photos. Do you have info about its history? I’m in Virginia and have bought from you at Lucketts in the past.

    Thank you,

  38. Love the rug, love the pillows, and looooove the sofa. But most of all i love that you gave away your other sofa. Perfect energy to put out there…


  39. Teresa F says:

    Hi Marion, Could you please share the how to’s for the custom feather insert you made. I would love to make some as well, but I don’t know where to begin. Thanks

  40. @ Hannah…I wonder too about upholstered furniture, if it’s safe from bugs. I have bought a couple pieces and haven’t had a problem so far. I try to be careful where/who I buy from but I know there’s no guarantee.

  41. Sandra Fairleigh says:

    Everything is lovely. You and your mom are a great team. Merry Christmas-enjoy your new sofa

  42. Funny. I save all the wraps from the pottery barn rugs too! I know I will use them. I also found the same material at The Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet in Lemoyne and bought more!. Ever been there? Not far from you. Have some fun stuff-unique trims at great prices including large zippers for pillow and upholstery items. Next door is a really cool antique co-op.
    There is a Pottery Barn outlet in Lancaster. My go to place for linens and all things PB. Like any outlet you sometimes hit it right but not always but a cool place and set up like a store . Love their clearance area. I recently bought two shams that I coveted at $27 a piece (no way) for $2.95 TOTAL. That makes a girl swoon! Love to find unusual and inexpensive bargains.

  43. susan allen says:

    MARION!!! you do soo many amazing transformations I am not sure you realize how saying”MY MOM AND I MADE CUSTOM FEATHER INSERTS’, just blows all of us away out here,because in realitity we couldn’t even get that accomplished much less everything else you do please know that we really do think you are the bomb and of course, your mom is pretty amazing also MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!

  44. Barbara Herron says:

    I love the pillow you finished! I have a lot of vintage linens, especially 1930′s quilt blocks. I love using something that someone worked on, but never completed. A lot of time and effort went into what they made, it’s a nice way to honor that effort!

  45. Oooooohhh! That sofa. I saw a pair of them at the outlet store for a killer deal and just didn’t have enough money to get them. I still mourn them. I would LOVE to have these too! So glad that you were able to pull the money out of what you have on hand. That’s pretty awesome.

  46. Linda says:

    Hi Marian, I am a big fan and I noticed your pictures of the Heathered Jute rug from Pottery Barn. I have been debating on purchasing this rug for some time. I drove to a store just an hour away to look at the rug and feel if it was soft enough on the feet. I am also interested in the color of your rug…..the one in the store is more of a gold color but the one in your picture looks a soft tan/wheat color. Also, the picture on-line seems to show a seam down the middle of the rug. Would you mind commenting on the points of color, visible seam in the middle and comfort to the feet? I’d like to hear from someone who actually has the rug. Thanks!

  47. You will love your Pottery Barn rug! We bought the exact same rug last November for our family room, the main living area of our main floor. It is beautiful and it has held up remarkably well. We have two cats who really enjoy putting their claws in carpet, but they have not touched this rug. They love to roll on it and sleep on it but no clawing. That was my main concern with buying it. After a year it has a few tufts here and there but still looks brand new. I originally planned to put another rug or a cowhide on top of it, but loved the open look of it without. We are planning new hardwood in our master bedroom and I will probably add the same rug in there as well.

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