Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

Urban Farm Tour: Take 2

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Continuing on from Urban Farm Tour: Part I, our next stop is to the local favorites, The Urban Farming Guys.  These folks are in our neighborhood and are very active in our neighborhood association.  What they're doing for the community is great, so I'm proud to introduce them to you.
The Urban Farming Guys “Myrtle Plot”(1121 Myrtle Ave., Kansas City, MO 64127)

Oh, my goodness!  So much to see here including an aquaponics fish farm, vertical gardening, worm farming and heugelculture!  They even rent plots to the community, including the apartment building next door.

I was, of course, in love with this old Victorian that they have been restoring.

Shortly after I arrived, this little guy started following me around.  At one point, he even perched on my arm.  Quite the ham, he stopped to pose for several pictures as well.

He was particularly enjoying the onion flowers.  (Anybody know what kind of onions these are?  They were close to 4 feet tall!)

And, of course, the duckweed.  Duckweed is a plant that grows on the surface of the water.  The intern that was giving us the tour explained that they use window screens to harvest it and then lay them in the sun to dry.  They then feed the dry duckweed to the fish in the aquaponics tanks.

While we were talking , a constant stream of bees from their hives were stopping by to take a rest on the surface of the duckweed and get a sip of water.

Right after this, we toured their bunny cages and were told that they take the bunny poo and reuse it in the garden.  They had several baby bunnies out for petting and how the heck I managed to NOT get a picture of a baby bunny is beyond me.  It was at this point that we lost the niece and nephew to cuteness.  We didn't see them again until we were ready to leave.

I think I was distracted by their stand of bamboo.  Now that's not something you see in KC everyday.

Our guide explained that the bamboo served several purposes: they use the stalks in the garden as trellises, the leaves are fed to the bunnies, and the whole stand provides shade and a natural screen from the neighbor's house.  Behind the bamboo are their beehives, so the bees are tucked away in a shady, protected spot where they won't be disturbed.

This is a neat place.  They welcome visitors at any time so, if you get a chance, stop by and see Jason @ the Urban Farming Guys.  Next stop....

HoopDog Studio Garden  (3314 Troost Ave., Kansas City, MO 64109)

HoopDog is a jewel shining in the deep "hood" in Kansas City.  This isn't a place you would want to be after dark by yourself, let's put it this way.  And that's coming from someone that lives in the highest crime rate zipcode in KC.

Love their logo!

The garden covers 2 city lots and, in conjunction with the chickens that are allowed to fly around unfettered, it feeds 10 people all year round.  Not only that, but it's chock full of stuff to look at - much of it repurposed materials.  For example, they use commercial muffin tins to act as lily pads in their ponds!

Here's a picture of their quonset-hut looking chicken coop.  Even though the day was hot, it was nice and cool in there.  But, alas, no chickens!  I found them hiding in various shady spots in the garden.

Those concrete pieces make an interesting kind of "wall" for the entrance.  I'm pretty sure those are concrete cores that they got from the city or the highway department.

Next to the  garden on a separate lot are the house that is home to several artists, a separate studio and this "greenhouse" in the backyard. 

The greenhouse had been converted into a lovely shady spot - I LOVE this idea.  I think the material they used to cover this is the same thing as webbing off of lawn chairs, but it was hard to tell.  They just weaved it through the openings in a goat panel that had been bent over into a U shape.

While I was there, I fell in love with a piece of art:

It's a little hard to tell, but that's a fly (or a bee - there was a slight disagreement on this point) and it's made out of a hand grenade.

Leaving HoopDog, I couldn't NOT take a picture of this dumpster adorned with images of chickens before we left to go grab some lunch.  By this point, it was well past 1 p.m. and tummies were growling and we were getting a little grumpy.  A quick stop for Minsky's pizza and calzones and then we were on our way to Independence to see ...

St. Paul Community Garden (11200 E. 36th St., Independence, MO, 64052)

This community garden was started in 2007 by 8 gardeners and it's now expanded to include 26 plots that are rented out, a fairly decent fruit orchard and strawberry beds. Of all the cool things I saw on the tour, St. Paul's had the coolest.  Check out this arched entrance to the garden!

The gardeners in attendance explained that the arch was built by the local Boy Scout Eagle troop as one of their badge projects.  It's very well built and gave lots of room for people to walk through and sit (this came in handy later!)  I took lots of pictures of how it was put together, because I'd love to reproduce this in our neighborhood.  Basically it's just a wood arch with chainlink fence bent over the top.

Can you imagine this as a shady hideaway with vines growing over it in the summer?  Beautiful!  They had started some native passion flower vine and gourds, but they weren't very far along.  I may drive by later this summer and see what it looks like.

The gardeners here were so incredibly informative and helpful...and nice.  They explained that they try to grow food in harmony with nature, so many of the plants are native to Missouri.

While they have a city water spigot on site, they are working on rain catchment systems for the gardeners to use as well.

They had a huge compost facility setup.  With no mortar between those blocks, I'd be a little afraid it might fall over.

A Monarch Waystation welcomes butterflies, and the site is a National Wildlife Federation Wildlife Habitat. This is where I took those beautiful pictures of milkweed, sunflowers, and coneflowers that I posted earlier this week. 

The paths through this garden were clearly defined by chain link (without the chain) and they were using these to support some of the plants as well.  Along most of these were various kinds of sunflowers that were about 2 to 3 feet tall.  Again, I can't wait to come back in a month or so and see how things have progressed.

One other thing that I found really interesting about St. Paul's was their garden shed.  Instead of the traditional barn doors, they had put in a garage door.  Now why the heck didn't I think of that?!  We have problems getting our equipment out of ours right now because the doors are too small, and we've been thinking about making it bigger.  Since you can pick up used garage doors pretty cheaply on Craigslist, this is a great idea!

Well, that pretty much does it for this year's Urban Farm tour.  There were 60+ sites, but we only made it to 9 of them in one day.  We had too much work to do to go out for another day, plus...did I mention it was really stinkin' hot??!!

I hope you enjoyed going on the tour with us.  I know we had a ton of fun and will definitely be going on the next tour in 2015.

Urban Farm Tour: Take 1

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ugh!  This week has just been a nightmare for me at work, so it's nice to finally sit down for a breather.  It definitely feels like the world has passed me by.  I've been having fun catching up on what everyone else has been up to, and I'm so glad to FINALLY be able to find time to post the pics from last weekend's Urban Farm Tour for you.

We had a ton of fun, despite it being REALLY hot in the afternoon.  J. and I, his sis-in-law and two of her kids all piled into my Jeep and off we went.  I have so much cool stuff to show you, so let's go!

We started not far from our neighborhood at....

St. John Community Gardens (3916 St. John Ave., Kansas City, MO 64123)

What a fun place this was!  They have more than garden beds for rent for $30 per season, a HUGE water catchment system consisting of 8 barrels, a firepit and 3 rain gardens.  But the best part was all the art made from repurposed materials.

How about a reproduction of Grant Wood's American Gothic

Look behind the scarecrows in the picture and you'll see 3 repurposed ladders as a trellis with some art hanging between them.  The yard was full of these whimsical little items.  How about a totem pole made from painted plastic flower pots?  I love this idea!

The pond was beautiful and, according to my dear neighbor over at TheDeadlyNightShade, they have recently dug this out some more so that it's over 4 feet deep at one point.  See the fish?

My nephew's favorite part (and mine also!) were these adorable reindeer made out of all kinds of discarded junk.  The red Christmas light for Rudolph's nose cracked me up.  And the rake for his antlers!

And, finally, here's one of the beds that they rent to members of the community.  Each one had a piece of an old bed at the end.  Get it?  Bed?  Hahahahaha....  Again, a very creative way to reuse.

Just down the road was out next stop...

Jubilee Garden (130 N. Topping Ave., Kansas City, MO 64123)

We spent quite a bit of time here talking with one of the gardeners.  Started in 2010 on a once-vacant lot, the aim of this garden is to show how families with low income, people of all ages, and individuals with developmental disabilities can grow food for themselves.

We were greeted by this lovely archway, which you walk through to get to the garden.  This metalwork is really lovely, and the gardener told us that they plan on growing vines over it and also hanging gourds from it.  I can't wait to check back in with them in 2 years to see how much progress they've made.

Each of the 22 beds is laid out around this central bed, which is in the shape of a cross.  I really like this bed within a bed idea and immediately thought "wouldn't that be great for strawberries!"

The other beds have all kinds of shapes and my nephew remarked that he thought they looked like Tetris pieces.  He's right!

Our community is very diverse, with folks from all over the world, and near this garden is a large concentration of people from South American countries.  During the tour, they were all out tending to their garden beds. In the back of the property in the pic below, you can see their garden shed on the right hand side.  It looks like a little playhouse, doesn't it?  On the right is their education space where they've repurposed stumps and pieces of fallen logs from the lot to be used as tables and seats.  They hold free classes there on topics on gardening, nutrition, etc.

There were some really good looking veggies at this garden.  I mean, just look at this cabbage!

The Jubilee Garden is supported by the Mattie Rhodes Center, which I originally thought only did work related to women's shelters, battered women, etc.  Oh  no!  They do so much more, including programs for young people, family counseling, drug counseling, and even free community fitness classes.

At this point in our tour, the heat is starting to get us so we stopped by Sonic for some refreshing beverages before we headed on to our next stop.  Gotta have my tea or I might die, you know.  Anybody else have that problem?

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker (3308 E. 12th St., Kansas City, MO 64127)

I've watched this organization take a dilapidated old Victorian and turn the house and the yard into something absolutely beautiful.   You're greeted by a front yard full of fruit trees and edible vegetation. In the winter, these are covered by hoops, which allows them to grow almost all year.

They also own the building on the left side of the picture, which has been turned into a "green" building and, while it was open for tour, we didn't go in.  Look closely and you'll see the solar panels on the roof, which they claim are providing 65% of the power for both buildings. 

I'd love to put some of these on our garage because our garage is on a separate meter.  We could probably "make" some money from the power company by feeding some energy back into the grid this way.  Hey, if it offset just some of our energy costs, that would be awesome. 

We couldn't get a good picture of the backyard here, because of the various fences and structures, but it's full of veggies and fruit trees as well.  What they grow goes to feed the local homeless folks, including eggs from the chickens and honey from their bee hives.

Speaking of chickens, we were interested in the chicken pettin', but couldn't find anyone to let us in.  They were busy building frames for their bee hives.  Not a big loss, as we can pet chickens at our house any time except....

You can't pet this guy at my house!

Holy mackerel!  Look at the size of that rooster.  I bet he weighs north of 15 pounds.  We're not allowed to have roosters in the city because of their crowing, so I wonder how they get away with having him?  He never crowed while we were there.  I know that crowing decreases as the bird gets older.  Was he just old or did they cut his larynx to stop him from crowing?  That seems too cruel for me.

Well, that's a lot of pics for one post, so I think I'll stop here and do Part 2 tomorrow.  I hope you've enjoyed coming along on the tour with us so far and we'll see you soon!

Flower Power

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I've been super busy with work and haven't finished processing all the photos from the Urban Farm Tour this weekend, but things are slowing down and I should have the first post up tomorrow.  Stay tuned, because there really some interesting and creative things that we found on the tour!

In the meantime, how about something beautiful to look at?  I found these beauties at our last stop on the tour, St. Paul's Community Garden in Independence.
Behold the purple coneflower!

I think someone else must have taken that picture, as I am not the best photog.  Click on the picture to biggify it and you can almost see the pollen granules.  Just breathtaking...

The daylilies were jealous and decided to pose for the camera also...

And who knew the common milkweed could be so pretty? 

I didn't realize that monarch butterflies LOVE milkweed.  It grows natively here in Missouri.  Repeat after me.....I will never, never, EVER rip this out of my garden again.
And, finally, here's one of many sunflowers that were growing up along the fence lines.

They haven't formed their heads yet, but I thought the star pattern in the middle was really neat. 
How's that for starting off your day with a dose of pretty?

Urban Farm Tour Today!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Yeehaw!  Today should be lots of fun.  Hopefully, it will make up for my losing last night's Ebay auction for a complete Hee-Haw DVD collection.  *sniff*

The CrankyPuppy gang is hitting the streets of Kansas City today on the first day of the Urban Farm tour.  J. and I will be joined by his sister-in-law, niece and nephew.  Should be a fun time!  If you're local and interested in joining the self-guided tour, tickets are $8.00 for an individual and $20.00 for a family.  To see a map and description of the farms that are participating, or for more info, just go here.

I'll be back with lots of cool pictures and ideas from some of these farmers later today.  That is, if we don't melt along the way.  

Stay tuned!

North End of a Southbound Squirrel

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I have no idea what happened here, but this scene greeted me on my first step into the back yard.

Between possums, squirrels, dogs and half-feral cats, your guess is as good as mine as to who the culprit was.  

But the real question is:  

where's the rest of this poor ex-squirrel?

Despite searching high and low, there was no more evidence related to this grisly murder anywhere in the yard.  I questioned the chickens, but they weren't talking.  Something about being too busy chasing flies around the coop to notice any commotion outside. 

Case closed due to lack of evidence.

Just Random Stuff

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Man, has the summer heat show up in full force!  I went out last night to tend to the chickens and water the garden and new trees and was absolutely dripping with sweat by the time I went back in.  The thermometer read 98 degrees in the Jeep when I left work, but Jeeps are known to be exxagerators.  You can't trust them one bit.

One more day of this muggy heat and then it's supposed to cool off.  Thank goodness.  In the meantime, I collapsed in the AC to get some sense of humanity back in me.

Out in the garden, the strawberries are still producing like mad. 

I picked three quarters of a pound into the turned-up hem of my T-shirt.  I'm sure I'll be cursing myself come laundry day for doing that.  Some of the berries may have missed the shirt and ended up in my mouth, but I'll never tell.  Anyway, all told, we're over 3 pounds so far.  Not too bad.

J. spent the entire night in the 7th Concentric Ring of Hell weather putting his new toy together.  He's been wanting a smoker for years and we found an excellent deal on this dual fuel one at Lowe's.  It was such a good deal at $138 (after a $10 Home Depot coupon match) that we couldn't pass it up and decided it was time.  I can taste the brisket now!

This uses either propane or charcoal!

The offer got accepted on the house, so now I am tapping my fingers patiently as we wait to hear from the bank.  Since it's a short sale, the next step is that they have to assign what's called a BPO, or Broker Price Opinion.  That's a fancy way of saying "walk through appraisal".  They'll assign a value to the house and then decide what they're willing to take on the house and how much they'll lose on the owner's current loan.  I'm sure they're very upside down.  Just taking some ballpark figures, I think they probably owe around $65K to 70K and my offer for the house was $15K.   Cross your fingers for us.

Tonight, J. and I are going to kick our heels up and have fun at a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater.  I love that kind of thing and have wanted to go to one FOR FOREVER.  Groupon helped me out a couple of weeks ago with cheap tickets, so off we go.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day,

Cranky's Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Well, the carrot cake was a hit this weekend at the birthday party, so I think I may keep the "tweaks" that I made to my famous carrot cake recipe.  Everybody is asking for the recipe, so I thought I would share it here for everyone to try out.  While it has carrots in it, you can't even tell they are there so this is a great way to get the kids to eat some veggies.  Or maybe some adults.  :-)

I recommend a 9" x 9" pan for a thicker cake, but you can also make this in two pie pans - just watch your baking time so it doesn't get overdone.  The outcome of having all that apple sauce, oil, buttermilk, and natural water from the carrots is a super moist cake.  Yum!  I hope you enjoy...

Cranky's Famous Carrot Cake


3 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk (can sub reg milk + 1 teaspoon lemon juice)
3/4 cup vegetable oil (sub 1/4 veg oil and ½ cup cinnamon sweetened applesauce)
1 1/2 cups white sugar (sub 3/4 brown and 3/4 white to make the cake darker)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups shredded carrots (small shreds!)
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice (pureed in food processor)
1 cup flaked coconut (optional)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup raisins (optional)**

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 9x13 inch pan. *see notes below for other baking sizes.
  2. Puree the pineapple in a food processor if you want a smoother texture in the cake.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture and mix well.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine shredded carrots, coconut, walnuts, pineapple and raisins.
  6. Using a large wooden spoon or a very heavy whisk, add carrot mixture to batter and fold in well.  The batter will be soupy but don't worry - that's what makes it a really moist cake.
  7. Pour the batter into prepared baking pan, and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 50 to 60 minutes. Check with toothpick.
  8. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Best with cream cheese frosting below.
* Additional cake sizes:  Adjust baking time to 45 minutes for a 13” x 9” pan.  Adjust baking time to 40 minutes at 350 degrees for 2 round 9” pans.  Bake cupcakes at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
**If you add raisins, cover them with orange juice in a sauce pan and bring them to a boil.  Then simmer for a couple of minutes.  Remove from heat, drain and then add to cake for an extra kick!

Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 3 cups (enough for a 9” x 13” cake)


2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened and room temperature
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. In a medium bowl, beat softened cream cheese together with vanilla until smooth.
  2. Add softened butter a little at a time, beating until smooth.
  3. Stir in confectioner’s sugar slowly until blended completely.  Check for taste at 2 cups.  If sweeter is desired, add the rest of the sugar.  
  4. Make sure the cake or cupcakes are completely cooled before frosting.  If the frosting is a bit runny, store int he frig for 30 minutes to firm it up.
  5. Store in the refrigerator after use.
Shared with:  Home Acre Hop

A Fresh Look for the Patio Chairs

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Spring, spring, spring!  Actually, I guess it's almost summer, isn't it?  Oh well...I'm just so happy to be out of the house and in the garden and the yard.  I'm working on quite the farmer's tan right now.  And the garden is growing nicely, the flowers are in bloom, the birds are a-chirpin' and the air smells fresh from an overnight rain.

But hold the fort! That patio set that we've had for years is looking a little tired - especially since the roofers scratched  some of the chairs by dropping shingles on them.  So I thought, why not give them a little facelift?

Painting the Table and Chairs

This set has an enamel finish from the factory and it was in decent shape (no chipping paint or rough spots).  I never really liked the color, though ,as it's a light beige and I always wants a dark bronze or black iron set.  This is the perfect opportunity to set things right with some Rustoleum spray paint.  I started by powerwashing the chairs and table and letting them dry for a good 24 hours.  If you have a set that has chipping paint or a glossy finish, you'll also want to lightly sand the entire chair\table with either sandpaper or steel wool first.  Perhaps the most important part of the process is the prep and it's absolutely necessary that the surface be structurally sound and completely dry.

While the chairs were drying, J. and I were standing in Strasser's Hardware agonizing over which color paint to use on them.  Our house is a darker beige with white trim and black accents.  We finally decided that black was too dark and picked Rustoleum's hammered bronze paint and bought a couple of cans to test with.  The nice thing about the hammered finish paint is that it's very forgiving about overspraying (drips) and uneven surfaces. 6 cans later, we were finally done spraying and the table and chairs looked like new.   You'll see them in a picture further down this post.

Now on to....

Recovering the Seat Cushions

I'm really picky about fabrics and I searched all over for cushions that I liked when we first got the patio set.  When I finally found some that I liked, they only had 3!  And they couldn't order a 4th because they were closeout cushions.  Just my luck.  So one of our chairs hasn't had a cushion for years.  These were really nice cushions with a zipper in the back - a nice feature because you can remove the cover and wash it or replace the padding if you need to.

Which brings us to...

Step 1. Remove the existing cushion cover.
I suppose could just cut the ties off and leave the existing cover.  But the primary reason for doing this is so that you can use the existing cover as a template for the new one. 
My old cushion.  I like the pattern, but the brown is kind of boring.  Did I mention that I hate brown?

Step 2.  Measure for your fabric and gather supplies

My chairs just have bottom seat covers, so this was pretty easy.  If you've got the larger cushions that cover both the back and seat bottom, make sure you flatten out the paddding so that you get an accurate measurement.  In my case the cushions are 18" deep by 20" wide.

If you don't have cushions and want to make some, just measure your seat depth and chair width.  If you're making full cushions for both the seat and back, you'll need to include the chair height as well.  And remember, when you fold the cushion to put it on the chair, you'll love some length.  I'd add a couple of inches to the length of the cushion to account for that.

TIP FOR THOSE STARTING FROM SCRATCH:  The easiest way to determine your fabric size is to cut your foam padding first. My foam is 1.5 inches thick.  If you're sewing a full cushion, you don't want to go any thicker than that because it will be hard to sew through.  Place your foam on the chair, fold it to contour with the chair and then trim it to fit.  Now you've got a template to work with for the other chairs and you can determine your fabric sizes by measuring around your foam piece.  (Just be sure to add a bit to the length and width, to account for the thickness of the foam.)

For my 4 bottom-only seat cushions, I had the following shopping list. 

  • Outdoor fabric - 2.5 yards (always give yourself a little extra!)
  • Extra strong thread in coordinating color (1 spool was enough)

TIP:  Make sure you buy OUTDOOR FABRIC that has been pre-treated to withstand the weather. 

So off I went to Joann's.  I had spotted some gorgeous red swirly outdoor fabric the week before but it was gone by the time I got back there.  I even had them call 3 other stores and all of them were out.  Agh!  So I settled for the same pattern in chic black instead. With several 50% off coupons, the total came to just over $20 after tax.

Step 3. Measure and cut the fabric for the cushions.

I  wanted to rectify the missing 4th cushion situation, and a discounted cushion for $4 at Home Depot was just the ticket.  This one didn't have a zipper in the back, but the foam was the same size as my existing cushions.  So I ripped the back seam out of the cover, turned it inside out, and used it as the template for cutting out the fabric for my new ones.

Fold your new fabric in half and then pin the old cushion on top of the new fabric so that it stays in place while you cut around it.  Make a note of the seam allowance on the old fabric.  Mine were 3/8".

TIP:  Notice how the corners are rounded?  You can leave the corners straight, but then you'll have very pointy corners in the stiff fabric and it won't look right.  If you're creating new cushions from scratch, fold the fabric in half and round off two corners at the same time.  Then fold it in half the other way and use the rounded corners as a guide for the other corners.  That will give you 4 corners that are exactly the same.

Step 4.  Cut and sew the fabric for the ties.

Next up, I used the leftover fabric scraps to cut strips for the ties.  The ties on my existing cushions were 12" long, but I wanted them to be a little longer. So I cut the remaining fabric down into 16" long strips, then turned the fabric 90 degrees and cut it into 2" strips.  Each chair takes 4 strips, so I cut a total of 16 of these. 

Outdoor fabric is stiff and really hard to sew into a tube and then turn right side out.  So, instead, I folded each strip in half lengthwise and pressed it.  Then I opened it up and folded each edge in toward the center fold and pressed again.

Then sew the strip closed on the open edge.  What you end up with is a strip that is about a 1/2" wide.  Then fold over one end of the strip by 1/4 inch and then again by 1/4 inch and sew it into place.  You only need to do this on one end per strip, as the other end will be attached to the cushion.

Step 5. Sew the covers together.

Now go back to the cushion fabric and remove one of the pieces.  Place two of the strips in the middle of the rounded corners on the back of the cushion so that the strips are facing in toward the middle of the cushion and the edges are lined up with the edges of the seat fabric (as shown below). 

If you're starting from scratch, you'll have to look at the chair to determine the best place where you can tie the cushion on. The bottom ties should sit right above where the fold of the cushion should be.

Now you're ready to sew the cushion together.  Replace the top piece of fabric, make sure everything matches up, pin everything together so that it doesn't move around as you're sewing, and then sew along the edges.  My original cushions used a 3/8" seam, so I did the same on the the new ones.  Remember to leave the back open so that you can put the padding in.  I started sewing about an inch before where the ties were pinned, continued around the cushion, and then stopped about an inch past the 2nd set of ties.  When you're done, flip the cushion inside out and it will look like this:

Step 6.  Assemble the cushions and final sewing.

Now stuff the padding into the new covers and adjust it so that it fits nicely.  Then fold the edges of the opening toward the inside by 1/2 inch and hand-stich the opening closed.

TIP:  If you're doing a full cushion, you're not quite done.  You'll need to find where the center fold should be and do a straight-stitch across the middle.

And here's one of the "new" patio chairs sporting its shiny new paint job and new cushion!

I think it needs a pop of color, don't you?  Maybe a red or orange pillow.

This project was "sew" simple and (not counting waiting for the chairs to dry) it only took me a couple of hours to do the painting and covers.  The total cost was just $48 ($20 for fabric and $28 for paint). In fact, it was so easy that I wish I had done it years ago.  If you're tired of looking at those old patio chair and cushions and don't want to spend a fortune on new ones, why not try your hand at making them beautiful again?  If I can do it, YOU can do it.

And now I'm off to make a girlie drink and enjoy the new patio. That is, after I finish up a carrot cake for J.'s niece.  It's her 19th birthday tomorrow and she' requested pizza dinner, so we'll be joining them for that this evening.  I hope she likes the carrot cake - I'll be posting my recipe for that later this week so you can make it and enjoy it also.  It is THE best carrot cake recipe ever.  I promise.

Later, gators....

I'm sharing this with the Clever Chicks, Sunday Showcase, Sunny Simple Mondays, Ready,Set, Pin, Making the World CuterMasterpiece Monday, Made By You, Keeping It Simple, Creative Bloggers Party, More the Merrier, Craft-O-Matic Mondays, Make the Scene Monday, Make It Pretty Monday, Tutorials and Tips Linky Party, Get Your Craft On, Monday Funday, and Mop It Up Monday blog hops.
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