My recent Adventure  Teaching DIY Upholstery Skills

Ottoman FrameTeaching others the skills of upholstery has really become my main focus.  When I was contacted by the Country Living fair to give an educational presentation on my favorite topic “Upholstery” my voice did not hesitate when the words “YES of course” popped out of my mouth.   So now to decide what the exact topic would be for DIY Upholstery enthusiasts.  What can I present in 40 minutes, get attendees excited, as well as walking away with some tangible information?  An Ottoman should foot the bill!

(You can find the full tutorial for this ottoman available in our online membership)

So having the main topic chosen, it was now time to make a plan.  Forty minutes is all I have and there is a lot of information I wanted to share in a short amount of time.  I was off and running – hunting for an ottoman frame, picking a great fabric, and of course, adding a bit of unexpected detail.  I also wanted to offer some audience participation….hmm I thought this is a must but how will I fit it in.  Well, I figured it out and put my plan into action.

I wasn’t very successful in finding ottoman frames I liked at my local second-hand stores so I turned to Chervan Frames.  I ordered 3, yes 3 ottoman frames all the same.  My plan was to have one completed and two partially done to allow a couple participants to Ottoman clfairget the hands-on experience.  Hands-on is by far one of my favorite ways to learn and teach just about anything.  Leaving just enough unfinished so that my two volunteers could complete these ottomans and also get the feel for upholstery was key.

My finished ottoman was done in a fun french country fabric.  I accented it with a bold but thin stripe and added a bit of whimsy with a fun little pompom trim which complemented the fabrics.  For the demo ottomans, I wanted the feeling of fall.  I had recently taken a trip to NY with the Trim Queen and 10 other fun creatives like myself.  On this trip, I was introduced to Design Works International, which is a great design studio that creates great looking one of a kind fabrics for their clients,  One of them being HGTV Home Collections. You can also find their designs available from Studio NYC Design.   Nancy offered to donate a fabric for my presentation and  I choose a great blue, green and rust floral fabric from their collections. The third ottoman was a deep rust tone velvet,  a color that speaks FALL.


Design Works International fabric Colors of autumn CLF ottoma

Ok, Kim, Calm DOWN… you can do it!  OFF TO Atlanta I go….

I arrived on the fairgrounds of the #CLFair at 10 am and was greeted by two women in golf carts who loaded up my items and drove Donna and me to the Main Stage where my things would be stored until show time…YIKES SHOWTIME!  Ok, Kim, Calm DOWN… you can do it!  As I was unloading my ottomans for my presentation I was joined by a couple of the other presenters as well as my email pal, Betty Lyn. Betty Lyn who had been my contact for the event and I had been emailing and talking on the phone for months but had not yet met in person.  She was so nice and made me feel relaxed as she explained what to expect from the day’s event.  Melissa Caughey, another presenter,  Autor of “A Kids Guide to Keeping Chickens” and her new book to be released soon “How to Speak Chicken” was unpacking her items as well.  After chatting for a few minutes I found out she was from Barnstable Massachusetts… wow here I am in GA and she is only a few hours from me in Massachusetts.  You can follow Melissa on her FB page,  Tilly’s Nest.  Next I meet Joanne Palmisano also from New England, in Burlington  Vermont.  Joanne’s FB page is Joanne Palmisano Designs.  I had the pleasure of seeing Joanne speak a few years back at the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck NY.  Both of these ladies are VERY talented and gave great presentations.

Tillys Nest Joanne Palmisano


(….What had I gotten myself into!!)

So the time had arrived and here I was at the Country Living Magazines, Atlanta Country Living Fair (#CLFAIR).  My friend Donna Cash of Designs by Donna, who I was staying with as I had also taught a two day slipcover in her workroom prior to the day of the fair, was with me along with Sandra Vansickle, you might know her as Live with Sandra V, and Tracy Windley of Sew Elegant Fine Window Designs.  (Both Donna and Sandra have also created top-notch educational videos which are for sale, here on our website)  Knowing my three friends were here to support me was awesome!   But still, I was so nervous and couldn’t convince my stomach to settle down.  Donna walked me through a few funny little tricks to help calm my nerves as we walked to the back of the stage to get my items ready.  “You’ve got this” Donna said,  “you know your stuff and this is what you are passionate about.  You will do fine.”  Few… I was glad she had my back.  Tracy and Sandra kept giving me the same style pep talk as well.  Knowing your friends have your back was certainly a big help.  It was time!

Teaching upholstery and helping others to learn a skill that I have spent years honing makes me a happy girl!

Well, the audience arrived and it was time.  Betty Lyn introduced me and I was ON.  Once I said hello to the audience and clicked the button to start my presentation it was like all those millions of butterflies just left my stomach.  So for 40 minutes, I shared my knowledge of upholstery and the skills that I am so passionate about.  We all laughed together and the audience members asked some really great questions.  Yes, you’ve got this Kim, and this…. truly is…. what you LOVE.  Teaching upholstery and helping others to learn a skill that I have spent years honing makes me a happy girl!  During the presentation and conversation with the audience, it was fun to find out that several had been following me both on YouTube and on Facebook for quite some time.

Audience Participation CLF CLF Volunteers








So you ask,  Would I do this again?  Most definitely.  Betty Lyn and I did talk about next year so hopefully, you will see me at one or more of the fairs in 2018!!  Until then Keep your love of upholstery growing and always, always do what makes YOU happy!


See you on the inside, my friends,