Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Petal Pillows

So, our reupholstered wingchairs for the den are almost finished.  Well, that’s my cue to fix up the pillows to go in the chairs.  I saw this online a while ago and fell in love with the design from Amy Butler:

green applique pillow

It’s even available here at Bed Bath and Beyond!

11218316589128P Well, I knew I could do it for less than $40, so I got some green cotton fabric for about $3/yard.  I think I bought 2 1/2 yards, which is very generous, so that’s around $8 for the project—that’s for two pillows, so only $4 if you just want one!  Granted, I already had pillow stuffing so I didn’t have to spend extra for that.

Here’s a simple tutorial for making this pillow:

Step 1.  Cut out your pillow base front and back.  I used the same fabric for both sides and cut a 17” square, for a finished 16” pillow.

Step 2. Cut out your petals.  You will need 24 large, 40 medium, 40 small, and 24 extra small.   I made up a pattern for the four sizes of petals.  They were a lot larger than the original design, but I wasn’t about to start all over cutting them again, so I just ran with it.  The result was less flowers per pillow, which just means less sewing, so yay!  You can see the large petals are 3 1/2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide.  The sizes gradually decrease as you go down, some of them I had to cut down to fit before sewing them on—they don’t have to be perfect, real flowers aren’t.


Step 3. Lay out your petals on the pillow front to make flower shapes.  I used 8 petals for the base of each flower.  I did 3 large flowers and 2 smaller ones.  The large flowers started with large petals.  The small flowers started with medium petals. 


I just arranged them on the front until they all fit without any overlap between the flowers.   Then I pinned them all on.


Then I straight stitched them down, pulling the pins as I went.  Starting from the center of the flower, stitch each petal out to about 1/2” from the tip, then leave your needle in the fabric and pivot 180 degrees and stitch back down the same stitching line you just made back to the center.  This is so you don’t have to backstitch for each petal and cut your thread, as well as ensuring a much more secure petal for the life of the pillow.  Repeat for each petal until you are finished with all 8 base petals.


Step 4. Repeat the same process with your second layer of petals.  I used 8 petals of the next size down for each flower.  Then stitched them on the same way.

IMG_1393 IMG_1396

Step 5. This is your last layer of petals.  So, these need to be stitched on nicely without catching the neighbor petals while you stitch, because this is what will show on top.  Repeat the same process for the last layer of petals.  I used the next size down, cutting them smaller if needed and to vary the look of the petals.  I used 7 or 8 petals on the big flowers and 6 or 7 on the smaller ones, to add a little asymmetrical interest.


Step 6.  The last step!  Lay your front and back together with right sides together, pin around the edge and sew with 1/2” seam allowance, leaving a 12” space open on one end for the pillow stuffing.  Turn the pillow and press the seams flat.  Now you are ready to stuff the pillow.  I just stuck a pillow form in mine, but you can also use fiberfill and stuff it in.  Sew up the open edge of the pillow, shake to distribute the filling and voila!


So, maybe mine doesn’t look exactly like the inspiration.  I left off the piping because I wanted the edge to be soft, and mine has five flowers instead of a whopping nine! 

There you have it… a spiffy new pillow with dimensional interest and you can say that you made it yourself! :)


I’m linking up to Make Your Monday at Twice Remembered…

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sprucing for Spring

If you build it… they will come.

And so is my philosophy on Spring this year.  I am making ready!

Firstly I decided to get a jump on Spring cleaning by repainting the molding under our kitchen cabinets.  It was seriously beat up, with nails coming out and the toe molding flopping around. 

See here:


Looks like little rats have been gnawing on it… there’s a visual for ya!



A little nail gun action and some paint fixed all those problems.




Ahh, isn’t it amazing how overlooked spots like this can be.  But with five minutes of painting, I spruced up an otherwise neglected area!  It looks sooo nice now.

Onwards to a less grody project. 

So, to beat the winter blahs and shed a little light in these dark winter evenings, I picked up this adjustable lamp from Goodwill for $7.50!  It has a cute little fabric shade which is my favorite part!  I also love how it sits sturdily on the table and doesn’t clamp on or something similar.  It is illuminating my new sewing machine that I got for Christmas!  Yay Bernina!



A few touches of Spring in the den:






Soon, the wingchairs will be finished and they’ll fill up this side of the den.  And roman shades to fill up those windows.  Still trying to decide if I want to paint the trim white or not. :)  And a new upholstered ottoman/coffee table for the upstairs living room is in the works, so the Queen Anne style one up there will be moving down here to live with his friends Queen Anne couch and Queen Anne chairs.  hehe.  I also have plans to rebuild the wooden fireplace surround this year.  Add some new floors and paint and this den will be practically finished!

Thanks for coming along for the “sprucing”.  Happy Not Quite Spring! 


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Princess Castle Cake

Last weekend I spent a solid 12 hours making a princess castle cake for the birthday of a very special one-year old Princess!

Here is our inspiration from the Wilton Yearbook:


We bought the Wilton Romantic Castle Cake Kit which includes all the plastic pieces needed to make your cake look like a castle!  Since we didn’t need a cake this big, we opted to do three layers—12”, 9” and 6”.  Here’s a photo reel of the process:


That’s me drilling holes in each tower for a dowel rod support.


The top two layers iced and ready to be decorated, just chilling on the pool table.  What, you don’t use your pool table to store cake parts, too??  We made the layers with Betty Crocker white cake mix (the best!) and I whipped up three batches of Snow White Buttercream frosting from the Wilton website.  (That’s nine pounds of confectioner’s sugar… you should have seen the mess in the kitchen!) Then we tinted it pink and green for the decorations.


The two lower layers were stabilized with dowel supports in the center.  Here’s the bottom with its first layer of frosting—pink flower swags.  I used the drop flower tip for those… easy peasy, just lots of them!


Adding the leaves.


And the centers.


Layer up.  Windows and doors went on with a bit of icing.  Since our second tier was smaller than the pattern, we had to cut out a spot in the top tier for the roof piece to fit in.  Each tier was on a cardboard round for support and to make it easier to deconstruct the cake for cutting.


I pre-decorated the towers on top and sides before putting them on the cake.  With great trepidation, I stuck the top towers in with icing “glue” and then frosted around them. 


A few climbing vines finished off the edges of the roof.


After placing the remaining towers on the middle layer, and smushing everything in place with “glue”, I just had to finish the flower border at the base of the tier.  That’s it… I’m done!!!  (Much celebrating ensued… especially since it was about 10 o’clock at night and I was very tired!) :)


Here’s the finished product, ready to deliver to the party.  We split the corners of a box and slid the cake in, then taped the sides back up so we could remove it easily.  The frosting hardened overnight and the cake was very solid for its journey to the party.  (We called it “cement” icing, and I joked about “caulking” all the windows and doors…. No drafty castles for me!)  Despite the great weight of the cake and all those protruding towers, we had no trouble transporting it and none of my nightmares about tripping or smashing my elbow into it came to fruition.  Hallelujah! 

Here is the little cupcake (actually a big cupcake!) that we made especially for the birthday girl:


Ah, masterpiece…



Sunday, January 10, 2010

Just Tweaking Things

Last night, Saturday night, since I was not doing an 8-hour marathon game of Twilight Imperium with my husband, I decided to add a bit of trim to my table runner and kitchen curtain.

I showed you before how I wanted to redo our kitchen curtain to look more like this:

kitchen with glass front access

Well, I found some ball fringe leftover from another project, and wonder of wonders, it was green!  So I just pinned it on our new kitchen curtain to see what it looked like:


The best part is the little “crystals” on the bottom of each ball really shine in the sunlight.  I think I’ll just leave it pinned on for now.  Until I have to actually wash that curtain. :)

What do you think? 

                          BEFORE:                                               AFTER:

IMG_9024    IMG_1110

Okay, so the other things I added were a couple of tassels to the runner on the dining table:


I just took a green and gold tassel, layered some ribbon fringe over it and stitched it down.  Then I wrapped some dark red ribbon around the seam to cover it.  Nice and fluffy.

Here’s the whole thing:




Saturday, January 09, 2010

Master Suite Reveal

So, I realize there are a few spots of my house that I haven’t showcased on this blog, namely our Master Bedroom.  We never did anything majorly DIY in there (except the closet shelving system I showed you last year).  But it’s probably my favorite room in the house, maybe a close second to the dining room, which has flowers on the curtains and also just a smidge of pink… so its pulling ahead ;)  Next to the dining room, the bedroom is the most completely perfect room, hehe.  Except for the dressers being mismatched, the curtains being too short, and the mattress being too tall. gah!  As if anything could ever be “perfect” in my house.  It can always be improved. Forever.

Anyway… Here’s our lovely master:


The bed and nightstands were built by my father  from solid maple in the style of Pottery Barn’s Sumatra Bedroom set.  I think it’s perfect!  The damask stripe linens are from JCPenney in slate blue.  The shams I made, as well as the cream velvet accent pillows.  The lamp was refurbished with a base from Goodwill (I can’t believe how well it matches everything!). 

The fern art is DIY with glass floating frames and fern clippings from the garden.  I didn’t even dry them first, just washed the glass and sandwiched them in there.  They have since dried and turned a nice greenish brown color. hehe. 


The other wall art in here is our family tree, a photo collage, and a sunrise shot from our wedding day (Thanks Nick!).


I made the curtains from slate blue embroidered silk polyester (shhh!)  The ghost chair (as we call it) was a $30 thrift store find that my mother reupholstered in the same velvet as the accent pillows.  I love the little pillow, which I made and trimmed with beaded trim!  Swanky, no? 


That is Michael’s dresser…  ‘Nuff said.

Now for the transformative part of the room.  This was my monolith of a dresser BEFORE:


So, while the top of the dresser was a great place to hide plants from the cat, I recently decided to lighten things up a bit and take off the hutch part of the dresser.  Here’s the simplified AFTER:


This small change is precisely why I had to get a new mirror for the dining room!  One day I just decided that I wanted to take that top part off the dresser.  Well, once I took it down, of course, I had to “shop the house” for a new mirror.  There was really only one contender.  This beauty!  I love it in here.  Just as much as I love the new one that took its place in the dining room.

Here’s my silver vanity tray.  It’s fancy.  Or as my sister would say: “FANCY”.  Which just means you have to say it fancy, too. :)


So, the major future DIY projects in here are:

  1. Lengthen the curtains with cream silk shantung borders, remove tiebacks and hang ‘em higher from rings on new FANCY brushed nickel rods.
  2. Paint.  But what color?  We have been contemplating Olympic’s Classic Khaki.  Or pale blue? Or some variety of cream?  I have no idea!  What do you think?
  3. Make a duvet cover to match the curtains (already have the fabric for this project!)  I’m thinking something like this one:

blue bedding

That’ll look great over here, maybe with a few more pillows ;)


Okay, now I am in love with my bedroom all over again.  But since we’re in here, let’s take a peek at the adjoining master bath, too, shall we?


These are my lovely new bath towels (a Christmas gift from my sister) that perfectly match our fern shower curtain. 


That’s the other side.  Okay, I admit, that’s an old picture.  Pre new towels and new art.  I’m lazy, yes!

So, in here what should we put on the DIY list?

  1. Frame mirror.  Naked mirrors are so yesterday! :)
  2. Refinish vanity and cabinet in a darker stain with new knobs.  Or should we paint them?  Hmm… gonna have to think on that one.
  3. Get a new faucet.  That’ll have to be a GPDIFU project.  That’s “Get Papa to Do It For Us”.  I don’t think anyone wants to see the fallout from Sarah attempting to change a faucet without assistance! :)

So, what was supposed to be a nice “pictures only” post has turned into a lot of words!  Poor Hannah… she hates to read.  So I’m out!  Thanks for coming along to see our master suite.