Archive for the ‘How to’ Category

Rosette Pillow [DIY]

Rosettes are my thing right now. I’m putting them on everything. This pillow is the latest in this trend. It’s so cute and easy, how could I not share?



  • Fabric for the pillow
  • WOF (width of fabric) x 6 inch strips for each rosette
  • Pearls or other center accents
  • Spray adhesive
  • Glue gun and glue
  • Pillow form

Make it!

  1. Make a pillow cover to fit your pillow form. If you don’t know how to do this, Sew Mama Sew has a great tutorial here.
  2. Make your rosettes. Iron each WOF x 6 inch strip in half lengthwise, right sides out.
  3. Spray the entire thing liberally with spray adhesive.
  4. Pinch on end in your left hand, and use your right hand to begin wrapping the strip around itself. Allow it to twist to make “petals.”
  5. Using a tiny bit of hot glue, glue your pearl or other accent to the middle of the rosette. Press down on the rosette with your hand to flatten it, secure the pearl, and secure the spray adhesive.
  6. Drizzle hot glue all over the back of the rosettes, and glue them onto the pillow case.
  7. Insert your pillow form. You’re done!



Please don’t look at my nails. I got a little over zelous picking off the spray adhesive.




Read Full Post »




I have been looking at sewing furniture for years, but the prices always made my jaw drop. I have a small craft room, so I needed a table that could also triple as a cutting table and fabric storage. Thank you so much to Ana White for this plan! I built this table exactly to the plan for the Modern Craft Table in Ana White’s The Handbuilt Home, and it’s the PERFECT size.

So the sewing machine can sit flush with the top, making working on big sewing projects way easier, I traced the outline of my machine on the MDF and cut it out with a jig saw. Then I built a small shelf using a 1×12 scrap and 2 1×3 scraps. Putting the 1x3s on top of the 1×12 made the shelf 3.75 inches deep, which is exactly the depth I needed. I attached it to the underside of the tabetop using a pockethole jig and screws.

I built 2 boxes using 1/4 inch plywood, and installed drawer pulls on them, giving the illusion that the table has 2 drawers built in. This is where I keep my ugly stuff–interfacing and fabric scraps.

I got the color scheme for the table from the entryway console plan in The Handbuilt Home. In order to make the MDF top look like it had a wood grain, I applied mahogany gel stain with an old washcloth in very thick strokes that spanned the length of the tabletop. It soaked in and lost the “grain” look in some places, but the majority still looks like wood. I did have to apply several coats of polyurathane over the stain; the MDF has a prickly texture that grabs fabric and makes it hard to feed through the sewing machine.

My only complaint is that I didn’t quite think through the fact that seating is bar height and I’m 5’7″. It’s a little difficult to reach my sewing machine pedal. I may build a small stool for the pedal to sit on so I don’t have to half sit/stand to sew.

This is the first woodworking project I’ve done alone from start to finish: from going to Lowe’s and picking out the wood, to cutting the wood with a circular saw, assembly, and finishing. (Adam did carry it up the stairs for me. 🙂 )

2013-09-23 09.46.22

I’m so in love with this table! And now to finish the quilt I started 6 months ago….

Read Full Post »

Fabric Silhouettes

I love Amy Butler fabric. I love Amy Butler patterns. I love my dogs.

It was only a matter of time before I combined these three loves.

I present to you my fabric silhouettes. I got the idea from Amy Butler’s Nigella Silhouette pattern (available for free on her website—love those free patterns!!), and like most other things, adapted it to suit my taste and/or needs.

I chose Amy’s Daisy Chain line for this project because the blues, greens, and greys fit my existing decor. Of course any fabric will do; you just want to make sure it pops and is pleasing to your eye. For the background, any heavy-weight fabric will do–duck cloth, canvas, etc.

I got the silhouette images for free online, and printed a quarter of them per page on my regular printer. I taped them together to make one big image.


The basic how-to goes like this

  1. Iron fusible webbing to the back of your silhouette fabric.
  2. Pin the pattern to the front of the fabric, trace, and then cut out.
  3. Peel the paper backing off the fusible webbing, and iron it to the canvas/duck cloth to adhere.
  4. Using a satin stitch (a medium-width zigzag stitch with a very short stitch length—see image below), sew around the silhouette to secure.
  5. Using spray adhesive, adhere the canvas/duck cloth to a piece of foam board.
  6. Frame and hang!

I’ve been playing around with the idea of opening an Etsy.com store, and if/when that happens, these will definitely be items for sale. Look for that to happen some time after Christmas (I have LOTS to finish before Christmas.).


Switching gears, today is Day 3 of the Primal Challenge. I’ve been doing well. Except, I weighed myself this morning, and I’ve gained 2 pounds in the past week. Someone, please tell me, IS THIS NORMAL???? Because I’ve been working out hard and my food intake (as you can see in previous posts) has been damn near perfect. For the past 2 days anyway. Have any of you had this experience? I realize Grok didn’t weigh himself, so maybe I should stop altogether? Help, please!!

For today:

Breakfast: Smoothie with banana, Prograde, coconut milk, 2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa

Lunch: Fassoulia, turnip chips (from my CSA, yeah!!)

Snack: 2 hard-boiled eggs

Dinner: Not sure yet, probably mahi mahi and homemade aioli (which I didn’t end up having last night; after bootcamp I had some Greek yogurt and walnuts instead)

Workout: Rest day, 30 – 45 minute walk at some point today

Read Full Post »

New Drapes

I made curtains for my “new” living room the day I got my sewing machine. Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was doing when I made them. They were OK… they did the job… but they were not reflective of an accomplished seamstress (as I have become in the past 2 months).

I cut the material too short on the old ones, so there was no reusing them for new ones. Which sucked because I really loved the pattern.

But when God closes a door, he sends you a stock pile of fabric on craigslist.

I went to see Alice and her hoard of fabric again over Memorial Day weekend. I came home with a ton of really elegant and heavy taupe/brown cotton and some funky flowery, almost cartoonish cotton blend.

And this is what I did.

To make these drapes, I first pieced together the front, making sure the flowery top was exactly the same height from the top of the blue flange on all four panels.

Then I cleared the living room floor and laid down a thrifted white flat sheet (which would be the lining), and pinned each panel to the sheet, right sides facing. At the top of each panel, I pinned the tabs in between the panel and the lining so that the tabs were “hidden” between the two and raw edges were flush with each other.

I sewed along the sides and top, turned each right-side out, and ironed each side for a crisp edge. Then, I folded each side back onto the lining by an inch and stiched it down (so that an inch of the panel front wraps around to the back), and folded up the bottoms 4 inches and did the same (this also closed the opening where I turned them right side out).

I pressed one more time around all of the edges, hung them, and stood back and smiled. They’re really nice drapes. They’re thick enough to block out light and heat/cold, and I love the funky flowers and elegant brown combination.

Read Full Post »

Saturday will be the ninth–NINTH–time I’ve moved in seven years. Ninth. I still can’t get over that.

Inevitably when you do that much moving, you get good at doing it. I read somewhere sometime (to be specific) that moving is one of the greatest stressors in life. I believe it. It feels like you will never get everything loaded into the truck in any sort of organized fashion, and then you just have to turn around and unpack it. Make your round edges fit in square corners. Make the new place feel as cozy as the old place.

To that end, here are some of the best tips I have for you to stay relatively sane during packing and moving.

  • Start as soon as you can. Start purging the weekend after you find out you’re moving.
  • Lists! Make a list of everything–what to pack, what to not pack, when to call to change your address and drop of the cable box, what needs to be cleaned, etc. Right now I’m working off four lists: Still to Pack, Still to Clean, Timeline of Chores, and What to Leave for Cleaning.
  • Move gradually if you can. If you can’t, at least try to move gradually in your mind. Divide your move into three chunks: what can go now (or be packed now)–this would be stuff like Christmas decorations and grandmother’s quilts; what can go later (or packed later)–this would be stuff like wine glasses and DVDs that you could live without, but may not want to; and what must wait until the end–this would be stuff like shampoo, makeup, and ahem, shoes.
  • Don’t try to pack, clean, and move at the same time. Arrange for a few hours to come back to the empty house and check for anything missed or anything that needs to be cleaned.
  • Do as much administrative stuff as you can at work. That’s awful, I know, but it makes life so much easier. Change your address, pick up boxes, turn off your utilities, etc., at work.
  • Pack a bag like you’re going on a trip. Keep undies, makeup, shampoo, etc., in there to live out of once you get to the new place and don’t feel like unpacking 9 boxes to find your toothbrush.
  • Label every box. with which room in the house it belongs in, and what’s in it. Not only do I label, but I put a number on them indicating when they should be unpacked. 1 indicates the contents are important (like crafting supplies), whereas 10 can wait until the very end.
  • Store your belongings in moveable ways. I keep a lot of my towels, off-season clothes and shoes, art supplies, fine china, etc., in moving boxes under the bed. When it’s time to go, all you have to do is load them.
  • Get some bottled water and healthy snacks. No one likes to help you move to find out you have nothing to eat and no vessel to drink from. Get some paper plates and napkins, too.
  • Buy a few things for the new place. I’ve gotten so many eye rolls from Jeff about the amount of stuff I’ve bought for our new house, but having beautiful new things to look forward to sustains my energy and motivation for packing up the old stuff.
  • If you haven’t used it in a year (or since the last time you moved), throw it out.
  • Eat well and get plenty of sleep.
  • Stay as organized as possible. When you feel your mind starting to race, start making lists.

What packing or moving tips do you have?

Read Full Post »

I haven’t talked at length about this, because I’ve been waiting for more pieces to fall into place. Buuuuuttt… I’m moving in two months. Long distancing with Jeff is getting very, very old, and we want to move forward to the next chapter in our lives. The timing couldn’t be better because my lease expires in two months anyway. So, I’m Richmond bound.

What makes the situation so unbelievably awesome is that the giant evil corporation I work for turns out to have more of a heart than I originally suspected, because they’re converting my position into a teleworking position with very little fuss. Aside from the whole relationship thing, I’m so friggin stoked to have a change of scenery. I’ve been in this town for four years, and have been done with it for three and a half. It’s time to move on.

In order to facilitate an effective and efficient workday at home, I’m devoting most of my thought, energy, and decorating budget to creating my office. Whenever furniture purchasing or decorating opportunities present themselves, I always try to reuse and restore before buying anything new. I don’t recycle paper bags and bottles, so doing this is my way of helping the environment. Plus, each piece in my home becomes distinctively mine, and it’s way easier on my piggy bank.

The first item I bought for my new office was an old, gross office chair from the thrift store for $10. Two yards of fabric and an afternoon later, I have a brand new chair.

This particular chair was a PAIN to take apart, but for our first upholstering experiment, I think we did pretty well.

Read Full Post »

If there were a society for dogs who wolf down food, Kane would be president. He eats with a fervor that I haven’t seen since, well, since I used to go to Golden Corral on Sunday mornings for brunch. (What?! College was my Fat Time.)

I switched him to a raw diet for a while, and in addition to being much better for him, it forced him to slow down to chew the bones and tendons and such. The result was a much happier digestive system, and a much more sated dog.

About three months into feeding him raw, I bought a case of chicken backs that smelled the teensiest bit “off.” After a few days of explosive diarrhea, I switched him back to kibble. While I firmly believe in a raw diet for dogs, I’m a little nervous to try it again after that, even though I fully realize that kibble is more susceptible to rancidity and spoiling than quality raw meat and veggies are. One day we’ll get back there, but for now, I’m sticking with a high quality, grain-free kibble. (I fed Evo for a long time, and recently switched to Taste of the Wild–similar ingredient list, but far less expensive. Check out http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com to research grain-free dry dog foods.)

Anyway, I digress. Kane rarely even chews his dry food. One, two, gulp, it’s gone. Eating that fast has some health risks, including bloat, and being homeless when your family can’t take your gas anymore.

One way to get your pooch to slow down is to put some sort of obstacle in his bowl. A tennis ball superglued to the bottom of the bowl, an upside down ramiken (like you see in resturaunts), or something similar will work. When Fido has to eat AROUND the object, he has to slow down a little.

But, if you live with The Lord of the Flies like I do, this may not be enough. Enter the Kong Genius.

When I saw these at the pet supply store, I was hesitant to buy them. “Genius?” I thought. “Am I being overly optimistic?” But I bought one, and he LOVED it. Stuffed full of yogurt and cookies and frozen, it keeps him busy for hours when I leave for work. A week or so ago, I bought the other shape (the blue one below), because I believed Kane to be ready for another challenge. While it is indeed more challenging, and nearly impossible to get cookies out of, it’s PERFECT for feeding him meals. I’ve been giving him breakfast in his Kongs, and have been incredibly pleased with the results. No more gas, he doesn’t seem hungry still when he finishes, and it takes him a good 5 -10 minutes to eat all of his food. They’re a bit expensive–around $17 each for the extra large size–but oh so worth it.

If you have a gobbler, I highly recommend these.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »