Going Yard With Fabrics {Deck Pillows}

I may have gone a bit overboard with my pattern selections for the pillows on our deck. I wanted to match and enhance the color of the chairs, tables, and flowers on our deck. But my main jumping off point was our deck umbrella. Its stripes have blue, green, yellow, red, and even orange. They’re bright and perky, perfect for an outdoor living space. I feel as though you can take more risks and be a bit bolder outdoors. Plus, if you really don’t like it, or get sick of it after a season, it’s easy to change! No walls to paint!

Here are all the finished pillows. I'm starting from the end of the story and then shooting to the beginning. Bear with me here...

Here are all the finished pillows. I’m starting from the end of the story and then shooting to the beginning. Bear with me here…

Anyway, so here’s how I made those lovely pillows.

I purchased six pillow forms (with plenty of fabric and coupons to boot) from JoAnns. Make sure, when making outdoor fabric pieces, that you actually choose outdoor fabric. These fabrics are typically more durable, machine washable, and are less likely to fade in the sun as quickly as a typical cotton fabric. I originally picked two coordinating fabrics to use, but ran out of the stripe and needed extra. So I went back and purchased the floral print, which I also adore (though I think the red is probably my favorite, I’m a sucker for a geometric print).

I wanted to make sure that these pillows weren’t like the ones that I had made in the past. I actually wanted to tackle a pillow slip cover, so that if I decided to change it out, it wouldn’t be removing stuffing and starting all over again. I looked online and landed on a simple, straight forward tutorial over at vixenMade. She gives tips and suggestions for making an envelope style pillow cover which is almost exactly like what I wanted.

So here it goes, how to make a simple slip cover, with a few differences from the vixenMade tutorial.

First, measure around your pillow form. I left about an inch around each side. This is more because I'm not totally proficient at the sewing machine. Giving myself some extra room just in case my stitches aren't straight insures that the pillow covers will fit.

First, measure around your pillow form. I left about an inch around each side. This is more because I’m not totally proficient at the sewing machine. Giving myself some extra room just in case my stitches aren’t straight insures that the pillow covers will fit.

 

Two: cut two pieces of fabric for the front and back of the pillow cover. I cut the second piece slightly larger than the first, so that it would still be the same size after hemming the cut edges. Cut the larger piece in half. This will be the back "envelope" part of your slip cover.

Two: cut two pieces of fabric for the front and back of the pillow cover. I cut the second piece slightly larger than the first, so that it would still be the same size after hemming the cut edges. Cut the larger piece in half. This will be the back “envelope” part of your slip cover.

 

Three: iron down the sides that you will add the hem to. Then hem/serge with a stitch that you are comfortable using on your machine.

Three: iron down the sides that you will add the hem to. Then hem/serge with a stitch that you are comfortable using on your machine.

 

Pin these pieces to the other larger side piece. Make sure you do this inside out! I accidentally sewed an entire pillow, only to remember I didn't put the pieces inside out so half had the inner part of the fabric showing. What a pain to take out all those stitches!

Pin these pieces to the other larger side piece. Make sure you do this inside out! I accidentally sewed an entire pillow, only to remember I didn’t put the pieces inside out so half had the inner part of the fabric showing. What a pain to take out all those stitches!

 

And let’s not pretend that bad things didn’t happen. Because, whenever I complete a sewing project, something is BOUND to go wrong.

Hmm...that's not what it's supposed to look like...

Hmm…that’s not what it’s supposed to look like. I miss measured and just went for it, of course. That was a mistake. Not to mention I forgot what color thread I’ve already set in the machine, so it definitely didn’t blend with the fabric.

 

But after all the mistakes, sewing machine headaches, and having to get some extra fabric, I’m happy to say that this project is done!

 

Happy? Perky? I hope our neighbors don't mind all the color!

Happy? Perky? I hope our neighbors don’t mind all the color!

Aren't my new red chairs the cutest? The pillows work perfectly and make it look a bit more inviting. Now, if only I could find a tiny table to go in between...

Aren’t my new red chairs the cutest? The pillows work perfectly and make it look a bit more inviting. Now, if only I could find a tiny table to go in between…

 

Now, I know it’s a lot of color and pattern, but I think because the color family plays so well together, it doesn’t seem quite as busy. But even if it is busy, that’s all part of the fun!

 

XOXO,

Ashley

 

PS- This project was a bit more expensive than my typical projects. I spent around $50 for all the fabric and the pillow forms. Because I had so many coupons, plus a gift card, I was able to get better pillow forms and fabric that wasn’t necessarily on sale. I will say, however, that all the gloriously done pillows I found at places at HomeGoods were at least $40 for a set of four, and I needed six. Plus, I wouldn’t have been able to pick all different fabrics!

Questionable Taste Becomes Art {Re-doing Artwork}

Hey everyone!

I know I teased this post yesterday, but I’ve only just gotten around to it. As many of you saw in previous posts, our massive bed made my DIY art from bedroom decor past look like doll house furniture.

See those sad little paintings? Way too small.

See those sad little paintings? Way too small.

I made those the summer that we moved into our home, when our bed was just a double and flat on the floor. The scale made so much more sense then, but now, all has changed. Our bed is a King and has a HUGE headboard and footboard to boot. So those lovely pictures I worked so hard on, just a few years ago, were way too little now. So I was on the hunt for something new. I thought that the easy, most cost effective solution was to cover a larger something in fabric. That way, it’s cheaper and something I’ve made, so it matches all the greens and blues in the room perfectly.

Well, finding something to a larger scale that would be easy to hang was not as easy as I thought. I had intended to find something at Lowes, like a large piece of foam board that I could mount hangers onto to put onto the wall. No luck there (though I still love you Lowes). So I went back to my original idea that I could find some sort of frame (either a canvas stretcher or an old beat up frame) to cover with the fabric. Those forms would be easy to hang and easy to find. Well, I didn’t find either of those, but I did find a $10 gem at our local, fantastic tag sale.

Isn't she just the prettiest thing? Hey, stop laughing...

Isn’t he just the most handsome thing? With his textured paint, glitter badly glued on, and even some foil for good measure. Hey, stop laughing…

Let’s have some honesty time now. This guy isn’t very much to look at. In fact, we laughed carrying it all the way to the car. So there’s a reason we saw it where we saw it. My mother and I found this in the “bargain barn” at the tag sale. The bargain barn is full of project pieces that need a little love. This guy was shoved behind several large pieces and didn’t seem to have a price tag in sight. Just as an informal sizing, my mother guessed it was probably five feet long and four feet high (she turned out to be almost spot on). I realized I was looking at my project solution. So we found the man who organizes the barn and asked him about the picture. He gave us a priceless, and unforgettable look, and told us he was desperate to sell it. I had already made my max $10, because it was huge and had a pretty sturdy frame. He happened to say $10, and instead of haggle like I should have, I said we would take it! We paid, grabbed it from the barn, and laughed our way to the car. And then we realized, it might not fit in the car! After a lot of maneuvering we finally got that sucker in the backseat.

She took up the entire back section of a small SUV. This girl is JUST the right size for our bedroom.

He took up the entire back section of a small SUV. This guy is JUST the right size for our bedroom.

My mom made the awful joke that he already had some of our colors in his paint job, so maybe I shouldn’t recover him. He didn’t even make it an hour in the house before he was reconstructed into a new piece. I had to immediately drape the fabric I had bought previously, just to make sure I did in fact buy enough.

It fits! Now you're mine, ugly framed art. You will be made new!

It fits! Now you’re mine, ugly framed art. You will be made new!

I immediately sent this picture to a few people as a “ha! success!” before actually completing the project. Notice the pooling on the bottom? Yup, not stapled yet. Boy was I way in over my head. Not only was it super difficult to cover, it was also super difficult to hang. Let me explain.

I covered the painting, frame and all, with the fabric and stapled it to the backing of the frame. I used the same technique that I had done with the seat covers, so that wasn’t the problem. Remember how big I said this sucker was? This was definitely a difficult, one-person job. Not only did I pick a difficult fabric (a type of jersey that stretches easily), the sheer size of the frame was enough to make it sweat-inducing. Sorry for that visual! I had to move from the vertical sides to the horizontal sides, making sure to check that the fabric was correctly aligned and not getting too stretched. Since it was a geometric, it was really important to keep it at a nice horizontal angle. I did have to take out a few staples and put a few new ones in, but overall it worked out well!

Love the color and the pattern. Perfect for an art piece. It kind of mimics a watercolor, right?

Love the color and the pattern. Perfect for an art piece. It kind of mimics a painting, right?

The next hurdle was to get this big guy up on the wall. And because I can’t wait for anything, I was left to try and do this on my own. I tried the first time without measuring. Silly Ashley, you always measure. It ended up resting on the top of the headboard and was definitely not a cute look. After measuring and getting on my tiptoes, I finally anchored the wall mounts in and precariously hung the picture on my own. I may or may not have fallen over a few times in the process, but it ended up on the wall, didn’t it?!

Perfect scale, don't you think?

Perfect scale, don’t you think?

It also looks great with the new curtains I blogged about a few weeks ago.

 

See? Let's admire the color coordination for a moment, shall we?

See? Let’s admire the color coordination for a moment, shall we? The green is echoed in both the fabric of the artwork and the fabric of the curtains. It’s like they’re opposites with the blue being the background of the art piece and the green with the curtains. 

So, in review, this project was easy/hard. Easy to do because it just requires some fabric, a frame, and a staple gun. Hard to do because of the scale and effort involved. I spent about $15 for the fabric (two yards worth). The frame ended up being $10.60 after tax. So this project only cost about $25. It would have been about $30 without my coupon, but you know how I love my coupons! Anyways, this is really a simple project that doesn’t have to cost a lot but can make a BIG (literally) impact!
XOXO,

Ashley

 

 

A Little Love {For Young House Love}

Hey all,

If you’re anything like me, and you’ve stumbled upon the amazingness that is Sherry and John’s blog, you were giddy like a kid on a snow day (NEMO reference!) when they announced that their book was coming out. Their blog is so interesting and witty. It makes you feel like the Petersiks are just having a conversation with you, their best friend. They share little nuggets of their lives (including their adorable daughter, Clara and their sweet pup, Burger). They also share some killer DIY tips for sprucing up your home. I am in awe of the different projects they have tackled in their two homes. It gives me hope that I could tackle a kitchen or bathroom remodel in the future.

So back to the book. I immediately made it very clear that I, too, needed this book. It didn’t matter what the content was, or when it was coming out, I must have it. So when they announced on their blog that it would be 200+ of their favorite DIY tips, I was sold. Get me a copy ASAP! I asked for it for Christmas, but no luck. So I saved up my shekels and ran on down to my local B&N to pick the sucker up.

It's mine! It's all mine!

It’s mine! It’s all mine!

I was so excited, that I’ve already finished going through all the tips. Can I just say, this book is amazing! If you are a home/entertaining/organizing DIY-er, it’s a necessary purchase. Not only is the Young House Love writing style still obvious throughout it’s pages, the tutorials are easy to follow. They created a cost, work, and time key so you know what you’re getting into before you start. Burger even makes an appearance every few pages with a witty comment bubble. And, this book was a super ego booster because I’ve actually DONE some of these projects, so I must be as cool as YHL-ers (or at least a fraction of cool).

Remember last summer when I papered the back of my bookshelf? Well, right off the bat, we’ve got a match!

Great way to start, with a project I've already completed!

Great way to start, with a project I’ve already completed!

So if we’re on the same page, right at the beginning, then we’re good to go. Way to make me feel awesome, Petersiks! And then they included several tutorials on sprucing up an old mirror (remember these guys?) and they painted a set of curtains (like these!). So I felt really awesome about myself, while reading an awesome book.

They’ve also basically filled my spring break and summer break with great, future project ideas. Now on tap for the future I’ve got: stenciling a rug (tip no. 002), no sew curtains (tip no. 009), stencil a table runner (tip no. 058), make drawer shelves (tip no. 071), and fabric art piece for bedroom art (tip no. 129). But that’s only in the first half of the book!

I should mention, they also give great tips and ideas that are not necessarily DIY-ing your home. They give great tips for entertaining, for updating kitchens on a budget, and decor ideas to spruce up any room. I read through the book like a Real Simple magazine, in awe of the beautiful photographs and great writing. There were many times, and I mean MANY, when I wanted a little cheat sheet of where to buy what. I thought I was just going to have to go it alone, until I got to the end of the book! They provide a TON of great blogs, websites, and magazines for readers use. They also have a “where did you get that” section for the different illustrations and photographs. Too…perfect. I could go on and on and gush for days about this book, but you should just do yourself a favor and go buy your own copy. Do it, like right now.

XOXO,

Ashley

Where Does She Get It From?

Ever wonder why I busy myself with so many projects? I get it from my mother.

If you remember a few weeks ago, during one of my treasure hunting posts, my mother scored four awesome chairs for pretty cheap. Well, they were really awesome, but she really needed to recover them. They had a sad, discolored paisley pattern that included some pastels and really gross stains. Of course, as the old saying goes (maybe it’s only for boys but I’m changing it): like mother, like daughter. She popped those seats off, as I did with mine several weeks ago, and recovered them in a MUCH better fabric to match her decor.

Left is the updated, cleaned up version. Right is the previous fabric, pre-Murphy’s oil treatment on the wood.

I think that they needed a perked up look. With a little scrub, some new fabric, they look fantastic. She even mentioned that she might like them better than her original chairs (which is probably not true, but a nice sentiment at least).

Don’t they look great with the other original chairs?

It goes with the carpet, the living room furniture, the existing chairs. What a good choice!

The fabric is a great choice, not only because it matches many of the things my parents already had, but it’s also a bit simpler AND it has a fun textural element. Those circles are raised and oh-so touchable. I really like the choice. Plus the chairs are just right in terms of their scales and profile. They sit almost as high as the backs of the old chairs, so they blend really well. Plus with the wood design, they mimic the scrolls on the old chairs. All in all, a great upgrade. Go Mom!

XOXO,
Ashley