Painted Pillow + Pom Poms

Say that 5 times fast.


The nursery in the DIY Blogger House was inspired by this fabric


by Patty Young.  (She is DELIGHTFUL.  I took a class from her last year at The Creative Connection and it was for sure one of the highlights of my trip.)  It’s Moorish Tile in white from her Andalucia collection for Michael Miller.

I picked up a bunch of awesome fabrics from  (I’m not affiliated with them in anyway, just letting you know where I got my stuff.)  They have an awesome feature on their site where you can add fabrics to an inspiration board to see them all together before you make your purchase.  I built on the colors in the Moorish Tile fabric and came up with this:


I didn’t end up using all of the fabrics on the board, but it was my online version of stacking a million bolts in my cart before I make a final decision at my local fabric store.  Winking smile

I made pillows out of the Michael Miller Ta Dot Lagoon and the Premier Prints Zig Zag Chartreuse, but I wanted something unique for the other pillow.  I decided to enlarge part of the design in the Moorish Tile pattern and paint a pillow.

Because I’m not that coordinated, I cut a freezer paper stencil.

Because I’m lazy, I used my CAMEO.

I showed you last week how to trace a design using your Silhouette.  That’s where I started.  I traced the image of the fabric, but then I had to make a couple of modifications.  My trace of the design looked like this:

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That’s absolutely fine, but I wanted it cleaner and with less stuff around the edges.  I wanted to focus on the center part.  So, I made the trace bigger (click and drag on the corner) and rotated it the direction I wanted it to be (the green dot at the top of the design allows you to rotate).  Then I right clicked and selected “Release Compound Path”.

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This makes the image a bunch of separate cuts and lets you delete the floater pieces that you don’t want.  I deleted all the floaters and was left with this:

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Getting closer!  I opened my Eraser menu after that (over on the left, under the add text button) and erased the parts of the design that I didn’t want.

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At this point I would recommend selecting the entire design and right clicking and then selecting “Group”.  This way your whole image sticks together and stays the same size.

Now I just needed to fill in the missing pieces.  I used the “Draw Freehand” option to do that.  It’s right above the add text button.  You can see it highlighted in the image above, but it’s tiny.

Draw in one of the missing lines.  It doesn’t have to be great.  Mine started out like this:

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If you double click on the line you just drew, it will bring up the point editing menu.

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It will allow you to maneuver the end points of the line you drew over onto the lines in the design as well as modify the curves.  Just play with it a little!  And, if you screw up, use the undo function and try again.  Once you’ve got it how you like it, select the whole design and right click and select “Group” again.

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Repeat for the other 3 sides.

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Nice, right?  I had a 14” pillow form, so I wanted this design as close to 12 X 12 as possible.  I stretched it all the way to the edges of the cut area.

To cut freezer paper with your Silhouette, put the shiny side up and reverse your image (if necessary…it wasn’t really necessary on this).  Choose the normal paper settings and then slow it down just a little.

I ironed the design to some white cotton duck that I had on hand and then filled it in with craft paint mixed with a textile medium (so it doesn’t get crispy or crack).  The paint colors I used were Granny Smith from Martha Stewart Crafts and Ocean Breeze from Craft Smart.  They were picked strictly for how well they matched the Moorish Tile.

And the finishing touch?  Some pom pom trim from our friends over at Pick Your Plum.


I kind of love it.

I bought the 2 bottles of craft paint for this project and our designer Brian provided me with the pillow form ($1.99 from IKEA) but I had everything else on hand.  I think this is a great inexpensive way to add a custom one-of-a-kind pillow to your space.

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High Waisted Skirt Tutorial, revisited

Way back in August last year, I posted my high waisted skirt tutorial.


I combined it with a 2 seam tutu to get this look:


It’s probably my favorite skirt I’ve ever created (and it sews up SUPER quickly), but it kind of got lost in the shuffle last year….something about giving away a Silhouette that week, I think.  Winking smile

I decided to use that tutorial to make Macy’s Christmas skirt this year.

The result?


True love.

The little red ribbon tied around the waist was the perfect finishing touch.

The only change I made from the original tutorial was that I increased the length of the skirt pieces to 24”.  Someone’s grown 5” in the last year, and it’s mostly leg.


So, give this one a second look, will ya?

Linking up to TT&J

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Faux Feed Sack Pillows

IF YOU’RE HERE TO ENTER TO WIN A CAMEO, IT’S ONE POST DOWN.  (And this would TOTALLY be a great first project for it!)

You’ve seen the fabulous pillows made from feed sacks all over the internet, right?  Pottery Barn had some made from coffee bags, even.  I love them, but I don’t happen to have an abundance of feed sacks sitting around.  OK, I don’t have any feed sacks sitting around and I don’t know where to get them either.  So, I came up with this project to satisfy my love of the feed sack.  Desperation is the mother of invention, right?  And, this tutorial *might* even be better than the real deal because you can totally personalize a faux sack.  What are the odds that you’d find an actual feed bag with your last name (or Santa or whatever) on it?  (Hint: none.)


(I went the Santa route, since I originally developed this project for the A Swell Noel series over at Positively Splendid, but this technique would work for any image/lettering.)


Canvas drop cloth, from the paint section.  You can get a 6’ X 9’ one for around $10.  That’d make A LOT of pillows.
Contact paper, vinyl, or freezer paper.  I used contact paper because it’s cheap and can easily be fed through my Silhouette.
Silkscreen ink.  I like Simply Screen by Plaid.


Cut your design or lettering out of your contact paper (or vinyl or freezer paper).  I used a Santa silhouette from the Silhouette download store and then cut it with my Silhouette (on vinyl settings but slowed down to a speed of 5 and a depth of 7).  You could easily do this with a craft knife as well.


Apply the contact paper to your drop cloth.  I cut an 18” X 18” square because my pillow form was 18”.


I used that green scraper thing to get a good tight seal around the edges.

I like to stick the vinyl backing under my fabric to keep the ink from bleeding through and getting on my table.


Apply silkscreen ink with a sponge brush.


I like to use a scrap of contact paper to squirt the ink out onto.


Once the ink is dry, you can peel off the contact paper.


Then, take some sandpaper to your design.


Keep sanding until it looks old and worn and like it’s been part of the canvas forever.


Assemble your pillow (I made a simple envelope back).


And you’re done.


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Basketball Player Costume, On the Cheap

In 3rd grade at my kids’ elementary, they get to participate in a wax museum.  Each kid reads a biography and then dresses as that person for an oral report.  The parents (and the rest of the school) get to come see all the kids in costume at once, posed and holding still.  There’s the “wax museum” part of it.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a really, really long time (hint: my mom), you might remember Macy’s Helen Keller ensemble.

Keller came home and announced that the biography he’d selected was for Steve Nash.  Um, OK?  The next sentence was “So you can just buy me a jersey or something…”  Sorry, no.  I love you but this is a book report.  I’m not spending that kind of $$$ for a book report costume.  I knew I had to get creative.




2 cheap-o t-shirts.  Mine came from Michael’s and were 2 for $5.  One was an adult size small and the other was an adult size XL.

Avery Personal Creations InkJet Iron-On Dark T-Shirt Transfers, White, Five Sheets per Pack (03279)
(I used 2 sheets out of the 5 sheet pack.)

You’re going to make the shorts from the XL shirt.  Fold it in half and use the existing hem to save yourself some time.  I traced a pair of Keller’s shorts and then just cut a little bigger for seam allowances.  (Who am I kidding?  This is a costume that will be worn for under 2 hours.  I didn’t trace.  I just cut.)


Be sure to include an extra 2” or so at the top for the waistband casing.  Sew the inner seams on each leg and then sew the crotch seam.  Make the waistband casing, insert some elastic and you’re done.  Seriously…5 minutes.

For the “jersey”, I cut both sleeves off the size small shirt about where the (really wobbly) yellow line is in the picture below.


I pressed them under along the seam and stitched them in place so they wouldn’t flip back out. You could hem the t-shirt at this point if you want, but I just made my kid tuck it in (back to that whole “wearing it for less than 2 hours” thing).

For the Suns logo, I used the print and cut feature in my Silhouette Studio software.  You can ABSOLUTELY do it without, you’d just cut out the shape with scissors.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  My Silhouette has made me lazy.  Open-mouthed smile

Here’s a brief how to if you have a Silhouette and want to do it that way:

Find an image of your team’s logo.  Open it in Silhouette Studio.  Display your registration marks now so you don’t get all the way done and discover you made it like a millimeter too big.  Trust.  Once you’ve done that, you’re going to want to use the TRACE function (red arrow) and then select an area to be traced (green arrow).

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Adjust your trace settings (bottom right hand side rectangle) until you get a good outline and then select the “TRACE OUTER EDGE” option (yellow arrow).

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I’ve moved the logo out of the way so you can see what you just did a little more clearly.  You can leave it put if your eyes are better than mine.

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That line will cut precisely along the edge of the logo.  I wanted a little white border, since my shirt was dark, so I used the “OFFSET” function.  It’s under the “OBJECT” menu in the upper left hand corner.  You can then change the thickness of the white border (blue arrow).

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I still have the logo out of the way for the sake of tutorial clarity, but you’ll want to leave it put in real life.  The last step is to change the inner most line so that your Silhouette will not cut it.  You use the “CUT STYLE” menu (orange arrow) for this.

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Change the inner line to “no cut” and leave the outer line as “cut”.  Here’s what your finished design will look like before you print it from Silhouette Studio.

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Print it on the Avery transfer paper and then put it on a mat and run it through your Silhouette.  I used the medium cardstock settings.  Apply it to your shirt following the package directions.


Put your name and number on the back, if you want.


Not bad for around $8, right?



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Spider Web Doily Pillow


I was at the dollar store a few weeks ago and picked up some doilies.  (I’m obsessed, even have a work in progress Pinterest board.)  I had no specific plans for them, until Macy walked in after school and said “Hey!  Those look like spider webs!”

I stitched from the center to each doily point and then continued on to the edges of my pillow front piece.

Once the doily was stitched in place, I took some spider rings (also from the dollar store) and cut off the ring part.  I tacked them onto the pillow by sewing around the 2 middle legs on each side, like this,


only with actual thread instead of yellow bars.  Those suckers are on there GOOD and I’m certain they’ll stay put.


Since I already had the orange fabric (IKEA clearance) and the pillow form, this project cost me about $1.25.


Not bad, right?

Do you have Halloween décor out yet?

Have you nailed down costume ideas?

Linking to: Today’s Creative Blog

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Sewing A to Z with Nancy Zieman

True confession:  Back when I was newly married and I hadn’t sewed in years, I used to watch Sewing With Nancy on PBS on Saturdays.  And by “watch”, I mean that if BC even looked like he was going to try to talk to me, he got shushed.  So, when I was given the opportunity to review here new book, Sewing A to Z, I jumped at the chance.

Y0005 NZ SewingAtoZ

Thing #1 that I loved straight out of the box?  The book is spiral bound and lays flat (and stays open) on your work space.

Thing #2 I loved?  The alphabetical table of contents.  In other sewing books I’ve used, things have been grouped in ways that didn’t make sense to me.  The fact that in this book I look under V if I want to know about sewing vinyl makes me really happy.  Guess where you’ll find the section on sewing with a double needle?  Under D.  Nice, right?

Thing #3 I loved?  The diagrams and illustrations.  Sometimes when you’re sewing, you just really need to see it, right?  I think it’s why we all read blogs and love tutorials so much…the visual aids turn previously scary techniques into something you know you can do!

Are you brand new to sewing?  This book would be a FABULOUS reference.  It has basics on everything from garment making to quilting.  It even talks about sharpening your shears and being organized in your sewing space.  (I should probably re-read that section another 4 or 5 times.)

Are you a not so beginning sewist?  I took my first sewing class in 9th grade.  We’re not going to get all mathematical here, but let’s just say I’ve been sewing for more than 20 years.  Surprised smile  I’d still recommend this book as a reference when you need a little refresher (because if you’ve been sewing for 20 years, you’re old enough that you might be losing your mind just a little Winking smile).

If you’d like a sneak peek into the book, Sew Mama Sew is offering a free download of the ENTIRE Seam Finishes section.  You can click on over here to check that out.

AND, to celebrate the release of her new book, Nancy has put together a prize package worth over $450!  Nice!

Book Tour Grand Prize

You can enter to win that here on Nancy’s blog.


Disclosure:  I was provided a copy of Sewing A to Z to review.  Opinions are my own.  And yes…that confession is 100% true.

If you’re so inclined, you can check out the rest of the book tour as follows:

15-Aug          Nancy Zieman’s blog
16-Aug          Whipstitch
17-Aug          Sew Mama Sew
18-Aug          Diary of a Quilter
20-Aug          Amy’s Creative Side
22-Aug          Quiltville
23-Aug          Crap I’ve Made
24-Aug          Eileen Roche’s blog
25-Aug          I’m Just a Guy Who Quilts
26-Aug          The Free Motion Quilting Project
Sew Serendipity
29-Aug          Lazy Girls Designs
30-Aug          Pat Sloan Blog
31-Aug          Tallgrass Prairie Studio
1-Sep          True Up
2-Sep          Sew News
6-Sep          Off the Cuff Sewing Style
7-Sep          V and Co.
The Cottage Home
9-Sep          Colette Patterns 

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Dyed Doily Pillows

Let’s get in our time machines and go back to June 9, 2010.  I posted this.


I’d taken some ratty old thrift store doilies (I’ve recently spotted doilies at Dollar Tree and JoAnn’s, if thrift stores aren’t your thing) and dyed them with Dylon dye.

I told you I was going to make pillows.

Well, I finally did.  And it only took me 433 days.



Canvas drop cloth (or other fabric for the body of the pillow)
Doily (dyed or not…your choice)
Sewing machine and thread

Random blah blah blah about the body of the pillow:  I had an 18” pillow form, so I cut my front piece 18” X 18”.  I used the already hemmed drop cloth edges to cut two 12” X 18” (this was the hemmed edge) pieces for the envelope closure on the back.  If you don’t have a hemmed edge, you’ll want to cut yours bigger to allow for hemming.

I centered the doily on my square of fabric and pinned it in place.


I used a zig zag stitch to sew around the edges and to tack down part of the middle as well.  Since I used matching thread, you can hardly see it.


Here’s a shot of the back, to give you a better idea:


And, that’s it.  Put the pillow together and you’re finished!



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Petal Pillow Tutorial



Canvas drop cloth (or other fabric for the body of the pillow)
Felt (7.5” X 17.5”)
Sewing machine + thread
Hand sewing needle
Petal template

Random blah blah blah about cutting the petals:  The wool blend felt I bought was 17.5” wide.  I cut three 2.5” strips and then cut those strips into 2.5” squares.  This gave me 21 squares (18 for the big petals, 3 for the smaller center petals).  I stacked the squares 3 or 4 at a time to cut them out.

Random blah blah blah about the body of the pillow:  I had an 18” pillow form, so I cut my front piece 18” X 18”.  I used the already hemmed drop cloth edges to cut two 12” X 18” (this was the hemmed edge) pieces for the envelope closure on the back.  If you don’t have a hemmed edge, you’ll want to cut yours bigger to allow for hemming.

Now where were we?  Oh yeah.  The pillow.

Decide where you want to position your flower on the pillow.  Lay out 6 of the petals like this.  I’ve included my tape measure in the shot, so you can see about how far apart I spaced them.


Pin them if you need to, and then sew them down (in towards the center).


Position another 6 petals for the second layer.  Pin and stitch.


Position another 6 petals for the third layer.  Pin and stitch.


Your 3 center petals are going to be sewed in place like this:


(pinch ‘em like a piece of farfalle pasta)

You can tack them into that shape first, or you can do it as you sew them on.  You’ll want to sew them on with the points lined up with those in the 2nd row of petals.


Put the rest of the pillow together, and you’re done!



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Reversible Sling Bag Tutorial


My neighbor Megan had snapped a picture of a bag she liked and asked me to help her recreate it.  We decided to make it reversible, just to spice things up a bit.


1 yard of exterior fabric
1 yard of interior fabric
Printed pattern pieces + one piece of 8.5 X 11 paper
Scissors, pins, sewing machine, thread

Print the 2 pattern pieces.  Lay them and the extra piece of paper out like this:


Tape the pieces together without overlapping.

If you fold your yard of fabric in half again lengthwise, matching the fold from the bolt to the selvages, you can cut out both pieces at once.  BE SURE TO PLACE THE LONG EDGE OF THE PATTERN PIECE ON THE FOLD!!!


You’ll cut 2 pieces from your exterior fabric and 2 pieces from your interior fabric, so you’ll end up with 4 pieces that look like this:


The assembly instructions are the same for the exterior and the interior pieces.  All seams are 1/2”, unless otherwise specified.

Place pieces right sides together and sew side seams (indicated by the red lines).


Press seams open.


Line seams up (pin, if you want) and press flat.  Sew bottom seam, as indicated by the red line.


Next we’re going to box the corners.  Fold/press/whatever your corners like this:


The measurement along the green line is about 1.5”.  The measurement along the yellow line is about 3”.  I drew a line with a disappearing ink pen to follow when I sewed.


Sew along the line and then clip off the excess fabric.


Turn the exterior bag right side out and slip it inside the interior bag.  Match up seams and ends and pin.

Decide which one of the ends of the strap is going to be the “big” one.  You’re going to turn the entire bag right side out through this end.  There will be a moment when you’re not sure how it’s going to work out, but trust me, it will…just like child birth. Winking smile  Mark it somehow.  I used 3 pins.


The other end of the strap will be the “small” one.  When you sew this end, you’re going to want to taper it *just* slightly.  The blue lines indicate the normal stitch line.  The purple lines are how you’re going to sew this end.


I exaggerated the lines in this picture for illustration purposes. I’d start the taper about 1” from the end and taper in maybe 1/8” on each side.

Sew from the end of the strap, around the curve and up the other strap.  For some reason the picture or this step is missing, so I made you a super helpful illustration:


You’ll be sewing along the big U shape and leaving the green lines on the ends open.  Be sure to taper the “small” end.  Repeat on the other edge.

You can clip the curves a bit now if you want to.  I did on one bag and I did not on the other.  I found it didn’t make a whole lot of difference, so do whatever makes you happy.

Now you’re going to turn the whole thing right side out through the “big” end.


Go slowly and be sure things don’t get too bunched up.  You might need a buddy, but I promise this WILL work.

Press along the seams.

Take the “big” end and fold down approximately 1/2” to the inside.




Slip the “small” end inside the “big” end.


And stitch a cute little rectangle to hold everything in place.


And you’re done!



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Nursery Window Treatments, Part 1

If you’re a professional drapery sew-er, you probably shouldn’t read this post.

Neighbor Jami presented me with a sketch of what she had in mind for her nursery window treatment.  (The valance will be in another post, which will also show the complete window treatment installation.  For now, you get my lovely helpers holding things up.)


The main panel is the measurement of the window, plus the depth of the board we’ll be mounting it to at the top.  I didn’t include seam allowances because I was adding ruffles to the edges to make up the difference.  If you’re not adding ruffles, add seam allowances.  I was working with a wide (60”) window and typical cotton fabric (45”), so I needed to seam the fabric.

I added strips of a contrasting fabric for a little visual interest.


I ruffled strips for the edges (3” strips pressed in half) using my ruffler foot and then basted them along the edges.

The back is a piece of a cheap-o white sheet cut the same size as the main panel.  I sandwiched the pieces together, right sides facing, and sewed both sides, leaving the top and bottom open.

Next I turned it right side out and marked where the contrasting stripes were on the back of the curtain.  I made a small button hole towards the bottom (about 2” up) on the backing fabric in the middle of where the stripes lined up.

Turn it back inside out and sew the bottom seam closed.

Turn it right side out and press.

Next I sewed along both sides of the contrasting stripes to form 2 casings.

Then I got a couple of these:


I think they’re called cord stops or toggles or something.  You can find them in the notions section of the fabric store.

I threaded a piece of cotton cording (with a knot at the end) through them and then through the buttonholes on the curtain backing and up through the casings.


I pulled it taught-ish (i.e. not so tight it puckers) and then stitched the cording down so it wouldn’t move along the top edge of the curtain.

Why?  So Jami can do this to let some more light in during the day:


(I swear to you it’s cuter with the valance, this post would have just been so long I’d have gotten kicked out of blogging if I’d put it all together.)

Stay tuned for the valance and the installation!
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