Monday, December 5, 2011

I'm back! And bringing some Christmas decor cheer

Hello to anyone still following along out there! Gosh it's been a while. Lot's going on over on my end. You know how they say when people stop bloggng for a while they are probably pregnant...and it's true for me! I am now 20 weeks along and due in April with a precious baby girl. We are thrilled! So since I was completely overcome with morning sickness (and it just recently began letting up) I haven't had much time or energy for projects. I should be able to get back on the bandwagon now and keep Mommy's Nook updated!

Today I'm sharing a little bit of my candy cane dining room Christmas decor. This was something new for this year and I'm loving how it turned out.

I first got the inspiration for this particular color scheme from the napkins. I had about two yards of this red and white striped fabric that I used at my son's birthday party. I thought it would make perfect little napkins so I whipped up 6 of them. Just measured and cut the same size as my other napkins and hemmed the four sides. Very easy.

Then I started searching for more candy cane/peppermint items to tie in. I found two 4 inch styrofoam balls at my local Dollar Tree and simply hot glued peppermints on them to make the peppermint balls. Side note: I have never seen this size styrofoam ball at the dollar store before and they only had these two. I was pumped since they were $1 each and are usually about $5 in craft stores. It took almost an entire bag of peppermints to make one ball if anyone wants to make one themselves. And it takes about 30 minutes. Quick, easy and cheap. Love it!

I had the faux poinsettias on hand already and just stuck them down in my pitcher to finish off the table. I can't ever have a real poinsettia since they are toxic and my cat enjoys nibbling on plants. Oh well!

And here is the mantle with it's own peppermint spin.

I found the three candlesticks at the thrift store and spray painted two of them white and one red and then stuck some little ornaments on top. 

This adorable printable was free! Found it on Pinterest here

I piled some ornaments in the bird cage, stuck a few in a vase filled with sand, another under a small cloche and called it a day. I love grouping ornaments together in unusual places. They can go anywhere! I found the candy canes at the Dollar Tree as well and just grouped them together in a mason jar on the books. The two giant candy canes in the white vase were also found there.

There you have some fun and festive decor that would look great in any room. Happy decorating everyone! And Merry Christmas!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pillow Palooza: Part 2...Tea Towel to Pillow

As promised (I know you were all anxiously awaiting) here is my next pillow!

While organizing my hall linen closet I came across this lovely tea towel I received as a hostess gift for a baby shower. I have always loved it but never used it for fear of ruining it. But what was the point in keeping it hidden away in a closet, never to be seen?

After unfolding it I realized it would be the perfect pillow!

My headless-looking assistant agreed.

I ironed the towel and then laid it back flat. I then folded the fabric over, wrong sides out.

I decided to trim some of the edges so the pillow would not be so wide. I folded over the material on each side being careful to measure equal distance between the initial in the middle. Side note: the towel itself was a little off measure to the initial hence the wider fold on the left.

Here it is pinned together (inside out of course) but the right side still had to be trimmed of the excess fabric.

Then I sewed the two pinned sides together. The top obviously did not have to be sewed since this was the fold in the fabric. 

Finally, I sewed the bottom about 3/4ths of the way closed, leaving an opening for filler.

Here it is flipped right-side out.

I filled 'er up using my usual Poly-Fil and managed to squeeze the fatty pillow into the sewing machine to finish up the last quarter of the bottom seam. 

I TOTALLY heart this pillow and I'm so glad people can actually view it now :)

Please excuse the couches. Oh how I hate the micro suede... 

Here's to digging in the closets and using what you have :)

Partying Here!

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pillow Palooza: Part 1

I'm becoming a little obsessed with making pillows since I have discovered I can actually work my sewing machine. And I am loving it :)

I fell head over heels for this awesome yellow fabric at Hancock's the other day. It has the cutest grey parrots on it. I originally purchased it to make some valances for my office but decided that since we have our house up for sale and the valance would be custom to the window (i.e. won't be able to use at another house) I thought it best to use for some other projects. I know, I know, I just finished some valances for the kitchen. But I heart this fabric so much I wanted to be sure whatever I made could come with me in the event we move. I had also picked up 2 1/2 yards of clearance fabric for a $1 a yard and the combination of the two fabrics was perfect for a lumbar pillow I decided to make for our bed.

I have been eyeing some adorable lumbar pillows on the web so I had to try my hand at one. The comforter set I purchased a few months ago came with two small rectangular decorative pillows (shown above) that I really never liked much. So why not make one long pillow out of the two small ones? Yes, I think I will.

I pretty much guesstimated through the whole process, learning as I went along. First, I removed the pillow covers off the existing rectangular pillows and pushed them together to form my lumbar pillow shape. Then I draped the yellow fabric over the top and measured and pinned about how much fabric I would need to make just the front and sides of my pillow. Remember I was using the grey flower print as the back.

Then I cut along where my pins were and ended up with this.

See, the one on the left is me and the right is the Hubby. Two little lovebirds parrots :)

Okay, enough with the lame cheesiness. Back to business.

I then repeated the same thing for my grey flower print fabric. I purposely cut more of the yellow fabric than the grey but I wanted the edges to show the yellow and the grey only be in the back. Make sense?

After the fabric was cut I pinned the two sides together with the good side of the patterns facing each other. I pinned them with the pillow inserts inside so I could get as accurate of a measurement as possible. Then I slid the inserts back out. 

Disclaimer: This took me a few tries and a few pin pricks to get it right so if you try this yourself, don't get frustrated! It ended up working just fine :)

I sewed the two long ends first and then stuck my inserts back in to make sure they were fitting okay and they did! I sewed one end closed and flipped the whole thing right side out. I ironed it at this point and then stuffed the inserts back in and got the final side ready to sew. Before I did that though I put just a little bit of Poly-fil in the end to give it a little more cushion. Then I tucked in the edges and sewed as neatly as possible on the final side. 

And here it is!!!!

And of course my model had to get a few shots in...

I have more pillows I am making for the bed so hopefully I will have those to show you soon. But before that I have another pillow I just finished for the couch. Can't wait to show you what I made it out of! Pillow Palooza: Part II is next!

Partying Here!

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
The Shabby Nest
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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Linen Closet - Organized!

Let me just say that while I love things organized and in their own place, it's something I have to work at, meaning I'm not naturally prone to it. Now I'm not talking about basic cleaning and upkeep of the house. It's more of the inconspicuous things like closets, drawers and cabinets. You know, the stuff no one really sees but you know what's lurking behind those closed doors. I have to stop myself from shoving something into a drawer or cabinet for temporary purposes. Because before I know it, things can start to look like this...

Yep, totally embarrassed. So as to prevent further humiliation, I have decided to get every little space that is not organized whipped into shape. It is such a great feeling to have things nice and organized and I am determined to keep it that way. The first thing I tackled is our linen closet next to our guest bathroom. In case the photo above didn't give you a good view, here are a few more Before photos of the hall junk linen closet.

The first thing I did was pull EVERYTHING out of the closet into the next room to start off with it completely empty. I then sorted through the piles of stuff and started purging. Another's hard for me to let go of stuff sometimes, even things I never use...I just "might" use one day. I for sure have an inner hoarder that is just dying to be released. I refuse to let it happen though. 

Oh yeah, and that humongous made-for-a-gym-or-huge-house dust mop is outta here! My husband purchased it a long time ago thinking it would be great for doing a quick sweep around the house but storing this monster is too difficult. Not to mention it's hard to maneuver and I much prefer a regular broom. So buh-bye! 

After sorting everything, I calculated how many containers I needed and headed off to Target. Their latest ad listed some cute plastic crates for $3 each - score! I was quickly disappointed when I saw the end cap they were listed at was completely empty :( Back to School College folks apparently stocked up. So I moseyed around the basket section and decided on one $10 canvas tote for my sheets and pillowcases. After venturing to the other end of the store, my wandering eye caught sight of another end cap with 4 of the $3 crates! I took off full speed ahead for fear of someone snatching them from under my nose. I only needed 2 but I seriously contemplated buying all four. See? Hoarder tendencies...

Okay, back to the closet. I used my two crates and organized one with all of my cupcake supplies (I have a small side "business" making mini cupcakes for showers, parties, etc.) and the second crate was used for house maintenance supplies. This includes small tool sets, light bulbs, command hooks and other miscellaneous things. I also used another basket I had on hand to hold linen napkins and some small delicate linens. 

I made a few labels for my new goods and started restocking the closet. I rolled my blankets instead of stacking them and they went back up on the top shelf along with two extra pillows. The next shelf is linens, third is baking supplies and the first-aid kit, and the bottom shelf is house maintenance and paper towels, leaving the very bottom of the closet for my hand-held vacuum and mop and mop bucket.

Here is the much-improved closet space!

And a few of the details...

Curious about the First-Aid kit? I just removed the sticker off the front and used a little of the always-awesome Mod Podge to adhere my label and scrapbook paper matte. Who says a first-aid kit can't be cute? :) :) :)

So there you have it, one horrendous closet revamped into a nice and organized space. I'm loving it! And it only cost me $16 plus tax :) I've got one more awful closet that's going to get revamped soon so stay tuned!

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

What was the Chance I could make a Valance?

Very slim. But against all odds I have managed to sew not one, but two valances for our kitchen windows. Holy moly what a process. But before we get to all that, here's a little sneak peek for ya.

My friend Amber recently sewed some valances for her own kitchen windows and I just loved them with their little pleats on each side. My kitchen windows definitely needed some accessorizing so Amber let me borrow her pattern and we went together and picked out some fun fabric at Joann's. Originally, I was looking for something with green in it but I could not find a pattern I really liked (well, I did find one but the price was wayyy over budget) but in the end I am glad I chose the black pattern because it gives me a wider range of paint colors. Our house is currently up for sale but if we don't sell soon I am painting this kitchen! It's been the same builder color for nearly five years and I  am sooo over it. But I digress.

This is the pattern I actual pattern is Option C, the one with the little blue bird. I did not add the bird applique, just used the pattern for the actual valance. Notice the little "Easy" symbol there...definitely not the case for embarrassing.

One confusing thing about the pattern was how much fabric I actually needed for two windows. I ended up buying five yards and it was definitely too much. I think I used about three yards. More fun sewing projects to come with the leftovers. 

Here is the lovely fabric all laid out and ready to cut. Yes, I did my measuring on the carpeted floor. It was more comfortable for me.

This is the center pattern that is the biggest piece of the valance. You use your your window width and match it to the appropriate mark on the pattern which will determine where to cut. I should also note that this is with the fabric folded. Once cut, the fabric piece is twice the size of the paper pattern. And for some reason my center fabric ended up being a little too long. Geez, there's no telling where I went wrong. Just a small glitch though, no biggie. 

One of my helpers got bored with my slow pace and decided to take a break.

After Too left me to sunbathe, I measured with a straight edge and drew a cut line with my little white pencil. I meant to pick up a yard stick and forgot it so the little ruler came into play instead.

For each window, I had a total of five pieces of fabric to cut. One center, two sides and two insets which form the pleats. 

I cut the sides and insets just like the center (with the fabric folded) and then simply cut them in half.

Here is one valance with all five pieces all cut out.

And this is what my directions gave me...

I tried many a ways to get this thing pinned correctly but it just wasn't happening. I called on Amber for assistance over the phone but it still wasn't clickin' for me. THANKFULLY she was leaving work and coming close by my house so she stopped by to save help me. Oh man, what would I have done without her? My poor valances would probably be trashed because I know I would have t.o.t.a.l.l.y messed them up.

Here's the back pinned up.

And the front. Please note this is exactly what it should look like when sewn. But sadly, one of mine does not. The pleats are formed when you pull the inset fabric to the center from the left and right side.

This is the first valance I sewed, not even realizing when I took the picture that the seams should not be showing at this point. I sewed the pinned part to the actual valance (thus, the visible seams) and I should have sewed the small part pinned together. Confused yet? Oh and how about I did not notice any of this until this first one was up and hanging and I was working on the second valance. Live and learn...

Yeah, here's a picture of what NOT to do. Here I am thinking I am photographing the correct way but you can see I am stitching it straight to the valance instead of just the inch-and-a-half-or-so piece pinned together.

It's not the end of the world. You really can't see the stitches unless you look closely...but I'm still a little miffed about it.

I sewed all five pieces together and then worked on hemming.

I didn't line my fabric so I simply hemmed the bottom and sides all around and then made a rod pocket at the top, being careful to make sure I allowed enough room for the rod itself. I did have another glitch on the second valance. One of the pleats was sewn incorrectly causing my rod pocket to not work properly once the pleats were folded over. Anyone surprised? Yeah, I didn't think so. I rigged it up in the back which no one can see so it's all good. 

I bought two of the cheap-o rods at Target for $3.69 each. Had my window width been about 6 inches shorter I could have gotten the even cheaper ones at $1.89 each. But hey, it's still a good deal!

Here's a view of the rod pocket being pinned. I pinned and then stuck the rod in a bit to make sure I had enough room. 

So after several days of cutting, stitching, seam ripping and hair pulling, they are complete! Are they perfect? Well gosh no, but I am still proud of these little lovelies and they definitely make the kitchen look better so they are okay in my book :) 

Here are a few Before shots.

And After!

The one on the left is the one with the visible pleat seams. It kind of makes the pleats stick out a little bit but I'm going to try and find a solution for it - cause I ain't re-doing it!

This one has the correctly sewn pleats and they lay more flat.

Wow, so they are done. I can't believe it! It was a great learning experience and I'm excited to try some more new things soon and hopefully build up my sewing knowledge...I definitely need it :)

Partying here this week!

Keeping It Simple
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
The Shabby Nest

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