Spring Pillows

I made winter pillows, and shared one of them here, but never shared the rest of them. They were okay in person, but they didn’t photograph well and I wasn’t all that enthused. Winter- and Christmas especially – are tough for me, decor wise, because I don’t really love to decorate with the warm, rich reds and other colors that the season envokes. But as soon as Valentine’s Day is over, I feel like I can move to a winterized version of Spring. I’m not saying that I’m busting out the flip flops and pastels – we’ve got at least two more months of snowstorms ahead of us in Colorado, but sprinkled among beautiful days – but I think that after mid-February, it’s perfectly acceptable to start adding touches of Spring.

Spring Pillows

I’ve been loving navy for the last year. Loving it. And luckily for me, navy mixes really well with my signature green. But I hadn’t yet brought any navy into our main living area – all of the bedrooms have a touch of navy, but our main floor was missing out. The kids and I were at Target on Friday getting soap and paper towels and as I passed the table linens, I saw these clearanced geometric, navy blue and white napkins. At less than $5 for 4, I threw them in my cart faster than you can say “No Spending January is over”. Then I saw these gray, yellow and khaki napkins at the same price – thought of my BFF Emily and her khaki couch and walls but recent love for gray and yellow and a conversation we recently had about how she wasn’t sure she could mix the colors and threw those in my cart to make spring pillow covers for her. Every non-skiing Coloradoan just needs a little happy in February to get them through to Spring, I think.

And one naptime later, I had six pillow covers whipped up, and just enough color to hint at sunnier days ahead.

Indigo and Green pillow covers

My mom gifted me those green, linen Pottery Barn pillow covers 4 years ago when we bought our white couch as a “Couch Warming Present”. Every time I switch out pillows, those work and they stay. I love how a good, classic basic can work for so many years depending on what you pair it with. Will I still love the geometric navy pillow covers next Spring? Probably not. But at $2 a pillow cover, I can just donate them and move on.

Indigo and Yellow pillow covers

So that’s the latest over here – just a hint of spring on the sectional with some updated pillow covers. What projects have you taken on lately?

DIY Christmas Pillow

Christmas season can get so busy that if I haven’t already made something by Thanksgiving, it’s likely not to happen. But, last weekend I took Nell with me to look for table linens to turn into winter pillows. You know how I love to turn napkins into pillows, right? I’ll share the rest of the pillows I made last week, but here’s one that I made as a hostess gift for a friend. After not having much luck at my normal go-to stores, Nell and I were perusing the Target Holiday section when a simple, pretty Joy place mat jumped out at me. The place mat had perfect amount of sparkle, linen-y fabric, and was understated but pretty. I grabbed two – one for my house and one to give away.

  placemat to pillow

The process of turning a place mat into a pillow is so easy. I like to make pillow slipcovers so that I can more easily store seasonal pillows and just change out the covers as the seasons go, so that’s what I did. I cut a very careful slit at the back of the place mat in the back layer of fabric, then reinforced the cut fabric with scrap linen I had on hand. I made two button holes and sewed buttons for a button closure for the pillow, then just stuffed pillow forms I already had into the slipcover. It took me about 20 minutes to make this pillow, and cost me $3.50 plus the pillow form, which I already had.

 

It made for a fun, token gift, and one that I was proud to give as it fits in with almost any taste or decor. I’m linking up to Dare to DIY: Give Homemade Gifts this week. I’d love to hear what you think – then head over to Decor and the Dog to see lots of other great projects!

A Walrus Costume (and mini-tutorial)

My 3 year old decided last year on November 1st that he was going to be a walrus for Halloween 2013. His walrus obsession began when his Gigi took him to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for a “Thomas Day” shortly after Nell was born, and continued into our trip to DC last November when we took the kids to the National History Museum. So, the walrus costume has been on my mind for a year, but I wasn’t going to get started until October since Rickie Fowler (I vetoed on account of no one in Colorado really following PGA golf outside of my dad, Mr. B and Thomas) and Peyton Manning (pretty sure he decided that he dresses like Peyton every day, so what’s the fun in being Peyton for Halloween?) were both thrown around as Halloween costume options for awhile.

  DIY Walrus Costume

Nell’s costume is a Carter’s Elephant (she loves elephants and we sometimes call her Nelephant, so it fit) and is basically a well padded sweatshirt with an elephant trunk on the hood, and her costume inspired me to create the walrus out of a brown hooded sweatshirt. We live in Colorado – chances are good there will be snow on Halloween, so Colorado moms know that costumes need to fit over a snowsuit (or just act like a snowsuit itself). When T was firmly decided on the Walrus on October 1st, I ordered a brown hooded sweatshirt from Amazon and found brown sweatpants at Walmart (of course they couldn’t sell a hoodie with their sweatpants, that would be too easy). Then, I googled around for my favorite walrus – the walrus costumes out there are kinda meh, so I just found a stuffed walrus whose face I liked and made the walrus face based on that.

Toddler Preschool Walrus Costume

First, I cut two bean shapes out of carmel covered felt to make up the walrus snout. Then, I cutout a quick heart shaped felt nose from black felt and hand stitched it onto one of the bean shapes at the top. I turned the bean shapes inside out and sewed the two sides together, turned them right side out and stuffed it to make a Walrus snout.  My mom was over while I was doing this and decided that a simple stitch around the snout would add detail and also that classic home-grown Halloween costume feel, so Caroline is responsible for the detailing. I also used the same colored felt for the walrus stomach – just to provide some variation in the costume. The tusks were the same idea – I cut four long curved tusks out of white felt, stitched two together twice to make two tusks, stuffed them, and sewed them to the snout. Then I attached the snout and tusks to the hood with a hand stitch, and cut two oval black walrus eyes to hand stitch on, too. Overall, it took me about an hour, and Thomas was giddy watching his long awaited walrus costume come together.

Walrus Costume

I love making Halloween costumes for the kids, but I’m also a reasonable person. Carter’s made a damn cute elephant and I bought it at Costco for $12.99. I spent more than $12.99 on T’s hoodie and sweatpants alone, though his costume didn’t total more than $20. Sometimes you have to make a costume (when your three year old decides he’s going to be a walrus, for example), and sometimes it’s okay to buy one (when your one year old’s only opinion is that every costume she passes in any given store is “MINE!”).

Walrus and Elephant costumes

Our walrus and Nelephant are pretty happy with their Halloween gettups – and Thomas is already scheming for Halloween 2014. Let’s hope it’s something I can make out of a sweatsuit. So, Happy Halloween from our zoo! Hope you all have fun and safe trick-or-treat adventures!

Fall Pillows

I showed you our new Adirondack chairs and my Fall wreath a few weeks ago, but the rest of the Fall decorating bug didn’t hit me until we got back from the beach. Hard to think about Fall when you’re dreaming of warm ocean water and sunshine. But as soon as we got back on Tuesday, I was in Fall decorating mode. Starting with the pillows on our family room sectional and living room sofa. With little kids around and a bit of a minimalist eye (read: I don’t think I have a very good eye for styled vignettes, so I generally go with the minimum instead), most of my seasonal decor comes in the form of fabric and color rather than accessories. I pulled out a few Fall pillows I already had and then went on a hunt for fabric to recover my more summery pillows to tie the room and the season together.

After we dropped T off at preschool on Thursday, Nell and I hit up story and music time at the library and checked out some books (Nell time), then we went fabric shopping (Mama time). We checked out two fabric stores but nothing caught my eye – I wanted fabric to tie together my go-to green with some more fall colors like orange, red and brown, and I needed to swing by World Market to pick up a tea towel that I had my eye on for a pillow for Nell’s room makeover (in progress), so with 45 minutes before we needed to pick T up at preschool, we set off to World Market (Cost Plus? I have no idea what it actually goes buy these days). Napkins and tea towels are some of my favorite sources for pillow fabric (as long as you don’t need anything more than 20″ square – in which case I guess you could cut up a table cloth) and World Market is continuously my favorite source for those (this link is also a hilarious look back at how small Blogger photos used to be. Oh those were the days).

Turns out, Nell loves shopping for pillow “fabric” in the kitchen linens section of stores, too. I would hold up a napkin and she would vehemently shake her head no at some of them, or eagerly reach out and grab the ones she liked and refuse to let them go. I didn’t buy anything she vetoed, she has good taste. We got into a little scuffle over a tea towel I picked out for her room – there were two similar options, and I liked the trim on one better, but Nell kept saying “Uh uh” to it and was clutching onto the other one for dear life. And finally, I gave it to her. It’s going in her room, after all.  I love that 15 month old spice cake, and I can’t wait to shop with her for years to come!

So anyway, here’s what we came up with. In the living room, which has been sadly ignored since we moved in, I added a rusty orange pillow and a fun navy blue and orange (Go Broncos!) patterned pillow, and brought in one of the black and white cross hatch pillows that lived in the Family Room this summer.

I love the orange and blue fabric. A lot.

And in the family room, I made two new covers and reused a bunch of pillows I already had.

The orange and patterned pillow are new covers I made from my World Market linens finds. Cable knit pillows are from JC Penney a few years ago, the SIT pillow is from Sundance also a few years back, the green linen pillows are Pottery Barn (also ancient).

That patterned pillow (made from two dish towels I couldn’t find online, but in this pattern) is my very favorite right now. The green pulls together all my existing green together so well and pulls in Fall’s wheat, brown and orange to bring the rest of the room together.

In other family room news, we bought a new rug. I didn’t know you could love a rug until we rolled this one out in the room. As soon as it was all arranged, I looked at B and said, “This is the first thing we’ve put in this room that I haven’t thought needed something else to make it work!” And B agreed. I think part of that is because the rug was one of the final purchases to make our vision come together (a more substantial chair and ottoman in place of the slipper chair is on the someday list- when we’ve saved for and found one we love, but for the most part I view this room as pretty good to go now). It also just made the solid, dark sofa feel so much lighter and warmer at the same time, tied in the green from the curtains (I’ve had tons of emails from readers about the curtain source. The previous owners bought the fabric and had them made for the tall windows – I love them and they go perfectly with our color scheme, but unfortunately, I don’t have a source to share). This was our first “real” area rug purchase, and it’s so cozy. We lounge on it, play on it, and spend so much more time in this room now that it feels warm.

So that’s the state of our house right now, in terms of Autumn decorating. Remember when I put out pumpkins on September 22nd one year and all the reactions I got to that? I’m holding off on actual pumpkins on the porch until October 1st for the sake of my reputation in the new ‘hood.

Linking up to The Inspired Room’s Fall Nesting Party

 

DIY Crib Sheet

Nell’s 10 weeks old and I still don’t feel like her room is ready enough to share. But, yesterday I had an hour to myself and I sewed her a crib sheet. I knew I wanted more than a white sheet for the baby’s room, but I decided I’d wait on that until the baby was born so that I could go more masculine or feminine with the sheet I picked. But Nell’s room is turquoise and orange (with some brown, green and yellow in there, too), and I didn’t find anything I loved that worked with the more gender neutral fabrics I’d already used in the room. Then I stumbled across an Amy Butler print I bought years ago in my fabric stash that I never used that happened to be the perfect colors and decided to give making a crib sheet a whirl.

When I first saw the tutorial for this (even before I was pregnant with Thomas), I remember thinking: Why bother? How hard can it be to find cute crib sheets? Answer: It can be hard. So I decided to give this a shot. And it was the easiest project, ever. I used Dana’s tutorial and it was a cinch.  And I love the difference the large print makes in Nell’s crib. It makes it hers…not generic McKevitt baby #2′s crib.


And here’s what the crib looked like when it was waiting for Baby McKevitt to arrive 11 weeks ago with just a plain white sheet (the quilt my mom made has been moved to the chair for safety reasons – and the aardvark in the picture above doesn’t hang out in the crib when Nell’s in it, either, don’t worry).


I love the bold crib sheet. So much so that I want to make more. And changing pad covers. This little project might have been just the push I needed to get the rest of the room up to snuff.

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DIY Slipcovered Ottoman

One of the things that I desperately wanted in the nursery when we were in the early stages of nighttime feedings with Thomas was a side table – to put all the glamourous new to breastfeeding accessories on. We picked a small dresser for T’s changing table, and there wasn’t a ton of room next to the changing pad for my massive water bottle, lanolin, a book or my phone for when I finally got him attached so I could read something, etc. But I never found a table small enough to work in the small nursery.
So for nursery version 2.0, a side table/footrest was on the agenda. I intended to make a pouf, but then I realized that if I found an inexpensive cube storage ottoman I could slipcover it and use the storage…and it would probably be more solid for my water bottle at 3am. I found this brown square ottoman at Target for $25. It was small, a good height to work as both an ottoman and a side table – and a climbing gym for T – depending on my needs at the time, and inexpensive. And being brown, it would have technically worked in the room, but it felt stark to me and I wanted to soften it a bit.
Please excuse the bathtub Lobster taking up residence on the chair arm. “Obster” wanted to read stories with us the other day.
Slipcovers for ottomans are so easy – same process I used with the living room ottoman, though my sewing skills have improved since I made that (ever so slightly, but improvement is improvement). This 15 x 15 ottoman took me about an hour because I was being precise with my pinning and measurements (something new for me). Aside from a little bit of fenagling at the corners, it’s pretty much straight lines. I love that the stripe brings the turquoise, green and yellow of the pillow and cribskirt together, but ties the brown of the upper portion of the wall and quatrefoil on the curtains in, too.
We’re nearing the end of the the nursery re-do – crib’s next on the list, and then I have to figure out what to put on the walls – but I think we’ll wait until McKiddle arrives for that and let their sex/name/personality influence that. Though, that was my plan when I originally did the nursery for Thomas – and that never happened. We all know wall art’s never been my strong suit.

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DIY Placemats into Pillows

Last year I was going to replace all of our outdoor cushions.  Remember that?  Well, I didn’t do it.  But I did stumble across Target’s outdoor collection a few weeks ago and bought four placemats to make lumbar pillows for our patio.  I love the style of our outdoor chairs, but they aren’t comfortable.  But the cost to outfit the chairs with all new cushions would be absurd – we’d easily replace the chairs with comfortable ones for the same price. 

It’s easy to make a pillow out of a placemat.  I ripped the seam out of one short side of the placemat, stuffed the innerds of a big bed pillow ($2 at Target) into each one, and did a quick straight stitch to sew them back together. 

Here’s a chair with an old, faded ticking pillows we were using to make the chair more comfortable. 

And the outdoor placemats turned pillows.

We spend a lot of time on the back patio in the spring and summer – B and I will have the occasional happy hour and deconstruct our workdays/projects/events/latest dramatic situation on warm afternoons while Thomas plays in his jumperoo or we’ll turn on the lights and play Gin Rummy or Scrabble after Thomas is in bed.  Because we’re pretty much 80 years old – and we wouldn’t have it any other way.  Just think of how awesome we’ll be at being 80 when we really get there.

How’s your outdoor space coming along? The kegerator’s full (because there’s still a little 19 year old frat boy left in 80 year old B) and the chardonnay’s chilling – come on by for happy hour anytime.

Giveaway: Spring Inspired Pillow

I’ve never done a giveaway on the blog for a couple of reasons.  The first is that I decided I’d only do giveaways of products or items that had some direct relation to my blog, and many of the giveaways I’ve been approached about don’t fit that criteria.  The second reason is that, with those criteria it makes sense to giveaway things I make, but I’m Little Miss imperfect and I always worried no one would enter.
But, I made this pillow after I posted about the pillows I made Emily and decided to give a giveaway at imperfect a try. Nothing fancy, just a lumbar pillow covered in a fabulous spring fabric – browns, greens, blues and yellows – that just so happens to be available in napkin form at Target. 
All you need to do to enter (I’m taking this cue from the fabulous Laurel who used these requirements for a giveaway once) is leave a comment complimenting the person who comments before you.  If they have a blog, compliment them on their blog.  If they don’t, say something nice and warm and loving.  If you’re the first to comment, just leave a little love note for someone who inspires you.  It’s the season of love, friends.  Let’s share it!
If you are or want to become a follower of my blog for a second entry, please leave a second comment letting me know you follow the blog.
Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm Mountain on Thursday, February 10th.  2 days – anything longer and I’ll forget about it.  My memory’s on the fritz – I call Casco “Thomas” about six times a day.
Thanks friends!  Looking forward to it!

Pillow Talk

My best friend, Emily, bought a townhome last year.  I always intended to make her something for her house, but last year I was not in a crafting mood.  So for her birthday this year, I tackled throw pillows for her living room.  Last summer, Emily picked her colors – brown and blue are pretty much her story.  So I knew I wanted to make big pillows in a blue linen fabric.  And when I found the fabulous print that pulls together the blue and the brown, I knew it was meant to be. 

Please ingnore the wrinkles.  Irons and I don’t get along.

I love the flowered pillow.  I scoured every fabric store within 20 minutes of my house and ended up buying a set of napkins at Target to make this. 

It’s not unlike this pillow from Pottery Barn, just has brown to tie Emily’s colors together.

It was a fun and pretty easy project once I found all of the material. 

Coffee Break

Well, it lasted eight months.  The painted coffee table, that is.  The white was refreshing at first, but I painted it quickly and improperly and peeling white paint was not refreshing.  And I was ready for a change – the table’s always been a few inches too tall to be a comfortable coffee table. 

Plus, we have a good number of friends with toddling toddlers and when they’re over I cringe whenever a head gets too close to a table corner.  Add to that the fact that my niece is mobile now – and I love her precious head and don’t want Auntie Em’s coffee table to be the story behind her first scar – and that Thomas will be mobile in the blink of an eye – and that I love his precious head and don’t want to add any more scars to it – and I figured that going with an upholstered coffee table was not a bad move.

I had grand plans – transforming a gross old coffee table into a beautiful cocktail ottoman that the world would ooh and ahh over.  I told B about my plans, and Mr. Coupon responded, “We have an ottoman, Em” and pointed at the green storage ottoman that matches B and Casco’s belfoved big green chair and was currently residing in the office.  I was dismissive.  “Noooo.  That’s not what I’m talking about – I don’t do matchy matchy.”  Well, I hunted Craigslist and Thrift Stores for the old coffee table that I could alter to no avail until I decided to just move the ottoman in one day to see what it looked like.  Perfect height.  Perfect shape.  Pretty perfect for my imperfect taste.  I vow never to dismiss Mr. B’s decorating advice again.  Hold me to that, interpeeps.

But, I still don’t do matchy matchy, so I turned to fabric.  I was determined to go bold – to move out of my solids with the occasional stripe comfort zone.  And bold turned out to be an octagonal green.  I’m in love. 

For about $28 worth of fabric, we have a whole new look for the room.  The sewing was a simple box slipcover – no sweat for a good sewer, a few naptimes long project for me.  And I can switch it up pretty frequently at that price – a slipcover for each season if I get bored.

The best thing about it is that we can just wheel it up to the couch or chair to serve as an ottoman when it’s not needed as a coffee table – we never had room for it to be used as an ottoman when the old coffee table was in the room.  The McKevitt boys are big fans of this new functionality.

An area rug that’s the appropriate scale for the room is next on the neverending list of things to do for this room.