Tag Archives: Crafts

Pillow talk

I’ve had this cable-knit throw for years. I really like it. Perhaps that is why I held on to it far past its prime.

Coincidentally, I have been searching high and low for cheap pillow covers. Mine have been looking sad.  Having furry little animals doesn’t help the ivory raw silk I bought before they came around. As I finally admitted that I needed to retire the throw, the answer revealed itself.  It was like peanut butter meeting chocolate.


I can’t get too fancy with this sewing thing. Despite all the tutorials I have pinned from Pinterest, sewing with zippers is way beyond my skill-set. And buttons … they create their own set of problems. But, I needed the pillow covers to be removable, so I couldn’t just sew the four edges and leave them be.  That left the Envelope-style pillow cover. Easy. Below is my tutorial. After my tutorial is a better tutorial where the patient, clever lady actually measures and sews things. I take the guestimate approach and prefer to use fabrics with straight lines so I don’t have to measure or pin.

1) Start by cutting a long rectangle about 1/2 inch wider than your pillow but about 2 & 1/2 times to  2 & 3/4 times the length of your pillow. The looser or stretchier the material, the longer you want to make the length because it may gape a bit.


2) Lay out the piece good side up and and fold back the top to create a pocket.

The inside of the pillow should be facing out. Sew down the right and left side.20130805-194713.jpg

This top that is sewn first will also be the top side of your pouch, so if you have a nicer seam at one of the ends, this one should be the one flipped back first.

3) Then take your bottom half and flip up lay several inches over the top flap. Remember, you want the top and bottom to over lap.


This is where some measuring might come in handy. I did this casually by laying the pillow on top of my folded almost-done cover to size it up. It looked about right, so I carried on.


4) Now sew the bottom half along the right and left edges.

5) Flip right side out, poke out the corners and stuff your pillow inside. Now sit back and enjoy your work.

For those of you desiring more precision, check out this great tutorial. I find mine more inspiring, though, because it should leave you feeling that of I can do it, and make it turn out, so can you! Look how nice.

This project was so easy I made these, too, out of a tablecloth I ended up with.

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Pretty Petals–Ribbon Flower Tutorial

Here is a fun flower tutorial. In this style you cut out individual petals. The trick, though, is to use a lighter or flame to curl the petals. So you need to find a fabric that will basically melt instead of burn. I have found that many shiny ribbons will do work very well.

What you will need to start:

A ribbon, a flame, scissors. You can use a candle like in the photo, but I honestly found more control with a lighter. The downside is that the sucker gets hot!

Cut your ribbon into pieces that you can then shape into rough petals. You can vary the size of your petals or leave them all the same…it’s really up to your own design aesthetic.

Once you have all your petals roughly cut, hold them over the flame to melt the edges and get them to curl slightly. You will get a sense of how the fabric behaves after just a few petals. 20130531-204751.jpg

Once you have amassed your petals, start constructing your flower. Again, I like to use a base of sturdy fabric to see the flower onto so that I have control of its shape. I prefer to sew, but there is no reason you couldn’t glue the thing if that is your preference–except that its messy and not as sturdy.




Once you have sewn all your petals on, you can go back and fill in spots and manipulate the petals by holding a flame to them.

Here’s another flower done in pink and organza ribbon. I attached a pin and clip to the back to make it wearable. 20130531-210024.jpg


(These flower pins and others available for purchase at http://www.etsy.com/shop/LifeImproved)

(Other) People are so clever

Last Saturday I went to small craft fair in Woodstock, Illinois. This is nothing new. I like crafts and I visit Woodstock fairly often. What is new is that this is the first time I have gone to a craft fair since starting this blog. For a minute I thought about just sneakily taking a photo and recreating the items for my adoring public. But, I quickly realized that was not cool. I decided, instead, to use my powers for the good of man-kind. So I am sharing some crafts that completely impressed me.

By the way, I don’t know these people, their partners, parents or cousins. I am not associated with them, and I sure the heck wouldn’t get anything if you decided to buy anything from them…I just think that people making cool things from old materials deserve praise:

The Modern Homesteader

I have seen many fork crafts in my day, but I really appreciated the simplicity in The Modern Homesteader’s crafts.
These cheese labels are clever and stylish. Just stick them right into your cheeses and done.

I didn’t really do justice to these labels in the photo, but this next craft is simple and so functional. These are herb and plant labels (they end pretty much where the picture cuts off on the left) They are perfect for the planting season and pretty enough to use decoratively on an indoor potted plant. 20130504-230615.jpg
And finally from The Modern Homesteader, these wooden spatulas that were planed and shaped from pallets!! And priced way too cheap for all the work that went into them!


The Modern Homesteader has a Facebook and Etsy page. Check them out for some clever items.

Pretty Theory

Next are the ingenious items made from hard back books that Cricket Mrozek of Pretty Theory makes (Even her name is creative!)

First are these book marks made from book bindings. They are sturdy and smart!

But these purses…they are so unique. You have to look twice to even realize it’s a purse. What a great conversation piece.

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You can find more things at Prettytheory.com.

Slowburn Candles

And finally, the delicious smelling, high-quality soy candles that Kris Hayden of Slowburn Candles makes from wine bottles. I mean, how many of these do each of us throw away every week year? And according to Kris, that lighting-an-alcohol-soaked-cloth-wrapped-around-the-bottle-on-fire trick that is all over Pinterest really just doesn’t work. They’ve taken time to perfect their craft, and have some really great smelling soy candles, too. These would be great indoors or out, but just imagine how perfect for an outdoor dinner party! 20130504-230646.jpg        20130504-230650.jpg

Slowburn Candles ships, too! Check them out their website, www.Slowburncandles.com