• January 21, 2015

    Pet Bed DIY


    For a while now, our cat has been sleeping on an old (ugly) bean bag chair that was carelessly left in our basement just long enough for him to get attached.  It’s hideous, but he didn’t have anywhere else (nice) to sleep, so the bean bag chair had to stay.  In a effort to take back my basement, I decided to make our kitty a new bed from a re-purposed t-shirt and some extra fleece fabric I had laying around.

    This is actually the second pillow/cover combination I have made – my dog has a bigger one made of old jeans.  I really like that I can pull the pillow insert out from the cover and wash the cover rather than trying to wash a giant pillow in my machine.  Not only is it easier on my machine, but it also gets washed a lot more frequently because it is so much easier!  Stinky pet beds are not something I am a big fan of.


    Items you will need:

    • Fabric for the cover
    • Old t-shirt or other fabric for the pillow insert
    • Pillow stuffing
    • Sewing machine, thread, pins, scissors, etc.




    To make the pillow insert, cut an old t-shirt right under the arms so it’s a square/rectangle.  I used one of my husband’s medium sized shirts and the dimensions came out to 19×12 inches.  You can also use new fabric and other sizes to accommodate what supplies you have available as well as your pet’s specific needs.


    Next, turn the shirt piece inside-out and sew up the sides, leaving a hole at the end big enough to turn it rightside-out.


    Turn the pillow insert rightside-out and stuff it with the pillow stuffing.  Then, you will sew up the hole.  Normally, I would do a blind stitch here by hand so you wouldn’t see where the hole had been, but this is a pet bed and the insert will not be seen, so I took the lazy gal’s way out and used my machine to close it up.


    To make the cover for your insert, lay the outer fabric out and place your pillow insert on top so you can get an idea of what size to cut it to.  For my 19×12 insert, I used 15×53 of the cover fabric.


    Once your cover fabric is cut, hem both ends by folding in one inch and then rolling that again and sewing it down (after hemming, my cover measured 15×49).


    Now, fold over (inside out) 15 inches on one side and 13 inches up on the other side so they overlap each other.  Sew up both sides, leaving the open pocket.

    Turn right-side out and stuff the pillow inside the cover through the open pocket and you’re done!


    Give the pillow to your pet and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done and a comfy pet.


    Pro-Tip: If you’re making this pillow for your cat and he isn’t terribly impressed by it at first, hide some catnip inside the cover.  This will encourage him to at least give it a try.  *grin*

  • November 12, 2014

    DIY: Pennant Banner


    Have you ever noticed how difficult it can be to make time for thing s you really enjoy or things you really want to do.  Often these things are time consuming, expensive, or difficult.  People in general have a tendency to let our passions fall by the wayside as we focus on making it through the daily grind.  We work, we clean, we fulfill our obligations in the world and then we start it all over again tomorrow.

    I am learning more and more that this is how I tend to live my life.  It’s a big part of my upbringing – to work hard and to find pride in that work; to be strong and smart and never give up.  These aren’t bad things.  In fact, I’m pretty proud of who I am and what I do.  I am, however, learning to slow it down sometimes and make room for things that genuinely make me happy.  A friend of mine recently told me that too often people live to work but should really be working to live.  What’s the point of the daily grind if we never do anything we love?

    One of those things I love, but rarely make time for, is sewing.  I have always enjoyed crafting and creating and sewing can fill that need quite nicely.  So, for today, I have devised a very simple, but very fun sewing project tutorial for a double sided pennant banner.  I hope you enjoy taking the time to make one as much as I did!



    You will need:

    Fabric (I used pieces from two different charm packs)

    Bias Tape


    Sewing Machine (or a lot of free time to hand sew)

    Pinking Shears

    Fabric Pencil


    Step One: Choose your fabric.  You will need one 5×5 square of fabric for each side.  The fabric collections (and side of the banner) are autumn and Christmas themed.  Lay the sides together, back to back.



    Step Two: Create a pattern.  I used the cardboard piece that came with my charm packs to create a triangle.  Trace the pattern on one side of each set of fabric squares with your fabric pencil.  I did all of my pattern tracing on the autumn themed side to keep it simple.



    Step Three: Sew the two sides together along your lines.



    Step Four: Cut outside the lines you’ve sewn with the pinking shears.  This creates a decorative edge while also preventing the fabric from unraveling.

    Repeat steps two through four until you have enough pennant triangles for your banner.  I used the full 3 yards of bias tape for my banner and made fourteen triangles, but you can make yours as long or as short as you care to.  Just make sure to measure first so you know how many pennant triangles you need to make.



    Step Five: Once you’ve made all your pennant triangles, pin them in to the bias tape.  To ensure your banner is evenly spaced, simply fold the bias tape directly in half and place and equal number of pennant triangles on each side.  Easy!

    Now that you have everything pinned in place, sew along the edge to pull it all together.  I decided to sew two parallel lines along the bias tape to help with stability.



    Step Six: Hang up your pennant banner and admire your handiwork!  And when the season changes, just flip the banner around!




  • May 10, 2014

    Planting Day


    Oh man, I am running a little late this week.  What day is it?  Saturday?


    What can I say, I’ve been busy this week crying my eyes out over The Fault in Our Stars.

    So there.

    Seriously, though, if you haven’t read it yet, stop everything you’re doing and read it.  Maybe buy a new box of tissues first.

    But, real quick before you do that, let me tell you about the other thing I am SO excited about this week!  Today was planting day!  Last weekend, my hubby and I went out to the local gardens to buy some veggie plants so we can get our garden going.

    Usually, we try to get things planted as soon as we get them, but the weather has not been ideal for planting.  So, today when we woke up to sunshine and blue skies, we jumped at the opportunity to get some tomatoes in the ground!

    We’ve been planting tomatoes in our raised garden bed for 3 summers now and have always had pretty good success.  Last year, we tried a black heirloom tomato in a planter, but failed miserably.  So, this year, we decided to forget the fancy tomatoes and branch out and try for some eggplant.  I am so excited!!!  We are also trying out jalapenos this year, so watch for some salsa recipes this summer!


    I’m also happy to report that our strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are coming back stronger than last summer.  And, the plum and pear trees are starting to look promising too.  Hopefully we’ll get some good fruit this time around!


    Blueberries  Raspberries

    I find so much joy each spring when we start everything new and fresh.  We got rained out towards the end, but our garden is planted and it’s going to be amazing!  It’s a great feeling to bring something to life and make your own food.  I know it probably sounds a little hokey, but gardening is something my husband and I really love, and take pride in.  Also, I just really love to eat.

    Now, if I can just find a tree that will make chocolate bars and ice cream….

  • March 12, 2014

    Basement Project


    Recently I mentioned a project that displaced me from my office area and wreaked havoc on my life for most of February.  I also mentioned that I’d share that project with you.

    So, without further ado, here’s my shiny new basement!

    We went from this:






    To this:






    To this:






    The accent wall is my very favorite part of the whole room.  I had never stenciled anything before, so I was pretty fearful that it would be a disaster… but I think it turned out pretty amazing.  I had the help of a great friend which made the process bearable and so much easier.

    If you would like to achieve a similar style and aren’t sure where to start, let me advise.
    First, you need the following things:

    • Stencils (two of the same if you can swing it financially)
    • Paint
    • A little roller with a foam pad (not the regular furry pads)
    • Tape
    • A level
    • Your best friend (or at the very least, someone who you don’t mind getting a little up close and personal with)


    The first thing you’ll do is pick a spot on the wall to be your starting point.  It doesn’t really matter where, but it is best not to start at a corner or at the ceiling or floor.  You see, most houses aren’t actually square and most walls are really crooked.  By picking a point in the middle of the wall as your starting point, you will create the illusion that your wall isn’t wonky.

    Once you have your spot picked out, go ahead and use that level to make sure your stencil is straight.  Then you can tape it to the wall and start painting!

    When you load the paint roller up with paint, try not to get too much paint soaked in.  We found that loading the roller and then rolling the excess off on paper bags helped immensely.  The rollers worked best when they were a little tacky, not soaked with paint.  If you can, I would actually recommend doing a trial run on another wall you haven’t painted yet or a piece of cardboard.

    Once you have your first stencil down, it’s easy to move along by just matching up the correct points on your stencil.  Smooth sailing until you hit a wall or window.  Then, you need your best friend to bend and hold the stencil up for you against the wall so you can push your roller in and cover wall to wall.  I suppose you can do this yourself if you needed to… but it was so much better with someone else to help and hold things in place!

    So, you just keep after it as best you can and after a while, voila!  There is a beautiful, stenciled wall!




    Pro Tips:

    More complicated patterns show mistakes less readily than simple lines.

    Choosing colors that are similar also show mistakes less readily than two contrasting colors.  However, choosing colors that are similar also makes it really hard to see when you’re actually doing the painting.

    Make sure you have really good lighting, it will help SO MUCH.

    Using two stencils helped the process move much quicker than just one would have.  As you paint, some will seep under the stencil and end up on the other side… by having two stencils, we were able to let one dry while we worked with the other.