Monday, December 28, 2009

Another Sweater Pillow – with how-to!

I just couldn’t stop this evening.  I needed another project, something simple and straightforward that I could finish tonight. 

Do you ever get that feeling?  Fortunately, I had just the project and I even had everything I needed to get it done.  Now *that* is rare!

I decided to do this sweater pillow in an envelope style.  The bottom of the sweater had some great ribbing that I wanted to use, and there’s the added bonus of being able to remove the pillow insert and wash the cover.



1. One wool sweater, put through the washer and dryer several times to make it shrink and felt.  I found this one at Goodwill.

2. Store bought pillow form.  Even cooler would be to use an old decorator pillow from the thrift store.  Reuse at it’s finest!

3. Sewing machine and matching thread.  No need to be perfect here – the stitches shouldn’t show at all.


First, cut apart the sweater.  Cut up both side seams, cut off the sleeves and across the shoulder so you end up with a rectangle.  It’s okay if there are some shoulder seams showing – they may or may not be there when you’re done measuring. 

Sweater cut up

Next, sew the tops of the rectangles together, right sides together – NOT the ribbed bottom edge.  Press the seam open with a steam iron.


Now it’s time to play with the positioning of your envelope opening.  Lay the fabric down, right side down, lay your pillow form on top, and fold over the top and bottom to create the overlap you want. You do want substantial overlap – the stretchy fabric will pull once stuffed.

Once you’ve determined how much overlap you want, remove the pillow form, and re-fold the fabric with right sides together.


Keep in mind that the fabric stretches, and this is a *good* thing.  Measure your folded fabric to be sure that it is slightly shorter than your pillow form’s dimensions. I used 16” for my 18” form.

Now, the sides of the fabric need to be trimmed to one inch wider than your previous measurement (to account for ~1/2 seam allowance). 


Now, pin up those sides and sew’em up!  Turn it inside out, stuff in the pillow and you’re done!


I love these pillows.  I’ll be making several, and am saving the cut open sleeves – eventually I’ll make a patchwork bedspread or blanket out of them…it really will look sharp!

Love to you all – and goodnight!

Sewn Shopping Bag – in progress

The primary goal today was to get the house cleaned.  After that, there had to be some project that wouldn’t cost me much energy (I’m still recovering from a little cold).


I’ve already posted a little about this project, but it might be good to start putting it all together now.

Some time ago, I bought these wonderful hobo bags from Target, on sale of course, with the thought that they’d be great shopping bags.  Well, they are *perfect* for groceries!  Their size, shape, weight and style are exactly what I wanted.  I could never understand why reusable shopping bags had to be ugly – well, they don’t.

I’m not crazy about the blue plaid that the bags are made in, and I knew I’d want more than I was able to buy, so I set about copying the pattern…

The original bag...

The completed mock-up...

The white yellow paper is the paper and tag board pattern that I made from the original.  The plaid is the original bag.  The white is the mock-up, which was perfect on the first try.

Just before Christmas, Mom made up a bag with scraps that we had lying around.  It was a beautiful bag, and the woman who received it was very pleased.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of it…

Tonight I went ahead and started sewing up another bag that I had cut out previously.  The fabrics are terribly obnoxious, but that goes well with my personality.  All I completed tonight was the outer body – tomorrow I need to go buy more rotary blades and will get it completed.

sewn-bag in progress

Honestly, I’m not sure what’s more obnoxious – the bag or the cat!

Love to you all…

Catching up from the holidays…

It has been an absolutely wonderful past couple of weeks, even with Mother Nature trying to throw us for a little loop.  I won’t go into the details, but here are some highlights…

I got the sweater pillows sent off to my sister’s for their Christmas presents.  The purple one turned out great – I had a quick inspiration on how to decorate it, and I’m very pleased with the result:


Our tree looked lovely even if it was a little bare. Our ornaments have been lacking the last few years, but a little trip to Target yesterday took care of that for next year.  It was still a beautiful sight…


Godfrey had to be in the middle of it all, of course…


Jason roasted a duck and vegetables for dinner – it was his first duck and it was *delicious*.  I am so lucky! 


He loved his present – much to the terror of the dog!


I simply have to include this picture of a parsnip from the garden.  We didn’t thin them enough, I guess, because in my stepfather’s words, “That isn’t a parsnip, it’s a housing development!”  And a slightly crude one, at that! 


Well, I’ve got about two week left of winter vacation before I start  my last semester of classes.  And believe me, I am very eager to take advantage of every moment.

Today is all about getting my home picked up, some sort of project, though I have no idea which one, and some studying in preparation for classes. 

I love my life.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thanksgiving. Bird Watching. Bread Baking. Sewing. Snow. Cookie Making.

It’s been quite a couple of weeks around here, what with finals and the beginning of the holidays…
But my second to last semester is finished, and I can spend the next month being creative, and dangit I’m jumping in head first!
My husband and I celebrated our fourth anniversary the day before Thanksgiving and I was thrilled to have him up here for an entire week.  It’s hard living in separate cities, but it’s only six or seven more months and I’ll be able to move down there…
My sister and her family came to visit for a week during Thanksgiving and we had such an amazing time.  They are a beautiful, incredible family and I am so proud that they are part of ours.
For Jason’s and my anniversary, which is always the day before Thanksgiving (whatever day that falls on), we had a wonderful dinner – yes, we like any excuse to eat!
Thanksgiving Eve
For Thanksgiving, Mom and Suvetta put out the good linen and dishes, we all pitched in with the cooking, and it was absolutely lovely…
The other day, just as the weather was turning, the birds came out in full force.  I throw seed on the ground just outside my french doors so I can get a close look (and to entertain Godfrey), so I planted my butt on the floor with the camera and tried to get some shots.  None came out terribly well – I need a better camera for that – but I thought these were rather pretty:
Red Bellied Woodpecker…
Tufted Titmice…
Black Capped Chickadee…
There are two things that I’m really excited about now – one, I am back in the studio sewing.  No pictures of current projects, but I’ll tell you that I’m working on a fitting block dress.  I’ll explain more when I post pictures.
The other thing is that I’m back in the kitchen.  Yesterday I started a loaf of sandwich bread using Michael Ruhlman’s recipe from his blog.  Mom baked it last night, and I’m about to tear into it for lunch. Reviews to come!
bread and cookies
Then today after I came home from work I made chocolate chip cookie dough which will rest in the fridge for a day or two before being baked.  I also made some spritz cookies with the cookie press – now I just need to glaze them…
cookie press
I also have cut-out cookie dough in the fridge and will probably bake those tomorrow. Yes, it’s cookie time – we’re getting ready to make our gift baskets.  What a great excuse, huh? 
I almost forgot something huge – an extremely generous coworker and avid deer hunter gave me an entire deer, skinned, gutted and moderately butchered.  It was unbelievable!  Beautiful, beautiful meat that Mom and I spent several hours finishing and vacuum sealing. We made a roast that night which Mom and Bill didn’t care for, but I absolutely *loved*.  It was incredibly mild, but I guess they don’t like venison at all.  No problem – Jason and I will enjoy it, and we won’t have to buy any red meat for at least a year.  Now *that’s* the way to do it.
To top everything off, I woke up to snow this morning – a beautiful white blanket of snow…
snowy garden
Anyway, aside from my stress over finals, it’s been a lovely couple of weeks. 
Now on to our regularly scheduled program…