Monday, October 20, 2014

Bedspread Face-Lift

Hey, ya'll.

I have a confession to make.

We go through bedspreads like Halloween candy. Why? Well, primarily because Zoe wears them out in, like, four seconds. It also doesn't help that I get bored of them pretty quickly and like to shake things up.

As such, I refuse to buy really expensive comforters. It would be like using dollar bills as baby wipes. Not so smart.

I got a wild hair as soon as I saw the first hole in my current comforter. I wanted something really different. REALLY. Something I would never ordinarily be brave enough to choose. . . and that meant going a little crazy.

I also decided to make it with my own 10 fingers {in order to justify "buying" a comforter that may very well blow up in my face} and that meant finding a tutorial.

I found this bad boy over at "View Along the Way" HERE and immediately fell in love! And the best part? I felt confident I could make it and live to tell the tale.

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{photo source}

I ordered up some cheap king-size white hotel sheets from Amazon for $10.86 each {link found HERE} and an Ikea Lightweight Comforter for $17.99 {plus $10 shipping. . . sorry, I couldn't find the original link anymore} and got to work.

If you make the same thing, I would suggest using a disappearing ink pen to mark your spots instead of pins. I kept having pins fall out as I maneuvered the fabric to sew the "fabric tornadoes". Oh, and don't stress if the placement isn't perfect. As long as you're in the right area, you should be fine. It's definitely not rocket science.

One more word to the wise-- use a sharp, fresh needle and go slow. There's a deceivingly large amount of fabric that you have to sew through, so show your machine that you love it by taking your time.

. . .

So. Yes.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this adventure! And just think-- you could use any color sheets you'd like to fit the look of your room! I just felt like being super brave and using white.

Although, I'll admit. . . it makes me think I need to paint that wall behind the bed a light, soft gray or something. . . but, uh, don't tell my husband.

{Hi, honey!}

 photo BedspreadCollage_zps178e1b86.png
Sorry the lighting is different. . . but I'm just that kind of photographer :)

. . .

And as we all know, you can't make a new bedspread and not make some fresh accent pillows. Right?! Right.

Well, I can't.

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#1 : I used this tutorial HERE from "Cluck Cluck Sew" and had a blast. An absolute blast!

 photo IMG_43981_thumb_zps2a9b628f.jpg
{photo source}

Seriously, you guys. This was a fun pillow to make. It's not perfect, but meh. Oh, well. Still fun and cute to look at.

#2 :  I used my old existing pillow for measurements and just used some scrap fabric from my stash. After stuffing my pillow in there, I used THIS tutorial to sew the bottom closed so it's nice and hidden.

# 3 : I used this YouTube video to help me sew my neckroll pillow cover.

It was definitely the most challenging, but nothing terrible. Just took some getting used to, is all. Oh, and I skipped the button part.

My measurements must have been a little off, however, because the cover ended up making my pillow look like a fifty pound pig squeezed into a toilet paper tube, so I ditched the actual pillow and used some batting to stuff the cover instead. That's why it looks a little . . . special.

The other reason it looks special is I decided to hand-write the "love" and sew it on without using any adhesive. So be kind in your judgement. :)

After I had it all finished, I decided that the ends looked lonely, so I made some little hearts and added them to each side.

 photo SideView_zps5b5a7297.png

. . . .

So now you have a relatively quick and inexpensive way to update to liven up your {or your kids'} bedroom. You have my blessing. Go forth and succeed. Be not afraid.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Hanger

Years ago, I had an experience that has stuck with me. Obviously. . . or I wouldn't be writing a blog post about it. :)

It all started when I purchased a shirt from a store and requested a hanger to use at home. . . 'cause I was too cheap to buy my own? I don't know. At any rate, the female cashier was super nice and went to work finding me a hanger. She dug around in the bin beneath her register counter for a few seconds and resurfaced with a nervous look on her face.

Did she find a dead rat, perhaps?

She had a hanger in her clutches, but apparently it was for a size "L" shirt.

{This was back in the day before I bore my fabulous children, so the shirt I purchased was likely a "small".}

She was petrified that I was going to put up a stink that she could only find a "large" hanger for my "small" shirt.

I laughed and told her that, of course, a hanger with a little "L" on it would suffice. It still worked the exact same as one with a "S".

. . .

I've thought of that experience from time to time since and it still boggles my mind. That poor cashier must have had situations under her belt where, NO, a different hanger would not have sufficed. Are we really that concerned about how we appear?  Why does an "L" make us feel less worthy than a "S"? They're letters, for Pete's sake. And who, pray tell, is going to see the hanger in my closet and judge me for it? If they're going to sneak into my closet and judge me for anything, it ought to be the fact that I'm using a hanger pilfered from the store instead of buying my own.

Why am I even writing this blog post?!

Why has this experience been seared into my noggin?

I can't say.

Maybe it's because it surprised and saddened me that we still manage to put so much emphasis on insignificant little things like the size on our hangers.

And the deeper issue; our weight and how we look.

. . .

Our bodies change over time, ya know. Our joints start to wear down and our hair turns gray. Our skin will sag and our waists will continue to widen.

But why is that so taboo in our culture today?

Old age is something we earn. It means we've lived a full and eventful life and accomplished much. Every wrinkle tells a story of the jokes we've enjoyed, the sun we've basked in, and the sorrows we've passed through. Our worn knees testify of the trails we've hiked and the kneeling we've done; whether for praying or playing . . . or both! Our soft bellies remind us of how well we've been fed and possibly of the children we've born. Our failing eyesight is evidence of glories seen and experienced.

Why should we feel like we're worth less if we don't fit into society's current unattainable mold of perfection? Why should we worry more about how our bodies appear on the outside than how we look on the inside?

. . .

Trust me. I'm not perfect at this.

Just the other day I looked at a picture taken of me and a dear friend and forlornly said to Chuck, "I look like a moose!"

I had a nice little pity party for a while because I was comparing myself unfairly. I'm not going to look the same now as I did when I was 18, or even 21. I was being my own worst critic; like I often am.

I'll admit-- I like to look nice. I like to feel pretty and wear flattering clothes. I think it's important to look our best and try to take excellent care of our bodies. But I think we all could do a little better at being happy with where we are and who we are.

I pinky swear that it doesn't matter if your hanger is a large or a small or a medium or an extra-extra large. What matters is how you feel about yourself; so be proud and happy to be you! Cultivate an inner beauty and it will shine on the outside. Every time. You are beautiful {or handsome} because of the relationships you nurture and the compassion you show on a daily basis! You are beautiful because of YOU.    

Embrace the changes that come with time and don't berate your body for showing signs of life lived. And most importantly, never neglect that inner strength that makes you who you are. That will endure long after our bodies wear out. :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why, Hello There!

You may think that I've long since kicked the bucket and that's why I haven't posted in four million years. . . but I haven't.

I'd just like fill you in on some random projects I've {miraculously} completed in the last little while. Boring, I know.  

. . .

I may have alluded to this before, but one of my goals in life is to become proficient at sewing clothes. A couple years back, I kept getting the impression that I really ought to learn how to sew more than a pillowcase. . . and who am I to argue? Granted, it's a slow road when you're teaching yourself and you're about as sharp as a potato.

But, I mean, if there comes a time when modest clothing is hard/impossible to find or everyone decides plastic bags make for great attire, I'll be able to make something wearable. Hopefully. That's the idea, anyway.

It's taken me many, many long nights with my trusty seam ripper and pouring over blog tutorials again and again before getting anywhere NEAR making something that fits over the head of my subject. But! I'm getting there. Slowly. I just don't want anyone to look at these pictures and beg me for advice. . . because I don't have much to offer. :)

My first project? Making Hannah some dresses that aren't too short.

I don't know about all ya'll, but it seems like I have to buy her dresses at least 2 sizes too large just so she doesn't outgrow them in about a month. And by "outgrow", I mean "show off anything above her knee" because I'm old school like that.

I found a pattern at JoAnn and set to work {"See & Sew" B5442 to be exact}. After hitting a couple many road bumps, I finally finished. I had to get creative because I ran out of the main fabric, but I think the end result was darling! I added a yellow ruffle along the bottom and then added a little ruffle-y flower to pull it all together. It looks pretty darn cute with her white cardigan and brown boots.

My second attempt came about just yesterday. I tried it on her {after I finished} and went, "Whoa. Uhhh.... this is huge!" I swear unto you that I made the same size both times, but maybe I had a much larger seam allowance the second time?!? I have no clue. All I know is that the dress was so big that it was falling off her shoulders every two seconds.

Cue another flash of momentary creativity. I pinched the front in a 1/2" at the top and bottom and stitched it down. Then I sewed on some buttons.


Now it has a little pizzazz AND when she grows, I can just take off the buttons and pop the seam and she'll have an extra 1/2" to use. The best part? I don't actually have to unbutton anything. I just pretend. :)

I'm havin' way too much fun. Clearly.

. . . .

In completely unrelated news, I made a new best friend.

His name? Sharky.

See how beautiful and clean he is?

He doesn't look like that anymore. Not by a looooong shot. Ya see, he was fresh out of the box in that picture. I vacuumed the couch and the carpet in all our rooms and he looked like this. . .

He has never recovered. 

This poor vacuum is amazing!Which is a handy quality to have when you have an indoor large-breed dog and a toddler that likes to habitually shred things. 

Of course, it was only after that picture that I realized the "max fill" line was about 1/4 of the way up the canister. Whoops. 

. . . . 

Did I ever tell you guys I painted my laundry room? I got a wild hair right after Curtis was born and told Chuck I was going to paint our laundry room yellow. I've always wanted a yellow room. What I really meant, of course, was "YOUR going to paint my laundry room yellow!"

However, I quickly realized that Chuck wasn't going to be party to my scheme and if I wanted a yellow laundry room, I was on my own. He wasn't going to stop me, but he wasn't about to make it easy for me to deface our beautiful home in such an abhorrent way. ;) 

Long story short, I finally found a yellow that was bright and bold without being like a McDonald's. I found some bead board wallpaper on Amazon and bought a roll {I read in the comments that it's really easy to scratch so not to use it in a high traffic area (such as a mudroom), but I wasn't very worried}. I bought some molding to paint and hang above the bead board to make it look less like wallpaper and got to work painting. Then hanging the wallpaper. Then finding decorations.

I can't, however, measure/cut/hang that darn molding by myself. It just can't be done. My brain would explode, guys. Not to mention I would cut off my fingers.


That's still pending. 

But here's what I've got so far!

{That picture was taken standing in front of the dryer and looking at the corner to the left.} 

See how uneven the wallpaper is hung there in the corner? Yeah, see. That's what happens when Husband lets me hang stuff. But fear not, the molding is thick enough to cover all that stuff. And THAT will be hung straight because I won't be doing it. :)

P.S. If you even look at the fluffy bead board wallpaper wrong, it scratches. So. Yes. Keep that in mind.
P.P.S. If you do buy the wallpaper, I would suggest buying two rolls. 'Nuff said.

. . . .

Moving right along.

. . . .

Remember how I said that I'm old school and don't really like dresses that go above the knee? Well, that's true for more than just my daughter. Up until just recently, I refused to wear any dress that wasn't full length. Of course, a lot of that had to do with my own insecurities about my legs. . . but after having two babies I decided to branch out in my styling choices. {And no, the irony isn't lost on me. My legs are definitely more aesthetically traumatizing after two pregnancies than before}. I decided I was tired of worrying about what other people thought of my pasty, spider-veiny legs. :)

I had my eyes peeled for a polka dot dress for many, many moons and finally found one. It was a little shorter than I would've liked, but nothing immodest. . . . just considerably shorter than anything I'd previously owned.

However, I made the fatal mistake of washing it without reading the tag shortly after purchasing it. I washed it in cold water and let it air dry, but the damage had been done.

When I wore it before, I was constantly pulling it down {it has a little stretch to it} and hoping a breeze wouldn't come along to show everyone my undies.

When I tried it on after washing it, however, I knew I was done for. If I dared wear it in public, I would be a nervous wreck. There was no way I would be comfortable in it. . . and that was a problem. There was no way I was going to let my polka dot dress go right after finding it! :)

Here's what it looked like after I washed it --

And, yes, I realize some of you might see that and think, "That's not very short! What's the problem?" but trust me. It'd probably be fine if I didn't have to move or bend or house at least one child on my lap at any given time. But for someone who doesn't like dresses above the knee, it just wasn't gonna fly.

P.S. I'm so sorry about the dirty mirror! You'd think I'd stop and clean it off before taking pictures, but no. Too lazy.

I did a little research and found something that I thought might work:  a nice, simple ruffle!

"Simple". . . yeah.

All in all, it was simple. . . just a little time consuming to measure and remeasure and cut and hem and iron and baste and ruffle and pin and sew. But, hey. It worked and was well worth the effort!

 I was worried because the dress is 100% polyester but my ruffle was a cotton blend, but I think it still works out. I cut the ruffle to be nearly 2 times the length as my skirt hem {to provide ample fabric to ruffle} and made it 6" wide. That way I had 1/2" {1/4" + 1/4"} on both the top and bottom to hem and still have 5" of coverage.

So, yeah. Mission accomplished. It is FAR, FAR, FAR from perfect, buy hey. Most of my projects are.

. . . .

Thanks for putting up with my huge long post of craziness. I'll post up some pictures of our family adventures el soono. :)


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