Monday, March 29, 2010

More Pillows!

Today, I made some more throw pillows. Three to be exact - two 16x16 in, and one 12x16 in. When I got up this morning, I threw the fabric in the wash while I made my patterns for the pillows. Though they still took me longer than expected, I did not run into the same issues as last time; and my zippers went much more smoothly.

The great thing about doing a project like this is that you learn something new every time. Here's what I learned this time around: 
  • Patterns help tremendously with having two pieces of fabric that are the same size. In the future, however, I'd love to get one of those huge cutting boards so that for something as easy as squares or rectangles, simply placing the fabric on top of it doubled over would be a breeze.
  • Referencing your user manual solves problems that don't need to be problems. I know, I know - imagine that. But the issue I had with my needle not automatically adjusting to the zipper foot after I had to replace my first needle, was a user issue rather than a machine issue. 
  • This pattern requires you to move the zipper pull back behind the needle once you near the end both times. It's not easy moving that zipper pull either time, so I messed around with a few things today to see if I could find an easier way to get it all the way past the foot. *Crayola skinny markers work great! Here's what you do: while your foot is lifted, but your needle is still in, open your zipper a bit and leave the pull sticking out toward you. Using the capped side of the marker, push the cap against the zipper's pull and voila! No need to kill your fingers.
You'll find the final results below. My apologies that it's a little dark - it isn't quite summer with endless light yet. I'll leave you with a question. I'm not hugely fond of the plain green pillow - it needs a little something more. Any suggestions/ideas/inspiration?

~Ms. S

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Throw Pillow Cover

The missing power cord for my sewing machine was found yesterday afternoon! You'll never guess where it was. Are you ready for this? It was on the bottom shelf of the microwave cart collecting dust - a logical place for it, no?! Thank goodness it turned up because I desperately wanted to get going on this throw pillow found on Design*Sponge via guest blogger Brett Bara.

In this post, I mentioned how excited I was to give this a try, as there was no pattern and it looked SO easy. Ha! Upon getting up this morning and finishing breakfast, I began working on this thinking I'd be done in an hour - hour and a half tops. Well...2.5 hours later when Mr. S got home from a morning workshop, I was just making the bed to see how the whole ensemble looked. (It's fabulous, by the way). Not quite how I'd intended my morning to go, but thankfully today was flexible.

Close-up of the fabric

If I'm being completely honest, this was my first "major" sewing project. And seeing as how even experienced sewers dread projects with zippers, I'd say I fared relatively well, though not without a few mishaps.

  1. I didn't cut my pieces perfectly evenly, so that made keeping track of a 1/2 inch seam hard.
  2. Even following the directions as carefully as possible, I managed to bend my needle beyond saving when it hit the zipper pull. Oops. 
  3. After sewing the remaining three sides, the instructions tell you to turn your cover right side out and iron your seams flat. My zipper was zipped closed when I sewed my remaining three sides, so finagling the thing open far enough to reach my hand all the way in was comical.
Here's what I'd do differently next time:
  • Make a pattern - I have lots of tissue paper, so I'd use it to make sure my pieces match
  • Keep my zipper open upon finishing that step
  • Be more anal about measuring my seams
Other than that, I'm quite happy with the end result (though I'm hoping the zipper won't take me two hours next time), and Husband was quite impressed. Here's to the next set of pillows; we'll be shopping for fabric this afternoon! :)

Happy Spring!

~Ms. S

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Revealed: The New Bed

That's right! Our new bed was delivered Friday afternoon by my awesome father-in-law. Mr. S and I were so excited we could hardly contain ourselves. And I have a confession to make - the bedding arrived on Monday!!! I was going to write a little post about it, but upon finding out the bed itself would likely be here soon, everything was saved for a 'reveal' post. :)

Just so you remember what the bedroom looked like before...

Alright, these photos are from this past summer, but if I'm being completely honest, the piles of clothes and general messiness never fully went away. And you can't really see them (due to the embarrassing amount of clothes strewn everywhere), but there are boxes to the right of the dresser that had been there since we moved in last June. Suffice it to say, we were grateful to be forced into dealing with cleaning and organizing issues we had continually pushed aside.

The king sized bed required rearranging the room to maximize the amount of usable space. We switched the wall against which the bed sits, moved the rocking chair to a better corner - by a window, and rethought our hamper usage. We now each have a (small) laundry basket on our respective sides of the bed - hidden from sight initially, but easily accessible for us so that we can get rid of the navy and gray 'darks and whites' hamper you see in the picture above. I'm hoping this will encourage me to stay on top of laundry better than in the past. Additionally, we inherited an old wicker hamper from Husband's boss which we have placed in the bathroom for dirty towels, washclothes, placemats, napkins, etc. I'll have to let you know how this system ends up working for us (well, for me really, seeing as how Mr. S tends to be laundry adverse).

With no further delay, please enjoy the pictures below...

~Ms. S

The bedding has arrived!!

 And it's beautiful.

Before the 'Emporer' found his clothes...

Tranquil, peaceful, and serene; and the cleanest, most organized this room has ever been.
Calm enough to enjoy a long nap yesterday...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Desk Transformation

My goal for the day: clean off this desk and repurpose it to be my sewing desk as opposed to being a (paper) work space. A rather lofty goal considering you truly can't see the top of this desk, and haven't been able to for...I don't even know how long...a REALLY long time. Why the change? Well, let me share my motivation!

I ordered our new bedding a little over a week ago. (Exciting!!) Hopefully it will be arriving shortly, as there is a chance our big bed will be delivered on Friday, courtesy of Husband's dad. Since we're changing up the look of our bedroom, and I've been in the mood to do some sewing, I decided to make us some throw pillows (so much cheaper to make them!). And as I trolled my blog role, I stumbled upon gold!

Design*Sponge guest blogger, Brett Bara, posted a lovely piece about making pillow covers. Wah! Butterflies started fluttering in my stomach. Not only were there step-by-step instructions (critical for me), it actually looked easy! AND there would be no pattern involved. I can't tell you how much I hate cutting out patterns - so much so, actually, that I have a pretty impressive stack of fabric I've done absolutely nothing with for lack of motivation to cut the pattern. 

Anyway, I had some time yesterday and stopped by the best craft store in the world. Crafty Planet sources some of the most gorgeous prints I've ever seen. And the best part, in my opinion, is that they're all cotton prints (aka: easy to work with). I spent a good 45 minutes picking out two prints for contrasting pillows and picked up the other necessary materials elsewhere. 

When I got home yesterday and sorted through my finds, I realized I didn't have a great space to work. So, after church this morning, I decided to turn my desk (which has never been used for office/school work here) into my sewing station. There was a ton of paper to sort through. Most of that was recycled, and the rest is in a pile to be filed away. And I went through the uppermost drawers to make space for some sewing supplies. 2.5 hours later, I was super pleased with the results and ready to begin on my project. But I couldn't find the power source cord for my machine!!! I still haven't found it and I've searched everywhere. 

(the blue blob is an unfinished skirt - soon to be finished!)

While I'm bummed I didn't get the chance to start, it turns out that's not such a bad thing. During dinner, Husband and I were talking about the fabric. I had chosen one print with a dark gray background and fabulous baby blue polka dots, thinking that shades of blue would be an excellent pair with our new white coverlet (and remembering Mr. S mentioning wanting blues as our accent). Come to find that Mr. S associates light blue with his sister's bedroom and wants nothing to do with it in ours. Huh! Good thing we had that conversation. :) Thankfully, he does like the other print I picked - a soft gray with white dandelion-inspired flowers/floating seeds on it. So, he'll be coming with me on my next trip to Crafty Planet, though we've decided to hold off on that until we have our bedding.

Exciting things! Cant' wait to have pics to post of the new bed when everything finally arrives and comes together. In the meantime, I've got some other things up my sleeve.

Goodnight, and enjoy the lovely spring weather (it got up to 63 today)!
~Ms. S

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Antiques Shopping

Today will mark our first day of serious antique shopping with the goal of finding something as beautiful as the piece above. I'm hoping the day will promise lots of pictures to share and at least one story to tell. It would also be nice if we happened to find something awesome for a decent price, but i won't hold my breath on that one. So, here's hoping my luck (or lack-thereof) from last night doesn't carry over to today!
~Ms. S

Friday, March 5, 2010

Plum Luck

 Tonight was date night - something both of us had been looking forward to all week. Last night we discussed where we might like to go. I had a hankering for Chinese food, but Mr. S wanted a venue with a particular beer. Not being too hung up on my choice, we opted for his and decided to try out a place he'd heard fantastic things about from his co-workers. Dinner would be around 7, followed by a movie at one of our favorite local places, The Riverview.

Between work and dinner, I ran a few errands, including a stop at Target to see if they had restocked the Sally Hansen 'Complete Salon Manicure' nailpolish in 'Plum Luck' that I've been kicking myself for resisting for a number of weeks. Every time I've looked until today, every Target in our area has been out of that color. Thankfully, I was lucky tonight! And even picked up an additional color to try. Anyway, I hurried home with enough time to paint my nails before going out. :)

From this point on, date night went downhill. Buster's doesn't have a parking lot, so that meant parallel parking. Let's just say parallel parking has never been my strong suit, though I did manage fairly well. As I made my way to the sidewalk, I broke through the ice into a huge puddle (the street wasn't well lit, so I couldn't see what I was stepping into). And then there was a line out the door at Buster's. Alright. Not the end of the world. Husband was definitely more excited about the place than I was. As an alternative, we settled on a Minneapolis favorite - Pizza Luce.

I absolutely adore Pizza Luce. Their pizzas are creative, amazing, and yummy. However, it required another parallel parking job as this location did not have a parking log either. And upon entering, we could either sit at the bar (nope) or at a side-by-side table right by the window. Now, I like sitting next to my husband. However, I like sitting across from people better in one-on-one situations, as it's more conducive to conversation in my opinion. So, this table was fine, but not ideal. (They were really full, otherwise we would have requested a table.) It should also be stated that Mr. S and I are not exactly compatible pizza eaters. Tonight, he wanted 'something with Italian sausage, red sauce, and cheese; and the more toppings the better.' He was very uncompromising. So we went with 'The Classic' - a pizza with Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, black olives, pepperoni, cheese, and red sauce - with no onions. But even without the onions, totally not my kind of pizza. Not really a fan of sausage, green peppers, or any color olive. I would have been very happy with either of the potato pizzas (YUM!!!), but decided I could compromise tonight. Let's just say I only ate two slices of our small pizza and Husband had the rest. Needless to say, I was still hungry and looking forward to popcorn with our movie. Husband was getting a kick out of my 'luck-less' night so far and asked rather tongue-in-cheek 'What else could possibly go wrong with your night?'

We made our way to the movie theater where Mr. S showed me to a parking lot!! This was a new discovery and saved me from parallel parking for a third time. We were walking toward the theater when I looked at the bill board. We were supposed to see 'Invictus' at 9 pm. According to the bill board it started at 7 and 'The Messenger' was showing at 9:25!!!! We went inside just to make sure that was correct. It was. And 'The Messenger' didn't really intrigue either of us. No movie. No popcorn. So much for 'Plum Luck' on all 10 of my fingers!

We went to a coffee shop down the street from our place instead. What a night.

~Ms. S

Monday, March 1, 2010

Shopping Advice

I have a confession to make. Since knowing that we'll be swapping beds with the gigantic one at my in-law's, it's pretty much all I've been able to think about. Words truly cannot express how giddy the whole thing makes me.

And because of this, my post for tonight is rather short. I simply have a question and would dearly love any feedback you might have.

What is your favorite place (website or store) to purchase quilts/comforters/coverlets?

Thank you in advance for your help.

~Ms. S