Full Definition of joie de vivre
: keen or buoyant enjoyment of life
It's nearly February and I've been sewing my heart out on everything! My neighbor has a darling pillow on her porch chair with a wacky heart appliquéd to it so I totally stole that idea and made one for myself. I love it! It was fast, simple, cute, and I'm sharing it with you. I got the ticking fabric at Jo-Ann but you can also find it at Walmart (at a much better price!).
I chose 18 x 18 inch pillows and used my invisible zipper method and everything turned out great. I cut each pillow square 18.5 x 18.5 before sewing it together. Here's the other one I made. If you make one of these don't feel obligated to chose traditional Valentine's Day colors. Just pick what makes you happy! This orange heart (DS Quilts fabric from Jo-Ann) makes me happy. If you want to make a pillow with an envelope closure (envelope pillow tutorial here) just make sure your pillow is nearly ready to sew together before you center the heart design, then applique it in place and finish your pillow.
I used the smaller template for a cute dish towel to add a little Valentine festivity to my kitchen.
And the smaller template was perfect for a new table square to brighten up my dining room.
Here's how you can make them too. Download and cut the template(s) (pdfs below for you) in the heart shape you want to use...
Just cut the shape out and place on your fabric fold.
Just cut the pieces out and tape together so the arrows meet each other.
Chose your fabric and fold it if you're using the regular heart shape. Place your template on the fold and cute out the heart shape. Open your heart shape and press it to get the crease out. With the wacky heart shape just cut it, tape it together, and trace around it before cutting.
Smudge your glue stick all around the edges and a little in the middle. Work fast because it dries quickly.
Heat set in place but running your hot iron over the heart.
Use a zig zag stitch and a fun thread color to zig zag all around the edges making sure your stitch is centered so you enclose the edges with each stitch.
There you go! You can make these for yourself and they also make great gift and boutique ideas.
I'm really in love with all these hearts and will probably whip up a few more before I get tired of them. Then I guess I'll be on to shamrocks, right?
Let me know if you try it and what you think!! Have a great week and keep on sewing!
I received an email from Holly at Chairish.com asking if I'd like to take part in their latest design board challenge and I said "Yes!". Chairish is an online store where you can both buy and sell beautiful items for your home. They have everything from large furniture pieces, rugs, and chandeliers to small wall hangings, fabrics, and even wallpaper.
The theme of this challenge was Shabby Chic (take a peek at all the goodies in their Shabby Chic section at Chairish) and they sent me pictures of items that are currently listed on Chairish and I used them (and more) in my design board. I love the Shabby Chic look but I love to throw in some unexpected items too so I couldn't pass on the map and nature prints (or the Coca Cola crate on the table!).
This is a room I would love to call my own. Hop on over to Chairish and enjoy shopping for some one of a kind treasures for your home. Everything on my design board is over there (except the floor and flowers, you're on your own there).
A huge thanks to the folks at Chairish for the invitation! That was fun!
I'm in the process of decorating some new shelves and really wanted a pop of turquoise in a couple of spots. I'm also trying to add meaningful items as I spruce things up so these state canvases were the perfect solution. I'm an Oregon native (my ancestors were among the first 50 wagons on the Oregon Trail), but we truly love living in Arizona (even though the move 20 years ago was supposed to be temporary) so I included both states on my shelves.
I got these 2 slanted 8 x 8 canvases at Michaels and they are terrific because they can sit anywhere on the shelf without having to lean against the back of the shelf. They were 7.99 each (but I had a coupon). The acrylic colors I picked are plain old white (in satin) for touch ups, Apple Red 2901, and Patina 2951. I got a few new paint brushes too.
First I found silhouettes of the states on Google images and sized them to around 6 inches across using Adobe Illustrator (you can probably do the same in Gimp or any other graphic editing software). Then I used some tracing paper (the kind used for tracing sewing patterns) between the canvas and the printed page and traced around the state with a pointy pen).
Here's the canvas after I traced on it.
I carefully painted within the lines and ended up needing 3 coats of paints to get it really covered.
I traced a little heart over our cities and painted the hearts red.
I love them! They look perfect on my new shelves and make my heart happy.
Yay! Such a simple and fun project.
I get a lot of questions about how I made my big cutting table and it's so simple you'll be amazed. It's got a big work surface (80" x 60"), oodles of storage, and it goes together quick and easy. No power tools needed!
Here's my supply list:
* 2 Hollow Core Interior Doors 80" x 30" (about 28.00 each)
* 4 Omar 36" long Shelves from IKEA (or similar shelves) (24.99 each)
* 2 Omar 18" long Shelves from IKEA (or similar shelves) (18.99 each) (these are optional)
* 3 Mending plates (w/ 4 holes each) (about 1.00 each)
Assemble your metal shelves so they are all at the height you need (the whole shelf unit is 36" high but the lower shelves are usually adjustable).
Secure your doors to each other using the layout picture below.
Place your doors on top of the shelves (mending plates facing down) and center it so the edge of the doors hangs over by about 4" all the way around. You are done. I've never had mine shift off because the doors are pretty heavy (but we don't live in an earthquake zone and the boys aren't allowed to wrestle in here). My husband has climbed up on the table to install our new lights and it's crazy solid.
Here's a closeup of the center mending plate (I took this picture under the table, it was tricky).
Here's the top. It's the perfect width for one of those big cutting boards. I really love this work surface.
The 18" wide shelves are optional. I pull mine out and stuff big boxes of fabric under there. You might want to leave one out (or both) and maybe put a trash bin at the end if that's where you do most of your work.
I had a similar table a few years back for my fabric store and it was nice but smaller than this new one (and we made it much more complicated than necessary). I still get questions about it but honestly, the new one is better.
Here's the same room with new everything (floors, paint, lighting, curtains, everything!) and our bigger table.
It's my happy place. I hope you found this to be helpful! Let me know if you make one, I'd love to see pictures. Keep on sewing!
I had a customer request a pillow insert that is 24" x 16" and it's a bit of an oddball size so I don't have one in stock. I looked into it and they're at least 17.00 on average and I thought wait a minute....
I went to Walmart and picked up a regular old pillow in "medium support" style for 4.88. This is the standard size and it's 17 x 26 inches.
I cut the end open.
Removed the polyfil stuffing.
And then cut it to the size I needed plus the seam allowance (16 1/2 x 24 1/4 since it already had a seam at one end).
I stitched up each side and a little bit on each side of the end. I left a decent sized hole to stuff all the polyfil back in.
I grabbed my cheapo scissors and trimmed off some of the polyfil at the end (I'll keep the excess for a pin cushion or softie project).
Then I stuffed it all back in making sure I got it into the corners.
I pinned the end shut but put the pins about 2 inches from the edge so the fluff wouldn't get in the way while I was sewing. All of my seams are obvious but since it's going inside a pillow cover it doesn't matter.
Bam! It's exactly the size I needed and cost less than buying it even at a wholesale price. You can do this with any size of insert you need.
Give it a shot and let me know how it works for you!
I'm going to show you how to make a smart and fabulous pillow cover with a truly invisible zipper!
Few things bring me more satisfaction than a well done invisible zipper. I see lots of tutorials for pillows with zippers and some call them "hidden zippers" but it drives me crazy because the zippers are behind the obvious fabric folds and there are seams showing the whole length on each side of the zipper (just a pet peeve of mine). It doesn't have to be that way! Installing an invisible zipper is no more difficult than sewing regular zippers (I think it's easier actually).
Here are the two pillows I've made recently. The top one is awesome. The bottom one has a poorly installed invisible zipper. The two big differences were 1. ironing the zipper coils first and 2. getting my sewing machine needle as close to the coil as possible while sewing. I'm going to take you through those steps as well as others to get a great finish!
First, let's talk about invisible zippers. Invisible zippers are actually labeled "Invisible Zipper" (it's not just the outcome of the process, it's the actual name). On the left is a regular zipper which has exposed teeth and a square-ish zipper pull. On the right is an invisible zipper and you can't see the teeth at all plus the pull is long and tapered. Invisible zippers cost a little bit more but the great outcome makes up for the small price difference.
Now let's talk about zipper feet. Your sewing machine probably came with a zipper foot like the one on the left. This one will do the trick if your machine has the ability to shift the needle over to the side. The notched areas underneath each side enable you to get your zipper closer to the needle (but not all the way which is why you need to shift your needle over).
The foot on the right is a foot specifically for sewing invisible zippers (this one is from my Juki so it's got a higher shank but the grooves will be the same on a lower shank foot). If your needle can't be adjusted to the side you need something like this because it allows you to set the zipper right under and next to the needle without having to move the needle.
If you don't want to invest in an invisible zipper foot quite yet you can get this plastic one, pictured below, made by Coats. They're a lot flimsier than the metal ones of course, but for 2.50-ish it's a great way to see if you like the grooved foot before buying a metal one.
Besides a suitable zipper foot, you'll need the supplies below:
1. Two fabric squares cut the same dimensions as your pillow form. My pillow form is 18 x 18 and I cut the fabric squares 18 x 18 so I get a finished cover of approximately 17 x 17 inches.
2. One invisible zipper at least 4 inches longer than your fabric pieces (my zipper is around 22-24 inches long).
3. One Elmers-type glue stick. I use the stuff that is purple before it dries.
Your first step is to unzip your zipper and iron the coils so they lay as flat as possible (this will enable you to really get your needle up next to it).
Here's a picture of one side of a zipper before and after ironing. I really applied a lot of heat and took my time to really get it to "uncurl" and lay flat.
Lay your zipper on one side of the fabric and mark both sides of the zipper about 1.5" from the end of your fabric. The zipper pull is face down when you mark it (more detailed picture next).
Here's an example of how your zipper will lie when you start gluing it in place (yes glue!). I've zipped this one up partly so you can see that the zipper pull is face down. You'll need to unzip it completely for the next few stages.
Glue along the whole edge where your zipper will be sewn. Place a piece of paper under it so you don't get glue on your ironing surface. The glue dries pretty quickly so have everything ready when you get started.
Once you have the zipper pressed in place along the edge you want to heat set the glue with your iron. Just set it on top of the zipper and press and it will dry the glue enough to hold it while you work with it. I've used glue for a long time but it was my friend Cristy Fincher who showed me you need to heat set it with your iron (it changed everything for the better!). If the glue is drying before you can get to this part then do this process in two parts (glue half way up, set your zipper, heat press and then glue the rest of the way to the end and repeat the process).
This glue seriously holds! So much more accurate and reliable than straight pins.
Now flip your glued part over on top of the other fabric piece (like the picture below) and repeat the glueing process on the edge of this piece.
Make sure your edges and the marked lines match up.
Here's what it all looks like when the zipper is glued and heat set in place. You're ready to sew!
Place your zipper under the zipper foot and adjust your needle so it's right next to the coil. Don't start stitching at the very end of the pillow piece but start about 1/4" before the mark you made. Backstitch and start sewing the length of the zipper.
Stop stitching just 1/4" past the other side of the mark you made at the other end. Backstitch.
Now repeat that process on the other piece of fabric.
Place your fabric pieces right sides together and pull your zipper in so it's no longer hanging off the end of the pillow pieces. Don't pull it all the way shut. Now you're going to finish stitching the length of the zipper side. Pull your zipper "tail" up and out of the way.
Now dab some glue on the un-sewn corners.
Here are both ends (folded so you can see both). They are glued shut at the corners and the zipper "tails" are out of the way.
Now use your marker to make the sewing line on each end. Draw a straight line from the end and go past the end of the zipper stitch by 1/2".
Move your zipper foot over to the other side, adjust your needle over so it's on your line, and stitch along your line past your zipper stitch. Backstitch.
Now cut the zipper tails off (use cruddy scissors for this).
Cut both ends of the zipper off.
Open your pillow and press your seam. Isn't this lovely?? Once you've pressed this seam you'll need to unzip your zipper about halfway down the length of the pillow (or you won't be about to get your hand inside your pillow to turn it right side out once you've finished stitching all the way around it).
Did you remember to unzip your zipper? Good. Now fold your pillow back together (right sides together). Glue and heat set the edges of the pillow pieces all the way around the perimeter. Keep your edges even and lined up neatly.
Now use a 1/2" seam allowance and stitch all the way around starting at the zipper edge.
Rather than pivoting at the corner, just stitch all the way off the edge (but backstitch at the spot where you would've pivoted). Then start sewing again on the next side (again backstitch at the spot where the two stitches intersect).
Once you're done sewing snip your corners off.
On the corners near the zipper you'll want to trim off a little of the seam allowance on the side too (this will give you sharper corners here).
Start turning it right side out and poke your corners out (you can use a chopstick point or something similar to get a good corner).
Lay your pillow cover flat and press your seams open as much as you can.
Here it is, nice and finished and ready to be stuffed. Nice clean lines, a discreet zipper, and you didn't use one pin the whole time.
Squish your pillow form up and stuff it into your new, beautiful cover. Take care to stuff it into the corners too. Now zip it up. Isn't it pretty? Pat yourself on the back now. Do it.
Now you can enjoy them forever.
Let me know how it works for you!
I've been focusing most of my sewing/decorating focus in my dining room lately. I'm getting desperate to have things finished instead of "in the process". A few more things and I'll call this room done. But covering the chairs was the biggest part of it so it's quite an accomplishment and I'm ready to show it off.
A couple of years ago I was watching Season 3 of Sarah Richardson's show on HGTV and fell in love with the dotted fabric on the kitchen chairs (pictures here). Unfortunately for me, the fabric is over 30.00 a yard. Ouch. When I saw this Birch (like a barkcloth texture) Ikat Dot Nova Grey home dec print from Premier Prints I had a feeling this was just what I was looking for. I bought a yard just to check it out and it's absolutely perfect. It's grey with creamy dots so the overall effect is a perfect "greige". I have more here in my Fabritopia store and it's only 12.99 a yard! Each chair has taken about 1.5 yards so it's been a very reasonable and beautiful solution.
Here's what I started with. I bought 6 of these parsons chairs from a Craigslist add for 65.00 (plus they threw in a table for free which I used as a desk for awhile then got rid of). They are comfortable and the fabric was in good shape so they looked fine with everything but I wanted them to look super fine.
I looked all over for a pattern and ended up purchasing one but I didn't like all the extra pieces (I knew with some pleats and corners it could be simplified and still look smart). I took the process nice and slow with the first one since I knew I needed a good pattern in order for the other 5 to be easy. I used muslin for the pattern pieces and started sewing, seam ripping, and sewing again until the fit was nice. I started with the seat.
I then added the seat back and worked hard to get the pleats at the top corners nice and tight and made sure the seam where the two pieces met was low enough to not pull apart from the pressure of someone sitting but high enough to not look baggy the rest of the time.
When I added the back piece I knew it would need to open up a little in order to slide onto the chair (it's wider at the top than the bottom). The pleat opens about 7 inches from the top so it's not baggy. I wasn't careful to match my dot pattern with this back piece but if fixed that on the other 5 so you can't really see the seam (and this one goes against the wall where nobody can see the back!).
I wanted the skirt to look finished but still be soft looking and these gently flared pleats did the trick. Plus the piping gives it a smart finish. This first one was a little droopy at the front of the seat so I raised the pattern up in that spot for the rest of them. I'm okay with the first chair being less-than-perfect (it took me awhile to get to the place in life!).
I just made a simple, but crisp, bow to pull the pleat together in the back. I considered a button and loop, a frog closure, hidden hook and eye...but finally settled on the bow. I really like it.
So here's my room at this point and I couldn't be happier. It looks like somebody cared enough to take care of the details. I'm shopping for a new light fixture next.
And Joey found these HENRIKSDAL chairs for the end of the table in the AS IS section of IKEA. They were half price and are a close enough match that I don't know if anyone will even notice the difference one they're covered. I'm working on a pattern right now and will be able to make it available to others since these chairs are easier for folks to get.
Have a great week and keep on sewing!!!
This is the latest craze around here. I can't stop making these bulletin boards. They're cheap, easy and so much cuter than plain cork boards. Here's the one above my new ironing station and it's so convenient and handy when I'm filling orders or just need a place to tack a reminder for myself.
Here's all you need to make one (or a dozen) for yourself.
1. A piece of R-Tech 1/2 inch rigid insulation (you can get a small 2ft x 4ft board for only 3.35).
2. Spray adhesive. I like Elmer's Craft Bond.
3. Hot glue gun
4. Deco Nails Picture Hanging Nails (I think I found mine at Home Depot)
5. Cute fabric - enough to cover the board with about 3-4 inch extra on each side. Home dec weight fabric is best for this.
Cut your fabric piece big enough to cover the whole board with at least 3 inches extra on each side. Spray the whole fabric piece (on the wrong side) generously with the spray adhesive. Be sure to have a drop cloth or cardboard around the edges for the over-spray.
Place your insulation board on the fabric with the plain side of the insulation board against the wrong side of the fabric (on the sticky side). Pull the fabric snug while smoothing it against the board.
At the corners cut away the extra fabric (cut out a square basically) and smooth one side snug against the board.
Press the other side against the edge of the board like the picture below.
Then fold it over to the back side and glue the edge in place.
Nice and clean like this. Flip it over and smooth the front so the fabric is snug against the adhesive.
Your done! Wasn't that crazy simple?? Just use your cute Deco Nails to mount it on the wall (use a level to get it straight the first try) and start tacking your stuff to it!
So convenient and pretty too! I've made 7 of these already and my kids are crazy about them because they can pick their own fabric.
Let me know if you try it!
I finally ditched my old ironing board (gave it to one of my kids actually) and replaced it with something infinitely more practical and sturdy. I do a LOT of ironing with my etsy shop, plus packing, shipping, etc so I really needed a stable surface and good storage. I've been wanting to share the process for awhile and I can't find some of the pictures I took along the way but it's not complicated so I'll explain it using the pictures I could still find.
The dresser is the Tarva from IKEA and it was 149.00. My 13 year old son assembled the dresser while I worked on the ironing board part. Meanwhile this guy made a lego world out of the dresser shell.
I lost the pictures of the original top process but all I did was cut a plywood board 48" x 17" (I was lucky enough to find a scrap board in the garage so I didn't have to go buy one). This length left me enough space at the top right hand side for my iron and hangs over the front edge about 1.5 inches so I've got a good, wide work surface.
I bought some quilted ironing board fabric at Joann and stapled it on (see above picture). It worked out great until I accidentally ironed some interfacing on it and it got icky. It was an easy fix though and I just cut some fabric out big enough to wrap around and cover the old stuff and stapled it in place right over the ironing fabric. It's been great (and cuter!).
Here's a look at the corner. I trimmed enough fabric away to decrease the bulk and stapled it like crazy.
Then I told my son he could play with his dad's power tools. He attached the board to the top using some screws that were long enough to reach the new board on top without going through it. I think he used 3 screws and it's been nice and steady since then.
So this is the great ironing/packing station I've been using. It has room for lots of stuff and keeps everything looking so much tidier. Plus I think it's really pretty. I like the wood but if I get tired of it some day I can just paint it.
And here's a look at it with my shelf and bulletin board. Plus cute prints from Pam Kitty Morning! And since we still need a place to iron shirts I just hung the smaller pointy board (tutorial for covering one here) on the wall so it's easy to access and store.
I hope that all makes sense! Let me know if you have any questions. Keep on sewing!