Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Make Your Own Enveloped Back Pillow - Tutorial

 Since the seasons are changing it is the perfect time to punch up your decor!  The "right" pillows can take a nothing room to fresh and fabulous within minutes.  Making your own throw pillows is super easy!  If you have access to a sewing machine and can sew a straight line then you are in business. 

 Step 1:

Pick fabrics that make you smile!

 Step 2:

This is the trickiest step (at least for me) because it involves math.  Measure your pillow that you are covering.  It can be a new pillow form or an existing one that your are recovering.  Measure from seam to seam and write it down.  Okay.  Now add 1" to the vertical measurement and 6" to the horizontal measurement for the back.  For the front piece add 1" to the vertical and horizontal measurement.  So if your pillow is 20" x 20" your back piece will be 21" x 26" and your front piece will be 21" x 21"

Got that?

Step 3:

Cut out your two pieces.  You can have both sides out of the same fabric or you can get creative and make them different.  There is no right or wrong way to mix fabrics!

Step 4:

Okay.  Now take your back piece and lay it in front of you.  Fold it in half horizontally and cut it straight down the middle.  Now you have two back pieces.

Step 5:

Take one side and fold over the edge 1/4" and iron and then fold it over again and iron.  You are making a hemmed edge and pin it with straight pins.  Stick your straight pins in horizontally so that they are easy to pull out as you sew.  Now repeat this step with the other back piece.

Step 6:

Machine sew a straight line along the edge of your hem.  Repeat this step on the other back piece.

 Step 7:

  Lay out your front piece of fabric face up on the table.  Make a mark on your fabric with chalk on the wrong side of your fabric if you have a damask fabric (like me) that is similar on both sides so that you know which side is the back.  Now lay the 2 back pieces on top of the front piece with the right side of the fabric facing down.  Over lap the back pieces.

Step 8:

Pin around the edge of the pillow and then sew around the entire edge.

 Step 9:

Once you have sewn around the entire edge pull out your pins. and snip off your corners.

Snip off the corners for sharper corners when you turn the pillow right side out.
 Step 10:

Turn your new pillow cover right side out and stuff the pillow form inside the cover.  And you are done!

Now wasn't that easy????

 Make another one!  Get creative...
 Make a statement!
I guarantee your pillow will be one-of-a-kind!

 So give your room some fresh new spring panache!
*You can even follow this same process with an iron and no-sew hem tape!

*The secret to success in creating a lovely pillow is using a high quality pillow form.  I am totally sold on pillow fills that are made from a mixture of feathers and down.  If you have a quality fill then you can get away with a lower quality of fabric.  I have found that if you make a pillow out of top of the line fabric it can look scrawny and shapeless if you use a lower quality fill.  So if you have to scrimp someplace do it with the fabric and not the fill.

Good luck!

Suzuki Violin (The Saga)

 Luke has been preparing for his "end of the year" violin concert.  Some of his violin playing has been adorable...and some not.  When he first got his violin he wanted to take it everywhere and show (and tell) everyone about all of the parts of the violin.  He is 4.  Not everyone wants to hear about all of the parts of the violin from a 4 year old although it IS amusing at times!  We have had our fair share of frustrating days but I do believe that he has learned something.  Luke has learned a lot of things in fact, considering he is 4 and he has only had a violin in his possession for 2 months!

He started his lessons in January.  You might think that I am crazy doing this with him with 4 week old Bevin tagging along?  I would agree, but I HAD to follow through with a commitment that I had started back in September.  You see, the whole premise of the Suzuki Method is that is that all people are capable of learning from their environment.  Which means that in order to learn the violin, it must be a part of our normal environment.  (Which it has not been.  Neither I or my husband have played the violin or currently play any musical instrument regularly for that matter)  So I learned how to play the violin first!  I was scared and when I found out that in order FOR ME to graduate I had to learn to play 6 variations of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on a full sized violin.  Who?  Big 'ole pregnant me?  Yes.  And I did it!  In fact, I finished my class and played my "recital" a little over a week before giving birth.  I was large and I KNOW I looked ridiculous but I did it and now I can play the violin.  It was way easier than I imagined and I learned the same way that Luke is now learning.

 So 2 times a week Luke has violin lessons.  Early in the week he meets in a Beginner Theory class with two other little girls his age and after that he has group lesson.  I participate in the group lesson with him.  All the moms do.  We play games and learn about the violin in a group setting.  Then later in the week he has a private lesson for 15 minutes!  It is not long but he is 4 and his attention span is quite limited so 15 minutes is the perfect amount of time.  Actually sometimes it is too long and other times too short.  Maybe a week after getting his violin he had his first "Play-in" which is a concert in the sanctuary with all of the big kids.  A big part of the Suzuki Method is about performance presentation and performing in a group.  He has discovered that he really likes to perform on stage with the big kids!

 He still has a long way to go and much to learn but he already knows something...and isn't that better than nothing???
Luke in "rest position" with his teacher.
 Part of his learning process is practicing the "bowing" in the air.  It is a very peaceful and silent way to learn:)

Luke with his best "bow hold"
 Before Luke even had a violin he would tell me that he already knew how to play.  I suppose that is partially true.  He first learned to clap the rhythms, then he learned to bow the rhythms with a stick and sponge (practice violin), and now finally he has them down on the real violin.  

It has been fun watching all of these kids progress!  We used to observe the little boy behind Luke in his lesson back in September when I was learning to play.  Part of the learning process is observation.
 Luke has his first real concert this Sunday!  He is pretty excited to be on stage with the big kids and gets to play along with 4 songs and practice bowing in the air for 3 songs.  I am impressed because we actually went to watch this end of the year concert last year and he didn't even want to go into the sanctuary.  We sat in the very back row and I practically had to pin him down to sit still.  A year later he is up on stage performing!

Pretty good form I would say for 4?!

Easter Egg Hunting

 Our egg hunt this year was at the neighbors house!  We have neighbors that live across the street that are a family of 5 just like us!  Well, not JUST like us.  We have 2 boys and a girl and they have 2 girls and a boy.  Luke has been learning about all the joys that come along with having a neighbor friend!  It has been TOTALLY fun to watch as a mom.  I love to listen to their conversations and play!  It brings me a lot of joy to see them having fun together. 

The line-up

The moms hid the eggs and the dads took pictures!

Micah had a blast!

Luke was frantically trying to get the most eggs!

Our neighbors live right on the water.

Goose nest

The loot.

Bunnies must like candy?

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