House: DIY namesake pillow

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My daughter has a common/uncommon name and it’s a rare day when her name appears on any souvenirs worth bringing home. A Betty spoon rest is pretty easy to find, but anything an eleven-year-old would actually want not so much. So while she was away at camp (a.k.a. the greatest place on earth) I made her this little pillow for her newly designed bedroom. I followed the cottage magpie tutorial that I use for all my cushions. This pillow is a “small boudoir” (oh la la) size (12×16 “). Here are the steps to make your own namesake pillow.

Materials: About half a yard of main fabric (I used yarn dyed Essex) and a small piece of a printed fabric. About half a yard of unbleached muslin. Embroidery thread. Pillow insert. Fun button.

1. Front panel. Cut one piece of the printed fabric 17 x 5.5″ and one piece of your main fabric 17 x 8.5″. Sew the two pieces together along the long edge using a quarter inch seam. Press the seam toward your main fabric.

2. Use a washable marker to draw your design. I made a straight line one inch above the seam and then scripted betty on the line about two-thirds along the line.

3. Embroider the design using a back stitch.

4. Cut your muslin lining and back panels. Cut the front muslin lining 13 x 17″. Cut two pieces of your main fabric 11 x 13″ and two muslin pieces of the same measure.

5. Place your back panel and lining right sides together and stitch along the 13″ edge using a half inch seam. Turn right side out and press the seam. Pin then tack around the three other sides. Tacking the lining to the fabric makes assembling the cushion much easier.

6. Make a button hole in the center of one back panel half an inch below the seam.

7. Pin then tack the muslin to the main panel (wrong sides together)  one quarter inch from the edge.

8. Next put your pieces together as follows: Front panel right side up; back panel with buttonhole wrong side up; back panel without buttonhole wrong side up, overlapping the other back panel .

9. Align all the edges, pin, and stitch together using a half inch seam.

10. Trim the corners then over stitch around the edge to prevent fraying.

11. Turn the pillow cover right side out and poke out the corners.

12. Sew on your button and put the insert inside the cover.

13. Step back and enjoy your handiwork.

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House: Painted Adirondack Chairs!

Does the chair mirror the sky, or the other way around? Either way, Benjamin Moore’s Blue Lapis is a delicious, summer hue. According to the company’s website, it’s the color “favored by Cleopatra.” Have I mentioned that I’d love a career as a color copywriter?

I painted two unfinished Adirondacks in blue lapis to add to our chair collection up at the lake. The others are painted in Orange Juice, Tequila Lime and Pink Raspberry. (We weren’t aiming for subtle.) After priming, I used less than a quart (plenty for two chairs) of exterior latex paint in semi-gloss.  And then I painted a matching tiny version (photo on upper left) that I found at my craft store!

DIY: Easy color block coasters – free pattern!

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Just in time for ice cold drinks, these nifty linen and cotton coasters are ready to get to work catching drips (and adding some springtime color to your table.) Better yet, a set of these would make a lovely Mother’s Day gift. You can make a set of six in about an hour and your materials will cost $10 at most (or nothing if you are a hoarder of scraps like me).

Materials to make six 4″ x 4″ coasters

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Approximately 1/4 yard linen (I prefer Essex yarn dyed — the color shown above is flax)

Three 5″ squares of solid quilting cotton. (I used three colors of Robert Kaufman Kona cotton: Salmon, Aqua, and Fog.)

Piece of cotton batting (approximately 10″ x 15″)

Cotton thread

Five Easy Steps

1. For the backs, cut six 4.5″ squares from the linen. For the fronts, cut three 5″ squares of linen and three 5″ squares of quilting cotton. Cut six 4.5″ squares of batting.

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2. Cut each of your front squares in half on the diagonal. Pin each linen triangle to a color triangle then stitch a 1/4″ seam along the diagonal. Back stitch at the start and end of each seam. Press the seams open.

3. Trim your finished fronts so they are exactly 4.5 ” squares. (If your squares are perfect, give yourself a pat on the back and just trim away those little points.) Be sure to trim so your diagonal line stays neatly centered.

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4. Make a sandwich as follows: 1) back (right side up, if your fabric has a right side), 2) front (wrong side up), 3) batting. Carefully align the squares and pin. Starting an inch away from one corner, stitch (batting side up) around the edge with a 1/4″ seam. Leave a 2″ gap on one side.

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5. Trim the corners and then turn your coaster right side out. When you are turning inside out, keep the front and the batting together. Poke out the corners to a neat point with a knitting needle or a chopstick. Turn under the raw edges of the gap so they align with the seamed edges and press. Pin the gap closed and then edge stitch around each triangle (back stitch in place at the start and end of each triangle).

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Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each coaster. Now you have a pretty set of coasters to gift or keep!

 

Quilt block blocks–part 2

 

 

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I got a little obsessed with painting blocks. In fact, I want to paint some more! I like this batch better than my first attempt. I used fewer colors and repeated the same pattern on all sides. I also used 2-inch solid maple wood blocks that I ordered from Etsy (snuggly monkey!), and they have a satisfying density. I think another type of paint might work better than the acrylic craft paint–maybe oil paint? But, imperfections aside, it was a super enjoyable activity. Even my daughter wanted to make a block. She normally has very little patience for crafts but declared painting blocks surprisingly fun and not as weird as it seemed. Success!

–Brigit

DIY: VW Bus Pillow, Part 1

After many pleasant minutes ogling fabric online for Zeke’s VW bus pillow, I ended up with a print I grabbed at whim at Gather Here (370 Broadway, Cambridge). The print is geometric & groovy, flower-like without actually being flowery. But I only found a wee scrap–a fat quarter! I don’t care. I’m forging on.

I considered using linen for the VW bus print, but fabric paint is tricky stuff, and I wasn’t sure how it would sit on linen’s bumpy texture. Instead, I went for Kona natural cotton and neon orange fabric paint.

Is it boastful to say that I found my VW bus stencil from a couple of years ago helpful? I printed it out and cut the freezer paper stencil following my own instructions (you are being kind and optimistic if you think I could have retained this information unaided). I will post the complete pattern for the pillow when I’m done (for future me!).