How to Make Zippered Pillow Covers

Navy, gray, and gold... with pops of teal. I've been planning our master bedroom in my head for months now. A few weeks ago I posted the duvet cover I bought in a post-Christmas stupor from Urban Outfitters on Instagram. Did you know they sell house stuff? I didn't until recently and find it way better than their, ahem, clothes. Anyway, it's navy and on backorder until February (booooo!). So, while I patiently wait for the thing, I decided to recover the two pillows that have been on our bed forever so they'd jive if it ever arrives. That's a lie... they're only on the bed when we make the bed which is like 4 times a month. It's really like, the pillows that are always on the floor in the corner.

Here's what they looked like before. Brown with white waves on one side and white with brown waves on the other. Totally not good with my soon-to-be navy loveliness.

They first made an appearance way back in one of my first blog posts when I made our duvet cover in our old house. Aww, memories (and bad photography). Very beige and brown.

Time for a change! Let's get started. Follow along and make your own.

Step 1:
Figure out what size your pillows will be. 
I took the old covers off the old pillows and measured. Super easy. They were 26" square so I added a couple inches for seams and mess-ups and cut my fabric 28" square.  To make two pillows you'll need 4 squares of fabric (2 fronts and 2 backs).

I chose a bright blue and green ikat for the fronts and leftover fabric from the curtains I made for our bedroom on the back. This way I can flip them over if I get tired of one side.

Step 2(ish):
Iron your squares. 
You could probably do this later or you might not need to do it at all if your fabric isn't wrinkly but mine was pretty bad so I pressed 'em a bit.

Step 3:
Figure out where your zipper is going to go. 
This is what the zipper looks like in the package. Pick one that's about 4" to 6" smaller than the width of your pillow. This is a 22" zipper for a 26" pillow.

Here's what the zipper looks like when you open it up.

The zipper goes at the bottom of the pillow. So, put your two squares of fabric together, right sides together. If your fabric has a pattern, make sure you've got it going the direction you want it to go. Then lay your zipper on top of the two squares of fabric, at the bottom of the pillow, a couple inches from the edge. Like this. Center the zipper between the two sides.

We're not attaching the zipper yet, we're just using it to measure right now. Place a pin just inside the metal stops on both sides of the zipper. Don't pin the zipper yet, just the two layers of fabric.

Here's the other side. Pin placed just inside the metal stop.

Step 4:
Sew the little space outside of the pins.
My seam allowance is 1 inch so I sewed from the pin toward the edge of the fabric, 1" in from the edge. Like this. Backstitch at the start and stop of this little seam so it stays put.

Do the other side the exact same way.

Step 5:
Sew the space between the pins. 
We just did the little space outside of the pins (I marked the pins in pink), now you're going to connect those two seams. This time however, increase the stitch length all the way on your machine and don't backstitch. We want this seam to come out easily. (Just pretend that line is really straight.) When you're done with this, remember to put your stitch length back to normal for the rest of the project.

Step 6:
Press that seam open.
Now that the bottom of your pillow is sewn together, press that seam open flat. Like this.

Step 7:
Attach the zipper (with pins)
Now, with the pillow squares still laying open flat, place the zipper right on top of that seam you just pressed open. The zipper should be face down. Like this.

Make sure it's in the center and pin it in place.

Step 8:
Sew the zipper! 
To do this you'll need a zipper foot. This is what mine looks like. It's skinny. Like half the size of the other foots.

A zipper foot has two sides. A left and right. If you're sewing on the left side of the zipper (like I am in this picture) the foot is over to the left. That way the needle comes down on the right side of the foot so you can sew right up next to the zipper. Like this.

Just sew all the way down one side ending at the zipper pull. Not gonna lie, this is the tricky part. Once you get here, you're going to run into the pull. To get it out of the way, take whatever pins that are in the way out, raise your presser foot (keep the needle down), and shimmy the zipper pull back behind the needle.

I used the end of a small paint brush to shove it back since my giant man-fingers would't fit. Once you get it behind the needle, continue sewing to the end. Remember to backstitch to keep everything together.

Now swap your foot over (this takes a second... check your manual, it should pop right on and off really easily) and sew the other side of the zipper. In this case I'm sewing down the right so my foot is moved over to the right so the needle comes down close to the right side of the zipper teeth.

Step 9:
Pick open your zipper.
Grab your seam ripper and pick open the loose basting stitch we added between the the pins earlier. It should come out really quickly and your zipper will appear as if by magic. Notice my not-so-stellar sewing job there. Whatevs! It doesn't have to be perfect to work! :)

Step 10:
Sew up the other 3 sides.
Before you do this, open the zipper! If you don't, you won't be able to flip your pillow right side out. (Been there, done that) Well, you might be able to shimmy the zipper open but it won't be easy. Trust me. You're totally almost done! Once the remaining three sides are sewn up as normal, clip the corners diagonally (so there's not a ton of fabric jammed up in the corners preventing a nice crisp edge). Then, flip the whole thing right side out and YOU'RE DONE!

Now stuff those old cruddy pillows inside and admire your zipper handiwork. :)

I just love that they look so much more fresh and cheery than the brown ones did. If you're wondering, I took these pictures in the guest room since the master bedroom's light sucks and the new duvet is still in internet backorder land.

New pillow front.

New pillow back.

So instead of buying whole new pillows or paying some store too much for their covers, I hope you'll try to make your own! Let me know how it goes and I'll let you know if my duvet ever arrives. :)


10 Things You Didn't Know About Me (or maybe you did)

It's a new year! Time for resolutions and fresh starts and new running shoes because you are going to stick with it this year. Time to get those Pinterest projects done and clear out the clutter. Time to eat better, spend more time "unplugged", and save money. Time to plan that great vacation (finally), do more for me, and have more date nights. Try some new recipes, curb the road rage, and read? I may have a couple or 5 of those things on my list starting this January. (Already bought the running shoes but I can't guarantee I'll find the time to read). Can I read while I run? Hmmm. Might help the road rage.

Included in that fresh start umbrella is the blog. I'm going to try some new things and let you know a little more about me. I'm funny (I think) or at least I have a good sense of humor and I'm funny looking. I think that counts. Anyway. Rather than list out my resolutions for this year (75% of which I know will probably drop off sometime around February when the Valentine's Day candy starts rolling in) I figured I'd start by giving you a top 10 about me. At least then you'll know if you like me or not. Don't worry, I'm sure you'll be in love by #6 and if not, have a beer or two and read them again. 

Here we go.

#1.  I'm 33. I got married at 25. Had my first baby at 26 and my second at 28. This factory has been closed for 5 years now. It will not be reopening unless I fall into that .01% that magically override surgical procedures. And I never win anything (money or embryos included) so I don't see that happening.

#2.  I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis a few years ago. Google that, the pics should be fun. Because of that, I dabble somewhere between the Paleo Diet and gluten free most of the time. So far, I haven't been able to kick the meds but that's my goal. Figuring out my "trigger-free" diet is going to take time. My love of dark chocolate and half and half in my coffee is making it a little difficult.

#3.  I have big feet. Size 10. When I try on shoes they look nothing like the size 6 they have as the floor model shoe. I buy a lot of shoes based on how small they make my feet look. Bowling ally shoe guys and skating rink skate attendants judge. I know they do. I'm on to you shoe rental people.

#4.  I don't get grossed out or offended easily. Poop jokes, excessive gas, raunchy comments... usually all comedy gold.  I've cleaned up every bodily fluid children can produce without gagging  (sometimes in amazingly large volumes for such a tiny body).  However, sticking my hand in the garbage disposal to remove something jammed up is where I draw the line. That grosses me out just typing it. 

#5.  I have no tattoos but several holes/scars where piercings of my late teens used to be.

#6.  I love thrift stores and Goodwill but have started to realize not everyone else shares my affinity. After my 4th or 5th semi-grossed out wide eye stare from a stranger, who complimented something I was wearing or one of my kids was wearing and I proudly announced "I got that at Goodwill for a buck!", I've stopped announcing it. I just say thank you and keep it to myself that I'm a smarter shopper than they are. :)

#7.  I can move my eyes independently of one another. I thought all people could do this until I did it one day and freaked some people out. It gives me a slight headache but hey, anything to entertain a crowd.

#8.  I get motion sickness ALL THE TIME. On a boat, in a car, landing in a plane (my palms just got sweaty on that one), at amusement parks, on a playground swing. If it spins, forget it. I probably can't even watch. I blame my 5th grade field trip to Kennedy Space Center on this. I was chosen to do "the spinning chair" and I think I almost died. Thanks space camp.

#9.  I don't have a favorite color. How could anyone just pick one? There are different colors for different things, no one is good for being my favorite for all. 

#10.  I've visited somewhere around 15 countries (some of Europe post-college is a fog and I'm too lazy to get out a map and count accurately right now) and I can't wait to visit more with my kids... as soon as they are old enough to realize we are in another country and what a country is... and how much that gelato is costing. Until then, day trips to Disney, the park, and our backyard are good.



Printable Lunch Box Notes

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BIC®. All opinions are 100% mine.

It's officially crazy holiday season around here. Just this week we have three holiday-related school events, a couple doctor's appointments, a 5-year-old's cowboytastic birthday party (why did I have a kid in Decemeber again?), a work Christmas party, and all the other regular hustle and bustle that Christmas brings. I've been yelling the words "hurry" and "c'mon" more than I'd like to admit. (Yep, that mom.) So when things get this busy, it's easy to forget the little things that really matter.

To celebrate this month of #BICMerryMarking, they created a downloadable booklet full of colorful, inspirational ideas for you and your family. From simple thank you notes to personalized gift tags to colorful pay-it-forward ideas, BIC's Merry Marking shares oodles of bright creations. Simple ideas that mean a lot when you're short on time but want to show others you care. Pretty much exactly how I've been feeling towrds the fam lately. 

BIC Mark-it™ permanent markerkers come in lots of bring colors plus metallics. Shiny! One idea that stood out to me as little way to show the kids I'm thinking about them, was lunch box notes. While she'd never admit it, whenever I have left a note in my daughter's lunch box, I find it several days later stuffed in her back pack. Awwww. So cute. (side note: that reaction is probably why she never tells me this kind of thing) 

I designed a few coloring-book-style notes this time and printed them out to color by hand.
Click here to download the free printable lunch box notes.

This time I used only #SummerMelon (sounds delish, doesn't it?) to color their notes, like the Merry Marking pages showed. I think it might be neat to choose a different color each time I try one of the ideas.

I backed each note with some colorful scraps of paper and tied a small ribbon in the corner.

So simple yet meaningful when days get rushed. Click here to get the booklet of merry marking and a coupon to start marking. What ideas will you be inspired to try? I'd like to nominate friends, coworkers, bosses, moms, students, and teachers to try some Merry Marking this month. You never know who's day you're making bright.
Visit Sponsor's Site


Free Motion Quilting Video Tutorial

So something like a hundred years ago I made my first quilt. Not really, it was more like 3 years ago, but same thing. I really didn't know what I was doing but thought hey, if other people can figure it out, so can I (that could really be my life motto). So I Googled a bit, read some blogs, bought some fabric, and went at it. The result was a crib-sized actual quilt for my nephew Levi. And while a few negative Nancys told me I didn't know what I was doing and that if I wasn't going to do it "right" why bother (so sweet, really), the majority of people "got it" and were excited to see a first timer get off her bum and just try. Yay you second group of people I mentioned!
Click here to read that whole lovely tutorial and maybe make your own quilt (and browse the comments to see if you can find any ridiculous ones). You can do it, I promise! 

Then like another million years later, I made my second quilt. This one was a bit larger and for myself. If you're wondering, it came out equally as amazeballs. (Amazeballs means it's a functioning blanket looking pretty much like I envisioned it looking without causing hives or rashes to its user.) Click here to see that masterpiece. One day I'll take it out of the drawer in the guest room.

In both posts I tried to describe what I was doing assuming the person I was talking to had very little sewing knowledge. Because let's face it, I had very little sewing knowledge while doing it. ha. The only thing is, even though my picture taking and descriptive skills were, ahem, incredibly stellar, like I'm headed for HGTV right now, I didn't take any video.... UNTIL NOW!

Drum roll.  Without further, incredibly informative and yet entertaining rambling, I have a video to show you which explains the whole free motion or meandering quilting technique I used. So sit back, grab your latte, and enjoy my real life self, slight lisp and all!


Make a Bed Skirt Using an Old Bed Skirt

Ta-dah!  I think the guest room is officially almost finished now that we are moving out in less than a year :) I say almost because the metal headboard I got off of someone's garbage (keeping it classy) is still just leaning against the wall behind the bed, not painted like I'm planning. I have a vision of a bright yellow metal headboard against a charcoal colored wall but since we are renting the charcoal wall is going to have to wait. And let's face it, the yellow headboard just isn't going to look the same against slightly dirty primer walls. But I'm getting off track. I finished the bed skirt!

This is one of those projects that actually turned out just like I was envisioning. Don't you love when that happens? I used the old mustardy bedskirt that we inherited with the bed, and sewed my new fabric right to it. Really, a pretty simple project. Not sure why it took me so long to get my butt in gear.

Basically, I made 3 panels of my new fabric. I hemmed them on 3 sides. You will be sewing one of the long sides to the old bed skirt so no need to hem that side. Measure the panels on the old bed skirt to see what size to make them. I ignored the pleats the old skirt had and just made straight panels. Remember to account for seam allowance on all sides. (The side you don't hem will still need a seem allowance since you need some room to attach it to the old bed skirt) 

Then, to attach my new panels to the old bed skirt I laid the bed skirt on top of the bed. (See my garbage headboard poking out there?)

Then I placed my new panels, wrong sides up on top of that and pinned along the seams on the edge. This way when you flip the panel down over the side of the bed, it covers the old skirt and you see the right side of the new fabric. I drew a little picture to help illustrate that...

Once it's all pinned, sew 3 straight lines along your pins and you're done. It's a lot of fabric to shove under your machine but not impossible.

And now it's done and less mustardy!
I just love the modern feel it gives the bed now and the extra layer of pattern and texture it provides.
Now I just need some guests. Who wants to come over?! I make some mean pancakes on the weekends.