CREATE: Easy Cross Pillowcase

This pillowcase took me about an hour to make from start to finish. Since I have two pillow inserts from Ikea to use, I designed my own pillow cases using navy, mustard yellow, and a patterned Vera Bradley fabric, sent to me by wholeport.com. Here’s my two pattern designs: 
I decided to start with the easy one first. This pattern makes a 20×20 inch pillow case. To all the measurements in the diagram, you’ll need to add half an inch for your seam allowances. So, you’ll need:
  • Four 8.5″x8.5″ pieces (mine are yellow)
  • Two 4.5″x4.5″ pieces (mine are Vera Bradley navy patterned fabric, c/o Wholeport.com)
  • One 4.5″x 20.5″ inch piece (the long piece down the middle)
  • One 20.5″x 21.5 piece for the back. The reason there’s an extra inch on the back is to create a flap for closing the pillow. If you’re using a zipper, you won’t need that extra inch. 

1. Cut out your fabric, and arrange it like it will look when it’s finished. Now, we’re going to sew each row, starting top to bottom on the left.
2. Sew the top left yellow piece to the blue cross piece, right sides together. Then, add the bottom yellow corner piece, sewing right sides together. Left row done!

3. Repeat with the right side, sewing the yellow corner piece to the middle blue cross piece, right sides together, and then add the bottom piece, right sides together. 
4. Place the middle strip on top of the left row: right sides together. Like so: 

Sew them together. Open it up, and it should look like this: 
5. Now, place the right row on top, right sides together. Sew the right side to the middle. 

The front is done!

7. Since I planned to close my pillow with snaps, here’s what I did. I made a small hem at the top of the front piece of the pillowcase, and a small hem at the top of the back. 
8. With right sides together, I sewed around the pillowcase. The back is about an inch longer than the front. The plan is to add snaps eventually, if having it open gets annoying. 

9. Turn it rightside out, and push out the corners. Iron out the wrinkles. 

10. Stuff it with your pillow insert, and you’re done!

Next up is the geometric aztec pillow, consisting of 44 navy two inch squares and 77 yellow two inch squares. Wish me luck!

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Beauty Find Friday: Learn It. Make It!

“I don’t know how.”
“I don’t have time.”
“I’m just not creative.”

When I show people projects I’ve made, like the curtains, slipcover, sweater pillow, and quilt in my living room right now, they often make one or more of the statements above. If you’ve ever said something similar, this is for you: Stop making excuses and learn how to sew already!

We live in a technological age where anything we could possibly want to know is a google search or youtube video away! I watched a dozen youtube videos on how to thread a sewing machine when I first got mine. But it can be even easier than searching online.

Enter Craftsy: the online craft school.

Since Craftsy gives you 24/7 access that never expires, your “no time” excuse is now invalid. You can learn at your own pace, anytime, anywhere. Plus, they’re very affordable: many are even free!

What have you always wanted to make? Knit sweaters? Sew nursery decor? Cake decorating? Quilting? DIY Wedding? There’s probably a Craftsy class for it.

Right now, I’m working my way through watching the free QuiltCon LecturesPerfect Pizza At HomeBag Making Basics, Reversible Tote and Zipper Pouch, and Sewing Machine 911. I’m also enrolled in Tailoring Ready to Wear, which will be an extremely useful class for me since so many ready to wear items just don’t fit me right. It will be a step up from my DIY bridesmaids dress alteration!

On my wishlist: Sewing With KnitsShoot it: Online Product PhotographyCreative Container GardeningFabric Patterning with Wax Resist Class.

I’ve already stepped up my pizza making and been so inspired by Amy Butler’s lecture at QuiltCon. There’s so much more I want to learn! Thankfully, Craftsy has sales almost all the time. If you sign up for their emails, you’ll probably never have to pay full price for a class.

I could go on, but I think the amazingness of Craftsy is clear. Browse the classes and watch a few trailers. And stop making excuses!

Speaking of sales, this week is the big spring sale! Different classes will be on sale every day, April 5th through 8th, with the mother-load of classes going on sale tomorrow!

Craftsy

Creativity is like a muscle, it has to be exercised. Maybe the first projects you complete won’t be as good as someone else’s. Who cares! Start somewhere, and give yourself permission for it not to be perfect the first time.

What craft or skill have you always wanted to learn? What excuses have held you back? Tell me about it in the comments!

Beauty Find Friday: My First Quilt!

Yesterday I finished my first quilt!!!

It’s a lap quilt, and quite small, but it’s been at least five years in the making. Seriously. I started it sometime in high school. I hate unfinished projects, and this one has been hanging over my head since then. And now it’s finally done! It’s perfect for cozying up on the couch while drinking my morning coffee.

I faced several obstacles while finishing this quilt. First, I didn’t have the directions. They are in some book that my mom has, and after five years, I didn’t really remember how it was supposed to go. I did remember that the quilt top was supposed to be tied, but then my quilting extraordinaire friend, Alyssa, convinced me to quilt it. I do like the way quilting looks much better than tying.

She also helped me create the quilt sandwich using spray on adhesive. SO much better than holding it together with pins! The quilting itself wasn’t too hard: just straight lines. But the binding. Oh the binding! I sewed it onto the back, only to realize that I didn’t have enough to go around the entire quilt! I went to Hobby Lobby to try to match it, but of course, sage green isn’t a popular color now, five years later. I thought I’d buy binding in a different color, and then do half in sage green and half in rose. No rose binding either. Then, I decided to buy fabric and cut my own binding. I couldn’t even find matching fabric! So I bought the closest match I could find, which is definitely more spring green than sage.

Cheers!

Thank goodness for youtube. I watched bias binding tutorials a million times, and I still had to redo sewing the strips together. By the time I got to the quilt, I just wanted to be finished. Hence, no close ups of the binding!

So many mistakes in so little space! Oh well. I finished my first quilt! It’s no longer hanging over my head, it’s folded up on the couch. It feels good!

I probably never would have finished this if it wasn’t for Alyssa’s encouragement and help. So if you’re struggling with a project, maybe all you need to finally get check it off your list is some help from a friend. Accountability, inspiration, or just companionship while you’re working on it can do wonders for your motivation!

Have you ever had projects hanging over your head? What did it take for you to finish them?

An Early Christmas Present

The big news first: I got a new sewing machine! 
I’m sad to say goodbye to my old Baby Lock machine, I’ll miss it’s rattling and rumbling and sounding like it’s about to explode….a little bit. But, it decided it was done sewing forever last week, when Brian tried to use it. Every once in a while Brian gets the urge to sew. In the past, he made a cushioned armrest for the Durango. This time, he wanted to make something for the car. He planned to replace the leather around the emergency brake and shifter with custom black and red leather. 
When he went to sew the pieces together, the machine wouldn’t go. In true engineer fashion, he proceeded to troubleshoot it, including taking it completely apart, for the next two days. Finally, he gave up. Luckily for us, that day happened to be Black Friday. So, we bought the Singer Promise 1409 for $60. 
Although it’s probably the most basic machine Singer sells, it had no problem sewing through leather. 
Didn’t he do a great job? I’m so proud!

In other news, how was your Thanksgiving? We kind of had an early Thanksgiving, because my sister, brother-in-law, and niece came to visit us the week before!

I didn’t have to work, and Brian’s boss let him take off half the day! We had a relaxing morning, and then went to our favorite restaurant, Joe’s Farm Grill.

We also took them to our friend’s farm, where my niece got to pet the goats, lead a miniature pony on a leash, and gather eggs. We had a great time with them, but I wish they could have stayed longer! 

Ok. I need your input. Remember my fall bucket list? Well, I need help coming up with a winter bucket list. Because Brian and I are not flying home this year, we need to keep occupied so that we don’t get homesick. Also, we need a bucket list because this is how we’ve been spending the rare free nights when I don’t work and we don’t have a church activity:

That was last night, at 7 pm. He slept until 11 pm, and then woke up just long enough to move to the bed. 
It’s finally nice and cool outside, and I want to take advantage of this weather while we can. Surely there are fun wintery activities we could do to start our own family traditions. I need your ideas! 
What are your family traditions? What could Brian and I do to keep busy and have fun while we’re away from family this year, besides going to bed at 7 pm? PLEASE share some ideas in the comments!

How to Make A Couch Slipcover From Sheets

Before

When some friends offered us a free couch, I hesitated before accepting it. We’d had free couches before, and I hoped that this time we could get ourselves a new couch, one I’d had my eye on for some time.
I liked the classic lines of the Ikea couches, and I also liked the gray, since it would work as a nice neutral with our black furniture.
In the end, we couldn’t afford a new couch, so we took the free one, in all of it’s plaid glory.
In it’s defense, it’s very comfortable, and has been well taken care of. So, I decided to attempt a daring project: slipcovering. Slipcovers cost anywhere from $50-100, and I wanted to make mine for considerably less. Here’s what you’ll need:

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What I’m Crafting: Current Projects

My slipcovered couch tutorial will have to wait for later this week, but in the meantime, here’s some other projects I’ve been working on: 

It’s not perfect, but I’m supremely happy with how this turned out! It sits on my desk now, but eventually I’m going to hang it on the wall above my desk.

Here’s the couch, halfway done:

I finished it this afternoon, and I can’t wait to show you!

Wedding invites! I would like to sell customizable wedding invites on Etsy. Here’s a little preview of some of the designs I’d offer. 

Also, last weekend I went to a fabric and sewing store outlet. It was insane and overwhelming, but I made out like a bandit! I should have all the fabric I need for my upcoming pillow projects, more embroidery, and Christmas gifts.

And, I also made out like a bandit at my new favorite thrift store: Savers. Here’s a practical way I’m continuing my commitment to ethical fashion: I needed some red shirts and tan pants for my new seasonal job at Target. My first instict – go to Walmart and buy some $5 red tees and $10 pants. But instead, I went to Savers and Goodwill, and scored a pair of brand new, with tags, Banana Republic pants, a pair of Gap pants, a Ralph Lauren red sweater, and two red tees for under $30. That also included a DVD rack and a beautiful plaid shirt I wore in our Christmas pictures. I wanted more than two tees, and I couldn’t find any more that I liked at the thrift stores. I wouldn’t have time to order them from an ethical company online, and it would be difficult to find a plain red tee. So, instead of buying the Walmart brand tees that have a Free2Work grade of F-, I bought some at Old Navy, which has a Free2Work grade of B.

Now comes the hard part; since I’ve added these items to my closet, I also have to get rid of some. I switched the plaid shirt for one I barely ever wear. The work clothes, however, I’m considering keeping until this job ends, and then selling them all on eBay, or donating them back.

Well, I’m off to eat a quick dinner and head to Target for my first day of work!

I’d love to know, what projects are you working on?

Tutorial: Altering a Bridesmaid Dress By Yourself

I know from personal experience that bridesmaid dresses can be a big headache for the bride … like when they don’t fit and a new dress must be procured right before the wedding. So since this was already bridesmaid dress #2, I was determined to make it work. Especially since the store that sells this dress isn’t located in the state of Arizona, and by the time my friend had purchased one for me in Iowa, changed the belt from blue to yellow, and mailed it to me, the season for them was past, and they weren’t in stores anywhere.

In the end, I ended up shortening the straps by an inch each, and taking it in an inch on each side. Here’s how I did it step by step, in case you have a dress in your closet in need of shrinkage:

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Tutorial: Button Daisy Headband

Because my BFF’s upcoming wedding flower is a daisy and the colors are yellow, black and white, I was inspired to make myself this button daisy headband. It might be too casual or the wedding, but it will be cute for the bachelorette party or rehearsal dinner! Here’s how you can easily make one for yourself:
1. Cut six pieces of ribbon, 2 inches long each. 
2. Fold each piece in half and sew the ends together to make a loop. Now you have six petals. 
3. Sew the petals together, starting with two or three, and adding each petal at an angle to great a flower shape.
4. Sew a yellow button in the center. 
5. Attach the flower to an elastic headband by sewing under the button, carrying the thread over the elastic, and going back up under the button. Secure with a knot. I don’t recommend trying to sew through the elastic, it’s really hard to get a needle through, and I think it ruins the elastic. Plus, this way you can snip the threads on the back if you ever want to replace the daisy with something else!
6. Voila!
All that remains is deciding how to wear it, normally, or hipster style:
Me looking normal, and my hipster face. Yeah, I’m cool like that.

This headband is super quick (less than an hour) and easy to make, so it’s a great project for someone just beginning to sew. I think it would also be really cute for a baby or little girl’s headband. Hm, maybe  for the flowergirls? I might run that past the bride. 

I’ve also been making ribbon flowers like this one: 
If the daisy is level super easy, this is level extremely difficult. But, for those of you adventurous stitchers, I’m working on a tutorial. 
In other news, TODAY I’m officially accepting blog sponsors! Yay!
Honestly, I’ve been wrestling with when to start offering sponsorship opportunities for some time, and here’s why. Scribbles is a relatively small blog in terms of followers, although I do get a lot of traffic. You could buy an ad on a bigger blog for the same price. I know that. 
BUT. I really, really, really want this blog to make a difference. There are many, many wonderful charities, organizations, and non-profits I so want to support financially, but it’s a sacrifice to support the ones Brian and I are already committed to (it’s totally worth it :)).
Plus, I want to use this blog to motivate others to make a difference. That’s why I’ve decided to seek blog sponsors; 20% of each ad bought will be donated to a wonderful cause, starting with Food For the Hungry. I’ve written about them before here. In the future, I’d like to support Compassion International, and Love 146
If you are interested in an ad for your blog, business, or non-profit, you’ll find out all you need to know on the shiny new Sponsor page, and if you have any questions, email me! (ejconley(at)hotmail(dot)com. 
Happy Monday!

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Making Monday Marvelous

My Thrifty Dress Re-Make

I’m famous! Well, at least, I feel like it!

Saturday, the lovely Marisa from New Dress A Day featured my dress re-model. I took it from this $5 Goodwill dress:

To this summery frock:

Check out the full post for how I did it, and while you’re there, check out all of Marisa’s amazing creations! With $365, she creates 365 outfits. You’ll love her thrifty finds and her sense of humor!

Hmm, this might just be the perfect dress to wear to a Memorial Day barbecue this evening! Brian and I  are planning to spend the evening with some friends of ours, so the guys can talk and we ladies can scrapbook.

While I’m all for enjoying the day off, remember that Memorial Day is more than sales and good food. Take time today to thank those who have served, remember those that have given their lives, and pray for those who are in harms way.

pleated poppy