15 December 2010

oh, you fancy, huh? (an easy how-to for custom pillows)

my most recent "creations"

pillows are a great way to punch up a space with color, pattern, texture (and shine - OOH, SHINY!). they are also super easy, even if you don't know how to sew.

grab someone who has a machine and ask them (nicely - don't be so bossy, fancy!) to set it up and show you how to sew a straight line and you'll have a new pillow in no time!

here's what you need:

- a sewing machine
- fabric. 1 yard will do for most of you. throw pillows at 16x16 are pretty standard.
- thread to match your fabric
- pins
- pillow insert (i like west elm's feather/ down versions, but any poly version would work well too)
and here's your how-to...
1. measure your pillow. in this example, mine is 16"x16".

2. cut your fabric with a width equal to the shorter pillow dimension (in this case it does not matter since width and length are the same). cut the length to 2x the length of your pillow + 4 inches.

in my case, the fabric i need is 16"x36".
3. with the backside of the fabric facing up, fold over one inch on each edge of the fabric's length. pin and sew. your fabric will now be 2 inches shorter in length.
4. now, with the backside of the fabric still facing out, fold your fabric into a little envelope.

the length should be 1 inch smaller than the length of your pillow - in this case 15".

the width will remain the same as those sides remain "unfinished".

pin the unfinished sides and sew 1/2-inch in from each. this will give you a finished size 1 inch smaller than your pillow in each measured dimension.
5. turn your pillow cover finished side out and insert your pillow form. your pillow should be nice and full because the cover is just a tad tight.

now sit back and enjoy your handiwork!

maybe you even have time to make some festive pillows for the holidays. throw 'em on the sofa for a refresher before the family arrives, toss a couple on the guest bed for an update, or make one for your room to FANCY it up!

13 December 2010

curtain call redux! (10 easy steps to silk curtains)

new sparkly curtains for the dining room (please, as usual, excuse the mess!)

well, my dears, i am finally making some headway in the dining room - it's beginning to look like a place where i might ACTUALLY entertain.
in an effort to lively up the place, i made another set of silk curtains this weekend. they turned out fab so i thought i'd share the instructions again. they are very easy and very inexpensive compared to ready-made panels (and even more so if you'd have to have them custom made like i would for my monster windows).
so, without further ado, here you go...


i don't want to show you TOO much of my bedroom and ruin the surprise (i'm still waiting on my bedding and my AMAZING chandelier), but i thought some of you might find this quick tutorial helpful.

one of the best ways to create a bit of drama in a room, and to give it some added height and "dimension", is to add some great window treatments. i, personally, have a fondness for silk dupioni curtains - but i find the price for ready-made prohibitive. i mean, like, FAINT-WORTHY prohibitive.

because i am blessed with a bedroom that has 12-foot ceilings and 4 very tall windows, the ones i browsed at pottery barn (the tallest they've got) were $179 PER PANEL. multiply by 4 and throw in the rods and clips and liners and i just about had a HEART ATTACK. (plus, i'll be honest, i just don't like shopping there.)

instead, i found two FANTASTIC sources of silk online, silkuneed.com and silkbaron.com. they both carry loads of lovely colors and all for $9.99 a yard or less. i spoke with the owner of silkuneed, pam, and she shipped me some samples that were not available on her website. i was able to match my paint exactly!

so, i ordered up 14 yards at $8.99. add on the thread i needed at $3.99, and i had the equivalent of what would have cost well over $700 at pottery barn for under $130.

next was a pit stop to hancock fabrics for thread and black-out lining. at $5.99 a yard, this is a very good investment. it helps with city noise reduction, heat retention, and lets me sleep past 6:30am - when my room turns into a vampire's worst nightmare (that link is for you, melissa. i still refuse to give in!)... you know, minus the crosses, holy, water, garlic and silver stakes (unless you count the hand-dandy maglite 4-cell i keep next to my bed as a silver stake).

OKAY - time to head back to mom's house and get to stitchin'!

step one: roll out black-out liner nice and flat. smooth with your hand.

step two: line up cut fabric ends and roll silk onto liner. smooth as well. (*note: if you're using a fabric that looks different on each side, place the side you want to display away from you - i.e. when you roll it out, you should see the back of your fabric.)

step three: pin top and sides. pin further than the length of your curtain.

step four: measure both sides to desired length. my windows are 108" high, so i opted for 112". i wanted them to puddle gracefully on the floor (this also allows for more error than ones that skim the floor - you'll need to be much more precise).

step 5: using a fabric marker and a level, draw a straight line across your fabrics. cut along this line and pin next curtain top as you go.

step 6: (ask mom to) sew top and sides of curtain to liner.

step seven: trim excess fabric around your hems.

step eight: turn panel inside out and smooth.

step nine: (ask mom to) stitch bottom as desired. i like to do this by hand so you see no thread at all on the finished curtain. (but you could just as easily zip along the edge with a machine in 30 seconds.)

REPEAT steps 1-9 as necessary.

step 10: hang your lovely curtains! i bought simple satin nickel double rods by levolor at home depot for $24.99 a piece. to hang the panels, i bought 1" nickel drapery clips at target for $4.99 a pack (one per panel).

these make hanging curtains a snap. just clip them and go! and the look is much cleaner than pole pockets (*blech*).

i'm still working on the tiebacks (and the sheers that will hang behind the curtains), but you can buy or make whatever you like. you'll see them in my bedroom "afters" soon.

here's a breakdown of what i spent:

silk: 14 yards at $8.99 - $125.86
black-out fabric: 14 yards @ $5.99 - $83.86
thread: $3.99 for one roll
curtain rods: $24.99 x 4 - $99.96
drapery clips: $4.99 x 4 - $19.96

TOTAL: $333.63 (compared with well over $1000 at pottery barn or equivalent) and about 2 hours of sewing.

this is a quick project that saves you LOTS of cash and can be done by even the most "beginner" of sartors and seamstresses (though my mom is a PRO).

hope you've enjoyed this how-to! let me know if you have questions!

and a BIG KISS to mom for all of the help! xx

10 December 2010

christmas, christmas time is here...

christmas has arrived at fog city sparkle!

and while the tree is not quite as tall as last year's (this year's is a lil' 10-footer), i hope you'll enjoy this sneak peek of the decorations that are going up.
can i just say how much i LOVE this garland? i really really do. it's shiny, has glitter, and is all sorts of wild colors. SO AWESOME.

hope your holiday season, whatever you celebrate, is filled with laughter and light. xx

me an' mah baby.

i heart my house! (and ace hardware!)

just sent to me by a friend. i love this photo!

and, ladies, remember, when headed to the hardware store it never hurts to put a little extra effort into your outfit. much better service...

jen xx

07 December 2010

guest room PWN.

that's right, my guest room got PWNed! jen FTW! (do i sound dorky enough today?)

it's been far too long since i have updated y'all on this sweet little treat of a room.

funnily enough, when we moved in, this room was my absolute last priority. many of you also know that i chose the color on a whim (read: panic) one night before some of my friends (read: free labor!) came over to help paint.

shortly thereafter, by the grace of the god of decorating, it turned out to be one of my first finished and most-loved rooms. and the reaction to it has been universally enthusiastic - even from men who surely, i thought, would HATE the color scheme and ruffles.

to remind you, we started here. bad paint. bad carpet. bad bad bad!
a lil' paint. floor recovered from years of abuse...and then we were here. but no nightstands! quelle horreur!
and now, thanks to my LOVELY friend aviva for these pretty pictures, i can show you where we've landed...

welcome, dear guest!
ahhh... so RELAXING!
a book for your pleasure?
or a freshly plumped pillow?
maybe a lollipop the size of your head?
and then off to dream about your next escape...

yup, this is how we do in fog city. ;)

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