Christmas Mantel 2013

I whipped up some quick mantel decor yesterday, and I LOVE the way it came out.  I know that we only lost 4 days or so on the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it seems like we lost a whole month. In this house we don’t decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving has passed, and I think it was just shocking that Sunday was December 1st!! 

Anywho… back to the mantel!!  

I knew what I wanted to do for the statement piece which was inspired by this on pinterest, and then I knew I also wanted to work in my names of Jesus garland from Lemonade Makin’ Mama. (which I LOVE by the way!! – if you want one, you’ll have to wait until next year :))  The rest was filled  in with things I had. 

I strung a strand of white lights behind the garland and across the mantel to help the garland show up at night, and because I love lights.   The red trees and the framed print are from years past.  

Did I mention how much I loved my garland?!?  And my big red star!!!  And the lights!!!  I wanted to keep it simple this year, and I’m very pleased with the outcome. 

How are you coming with your decorations??  Done? Not started?  Really, either way, don’t stress. The decorations are pretty and all but really it’s all about the anticipation of the coming of Christ. I adore Ann Voskamp and she is sharing video devotionals once a week about advent.  Go here to check out the first one. How blessed we are that God sent His Son.  

I love Christmas.

Blessings friends!!

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Christmas Pillow Fun

I have a fun and simple project to share with you today!!  Making those first pillow covers was so easy and so much fun, that I couldn’t wait to make more.  I really wanted some specifically for Christmas so over the weekend this is what I did.

I started with this, and added some white twill fabric from my stash and some gold embroidery thread.  🙂

First things first, the lettering.  I simply used my computer, found a font I liked, and typed out the words I wanted.  (I didn’t really need to waste my ink by printing the letters all filled in so I just used the outline.)

Then, I traced the letters onto a piece of felt.  I traced them on backwards so that my pen marks wouldn’t show afterwards.  Cut them out and moved on to the next step.  I knew I was going to stitch them down, but I needed something to hold them in place while I stitched.  

I had some iron on hem tape from a previous project and decided this would be a perfect solution.  I simply cut pieces to fit each letter and then, after positioning the letters where I wanted them, ironed them on. (forgive the yellow pictures, there was absolutely no light this weekend due to gloomy gray sleety skies)

Next came the fun part.  The stitching.  I tried out several different decorative stitches on a scrap piece of fabric, but finally settled on a zig-zag stitch.  I simply stitched around the edges of all the letters.  I didn’t really want the stitching to be the center of attention, just an accent.  And what an accent!!

I decided this time to not put zippers in but just make an envelope style pillow cover.  Simply cut two back pieces that overlap, hem the edges, pin together, and attach to the front.  

(Yes, I used green thread – I ran out of white – and I didn’t want to go to the store – remember icky weather.)  I did the exact same with the tartan flannel to make those pillow covers.  No embellishments on those just a fabulous pattern and a fabulously soft feel.

Last, but not least, the jingle bells!!  

I was inspired by this from Pottery Barn.  


But, my family likes to lay on all of our pillows, so jingle bells on the front are not practical.  So, they went in the corners.  And, since I am loving me some gold this season, I decided to go with traditional gold bells. Simply poke your needle in the corner, thread the bell through your needle and then poke the needle back through the corner. 

I did this a couple of times to ensure the bell was stuck before tying off the thread.  Happy days and happy pillows!!  

Our weather this weekend has finally made it seem like Christmas should be near.  Ready to get my decorating on, but my daughter won’t let me do anything until AFTER Thanksgiving.  I have taught her well!!  🙂

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Thankful for Grace Pillows

Welcome back friends!!  Thank you so much for all the sweet comments on my pillows last week.  I promised I would be back with more details on the word pillows.
For the front of the pillow I used drop cloth fabric I had leftover from my desk chair re-do.  After cutting my 19″x19″ squares, I used my iron to find and mark the center of the square.

Next, I went to my computer and printed out the words I wanted for the pillows in a font I liked – I made them as big as I could and still fit on the pillow :).  Since I don’t have a light box, I used the next best thing – a window and the sun!!  I used painter’s tape to adhere the paper to the back of the fabric and to adhere the fabric to the window.  Then, I simply used a pencil to trace the word onto the fabric.  Easy peasy!!

I wanted to lettering to be nice and thick and casual – the reason I was not using my embroider machine – so, I searched my yarn stash and found this fabulous warm orange.  I love orange.  I decided I wanted the stitching to look continuous so I went with a simple back stitch.  If you aren’t sure what that is, check out the pictures below.  Going around a curve can be a little tricky.  The tip is to keep the string on the outside of the curve while you are stitching.

After about 45 minutes both pillow fronts were stitched and ready to be added to their backs!!

I just love the look and the texture of the yarn!!  It really was one of those projects that came out just like I saw it in my head!!  (That doesn’t always happen right??)

The possibilities are endless with this!!  With a bazillion words you could choose, and lots of yarn choices!!  My brain is going crazy with ideas – I hope yours is too!!

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Pillows, Pillows, Pillows

So about a year ago, my sweet friend Jennifer was on her way to Dallas.  We had just been talking about feather pillow inserts like I had heard her and The Nester both talk about, and how awesome they were. She said she knew a place that you could get them fairly cheap, and did I want her to pick me up some….YES!! She brought me back 4 20″x20″ feather inserts for around $35 dollars (actually from ikea since the original place no longer carried them – not sponsored by ikea just thought you might want to know)!!  They have been sitting in my closet for a year people!! You know why – because I am too chicken to commit to a fabric!! How lame is that?? I finally told myself that is was just a cover and if I didn’t like it in a couple of months I could change it, and off to the fabric store I went.  Here is how my brown couch looks now with its accessories :).

Pillow covers are pretty simple to make.  All straight lines.  The trickiest part (and really not that tricky) is the zipper.  If you are brave and want to try putting in an invisible zipper I found this great video tutorial on youtube that made it super easy.

I took a tip from my friend Jennifer and did not concern myself with color matching the zipper to the project. Instead I just raided my mom’s stash and found four that were the right size.  If you follow me on instagram you may have seen this sneak peek, in which you can see the fabric on the back of the ‘thankful’ and ‘grace’ pillows and the pink zipper :).

Once you get the zipper in, you will need to stitch up the other three sides.  Please make sure you unzip your zipper before you start sewing or you will not be able to turn the pillow inside out – yes I did that…

Once you have it all stitched up, you will want to clip the corners off at an angle.  This leaves less fabric in the corner and makes for a cleaner point when you turn it inside out.  

I mentioned that the pillows had been sitting in my closet for a year compacted in a bag so when I took them out they were a little on the flat side.  I just threw them in my dryer on a low heat setting for about 10 minutes and they fluffed right up.  You can see the difference in this pic. 

The other tip Jennifer gave me was to make the pillow covers a little smaller than the pillow inserts to ensure that they would be nice and full and fluffy.  So, for my 20″x20″ inserts I made 18″x18″ (finished measurement) covers.  It took a little bit of wrangling to get the pillow in but not too much :).

I am so loving the way it looks.  I really can’t believe that I have been without pillows on this couch for so long!!  Thanks Jennifer for all the great tips, and for picking up the pillows for me!!  🙂

I will post next week on the details of the ‘thankful’ and ‘grace’ pillows.  It was a really fun and relatively quick project I have been wanting to try for a while.  Why does that seem to be a theme??  It’s seems to take me forever to get around to doing things I want to do – life happens, that’s why!!  🙂

Starting a new series on Friday!!  Very excited about it!! Make sure you stop in and check it out!!

Blessings friends!!

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Bookshelf Styling {and something I should have done a long time ago}

Another thing I finally got around to during the month of October was restyling my built-ins.  I had really neglected them for a while and it was starting to bug me.  It was bugging me so much I didn’t even take a second to shoot a before pic.  I cropped these shots from another pic (forgive the quality).

I’m including it so you can see – not a lot going on but books in some places, too much going on in other places, books and such just stuffed in here and there. 

Everything came out, everything got a good cleaning, things got deleted, things got added, and this is the finished product.

I tried to fill the shelves with things that were special to my family.  Things that would bring sweet memories to mind.  Pictures, and souvenirs.  Treasures the kids have made over the years.  Books have to have a spot on the bookshelves of course, but they look so much better spread out.  I start with books, spread them out and vary how and where they sit.  Then I add photos. Last comes the various accessories – the souvenirs and other decorative fillers.  This is one of my least favorite things to do, and probably the reason why I put it off forever.  But, the results are worth it in the end.

Another thing that I put off forever I finally got done this week.  You can probably see a peek of the brown paneling above the built-ins in some of the pics.  From the day we moved in I disliked it.  But, it’s paneling, and the ceilings are really high and all we own in a 6ft ladder.  You see the list of excuses I made for myself. But, this week I took the leap.  I already had the paint, so I just needed the guts.  Here’s a before and after.

I want you to know that I took that after pic so.many.times.  with so.many.settings.  I just couldn’t seem to get the lighting the same, and then I realized, they was no way it was going to be the same. That’s just how much more the light bounces off that light color up there instead of the ugly dark paneling!!  Why in the world did I wait so long??  (Also, it’s not that yellow in real life, the wall color is more tan than that – still trying to figure out this camera thing.)  I have always loved the vaulted ceilings in our living room and the size, but there is only two windows (if you include the window in the back door), and sometimes it’s dark – meaning I have to turn on the lights in the middle of a sunny day. I have noticed the past couple of days, that I don’t have to do that!!  Light and bright spaces make me happy!!  

Now off to mountains of laundry and dishes – how about you??

Blessings friends!!

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