header

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Easy pillow

I'm always making pillows. It's a fast easy way to change the look of a room.  For me, the hardest part is getting the fit over the pillow form just right.  The awning stripe pillows that I made in my last post are so easy because there is only one seam, not four, and you can get a very accurate fit.   It's great for a beginner.
Here's the photo of the striped pillows from my last post.


After you select your fabric and before you start measuring and cutting, you must make sure that your fabric is straight.  Cut a few inches below the fabric store cut beyond the selvage (that white border that sometimes has stamped on writing and colors ).  Grab each side of the cut and pull in opposite directions.  The fabric should tear in a straight line.  You must have a straight line before you begin or the design will be crooked.


See how crooked the fabric store cut is. 


The next thing you want to do is take measurements of your pillow form.  I decided to use these travel pillows as my form because I wanted an oblong shape.  You can buy pillow forms at any fabric store.
You must have a horizontal measurement and a vertical one.
For the vertical measurement, measure the whole way around the pillow, then add at least 2 " to that measurement for a seam allowance.



For the horizontal measurement, just measure the diameter, not the whole way around.  To that horizontal diameter, add an allowance for the "flaps" on either side.
 If you notice on the pillow  from the post there are two "flaps" on either side.  Decide how wide you want the flaps and double that for each side.
Then use your measurements to cut your fabric.

Next, lay the fabric, right side down, fold over the flaps to the width you decided. Mine had a final measurement of 4" wide each. You could iron the seams so they'll lay straight.  I folded and pressed the torn edges under and pinned in place.


Sew the pinned seams down.



After sewing the flaps, place the fabric right side up, lay the pillow form on it,
fold over and pin across the top.
This is your only seam.

Remove the pillow form once you're sure of the size of the seam.  Sew the seam shut.


Turn the fabric right side out and slide the pillow form back in.  You're done. 
Notice, I added buttons to close the flaps.    I just sewed them onto the fabric, through both layers.

Give it a try.  Once you measure and sew the side flaps over, it's just a matter of folding in half and sewing a top seam.

Easy peasy for a custom look.

Here's a variation of the pillow.  If you have a button hole attachment on your machine you can add button holes and buttons instead of just stitching on the buttons.  You can remove the cover easily to clean and it does look more professional.   This pillow says Maison, but you just as easily could have it monogrammed, or stencil on a monogram before you sew it together.


Once you've mastered this, you're ready for the challenge round.  Look at the images below.  You'll notice that the flaps are stitched on in a contrasting fabric and not sewn down. They're only attached on one side and tucked in so that one of the unattached flaps can tuck over and cover the pillow form edge.  Some cording is also added to tie it shut. You'll need top and bottom seams to make this work.





Please let me know how your pillows turn out.

Kathy


If you live in the DC area and are interested in some home styling, please contact me.
I'd love to work with you.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Styling Bookcases Part 2

I just re-did a pair of bookcases in my family room.  I purchased them from a consignment shop and had to sand, prime, and paint them.  The color I used was Benjamin Moore Pittsfield Buff.  

Here's the before ( after painting)



Notice that they were missing their backs.  I think that's because they were originally built-ins.
I decided that I would add some fabric to the back rather than adding some bead board.  
I basically cut the fabric a little larger than the opening.  I used a cardboard upholstery tack strip across the top to make sure the top was straight.  I used my electric staple gun to hold it in place. ( You must invest in an electric staple gun.  So much easier on your wrists.)
You can purchase the tack strip  here.  I purchased the roll for $3.99 for 500 feet.  If you're not going to do more upholstery though,  I've found it before at fabric stores being sold by the yard.
I included the link so you'd see what it looks like.
I use it all the time when I'm attaching cording to chair seats.  It keeps the cording straight so you don't have to use so many staples.
Here's how I used it to attach the top of the fabric to the back of the bookcase .



And just FYI, here's how I use it when adding cording to the bottom of a chair seat.  Totally unrelated, I know, but good info.



Once you attach the fabric to the top with your staple gun, staple once in the bottom center, then in the center of each of the side pieces.  Continue stapling around the remaining three sides.  Make sure that the fabric is pulled very tightly.  You could add a piece of foam core on the back on top of the fabric for extra support if you want.   I just counted on the wall for support.

Here's the after with the fabric.



Next, the styled version.  Please view my previous post, here, if you want some tips about item selection, balance, placement, and symmetry.


This is the left bookcase after styling.



This is the right bookcase after styling.


If you've read my previous post you know that I love to use books and architectural fragments when styling a bookcase.  To this mix I decided to add birds, nests, emu and ostrich eggs, tortoise shells--real and faux--and even a piece of coral resting on a book.  I called these nature-inspired shelves my Cabinets of Curiosities.
The bird prints on easels are vintage.  The largest bottle in the grouping of apothecary jars holds feathers.  Mirrors serve as backdrops for the tortoise shell and the ostrich egg.
You know how I love cloches.  I found one that not only fit perfectly on a mirrored dresser tray, but which had the word Nest etched onto it.  The emu egg on a stand fits perfectly within.
My pops of color come from the green in the transferware plates with birds, the mirror with a velvet frame,  the vintage English tile, the deep green egg, and the gold on the book spines.  
Completing the space between the bookcases is a sunburst mirror.   Surprise!   Framed architectural reference book plates and an iron bird are reflected in it.


I added a pair of slip covered slipper chairs in the foreground, and a vintage deco table with a lamp. A smaller bird print in a burled frame is on the table too.
I had the chairs covered in a neutral fabric-- something that I never do-- but I wanted them to match anywhere I put them.   I ended up hating how bland they were, even with a  pillow, so I added the strip of Robert Allen Ikat fabric and some awning stripe pillows to make them more appealing.   What do you think?
I don't know if you can make out the top of the table.  It's a mirrored top with a mirror bullseye in the center.

I want to share one more image.  It's an area rug  I found  at Tuesday Morning.  If you watched my segment on The Nate Berkus Show 
you know that I received a gift certificate from Nate to Tuesday Morning.  I was very excited when I found this rug.  I knew it would work in the family room.  What a great find AND what a great price.  Thanks Nate.


Be sure to let me know how your bookcase styling turns out.
What do you think about using fabric as a backing?

Kathy

Please follow with Feedburner.  You'll get a notification whenever I post.
It looks like this in my side bar.  (It's just a sample.  You must sign up on the website.)



 
Pin It

Follow Me on Pinterest






Friday, February 11, 2011

Styling a Bookcase

I guess you've figured out that one of my favorite things to do is arrange vignettes.  I absolutely love combining vintage and new to create a unique look.   And, if you've been following me, you know that I change things frequently to the annoyance of my family.
My latest change up is an old step back cupboard in my kitchen.  I decided to soften it up by painting the inside the same gray that I used on the outside.  The inside was painted a Ralph Lauren red.  It seems harsh to me now.  Here's my before photo.


 It had already been painted so I didn't have to sand first.  I did prime it.  Since the red was so dark,  I used a shellac-based primer called BIN primer by Zinsser. This primer dries in 45 minutes, but if you don't like to clean brushes with chemicals, I suggest you use a small disposable foam roller brush for the big surfaces and a foam paint brush that you can also toss out when you finish.  It covered the red in one coat.  It took two coats of paint.  This is the same paint color I used to paint my kitchen cabinets.  (More about the kitchen later.)  It's Benjamin Moore Rockport Gray. 
I painted the kitchen two years ago and still like the color.

Here's the after.



Here's a close up of the items on the shelves.


When styling a bookcase, the first thing I obviously do is assemble the items I want to include.  I always select more than I need because not everything will work once you get started.  It's important that the items are similar.  Books always work and are one of the first things I place on the shelves. They can be used as risers and back drops for other items.  An idea to steal is that books don't  have to all be upright.  If you look at the shelves, some are vertical, some on their sides, and those with interesting uneven pages are facing out.
My books are all either old leather books or ones with marbleized covers.   If you're not interested in the hunt, or the expense of vintage books, you can achieve the look a la Restoration Hardware just by covering the books--just like you do with your school books--with paper.



Notice on the second shelf from the bottom they've placed an old dictionary with the pages facing out.  The indentations for the alphabet create an interesting design.

After I place the books, (notice how I interspersed them on the shelves),  I begin placing the larger items.  On the top shelf are two cement garden orbs.  They moved around a bit until they found their place on the top shelf. You need to experiment and move things in different spots,
or if they don't work, take them out of the mix.   
Repetition of like items is another consideration.  Notice that I selected architectural fragments.  They're all different and at the same time blend and serve different purposes.
Some stand alone while others are used as bookends.
Another example of repetition can be seen in the orb shapes.  The garden orbs that I already mentioned, the seed balls, and on the bottom shelf the three French orbs that are made with iron nails and weigh a ton.
 If you look at them  and the rest of the shelves, you'll notice that in addition to similarity of items, you must consider balance and symmetry.
Next I selected interesting items to fill in the other spaces.  Notice though that except for the metal laurel wreath on the bottom shelf, they all have gold tones.  The old clock, the vintage metal mirror, and even the gold boullion fringe draped over the books repeat the gold.  See this repetition of color also in the book spines, the architectural fragment and the crown which is really a Christmas ornament.  In addition to the gold, you can see green, which not only repeats, but adds a pop of color.
I hope you'll give it a try.  It's a bit time consuming, but if you keep in mind Symmetry, Compatibility, Balance, and Repetition, with some juggling, you can do this.
I'd love to see your results.

Kathy


Please follow with Feedburner.  You'll get a notification whenever I post.
It looks like this in my side bar.  (It's just a sample.  You must sign up on the website.)




Pin It

Follow Me on Pinterest

To see another post with a totally different look about styling a bookcase, go here.









Friday, February 4, 2011

Frugal Framing

  I'm always coming across vintage prints--botanicals, architectural prints, or other ephemera.  While the prints are relatively inexpensive to purchase, the framing can cost ten times the price of  the prints.  What works for me is to find an empty frame I like that is larger than the print. 
I then take the print and the frame and have a mat cut.
 Here's an example of how this worked for me.

Last Fall I went to The Big Flea in Chantilly, Va. on a antiques shopping trip with Eddie Ross and 
Jaithan Kochar. What fun and so informative. I always look forward to reading his blog.  He has so many talents and one of those I totally relate to is the way he shops vintage and then creatively makes vintage work for today's style.  You can find out about all his creative accomplishments here
Sorry, back to the post.  While shopping,  I found some fabulous old book plates of shells and fossils.  


I knew that they would be perfect with some vintage frames I had found in the summer.  I purchased the frames with no particular plan in mind for them, which unfortunately is how I frequently do things.  I fell in love with the snakeskin and the mini red leather border and knew I would eventually use them.
Pretty wonderful.


I took the bookplates and the frames to Michaels, selected a mat color, and had them cut a mat to fit the artwork and the frame.  Each mat was only $16.00.  I know the frames had their flaws, but they were so unique that I wanted to use them. 
Here's how they turned out after matting and framing.






I think they fit in perfectly with my other shell stuff.  What do you think?


I'm working on styling some shelves in a cabinet that I just updated with paint.  Make sure you stop by next week for some tips you can use to give your bookcase a designer look.

Kathy

Please follow with Feedburner.  You'll get a notification whenever I post.
It looks like this in my side bar.  (It's just a sample.  You must sign up on the website.)





Pin It
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...