Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fall Pillow with Wooden Buttons Tutorial

I'm sure you've hear the motto...

"When you're handed lemons, make lemonade." 

I considered it a wise motto to live by. Lately, however, I prefer a motto of my own with a similar message...

"When you're handed wooden branches, make buttons."

As clever as my adage is, it may not become wildly popular. I'm ok with that. I'll take a wooden button over lemonade any day. 

Several weeks ago I made some wooden buttons out of a branch from a peach tree that was felled in our backyard. I used those wooden buttons as a decoration on a pumpkin and butterscotch fall pillow that I dreamed up. It is an amazingly simple pillow, but I really love it. When my daughter saw it she said it was her most favorite pillow that I've ever made. I love those kinds of compliments. Armed with that endorsement, I decided to make a couple of pillows for my daughter's home using more homegrown wooden buttons and a fabric that would match her decor. I'll post about the first pillow I made for her today and show you the second pillow next week. 

This pillow is so simple that it doesn't need a tutorial, but I'll go ahead and give you its measurements in case you'd like to replicate it. I'll show you the dimensions for the front of the pillow. You'll have to decide how you want to finish the pillow to determine the measurements for the back of the pillow.

For the front of the pillow, you'll need a piece of fabric this size...

I also cut a piece of fusible fleece the same size as the front of the pillow and fused it to the wrong side of the fabric. It makes all the difference. When fusible fleece is applied to the front fabric of a pillow it makes the end product look much more professional and sturdy.

Three lines need to be sewn vertically on the pillow. The first is 3 inches from the right edge, then another 2 1/4 inches from the first line. Last, another line sewn 2 1/4 inches from the second line. Go here to discover the trick to sewing straight lines on fabric.

Next sew your buttons on the lines at irregular intervals. I used 1/2 inch seams to attach the back of the pillow to the front. 

The fabric I chose for this pillow was bought at Hancock Fabrics from their drapery/upholstery fabric. It's a lime green Herringbone.  It's luscious, rich texture is perfect for the fall and winter months.

Next week I'll show you an even simpler patterned pillow with larger handmade wooden buttons!

Linked to:
Hookin' Up with House of Hepworths
Show Off Your Stuff @ Fireflies & Jellybeans
Strut Your Stuff @ Somewhat Simple

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bloomin' Tuesday . . .

My husband and I have been traveling a lot this summer, so you wouldn't think we'd want to plan another trip but this weekend we went on a short get-away. We drove up to Steamboat Springs (a few hours from our home) and stayed overnight. It was just the two of us and a million bike enthusiasts. Little did we know that we would be arriving smack dab in the middle of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. {Note to self: Perhaps I should consult a calendar of local events next time we plan an outing such as this.} Anywho, we had a fabulous time! Part of the adventure was the trip up Poudre Canyon and across the northern part of Colorado. It's simply beautiful. Since this is a Bloomin' Tuesday post, I'll show you a little of the flora we encountered along the way...

And just for good measure, here's a little fauna that we happened upon as well. These aren't the best photos I've ever taken. I was too busy trying not to get trampled by a cranky moose. One time I saw an irritated moose chase a photographer that wanted to have an up-close and personal photo session. A scene like that is something you never forget. Fortunately it ended well for the photographer.  I must say it was one of the funniest things I have ever seen! I didn't want to entertain those around us like we had been entertained years ago, so I kept my distance and used my zoom lens! There were three moose and they were awesome...

In case you had trouble seeing all three, I'll help point them out! 

Linked to:
Bloomin' Tuesday @ Ms. Green Thumb Jeans
Garden Tuesday @ Sidewalk Shoes

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday's Fabulous Finds . . .

I spy with my Etsy eye something... 

Can you tell I'm looking forward to autumn? 

Clockwise, starting top left:
MilkMaid Stool
Bee My Guest Honey Soap
Squirrel Mug Set
Dove on a Branch Pearl Necklace
Autumn Poncho

Wishing you a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Change is a Good !

It's important for us women to have a little extra change in our pockets. It makes us feel carefree and adds a spring to our step. Evidently it's the same for three year olds of our gender. Apparently it is inherent in our nature to want some spending money. A month ago when I was tending two of my granddaughters who had just acquired a newborn brother, I was informed by three year old Berkley that she not only needed a little spending money, but she was in need of a coin purse as well. You see her six year old sister Avery is currently rolling in the dough with a fat little wallet, due in large part to a steady supply of loose teeth and a generous tooth fairy. I asked Berkley if she would like me to make a coin purse for her, since we couldn't find one in the stores small enough for her little hands. She bobbed her head up and down, and asked if I could please fill the purse up with some loose change while I was at it. It's a little hard to disappoint a face like this...

Today I went to work creating a pint-sized coin purse for Berkley. I finished it in no time and although it's not perfect, I think she will like it just fine -- especially if I fill it up...

I bought these adorable crocheted flowers at this Etsy shop a few months ago. I acquired six in different shades of purple and pink and am going to use them for a variety of projects.

I used some soft flannel as the lining on the inside of the coin purse...

...and a zipper to close the top! 

I'm pretty sure if I'd sent Berk a baggie filled with pennies, she would have been just as content, but hopefully she'll like having a coin purse all her own!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bloomin' Tuesday

Time for another spotlight from our garden. Today I'm highlighting our perennial hibiscus plant called "Luna Pink Swirl." It's in full bloom this time of year and a show-stopper to be sure...

A few years ago I noticed hibiscus plants in our nursery and couldn't believe they would survive the winter in Colorado's frigid climes, but Luna returns on schedule every summer and shines like a star!

When you have this perennial hibiscus gracing your yard you can pretend that you're living in the tropics even though you reside smack dab in the middle of the US of A.

Its beautiful bloom is as big as a salad plate -- at least 6 inches across -- and it adds a dramatic punch of color to any yard. The huge flowers aren't its only positive characteristic. These plants are heat tolerant and they have a  large number of flowers on each plant. Just cut them back to the ground in the fall once the folliage has died. They are one of the last perennials to emerge in the late spring as warm soil temperatures are needed for them to grow. They are a gorgeous, hearty perennial!

My morning glories are at their finest by mid August. They love the sun and, unfortunately, there is precious little of that in my garden, so it takes them until mid August the past few years to hit their stride. I plant morning glory seeds along a fence and around the base of four landscaping poles that I bend and tie together at the top to form a tee-pee. They trail and climb up the poles, like this...

By the end of the summer the morning glory have filled in and look something like this...

Here are a few photos taken in my garden this morning of these beautiful morning glory blossoms. Don't mistake these plants for the noxious weed that grows with the small 1/2" blossoms. Our morning glories have gorgeous 3" flowers and die back every fall. They do produce volunteers every spring from the seeds that were dropped in the fall -- very handy when you want them back in the same place every year!

And finally -- the happy face of a sunflower...

To see more flowery posts, go to the links below!

Linked to:
Bloomin' Tuesday @ Ms. Green Thumb Jeans
Garden Tuesday @ Sidewalk Shoes
Tuesday Garden Party @ An Oregon Cottage

Monday, August 22, 2011

Home again, Home again, Jiggety-jog

When I was young my mother used to recite a Mother's Goose rhyme that ended with the phrase, "Home again, home again, jiggety-jog." For some reason that poem keeps coming to my mind. We've been so busy this summer -- a family trip kicked off the summer in June and new grandbabies have kept us busy throughout the rest of the summer. Yesterday we drove home from our daughter's home in Omaha. Last Monday our #3 summer grandbaby made her appearance. I was there to see her grand entrance into the world -- such a special experience. She is a beauty to be sure...

We spent a fabulous week entertaining our grandsons and enjoying their sweet little sister and her parents.

The summer hasn't ended for us. My husband and I are still planning another little get away or two -- just the two of us this time. I'm also looking forward to a few projects that I'm dreaming up. Fall is definitely a favorite time of year for me, so I'm looking forward to making some fall creations. Later this week I'm going to be doing another wood project -- can't wait. Till then -- have a great day!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Handcrafted Wood Buttons . . .

Yesterday I was in the mood to shop, so I went to one of my favorite stores -- Crate and Barrel. I love checking out stores this time of year, because they have begun to decorate for fall, which is definitely one of my favorite seasons. I love traditional fall colors: pumpkin orange, chocolate brown, eggplant purple, mossy green and yummy butterscotch. I wasn't disappointed.

Generally I make my own decorative pillows, but occasionally I come upon a store-bought version that I can't imagine living without. That's exactly what happened. These two pillows {Tisha and Thea} moved me...

I knew they would look fabulous on my leather couches, so they were purchased, however, before I left the store I checked out the placemats. Some of you know how much I love making placemat pillows. (Here's another example.) This time I was looking for a plain fabric that could be paired with the Thea pillow, and I found these two examples -- Grasscloth Butterscotch and Grasscloth Chili...

I loved the texture of these two fabrics, so I decided to use them and try my hand at something I've wanted to do for a long time now -- handcrafted wooden buttons.

Last fall "we" {I use that word rather loosely} cut down a peach tree that had seen better days, and for some time I've wanted to see if I could make some buttons out of one of the smaller branches. I love the look of rustic wooden buttons. The branch I chose looked like this before I started...

Not very promising, but when I sawed off the end it gave me hope...

I put the branch in a vise and used a hand jig-saw to cut 1/4" rounds. Then I sprayed them with a clear matte sealer, which brought out the rich color of the wood. Two little holes were drilled in the middle of them and whaaallllaaaa -- I had myself some rustic handcrafted wooden buttons. Love 'em...

I trimmed the edges off the placemats (they were just a single piece of fabric) and zig-zagged them. I then sewed three straight lines on the butterscotch fabric. A trick to sewing straight lines on fabric is to mark your fabric with straight pins, like this...

Then take some tape and run it next to the pins. Take out the pins and use the tape as a guide to sew the straight line...

I then attached my wooden buttons to the fabric and sewed the two fabrics together to make the pillow...

I kinda love it.  It's earthy and fallish and quirky and it fits perfectly on our leather couch...

Had I bought nine wooden buttons in the store, it would have cost about $10. Instead they were free! The finished pillow cost $14 -- $6 for each placemat and $2 for batting. Not bad for a fun fall pillow!

Linked to:
Show & Tell Saturday @ Be Different Act Normal
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors
Friday Favs @ Naptime Crafters
Show & Share @ Just a Girl
Strut Your Stuff @ Somewhat Simple
Show Off Your Stuff Party @ Fireflies and Jellybeans
Hookin' Up with House of Hepworths
20 Below @ Christina's Adventures
Show Me What You Got Party @ Not Just a Housewife
Anything Related @ All Things Related
Made with Love @ Sew Chatty