Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New Resource for Pillow Forms!

Recently I was given the opportunity to try a product from a new-to-me company called, Pillow Cubes. Pillow Cubes is a pillow form manufacturer that sells by the case. They fill their pillow forms with a variety of products, such as: real goose down or duck feathers, "synthetic" down, polyester, or a 100% recycled "green" fiber. To top it off, all their products are made in America. That's something I can truly appreciate!

Normally, as a home-sewer, I don't have the need to buy pillows in bulk. But occasionally I have had the opportunity to teach a class or make pillows for gifts that would require me to buy more than a few pillow forms at a time. For those of you who make and sell pillows, Pillow Cubes could be a great fit as your pillow form supplier.

The pillow form I tried was a 12 x 16 down alternative pillow, sometimes referred to as "synthetic down." I was pleasantly surprised to realize how closely this synthetic version resembles a real down pillow -with all the benefits of a hypo-allergenic pillow!  These pillow forms are reasonably priced as well. For example, a 12x12 feather down pillow form, in a case of 24, ends up being under $4 a pillow form. A 12x12 eco-filled polyester filled pillow form, in a case of 24, is just $2.80. Pretty amazing. The "cases" don't always consist of 24 items -- the number of pillows in a case is relative to the size of the pillow form.

August 2015 Update: Pillow Cubes is now selling pillows individually and not by the case! This enables the home sewer to use their products with ease and buy only what is needed!

I do feel like Pillow Cubes is a great resource, particularly for those who make and sell their own pillows. When you purchase their pillows forms, you get some well-made, high-quality pillow forms at a very reasonable cost!

When approached by Pillow Cubes to try their product, I told the representative that I would be happy to make a pillow {in the photo above!} using one of their pillow forms, and that I would gladly publish a post on my blog with a reference to Pillow Cubes site if I liked the product. I obviously did.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Picnic Blanket Tutorial

Several weeks ago I published a post telling you about some French Inspired Picnic Blankets my soon-to-be daughter-in-law and I were cooking up. Go here to read more about this project.

These pieced blankets are going to be used by and given to guests at their wedding reception in August in California.

At that time I mentioned that I would make a simple tutorial to explain how to make these simple blankets. Well, the pattern and instructions are now available.

If you're interested in downloading my "Picnic Blanket Tutorial", click here.

(Update: Please note on page 4 of the document, third paragraph it should read: 
"You now have a completed quilt top that is approximately 60" wide by 72" long.")

Enjoy making the blankets for family, friends, neighbors or for sale.

Today I will finally complete the last of the wedding blankets we're making!
Forty-three blankets in all.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bloomin' Tuesday

I'm singing the blues today {in a good way}! I love purple and blue flowers in my garden, and today I'm highlighting our dark purple and pale lavender clematis.Years ago I planted some clematis against a fence in my garden. They have thrived in this sunny spot...

Clematis are such easy plants to grow. You just need to plant them in a sunny area {at least 6 hours of sunlight}, keep their feet moist, prune them every fall or spring to about 12 inches -- and watch them boom!

Once you've had success with a clematis, it's only natural to try to find another space in your garden to squeeze in another one, which is exactly what I did a couple of years ago.

I bought a pale variety that time and put it in an area that doesn't get quite as much sun. I think they'll do well in time, but they have been a little slower to take off. They've only been in two summers though, and it seems to be the third summer where they really start to thrive. I love their gorgeous lavender faces...

Here's one more "blue" from my garden -- luscious lobelia surrounding a "landscape" grass...

Wishing you a happy Bloomin' Tuesday.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday's Fabulous Finds...

We have two weddings in our family this summer,
so I'm tipping my hat to brides and grooms this week...

I spy with my Etsy eye a...
cake topper!

Clockwise, starting top left:

Wishing you a weekend filled with sunshine.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Friday's Fabulous Finds...

I spy with my Etsy eye a...
Father's Day surprise.

 Clockwise, from top left:

 Wishing you a wonderful summer weekend!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Another "French" Tray...

I'm off on another trip this week, but last week I spent some time sewing and crafting. I had another idea for a light and inexpensive tray for the brunch we're hosting for our son and his bride in August in California. We'll have lots of pastries, tarts, macaroons and other French delicacies that morning, so we need a number of trays (that are easy to transport and lightweight) for the event. As I was walking through Hobby Lobby a few days before, I noticed some trays with little legs on them. I decided to make one of my own with some drawer or cabinet knobs that were on sale. I simply took that screw out of the pulls by unscrewing it from the wood. Ta da...

I picked up four of the knobs for 50% off and bought the large wooden tray below -- also on sale.

The bride chose these gorgeous colors for the wedding...

I love these beautifully muted shades, and they play so well together. I asked the bride to chose the colors for this tray (since I had done such a poor job the last time).

At her suggestions, I painted the feet a silver sage then sanded them down in spots for the turquoise to show through just a touch. Then glazed them for an antique look.

Meghann (the bride) suggested I paint the tray a light gray. I first put a coat of silver on the tray, then painted it the light gray. Then I sanded it down in some spots to show a little of the silver underneath and again antiqued or glazed it to age it a bit. Some French-themed canvas from Hobby Lobby was chosen to line the tray...

After putting two coats of Mod Podge over the canvas I tacked (with hot glue) some Natural Linen Braid around the inside edge of the tray to cover up the edge of the fabric.

I've also bought some other cute trays and vases that sport a French flair that we will use. I purchased this one for under $7 and we'll load it up with beautiful ripe, plump grapes...

These vases are the perfect color gray and green. I bought them for $9 at a Flea Market -- score! Seriously, I love it when I can find just what I want at a Flea Market. Can you picture them with mounds of flowers spilling over the tops of the vases?

And another larger tray for pastries or tea sandwiches -- also $7.

FYI - I'm not a total cheap-skate and it's not all about the cost for me, but I have to admit it does make me happy when I can find or make special items -- at a good price -- that will add to the ambiance of a special day!

Monday, June 08, 2015

Wedding "Picnic" Blanket x 40

The last several weeks I've referred to a project my soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Meghann, and I have been working on for their wedding. A little background info... A couple of months ago Meghann and Justin called to "run something by me." Not being experienced sewers they weren't sure how difficult it would be to make 40 quilts for picnic blankets to give to their guests as gifts during the wedding reception.The guests would use these picnic blankets for part of the reception and the next day during the wedding brunch. They had a budget of $20 per quilt. I didn't want to disappoint, but usually a baby receiving blanket costs me over $20 to make. I didn't see how we could make a quilt big enough for a picnic blanket on that budget. Not to mention... I shuddered at the time I thought it would take to make them.

I told the bride and groom that I would do my best to try to find something already made. I was certain this would be an item that would be less expensive bought, rather than handmade. I found a few fleece blankets that could have worked. This one in particular is an amazing price, but the bride wasn't going for that look. You'll remember that she loves everything "French", and she was hoping for some blankets in the muted shades of her wedding.

She also wanted it to be something that would be used over and over again as a picnic blanket or throw. And, honestly, if you're going to spend $20 on each item, you want it to be something that the guest will enjoy more than once!

That's when I came up with a pattern for a blanket that would consist mostly of muslin with two coordinating fabrics to add contrast and color. The blanket is approximately 72" x 60", which is a generous size for a picnic blanket. Three-quarters of the front of the blanket is made from a beautiful linen-type muslin, 1/4 is from a cotton duck or canvas fabric with a coordinating flap of canvas fabric, lace, or ribbon in between the two.

Meghann didn't have much experience sewing before we started this project, but she caught on quickly and is a champ now! We even solicited the groom's help to cut fabric...

When Justin and Meghann brought up the idea of making picnic quilts for everyone, I pictured us quilting one inch squares together from now till 10 minutes before the ceremony. It scared me. A lot. This idea of using strips of fabric is doable, but it is still a huge labor of love. I love them for wanting to do this for their wedding guests. I'll have to tell you more about the wedding weekend later. Every detail of their wedding was envisioned to create a wonderful experience for all those attending.

Although all the blankets have a subtle French flair, some have more of a feminine feel and some are more masculine. Believe it or not we have stuck to that $20 budget for each of these blankets. Most of the fabric for the tops of the blankets was bought on sale, and I bought the muslin we used for the backing for a very good price on Amazon. {There is no quilt batting between the front and back fabrics.} The blankets were made for about $15 - $18 each. I think that's amazing consider how much fabric is used to make one of these picnic blankets.

The last little detail for these blankets are these iron-on tags. One of my daughters designed the pattern, and we had them made through this Etsy shop. Meghann puts them on the corner of each quilt. I love this sweet detail...

The good news is that all the quilt tops are completed and 1/4 of the quilts are totally finished. It's a good feeling to know that we'll be done with these picnic blankets in plenty of time for the wedding...

If you are interested in a more detailed pattern for this blanket and some tips in getting the fabrics for great prices, please leave a comment below. I'll publish this information, if there is enough interest.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Smelling the "Roses"...

I'm taking a little time to wander in my garden and enjoy it today before I begin sewing the backs on the picnic blankets we're making for the wedding reception. I love Spring!