Friday, March 27, 2009

DIY Ring pillow-check!

I finished my first ever ring pillow. What a learning experience! It wasn't that hard to do, and I sewed the entire thing by hand...

Were I to do this over again, I would have pinned the whole pillow before stitching it together, and I would have used a wider grosgrain ribbon... Next time.

Things you'll need to do this: a 10 x10 inch wool felt square, a complementary fabric of the same size, a grosgrain ribbon long enough to wrap around the entire square, stuffing, a small piece of ring tying ribbon, a nice button, and miscellany to make felt flowers (or you can purchase them at a craft store).

Make sure that your fabric squares are very even. Pin the wrong side of the grosgrain to the wrong side of the fabric, being careful at the corners (things can get wonky there) with 1/4 seam. Stitch the complementary fabric until the ribbon is entirely attached to one side, then do the felt side. When you have approximately 2 inches left before your close the pillow. Turn it right side out, and stuff the thing with tons of stuffing. Sew the pillow closed and revel in your amazingness for a few minute...

Maybe drink a beer at this point, or just repeatedly show it to fiance and say, "See what I made! See what I made!" Once you get over that, and get over the imperfections at the corners, attach the button in the center by stitching all the way through the pillow and back again. You'll get a nice pucker in the front and the back. Then attach your previously constructed felt flowers in a way that makes you happy.

At this point you'll need to interrupt the movie your fiance is watching to say, "Does it look right now? How about now?" This may or may not get the desired response. Once you are satisfied with the placement, stitch down the flowers (which is easier said than done).

Try not to curse when you are stabbing yourself in the fingers while pulling the needle through multi-layers of felt. It is really important at this point, to avoid getting the blood you've drawn on the pillow itself.

When the flowers are attached to your satisfaction, dance around and gloat, and alternately despair at the crooked corners. Wonder aloud if you will make another one or just use it as is. Ultimately realize that nobody is going to notice the problems except for you.

Then attach the ring-holding thin ribbon underneath the button. Tie a simple knot and call it a night. Blog about it immediately!

So here are some images of the process.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ring pillow

Well, now that I had 1 DIY success, I think I'm starting to get too big for my britches! Nothing in the ring pillow world remotely struck my fancy. (Well, nothing in our price range anyway!)

I think we can all safely say that something like this is not my style:
I had images in my head of a Princess Lasertron type creation. PL and I convo'd on Etsy a few times, and while she doesn't make pillows, she'd be happy to embellish one for me with her flowers.
But PL is a busy girl, and she suggested that I make the pillow myself to save some time and money in creating the pillow. Well, Chris and I went to the fabric store today. (Chris sews, though I don't) and we picked out some really cool material and some felt.

I decided if I'm going through all the effort to create a pillow anyway, then I might as well embellish it on my own too!

Wish me luck and uninjured fingers! I'll let you know soon how it's going! I'm using a Martha Stewart do it yourself pillow pattern. If all goes well, it should end up looking something like this:
Oh, the other upside, is that all the supplies (and I'll have plenty left over to do other stuff with) were less than $20. I had to buy everything including pins and scissors, since I haven't sewn anything since girl scouts!


Pillow How-To
You'll need two 7 1/4-inch squares of fabric and a length of ribbon (about 29 1/2 inches). With right sides facing, pin ribbon to the edges of one square, starting at the middle of one side. Fold ends of ribbon under so they meet, and pin. Sew, using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Repeat to sew remaining square to the other edge of the ribbon. Turn pillow right side out (through hole where ribbon ends meet), and fill with stuffing or with 7-inch squares of batting. Hand-stitch opening closed. Sew a covered button to center of pillow, stitching all the way through. Tie thin ribbon around button; stitch to secure. Tie rings on ribbon.

Martha Stewart link

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

DIY ornament balls

I've been meaning to blog about these for a while, but I think it's harder to motivate for a technical post, and I definitely wanted to get the details right for those who were interested in doing this. First off, let me say that these were *highly* do-able, even for a DIY beginner like me!

The first order of business was to get all the right supplies. We went to our local paper source and picked out a heavy paper stock (2 sheets in each color) just so we could try a few of these. While we were there, I realized I'd probably need a cutting mat (which is essential), a heavy ruler with a cork back (also quite helpful), and lots of fresh blades for our box cutter. We already had an awl.

Back home, we cleaned our dining room table so that there was a nice open area to work with, and popped open a few beers, and turned on some music to get the mood right!

Here's a picture of our supplies!

So then, we started using the scale model instructions that I blogged about a while ago (a couple of posts down). We followed them exactly and made these cute teeny tiny ornament balls. I was pretty freaked out that I was going to mess things up, so I wasn't exactly the nicest girl for the first 5 minutes, but I mellowed out... then again, that might have been the beer!

If I have one small word of suggestion for the small ornament balls, make sure that you are using a mono-filament wire. Anything else frays! We used non mono-filament picture hanging wire, but we also knew we were only going to do a couple of these. It was still frustrating.

Next, we (and when I say we, I really mean HE) got out a clean piece of paper and some basic algebra skills to figure out how to scale these things up. The original dimensions were 1/4" by 9" strips. These made balls that were Christmas ornament size, but we wanted more like paper lantern size.

We settled on 1 inch by 21 inch strips. We (again I mean he) cut 14 of these (important that these strips are really straight) and used the awl to poke a hole in the absolute center of each strip, and 1/4 inch from each end. These work better if you really center the holes, and I was really glad I had a grid mat!

Then we used a heavy duty monofilament wire (16 gauge, though we probably could have used 18 gauge and been fine) to thread the middle of each of the strips through the wire. At this point you have to stay organized with the strips and keep taking the end of the bottom one and pulling it up and threading the end through. When you have half a ball, you continue working from the other side, always taking the bottom strip. You'll quickly see your "onion" or "sort of ball" take shape! We then bent the wire at the top, so that these wouldn't come undone once the full onion was assembled...

This recipe makes 8 inch or so balls. I think if we put a light in them, it should throw off some great shadows. We started by alternating strips blue, cream, blue, cream. However, I quickly figured that 2 blues and then 1 cream was much more to my liking! We're also planning to do this with some more vinyl like material that is more durable.

I think with many of them, rather than assemble them now, we'll just thread the center through the wire and assemble them in California so that the car isn't completely filled with ornament balls when we drive down! We practiced doing these with my friend's niece and nephew the other day, and the kids were even able to do it...

Here are a couple of the finished products.
If you have any questions, let me know.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Anxiety Dreams

I haven't had wedding anxiety dreams in months. I took that to mean that we were pretty on top of things. Well, last night I had a ridiculous series of dreams that blew all of that confidence out of the water.

Last night, I dreamed that our wedding was tomorrow and I took the dress out of the bag. It was the wrong dress, wasn't altered, and looked awful on me. Someone had used a sharpie to color the train (which was made out of feathers) black (?!)

We had none of the decorations done, it was raining, I didn't have any of my accessories, and not all the invitations had been sent.

Chris had all of his stuff done, and was all dressed and ready to go... except that it was my first boyfriend. I woke up panicked!

I think this means I need to make some stuff happen this week... Whew. That was crazy!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Wedding Ring update

Chris brought in the wedding ring last week and spoke to the manager at the store. The guy was very accommodating, and said that he would try to get the ring fixed in-house before he sent it out to be re-made. I am a little skeptical that they could fix milgrain that was so badly damaged at the store. I mean parts of it were knife-sharp and other parts had almost no milgrain at all. I kind of wish they would send it straight to the manufacturer, but I'm willing to give them a chance.

My other question is this. Why would they let a product like this go out to the customer? Do they think we wouldn't notice?

I think I just have to let that line of thinking go...

In other news, we had diy success this weekend, and I'll share all about it when I organize the pictures!