Saturday, May 12, 2018



When they ask “raise your hand if you want to participate” for any home improvement, I’m in, jumping with boots first and asking questions later. Count me first in line. I live and breathe, my hearts beats for a project. I even dream in my sleep of. So, when the conversation turned to “New Powder Room” you could say I was enthusiastically ready. And I knew exactly what I wanted without having to do any research. I could start today! I am always totally ready. So here is what I did. Start to finish, four days.

Here are a few of ‘before’ photos. Please restrain any criticism, try not to judge, long over due, I know, but…well, life, you get it.

First the room was gutted. A trade expression for yanking out and trashing everything in a room. Forget sentiment. Giant Green Commercial Trash Bin In Driveway. Out. Gone. Done. Bye Bye.

New tile was laid. Grout to follow.

Drywall repair, skimmed and sanded.

Measurements and markings for Board and Batten trim. I wanted to give a small, simple (and not a very exciting) room a little personality.

Up goes the boards, vertical and horizontal and a small simple lip to cap it all off.

New fresh grout.

Finished floor.

Move the light fixture, patch and repair drywall. For the life of me, to this day, I still cannot understand why any light fixture directly over a sink would be off center. Who would do that? A nightmare I lived with every time I walked into this room. Designer personal problems.

A little primer and paint behind vanity and toilet.

Install vanity, top and connect plumbing. Much harder than it looks.

Sand drywall repair and connect new light fixture.

Caulk the space between wood trim and wall.

Prime all wall and trim.

Paint. I used Farrow and Ball 'Strong White' on all trim and space between trim and Benjamin Moore  'Stonington Gray' on wall above molding.

Move in ready!

Boots, off, and they all lived happily ever after. Well, until the next project...

Saturday, April 28, 2018



Consider this as a continuation of Pillow Paradise, 101. A basic lesson in pillow construction. A how to. The syllabus for this course: setting a zipper (the easy way) and (the correct way) and instruction to create a second “pillow pocket” to expand one’s knowledge and depth in the construction of custom pillows. Ah, there are those words that keep popping up…Custom Pillows. Custom, the ability to create something that is one of a kind and exclusively yours. Designed to fit in a specific space. Your space. Another way to spell you are home. 

This is what you will need-

1 Yard Fabric for Interior Pillow...Link here
1  Yard Fabric for Exterior Pillow...Link here
2  Yards  Decorative Ribbon...Link here
1 20” Zipper
20" Down Pillow Insert

Simply put, to set a zipper in a seam, you need four rows of sewing. 1, attach one side of the zipper tape to one side of the seam allowance. 2, attach the second side of the zipper tape to the second side of the seam allowance. 3, topstitch the first side of the zipper, 4 topstitch the second side of the zipper. Sounds easy, right? You can do this.

Cut two squares of fabric 20” x 20”. Cut one rectangle 20” x 3”.

Gently press the tape of the zipper to straighten. Take care not to iron over the zipper teeth, they could possibly melt.

Finish all edges with a tight zig zag stitch or overlock stitch.

Sew the small rectangle to the bottom of one of the 20” squares of fabrics with a 1” seam allowance. For the first 1 1/2" and the last 1 1/2" of the seam stitch with a close together stitch about 9 stitches per inch. For the middle of the seam allowance use a basting stitch. Long stitches. You just need to hold the fabric together here, once the zipper is set you will remove the basting stitches.

Press the seam open.  

Flip all the layers toward you as shown. Make sure the seam allowance is all by itself. Your first row of stitches will be on this side of the seam allowance.

Lay the zipper right (face) side down on the seam allowance. Center the top of the zipper about 1 ½” away from the edge. Pin only the zipper tape to the seam allowance, line the edge of the zipper tape to the edge of the seam allowance.

Put zipper foot on your sewing machine.

Start stitching the tape to the seam allowance with the stitches running down the middle of the zipper tape.

This is how your zipper should look at this point.

Place a pin at the start of the zipper and at the end of the zipper, both pins should be about 1 ½” from the edge as shown.

Topstitch through all the layers from pin to pin.

Flip the fabric (the 3” rectangle) over the large 20” to expose just the seam allowance of the bottom rectangle.

Pin the length of the seam allowance to the zipper tape.

Stitch the seam allowance to the zipper tape as close to the basting stitches as possible. Remove pins as you sew. Start and stop 1 1/2" from the sides of the pillow.

This is how your zipper should look.

Carefully remove the basting stitches and any tiny threads.

Topstitch the fabric as close to the zipper teeth as possible. You will have to gently guide or roll the fabric with your fingers to do so. The goal here is to have as little as possible of the zipper tape showing.

When your stitches get close to the zipper pull, stop, lift the pressure foot and push the pull past the point where you are stitching. Place the pressure foot down and continue stitching until you reach the top of the zipper.

Topstitch both ends of the zipper. I like to run a couple rows of stitching back and forth to secure the zipper.

Flip the pillow over and trim the excess zipper about ¼” from the topstitching. Any length of zipper can be used. I used a 22" zipper (that's what I had), even if your zipper is 20" a small amount will have to be removed. You do not want any length of the zipper to be stitched into the seam allowance.

Lay the pillow back on a flat surface right side showing. Lay the pillow front on top of the back, lining up at the bottom as shown.

Pin together.

Remove the extra fabric from the top.

Finish this edge.

Unzip the zipper about 5” to leave an opening to turn inside out.

Stitch all four sides.

At the corners, stop and turn and stitch two or three stitches, then turn and continuing stitching. This will give your pillow a little more of a square and fitted corner when finished.

Trim corners as shown.

Unzip the pillow. Press open seam allowances.

Turn right side out. Use a screwdriver, a pair of scissors or a point turner to gently push out the corners. Be careful not to push too hard and make a hole in the corner.

Press and stuff with a 20” down insert. Ta Da! Now, wasn't that easier than you thought?

Pillow Pocket

Cut one length of fabric 20” wide by 38” long.

Finish the two 38” edges.

Fold the fabric in half and pin as shown.

Stitch the two sides.

Press both seams open.

Turn the cut edge up ½” and press with an iron.

Turn this edge up 1” and press.

Measure and cut two lengths of ribbons 21” long.

Measure the fabric between the seams to find the middle. Place a pin.

Tuck one length of ribbon into the edge as shown. Pin.

Flip the ribbon over. Pin to the turned edge.

Repeat for the second length of ribbon.

Topstitch the turned edge all the way around, making sure the ribbon lays flat as you sew.

Fold the cut edge of the ribbon over ½” twice and pin.

Topstitch to finish edge.

Place your first pillow inside the pocket of your second pillow.

Tie a pretty bow or tie with a double knot.

One you can set a zipper in a seam, the pillow possibilities are endless. Whether it is just one pretty pillow for a special spot or all your nooks and crannies. Start decorative adventures here and create something beautiful.