Fall Pillows

Hey guys!

I have a confession to make: I’ve been slacking. Somehow I haven’t felt very creative lately. Work is nuts, and I’ve been in a bit of a depression over some hearing issues I’ve been having that frequently make singing and even talking uncomfortable. However, my husband pointed out to me recently that if I can’t sing and do all the theatre-y things that keep me sane right now, maybe I need to channel the energy into another creative endeavor. So, last Friday, that’s what I started doing.

I’ve always made fun (as in, poked fun at, not making people cry) of people who go all out decorating for each season. I have a couple aunts who do that, and I give them a hard time about all the RubberMade boxes full of seasonal decorations they own. That said, I’ve always loved going to their houses during the seasons for which they decorate; color me hypocritical. And, as my son grows older and starts to love holidays, I’m starting to feel like maybe they were onto something with the whole “making the house look special” thing. My kid’s only little once, and last night, he wanted to put up the “feefeeshree” (that’s Christmas tree for people who don’t speak gibberish). So, fine, you adorable aunt creatures. You win. I’m in.

That said, I despise the hullabaloo about “decorations”. I hate the stores that sell Christmas decorations in September. I get mad that people are conned into purchasing corn husks at $15 per clump (is that even the right terminology?).

This shit pisses me off.

That up there? That’s not a natural birch pole. Or rather it is, but where I come from, that’s a freaking branch. (Side note: I love that you can order it online and pick it up in the store…as opposed to picking it up in your yard.)

So, in an effort to do what home bloggers like to call “nesting,” including “warming up the space with texture” and “coziness”, I set out on Friday to make some fall-ish pillows for our bed. I should take this moment to say that when Peter came home and asked me what I had done that afternoon, I said, “I made new throw pillows for the bed.” Having just come from the bedroom, he said, “Our bed?” To which I responded, “Yes, our bed.” He said, “Today? Like they’re in there right now?” And I said, “Yes, right now.”

He paused. And he said, “I would never have noticed.” But upon further inspection, he did choose the herringbone pillow as his favorite.

I think the not noticing came partly from my color choices. I’d had some pretty pillow covers I made from napkins I bought on sale from Anthropologie on the bed since May or so, but I decided to go more neutral and get some cozy flannel material this time around. I still have a couple to make, and I’m hoping to liven it up with a bit of color.

The materials I chose: a gray and white plaid flannel, a navy and dark green plaid flannel, a grey herringbone flannel, a cream cotton with a mudcloth pattern in blue, and charcoal corduroy for the backs of the pillows.

On Friday, I made two pillow covers (covers only– I don’t have the storage space for actual full-on pillows). First, using this tutorial for creating continuous bias tape, I made piping from the herringbone flannel.

Then, I made an envelope pillow cover for the pillows I already had on the bed using that piping.


I went ahead and made a pillow cover from the grey plaid the same way, just without piping. Here’s the look so far:


I made the two pillow covers on the right, but the navy one on the left is a navy pillow I bought at HomeGoods last year. I was a little disappointed with how the herringbone pillow on the right read from a distance. It’s a really nice pattern, but it’s so small that you can’t tell it’s herringbone (my current pattern obsession) from the doorway. Oh, well. Lessons in home decorating learned.

I’m about halfway done with creating pillow covers for the bed (I know, that’s a lot of pillow covers, but I’m practicing and they’re fun and I like lots of pillows). I like that the neutral pillows can be spread all over the house once I tire of them all being on the bed. The grey herringbone will probably travel upstairs to the guest bedroom.

Making my own “warming up the house” decorations for this fall and winter is a bit of an attempt to walk the walk; I do want to have a warm and cozy house for the winter. I do want to make the kind of home my family and I love coming home to. I do enjoy mixing patterns and colors and fabrics. I don’t enjoy going out and buying thing after thing after thing to try to make that home what I want it, and I really get frustrated with the pressure to buy trendy items that make my home stylish.

So I’m going to try to make what I can this year and see where I get. I have no talent for this kind of thing; I think I am able to think in big pictures when it comes to my house, but the idea that I need to have accessories that get switched out in appealing ways is a bit overwhelming. But others do it; so can I! In a few years, I’ll have the “seasonal decor” thing down, and my son will remember a sweet, cozy home from his childhood and I’ll remember spending my time creating the home we love on a budget we can handle with the right amount of stuff so we don’t have to get a storage facility. 😉

Happy fall, guys! I’ll try to get back next week with a finished set of bed pillows.


Textiles: My Personal Weak Spot

Shew, it’s been a while. Honestly, we just haven’t been doing THAT much on the house in the last month or so. Peter and I both work in academia, and once that school year gets going…all bets are off for a while.

I’ve been trying not to purchase things for the house lately; you know how sometimes you just reach critical mass and you start looking around for things you could simplify instead of complicate? I think I reached that over the summer and have been trying to hold off on purchases I’ve pondered for a while.

We did buy a rug. Our sweet old lady dog Maggie, who passed away early this year, had ruined a cheap Lowe’s rug that was under our bed, protecting our feet from the cold, old hardwood floors of a 1900 house.

Poor Miss Maggie: Loved Pete, Destroyed Rugs.

I had tried to fix it with a carpet cleaner, and then a carpet shampooer, but ultimately, we just needed a new rug. After searching, and searching, and searching, we finally both settled on this one in grey from Rugs USA. It was simple, natural fiber, the right size. We bought it and put it in our room and it looked lovely.


It was pretty and simple and felt great under my feet. And it stayed there approximately 4 hours.

Our other old lady dog, Dixie, has a habit of rolling around like a maniac on the floor after she eats. YOU GUYS, SHE’S JUST SO HAPPY. So of course, because this was a woven rug, she created a whole bunch of pulls, 85% of which I could fix. She sleeps on her own bed in our bedroom, and I couldn’t stomach the thought of locking her out when she’s been allowed to sleep in there for 10 years…so up it went into the guest room, which is now really, super cozy. Seriously, you should come stay with us. Enjoy the rug.

Miss Dixie: Different Tactic, Still Destroys Rugs.

So basically, we still have no rug and I’m waiting until I feel a sufficient amount of time has passed before I try again. I’ll be finding something that’s tufted this time.

One thing I’ve noticed about myself lately is I have a thing for textiles. Don’t get me wrong, I like choosing paint colors, I LOVE case furniture, and dishes and stuff are alright, but I think in the home decor (and really even just general life) department, my first and truest love is with cloth. I genuinely like rug shopping, which is not something I can say about car shopping. Or cookware shopping. Or television shopping (ugh, the worst, I had a anxiety attack in a Best Buy once).

I like natural fibers and lots of texture. I find myself drawn to cotton and seagrass and wool. I visibly shudder when I touch a throw blanket thinking it should be cotton only to find out it’s acrylic. I think I caught myself saying, “Nope” out loud the other day when I did it at TJ Maxx. I spent way too much money on a new quilted blanket from Schoolhouse Electric (seen above on the bed) because it was light and 100% cotton and had a pretty, simple pattern on it.

I recently bought this beautiful scarf from a seller on Etsy because it was cotton and silk and hand block printed and naturally dyed and goes with everything I own because I own almost exclusively grey and navy blue things.

I NEEDED it to go with my navy dress, my grey cardigan, and my navy sandals. Duh.

I’m beginning to understand, too, how people can end up spending a fortune on fabric for projects they may or may not eventually make. I made a couple baby blankets for friends and had so much fun picking out materials.


I’m not even kidding, I also bought that Narwhal fabric in white. Just because.

I’ve got some plans (and have bought the material) for flannel pillows for our bed this winter, so I’ll be trying to do some sewing soon, both to practice and just because I like to change things up.

I think I’m gonna have to come up with a storage solution for all of this someday. Good thing I’ve got a husband who builds things…

You guys who sew– is this a problem for you, too?? Do you binge buy fabric without a set-in-stone project in mind?