"Handmade (Not Homemade)" describes the way this Denver blogger approaches her many projects in life: creating, inspiring, loving and exploring. Living life to it's fullest requires more than a rag-tag assortment of homemade theories and thrown-together decisions. But the goal is not perfection, for handmade items and actions have a slightly imperfect organic charm.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Fun playroom pillows

Warning: this is not a tutorial. Why not? The process to make these fun playroom pillows became so long and drawn out they I became frustrated and stopped taking photographs. I changed my mind (part of the design process) too many times and there were too many problems* that I ran into while making these pillows to keep track of the real steps.

I guess I made them sound hard, but actually, these pillows were fairly easy to make, and turned out much better than I originally expected. I designed them to be fun and kid-like, since they will live in the "playroom." But they are also sophisticated and chic enough since that room is also our family room, and where we watch TV and hang out.

Here's a quick rundown:
  • make pillow fronts by using some sort of patchwork pattern in several coordinating fabrics (I made my own pattern)
  • find images you would like to applique to the pillows, re size if necessary
  • cut them out of a coordinating felt fabric and applique them to the pillow front
  • find some coordinating trim for the edges, and sew it all together when you put the backs on the pillows

I used an envelope closure on the back of my pillows, so they are really pillow "slipcovers" and can be removed very easily. There are no buttons or a zipper, just overlapping fabric.

So here they all are! I chose animal images for the pillows. Elephant, lion, rhino and giraffe. I hope  Wyatt has fun learning all the animal noises later, although I must admit that I have no idea what sound a giraffe makes, if any!

*So, not to dwell on it, but here is a list of "problems" I encountered during the two-month(!!!) process of making these pillows:
  • chose fabric and made 3 of the 4 patchwork pillow fronts
  • decided I hated them because they looked too country-crafty
  • got upset that I had spent money on fabric that I now hated
  • abandoned the project, while still dwelling on it
  • solved the "country-crafty" problem by coming up with the idea of the chic silhouettes a la a Christmas Anthropologie pillow I remember seeing
  • bought felt for the appliques and chose my images
  • decided to take one of the 3 completed pillow fronts with me to the paint store to choose a new coordinating paint color for the family room, apparently losing the pillow front in the process
  • spent 2 weeks looking for the missing pillow front and/or waiting for it to reappear
  • decided to just go buy more fabric since I didn't have enough to complete a total of 4 fronts
  • saw that my favorite fabric store (and the only one in town that sells these prints) was sold out of some of the fabrics
  • sulked for 2 more weeks
  • was in the parking lot of a TJMaxx Homegoods store and saw what looked like a new quilting store
  • went into quilting store on apparently their 4th day open and thought I had stepped into heaven, bought additional coordinating fabric that I loved more than the original fabrics
  • sewed the pillow fronts and appliqued the animals
  • went to the store to get ric-rac trim to match the felt animals
  • discovered neither JoAnn's nor my favorite local place sells ric rac that color
  • decided to make coordinating piping myself, bought all the supplies
  • got home and could not find my zipper foot (an essential tool in making piping)
  • discovered that JoAnn's also does not sell zipper feet
  • had to find a little Vac & Sew place to get a new zipper foot
  • about 3 feet into making the piping, ran out of matching thread
  • got matching thread and finally finished

But I love them so much and I am so proud of them, that I think all the trouble was worth it!

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