DIY $3 Throw Pillow Insert

DIY throw pillow from $3 standard sized pillow

I tend to find throw pillow inserts a little bit overpriced for what they are just smaller square pillows. So when I found this $3 standard sized pillow at Big Lots (I hear you can find cheap ones at Walmart too) the other day, I decided that I was going to DIY my own throw pillow insert.

standard pillow

Step one: Measure shortest side of the pillow. If youre making a square pillow, this is going to be the length of the other seams.

Step two: Cut off one of the short end seams (if there is a serged seam, cut off that one).

measuring and cutting pillow

Step three: Pull out all the stuffing and put it somewhere safe for later use.

Step four: Turn pillow inside out and iron out the wrinkles. Make sure the seams are ironed flat.

emptied pillow with iron

Step 5: Measure up the long side of the pillow. If you want a square pillow use the measurement that you got in the first step. Add an inch or two for seam allowance. Tip: When measuring, dont measure from the end of the fabric, measure from the seam instead.

measuring pillow

Step 6: Mark your measurement (I used a silver sharpie, because no one is going to see it once it has a cover) and cut carefully along that line insuring that both sides of the pillowcase are lined up. Use pins to keep the fabric from slipping around if you need to.

cut pillow case

Now get out your sewing machine, and (optional) canine helper.

zuko with sewing machine

Step seven: With your pillow still turned inside out, pin the pillow about half way across, and then sew a seam halfway across the open top. Use a small stitch size.

pinned fabric

Step eight: With the top seam half way sewn, turn your pillow right side out, the excess seam allowance should fold in on its own. Now get out the reserved stuffing and start stuffing.

stuffing pillow

Step nine: Your pillow should look lumpy. Youre going to want to push the stuffing down as far as you can so that you have room to sew the top opening.

Lumpy Pillow

Step ten: zig zag stitch the opening, ensuring that the seam allowance in flipped inward.

zig zag setting

This is what the finished seam should look like. Its not the prettiest, but it wont be seen once you put a cover on it.

Finsished Seam

Final Step: Punch the crap out of your pillow, massaging the stuffing into the corners. Punch it, poke it, roll around on it, beat it against the floor, just keep going until the stuffing is evenly distributed. You could avoid this step to some degree if you have a serger or if you want to insert  a zipper in the seam, like they have on some premade throw pillow inserts.


And heres the finished product

finished pillow

Not too bad, right? Here it is beside one that I bought a few years ago.

two pillows

I think I like mine better, and I can guarantee you it was at least half the price. Now, to cover these suckers

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Weekend Finds aka Things that will be keeping me busy this Week

I went shopping on Saturday, and came home with a few things to keep me busy working on home projects this week.

This first one wont keep me busy, it just makes me happy.

I was kind of concerned that I wouldnt find a bathmat to go with my shower curtain after I passed on these two at Home Goods when I was in Phoenix.

I get panicky about spending money, and at $20 and $15 respectively, these kind of triggered my cheap ass to have a panic attack, so I left them on the shelf. Luckily a trip to Big Lots landed me this $7 bathmat that matches my shower curtain perfectly if I do say so myself.

bathmat and shower curtain

Now all I need to do is find some complementary towels and a few accessories (and clean and organize the space) and it will be perfect. Im still considering those Nate Berkus towels, btw, Im just hoping that I can catch them on sale. Again spending money makes me anxious.

Also found at big lots, this pillow. This $3 dollar pillow. Do you know how much throw pillow inserts cost? Well, theyre almost always more than $3 dollars. Do you know how easy it is to turn a standard sized pillow into a throw pillow insert? Super easy, and Ill be showing you how later this week.

pillow in progress

a sneak peek of the pillow in progress.

starfish drawer pull

Starfish drawer pulls to replace the boring ones that we have (Hobby Lobby  $2.50 each/ 50% off sale) . I had to get 2 regular stars, because we needed 12 knobs, and they only had 10 of these. Somebodies underwear drawer is going to be star spangled instead of nautical .

Chair foam

The biggest and bestest finds of the weekend were probably these two 4x22x22 foam squares. Ive had this wooden chair frame for over two years, and have always avoided buying foam for it because its so expensive. But I finally found foam for a decent price this weekend. Hobby Lobby (its the only craft store we have) normally sells them for $16.99, but they were on sale for 30% off and the cashier let me use my 40% off coupon instead of the sale price for one of them.  $22 for both not too bad. Im waiting on another 40% off coupon or a sale to buy the fabric. I also need to study every tutorial I can find on making box cushions, because I have a feeling there will be a significant amount of  cursing, throwing things, and maybe even some tears involved. I also need to go buy an electric bread knife to cut these things down to size.

That wood frame needs some lovin too, which may be another post in itself.

Now that you know what Im up to this week, what projects do you have in the works? Also, if you know how, can you come make two box cushion covers for me?



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Ive been out of town for the last 3 weeks, but Im back home now and ready to get back down to home related projects. I just have to get a few things in order first.

zuko in his kennel

Doggies have already adjusted to being back home, but those kennels need some assembling.

full dishwasher

I had the foresight to do all of the dishes before I left but not to put them all away. Whoops.

dusty window sill dusty floor

When I left, this place had just had a thorough scrub down. Unfortunately we live in a very dirty/dusty/windy town, and our windows and doors arent all that well sealed. Im constantly trying to keep the dirt under control, but three weeks with no maintenance and our windowsills and floors around the doors are filthy. Its really not helping my allergies/asthma at all.


Unpacking all of the clothes that I bought while I was in a place that actually had some decent shopping. (only one of those bags is mine, I didnt shop THAT much).


Gotta find space for all these gluten free foods that I brought back with me. Including the two huge bags of quinoa that I got as a belated birthday present (one from my dad, one from my stepmom). I can probably eat quinoa everyday for the next six months without having to replenish my supply.

table full of boxes

A table full of boxes, 3 of which are filled with surprise goodies that will soon be revealed.

phone booth


Hey look, something home decor relevant! The phone booth that I stole from my mother in law. Technically she was getting rid of it, and I needed it in my life, so she gave it to me which is also what happened with the three boxes of surprises.

The list of things that I want to do this weekend probably exceeds what can actually be done in one weekend, but a few things Im hoping to look for are: plants and a structure to protect those plants from the aforementioned wind, pillow inserts and pillow fabric, frames, lamp rewiring kits, lamp shades, a drill bit for metal, stacking baskets for our nightstands, window coverings, a big ole jar for my new stash of quinoa, and about a billion other things.

Im so excited to be home and able to work on my house again!

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White Walls Living Part 2


Lets pick up where we left off. Today Ive got some more inspiring images  of spaces that look great with white or off-white walls, for those who cant paint.

bold black and white living room

A striking black and white living room. Committing to this palette for one room is a bold decision, but this black, white, grey and occasional wood grain theme runs through the entire house. It works out very nicely. The site is not in English, but I believe this home belongs to a person named Lily. Click through to see the rest of the house (Google translated to English).

black and white striped chair in hallway

More black and white, but this time its just used and an accent. You can see more of Annabelle Kerslakes eclectic home on Design Sponge.

Isabel and Claire's Globtrotting apartment

Speaking of eclectic, head over to Apartment Therapy and have a look at Isabel & Claires [colorful] Globetrotting Apartment House Tour. Aside from one lovely grey wall, its a mostly white walled home.

grey couch with colorful pillowsHanne of babyramen reminds us that you dont need paint to bring  color into a room bright accessories like throw pillows can make a otherwise neutral room look more colorful.

A colorful living room from sunset magazine

This room is from Sunsets 2012 Idea House. White walls and still not boring.

gallery wall and grey couch

Another neutral pallet with pops of color in the art work (some of it homemade) and even a metallic pillow. From CecilieLykke (Google translated to English).

monochromatic living room

I really like this mostly monochromatic set up from ink and spindle. The mustard accents add just the right amount of color and interest.

white cubbies grey couch with white walls

Both of these are from photographer Kristofer Johnsson. His website is worth checking out, as most of the photographs in the interiors section are on a white background. I particularly loved these two because of how they incorporate antiques into more modern spaces.

Blog note: Ive been keeping the blogging to a minimum, because I was out of town for a few weeks. You can expect things to pick up next week. There will be lamp rewiring, picture hanging, curtain making or makeshifting, and all sorts of DIYing. If you want to keep up with me in the meantime, Im always active on instagram and twitter.

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Playing with Color Palette Generators for Decorating

Ive been thinking a lot about what colors I want to use in my house. For now Im just focusing on the living room. I currently have a dark grey couch in there, a black entertainment center, white walls and milk chocolate colored carpet Not a super interesting/fun combination. I do however have a pillow (that I made, and plan on making another with the same fabric) and two lamps that I know I want to use in that room, so I thought it would be fun to run the colors through a few color palette generators to get a better idea of what other colors might work in the room.

Pillow and lamp

On the left is the image of the pillow fabric, and on the right is one of the yellow lamps that I plan on rewiring on a background similar to the color of our sofa.

I can tell you right now that none of the pallet generators came up with a scheme I absolutely loved, but I did get some useful ideas to work with.

    css drive color palette

 CSS Drive Colors Pallet Generator

pictaculous color generator


patorjk color palettepatorjk: image to color palette generator

Kuler color palette generator

Kuler from Adobe. Go to Create>From an Image

genopal pic 2 color palette generatorGenopal Pic2Color

colr color palette generator

colorhunter color palette generator

Color Hunter

big huge labs color palette generatorBig Huge Labs Color Palette Generator

aminus3 and degraeve palettesleft: Aminus 3 Color Scheme Generator right: DeGraeve Color Palette Generator

palette that I created in photoshop

and finally, I made this one in photoshop using the eyedropper tool, and I only noticed after the fact that it looked very similar to the adjusted Kuler palette.

Obviously I plan on using more than five colors in my living room, but I actually found the color palette generators pretty helpful in getting an idea of what to look for in textiles and accessories (and maybe even a no damage wallpaper).

What do you think of the color generators? What about my photoshop made color palette? Are there any colors you think I should add or ditch?

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When You Cant Paint Part 2: Contact Paper Wallpaper


A couple of weeks ago I posted about creating removable, damage free faux wallpaper with washi or masking tape. Today were going to cover what you can do with a blank wall and a roll or two of contact paper. Like masking tape, contact paper can be used on walls without causing damage, which makes it another perfect alternative to painting or permanent wall paper.

Customizable Wallpaper

handpainted contact paper wallpaper

There is so much that you can do with a blank roll of contact paper and a little imagination. It can be painted, drawn on, stenciled and stamped, though I recommend doing this before you affix it to the wall, in case theres any bleed through. Theres a guest post on Apartment Therapy by Victoria Hudgins about how she created the wall paper pictured above.

Is that white background still to reminiscent of you plain white walls? Well than lets go in the opposite direction with black chalkboard contact paper.

chalkboard contact paper wallpaper

Added bonus, you can change the design whenever you feel like it. Jovana of photographybyjovana created a chalk art wall for her daughter with three rolls of chalkboard contact paper that she found on amazon.

If your  interested in a more adult look, take some inspiration from these chalkboard walls.

chalkboard wall with aquarium drawing

This aquarium chalkboard wall was created by flickr user bernielopes.

chalkboard wall with writing

Tumblr user Aufschnitt/ created this wall of encouragement/inspiration. Im a big fan of the wall of text. The same idea could be applied to a favorite song, poem, excerpt from a book or a few favorite quotes.

paint chip mosaic wall

Craftster user melissa! made this mosaic wall by gluing paint chip samples to contact paper and then applying the contact paper to her wall. You could achieve the same effect with any type of colorful or patterned paper if you dont happen to have 500 paint chips hanging around (and please dont go collect a bunch of paint chips from the hardware store just because theyre free those are meant for perspective paint buyers, not cheapo crafters).

If the thought of trying to attach whole 18×6 sheets of contact paper to a wall intimidates you, dont worry, this post isnt even half way over, and the rest of the projects involve working with smaller pieces that still give a wallpaper or paint like effect.

Stripes and Chevrons

black and white striped wall

This image comes from a New York Times article about young newlyweds who were looking to decorate their first place together on the cheap. They used vinyl wall stripes to define the dining area.

contact paper stripes

Jen of City Farmhouse also wanted striped walls without the permanence. She shows you how to do it yourself in this tutorial.

contact paper chevrons

For a slight variation on the stripe, Stephanie of Sabbe Interior Design decided to go with the ever popular chevron. She details how she made her contact paper chevron wall in this tutorial. Now if you can just find the appropriate ceramic animal head to add that finishing touch

woodgrain geometric wall

Were still on the chevron train, but this one has a twist. Its two tone faux bois! Theres not much of a tutorial for this one, but a few details are provided in this Apartment Therapy post. If you payed attention in geometry you should be able to figure this one out though, its just a bunch of parallelograms stuck together. If you didnt pay close enough attention in geometry class, then just go enlist the help of one of your math geek friends. You do have a math geek friend, right?

Polka Dots

At first polka dot walls didnt sound very appealing to me, but then I saw this

gold polka dots wallpaper

Joy of Oh Joy made over her office with a metallic contact paper polka dotted wall. I think I might be warming up to polka dotted walls.

polka dot nursery

Oh look, more shiny polka dots. This Modern, Whimsical and Mostly DIY Nursery  featured on Project Nursery still uses metallic polka dots, but it manages to create a very different look than Joys office by using smaller dots, and lining them up in straight rows.

Large mod dots wall

And still more dots, though not so shiny this time. Again Heather of Going Mod at Mod House Design, manages to create a very different look than the other two by using much larger dots placed very close together in rows that are nearly touching. You can check out her tutorial here.

colorful polka dot wall

I couldnt leave out this colorful and whimsical one from Darilyn of Pillow Mint. She painted the contact paper before cutting (or punching) out the dots. See her post for more pictures and details.

And The Rest

diamond wall and scalloped nursery


The first one is what Martha refers to as wall art. I think its meant to be a backdrop for wedding photos, but you could totally do it on a larger scale and cover an entire wall or even a room if your in the mood. [Instructions and diamond template]. The second image is of the contact paper scalloped border that Melissa Esplin created for her daughter, Penelopes nursery. [tutorial] I think it would also be cute to do it in grey, and make the scallops more irregular and cloud shaped, then randomly place some contact paper raindrops on the wall or maybe thats just me missing Seattle.

metalic triangle wall decor

I saved my favorite for last. If I try one of these in my own home it will likely be this one and/or the chalkboard contact paper. I literally spent hours trying to track down the source of this image, and from what I can tell it was uploaded directly to pinterest by Joanna Lynn Smith, so Im hoping that she is the originator of this project. If shes not, and you know who is, please let me know so that I can give proper credit. Check her pin for a brief description of how this wall was created, and admire the pretty that is metallic triangles lines up in little rows.

Have you tried any contact paper wallpaper projects? Do you plan to? Im always interested in how people work around the decoration limitation of renting or living in military housing, so if you have ideas, projects, pictures, etc. please send them my way.

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