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.

zipper

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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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

Pictaculous

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

colr.org

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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I Love Lamp, Part 1

I dismembered a lamp today, and Ill admit that I had more fun doing it than any adult ought to.

yellow lamps

I bought these lamps awhile ago if two years can be considered awhile. I saw them at St. Vinnies, and I fell in love. That love only deepend when I was informed that it would only cost me $15 for the pair. The bases were ugly and the old yellowed wiring looked easily combustible, but I still needed them in my life. So I bought them, and then they sat in our junk room until we moved. When all of our stuff arrived at our new house, and I opened the box containing these lamps, I found that one had broken off its base. I would usually be pretty miffed by movers breaking my stuff, but I had always wanted to find a way to get the lamp body off of that ugly brass base, so they kind of did me a favor. Now if I could only find a way to break my other lamp in the exact same way .

broken lamp

This is what the broken lamp looked like before I dissected it with the enthusiasm of an 8 year old hacking apart a broken clock radio.

cutting top cord

First I detached the light socket and neck* from the rest of the lamp. There was a brief second where I worried that an unplugged lamp could still electrocute me and then I just got embarrassed for myself. * yes, those are the technical names, and yes, I did have to look them up.

Once the socket was removed it was easy to slip the lamp body off of the base. This is what was revealed.

Speaking of removing the body, the only reason the body became detached from the base was because a few pieces at the very bottom had chipped off (I found them rattling around inside the lamp). Im trying to figure out how to replicate this effect with the second lamp without totally destroying it. Any ideas on how to accomplish that would be greatly appreciated.

I was having a hard time figuring out how to remove the pipe from the base, so I decided to rip the paper off the bottom and see what I could find in there. Once I did that, the rest of the disassembly was easy. I just pulled the wire out of the pipe, and then out of the base itself. The pipe came out of the bottom as well.

all lamp parts

These are all the parts laid out. The wire and old socket will absolutely be trashed. The pipe seems like a necessity, so it stays. I havent decided yet whether or not to keep the neck and base parts. If I do, theyll need a make over, because I dont like the brass.

This last picture is totally unnecessary, I just really like the way that the lamp body looks without all of those extra parts.

I want to pick up some lamp rewiring kits this weekend, but I still have a few things to figure out:

1. How the hell do I remove that second lamp from its base without causing serious damage?

2. Do I paint the lamps or leave them yellow? Im leaning towards the option that requires less effort plus, I kind of like the color.

3. Should I try to work with the old bases, or find new ones? I would love to just go without a base, but I think the cord would keep the lamp from lying flat, and it would end up unstable and/or broken.

4. If I do stick with the old bases, what should I do with them? Obviously clean them and paint them, but do I try to make them look like another metal (silver, or maybe ORB) or do I go with a color?

Seriously, if you have answers to these questions, GIVE THEM TO ME! please and thank you.

And just a reminder: I switched over from wordpress.com to my own hosting, so please remember to subscribe to this blog, as I will be deleting the wordpress.com one in about a week. Also, thanks for caring enough about me and my house and my blog to actually read this stuff. It gives me warm mushy feelings.

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DIY coffee table inspiration

I am determined to DIY rather than buy a coffee table for our living room. I dont really like anything that Im seeing in stores (style or price), and honestly I think it would be much more fun to build my own. We dont have a proper wood shop or anything, but I think weve got enough tools for what I have in mind. These are the current contenders:

wire coffee table

This is by far the easiest option. Id replace the acrylic sheets with a custom cut piece of glass or wood, and maybe make it longer by adding another V shaped base. [instructions]

hairpin coffee table

Next up is a pretty easy option as well. Take a nice piece of wood and slap some hairpin legs on it. So simple and so perfect. [instructions]

herringbone hairpin coffee table

If I wanted to get a bit fancier, I could do a herringbone pattern for the table top. Oh how I love me some herringbone though Im not entirely sure that I have the tools and/or skills to pull it off. [instructions]

cb2 herringbone coffee table

I could also do something like this. Same table top idea, different legs. This one is actually from CB2, but I think I could make it as long as I could get the  herringbone top figured out. Legs like that cant be too hard to come by or make, right?

The next two are IKEA hacks. Ill be close to an IKEA next month, so I could conceivably pick up any needed parts.

lerberg leg coffee table

Easy option this one is just a board mounted on some Lerberg trestles.  [source]

concrete coffee table

Finally, and this one may currently be my favorite, is a concrete topped coffee table. Ive never made a mold for or poured concrete before, but my best friend has, so hopefully she could talk me through it if we decide on this one. The base is an IKEA Klubbo. [instructions]

I probably wont get around to starting on this for at least another month, so I may end up finding even more options by then, but whats your favorite of the ones that Im currently considering?

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The Sofa Saga Part 2 (how to replace karlstad legs)

As I mentioned in The Sofa Saga Part 1, I wasnt loving those legs. They looked cheap and IKEA-y.

bulky ikea legs

Altering or replacing karlstad legs for a sleeker, sexier, less IKEA look is by no means an original idea.  It’s been done here, here, here, here, here, and here, and probably by hundreds of other people. There are even companies that make better looking replacements for IKEA legs such as Pretty Pegs, and Uncle Bobs Workshop. The latter makes replacement legs specifically for the Karlstad, and I would have seriously considered them if we didnt need 8. 8 x $9+ = too much for me to spend in addition to already buying the damn couch. Luckily Lowes offers cheaper options. We found these for less than $3 each.

unstained new leg

The other supplies we needed included mounting plates (less than $2.00 each). There was a choice between flat and angled, we choose flat (or as it says straight)

top plate

Stain love me some golden pecan (I think this little jar was about $7, and we barely made a dent in it)

supplies not pictured: a brush made for stain ($5?), clean cloths (free), masking tape (cheap), and a cardboard box (free). Howard Feed-n-Wax is optional, but I already had some lying around, so I figured, why not?

Step 1: Make sure that your replacement legs are roughly the same size as the originals.

side by side legs

Step 2: Tape over the metal part of the leg. I did the blue ones thats why theyre so much prettier.

taped legs

Step 3: Stab the screw end of the leg into a cardboard box so that its standing up straight-ish.

legs stuck in box

Step 4: Apply stain according to manufacturers instructions. I think we may have actually failed at that because Im pretty sure we were supposed to be going with the grain, but it all worked out so who cares?

Step 5: Wait desired amount of time, and then wipe off excess stain. Our container said to wait anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes depending on desired color. We waited 5.

wiping stain

Step 6: Wait again, follow manufacturer instructions. Ours said to wait at least 8 hours for stain to dry.

(Optional) Step 7: Apply wax/polish/some type of sealant. With the Howards, you soak a clean cloth in the wax, wipe it on, wait 20 minutes, and then buffer it off. Easy peasy, and it smells like oranges.

howard feed n wax

Step 8: Remove the cushions and flip your couch over. Make a cushion fort if you feel so inclined. Because our sectional is such a beast, we ended up separating it into its three sections to make it more manageable.pillow fort

Step 9: Remove original legs. Just use the same tool you used to screw them in.

removing old legs

Step 10: Remove plastic mounting plate. We used a flat head screw driver, and it was really easy. In these pictures my husband is working from the bottom, but I found it easier to work from the corner with the hole in it. There are no staples up there, so the screwdriver just slides right in.

removing plastic top plate

TA-DA!

Step 11: Attach metal mounting plates with given screws. My husband did all of these, but I believe he tried to line the middle up over the original screw hole.

mounted top plate

Step 12: Screw in much better looking legs

screwed in new leg

Step 13: Flip that thing back over, reassemble if necessary, throw the cushions back on, and admire your new and improved couch.

couch with sexy new legs

before and after leg comparison

Side note: We can keep the dogs off the couch, but we apparently cant keep the dog hair off the couch. Dog hair dominates our lives!

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The Sofa Saga Part 1

We tossed our old couch before we PCSd back in June, because to put it nicely, the thing was a piece of shit. We bought it new for about $300, which probably tells you about how well made it was. We got a good 2 years use out of it, but by the time we said buh-bye it was covered in stains, and one of the springs had popped and would poke you in the butt whenever you sat down.

Once we finally arrived at our new duty station (almost 7 months after we departed our old one), my first house related priority was to find a new couch. I had a price range in mind (originally $700, but I bumped it up to $1000), and a general idea of what I wanted (large sectional, not overstuffed, preferably with a mid century modern vibe, and that would actually fit where we needed it), but I was having a really difficult time finding something that met all of those criteria. Mostly because sectionals are freaking expensive! There was one that I knew I liked, the Karlstad from IKEA, but were about 8 hours from the nearest IKEA, so that didnt seem like a viable option.

karlstad stock image

But then something funny happened, I spent a month using an air mattress as living room furniture, and my search for a suitable sofa continued to disappoint, so I began to reconsider the Karlstad. We could drive to Denver or Dallas, but wed have to factor in not only the cost of the couch, but also the cost of gas for a not very fuel efficient truck, plus a nights stay in a hotel. That or wed have to suck it up and pay $350 for shipping. After a little mathing, we decided that a voyage to the great Swedish super store was going to cost us just as much money, and way more effort than just ordering it online. So we did. We paid $350 for shipping. I have never paid that much for shipping before, and I probably never will again. But to be totally honest, even with shipping costs, this sofa was a great deal. I do have some complaints to make about IKEAs shipping department (but not the delivery guys, they were great), but Ill save that rant for another day.

Our IKEA delivery finally arrived on Feb 26th (after ordering it on the 6th but I said I wasnt going to get into that). It arrived about 10 minutes after my husband left for work. I promised him that I wouldnt try to assemble it without him because 1. Ive had a recent streak of bad luck when it comes to assembling and or not breaking things, and 2. Im tiny and clumsy and would most likely end up in the emergency room. But I only promised that I wouldnt assemble it I didnt say anything about unpacking and roughly arranging it. This is what our place looked like when he got home for lunch that day. (I recovered everything in plastic to keep the dogs away). Once he headed back to work, I took a very long nap, because couch unpacking is apparently quite exhausting.

karlstad not yet put together

When he got home from work that night we assembled the couch. There are no assembly pictures because, well, I was kind of too busy assembling.  I did however get pictures of the finished project the following day.

karlstad constructed

(Yes thats the mindy project on TV.)

anyother view of our new couch

I LOVE this couch. Its the perfect size, and its surprisingly comfortable. The only thing Im not in love with are those cheapo looking IKEA legs, but as of this writing weve already taken care of that. We stole the ideas of many a genius IKEA hacker, and swapped out those blocky legs for something a little more sexy. Details to come in The Sofa Saga Part 2

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