One of the easiest ways to refresh your space is to bring in new accessories in the form of pillows, and one of the least expensive ways to do that is to sew them yourself. While I usually prefer envelope style pillow cases (because they're easy to wash), they can be a little more intimidating to make—if you're still figuring out how to work the back-stitch button on that sewing machine you got for Christmas. Below are two simple pillow styles that you can customize according to your taste and size preference as well as use to flesh out all the empty corners of your couch.
1. Supplies: 1/2 to 1 yard of each fabric you'd like to use for your pillows as well as sharp scissors, straight pins, a ruler, a sewing machine and thread in coordinating colors. To add pom-poms you'll want yarn, cardboard, embroidery needle, embroidery floss, pom-pom maker (or use cardboard), pillow inserts in various sizes. 2. Pre-wash and iron your fabrics. Choose one or two prints for your circle pillow that coordinate and lay them on top of each other with right sides facing each other. Place your pillow insert on top and cut an extra 1" around the circumference of your insert. This will keep it from being too tight when you add your pom-pom. 3. Pin your pieces together and stitch 1/4" away from the edge all the way around leaving about 7" from where you started. This is your opening for the insert. 4. Carefully iron the opening seams back with a slightly rounded edge. This will help immensely in keeping it's shape as you hand-stitch it together. 5. Cut little v-shaped notches every 3 to 4" around your circle to help it curve neatly when turned right side out. Be sure not to cut past your seam though. 6. Turn right side out and add your insert. Stitch the opening closed using a hidden stitch. 7. Make two pom-poms of equal size and use the long ends that hold all the little strands together to create a knotted loop. With a threaded embroidery needle and a large knot on the loose end, stitch down through the middle of the pillow and press through to the other side. Loop your needle through the knotted loop of the first pom and then stitch back through to the first side and loop through the other pom. Repeat this twice and then, holding the knotted loose end firmly, pull the thread, so it's taut and creates a pull in the center of the pillow. Knot the ends of your embroidery thread together and trim the thread and excess yarn. 8. Fluff your pillow and enjoy it's charm. The square version is even more simple and can literally be finished in one episode of New Girl.
1. Supplies: 1/2 to 1 yard of fabric depending on the size of your pillow insert. I always measure the length of my pillow and then add about 1" to get my fabric length and width (if it's a square pillow). This insert was 18" x 18" so I measured out two cuts of 19" x 19" fabric. You'll also need sharp scissors, your pillow insert, a sewing machine, an embroidery needle and thread. 2. Stitch all the way around the pillow being sure to start 3" away from a corner and stopping about 3" away from the opposite as shown. Leave enough room for your insert to go in without having to hand-stitch those corners. Iron back the open seams. 3. Turn right side out and press the edges flat. Insert your pillow. Stitch close using the same invisible stitch. 4. Place behind your circle pillow for a happy little corner.When choosing coordinating fabrics, I suggest sticking to a color palette of 3 to 5 colors. Although I used patterns exclusively for these pillows, they all work together, because they all work within the limited palette of black, white, blue and green. If you're going for a lot of prints you're going to want to vary the print size. I chose two large, bold prints for my larger pillows and smaller prints for my smaller pillows. I also chose to mix florals with geometric patterns to keep things modern but playful.I can play up the granny-chic vibe by switching things around a bit and layering two florals with a simple geometric pattern, a solid, or another floral.I can also flip my circle pillow around and pair two geometric patterns for a completely different look. Versatility is one of my favorite elements of design, because I feel like I can easily refresh my space without having to start all over again. Sometimes all it takes is rearranging, pairing something new together, or an afternoon at your sewing machine. xo. Rachel
Starburst mirrors are so chic in metallics and I'm really loving gold accents lately. I wanted to create something for our bedroom that replaced an old art piece that wasn't really working and that also added more light to a dark corner in that space. I kind of held my breath while I was working on this, because I honestly wasn't sure if it was going to look really handmade or not. I was thrilled with the end result once I had it hung. It's just become of of my favorite finished projects!
1. Supplies: 1 pack of contractor shims, 12" diameter circular cut of wood (found at Lowe's), 14" circular mirror (found at Michael's), gorilla glue, hot glue gun and glue (not shown), two clamps or heavy books, hook for back of mirror, primer and spray paint in your choice (I used a standard primer, and I recommend Valspar's Metallic paint for a great top coat), painter's tape and paper to cover the mirror when you spray, cardboard to keep your workspace safe, hammer for attaching hook to wood. 2. First hammer your hook to the back of your wood about 1" below the edge. Then generously spread gorilla glue around the opposite side of your wood and center it on the back of your mirror. You should have about 1" overhang from your mirror. 3. Split your shims. I just stepped down on the small part so that the outer edge of my foot was centered on the shim and pulled up. The shims usually split in the same natural spot giving me one shorter and one longer piece. Some pieces were a clean snap, and others were a bit splintered. Trim the splinters down with scissors or by scraping them on the ground. Sort into two piles—one short and one long. If you get medium sized pieces, make a pile for them. This will help when you're gluing them on. 4. Start gluing the shims down to the back of the mirror with the splintered pieces facing in, so they won't show. I suggest gluing down your shorter pieces first almost spaced evenly around the mirror and then adding longer sizes on top of them. This will look best when you have it hanging. Fill in the gaps so that there are 2-3 pieces layered as shown above. 5. Your back side will look like this when you're finished. Kind of messy but it won't be seen. Make sure your shims don't reach higher than 3 layers or they'll cause the mirror to be lopsided when it hangs, as it won't sit flush with the wood backing. You can extend shorter pieces out so long as there isn't a hole where the splintered end will show through from the front. 6. If you'd like more of a beach vibe, paint about 1/4 or 1/3 of the shims white or some other color before your glue them down and spread them out. 7. Tape some paper down on top of your mirror and carefully cover the edges with painter's tape. Don't cover your shims or they'll have bare spots when you spray paint. Go for an all white vibe with primer and a layer of white for a crisp look. 8. Or add a metallic for something warmer. I love the way the Valspar metallic ended up, because it's so thick and really pigmented to shine. Remove your tape after it's completely dried and hang carefully. NOTE: Use caution when flipping or hanging your mirror as the shims may be easily knocked off if not secured well. It ended up being about 26" in diameter which makes it plenty substantial to hang on a wall by itself without feeling like it's floating. It would look lovely over a mantle or above an end table in your living room. Try it without splitting your shims to get an even larger finished piece. It's another inexpensive way to brighten your home on a budget! -Rachel
Sometimes you need a little extra storage in a room. Going vertical can help maximize space but it can be hard to find a bookshelf or cart in the specific dimensions your space requires. My favorite solution is to build something myself! You can use the steps in this tutorial to create a short end table, a medium cart, or a tall bookshelf in a variety of widths and depths. Your only limitations are the pre-cut wood (if you don't own your own tools) and plated slotted angle sizes available to you. I built my cart knowing I'd probably use it in a few different rooms in the future, because we tend to move a lot. I used 3 ft. plated slotted angles and cut a 6' board into three equal pieces. There's plenty of space between the shelves, so in the future, if I want to add another shelf, I can just get another piece cut and evenly space the two in the middle.1. Supplies: 4 - plated slotted angles measuring 1-1/2" - 1/2x3', 1 - 1"x12"x6' piece of pine, 1 - 1"x3"x36" piece of wood (or scrap wood), 4 - 3" casters (2 of them should lock), 24 flat phillips screws 14x1-1/4, drill and 1/8 drill bit, handsaw, wood glue, clamps (not necessary), medium and light grade sandpaper, yardstick, pencil, cardboard, spray paint and primer if applicable. Note: You want screws that are short and have big heads. If you have a hard time finding them use washers in between the screw and the hole in the metal. 2. Ask to have your 1"x12"x6' board pre-cut into three equal pieces in the store if it's available. This will ensure even cuts. Then use your handsaw to cut four rectangles measuring 1"x3"x4". Sand each piece with your medium sand paper and then smooth grades to ensure you won't get splinters. 3. Glue each small piece of wood to the corners of one of your shelves. Make sure the edges are flush. Clamp in place or place a heavy book on top of them as they dry. 4. Leave it for about 10 minutes and then screw your casters in place—one on each small piece of wood as shown. Make sure they're consistently placed on all four. 5. If you're going to paint your wooden pieces but not your slotted angles, tape off your casters and then spray paint all of your wood according to manufacturer's directions. Let them dry before your proceed. If you plan on spray painting it all the same color, do so once it's completely assembled. 6. Lay your base on it's edge and place a slotted angle as shown on the bottom corner. Mark and drill. Repeat for each corner of each piece of wood. 7. Carefully screw each slotted angle on starting with the back two sides and working your way around. Note: Your screws may run into each other if they are too long so be sure to get get short screws with wide heads. I used the screws shown above and only had a little bit of a run in between them in each corner.
I love a touch of industrial in every space to toughen up the girly vibe that I lean towards. In an all white kitchen, I think bare wood and silver would look great. It's minimalistic and fresh but can be a bit unfinished looking to some. Here's an example of how your shelving unit could look painted all one color. I chose Krylon Italian Olive for my shelf, because I love the industrial look paired with an industrial color. It reminds me of Army green. I then used it to display some of my favorite things in a spot in our dining room. I styled it with bronze, black, white, and wood accents for fall but could easily incorporate a vintage fan, some cameras, a few plants, or layered prints for other seasons. My favorite kind of furniture is versatile, so I'm really happy with how this turned out. I can see it being put to work in Sebastian's room someday or repainted white or gold to fit changing tastes down the road. The best part is that it was still more affordable than buying a pre-made steel shelving unit. I love when projects save me money! -Rachel