Monday, March 19, 2012

Piddly Pillow Project

It's not news to any of you that I have dogs. What might be news, however, is that my dogs think they're people. Shocked? I didn't think so. When faced with the option of lying on the floor or snuggled into the couch, the couch wins 100% of the time. They're small, so I really don't mind them being on the couch, but what I do mind is that they have claimed my couch pillows as their own.

Because of this, my pillows are a wreck. And they are decorative, so they don't have a removable (read: washable) cover. What to do, what to do...

Never let it be said that I had a problem I didn't creatively try to fix.

So I pulled out my handy dandy sewing machine and went to work!

I wanted to save as much money as possible, so I decided to reuse the stuffing from the old pillows. This took FOREVER to re-fluff. I literally thought I would die at the ripe old age of 107 before I got it finished. But then my TV show ended and I realized I was actually almost done. Not nearly as bad as I thought after all! 

My plan (as always) was to take pictures along the process to show you exactly what I did. However, my desire to work uninterrupted outweighed my desire to have quality pictures, so all I have are these few snapshots that I took on my cell phone. 

I am now accepting applications for a live-in photographer to capture my every move as I work on a project. Or, we can just go with these cell phone shots and call it "art." 

Since I was recreating the pillows from some I already had, I did remember to take a "before" picture. I got the pillows all laid out, went to grab my camera, and this is what I saw when I turned around to take the picture. Now do you believe me about how much they LOVE pillows?

I had a flat sheet from a set we were given as a wedding gift. The fitted part ripped while we were trying to make the bed up after washing the sheets. Evidently that was not an appropriate time for us to test our tug-of-war skills. (um yes, we act like children sometimes) The sheet ripped apart halfway, so instead of throwing the whole set away, I saved the flat part to use for this project. This was cut into squares and sewn up to form the actual pillow part of my project. See?

I bought this fabric about six months ago intending to use it as curtains in our bedroom. Evidently it's important to measure your window height before you plan curtain panels. It's been stuffed on my shelf ever since.

Oscar wanted to help SO bad, so I let him hold one side of the fabric while I cut out the squares for the covers.

I sewed up the pretty fabric on three sides then inserted a zipper on the fourth, so the cover can easily be removed to wash. Hallelujah! No more unwanted doggie slobber on my pillows!

And here's the finished project!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The place where God speaks

I'm in a weird spot in life these days.

My absence from blogging lately is mostly because although I want to be real with you, I want to be an encouragement of sorts. There has been a whole lot that I could have said, but I desperately don't want to be a sinkhole of negativity. Nobody really likes a Negative Nancy, right?

Overall, I think I'm learning that life is spent more in "weird spots" than in normal, perfectly happy ones. You grow more when you're uncomfortable than you do when everything is flowing along smoothly. I never want to be okay with not growing and becoming stronger.

That being said, I'm extremely happy in my unhappiness. Clear as mud, yeah?

There is something I've been praying about for a long time. I'm not ready to share exactly what it is yet, but it's something that has caused me much discomfort over the last couple of months. It has robbed me of sleep and made me cranky at times. I've cried and I've wanted to scream out of frustration. And I've prayed. A lot.

The last several days, I've been trying to pray about it but just feel like I don't even had the words anymore. How do you pray when you've prayed everything you know to pray? When you're so tapped out mentally that you don't even want to think anymore?

Throughout my life, I've always had a place I could go to just be still and listen instead of blabbing away. To sit down with my prayer journal and just spill my heart out without holding back. To listen to music and just worship my Creator. In the past, I've been close enough to the edge of town (or lived in a small enough town...) that I could get in my car and just drive until there were no more distractions. Just me and God.

Since I've moved to the DFW area, I have realized that it is impossible for me to drive like that because I would have to drive for hours (literally) to get away from the distractions of the city. Also, there is a good chance I would wind up getting myself lost, and that totally defeats the purpose of having a quiet retreat. :)

There is a small "canal" across the street from our apartment complex. If you follow me on Facebook at all, I've referenced the canal and a certain doggy of mine taking a Superman dive into it after a duck the other day. *sigh* Well, they have planted cattails and scattered large rocks along the sides of it to try make it look nice, instead of just a drainage ditch. Much to my delight, one of the rocks hangs just over the edge of the water, and is a nice flat spot for sitting. I spent quite a bit of time there the other night. Despite the fact that they're building another apartment complex on the other side of the canal, and the fact that we basically live on the DFW airport runway (...or at least it sounds like it) I had the most amazing quiet time there.

I wrote in my journal a little bit, but mostly I just sat and listened. Have you ever experienced how calming the rippling of water is? How healing the wind is as it brushes tears off your cheek? How amazing it is to sit and observe the presence of a MIGHTY God, right in the middle of His creation?

I sat down on the rock that night feeling like a mental and emotional wreck, and stood up to leave feeling refreshed and peaceful. How thankful I am for my walk with the Great I Am!

So this is my place, where is your favorite spot to experience the presence of God?


Monday, March 5, 2012

Crafty Cone Trees

I am totally in love with those cone-shaped decorative trees that you see everywhere. So I set out to create them myself instead of forking over big bucks to buy them!

Like most craft projects, I started out at Hobby Lobby to buy the styrofoam cones to decorate the way I wanted. Have you ever seen how expensive they are??? Just the foam cone alone ranges from like $7 to $15 (ish) EACH!!!

I really don't get it. Isn't part of the point of crafting things yourself to help you save money? Aside from the fact that it's super fun, of course. Anyway, I wanted a set of 3 cone trees and there was NO WAY I would spend around $30 just for the base of my project.

Enter Pinterest. I know you've all heard of the site, because you are probably just as addicted as I am. Most of the time I don't even get around to pinning stuff because I get so enthralled in what I find there. Anyway, I found the idea on there to actually make the cone base for my trees using cardstock and a plastic cup instead of buying styrofoam. Brilliant! Eureka! Voila! You get the point.

I just happened to have a bunch of Red Solo Cup Blue Solo Cups in the very back of my pantry.  Cost: $0, essentially (The song which is now stuck in your head is just a bonus. You're welcome!)

During the Thanksgiving/Christmas season, several holiday card catalog sources sent us (my office) card samples a couple times a week. Naturally, I pulled all the samples out to keep before I threw the catalogs away.  Cost: $0 (Thank you, Galleria!)

Over a year ago, I was re-painting a room in our house, and bought a roll of "painting" paper. It was supposed to serve as sort of a drop cloth edger thing, I guess. Not really sure. Anyway, I thought it would look cool as the covering for my cones. Cost: $0 (for this project anyway)

I will warn you, doing the cones this way is NOT a project for the faint of heart! I did all three cones on different days, several days apart, because my fingers got so sore. It probably took about 2 hours just to make my paper "ropes" and then another hour or so to glue them on the cone form. Definitely well worth the effort, but not a quickie project by any means.

The cups I used were a little smaller than normal. I think the normal ones would probably be too big for this project.

I started by cutting the paper into approximately 1-1.5 inch strips.

Then painstakingly twisted each strip as tight as I could, without ripping the paper. I didn't want it to look completely uniform.

I used the cardstock to form a cone shape, then fitted it over the cup.

Once I had all the strips twisted into "ropes" I simply started as close as I could to the bottom of the cone and glued the rope around in small segments. This part takes quite a while, because you have to make sure the rope stays twisted and that you glue close enough to the previous row that you don't have any white space in between.

When I got to the top, I went around one more time, then tucked the end of the rope down through the hole in the top and glued it into place. This is what gave it the "finished" look on top. Then I took a brand new rope and went around the very bottom edge of the cone one more time, to give it some more sturdi-ness and to finish that edge as well.

And there you have it - Crafty Cone Trees! (They're really not crooked, it's just the way I took the picture. Photography is not my strong suit.)

At some point, I think I'll make another set that has a few more embellishments on it. For now, these go perfectly in my living room and I love them!