Posts Tagged ‘home’

Sewing: Body Pillow


Time is ticking on this baby bomb. I’m getting bigger and more uncomfortable by the minute. It’s not a complaint, just a fact of life when growing a human. Sleeping has been particularly tricky with this baby as I find myself waking up on my back multiple times a night.


I needed something to give me more back support while I was sleeping on my side, so I thought about buying a body pillow. Then Chris reminded me that we have a ton of memory foam just lying around that I’ve been hoarding for some undecided future project. BOOM. Done. I made myself a body pillow.


I ended up rolling the foam like a crepe (or burrito?), measuring and sewing two pillow cases for it. The interior case is just to protect the raw foam from drool or any other liquid that may come in contact with it (via my disgusting – but adorable – kids or me). The second case is decorative, made from amazing fabric* that I’ve had in my stash for about a year. I fell in love with the print, but couldn’t think of something awesome to use it for.


I boxed out the bottom of the case and made a simple drawstring for the top to keep everything in place. It weighs about 15 pounds and it’s a beast. We took it on a weekend family reunion vacation. It was brilliant in the car, both kids could cuddle and sleep with it. It also served as the perfect separator to keep Felix and Penelope from brutalizing each other in the back seat. HOWEVER, it was a little too big to sleep with.

I haven’t had much time to alter the design much, but I just plan on taking everything out and shaving off about 12 inches of the roll of memory foam. I think that’ll do the trick.

*Fabric provided by Modern Yardage. Check out the amazing collections available here.

Zero Budget Project: Penelope’s Studio


For Penelope’s birthday, Chris and I wanted to give her something that would make her squeal. She is obsessed with her art supplies and crafting. Most days it’s all over the kitchen table, pantry, floor, counter tops and couch. She just spreads her artistic love all through the house.


It’s great, but I want to channel it somewhere that I can close the doors and ignore it. I also wanted the space (and flooring) to be utterly indestructible to her glues and glitters. She thinks my studio is so cool, I wanted to give her one of her own.


The downstairs toy room was out (too much soft carpet down there). My studio was definitely out!

We have this utility closet that we don’t really use that efficiently upstairs just next to my studio. It has washer and dryer hookups, but we have a laundry room downstairs instead. We had a few random boxes and things (above) that could be easily organized elsewhere, so I made this space Penelope’s.


It’s the perfect size for her and the tile floors allow for easy clean up. As far as the cost and logistics of making this space hers, here was the breakdown:

  • tables: $50, Ikea
  • chairs: already on hand
  • shelving and brackets: $16, Ikea
  • containers: already on hand (Pink: $5, Michael’s | black: $3.99, Ikea)
  • frame for her sign: $5, Ikea
  • flat art storage: already on hand
  • filing cabinet: already on hand
  • magnets: gift from LivyLove


Of course, while I was at Ikea, I wandered through their art supplies and picked up about $40 worth of supplies for her as well. Who knew Ikea had such awesome art supplies for kids?


The top shelf is still a dedicated space for the drill, light bulbs batteries and misc cleaning supplies. I’m thinking the above space needs an overhaul as well.


With the open containers, Penelope can move them and clean up easily. And she’s pretty good about keeping things clean. So far.


I finally found a use for those tins I bought on impulse by way back. This one holds chalk, the other holds her glitter pens.


My mother-in-law sent Penelope a bunch of sweet supplies for her birthday like floral fabric tape, pebble crayons, twig pencils and loads of paper. What a nice grandma. Now she can use these in her own way and not worry about me nagging to clean up.


The metal cabinet is perfect for displaying her favorite pieces before storing or framing them.


It’s really a great space for her. She can do whatever she wants in that space and I can close the doors at the end of the day and ignore it all!

Did you have a creative space just for you growing up? Will you or have you done this for your own kids?

Inexpensive Minimal Gallery Wall



I’ve got another installment of the great Zero Budget Project. I don’t know why I’ve been dragging my feet on styling our bedroom. It’s not like it took that long or wasn’t fun to do. I guess I just needed to channel the right creativity.


I walked past these ribba frames while on a routine run to Ikea. They were $1.99 – and that spurred an idea. What if I did an entire wall out of these awesome cheap frames? I think the best part about these frames is that they’re an inch and a quarter deep. They don’t look as cheap as they are. So for just over $20 I was able to decorate this wall. Easy peasy.


It took a measuring tape, a level and a pencil. I measured out the width of the wall and graphed out where each piece should lie. It worked out to 10 inches apart. I went through old artwork and cropped down the pieces that would work (really only taking the pieces I liked that were just about 5×7). I had a few holes in my 11 piece series so I looked through Penelope’s stash and made a few new pieces as well.


Curating, prepping, cleaning, painting and hanging artwork took a few hours. All the while Chris was MIA, it was fun to reveal the newly cleaned and decorated space to him. Making him excited about our space really makes my efforts worth it.


The ribba frames come with these pre-cut mats, I didn’t use any of them for the artwork on display so I sandwiched an engagement photo of ours in between two of them using a flower frog (from Gather & Hunt).


I didn’t go with any specific style or color theme with this gallery, and I like it that way. I went with pieces that I liked and tried to arrange them in a way that would make them balanced.



I believe I made 5 pieces specifically for this gallery, it was a much-needed exercise to bust out the watercolors. Details on each painting after the jump.


Leaving A Legacy


It’s about to get pretty personal up in here. FYI.

Last weekend we took a last-minute trip up to Oregon to see Chris’s grandpa, Tom. On Wednesday we got the news that he was diagnosed with aggressive pancreatic cancer that’s already spread to the liver. It’s not looking very good. Chris and I looked at each other and both felt that if we were going to see him any time in the near future, we would have to leave the next day. So we made our preparations and packed up the car.


The travel was grueling – Felix and Penelope were sick (vomit and diarrhea) on the car ride up which made the 14 hour trek last over 18 hours. Longest. Day. Ever. I was so glad that Chris was right along side me to help with clean up and keep it all in perspective.

But boy, did it sure pay off. We were able to see Chris’s grandparents, and they got to meet Felix for the first time. I think the best moment was when Felix and Gramps fell fast asleep on adjacent recliners. Felix was so sweet with Gramps, giving him some really great hugs and lots of knucks (bones).


What struck me the most about this trip was how delicate life is. It’s crucial to focus on loved ones and building them a legacy. You never know when someone will be called away from this life.

Just days before Grandpa Tom was in the hospital with his diagnosis, he whipped up two side table lamps (above). From scratch. While we were visiting we wandered through his workout room, drafting room and workshop to see so much evidence of hard work and creativity.


It was inspiring to see all of the things that he’s made, some new and some old, and look at all of the details. He’s made everything from side tables and lamps to bikes (15 bike frames from scratch!), golf clubs and buildings (he’s an architect).


Being in their home made me think of how I want to decorate my own home. I’m having a really hard time nailing down a style that’s my own (that Chris can call his own, too). I want to put things in my home that are beautiful, meaningful and/or useful. Of course it doesn’t need to be perfect, my home will never be close to perfect; but it’s given me new perspective on the artwork and objects I put on display.


It’s also made me think about my DIYing. I’ve pulled back on home decor DIYing lately (Chris and I used to DIY home projects all the time), and I think I know why. If I can’t do it right, I don’t want to do it at all. Laziness doesn’t need to be in my DIYing vocabulary (even though it often times is).


Look at that side table and lamp. There’s nothing lazy about the construction of either of those, and those are the kinds of pieces that are meaningful, beautiful and useful.


They also decorated their home with unexpected pieces with a story or great history. The above is a light fixture from the old SF bay bridge. They flipped it upside down and mounted it to the ceiling. It’s a huge piece in the room, too. It’s simply stunning.


Original artwork was all through the house. And in a wide range of styles. This was my favorite of all of the pieces. I love this style from the late ’70s – dark, slightly impressionistic with the most delicious color combinations and brush strokes.


I also noticed a lot of tapestries on the walls in varying styles and colors. Color schemes are really great, but I love all color and the variety it brings. I really should branch out of my crutch colors more often.

• • • 

This visit was so important for us to take, and we will never regret those grueling hours on the road with screaming and sick kids. It reminds me of when I was able to say good bye to my grandma several years ago.

Back when I was in college and without a car, a friend asked me to drive with him to a wedding up in Salt Lake (40 miles away). He gave me keys to his car while we were downtown and I decided I needed to go shopping with the time I was going to kill. Then my mind turned to my grandparents who were just blocks away. Surely I could visit and go shopping, but which to do first? I decided to call them and see what their plans were and go from there.

My grandma picked up the phone, which was a huge surprise. Because of her Alzheimer’s and Dementia, she left that up to grandpa. Not knowing who I was, she politely said that I could come and visit and I hung up the phone. I got the distinct feeling this would be the last time I would see them together, but I brushed off the feeling thinking that I was going crazy.

We had a great visit, grandpa snapped a picture of grandma and me and I said goodbye. Grandma gave me a hug and said, “I love you.” It felt like she was saying it to me and not a girl she didn’t remember. It was a special moment. I went home and three days later she passed away. Upon hearing the news I took so much comfort in the visit I was able to have.

And I’m so grateful that we could take the time to visit Chris’s grandparents. I don’t think we’ll be able to see Grandpa Tom again in this life. It was a really hard goodbye for all of us, especially Chris who looks up to him in many ways.

Zero Budget Project: Acrylic Utensil Holder



Either I’m a utensil hoarder, or utensil holders are made much too small for the utensils required for making yummy food. I think it’s the latter. I dreamed up this idea while my sister-in-law was still in Utah, and she helped me on it. It just took 1/2 inch acrylic an acrylic heater bender thing, glue, a drill and some string.


I found out that a local business sells acrylic for a reasonable price. For a 4’x8′ sheet of 1/2 inch acrylic, it was $140. I bought the whole sheet, intending to use most of it for coffee tables. Turns out 1/2 inch acrylic is a bit too thin for coffee tables. Lesson learned: research before buying. They also sell small scraps for cheap, this piece could easily be made out of one of those scraps. They also have black and white acrylic.


The utensil holder is base-less, there really is no need for a base, since this rarely if ever gets moved (I’ve had this for 3 months and I’ve only moved it for the sake of this picture). The holder is 9 inches tall, 18 inches wide and 3 inches deep. It’s basically a 9″x42″ sheet of plastic that’s been bent, and the seam joined in the middle back. Bending it really easy when you have an acrylic heat bender, but if you don’t have one of those and are in a DIYing spirit you can make one of these.


The problem that I ran into after I begun using it was since it was too wide, the utensils would fall to the bottom and make it nearly impossible to fish out. To remedy this, I drilled a few holes and thread some string from front to back creating little utensil sections. The white strings are hardly noticeable – Chris didn’t notice anyway.

I love having my utensils out of drawers and within arm’s reach of the stove top. And I also like that it’s pretty. I like having clean, pretty things in my home.

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