Sunday, December 15, 2013

DIY Watercolor Pillow

A very good friend of mine has a pillow obsession. So for this holiday season I've decided to take it to the next level. She sends me photos of beautiful pillows from time to time and I often think, there's no reason I couldn't make those.

Fast forward a few months and it was time to test it out. After some research online I've discovered there are plenty of websites with instructions on various pillows. I found this site and adore the instructions [very thorough] and decided to take it for a spin. [website: brit and co! check them out for more DIY ideas this holiday season!]

A watercolor pillow seemed ideal - no standards of perfection, as they are meant to be creative and whimsy. After collecting my sharpie collection [Yes, I agree I do have a problem. I can't help it, all the colors need love and I'm willing]. I ran to the local fabric store to pick up a few other supplies. You can also just purchase a plain white cotton pillow, but I decided to hand make mine for multiple reasons. Mainly my enjoyment of sewing and making sure it is well constructed and fluffy. 

The supplies you'll need:
Sharpies. I always say stick with brand name when trying something new - it's far less stressful and you know other people have tried them.

White Cotton - You can decide on the size pillow you want. I purchased a ton of extra to make gifts for others as well. 

White Thread - I always buy coat thread now, it's my favorite for it's durability. 

Rubbing Alcohol. 

Now here's where I've modified. They say use a Q-Tip, which I suppose would work for detail designs but I've made a large print and purchased a super cheap paint brush to just brush on the rubbing alcohol and let it soak through to create a stronger effect.

Step Two: You've got your supplies all collected and you're ready to start! My first step was to do some experimenting. I wanted to see how the colors blended with Sharpie and pick a scheme. Plus it's just fun to practice and see where your talents lie. 

I cut little strips out and grouped my colors [yes I'm a bit obsessive about them being grouped]

For the small strips I used Q-Tips for practicing, the scale was smaller so the brush wasn't necessary. 

*** RECOMMENDATION: Put paper underneath your working surface. The sharpie WILL BLEED when you draw and especially when you add the rubbing alcohol. ***

 Step Three: PLAY!

Step Four: Once you have your design selected, cut your material to the size pillow you would like plus 1" for sewing - I always prefer to leave more fabric then less - you can always take away.

Step Five: I got a little ahead of myself and started playing with the rubbing alcohol to be sure I liked the outcome, but go ahead and fill in your pillow and then brush on the rubbing alcohol. 

Step Six: I chose to add more structure to the pillow so I put a layer of muslin behind the cotton and iron on interfacing. Then sewed together the two sides of the pillows. I wanted the pattern to only be on the front side instead of both sides. 

Step Seven: Stuff it! 

Step Eight: Play some more! You know you want to! 

Here's my final product. I'm quite pleased with it! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Spreading the Cheer!

Hello all! 

I wanted to post a few of my favorite style worthy design sites for Holiday gifts!

For a little bit of everything: 

For your creative counterparts:
Blick Art Materials, which recently teamed up with Utrecht for those of you who missed the news!
Factory43 offers amazing prints at affordable prices

For Detroiters! Noel night Saturday offers art at affordable prices, pieces made by students and alumini are for sale each year at the college for creative studies!

The staples:
Macy's is great for friends who are moving into their first new homes
BHLDN for the engaged couple you know! 

If you are still lost on your holiday gift needs feel free to send me a message! Gift giving is a specialty of mine! 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Updates! and lots of them!

Well let me start by saying I'm sorry! I started a new job and fell off the face of earth, but I'M BACK!

I've been busy working but still managed to find time for a few fun projects. We'll start with the most recent.

Project One:

Halloween, I'm crazy for it. This years costume was Sherlock Holmes. Which of course is next to impossible to find in stores - especially when you are a female. So I decided to embrace my creative side and make my own. I started out drawing a template out of newspaper and in the end I'm thrilled with the results!

Here's the process in photos: [I'm missing a few but I'll explain them!]

Step One: Taping the newspapers together into a much larger sheet - I used about 6 sheets that overlapped. Make sure the overlaps are taped down good or it will cause a headache later. You most definitely need to be gentle with the newspaper - it tears easily but it will serve it's purpose. 

Step Two: Using a bit of string, measure yourself - I started at the base of my neck and went to just past my wrist [remember some of the length will be lost when you sew]. Then take the measured bit and find the center of the newspaper. [You may need an assistant for this portion] Hold the string in place and create a circle from the opposite end of string. 

Step Three: Cut the circle you've drawn out of the newspaper. [I also double checked my circle by folding the newspaper in quarters so I knew it was a true circle before I moved onto the fabric - it's much cheaper and easier to remake this portion rather than that fabric portion of the project.] I folded my fabric in half to keep the integrity of the fabric design and then seamed the center of it back together. You can pin the newspaper to the fabric to be sure you cut true to your template.

Step Four: Once you've cut the fabric out remove the pins. [If you are seaming together the two pieces be sure to keep them pinned together and sew this part now]

Step Five: I chose to finish the edges with binding tape to give a more finished appearance. It is time consuming and you have to pay close attention or you'll slip of the small seam and have to start over but it's entirely worth the extra effort.

Step Six: Using the cape in it's current form you'll want to measure the space where the collar will be - you'll need to cut a little larger than you measure so when you sew there's enough material. I also chose to use the binders tape on this portion as well. Leave an extra long piece of binding tape so you can tie your cape together. 

Step Seven: Sew your collar to your cape! 

I chose to dress up my sherlock outfit and wear a dress out with black boots. I purchased the cap at Party City and magnifying glass at Home Goods [Something fun I can put out all year]. I also chose to purchase a faux pipe at Party City and black gloves [not pictured]. Black tights and boots finish off the look! 

Project Two:

Pumpkin Sculpting! A few years ago my brother came home from college after having met Ray Villafane. A famous pumpkin carver [whom I had no expectations to come close to being able to sculpt like but check out his work for inspiration and to see what hard work and practice can get you!]

Find some inspiration. I started with this but changed my mind after a little googling. 

Peel the skin off the pumpkin - this for me is the hardest part. Pumpkin skin is tough and you'll want a fairly sharp tool. I bought a set of pumpkin tools at Target and found a good fit for myself in the kit. Most tools used are ceramic tools. Which you can find at Michaels [and use a coupon!] and get fairly cheap. My set was $10 and I used a 40% off to get it to $6 and some change. 

The most important steps involve remembering the nose will be the highest point. So you'll want to avoid taking out too much pumpkin from these areas. 

[I never carve alone! This year my two brothers and neighbor joined me! I'll show their results too!]

I wanted to give my pumpkin a humorous face so I chose to make him a bit lop sided and chubby. 

I also wanted to have an open mouth - so I carved all the way through. You don't have to do this - in fact it speeds up the rotting process if you do!

It's important to keep the pumpkin wet - when it begins drying out it starts coming apart in larger chunks and can ruin all your handwork! 

Another assistant! ;) 

Here's my results! 

And the boys!
Matt Byle:

Billy Byle:

Austin Simmons:

I'll post more projects when I get a bit more free time!

I started a new blog for anyone looking for help with color: