January 20, 2010


Yesterday, with an extra day off of school for Briton and a sunny weather forecast for most of Virginia, I decided to whisk the kids up to DC for the day to go play at the museums. It's one of the things I have enjoyed most about living in this area, the ability to pop up to DC to see a museum instead of trying to squeeze them all into a whirl wind vacation. And after having a fabulous time with the kids in the almost empty Spark Lab of the Museum of American History and the equally quiet butterfly exhibit at the Natural History Museum I've just about decided that it would be worth playing hooky on a week day every now and then just to get the museums practically to ourselves

And since we were up there anyway we also made a detour before into Trader Joe's and after to IKEA. But that didn't affect my decision to take them up there to begin with, of course not, what kind of mom do you think I am!

I didn't really need anything specific at IKEA. I think we've pretty much gotten past the point where we load down our car, or even a Uhaul, with their huge boxes. But I did need a few more jars for the kitchen and boxes for my craft and sewing stuff (and very pretty and organized they look in their new crisp, white boxes!) and a few other odds and ends. And while I was puttering through the kitchen doo-dads (very cool cookie cutter set featuring forest animals - moose cookies anyone?) I also thumbed through the fabric section. I always forget about their fabric. And while when I do get a chance to browse the fabrics I generally love the funky prints, they are usually too wild for what I'm looking for. But not this time.

I've been looking for some interesting fabric to re-do some of the pillows in our living room for a while now. The problem is that we have two dark brown couches in an already dimly lit and darkly painted room. The effect is cozy, which is what we wanted, but also a little, well, dark. New, lighter (and warmer) curtains have helped but since the pillows that grace out couch have been with us since we were newlyweds with a strange fascination for monkeys, it was time for a little updating. I still need more. Where I used to have four pillows for our one small love seat I now have three for two couches, so even with the newly spruced up cases, it's still a little sparse, but it's better. And brighter. Which is just what we needed.

In the past I've cut even fronts and backs, stitched up the sides and hand sewn the opening where I stuffed the pillow in. After browsing all the pillows on this site (I love the shirred one but I'm not sure Will would go for it - or that it would last long being used as stepping stones over a river of lava) I decided to make an envelope style case this time around. I'm not sure which I prefer now that they are done. While I hate! hate! hate! trying to stuff a pillow into a very small hole and sometimes don't get around to closing up said hole for a while, I also like having two "fronts" to the cases. The envelope style is easier, but unless I decided to add some decorative buttons, there is definitely a front and a back to them. But for speed and ease, well, they sure cant be beat. I was able to knock out both while Evie, who ended up with a fever at 4 this morning and is currently lounging on the couch working her way through my aging VHS Disney collection, watched the second half of The Little Mermaid.

Find the place on your fabric where you want the front to be. Don't forget this or you might, as I did, end up one day with a pillow with only three-quarters of a monkey on it, not the look I was going for.

Cut a square that is about 1/2 inch bigger than your pillow. I like to cut two side and then fold it into a triangle to get a perfect and even square.

Cut two pieces for the back that are the same height as the front piece but only about 2/3 the width.

Fold over and hem one of the long ends on each of the back pieces then layer the pieces so that the back overlap and all front sides are facing.

Stitch around, trim the edges and corners,

Turn and stuff the pillow in.
Done. Now I just need about four more.