Thursday, July 26, 2012

A tutorial you never knew you wanted

Can you guess what this tutorial is for based on that first photo? 

Sometimes I start out attempting to perform a seemingly simple task (like buy a new pillow because I'm waking up with neck aches and think my *ahem old ahem* pillow is to blame) and end up complicating things far more than I ever anticipated.  My search for a new pillow is the perfect example. 
I started looking into foam pillows thinking the better support would resolve my neck aches.  Hours of research later I decided 1) foam wasn't the way to go 2) I should instead, join the many people in Asian countries who sleep on buckwheat pillows every night 3) figure out a way to address the problem of buckwheat pillows being unusually hard compared to the goose down and/or poly pillows I'm acustom to and 4) not spend a ton of money on a pillow I'm not 100% sure I'm going to love.  Another 30 minutes or so of research and I found all the materials I needed.  If you're looking for a healthy, supportive, relatively cost effective alternative to the pillow you're acustom to, you'll need:

- One half pound eco wool (I found mine at the Bungalow Bear & Friends shop on Etsy)
- Approximately 4lbs buckwheat hulls (source - Serenity Pillows)
- 3/4 yard ticking (you'll have to ask JoAnn's for the "real thing" (not the looks like ticking but isn't stuff) it's not pretty but it does the job of holding all the buckwheat hull bits in)

We're going to make a simple box shaped pillow from the ticking and add a separate chamber on top to stuff with the wool to make it softer.  Here's how:

Cut two 25"x21" rectangles from the ticking
Cut one 20"x16" rectangle from the ticking

Sew the 20"x16" rectangle into the center of one of the larger rectangles (there's no right or wrong side of ticking, so it doesn't matter which side you sew it to), leaving a hole to stuff through.

Stuff the small rectangle with the wool and sew the hole closed.

Lay the rectangle with the chamber of wool with the raw sides of the chamber down.  Place the other rectangle on top and sew all around, leaving a hole to stuff through.

At each corner, line up the side seams and sew perpendicular to the seams to make a boxed corner (like how I made the bottom of the library tote bag)

Turn the pillow right sides out.

Fill with desired amount of buckwheat hulls & sew the opening closed

Lay your head on it and sleep

Okay so here's the low down... for me at least. If I'm perfectly honest, I have to tell you two things.  Firstly, my neck aches are completely gone since the first night I used this pillow but also, I'm not super in love with it.  I apparently move around quite a bit in my sleep and this pillow holds its shape extremely well, so I wake myself up having to re-adjust it when I change positions in the middle of the night. But it's easy to re-adjust and an inconvenience I have thus far (almost 4 months into sleeping with this pillow) been willing to endure in exchange for no neck pain... I am however, thankful my Doug gets out of bed before me so I can steal his flimsy goose down pillow every morning.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sidewalk Chalkboard Tutorial

For the Shoffice's grand opening, I needed a way to direct guests to the backyard and thought a sidewalk chalkboard would fit the Happy Hour theme perfectly.  I saw one at Home Goods for $80 but knew I could make one for much cheaper. 

Large framed chalkboard - since you'll be drilling into it, the frame needs to be wood
1"x2" board in a 12' length
2 one foot lengths of small link chain
a set of small hinges
4 screws
black paint
drill & drill bit

Cut the 1"x2" into three lengths - 2 pieces that are the same height as your chalkboard, and 1 piece the width of your chalkboard

Paint the boards black

Nail the stand/legs together - Lay the short board on the ground, place the long boards perpendicular to and at either end of the short board. Nail in place.

Attach the stand/legs to the chalkboard frame with the hinges - Pre-drill pilot holes for your screws (if you don't use a large enough bit for your pilot holes you'll strip the screws to your hinges and have to get your husband to muscle the last screw in for you)

Attach the chains - stand the chalkboard up leaning against the legs.  Mark the chalkboard frame at the point where the chalkboard and the legs are approximately 10" apart. Measure the distance from the mark to the bottom of the chalkboard and mark the legs & the other side of the chalkboard frame at the same point.  Pre-drill pilot holes then screw the chains into place.

I have a feeling this chalkboard is going to make an appearance at more of my parties in the future!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy Hour at The Shoffice - You're Invited!

After all that hard work and the many hours we put into designing and building The Shoffice, a happy hour celebration was in order!

Guests were greeted at the front walkway with this chalkboard sign I made (tutorial here).

Outside the Shoffice was a drink station and a giant platter of wings I baked that afternoon and kept hot in crockpots (you'll have to trust me... the wings & condiments and the beer & wine came out after the party started but I did my picture taking duties ahead of time).

But the real treat was in the Shoffice!  My very fun, but typically very office orriented, storage piece became the bar.  For the transformation, I made a runner for the top from chalkcloth, lined the drawers with leftover wallpaper, and opened 2 drawers for the plates, napkins, and the glasses.  The spread included:

homemade guacamole (I posted my delicious recipe including the secret ingredient here), salsa and chips.

Caprese shooters I made with balsamic glaze in the bottom, fresh milk motzerella balls, a basil leaf and grape tomato speared with a cocktail sword

Mojito jellies served in asian spoons on platters lined in the wallpaper scraps.  I made the jellies from the super fun Jelly Shot Test Kitchen book... sophisticated jello shots who knew?!

Hurricane jellies displayed in these stands I made by gluing the domes to chunky white candlesticks and lining the bottoms with more wallpaper scraps cut into circles and laminated (do you recognize them from the 1 year old in a flash party?).

Spiked Limonata with the recipe written on the runner.  2 oz spirit (I served Belvedere vodka and Malibu Black rum) and 11 oz Limonata (not only is the Pellegrino limonata delicious but the cans with the foil tops are so pretty!).  Oh and the glasses for the spiked limonata had little lemon zest knots in the bottom (thank you Martha!).

Birthdays aren't the only milestones that deserve to be celebrated.  Any excuse will do when there's great friends, delicious food, and fun drinks!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Simply Yours Designs Cute Blogger Templates