Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Applique Nursery Pillow Tutorial

A couple of weeks ago I guest posted over at Lemon Tree Creations.  If you missed that post, you can read it below or you can go here to see the original listing...

For those of you who don't know, my sister had a baby a little over a month ago.  I was so excited when my nephew came, as it gave me my first "biological" nephew and it gave me a reason to practice honing my skills at making baby bedding.  I've been feverishly working hard to get his nursery ready for him.

Pictures of the baby bedding, which inspired my nursery project

After making the bedding, I decided that I wanted to add some decorative touches to the room.  I decided that I was going to take the animals that were in some of the fabric and make an applique pillow.  There were all of these cute safari animals on one of the patterns of the fabric (the fabric I used to make the bumpers) and so I chose the lion as the inspiration for my pillow.  

Materials Needed:
-Inspiration for applique design (I used fabric from his bedding)
-Material for pillow (1/4 yard - I used basic brown fabric)
-Material for the background of the lion applique (1/8 yard - I used muslin)
-Fat quarter packs from Joanns in the colors you need (I got a yellow, orange, green and teal set because those were the colors in my lion inspiration)
-Floss and needle for appliqueing (I used brown floss)
-Ric-Rac for a decorative edge to the pillow (this is optional; I used leftover teal ric-rac from the blanket)
-Fusible interfacing
-Tissue Paper
-12"x15" Pillow Form

What I did:
the logistics...
1. I took tissue paper and I traced the animal off of the fabric that I wanted to applique, in this case it was the lion.
2. I scanned the image into my computer and resized it to the size I wanted that would be big enough for the pillow.
3. I printed off the resized lion image and set it aside.
4. For my pillow cover I went on ahead and cut the three pieces of fabric I needed to make it (I made an envelope cover instead of one that zips on).  My pieces were 13"x16" (for the front piece) and then two back pieces, 13"x8" and 13"x14".  (for a step-by-step guide to making an envelope pillow cover, click here).
5. I took the 2 smaller back pieces of the pillow (13"x8 piece and the 13"x14" piece) and I ironed down a half inch down the 13" side of both pieces.  I then sewed it down to make a finished edge.

6. I used my printed out lion to decide how big of a piece of muslin I wanted to put as the background to my applique, in this case it was 9"x12".
7 I took my rectangle piece of muslin and ironed down about a 1/4" seam all the way around.  
8. I pinned my rectangular muslin piece to the center of the 13"x16" piece of fabric that would be the front of my pillow.  

9. I sewed the muslin piece onto the front of the pillow, being sure that I sewed close to the edges to catch the folded part underneath.

getting to the applique....
10. I took my fabric and figured out what pieces of the lion would be what colors (i.e. the body and face were yellow, the tail and mane were orange, etc).  I then ironed on the interfacing to the back of the colored fabric I would be using.
11.  I took my computer print-out of the lion and began to cut each piece - going off of color - (i.e. I cut out the body and worked with it; then I cut out the circle around the mane, then I cut out the mane, etc) and then proceeded to trace and cut it out of the coordinating fabric (with interfacing already ironed on).

12. As i finished one part of the lion, I cut out another part and continued to use that as a pattern to cut out the pieces from the coordinating color fabric for the whole lion design.

13.  I laid my cut out fabric out on the muslin and arranged it to look like the lion.  I then ironed it to the center of the muslin rectangle.

14.  Using floss and a needle, I hand-stitched a simple stitch all the way around the perimeter of each piece of fabric that made up the lion's body.

it all comes together...

15.  After the applique was hand-stitched, I took my ric-rac and pinned it all the way around the perimeter of the piece of fabric that would make up the front of my pillow, on the right side of the fabric.  I made sure that the ric-rac was "hanging off" the edge of the fabric.

16. I sewed on the ric-rac.
17. I then proceeded to take my two smaller back of the pillow pieces and pinned them, right sides facing in, to the front piece of the pillow.
18. After pinning, I sewed all the pieces together, following the sewn line that I had just made when sewing on my ric-rac.

19. I turned my pillow right side out and fell in love with it right away!

I couldn't be happier with the result and I can't wait to see this pillow in action as it livens up the baby's room!  Pillows are a wonderful way to liven up any room, and an applique pillow is great for a beginning sewer.  If you have any questions when following this tutorial, don't hesitate to ask; I'd LOVE to help you!
Whenever I get a chance and a break from life (hahahaha!) I'm going to do this exact same project, only with the giraffe instead.  Come and check out my blog and see how it turns out!  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Showering a Friend With Love

Meet my dear friend, Amanda:
I met Amanda through Stephen when I moved to Chicago.  Stephen and Amanda's husband, Mike are in the same small group and are close friends.  Mike was a reader in our wedding and I have never heard Stephen say anything but great things about him.  When I moved to Chicago, Amanda welcomed me with open arms and it wasn't long before we were close friends.  She is energetic, determined, loving, caring and compassionate.  Better yet, she's all these things in the name of the Lord.  I absolutely, positively LOVE Amanda.  When Amanda decided to join our small group a year ago, I was ELATED!  I was now going to get to see Amanda on a regular basis ALL the time!   EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE (the sound Amanda makes when she's excited)!!!

Meet Amanda and her dear husband, Mike:
At our household, we absolutely love these two.  We love them so much that we let them help us move...hahahaha, yeah right.  That's one of the reasons we love them so much: because they helped us move; because they are always looking for ways to bless other people.  Did I mention that Stephen and I love these two???

Meet Mike and Amanda's future baby girl, Bugaboo:
Ever since Amanda and Mike spilled the beans about this little girls arrival into our world, we couldn't get enough!  I knew right away that I wanted to help throw a shower for Amanda because I wanted a chance to shower her with love and blessings that she had shown me on a daily basis.

Insert good friends and ladies of my small group.  These wonderful ladies joined forces with me and we successfully threw Amanda a shower that we were hoping would knock her socks off!  It was absolutely SO much fun thinking of ways to surprise and love on Amanda, mainly because she is a girl with no expectations.  She expects NOTHING for herself, meaning that we could have shown up with a bag of Doritos and Amanda would have been so thankful to us for providing food.

We threw Amanda her shower at church, as this was the only shower that she had and it was going to be a well attended one (40 peeps, holla'!).  We wanted to take away the feeling that you were in a church room and make it feel very intimate and home-y.  I think we did a good job (if I do say so myself!).  Let me share with you some of the details from the shower:

With 40 people coming to this shower, we did all that we could to cut the costs wherever we could.  One of the ways we tried to cut the costs was with the cake.  Thankfully, my sister-in-law makes cakes on the side and she showed me how to do it when I threw a shower for my sister back in the spring.  These were box cake mix cakes from Aldi.  Here's what I did: I made a 3 layer cake using 9" cake pan.  I then took store bought icing and layered the cakes as well as iced them on top.  After icing the entire cake, I added a top layer.  The top layer is a marshmallow fondant using a variation of this recipe.  I followed the technique used in this video to put my fondant on top of my cakes.  I saved some fondant to color (the pink and green) and then rolled it out and cut into different size circles using cutters I bought at Michaels.  I used food coloring to dye leftover white icing (pink and green) to pipe around the bottom of the cakes.  The pink cake is a white cake with white icing while the green cake is chocolate with chocolate icing.  Seriously people, this wasn't hard - it was just time consuming!

Here's our wonderful spread of food.  There was so much goodness on this table that just remembering it makes me hungry.  That caprese-like salad that you see in the front was store bought from Costco and it was GOOD!  If you shop at Costco, look for this salad, buy it and enjoy it for me!

Here are our decorations adorning the middle of the food table.  I made a banner using my beloved Silhouette and then my friend and fellow hostess, Amy made tissue paper pom-poms to cover up the sticky tack used to hold it up.  The print in the middle was our gift to Amanda.  This owl design is from fabric that Amanda used to create Bugaboo's baby bedding.  My sweet friend and fellow hostess, Debbie (who is a graphic designer) took the fabric and made this print that was then used for the invitations.  Amanda loved the print so much that we sent it off to the printers and had it blown up.  We then went to Hobby Lobby and got a mat custom cut for this poster (have you ever done this?  Hobby Lobby is the bomb-dot-com and a custom cut mat is NOT expensive).  The picture frame came from Michaels during one of their huge sales that included frames (lucky for us!).  Now, that picture is hanging in Bugaboo's room and goes splendidly with her bedding.

We went a simple, yet colorful route with the table centerpieces.  Amy took ball jars and used scrapbook paper and yarn to add a splash of color to them.  She then went out in the wee-hours of the morning and stole cut beautiful hydrangeas and other flowers from the yard of her apartment building.  The white table cloths were from the dollar store (score!) and the balloons came from the grocery store.  In an effort to save time the day of the shower, I stopped by the party store the day before and bought balloons for the big day.  It was an incredibly hot July day and as a result, as I tried to stuff these balloons into the car, I lost 3 of them as they touched the hot exterior of the car.  I then awoke on Saturday morning to the remaining balloons hovering low, right above the floor as I glared at them and their failure to last even 24 hours.  Thankfully, Amy was willing and able to pick up new ones at the grocery store right before the shower.

To the left is a picture of the favors that were put at every seat on the tables.  The little sign on the left is a votive candle that I hot-glued "Pray for Mama and Baby Shih" to the bottom (you guessed it! I used my Silhouette).  Amanda really wanted her guests to have a candle that they could light when they found out she had gone into labor.  The idea is that they will see the candle and use it as a reminder to pray for her while she is bringing this sweet baby into the world.  The brown bag is filled with color coordinated Sixlets that were picked up from the party store.  I cut out onesies and then glued plastic to serve as a window into the bag.  
The picture on the right shows the table that people saw when they came into the shower.  It was decorated with more of Amy's beautiful pom-poms and a huge calendar of September (the month the baby is due) to make a guess of when they think the baby will come.  Whoever guesses the time closest to Bugaboos actual arrival will receive a prize for being so good at fortune telling baby deliveries!

A picture of one of our games - 1 minute to fill in the blanks regarding popular Nursery Rhymes.  The one who had the most correct in 1 minute won!  If you'd like me to send you a pdf of this, shoot me an email - it's a great, quick game to play at any baby shower.

Needless to say, we had a fabulous time celebrating Amanda's soon to be entrance into Mommy-hood and the soon to be arrival of Bugaboo.  Stephen and I can't wait until she makes her debut - we're headed  back to Chicago to meet this amazing little girl! 

(all pictures are compliments of my sweet friend, Amy.  Kudos to her and her awesome photography skills!)

I've linked up to THESE parties this week (As well as Today's Creative Blog, The Thrifty Home, Savvy Southern Style, Sew Much Ado )

Monday, August 15, 2011

2 Weeks Already?!?!

{I originally started writing this post last Thursday and I'm just now getting around to finishing it...}
Time sure has flown!  A mere 2 weeks ago, Stephen and I were still in our wonderful apartment in Chicago preparing for our both dreaded and anticipated moving day.  Not only did we have to make sure that we had everything packed up and ready to be moved the following morning, but we also had to make sure that we painted back some parts of our apartment that the following tenants didn't want.  When Stephen and I first moved into our apartment, we decided to paint to make it feel homey-er.  We made this decision, even though we knew there would be a good chance we'd have to paint back.

If you click here, you can see pictures of our apartment from before we moved in.  If you click here you can see some pictures from after we painted.  And, if you click here you can go to the actual rental listing that is still active, even though our apartment has successfully been rented out.

So Stephen and I were faced with the big challenge of painting back our family room, bedroom and kitchen...we were so not looking forward to it!  Thankfully, God blessed us with some ah-mazing Chicago friends (you can read more about them here) and they so sweetly came over and helped us totally repaint in a matter of hours.  What had taken us days to do, only took us hours to undo.

Sweet Debbie painting our family room...what was once burnt orange is now oatmeal...

Stephen captured this great photo of me painting the family room.

A serious crowd getting that kitchen transformed from chocolate to oatmeal!

4/5ths of my amazing small group came - did you know I love these gals???

Check out this progress:

What was once our brown kitchen turned into an oatmeal oasis...

Chocolate turned to oatmeal.  The chocolate definitely made those dingy cabinets appear whiter!
Our green bedroom, a now a unique shade of oatmeal.

Our warm, orange family room, guessed it!  Oatmeal!

The new tenants wanted the golden color but not the orange...I kept on asking them if they wanted my can of golden paint to paint the whole room the same color, although they didn't.  I'm wondering if they wished they would've taken it after they saw the final results?

It was really sad to leave this home that we loved...however, the new paint color made it easier because it we just didn't think it looked good and it didn't seem like home anymore.  While Stephen and I are still living with my parents, waiting for our new home to officially be ours, we're looking forward to all the new memories that will be made and looking back on our already made memories with a warm heart.  
Goodbye 421 W St James Place, thanks for being so great to us!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Exciting" News!

I sure did wait a long time to come back and share my "exciting" news with you!  You might notice that I put quotation marks around the word exciting; I did this because a lot of people were guessing that the news contained some sort of information regarding a bun being in the oven.  That's when I realized that this exciting news was probably not going to be as big of news to everyone else as it was to me :).

Part of my exciting news is that I got a teaching position here in Louisville!  Woo-Hoo!  It's now been two full years since I have been in the classroom, and I must admit that with each passing month I have missed it more and more.  It was a huge blessing to be able to go to grad school without the pressures of teaching at the same time, however, throughout all my classes, I was itching to get back in the classroom and put into practice my newly learned methods/techniques.  

I'm also really excited about my teaching position because I firmly believe that it is exactly where God wants me to be.  Let me tell you about my experience trying to get a job in Louisville.  I finished my online application in April (yes, I was really eager), and began emailing HR in May.  I never received a response, and then heard of a hiring freeze they were having in the county due to a newly appointed Superintendent. The summer came and went, as did the hiring freeze, and still, regardless of all my calls and emails, I was still hearing crickets.  The way that the school system operates here is that new applicants must be screened by the board BEFORE they are put on a list given to principals.  This list is what principals use to choose who they want to interview.  Due to my lack of response from the board, I was sweating bullets!  I knew I wasn't on "the list" because I hadn't been screened, and I also knew that school started soon (mid-August - this upcoming Monday to be exact).  

Soooooo, Stephen and I moved back to Louisville on Thursday (July 28) and then on Sunday, I received a phone call from my new principal asking me to come in and interview on Monday (August 1).  She said she had received my information from HR and wanted to interview me.  Needless to say I was in shock...I hadn't been screened by HR before, how did she get my information from them?!  She told me that she thought that with experienced teachers, they probably relied heavily on references as opposed to being screened.  I was cool, calm and collective the entire time I was on the phone with her, and then as soon as I got off I was like a small child at Christmastime.  

I went in for my interview on Monday at 10:15 and by 2pm I accepted the position!  PAR-TAY!  I'm the new 4th grade teacher at Klondike Elementary here in Louisville and I couldn't be more excited!  We had Open House last night and the first day of school is this upcoming Monday.  I've been busy, busy, busy, but I couldn't be happier about getting back into the classroom!

The other part of my exciting news is that Stephen and I are in the final stages of buying a house!  We're currently going back and forth negotiating repairs with the sellers and are looking forward to (hopefully) being in our new house by the end of the month/beginning of September.  I would LOVE prayers regarding a clean close to this, and for my classroom and's going to be a crazy month!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New Day, New Goal

So my goal yesterday morning was to come and show my blog some loving.  I failed miserably at that goal.  But, I'm here to redeem myself and do this morning what I wanted to do yesterday afternoon!  Also, just to keep people from being in the suspense for too long, no, I'm not pregnant :).  I guess exciting news is a relative term, and while it may be exciting to me, it's probably not that exciting to everyone :).

So last week was the last week Stephen and I could officially call Chicago "home", although I think a little piece of us will live there forever.  It was where Stephen and I lived right after being married, figuring out the other person and what married life for us looked like.  It is the home of our rock-solid church, The Moody Church, where on any given Sunday, you can walk into the breathtaking sanctuary and hear the truth of God being spoken.  It's also the home of a lot of our friends, friends that I didn't necessarily have 2 years ago, but in a short time became dear family to me.  I kicked and screamed (figuratively, not literally) when Stephen first told me that he didn't think Lexington was where we were supposed to live right after we were married.  I wanted nothing to do with the conversation.  Didn't he know how amazing Lexington was?!?  Didn't he understand that God had blessed my life over and over again in Lexington and that we had such amazing friends in Lexington?!?  Didn't he know that I was serving in a ministry I loved, had a job I loved and had zero complaints about my city?!  The real question is, didn't I know that God had an amazing journey planned for me?  Silly, Kari, always forgetting how big God is!

Now I'm going on and on and on and on and on about how much I love Chicago and how much I miss it, but don't get me wrong - while there are MANY things that I miss desperately about Chicago, there are just some things that I won't miss about that city.  I will share my misses and my easily forgets list :) below:

Things that I will most definitely miss.....
My Small (or teeny) group
great friends

Sad doesn't even describe the way I felt when I moved away from all of my dear friends in Lexington in the fall of 2009.  I had many teary moments following that move, some even happened a year to a year and a half later.  I missed my friends, I wanted to be with my friends and I wanted to continue to serve in ministry with them.  As soon as I was able to let go of my sadness of missing my friends, and understand that just because I lived in Chicago didn't mean that they were no longer my friends, something strange happened.  I was able to finally see what God had been trying to show me since I moved to Chicago: I could make friends there (very elementary-ish revelation, but unfortunately, I still have them)!  God blessed me with amazing Chicago friends that I hold very dear to my heart.  These friends love the Lord with all their heart and I know my relationship with God is stronger because of them.  I know that is why God blessed me with them!  Stephen and I both loved to spend time in fellowship with our friends, our small groups and church family and we will most definitely miss that!

Our 1st Home

I absolutely loved almost everything about our apartment.  It was a great first home for us to share, and it served a great purpose of hosting many-a fellowship gatherings, small groups, small group parties, sewing dates, intimate dinners, game nights, etc. with our friends.  Stephen and I made memories in that apartment that we will never forget and those memories, and the people in them are memories that I thank our amazing Father for and will hold close to my heart forever.  

Our Church home
(picture was stolen borrowed from Wickepedia)

From Sunday services, to our Covenant Sunday school class, to Christmas festivals and Fall festivals, to just about anything, Moody Church was definitely beginning to feel like home to me, and I know that it was home to Stephen.  We will miss hearing Pastor Lutzer teaching on how to live a Biblical life from the pulpit every Sunday morning.  We will miss going to our Covenant Sunday school class and sitting with friends and learning how to be more like Christ to our spouse and to others.  We will miss everything about Moody church and look forward to visiting it soon!

While I won't miss my night grad-classes, I will definitely miss the great friends I made at UIC and all of our fun times together.  Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of these great friends, but I'm confident that we will keep in touch!

Now, onto a short list of the things I won't miss (no pictures for these, sorry):
-Traffic; it seriously takes a long time to get anywhere. period.
-Parking; I'm over driving around our apartment for 20-30 minutes looking for a spot because it's the wrong time of day.  WA-HOO for driveways!  Double WA-HOOS for garages!
-Honking; seriously people, chill out.
-A long winter; where I grew up winter was from late December to mid March...not in Chicago!  Winter is from early November to late April.  Ugh!  But I will miss Chicago summers!  (I got confused, this is the "not-missing" section, why am I talking about what I'll miss?!?)
-No laundry room; my parents water bill will most definitely lower now that we won't be bringing our laundry home from Chicago all the time!
-Free nights!; okay, so technically this wasn't Chicago's fault, but I was in grad-school 95% of the time we lived in Chicago and was taking night classes.  Now that I have my nights back, I don't know what I'm going to do with myself!

When I first moved to Chicago and was so sad about not being in Lexington with all my sweet friends, my amazing Bible Study leader, Frankie said some hard truth to me.  In her words exactly:

Kari, regardless of what happens or doesn't happen, is Jesus enough for you; if Chicago is to be your home for the rest of your earthly life, could you live with that, is Jesus enough for you?" Once we've settled on that issue what else do we need? What else could we possibly need?

Jesus was enough and IS enough.  As soon as I got that through my thick skull, I was freed up to see the blessings that He had planned from the beginning.  I learned a lot of lessons while living in Chicago, and I have stories upon stories where God's mighty hand prepared our ways and placed us where we were.  Because of that I have a renewed since of hope, joy, faith and gratitude.  

"The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy;  I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
-John 10:10

When God calls your life to begin taking a different path, fight the urges to kick and scream.  Cling to Him and trust that His blessings are abundant and that only He can give you life to the full.  Even though Frankie doesn't live in Chicago, I'm so thankful for her in my life.  Find someone who can love you enough to speak truth that you don't want to hear, but need to!  They will definitely be part of God's blessing.

Whelp.  This is a long post and I still have so much to say.  What about the exciting news?!  I'm going to be ANNOYING and hold off.  I feel as though I've typed all I can for now.  Don't get too annoyed with me that you don't come back!  I want someone to share in the exciting (no, I'm not pregnant) news with!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wait for it...

Hello dear blog!  I did NOT forget about you!  How could I?!?  I have essentially lost my mind and have been looking for it.  That explains why I wasn't able to attend to you.  How could I attend to you mindless?  But that's beside the point.  The point is that I have such exciting news to share with you, along with some closing feelings about my recent move.  Unfortunately, I'm still a little batty (and probably will be for awhile) but I am making it my personal goal to come back on here later in the day and purge all my thoughts, feelings and news.

Hopefully you can find the strength you need to make it through the day despite all the eager anxiety you feel to hear about my news.  I know that my life makes your life complete (do you sense the heavily laid sarcasm here.  If you don't, shame on you.  It's dripping, and oozing off every word)!

See you back here later on in the day...maybe then I'll feel like I have more wits about me :)

Happy Tuesday!!!! <---you see that?  I genuinely thought it was Tuesday.  And then I had to stop and think about it.  I thought for a few seconds - a few long seconds.  It's not Tuesday, it's Wednesday.
That should explain why I'm not writing my post at this very second.

Top of the morning to 'ya!