new from old ::: throw pillows

Ever since I got married, I’ve kept clippings from magazines of house and home decorating ideas.  Through the years I have come to discover that a beautiful fabric can inspire my homemaker instincts like nothing else.  Things like bedding, curtains, kitchen towels, table clothes, and throw pillows in gorgeous, unique material help to make a house a home.

My journals and pinterest boards include many images of rooms containing favorite home linens, and with these images in mind, I have learned to keep a look out for ways to bring the things I love to life, for my own home.

Favorite places to shop include thrift stores and antique shops.  Almost every weekend I duck into the local shops to see what they have, and almost always come away with something.   I can find linens quite regularly, at wonderfully low prices.  Each season brings new ideas and collections.  At times I have searched for handmade crocheted doilies.  Last summer it was pillowcases with embroidery,  a few years ago, vintage tablecloths were what got my heart to thumping.

Now that I have plenty of those particular items, my newest passion has developed into throw pillows.  This winter I made one using scraps of old patchwork pieces that I found at a second hand store.

Today I made three more, using three quilt blocks that I bought for 3 dollars a piece at an antique store.  On that same day, I also found some vintage Waverly fabric, and another piece of green and pink material that I thought would make good backings for the pillows.  I paid less than 20 dollars for everything, and I absolutely love to use another (mystery) person’s beginning work to complete a finished product.  It’s rather ridiculously easy to sew a simple pillow using someone else’s quilt block.  I haven’t done it, but many crafters will cut up old quilts (that have age problems, stains, or holes) to repurpose them into something new.


The next time you go to a thrift shop, rummage through the bins for fabric.  Pull out anything that catches your eye and pay attention to your reaction to the piece, do you love it?  It you love it, buy it!

Whenever I find myself running low on stuffing for the pillows, I place another order online and have it shipped to my door.  In this way, I avoid the temptation of yet another store.

The fun is saving money while making something unique and beautiful.  I have such joy when I spend next to nothing, especially when pillows (or what have you) at department stores cost anywhere between 10-50 dollars, depending on quality.

Through the years I have gathered everything that I need to for sewing: a machine from Sears, good scissors, pins and pincushion, and so on.  I keep my things out on a table in my bedroom, ready to use.

Once you have gathered enough things to make a pretty pillow, wash the fabric on delicate cycle in your washing machine, or wash by hand in the sink.  Hang them on the clothesline to dry in the fresh air.

Unfortunately, you will indeed have to iron the fabric after it dries.  If you play music or whistle as you iron, it’s not as terrible.

Pin the back to the front wrong side out, and sew carefully around the edge, leaving a space big enough in which to stuff the pillow.

Turn it right side out and stuff according to personal preference.  I prefer to sink into my pillows rather than bounce off them, so I stuff mine lightly.

Sew the hole shut, and snip off any long threads.   Now you have a simple but lovely pillow *or two or three* to scatter across your bed.

I kept my project very simple, but you can be as creative as you wish, with trims and so on.


My daughter helped me with color combinations, and during the first pillow, I gave my son a sewing-maching lesson.






I love how this blue and pink pillow was quilted in such similar fabrics, it has the effect of a kaleidoscope.






The navy blue fabric was the “Waverly bonded fabric in Harvest Moon”,  I have enough left to do something else with it, too.




Made up bed with the whole collection of throw pillows.  The bedspread is (the back of) a Garnet Hill quilt.

The pillow on the very far left is the first one I made using found quilt pieces.

how to remove pine pitch from the seat of your favorite jeans

It happened when we were at Davy’s baseball game.  I sat romantically under a tree; a pine tree.  Yes, I love trees and sitting under them, especially with books and magazines, while watching a favorite boy play baseball.

However, I did not count the cost as I sat under the beautiful tree.  After a while, I got up to stretch my legs, and alas, as I brushed myself off I discovered horrid little blobs of pine pitch on the seat of my all-time favorite jeans. 

“Rich, can you notice anything?” 

“Um.  Yes.”   He turned quickly away, back to the game.  And he usually looks longer.

I tied my sweatshirt around my waist for the rest of the game.

When I got home, I slipped off my jeans and gazed regretfully at the damage.  This would never, never do.  Would it come out?  I wondered. 

 I threw them into the washer posthaste.  After they washed and dried, I looked:  the pitch was still there.  (gasp)


I determined to fix this cleaning dilemma ASAP.  So, I did a little research (the internet is an amazing thing sometimes).

What I discovered:  You absolutely CAN remove sticky pine pitch from fabric, using rubbing alcohol.   I’m here to tell you, it’s true.

Using my fingernail, I first scratched as much of the pine pitch off my jeans as I could.  Then, I took a paper towel, dipped it into the rubbing alcohol (contained within a handy fiesta creamer…..) and started scrubbing.  Friends, I cannot describe my excitement when I realized it was coming completely off my favorite jeans.

I washed them and dried them and they were as good as new.

If you should ever have a pine pitch clothing disaster, do not fear.  Just grab the nearest bottle of rubbing alcohol and rub away!


Of course, it is also wise to look before you sit, if at all possible, and stay out of pine trees.  Like Grandma (that wisest lady) said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. 


Happy Monday, from your humble, handy household expert.  heart