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Friday, November 30

Christmas Inspiration: Amp Up the Cozy Factor

To get out of the house and get into the Christmas spirit, Brian suggested we go to the mall. After a long week of work, I wasn't thrilled about the prospect of being on my feet, but I didn't want to spend another free night by myself while Brian slept on the couch at 7pm. (By the way, I still need suggestions for my winter bucket list! See link above. Please and Thank you!)

In spite of my sore feet, I had a wonderful time. I was totally inspired by Macy's, Williams Sonoma, and Pottery Barn! This was my first time in a physical Pottery Barn, and it was magical. But expensive. As were Macy's and Williams Sonoma. Interestingly enough, I knew for a fact that Target had many of the same or very similar items, for considerably less. I enlightened Brian on this subject until he asked if I could please stop talking about Target.

Since you dear readers aren't tired of me talking about Target, yet, here's some of my favorite cozy decor:

Cozy Christmas




This winter I'm loving the red and white, the fair isle and plaid patterns, and the mix of silver and wood. It's cozy cabin meets elegant country cottage.

While at Williams Sonoma, we did a little Christmas shopping. I bought the Peppermint Hot Chocolate, and for Christmas morning, peppermint pancake mix!


Brian wants a pancake flipper for Christmas, and I think this will compliment it perfectly.

In addition to the peppermint hot chocolate, Williams Sonoma also has classic hot chocolate, and salted carmel hot chocolate.

I think all those flavors of hot chocolate call for a hot chocolate party!

These lovely invites are free to download here from A Pair of Pears. Visit their post for matching labels, signs, and decor ideas. I think a hot chocolate party might be the perfect theme for a casual get together!

Even if I don't have time to throw a hot chocolate party, I might get a few more flavors to give my parents and in-laws for Christmas. I never know what to get them, and I think anyone would really enjoy these.

Have you done any Christmas shopping yet? Who is the hardest person to shop for on your list? 

By the way, this is not a sponsored post. I just love Target, Williams Sonoma, and Pottery Barn and wanted to share the love! 

Wednesday, November 28

Inspiration: Christmas Tunes

Do you remember mixed tapes? I don't really. I received a mixed tape once, but I remember making mixed CDs. The idea of mixed tapes seems very nostalgic and a little magical to me. Magical, because I don't know how you would even go about making a mixed tape. With a CD, you just drag and drop the songs on your computer and burn the disk. How do you get music onto the little black film that runs through a cassette?! It must be magic. 

Anyway, I was thinking about this today, because it's interesting how music sharing through the ages has gotten easier. From the magic of mixed tapes, we progressed to the simple drag, drop, and burn of CDs. But now, only people born before 1990 still use CDs. The young folks don't bother with burning an actual disc, they just share their mix digitally. Spotify is the new mixed tape. 

So, let's talk about Christmas music. Once Thanksgiving dinner was over, Brian whipped out the Christmas CDs, and I made a Christmas music playlist on Spotify. 

I plan to add to it gradually, but so far, here's what it includes: 
  • Christmas, by Michael Buble
  • A Very She and Him Christmas, by She and Him
  • The Glee Christmas Album
  • Songs for Christmas, by Sufjan Stevens

It's a good two hour mix of quiet and peppy, folksy and current. Check it out and see what you think!

I listened to it Monday night while I decorated our apartment and set  up our Christmas tree. 


Last year, I couldn't find any ornament hooks, so I used twist ties! This year we splurged and bought some real hooks. 


It's a terrible blurry picture, but this is our Christmas tree corner. Instead of one normal sized tree, we have two tiny, apartment sized trees. Together, they make up one normal sized tree....kind of. We're seriously running out of room for ornaments. 

I'll share better pictures later, but my question today is, what music do you recommend I add to my playlist? What's your favorite Christmas music? If you have a Spotify playlist, share a link in the comments, or tweet it to me! 



Tuesday, November 27

An Early Christmas Present

The big news first: I got a new sewing machine! 

I'm sad to say goodbye to my old Baby Lock machine, I'll miss it's rattling and rumbling and sounding like it's about to explode....a little bit. But, it decided it was done sewing forever last week, when Brian tried to use it. Every once in a while Brian gets the urge to sew. In the past, he made a cushioned armrest for the Durango. This time, he wanted to make something for the car. He planned to replace the leather around the emergency brake and shifter with custom black and red leather. 

When he went to sew the pieces together, the machine wouldn't go. In true engineer fashion, he proceeded to troubleshoot it, including taking it completely apart, for the next two days. Finally, he gave up. Luckily for us, that day happened to be Black Friday. So, we bought the Singer Promise 1409 for $60. 


Although it's probably the most basic machine Singer sells, it had no problem sewing through leather. 


Didn't he do a great job? I'm so proud!

In other news, how was your Thanksgiving? We kind of had an early Thanksgiving, because my sister, brother-in-law, and niece came to visit us the week before!


I didn't have to work, and Brian's boss let him take off half the day! We had a relaxing morning, and then went to our favorite restaurant, Joe's Farm Grill.



We also took them to our friend's farm, where my niece got to pet the goats, lead a miniature pony on a leash, and gather eggs. We had a great time with them, but I wish they could have stayed longer! 

Ok. I need your input. Remember my fall bucket list? Well, I need help coming up with a winter bucket list. Because Brian and I are not flying home this year, we need to keep occupied so that we don't get homesick. Also, we need a bucket list because this is how we've been spending the rare free nights when I don't work and we don't have a church activity:


That was last night, at 7 pm. He slept until 11 pm, and then woke up just long enough to move to the bed. 

It's finally nice and cool outside, and I want to take advantage of this weather while we can. Surely there are fun wintery activities we could do to start our own family traditions. I need your ideas! 

What are your family traditions? What could Brian and I do to keep busy and have fun while we're away from family this year, besides going to bed at 7 pm? PLEASE share some ideas in the comments!

Wednesday, November 21

Shopping for Good

Are you planning your Black Friday shopping trips? I would rather not get trampled for a sandwich maker, so I'd much rather Black Friday and Cyber Monday shop online from the safety of my couch. In case you're also planning to do some online shopping, I wanted to share how your holiday shopping can actually fund non-profit's projects around the world. This is super exciting!

The Future of Philanthropy from Pure Charity on Vimeo.

With Pure Charity, you can shop online from their many partners, and a percentage of what you spend funds the project of your choice! Their partners include Target, Walmart, Apple, Forever 21, Gap, and many, many more.

You can buy your Christmas gifts, while giving back at the same time!

When you sign up, I hope you'll follow me, and share Pure Charity with others!


Friday, November 16

Inspiration: 5 Must-Follow Craft Blogs #FF

Once in a while, I create things and post tutorials here at Scribbles. I have tremendous respect for craft bloggers who do it full time! Here's a few of my favorites that I know you'll enjoy:

Paper n'Stitch - Brittni shares DIY tutorials, inspiration, handmade picks of the week, and crafty business advice. I'm really enjoying her secrets to success series right now.

Pile O' Fabric - My friend Alyssa runs this blog bursting full of bright colors and patterns. She blogs about modern quilting and a little embroidery, with fabric giveaways every Friday! If you're a beginning quilter, her series for beginners is for you!

Alyssa's Patchwork Prism Quilt

I Spy DIY - I love me a good DIY! Jenni creates her own versions of the latest fashion trends and posts easy to follow tutorials.

Her recent Polka dot DIY


One Sheepish Girl - For you yarn crafters, Meredith shares the behind the scenes of her lovely Etsy shop, knitting and crocheting projects, pretty photos and ideas along with a cup of tea.

A few of her adorable Christmas ornaments


Crafter Minds - Even if you aren't a craft blogger, you'll learn plenty about blogging from these ladies. If you are a crafter, this site is a must read!


What craft blogs inspire you? Share them with us in the comments! Happy Friday!



Wednesday, November 14

How to Make A Couch Slipcover From Sheets


When some friends offered us a free couch, I hesitated before accepting it. We'd had free couches before, and I hoped that this time we could get ourselves a new couch, one I'd had my eye on for some time.

I liked the classic lines of the Ikea couches, and I also liked the gray, since it would work as a nice neutral with our black furniture. 

In the end, we couldn't afford a new couch, so we took the free one, in all of it's plaid glory.

Couch Before

In it's defense, it's very comfortable, and has been well taken care of. So, I decided to attempt a daring project: slipcovering. Slipcovers cost anywhere from $50-100, and I wanted to make mine for considerably less. Here's what you'll need: 

  • Flat sheets (for our seven foot couch, I used a queen and a full sheet, and had leftover fabric)
  • About 80 safety pins. I recommend basting safety pins, which are used for quilting. They are slightly curved, and that makes it easier to get them into the couch.
  • A measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Thread that matches your sheets
  • Sewing machine
  • Straight pins
I bought these gray sheets at Target, on sale. Total, they cost $25. (PS: You can get almost identical ones here on Amazon for $17.99 right now!) I also bought some extra safety pins, for $4. That's all I had to buy for this project, so my slipcover cost me $29! 


If that's not motivating, I don't know what is. Let's get started!

Instructions:

1. First, take off the cushions and vacuum out the couch. We want to start with a clean slate. Then, measure the hight and length of the couch to see how much fabric you'll need. After you open your sheets, you'll probably want to iron them before moving on to step 2.


2. Next, drape the sheet over the couch. Allow at least five inches to drape behind the couch, and center it so that equal amounts hang off each side. 

3. Get tucking! Tuck in the sheet around the edges, arms, and cushions, like so:


4. Now it's time to pin. Lift the cushions slightly and pin the sheet to the cushion along the sides where it won't show. Pin around the back cushions, and pin under the seat cushions where you've tucked it in. Pin between the seat cushions where the sheet is tucked in. Here's all the places I've pinned: 


The blue dots represent pins on the back side of the couch. As you can see, the pins are all out of sight. 

5. For the arms of the couch, use your measuring tape to measure from the floor, over the arm, to the seat, and add five inches to tuck into the seat cushion, and another five inches to go around the back of the couch. Then, measure the height of the arms and across the front. Add an inch all around for the seam allowance.

6. Fold your sheet in half. This way you'll only have to cut once. Then cut out the two pieces you'll need to cover the front and go over the top and down the side of the arms. 

7. Drape the pieces over the arms of the couch, wrong side out. Here's where you have to think backwards. Since you're draping it over the couch wrong side out, after you sew it and turn them right side out, it will go on the OTHER arm. 


8. If needed, cut the front piece to follow the curve of your couch. Then, pin the pieces together, leaving an inch seam allowance.


9. Thread your machine, and get ready to sew. I had to repin my pieces so that the pins went the right direction. Now, sew up the side of the arm, and around the curve. Don't sew the part you're going to tuck into the couch. Turn it right side out, and fit it onto the other arm of the couch (not the one you had it draped over). Repeat for the other arm.

It should look something like this:


10. Now for the final pins! Pull the slipcover around the back of the couch, and pin.


Now, tuck and pin the front of the couch. You may have to fold extra fabric behind, and tuck in.

Front before and after folding, tucking, and pinning:


And you're done! A slipcover in 10 steps, for $29!

Couch After!
Tip: I recommend keeping safety pins handy, because after sitting on the couch for a few days, you'll have a better idea of where you need to pin so that the fabric doesn't slide around.

I'm thrilled with my new couch! I'm so happy it turned out well. If you have an ugly or non-matching couch, I hope this tutorial gives you the courage to slip cover it! 

Next project: some cute throw pillows!

If you have any questions about any of the steps, ask me in the comments!

I'm linking up with Pile O' Fabric's Pin It, Sew It! Challenge:

Pin It Sew It

Monday, November 12

Current Projects

My slipcovered couch tutorial will have to wait for later this week, but in the meantime, here's some other projects I've been working on: 




It's not perfect, but I'm supremely happy with how this turned out! It sits on my desk now, but eventually I'm going to hang it on the wall above my desk.

Here's the couch, halfway done:


I finished it this afternoon, and I can't wait to show you!


Wedding invites! I would like to sell customizable wedding invites on Etsy. Here's a little preview of some of the designs I'd offer. 

Also, last weekend I went to a fabric and sewing store outlet. It was insane and overwhelming, but I made out like a bandit! I should have all the fabric I need for my upcoming pillow projects, more embroidery, and Christmas gifts.

And, I also made out like a bandit at my new favorite thrift store: Savers. Here's a practical way I'm continuing my commitment to ethical fashion: I needed some red shirts and tan pants for my new seasonal job at Target. My first instict - go to Walmart and buy some $5 red tees and $10 pants. But instead, I went to Savers and Goodwill, and scored a pair of brand new, with tags, Banana Republic pants, a pair of Gap pants, a Ralph Lauren red sweater, and two red tees for under $30. That also included a DVD rack and a beautiful plaid shirt I wore in our Christmas pictures. I wanted more than two tees, and I couldn't find any more that I liked at the thrift stores. I wouldn't have time to order them from an ethical company online, and it would be difficult to find a plain red tee. So, instead of buying the Walmart brand tees that have a Free2Work grade of F-, I bought some at Old Navy, which has a Free2Work grade of B.

Now comes the hard part; since I've added these items to my closet, I also have to get rid of some. I switched the plaid shirt for one I barely ever wear. The work clothes, however, I'm considering keeping until this job ends, and then selling them all on eBay, or donating them back.

Well, I'm off to eat a quick dinner and head to Target for my first day of work!

I'd love to know, what projects are you working on?