November 26, 2013

Making a Slip Cover - Part Two

You've now covered the body of your sofa, except for the skirt.  I don't have a reason but I usually cover the cushions now and do the skirt last.  You can skip to making the skirt if you'd like or follow me in making the cushion covers.

I bought 15 yds of fabric and ran out.  Our couch is large.  I bought 10 more yds because I want extra left for replacements or other pieces of furniture.

I trace with a pencil and then cut out fabric the shape of each of my cushions.  I will need to cut out a top and bottom for each cushion.  If your fabric is not the same on both sides, be sure you have a top and bottom for each cushion with your fabric right side out.

I  measure out my pieces of piping.  

Because I have 3 seat cushions, I will need 6 pieces of piping this length.

I then use the piping to measure the length of fabric I will need for the sides of the cushions.  Make your piping several inches longer than you need.

It's pretty hard to move your piece of furniture to a "work room" so I always work right in the room where the furniture lives.  I'm working with such large pieces that I just lay the fabric right out on the floor.  To get a straight cut, I fold the fabric back over itself, making sure the sides are aligned, to get a straight cut.
I measure the sides of my cushion adding an inch on the sides for seam allowance.
I use the tape measure and a pencil and make marks along my fabric at the appropriate width.  Then I use a straight edge and draw a pencil line where I'm going to cut.  You want to be really precise when doing this and make your edge as straight and accurate as possible.

I cut the first piece, adding several inches to the length and then use it as a pattern to cut the other two pieces (I need 3 sides).

The next step is to cover your piping.  Because I cut all the way across my fabric and then cut 3 pieces about 6" wide, I still have fabric the right length to cover my piping.  I lay the piping on the edge of the fabric and using a piping foot sew as closely to the piping as I can.
Then I trim it off.  I cover all 6 pieces this way.
Then I lay the covered piping on one of the tops or bottoms of the cushion covers and "surround" each of these pieces with piping.  Start on what will be the back of your cushion cover. Your fabric should be right side up.  Clip your piping so that it will be more flexible when going around a corner.

When you get all the way around your cushion clip the fabric away from the piping and cut the piping so that it meets the beginning without overlapping.  Fold back your fabric and finish sewing on your piping.
It should look like this.  Repeat for each of the tops and bottoms of your cushions...
making sure that you always start and end at the back of your cushions.  On my couch, these seams won't show at all because they'll be covered by the back cushions.

After you've covered the tops and bottoms you're ready to add the side pieces.  Again, make sure you start at the back of your cushion and sew a side piece onto a top or bottom piece, right sides together.

 Use your piping foot and stay as close to your piping as you can.  It should look like this.
When you get to the back, trim your fabric so that they overlap slightly, trim them off and sew them together.

I hope you can tell what's happening in these pictures.  It's pretty hard to get your fabric length exactly right so I finish it after I put it together.  You can also make adjustments in this area if your cushion cover turns out a little tight so you may want to wait to sew this seam until later.

I should have my cushion turned inside out in this picture - sorry!  Put your cushion cover on, inside out, matching up your top to your bottom.  Pin it together in a couple of places so that you can still remove it from the cushion.  Sew away from those pins being sure your top and bottom are matched up.  If not, your sides will be twisted or your cover may not fit at all.  Leave the back side of the cover completely open including the back corners.

If your cushion fits well it will be hard to get it on.  You want a wide opening in the back to do this.  I don't sew in zippers but you can if you like.  Just be sure that the zipper wraps slightly around the back corners of your cushion.  After I insert my cushion I hand-stitch my cover closed.

Your basic rule is just to follow the lines of your upholstery.  My back cushions have piping on only the top and sides so that's where I put my piping when I cover them.

Your last step is the skirt!  I will post that in a few days.  I may not get to it before Thanksgiving but will if I can.

My son, Matt, is home this week.  He lives in Boston so we are enjoying spending this holiday with him! Laura, who also writes for our blog, and her family will be in Virginia for the holiday with her husband's family.

I hope you have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving surrounded by people you love.  We have so much to be thankful for!

Love and blessings!

" Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."  Philippians 4:8

November 23, 2013

Autumn Butter Pecan Cupcakes

I cannot take any credit for these cute little treats. They are my Mother-In-Law's creation, but she was kind enough to share a batch with me to take to a Bible study.

My lovely Mother-In-Law, Bonnie, is a blessing to everyone around her. She has a real gift and passion for quietly serving and giving. She loves to cook, and feeding people truly is her love language. These things do not come as naturally to me, and I have enjoyed having a relationship with her and learning so much from her.

Here's her recipe.
Butter Pecan Cake Mix (plus mix's additional ingredients)

1c. butter
16oz package powdered sugar
1/4c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

pecan halves
butterscotch chips

pie dough

The cupcakes themselves are made with a Butter Pecan cake mix. Bonnie says she added extra crushed-up pecans to the batter.

To make the Brown Butter Frosting:
Cook butter in small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly for 6-8 minutes, or until butter begins to turn golden brown (B warns that it's easy to burn the butter and that "stir constantly" is not just a suggestion). Remove from heat immediately and pour into small bowl. Cover and chill one hour until butter is cool and begins to solidify. Beat butter with electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with milk (beginning and ending with sugar). Beat on low until combined. Stir in vanilla.

Once the cupcakes are frosted, you get to add these cutesy decorations.

The leaves she makes of pie dough. Do not use sugar cookie dough because your leaves will grow when baked! She uses tiny leaf cookie cutters and scores the details with a sharp knife before baking them. She advises that if you want a curve to your leaf, shape it over a roll of tin foil.

For the acorns, use melted butterscotch chips to hold two pecan halves together. Dip one end of you "acorn" in the butterscotch and then in crushed pecans that you blended in a food processor

Use the pecan crumbs also to dust the top of your cupcakes. B also advises to not place your acorn and leaf too early before serving, as they may get soft in the icing.

So far, everyone has been charmed by this festive dessert. The extra decor really makes them feel special. Enjoy!

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 
Proverbs 31:10,11

November 22, 2013

How to Make a Christmas Stocking

Our home here in Michigan has been decorated in reds and yellows since we moved here, ten years ago.  All our Christmas decorations were also in reds and golds.  

But after redecorating this past year in neutrals and robin's egg blue, I knew that when Christmas came, I would want to change my Christmas decorations to match the new decor.  I've had a lot of fun making changes to some of our existing decorations and making a few new things to go with our 'new' house.

I used an old Christmas stocking as a pattern and traced the outline onto my fabric, leaving a seam allowance.  I cut two identical pieces - one for the front of the stocking and one for the back.

I pinned the two sides together, right side in, and sewed them together.

I then snipped the edges, making a cut about every inch, so that the fabric would lay better when I turned it right side out.
I turned the stocking right side out and pressed it flat.
I picked a damask to use for the cuff at the top of the stocking.  I cut a piece of fabric the appropriate size to fold over the top of the stocking.
I unfolded it and sewed along the side with the right sides together.

When I flipped it right side out, it's now the cuff that will go on the top of the stocking.
I  inserted it into the top of the stocking with all the rough edges together.
Using the narrow sleeve feature on my sewing machine, I sewed the top to the stocking.
When it's folded over, there are no unfinished seams and you have a stocking ready to be embellished any way you want.
I had some ribbon that coordinated well with my fabric and used it for the hanging loop.  I then stitched on a sparkling snow flake and a bow.

I'm going to make my next one using the damask for the body of the stocking and the plain fabric for the cuff.  But for now, here is the finished stocking.
You could also add a letter ornament  of the first letter of each of your family members' names.  That doesn't work for us!  We have several L's and several M's.  

Have a wonderful weekend!  Love and blessings!
" I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High."  Psalms 7:17 

November 21, 2013

A Use for Scented Candle Jars

When I thought of this the other day it occurred to me that maybe I was the only one in the whole world who hadn't thought of this earlier!  But, here goes...

If you're like me, I LOVE to have my house smelling good and I'm on a constant search for wonderful smelling candles.  I burn them constantly - even when I'm home alone - because I enjoy them so much.

So over the years I have had a huge amount of left over candle jars and never have known what to do with them.  And then with the holidays approaching, it dawned on me.

I had several candles that had burned down as far as they could go.  I put them on my stove on the warming section but I'm sure a normal burner turned to low would work as well.

When the wax melted I poured it all into an empty can.  I let the candle jars cool completely (don't put them under cold water - they will crack) and then scraped out all the wax that was left when I poured it out.  I then popped them in the dishwasher and ran it when it was full.

I took them out of the dishwasher while they were still warm and the labels came off cleanly and easily.   And I was confident that were clean to fill with food.

I had some chalkboard stickers that I had ordered from Amazon.  I simply stuck them on, tied a ribbon and evergreen around the top and they're ready to give as gifts!

I think the chalkboard stickers are so much fun because you change the way you use them and still have a label.

You could combine them with other gifts.

You can use them for treats in the kitchen or in the bathroom for bath salts or cotton balls.  If you like to make homemade bath salts or other homemade gifts, they're a great way to package them!

My husband laughed and said he wished I'd thought of this a long time ago.  We've thrown away A LOT of jars!  Better late than never.

Have a wonderful Thursday!  Love and blessings!
"For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding."  Proverbs 2:6

November 19, 2013

Book Club

Hi All!

I love to read.  I love good fiction and will often finish a book in a day but I also love to find books that share what others are hearing from God.

There are 3 books in particular that have been a huge confirmation of what God is telling me, but I've read so many wonderful books over the years that I want to share them with you.   As you read them, I would love to hear how God is speaking to you and blessing you!

The first three books are:

Bill Johnson's - "When Heaven Invades Earth"   Bill Johnson is a pastor in Redding, CA.  Their church has a website where you can listen to their free 'Sermon of the Week.'  I have been so blessed by this ministry!

The second book is "Pagan Christianity" by Frank Viola.  There are so many practices in our church that have been handed down through the ages that are not scriptural.  God began showing me this several years ago and confirmed it through this book.

The third is "Irresistible Revolution,"  by Shane Claiborne.  This book shows what true Christianity should look like like no other book I've ever read.

I will post more soon.  The list is long.  But I have been so blessed by some of these people and their books that I want you to be, too!

Love and blessings!

"From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. " Psalms 61:2