Thursday, March 28, 2013

DIY Bow-Tie Napkin Rings

Have you looked at something and thought that you'd really like it and then find something else that you'd really like yet they are similar?  I know, this isn't quite making sense yet but hopefully it will soon.

After my recent dinner party, I took a good look at my napkin rings.  As nice as they were, they seemed a bit small for my new napkins.

Notice in the top picture the napkin seems a bit crowded in the ring.  The second (bottom) picture looks a little better.  More like a bow-tie.

Rebekah from Twinkle and Twine did a guest tutorial on Prudent Baby and what I really liked about this holder is that it has fabric and the way the twine is used to make the center of the bow as well as hold the bow to the ring.

Amy from Positively Splendid put together a paper medallion napkin ring that used shower curtain rings.  I liked the idea of wrapping the ring with fabric or ribbon and then attaching the bow from above.  For some reason, paper crafts and me never seemed to get along too good.  More of the glue was on me than on the actual item being glued.

Have you made either of these projects?  What things have you made that combined two or more tutorials to get exactly what you were seeking?

P.S.,  As soon as I finish my napkin rings by combining the two tutorials, I'll show you!

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Substance of Living

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

8 Quick and Easy Easter Table Decorations

Do you feel like you're running out of time and money to set an Easter table worthy of your feast?

I'm right there with you, so I ran to the closest Dollar Tree and found these oh-so-adorable bunny chair covers.  They fit perfectly over the rounded back of my kitchen table chairs.
Easter Bunny Chair Cover - Substance of Living
Easter Bunny Chair Cover

I'm forever on the lookout for new ways of setting a table and these personalized place cards by Debbie Mumm do the trick.  Aren't these cute?

I can see this theme carried over for a garden or book club luncheon with a plant in place of the egg.
Easter Personalized Place Cards by Debbie Mumm
Personalized Place Cards

Jenny Steffens Hobick hosts cooking, mother/daughter, and various other workshops.  In case you were unable to attend her Spring 2013 workshop, I think you still have time to gather a plant or some daffodils for the table.

The simplicity of this table setting allows the focus to be on each other and the delicious feast you have prepared.  Add some hard boiled white and brown eggs or bowls full of all those carefully decorated eggs.
Daffodils for an Easter Table by Jenny Stefens Hobick
Daffodils for an Easter Table

Do you have some baskets lying around that have probably seen better days?  Don't throw them out!  Follow this tutorial found over at Hello Cotton to make these super cute and absolutely fantabulous spring baskets.  Then line them up with or without a runner down the center of your table.

I think the basket with the pink flowers will look nice by my garden tub holding some bath salts.  What do you think?  Wouldn't it be precious sitting on the dresser holding hair clips in a little girl's room?

Oh, the basil basket will look scrumptious on the counter holding some Italian bread along with some olive oil.  In fact, I have some baskets without handles that would be perfect.
Flower Easter Baskets for the Table found on Hello Cotton
Flower Easter Baskets for the Table

Katie from A Creative Interior shows us just how simple it is to make an impromptu table decoration.  Take a vase or pitcher, grab some twigs from outside (or the store) and add some tissue-paper flowers.  Do you have some left over delicate flowers from another craft project?  The twigs and some small eggs hanging or even some pretty ribbon tied into bows would make an elegant yet fun display.

After Easter, this would be so pretty on the side table in the entryway.
Quick and Easy Easter Table Decoration by A Creative Interior
Quick and Easy Easter Table Decoration

Did you spend last weekend baking and decorating cookies and dyeing Easter eggs?  Great!  Use them on your table as a centerpiece.  Look at this one from Weddbook, it's so simple and as a centerpiece it makes an elegant table.
Decorated Easter Cookies as a Table Centerpiece by Weddbook
Decorated Easter Cookies as a Table Centerpiece

Since we're talking quick and simple, how about these Jelly Bean Napkin Rings.  Would you have ever thought to use some of your craft wire to string jelly beans together to make napkin rings?  Well, Delish did and thankfully they were kind enough to share the idea.

This idea spans other favorite holiday celebrations.  Black and orange jelly beans could be used for Halloween, green and red for Christmas.  All green for St. Patrick's Day, and on and on and on.

What else could you use to string on craft wire to make one-of-a-kind napkin rings?
Jelly Bean Napkin Rings by
Jelly Bean Napkin Rings

Now that we've got our creativity gears in motion, let's take a look at how we can replicate this next tablescape.  Suzy Q from Better Decorating Bible gives credit for this table to "We Do You Do Blog".  (I tried to find this particular blog and unfortunately was unable.)

In any case, let's take a closer look.
  • Mirrored Tray (oval or square framed mirror would be perfect)
  • Glasses or short glass vases holding some pretty flowers
  • Varying heights for pillar candles, but tapered candles would be beautiful too
  • Tea lights scattered
  • Candy Easter eggs - jelly beans, malt or pastel wrapped chocolates strewn about
Easter Decorating Ideas by Better Decorating Bible
Easter Table Centerpiece

Have a wonderful Easter!  

I'd love to see what you made or how you decorated your table and chairs.  Please add a link to your site in the comments section or send us an email at Substanceofliving[at]gmail[dot]com.

Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.
Substance of Living

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Easter Decorating on a Budget

As long as I can remember, I've enjoyed Easter.  The pretty new dress my mom would make me, the Easter basket filled with goodies, Easter egg hunts.  What I most remember as a child is coloring all those eggs.  My mom would hard boil a couple dozen but of course we girls weren't satisfied with that so mom would allow us to CAREFULLY dye a couple more dozen raw eggs.

We would go to church, as we did each Sunday, but somehow this particular day was so much more special.  Everyone had hats, suits, new dresses, and of course those white patent leather shoes.  The pinks, greens, yellows, and light blues were pretty.  Tulips, new dresses, spring, daffodils, and celebrating Jesus through activities and dinner.

It seems that with each holiday we have, more money goes flying out for commercialism rather than the reason for the season.

Here are some family-friendly ways to enjoy Easter that won't break the bank.  These projects are so fun, you might want to give some away as gifts.  Maybe even leave the gift at the front door on Easter morning, kind of like May Day.

Lindsay Stephenson of Aubrey and Lindsay lives near the beach and came up with a tutorial for this very pretty and super easy project with some paint and found rocks.
Painted Rocks for Easter by Aubrey and Lindsay
Painted Rocks

Jen must have had a mom like mine.  Over at PaintCutPaste, Jen used eggshells to make Easter candles.  Another adorable decoration for the house or gift item.
Eggshell Candles by PaintCutPaste
Eggshell Candles

Crafts are a bit like love.  No matter the language, we all understand the message.  Isn't that what Jesus was trying to tell us in some of his messages?  Love one another.  What better way than loving our earth by recycling and creating beautiful art at the same time.  Wouldn't you like to open your front door to an Easter basket such as this?
Decoupage Shopping Bag Easter Baskets by Wunderweib
Decoupage Shopping Bag Easter Baskets

Sometimes the smallest of items leave the biggest impact.  This pillow measures a whopping 5"x7".  Check out this super easy tutorial and use up some of your scrap material lying around.
Easter Bunny Pillow by Marie at Substance of Living
5"x7" Easter Bunny Pillow

How do you decorate your home for Easter?  Do you make a banner for the fireplace?  What about a wreath for the front door?

Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.
Substance of Living

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Easter Bunny Pillow Tutorial

Bunny Pillow
Bunny Pillow

Bunnies are sweet creatures that love your garden and rose bushes as much, if not more in some cases, as you.  They truly do appreciate the efforts you go through for them.

Well, DH and I don't have any pet bunnies but we do have them outside in our back yard.

We thought it might be a nice addition to bring a bunny into our home.  This little bunny pillow that measures a whopping 5" x 7" does the trick nicely.

Here's how Little Bunny came to live with us: 

You will need:

  • Scrap Fabric
  • Scrap Fabric for Stuffing or some kind of Filler
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Embroidery Thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors
  • Paper 
  • Pencil
The sewing machine is nice but not completely necessary.  This project is small enough that sewing by hand won't take much time.  In addition, do not be afraid of the embroidery portion of this project.  If you can sew then you can do the stitches for outlining the bunny.  The embroidery stitch is basically a running back stitch.

Trust me, if I can do this, so can you!
Start with finding a picture of a bunny that has fairly clean lines.  I copied this out of a book years ago and of course do not know which one.

Cut and pin the bunny to your fabric.

Here is the outline of the bunny on the fabric.  I used a pencil.

Then draw in (by free hand) the internal lines of the hind legs, whiskers, eye, and ear.

Princess Lilly Bean doing some embroidery work.

Make your stitches fairly even and on the smaller side.  When going around the curves, your stitches will be even smaller.

Here is the completed embroidery portion of the pillow.

If you don't want to make a pillow you can stop now and simply frame your art work.

Cut out two squares of your fabric to make the pillow.  I used leftover fabric from another project and was able to get two squares that were approximately 6" x 8" each.  The floral side of the fabric was the front on my other project but is the back side of the pillow.

Put the right sides of the fabric together.

Stitch all the way around three complete sides of the pillow.  I like to leave an opening big enough to get my hand in on the bottom of the pillow.  Be sure to back-stitch at the openings so your thread doesn't unravel while turning right side out.

Cut the corners at an angle to help with the turning of the fabric right side out.  This picture is still inside out.  You're looking at the reverse side of the bunny - see the stitch marks?

Pillow is now right side out and the opening is fairly large enough for me to pull all the fabric through.

Stuff your adorable bunny pillow with bits and pieces of fabric.  This is a great way to justify not throwing out the tiniest pieces of fabric.  Come on, I bet you do this!  If not, maybe this is a good reason to start.

Aren't you the most clever little crafter!  Look at this super cute pillow that will fit in with any decor.  The best thing is that this little guy won't eat your plants or bouquets of flowers.

From a thought and a piece of paper, we now have the most adorable pillow.  We might have to think about adding to our little animal collection and maybe include a bird, squirrel, kitty cat, or even a dog.

How do you use your stash of scrap fabric?  Please share your projects with us.  In fact, would you like to guest post one of your tutorial projects here on Substance of Living?

Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.
Substance of Living

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Heart Pillow Tutorial

Do you remember this heart pillow Lilly and I made DH for Valentine's?  Here's the tutorial I promised.

Heart Pillow Tutorial
2013 Valentine's Day Present to DH

Pillows are so much fun to make.  Especially pillows that I get to design the pattern.  That way there isn't a wrong or right way!  Okay, I know, I sew like I cook.  A little bit of this and a smidgen of that.

To make this heart pillow you will need a few things:

  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine (although this could be sewn by hand)
  • Sewing Needle
  • Fabric
  • Stuffing
  • Paper
  • Ribbon

Step 1:

Fold a large piece of paper or newspaper in half and draw half a heart.  I used a plate to make the top of the heart nice and round.  Then cut out your heart.  The paper heart is about 22" x 22".

Step 2:

Take two pieces of fabric or fold your fabric in half so that the entire heart fits.  The right sides (pretty side) of the fabric will be together sandwiched inside.  Pin your heart to the fabric.

Heart Pillow Tutorial 1

Step 3:

To make the smaller hearts, take an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper and fold it in half so the paper is now 5 1/2" x 4 1/4" (top to bottom fold) then fold the paper again (left to right).  Now you have a 2 3/4" x 2 1/2" square.

Draw half a heart on the folded side of the paper like you did for the big heart.  Cut out your heart and you will end up with two identical hearts.

Heart Pillow Tutorial 2

Step 4:

Fold your fabric with the right sides together and pin in place your two smaller hearts.  You should look something like this.  Cut out your smaller hearts.

Heart Pillow Tutorial 3

Step 5:

Feed the end of one side of the ribbon up through the middle and out at the top center of the heart.  Your heart will look like this: wrong side/pretty side/ribbon/pretty side/wrong side close to the table.

Lilly and The Heart Pillow Tutorial
Lilly, my little helper in all things writing and crafting

Step 6:

Can you see the bump in the center of the heart?  That's the ribbon all tucked up in there.  If you're afraid you might accidentally sew the ribbon, you can trail it out through the opening between my fingers.
Heart Pillow Tutorial 4

Step 7:

Stitch all the way around the heart leaving an opening on the side for turning.  Back stitch at the beginning and ending of the opening so the stitching doesn't unravel when you turn the heart right side out.  The seam allowance is 1/2" but because this fabric easily frays, I sewed a second seam at a 1/4".

Heart Pillow Tutorial 5

Step 8:

Turn the heart right side out.

Heart Pillow Tutorial 6

Step 9:

Repeat steps 5 through 8 for the second small heart.  Notice that the ribbon is not tucked up inside the heart this time but is sticking out through the opening of the stitches.

Step 10:

Now it's time to work on the big heart.  You've already pinned the pattern to the fabric.  Go ahead and cut it out.  With these hearts, I didn't add any additional width for seam allowance.  Only because it didn't matter much if a half inch was lost all the way around.

Heart Pillow Tutorial 8

Step 11:

Remember back in Steps 5 and 6 where we tucked the ribbon up inside the small heart?  Well, we are going to do that again.  Only this time, figure out how you want your two small hearts to lie and fold your ribbon.
Heart Pillow Tutorial 9

Heart Pillow Tutorial 10

Lilly the Supervisor - Heart Pillow Tutorial
Lilly, the Sweetest Supervisor

Step 12:

 Stitch your big heart like you did the smaller hearts.  Here is a better picture of the double stitching to prevent unraveling with this fabric.  If you're working with something other than an upholstery type or tweed, you might not have to do this.

Heart Pillow Tutorial 11

You can see the opening on the side and the back stitching on both the straight and zigzag stitches.

Heart Pillow Tutorial 12

The opening is about 5 inches for the ease of turning and getting my hand up inside to work all the curves.

Heart Pillow Tutorial 13

Step 13:

Turn the big heart right side out.

Heart Pillow Tutorial 14

Step 14:

Stuff your three hearts.  In this case, I had left over stuffing from another project and wanted to use it up since it was making a mess in my room.  Leftover scraps of fabric are great to stuff pillows or toys.  It's also a good way to recycle and use up those scraps that are too small but you just can't get rid of.  I hear ya!

Heart Pillow Tutorial 15

Step 15:

Hand stitch the openings closed.

Heart Pillow Tutorial 16

Heart Pillow Tutorial - Completed

Hey! That was a lot easier than I imagined getting my thoughts down in an (hopefully) understandable manner.  This is a super quick and easy project.  It could certainly be sewn by hand and a cool way to teach yourself or a new sewer and end up with something you will use.

Please share your completed projects.  I'd like to post them and allow people to enjoy your creation.  If you have a website or posted elsewhere, please let me know and I'll be sure to link with you.

P.S., If you have a tutorial you'd like to share, please write me at substanceofliving@gmail(dot)com.

Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.
Substance of Living