DIY Colorblock Zipper Closure Pillows

DIY color block pillow with text

As I was pulling together the design concept for this room, I knew I wanted new fun new euro pillows. Using euros along with other bed pillows creates a nice layered effect and gives the bed a more complete look. Since we took out our headboard to save floor space (our room is tiny), we especially needed this extra layer. We had some from West Elm before, but the purple-ish gray was not working for me anymore.

before euros

Sorry, that is not the prettiest picture. Still stuck with my iphone! This was also taken before the new lamps were done. For the new pillow covers, I was inspired by these that I found on Etsy (which I unfortunately cannot find again):

Triangle Model A Pillow inspiration

These had leather as the brown part, but you guys, have you ever checked prices on leather?! It’s expensive. So I went with two different colors of a velvet from Kravet. I made my own version of the inspiration pillow and put it on my bed to see how it would look:

colorblock pillows photo 2-19Oops! Looks like a boring old pillow. So that’s when I got the idea to rotate it. Now I love it! Here’s the tutorial:

First cut your fabric pieces to size. Cut 2 identical pieces of one color about 2/3 the size you want for your pillow and 2 identical pieces of the other color about 1/3 the size you want to make your pillow. Remember to account for seam allowance, so make it about an inch bigger on each side per piece.

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Next, put the pieces together with the good sides facing each other and lined up on one edge. Sew them together about 1/2″ or so away from the edge.

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You now have a front and a back for your pillow cover. Place them faces together, being sure to align the seams on each piece where the colors meet. Trim the seams so there’s not a lot of bulky fabric inside your cover once it’s done.

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Now PIN them together on 3 sides (all except the bottom where the zipper will go). To make your life easier when attaching the zipper, do not sew these pieces together yet! First, pin the zipper face down so one edge lines up with one side of the fabric. (Sidenote: get a zipper that is about 2″ shorter than the size of your pillow.)

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Sew along the outside edge, but as close to the zipper as possible. Using a zipper foot attachment will help you get as close as you can. Once you’ve sewn along the outside edge, flip the entire thing over and fold back the other side so you can line up the un-sewn edge of the zipper with it. It helps to start with the zipper unzipped a few inches, sew a little, then zip the zipper past your presser foot so it doesn’t get stuck on it later.

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colorblock pillows photo 3-20You’ve got your zipper on! Now you can sew the other 3 sides. Keep the zipper open so you can easily flip the cover right-side out. After I did this, I noticed there were still some gaps at the ends of my zipper. To fix that problem, I sewed across the zipper ends and then over to the other seam. There might be a better way to avoid these, but this was my solution 🙂

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If you’re still confused about how to attach the zipper, this tutorial at Centsational Girl really helped me as I was doing it. Once the rest of the sides are sewn, flip the cover right-side-out and stuff in your pillow! My pillows are about 25″x 25″ so I stuffed them with 26″ x 26″ fills that I got at Target. I love how these really bring cohesion to our bedroom and how the zipper closures give them a more polished look on BOTH sides (versus just the front with an envelope closure). I think I’ll do zippers for all my pillow covers from now on!

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My Favorite Day in Mexico

Happy Cinco de Mayo weekend! I thought I’d keep with the theme and share a little about our Mexico trip.

About two months ago, we went to Mexico on vacation. It was so much fun to escape winter and relax with some good friends of ours. We stayed at an all-inclusive, which really adds to the carefree feeling of a vacation. But my favorite thing we did was off resort grounds: rent scooters and snorkel gear and ride around Cozumel.

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I HIGHLY recommend you do this if you go to the Playa Del Carmen/Cozumel area. After walking to the pier from our resort on the Playa Del Carmen side, we went to purchase tickets for the ferry (about $15 per person each way). We passed a woman who started asking us what our plans were on the island and we told her we wanted to rent scooters and snorkel.

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Of course, she was a sales lady trying to sell us scooter rental, but she actually was telling the truth when she said it was less expensive to rent them on the Playa side because on Cozumel they mark them up for cruises. We were able to buy a voucher from her for only $25 per scooter for the whole day! We just took the voucher to her company’s office on the Cozumel side and noticed that we saved about $10 on the scooter rental. It always feels good to realize you weren’t scammed!

scooter post2The scooters had baskets on the back that held our snorkel gear. I loved how we had the freedom to just ride wherever we wanted. At the south tip of the island there is an area called the virgin beaches. I think it’s called this because there are no resorts or any development on the beaches. They have some rocky areas and the water is kind of rough, but it had such an untouched natural beauty. We were basically the only people on the beach and it was cool to feel like we had it all to ourselves.

scooter post 3It’s hard to beat the smell of the sea air and the feeling of the sun’s warmth soaking into your skin. The road ran right next to the shore for most of the time and the views were unending. Since we also got snorkel gear, we took advantage of being able to stop whenever we wanted to check out some of the snorkeling. Calder and our friends found some really awesome sea creatures! I’m not very good at snorkeling without a life vest, so after a little stint I just sunbathed on the beach. No complaints on that! I could have ridden around for much longer, but we had to catch the ferry back to the mainland.

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While we did several fun things on this trip (look for another post on the excursion we did soon), this was definitely my favorite and the best bang for your buck! If you’re heading south anytime soon, don’t skip out on this! Has anyone else rented scooters on vacation? I think Calder and I will seek this out on all our future trips as well!



DIY Clear Glass Lamp

clear glass lamps photo with text You gotta love when DIY saves you a good chunk of money. This is one of those times. When pulling together a design for our bedroom, I wanted our lamps to be clean and classic and not draw attention to themselves since the room is small and the main focal feature is the wood wall (post coming soon!) and our patterned curtains. When I saw the Zak table lamp at Crate & Barrel, I fell in love. But I was not about to shell out $250 each. I had read some blog posts in the past that have turned pretty much anything into a lamp with a simple lamp kit from your hardware store so I knew we could make these! After some more googling about drilling through glass, I gained enough confidence to try it (disclaimer: this took us more attempts than we thought, but we learned some things that we can share that will hopefully help you avoid our same mistakes!) Without further ado, read on for the tutorial. And sorry these are all iphone pictures, still saving up for my fancy pants camera! First gather your materials: clear glass lamps photo 5-15 Here’s the story about my vase. The first time we made these, I found 2 perfectly tapered vases that were the same size at HomeGoods for $5 each (score!). BUT turns out one was much thinner glass and after successfully making the first lamp, Calder started drilling into the second one only to have it break in his hands 😦 Oops. And I guess I got super lucky with those first two because after checking Hobby Lobby, HomeGoods several more times, Amazon, and other places I COULD NOT find another matching vase! So we had to order 2 new ones. This turned out to be fine because they are taller and I like the height better. If you are wanting the same look as these, I’ll save you some trouble of hunting high and low. Just order these from Save On Crafts. If you want to find your own, make sure the glass is pretty thick. You’ll also need a lampshade of your choice (mine’s from Target), a drill, a diamond tip drill bit (3/4″), a lamp kit, a clear cord if your kit comes with the ugly brown one mine came with, and a piece they call a nipple. Be sure to drill the TOP hole first. We broke 2 vases and they were both when we drilled the bottom hole first. Calder’s theory is that is weakens the glass. The drilling is a two-person job. Have one person spraying water over the drill spot and the other person drilling. We did ours in the kitchen sink using the sprayer, but you could do it outside with a watering can or hose, or whatever works best for you. clear glass lamps photo 5-14 The key to drilling through glass is to have the drill at full speed but put little to no pressure on the glass. The friction should be enough to cut through, although don’t be surprised if it takes a while for each hole. You want to be putting as little pressure as possible and try to anticipate the drill going through so you don’t slam the drill into the vase. After you drill the top, drill another hole about 2-3 inches above the opening. Sorry I forgot to load the dishwasher before taking this picture, ha! Keeping it real over here. It’s not a bad idea to put some wash cloths between the vase and the hard surface for a little padding. clear glass lamps photo 1-20 If you successfully drilled both holes, the hard part is done! There is probably water spots and glass dust all over your vase, so just give it a wipe down to get it looking clean again. From there just follow the instructions on your lamp kit. Thread the clear cord through the bottom hole, then through the nipple and the top hole. Then hook it up to the switch part (technical term). clear glass lamps photo 1-22 clear glass lamps photo 2-24

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You may want to add a drop of super glue between the screw nut and the glass to prevent it from spinning around. After this, all you have to do is add your light bulb and lamp shade! Ta-da! You’ve made your own lamp. You should be pretty impressed with yourself.
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Good luck! If you create your own, I’d love to see the finished product!
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Dining Room Art

I’m on a role with little projects lately! We’ve had this pizza peel for a while and we don’t ever use it. I saw the idea of making it into art a while ago somewhere online or in a magazine. I’m glad it’s being used now instead of buried in a cabinet somewhere! img_0617 It’s also fun to have art that is different than a typical framed piece of art or canvas. I like the added texture and form in the room. IMG_0618 To make it I just created my own stencil by printing the word “eat” in a font I liked in a large size. I then cut out the letters and used the remaining paper as the stencil to paint the letters. The hubs drilled a hole in the handle so I could hang it with some twine I had on hand. Another free project, score! Has anyone done any simple DIY projects lately?

DIY Upcycled Ruffle Pillow

I’ve been feeling motivated to do some small projects lately and I also had a dress that has been waiting to be donated for several weeks. The other day I saw some potential in it that I hadn’t seen before. Now I have a new white ruffle pillow 🙂






I backed it with some plain gold fabric I bought for another project and never ended up using and used a pillow I already had to stuff it. So this project was FREE! Always a good feeling. The pillow cover has an envelope closure (tutorial here) so I didn’t have to mess with sewing on a zipper (something I’ve never done) and I can still take the pillow out and wash the cover if need be.

A very simple project that can be done with any type of fabric… including clothing you no longer wear or that you find in a thrift shop!


Bedroom Design Using Unconventional Night Stands

My sister moves into a new apartment soon (on the Country Club Plaza in KC—she’s going to have so much fun!) and she asked my help in choosing a new bedspread. This is the one she picked. Super cute!

I’ve been inspired by a lot of photos of bedrooms using unconventional and asymmetrical night stands, so I decided to make a mood board using my sister’s new bedspread and this concept.


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asymmetrical bedroom

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when you’re choosing you bedroom furniture! And remember, not everything needs to match!

Another HBC Design Project

Last week I was in a suburb of Washington D.C. helping with another install. I posted about our last install here. You can see that this one is a totally different style. It’s more industrial and I love it! Great job to the designer at my firm that designed this one 🙂 Actually, she was the one who designed the other project as well. Shows how diverse she can be!

Here are some photos of the site. It was still a construction zone, so it’s not perfectly clean or 100% finished, but I still thought I’d share! These photos are all from my iphone, so they aren’t the best quality either.

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Also, this time I was able to make a very quick pit stop at the National Mall before I flew out. I didn’t even know I would be able to see The White House from there, but I noticed some people taking pictures and there it was! The Washington Monument was covered in scaffolding because they are repairing some earthquake damage that happened a couple of years ago.

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DC is such a beautiful city with the river and all the history and monuments as well as Georgetown university right there. Hopefully someday Calder and I can go and explore it a little further 🙂

Chicken with Olive & Tomato Dressing

I posted this photo to my instagram several weeks ago and lots of people commented on how good it looked.


I promised I would share the recipe, and finally I am getting around to it. Sorry for the delay! But just in time for a summer night on the deck/patio/backyard 🙂

Serves 4

For the chicken:

4 large skinless chicken breasts, de-boned (or pre-cut chicken tenders)

1 cup flour, seasoned with salt & pepper

for the dressing:

1 cup Kalamata Olives, pitted and roughly chopped

2 tbsp capers (optional)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

salt & pepper to taste

  1. Start by pounding the chicken between two layers of cling film until approximately 1/3″ inches thick.
  2. Coat the chicken in the seasoned flour and fry in a hot pan until browned on either side and cooked through (approximately 1-2 minutes per side).
  3. Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and set aside. Play with the ratio of tomatoes to olives. Calder thought it was a little too salty, but I also had capers in mine. Next time I would use a few less olives and no capers.
  4. When the chicken is cooked, remove from the pan and serve topped with the dressing.

Original recipe found here.

June Hikes

For some reason, this summer I am extra worried about it going by too fast and before I know it, it’s over and it’s back to sweaters and boots. That is the LAST thing I want to think about right now. So we are trying to get out and enjoy the weather and especially the hiking as much as possible.

Earlier this month we went to a newly opened state park. There is a waterfall hike but we didn’t have time to do the whole thing this time. We did find an elk shed that Calder was pretty excited about!






DSC03531Since we were in a state park we couldn’t keep it, much to the hubby’s dismay.

Another weekend this month we hiked with our good friends in Rocky Mountain National Park and actually did make it to a waterfall (two, in fact!). We saw tons of wildlife including 5 moose (!) and a newborn elk that looked like Bambi and sounded like a kitten. Seriously the cutest thing ever.








the first waterfall-Alberta Falls (and my first real waterfall to see in person!)



Towards the end we were trekking through quite a bit of snow!


There’s the other waterfall in the distance!


Getting closer…you can see better how much snow there was!

photo-9Made it! Still tons of snow covering it up, but still really cool.


Calder, not surprisingly, decided to sled down part of the way on his pack. 🙂 After we got down we saw this big herd of all bull elks. Calder was like a kid in a candy store!


photo-7I didn’t get any pictures of the moose or baby elk since my phone died and I didn’t have my regular camera 😦

Last but not least we did the incline, which is sort of like a rite of passage for Colorado residents I hear. Here is a picture of it so you can get an idea of the craziness.


Incline 1And here are some terrible quality screen shots of us from the #instavideo calder made:



Most intense hour and eight minutes of my life. But so glad we made it to the top! Note to self: next time bring way more water. Note to Calder: next time don’t start sprinting up the first 50 feet. 😉

Anyone else having fun summer adventures?