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January brought more pillow fun. I’ve been coveting this beautiful fabric for months, but didn’t have a project in mind so I kept leaving it at the store. Finally I decided to just buy it and as soon as I walked in the house I knew it would replace the now faded pillows on the couch. It’s a Chinese red and not at all in line with the orange I normally pick for the living room, but it was beautiful on the grey couch, so it was time for a change. Conveniently I still had a giant piece of grey felt for companion pillows.

I decided this fabric needed a special treatment so I stared at many, many beautiful pillow examples online and finally decided to try my hand at pin tucking. It looked fancy, but I quickly came to believe everyone who said how easy it was. I put a band of pin tucking on the print pillows and three widely spaced ones on the felt.

And thanks to this great tutorial, I even added zippers to all my pillows for the first time ever! (I can’t believe I’ve been adding buttons all this time thinking they were easier…)

I managed to stick to my comfort zone of only sewing straight lines and ended up with beautiful, fancy pillows – what a bonus! And I have to admit, I love this fabric even more and catch myself just looking at it every now and then and being happy it’s on my couch 🙂

I couldn’t let any of the fabric go to waste, so I borrowed from this example and used the last piece to make another pin tucked band to put on a grey felt pillow for the chair in the room.

And just because I was on a roll with my fancy new straight lines – I made this pillow reversible, here’s the back:

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A few months ago a friend mentioned that she wanted to make a tent/fort for her 18 month old son. She of course also convinced me that I needed to make one for my nephew and the adventure began. Another friend wanted one, but was swamped so we decided to add her two year old son to the list for his birthday. My friend doesn’t sew, so this was also a chance for her to learn – with lots of very long straight hems to sew. We were a bit nervous about getting it all correct, so added a 4th “practice tent” to the list. And… as we progressed another friend loved the idea and commissioned one for her granddaughter! The first one probably took about 6 hours, but once all the pieces were cut we got them down to about 3 hours each – plus whatever embellishments we wanted to add.

The practice tent

Cutting was no easy feat. In the “you get what you pay for” mode our $3 twin sheets were a foot shorter and a foot wider than the pattern and nowhere near square, luckily Abby pulled out her math brain and we came up with new measurements. We fell into a good system of Abby doing most of the pinning and ironing and I did most of the sewing (though she did try her hand a few times). She also cut and tied the bamboo poles!

Milo's bird tent

In the end we had our own super cute tent city – with thumbs up from the two older boys.

Janet's woodland tent

Unfortunately I don’t seem to have a photo of tate’s finished tent – Abby added really cute print, red & brown pennant flags to the top.

Tate's red tent

And I finally found a use for the super cute Dr. Seuss fabric I’ve been in love with for my nephews tent.

Isaiah's tent

More of Isaiah's tent

Proof of Abby sewing

It’s my favorite time of year, yes I love the holidays… but my favorite tradition is my annual chocolate making extravaganza. We decided to give ourselves a break and skipped the molded chocolates this year (and saved ourselves a good 2-3 hours). But we still tempered the chocolate and dipped and poured like crazy!

First we made some chocolate praline hazelnuts and dipped swedish fish, pretzels and apricots (with a little chilli sea salt on top).

Then – this year’s masterpiece. Handrolled dark milk chocolate truffles, dipped in bittersweet chocolate with a few nibs on top.

The remaining chocolate gets poured into bark. This year: mango and cashews with curried mango salt, toffee & sea salt, and toffee with cashews.

At the end – it was quite a display of chocolates!

And of course, day two was the fun part… packaging them so they look as good as they taste!

Step 1 in project craft space is done – the paint colors have been chosen.

The bedroom will soon be in the smaller room and will be zen and modern in golden cricket and dusty mountain (3rd from the bottom on each paint chip).

The bigger room will now serve as the office, guest room and sewing/craft space. I had to compromise my love of dark colors a bit so the room would be light and airy and a good work space (well I succeeded on 3 walls…). Those will be dolphin fin and the 4th will be mosaic tile (the bottom colors on both swatches).

next up, step 2: painting…