The Cube Cases

These things haunted me.  The pillows are a convex kind of cube where the middle is thicker than the edges, so you had to make sure you cut your fabric in way that it wasn’t too tight in the middle or too loose around the edges. I was not looking forward to them. My mom is really talented with the sewing machine so I called her for advice, and even she said she wasn’t sure what to tell me. Her advice was to go to a fabric store and ask for their professional opinion or go to Joann Fabric and look through their pattterns. I stopped by the sewing section of my Walmart and actually found a cube pattern! It wasn’t exactly what I needed since my pattern was for cases, not a pillow that was going to be stuffed with something like a bean bag – but I could see the way I needed to organize my thoughts and freehand pattern. I also looked up a few patterns on Pinterest for extra research-ammunition. I didn’t use one particular set of directions so I won’t put a link up. Below are my very rough set of directions.

1. With the fabric folded in half lengthwise I laid it out on the floor to see how many pillow cases I could actually make from the topsheet and how much extra fabric I was going to have to buy. It came out that I was able to get a top and bottom for all four pillows. I figured this out by first just lying them all down on the fabric with about an inch or two between them.

2. Then I measured the length and width of the pillow, added an inch to both, and marked up the fabric. I kept it folded in half with the back of the fabric facing up while I made the marks to reduce effort. I had 8 big pieces for the tops and bottoms.

fabric1

3. With the leftover fabric I cut out the side pieces. When I assembled the first case I realized I had measured too much fabric for the sides, so I probably could have gotten away with making all of the sides out of the topsheet instead of buying extra fabric like I did, but you live and learn. What I did wrong was over measure the sides based off the thickest point of the pillow. If I had measured the thinner edges I would have been set. After I finished the first pillow (where I had to pin half of the side fabric down when I stitched on the bottom) I cut off a little more than half of the rest of the side panels. With all those pieces cut out I had 16 pieces for the side panels.

You can see the pillow in this one to get an idea why it's a weird shaped case.

You can see the pillow in this one to get an idea why it’s a weird shaped case.

4. The first step of stitching was to sew the side panels for the first pillow into a loop. Edge by edge with the “back” or “wrong side” facing you, stich them together with about a 1/2 inch seam allowance on the sides.

No worries, Lep, you just do you.

5. With your loop ready, pin the top piece to it with everything still wrong-side out. I preferred to start pinning at the middle since all my edges are pretty rough and not symetical.

photo_1

Pinned

Stitched

Stitched

None of the corners turned out pretty, but these are outdoor pillows anyways. For your stitching start in one corner of the pillow and get as close to the seam on the opposite side as you can. Once you’re close, ensure the needle is in the fabric and lift up the foot. Rotate the fabric so that you’re now going straight down the next edge instead of a weird crooked turn. When I saw that I actually had something that looked like a viable pillow case I started to get excited. I put it on the pillow to see and OMG it was working!! There was too much side panel fabric as you can see below, but who cares! I was super proud and couldn’t wait to get the rest done.

The trial run with the first case, you can see how much extra side panel fabric there is here.

The trial run with the first case, you can see how much extra side panel fabric there is here.

6. Another reason why this was going to be such an undertaking was because these cases also had to be envelope style to get the pillows in! I decided to just not care for the backs. I cut the bottom piece of fabric in half, and on the “inner” cuts that I just made I sewed about a half inch seam on each. Then I overlapped them and sewed them together about two inches on the top and bottom. I pinned the middle of them together so the envelope wouldn’t open up and make sewing the bottom on harder.

fold1

fold2

7. I followed the same process as step 5 for the bottom piece as well. The pinning the top and bottom to the side panels takes the longest, but you want to make sure it’s right. And then you’re done!!

8. The last thing you have to do is stuff in your pillow!!

full1

full2

I had a friend staying at my house and crashing on my couch while I was making these and I don’t think he’ll ever see someone as excited over a pillowcase as I was over the first one. I was so uber proud. I hugged the pillow in front of him, even. He did tell me that he felt like I should be watching Golden Girls as I sat at my kitchen table with my sewing machine and cat sleeping right in front of the machine lol

I’m now much more ready to begin my sewing projects that I felt too inexperienced to start. Sure these are just pillowcases but who cares! Bring it on!

Advertisements

The Balcony Bed

I’ve actually had this project 98% completed for months now, but I was dreading the last step (freehand pillowcase sewing) and I kept putting it off. Even though I wasn’t happy with the state, it didn’t keep almost every single person who has come by my house from almost immediately telling me they wanted us to go hangout up on the balcony bed! But since I kept putting off the last, that meant I couldn’t post the final product! But I FINALLY overcame my fears and just did it. I’m now a happier crafter without it hanging over my head!

I have a beautiful, 8×13 balcony off my bedroom at the new place that sat empty while I decided what was going to be done up there. I love to sit outside and read – or just be! – but I’m reluctant to do that on my groundfloor patio. All my neighbors can see me sitting there, I have to interact with them, and there are constantly people walking by with their dogs so I really only sit outside when I have friends over. I was pretty unimpressed with the super boring outdoor pallet bed ideas I was seeing on Pinterest, until I found the holy grail of pallet beds. http://prudentbaby.com/2011/07/prudent-home/how-to-build-a-pallet-daybed-2/  I am not joking when I say I was so obsessed with starting this project that I read the directions so many times in anticipation I didn’t even need to read them while I was building.

This post is going to much more indepth than my previous posts have been because although the directions from Prudent Baby are wonderful, they’re not really that accurate. And it’s misleading. This project isn’t going to cost you $60 like she made it seem – it’s going to cost around $500-600. Preach. But building the frame is probably the easiet thing you’ll ever do. If you follow these directions it should only take you about half a day (if that). It took me two days because I had to go to Lowe’s like 4 times in 3 days to get the right bolts (partially because of the bad directions and partially because of bad help at Lowe’s).

What You Will Need:

  • 2 standard sized pallets (48×40). Try to make sure they line up well, you’ll see what I mean in a little. You can find them anywhere. Walmart throws them behind their buildings, grocery stores get deliveries on Tuesdays and Thursdays and would probably help you out if you asked, Craiglist “Free” section has them all the time, they’re everywhere. I “reclaimed” one that had been sitting next to the recycling bin at my office and asked a manager at Lowe’s if I could take one that was on their floor when I went to get all my necessities.
  • Twin mattress (39×75) – I bought this foam mattress [link] which is smaller than the one Prudent Baby bought, but also$100 less.
  • Waterproof mattress cover – I bought one on Amazon, but you can get them at Target too. Prudent Baby bought one that keeps bed bugs away too but, eh, this was $10. There is a link on her site for the mattress and cover she bought.
  • 5 casters (wheels). I used the 4 inch casters that Prudent Baby used and I don’t know if they need to be that big. I would recommend going down to 3 inch casters because they are cheaper and the planks of my pallet were hardly wider than my casters, so the holes I drilled were quite close to the edge and I was worried about splitting the wood.
  • 3 – 3/8×3.5 inch or 5/16×3.5 inch galvanized bolts. This is where Prudent Baby’s directions started letting me down. If you look at them, Prudent Baby tells you to buy 3/4×3 inch bolts. Wait, what?! Now if you’re not familiar with hardware, that’s an issue for 2 reasons: 1. That is ridiculously thick. It will split your wood. 2. Lowe’s doesn’t even carry anything that big! I used my own “judgement” and got 1/2×3 inch bolts but I don’t think they need to be that thick, and I also would recommend a little more length than just 3 inches (thus the 3.5).
  • 3 – 3/8 or 5/16 washers
  • 3 – 3/8 or 5/16 split lock washers
  • 3 – 3/8 or 5/16 hex nuts
  • 20 – 1/4x 1.5 inch bolts to screw on your casters. Prudent Baby suggested 3/4×2 bolts for the casters. C’MON! WHAT?! This is even more ridiculous because the holes on the casters are so small!!! I follwed the length and got 1/4×2 inch bolts but this time around they’re actually a little too long.
  • 20 – 1/4 hex nuts
  • 20 – 1/4×1.5 inch wood screws (you can get a little box of them)
  • 4 – 1/2 inch pipe elbows
  • 4 – 1/2 inch flanges
  • 4 – 1/2 inch x 18 inch long pipes
  • 2 – 1/2 inch x 22 or 24 inch long pipes. I used 24 inch because that’s what Lowe’s had.
  • Sheet and pillows!

First thing to do is cut your pallet down to size. Each pallet should be 40×40 once cut, so with a jigsaw cut down the side that was originally 48 inches or so. I had my friend help me with that part since I hadn’t bought my own jigsaw yet. But make sure you keep the extra pieces!!

Extra pieces holding down the tarp

Extra pieces holding down the tarp

Prudent Baby sanded down her pallets, but why waste the time? The mattress is going to completely cover the pallets anyways. No one is going to see them or be touching them. So I skipped that part. I did put a coat of polyurethane on the pallets, though, because they’re going to be outside. I had some left over from refinishing the patio table (see: The Basement Beauty), so I just quickly brushed it on with a regular paintbrush.

photo 1-2

Now things got harder here. As you can see in the picture above, because I cut the ends off to get them to the right size, I’m missing a slat on the bottom that would be additional support. Since it’s a support for the back of the pallet I wanted to take a slat from the extra pieces, remove them from the extra, and reattach them to the main pallet. I chose which side of the extra piece was going to go back on the pallet and broke apart the opposite side. There are links on Pintrest for how you can easily take apart pallets, but who has time to read all that when you’re already on a roll? What I did was beat the crap out of the pre-determind “demo side” of the extra piece with my boots and a hammer. I think my neighbors might be afraid of me now after how hard I went to town on these pieces of wood. Once I had the slat free I then nailed it back onto the main pallet. I had to take a minute to figure out how I was going to reattach the slat onto one of the pallets, though, because it has cut-outs on the side panels that I didn’t notice when I brought it home from the office. I decided the best way to reassemble it was to try to get the slat as far back on the level part without risking it breaking off but still be able to disperse any weight put onto the frame. It wasn’t going to look pretty or even, but it’s the bottom anyways.

Example of why it was hard to line up the bottom pieces. Make sure you get coordinating pallets!!

Example of why it was hard to line up the bottom pieces. Make sure you get coordinating pallets!!

I took the pallets up to the balcony to assemble it. I measured the inside panel of each pallet for 3 holes, one close to the front, one in the middle, and one close to the back. These are the holes that you will use for your 3/8×3.5 or 5/16×3.5 bolt to join the two pallets together so make sure you are measuring the sides that will be joining. With your drill, use the drill bit that corresponds to your bolt  (I used my 1/2 inch bit) and drill a hole on each mark on both pallets. Fingers crossed you measured right! You don’t want your frame to be all akimbo. Put your bolt through the pallets. Then add your washer, then split lock washer, then the hex nut. Screw the nut on with a wrench so it’s super tight. Your pallets should be pretty solid now.

Next add your casters to the bottom side. I didn’t do too much by way of measuring for this one. The bottom was inevitably going to be funky because of my odd back-slat that didn’t match up, so I wasn’t going to kill myself over it. Place your casters where you want them, mark the wood, drill your pilot holes with the corresponding drill bit, then put your 1/4×1.5 bolts through the each of the holes so the head will be facing the ground. Screw the corresponding 1/4 hex nut on. Do the fifth wheel in the center. I have 4 locking casters and the center is just normal.

You can also see how I chose to line up the extra pieces that I reattached to the main pallets.

You can also see how I chose to line up the extra pieces that I reattached to the main pallets.

You’re almost done! This part was kind of tricky though. The reason I say you should make sure your pallets are similar in shape and line up well is mostly for this step. Lining up the arms of your frame can be hard if the slats of your pallet don’t line up well  – like mine don’t. Just like with the wheels, I knew there wasn’t anything I could do to make things perfectly even so I didn’t sweat it too much. I really freestyled this one. Despite my inner-perfectionist crying, I didn’t even break out the level. I’m sure you can figure out a way to measure your own arms so that they’re perfect 🙂 I first assembled the arm, lightly screwed it into the flange, and then placed the full thing on the pallet. I moved it around a bunch of times to get it to where it looked even, where the flange was pretty much fully on the slat, and would line up with the other arm. Then I marked the holes, drilled the pilot, and screwed in the wood screws. Don’t tighten the screws all the way down until you have all the screws in to make sure you don’t mess up/cover any of the holes. Then on the next side line it up with the arm that’s completed and repeat.

photo 1-1

See how the slats don’t line up for the flanges to be symmetrical?

And voila! The frame is done!! Not much to look at really, but the best is yet to come.

photo 3-2

Now for the decorative pieces part. This all about personal style and taste. I wanted this space to be distinctly me, something that could be cozy and intimate, but at the same time not oozing romance (I could be out there with my dad, and that would be weird). I bought the mattress of Amazon and it came quite quickly! I had also already spent enough money on this project to the point that I was pretty reluctant to spend even more on fancy pillows. Prudent Baby went to West Elm. I went to Target and Bed Bath & Beyond. The thought ocurred to me that if I buy a twin bedding package (fitted sheet, top sheet, pillow cases) I can sew the extra top sheet and pillow cases into pillow slip-covers; but that also meant I could buy the cheapest pillows no matter if they didn’t match or were ugly. Unfortunately, the big pillows for the back were preeeetttyyy expensive since nothing was the right size. I found white cube-ish shaped pillows that were perfect so I went with those.

Almost done! Happy, but not completely satisfied.

Almost done! Happy, but not completely satisfied.

However, since they’re cube shaped I was unsure of how to sew cases for them! This is the part I stalled on. I am not a proficient sewer in the least. However, with some intense research and a little can-do attitude I cowgirled up and got it done! Post to come on how I made the cases. 🙂

OBSESSED.

OBSESSED.

It looked great with white pillows but now that everything matches I can’t tell you how happy this makes me! I can’t can’t can’t wait for fall weather to be up there with my favorite big blanket, the lights I’m going to hang, and a cuddle buddy!!

The Grilling Continues!

I had more grill recipes in my arsenal (aka my Pinterest boards) and this was another! My friend and I weren’t even that hungry tonight but he still ate two huge chicken breasts because it was so delicious. And promptly passed out on the couch after.

And a side note – this and the salmon kebab recipe are paleo friendly!

chicken on grill

Ingredients

  • 900gm chicken tenderloins
  • 5 tsps sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper or chill powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Celtic salt or sea salt
  • 1 tsp Allspice
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds powder (you can grind coriander seeds with mortar & pestle)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsps tomato paste
  • 2 limes (zest + juice from one lime for the marinade and juice from the second when serving)
  • Coconut oil for frying – KB’s Note: I skipped this. I wasn’t paying $7 for a jug of coconut oil I was going to use once.

the marinade

Instructions

  1. Mix all marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Rinse chicken meat and cut larger pieces in half keeping long slices. Using your hands, cover and rub the pieces with the marinade. Cover with cling wrap and set aside for at least one hour before grilling.
  2. If using a grill plate or a frying pan on your stove, heat one teaspoon of coconut oil until sizzling hot. Fry chicken pieces for 3 minutes on each side and then remove to a plate to rest. Make sure not to overcrowd the frying pan or you will end up with too much meat juice and your dish will become stewed rather than grilled chicken. If using a BBQ, heat the plate to sizzling hot and either spray with olive oil or brush with coconut oil. Place chicken pieces on the plate with a little space in between and cook for 3 minutes on each side on medium/high heat with the lid on.
  3. Remove cooked chicken to a serving plate and drizzle with more lime juice before serving.

Preparation time: 10 minutes + at least 1 hour marinating time

Cooking time: 15 minutes depending on the size of frying pan/BBQ plate

Number of servings: 5-6

With our new favorite potato recipe! Second night in a row.

With our new favorite potato recipe! Two nights in a row lol

KB Note: I went too heavy on the paprika since I thought I had a lot of chicken, probably didn’t need to do that. I countered this by adding 2 whole limes to the marinade and squeezing a third over the finished chicken. I LOVE lime. I sat on the couch smelling my fingers after dinner (I know, so weird). If you know of good lime scented lotion PLEASE let me know.

The Grill Has Arrived!!

I have taken one more step into adulthood and bought my first grill! It was the most painful assembly I have ever done, though. I felt stupid the entire time for not being able to figure out why things weren’t working, especially since I do all this crafty/handy stuff in my free time! It took an actual stroke of genius to figure out the steps they expected you to take but didn’t feel the need to include in the directions. It was not fun. It’s a baby charcoal grill that comes up to my knees but I’m not that intense anyways.

grill

I have been wanting to make this recipe but have been held up by the lack of grill, but now was my time to shine! And let me tell you, my friend and I were an awesome grill team. While I was prepping the salmon he surprised me with a sweet potato recipe that seemed pretty dubious. Chili powder on grilled sweet potatoes! They turned out AMAZINGLY though, and even were a great pairing to the salmon! We absolutely shoveled this in our faces.

photo 3

Finished product. Beyond amazing.

Grilled Salmon Kebabs
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 4 • Size: 2 kebabs • Old Points: 6 pts • Weight Watcher Points+: 8 pt
Calories: 267 • Fat: 11 g • Carb: 7 g • Fiber: 3 g • Protein: 35 g • Sugar: 0 g
Sodium: 658 mg • Cholest: 94 mg

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 pounds skinless wild salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 lemons, very thinly sliced into rounds
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 16 bamboo skewers soaked in water 1 hour KB NOTE: I only needed 5. I put more salmon on the skewers

Directions:

1. Heat the grill one medium heat and spray the grates with oil. Mix oregano, sesame seeds, cumin, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl to combine; set spice mixture aside.

photo 1

2. Beginning and ending with salmon, thread salmon and folded lemon slices onto 8 pairs of parallel skewers to make 8 kebabs total. Spray the fish lightly with oil and season kosher salt and the reserved spice mixture.

photo 2

3. Grill the fish, turning occasionally, until fish is opaque throughout, about 8 to 10 minutes total.

And here’s a picture of his cute puppy! 🙂

Can't say the cats were happy to have her around, but they all got along well enough :)

Can’t say the cats were happy to have her around, but they all got along well enough 🙂