Valentine Ribbon Pillow

My project for the May Arts Valentines challenge is completed!

ribbon embellished pillow

This project was fun to do, and I may have found a new favorite ribbon in the process.

The ribbons I used are all manufactured by May Arts.  Here’s how I did it.

I began by cutting a piece of unbleached cotton to the size of my pillow for the pillow top.  The pillow I made is 16 inches high by 24 inches long.  I liked this cotton because of it’s natural color, and because the fibers create a sense of texture that sort of offset the ribbon.  It looks a lot like linen, but was much less expensive.

blank cotton fabric

Next I laid the ribbon out on the fabric until I’d arranged it in a design I was happy with.  I was going for some fun stripes.  Then I pinned the ribbons in place.

ribbon pinned to fabric

I like this shot of the ribbons with ruffles on them.  This particular ribbon was SO fun to work with.  It’s 1.5 inches wide, and the center is a faux suede.  It’s really beautiful, and I loved using it.  It could be my new favorite.

ribbon pinned to fabric 2

Setting my sewing machine on it’s slowest speed, I carefully sewed each ribbon into place, changing threads as necessary to have them coordinate with the ribbon.  These ribbons were fairly wide, so I sewed down both edges of them.

Soon they were all sewn on, and it’s looking cute!

ribbons sewn to fabric

Next I went for a second layer of ribbon on top of the suede stripes.  I opted for the red velvet ric rac down the center of the white stripes.

Although I’d never tried it before, I cut a length of the white leaves ribbon and decided to see if I could successfully sew it on, too.

A bit tricky, but it worked!  I love it!

leaves ribbon on pillow

Now the pillow looked like this:

ribbon pillow

I felt like it needed something to help break up the stripes just a bit, so I toyed with several different shapes and decided at last to sketch a little bird (since I’m really loving bird images and a Valentine pillow could certainly have a little love bird on it, right?!).  I grabbed my favorite Valentines quilting fabric and went to work.

bird sketch

I added a single length of white velvet ric rac for the bird to sit on, but decided that I needed something more.  Then my eyes happened to fall on the length of suede leaves ribbon that I’d received in the mail, and I wondered if I could use some of it.  Isn’t it pretty?

suede leaves ribbon

I cut three individual leaves off and arranged them on the pillow.  Then I sewed across the tops of them, leaving the rest of the leaf free so that it adds some dimension.  ***Easter/Spring pillow idea bells start ringing in my brain at this time!  I also realized how versatile this suede leaves ribbon would be in so many altered art projects.  It’s neat stuff!

leaves on pillow

I traced my bird pattern on some interfacing and ironed it to the back of my fabric.  After cutting it out, I was ready to peel the backing off and iron the bird to my pillow.

After ironing it in place, I carefully stitched around the edge of the bird for stability.

I like the end result.

bird on pillow

It was time for the backing.  I chose to piece my back with a zipper near the bottom of it because I prefer to use my pillow inserts year round with different looks.   Lay the pieces with right sides together and carefully line them up.

Pin around the edges and sew it together!  If you choose to stuff your pillow, be sure to leave a hole to do it, and if you use a zipper, be sure you open it a little so you have a way to turn the pillow right side out.

pillow pinned together

After sewing around the edges, I trimmed the excess ribbon and also trimmed a bit at the corners.  Turn it right side out, and ta da!

ribbon pillow cover

I quickly grabbed my feather and down insert and stuffed it inside.  Finished!

valentine ribbon pillow

It looks great on the guest bed in my studio.

ribbon pillow on bed

I’m liking my little pillow.  This was a super fun project!  The possibilities for embellishment with ribbon are endless.  I enjoyed tinkering around with these.  Thanks May Arts!

Ribbon pillow with bird

Handmade Christmas Cards

There’s something fun about the stacks of paper and supplies that I always have when I’m making my Christmas cards.

Blue cardstock, strips of old sheet music found at the thrift store, green tags cut with my current favorite paper punch and stamped with a design and a greeting, a large stack of pictures of my (somewhat) supportive children, and smaller tags punched from the sheet music with our names on it.

The letter is written (short and sweet!)

Last year my pregnancy hit me hard at the beginning of December, along with another crisis in our lives.
I was so exhausted I was afraid of falling asleep at the wheel on the way to and from school!
I mailed my cards at the end of January.  That’s not going to happen this year!  I’m determined to get these cards done and mailed before I start other Christmas projects.



progress… (note the change in lighting, now we’re working late at night) DONE!

Here’s the final product:

Hooray!  Most of them are mailed.  I just have to pick up a few more postage stamps and track down a handful of addresses, and then they’re REALLY done.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas to you!

Birth Announcements

Okay, so I know that you don’t usually celebrate a baby’s first 3.5 months of life by mailing the birth announcements.  I realize it’s supposed to happen sooner than that.  But… when it’s your 8th baby and you’ve done it for all your other children, well, you do it late rather than not doing it at all.

I’ve had the design figured out since she was 3 weeks old, and the supplies have sat, cut and neatly stacked ever since.

paper crafting supplies

vintage garden tote with craft supplies

stacks of cut paper

I love tidy stacks of cut paper, just waiting for something to happen to them.
These came from my stash of old scrapbooking supplies.  Perfect colors, perfect amount.  Hooray! (No shopping.)

I also used some of this lovely embossed white paper.  (Again, from the stash.)

embossed paper

This week I finally managed to carve out the time to assemble.

I had four pictures I wanted to use, so I made an announcement that could be opened, accordion style, to see them.  This meant I needed a strip of paper around 16 inches long, so I used strips of 12 inch paper and sewed them to 4 inch pieces that were the same width.  Before I did that, I used my dry embossing tool and made fold lines at the appropriate spots so it would be easier to sew and easier to fold.

paper, paper cutter and embossing tool

With my paper cutter as a guide for straight folds, I made fold lines at 4 inches, and then two more spaced 3 and 7/8 inches down.  This left me with about 1/4 inch at the end for sewing my paper together.

The strip looked like this when I was finished.  You can see the faint fold line in the paper.

embossed paper

Next I took my stack of 4 inch long pieces, and carefully lined one of them up with the tiny tab on the long piece.  I then placed them on the sewing machine.

I put my sewing machine on the slowest speed setting and carefully stitched the pieces together.
I now had a strip of paper that was just under 16 inches long.

I then centered the pictures and birth information in the appropriate spots, and secured them to the paper.  The birth statistics I printed on more patterned paper from my stash.

It’s starting to take shape!  Because of the fold lines, it was easy to get them folded neatly, and they lined up just right!

I guess I should mention that on half of them I added a couple of little ribbon tabs on what will be the front, but when I ran out of ribbon I didn’t worry about the rest of them.  They looked pretty either way.

Time for the final assembly!  I took my stack of pink paper which I had embellished with a strip of striped paper and her name stamped in brown, along with a little detail on the left edge.  These were half sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper, cut to be 8.5 by 5.5 inches.

Don’t you just love stacks of pretty things?

I laid a piece of lovely olive green vine ribbon down the middle of the striped paper (my ribbon was cut in 14 inch lengths).  This ribbon is my all time favorite ribbon, made by May Arts .  I feel like this ribbon was the perfect complement to the announcement.  The olive color grounds the whole project and adds balance to the dark brown ink and sepia pictures, but the ribbon itself  is very dainty and fragile looking.

paper with olive leaves ribbon

Next I put a glue dot on each corner of the last section of the embossed paper (which was the part I had sewn onto the long strip) I carefully centered it on the paper and adhered it.

I punched the final picture of her little fist using a scalloped circle punch and put it on the center of the front fold.

Lastly, I tied the ribbon in a loose knot.

olive leaves tied around paper

Finished, at last!  Now they’re mailed and gone and I’m so thankful!

birth announcement

I should probably also note what a bittersweet thing it was to spend a few hours with pictures of her as a newborn.  She’s changed so much!  I love her as she is now, but I hardly noticed the changing as it happened, which reminds me how quickly she will be different again.

Part of me wants the newborn back, but another part of me is so grateful for the passage of time… it means we’re a little closer to new routines, I’m a little closer to feeling fully recovered.  I just wish she could stay the same during the adjustment!  But alas, God didn’t appoint it to be that way.  Still, I can wish, and hold her close and try to capture this moment with my heart, before it’s gone.

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