In a stark living room or bedroom, some throw pillows can really bring comfort and warmth into the decorating, as well as pulling together colors from around the room. Here are simple instructions for how to make your own throw pillows.

Supplies

You’ll need fabric to make the pillows, thread and needle (or a sewing machine) and batting to fill the pillow with. You can buy specific pillow filling at a fabric store. You could also use an existing pillow to fill the new pillowcase.

Cut out your form

If you’re using an existing pillow, make sure to measure it. Otherwise, you want to cut your fabric in two pieces: one for the front, one for the back. Throw pillows can be made in many forms, but for the purposes of this lesson, we’re assuming you’ll make either a square or circle pillow with seams around the edges. When considering pillow size, you’ll want to cut the size you want plus at least half an inch. This extra room allows you room to make a seam and room for the custom made pillow to be compacted as you fill it.

Sew three seams

If working on a circle-shaped pillow, you’ll want to sew your fabric together around 3/4 of the circle. For the purposes of the square personalized pillow, you’ll sew three sides of the square together. To do this, place your two pieces of fabric together (outside in) and begin to sew, leaving a seam allowance to remain inside the pillow of at least 1/4 inch.

Stuff the pillow

Once your custom made pillow is 3/4 sewed, you’ll want to stuff it with your special pillow batting. Turn the pillow right-side out, and pull the batting out with your hands and arrange it inside the pillow until it’s the shape and size that you want, keeping in mind that the batting will settle a little over time as it assumes a shape. Don’t stuff it too full, though: you still have to sew up that fourth side!

Finish it off

The fourth side can be a little tricky to sew, but if you push the batting away from the seam, that can help. You will need to fold the seam allowance down into the custom made pillow, and sew as close to the edge as you can to ensure a seam that’s not overly visible. Take your time, and when you finish off your seam, go back over it to insure that your pillow doesn’t come open. Another option at this step is to install a zipper, but this isn’t recommended unless the customized pillow inside is sealed. That way, you can launder the pillow in case of spills.

Voila!

Now you have a personalized throw pillow. Use it to tie together a room or to rest your head as you lounge on the couch. You’re on the way to a put-together room without spending much money!

Read More →

Track lighting offers advantages wherever it is used, but particularly in the kitchen. Quite often, a kitchen has several different spots that can use additional lighting other than a single ceiling fixture. For example, the sink can use more light when vegetables are being cleaned or maybe under the cabinets as foods are prepared. Moreover, you can add to the kitchen d├ęcor with the style of track lighting that you select.

In planning the use of track lighting, it’s best to consider how light from one fixture can overlap the light from another fixture and and make the lighted area much more usable. The overlapping of light removes some shadows and shows more detail. Some kitchens with a single ceiling fixture cause tasks to be done while working in a your own shadow. Track lighting eliminates this “shadow work” area.

Take into account the color and reflectivity of existing kitchen surfaces. For example a very dark surface with a dull finish will seem to absorb light. On the other hand a white, shiny surface may reflect so much light that it seems too bright. You can test some of these areas for the kind and brightness of a proposed track light by using a strong flashlight as well as check on the best location. It’s not hard and it doesn’t take much time.

You have a choice between two different kinds of track lighting. One is called free form and the other is called fixed form. The free form style lets you adjust the location of each light on the track This allows you to remove a light head or you can relocate a light head. Also, you can change the color of the light heads and add to the kitchen’s style. The fixed form system has light heads that cannot be moved, they can only be turned around in their fixed location.

A fairly handy do-it-yourself person can install track lighting with some ease. You might need a helping had to hold some tracks in place white they are being attached to the ceiling or the underside cabinets, but otherwise it’s a one person job. Access to an electrical outlet or perhaps a junction box will be necessary also. You may want to consider some touch up painting or re-painting some areas, as well. And be sure to purchase your track lighting system components from the same supplier because the parts are usually not interchangeable between manufacturers.

Once installed, you will find track lighting in your kitchen a very great advantage over other common kithen lighting that cannot be focused or directed. Plus, track lighted kitchens are bright, efficient and beautiful.

Read More →