July 9, 2010


The function of a bead can be limited to a small decoration on a bracelet or as vast as a MacGyver vessel of escape (come one, why not?). Locking yourself in a craft room with jewelry, scrapbook, sewing, and photography supplies can be, well, an interesting combination!

When the Hubs and I moved into our new house I was dead set on figuring one thing out first: our color schemes. While most of our house is black, white, and red (homage and continuation of our wedding celebration), I was ready to re-vamp our bedroom colors from bold magenta and gold to a more inviting and sedate color combination. While reading a magazine provided by my gal Cheryl on the drive from Los Angeles to Missouri, I spotted this:

Though pastel-type of colors usually aren't my thing, I for some reason fell in love with this pallet. We started with painting one of our bedroom walls a beautiful light purple to match the scheme (well, I actually never lifted a brush -- I threw a Paint Party and a dozen people from church did all the work before I even got a chance to leave the kitchen!). Next was the accents... I knew that I wanted to make a headboard out of a lime/mint greenish fabric (more on that once it's actually done), and that I wanted to also coordinate with some beige colored Chinese lampshades and a dark purple of sorts. I shopped all around for some kind of dark purple/floral/bold accent pillow with no luck. So what's a girl to do? Make one herself, of course!

When shopping in the jewelry/garment district when we were back in LA for the Hub's ordination, I looked everywhere for some kind of tweed/thick deep purple fabric. When I couldn't find any, the $2.50/yard plain cotton won simply due to it's color. And that fact that I have next-to-zero sewing skills and I figured such fabric would be gentle on this beginner!
In my mind, I had envisioned a 3-D floral pillow, with a swirl of ruffles revolving across the whole front of a 16x16" or so throw pillow. Other than that, I had NO set measurements/instructions/etc. Just me, my scissors, and my sewing machine! Needless to say, I used less than sophisticated tools:
I knew I wanted to add ruffled-petals of sorts in a circular pattern to the pillow, but I didn't really have much of a game-plan other than just playing with the fabric and going from there! I first used the "schrunchie" method of loosely sewing thread into one side of panels of fabric then pulling the thread to bunch the fabric together...
Then, and most time-consuming, came pinning on the ruffled fabric to the pillow case front panel, using the bowl-drawn circles as a guide: 
Then I sewed on layer-upon-layer of the stuff...
Until the ruffles were done... but with to do with the middle? 
I searched all over my house for a flower broach I had purchased a few years back for the wedding to no avail. Then it hit me - and it should have hit me sooner - BEADS!
After sewing seven light purple crystal beads in the center, we had our pillow front. Now was the most interesting part - watching me try to measure and figure out how to most strategically sew on the back panel while also leaving room (an exact amount of room, actually) for the pillow stuffer (16x16") I bought for the inside. I am sure there is science to this, but my organic method left me literally staring at my deconstructed pillow for a solid 30 minutes before I just went for it... after sewing 3 sides of the pillow on the machine, turning it right side out, stuffing the stuffer inside, then hand sewing the bottom side (all while watching The Office on my computer), I got this:
Totally not what I had originally envisioned, and in all honesty it is a bit frillier than I prefer... but dag-namit, I made it with no instructions, no forms, and literally no experience on a sewing machine! I love it! AND - it looks great with the colors I already have going on in the bedroom!
When I showed it my Hubs, he said "Oh cool! You made a pillow that looks like the top of a cupcake!" Wow - didn't see that one coming. If we are going with cupcake analogies, I think it looks more like the paper wrapping once it is off of a cupcake. Whatever you want to call it - cupcake, flower, beaded pillow - I dig how it seems to POP in our newly painted bedroom! (Oh, and that fabric hanging on the wall is the fabric I hope to use for a headboard... eventually!). 

I figured that while I was at it, I might as well keep on sewing - I was on a roll (even though this purple pillow took me the better half of a whole non-stop day)! When I was at Michael Levine's in Los Angeles searching for this purple fabric, I also spotted this:
Now, I am not typically a fantasy/comic/children's art kind of a connoisseur, but I have some dear friends to whom I owed a huge thank you gift and with whom we have a running gnome joke... so this fabric was just begging to be purchased! With a few cuts, snips, and another intimate getting-to-know-you session with my sewing machine, I came up with this:
And even used the left-over fabric to make a coordinating card!

Whew! So I guess this is what happens when you have sewing, scrapbooking, beading, and photography supplies all in the same craft room! But I better get back to it -- I have to make jewelry for three weddings, enough jewelry for my annual fall show, and a whole house to decorate before the summer is over! More next week!


  1. Chic, that's what I call it! That pillow would cost a fortune in a number of posh stores or boutiques! Good for you, Christyn! (And then a gift & custom card to boot?! You're on a roll, girl! :>)

  2. AnonymousJuly 09, 2010

    wow! the pillow looks fantastic. I am not big on frills but this works, great job.

  3. I love the pillow!! I could very much see that in Anthropologie. I might make a pillow twin. :)

  4. HOLY CRAP - this is AMAZING!! How much would you sell that for? I want one for my living room but in blue... WOW! I think that would go for $60+ at Crate and Barrel. WOW. I'm totally amazed.

  5. LOVE your new pillow. You are so creative, friend!