Zip It! My First Try At A Zippered Pillow Cover

I sewed a zipper into a pillow cover! Woohoo! Cue the band and light the fireworks! I don’t know why, but it seems like a momentous occasion on my learning-to-sew journey. I’ve been wanting to do this little project since we started cleaning up our guest room. I purchased the pillow on the top left from TJ Maxx and it serves as the color inspiration. I picked up the other two fabrics at JoAnn.


I love that these fabrics feature my favorite green that reappears in several rooms of our house. What makes this color scheme fresh for this room is the addition of the dark blue.

To figure out how to install a zipper, I just Googled it. First I looked at this video on YouTube and thought it was too complicated. I didn’t like how there would be two lines of stitches along each side of the zipper. So, I skipped over to this website. This option looked like it would easily replicate how the zipper was sewn into the pillow I purchased at TJ Maxx. It involves sewing the seam together, then adding the zipper, followed by ripping the original seam apart to reveal the zipper. I do not like how it turned out.


This method may work for a different fabric, but my fabric is white with a dark pattern printed on it. I can see every little hole where the thread went through. Awful! I left it this way because I didn’t want to ruin the fabric any more than I already did. I don’t have enough to cut new pieces.

For the second pillow, I followed how it was done on the YouTube video and it almost looks like it was done by a professional. I’m still not sold on the double lines of stitches, but I think that could be corrected if I used no sew tape to iron the fold down, eliminating the need for one line of stitches, and then sewed on the zipper.


I did run into some trouble sewing over the thick parts of the zipper. My bobbin thread kept bunching up, so I learned to walk the foot and needle of my sewing machine over the thick part of the zipper. Next time, I think I would probably hand stitch the ends of the zipper to the fabric to avoid that problem. Just to give myself a little pat on the back, I’m pleased with how well I matched the pattern up on the seams of the pillow. It isn’t exact, but it’s pretty darn good.

Overall, this little project taught me not to rip seams on this type of printed fabric, or maybe not at all, and to try hand stitching through the thickest parts at the ends of the zippers.

Do you have a helpful hint for sewing zippers? I could sure use your advice for next time.

A Remember Wren Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Christmas decorations are packed away, giving our house a temporarily uncluttered look and I feel inspired to get rid of all our junk (wondering what to do in January when it’s cold outside? Uh, get organized, that’s what). I actually started some organizing projects many weeks ago, then I read this fantastic book that I’m dying to recommend to you, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I’m seriously wishing I had read this before I started some of my organizing projects and I hope you read it before you start yours. It will change your outlook, I swear!

black and white closet

First of all, the book will inspire you because Marie Kondo’s advice is so simple in it’s approach. There is absolutely no wishy-washy mumbo jumbo on how you have to understand what kind of organizer you are, what organizing method works best, or determine the flow patterns of your house. She will not recommend that you go to The Container Store and spend hundreds of dollars or develop new filing and organizing systems. It all comes down to this:

“Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out.”

Think on that for a second. A place for everything and everything in it’s place. It’s so simple, toddlers can do it at daycare.

Kondo doesn’t think highly of the incremental decluttering a bit every day approach. She insists on a massive sort, something like you’d see on that TLC show from way back, Clean Sweep. You’re likely to have more success if you can see massive results right off the bat that will help you stay motivated as you progress to more difficult items to sort like personal memorabilia. She suggests that you look at everything like it needs to go, it’s headed to the dump or Goodwill, and you handle each item and decide if it deserves to be kept because you actually use it or love it because it brings you joy. If you decide to keep it, you decide where to keep it right then. So, if you are going to clean out your closet, you take every single item out and gather up all the other clothing items from around your house, then consider each item individually to see if it is a keeper.

black and white shoes

Some of the best advice in the book is to not sort by area of your house, but by category of item. Like items should be sorted together and stored together. Reading that, you might say, “no duh!” but when I look at my house, there are a total of five different places any family member’s shoes could be at any given time. No wonder it takes us extra time to get out the door. This idea also helps you to see how much of a certain item you have and keeps you from acquiring the same thing over and over again (you would not believe how many screw driver sets we have).

Her advice for people like me, who live with packrats who have no desire to tidy up, is to keep sorting your own items and lead by example. I’m skeptical on this point, but maybe my family will come around when the realize I always know where my stuff is while they can’t find anything they want.

You get the gist of her philosophy with what I already shared, but I also have to mention the following tidbits, which just struck a chord with me:

  • Storage experts are hoarders
  • Save difficult items until last
  • Discard all of your paperwork

Mind blowing, right? “Storage experts are hoarders!” Well of course they are! They know every container you should keep things in and where to find it, the little addicts! “Save difficult items until last” seems like excellent advice but my intuition is to do the hard stuff first. From Kondo’s point of view though, I see my mistake. Organizing is a big decision making exercise. You’ll get better at making decisions the more you practice, so best to get lots of experience before tackling that difficult box of childhood memories. I’m still having a hard time with the “discard all of your paperwork” notion. I’m an expert at creating “what-if” scenarios, so I have every credit card statement and phone bill from the last seven years. Really, I know I can get that information online if I need it and for the most part I haven’t needed any of it at all, ever.

Gosh, that just scratches the surface of this book, so I hope you’ll take the time to read it before you tackle your organizing projects. I found Kondo’s approach to be very enlightening. The book is translated from Japanese and Kondo refers frequently to all the bags of garbage she has hauled out of clients’ homes. I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt and assuming that things were properly disposed of, whether donated or recycled. Ugh, where to take everything you discard is another matter isn’t it?

So what is up first on your organizing to do list? Read this book, hopefully, and then remember, not room by room, but category by category. Good luck!

Gift tags, socks, party planning and cute Christmas trucks

Last weekend I made gift tags from last years Christmas cards. They turned out really cute. I blogged about this last year. But I still love this idea, it’s resourceful, recycling and cuteness all rolled into one.

gift tags

I finished my son’s socks that I was working on. Remember how I told you I picked the yarn out 5 years ago? It felt really good to finish them up last weekend!! I tried to take a photo of them. Here they are and then he took off!!!


We’ve gotten to visit Ft. Worth for the first time recently and I have to say it is a fun place. Lots to see and do and eat – even if you are the littlest of hipsters!


We’ve decided to have our New Year’s Party again and so my mind has been in party planning mode. I think this year I’m going to keep it more simple than last year but we are going to have a children’s toast again this year. We had a toast for the kids a few hours early thinking some people would want to go home early with their kids but everyone stayed!
We did a balloon drop and bubble wrap pop at around 9 pm. It was tons of fun. I couldn’t believe how long it took the kids to pop the bubbles!  I thought they would all be popped in seconds!


I brought out a big sheet of bubble wrap and we did a count down.  At the same time we dropped balloons down on them and they got to jump up and down on the bubble wrap.  It was a fun time so I’d definitely like to do it again!!

And last but not least, I received the cutest ornament at a recent ornament exchange and ironically it was something that has been on my brain lately.


This is my favorite cute symbol of Christmas time.  I had even found cookie cutters that you could order.  And I also saw the cutest red truck in our hometown Christmas parade.  Funny how things get stuck in your head and then you see them everywhere!
So what holiday thoughts are swirling around in your head?