May 21, 2013
When it comes to the comforts of home, like with so many other pleasures in life, it is the little things. Maybe a delicious homemade pizza for dinner, maybe a new shower curtain, a new catchy song, sharp knives in the kitchen, or a good book to curl up and read. Over the past several months we have been making many small improvements to our living space. I appreciate each one and they have added up to a refreshed and very comfortable apartment.
I am terrible at thrifty and bargain finds so I focus first on making due with what we have and repurposing things into better use. My my most recent repurposing and improving project has been with pillows. It seems inconsequential and hardly worth mentioning, but it also one of the simplest easiest small changes you can make to refresh, brighten and make a space more comfortable. First, I washed our pillows in the washing machine, dried them outside in the sun and gave them a turn in the dryer to remove any lingering dampness. Our pillow cases weren't feeling very clean, despite recent washes, so I soaked them in the sink with three parts water to one part vinegar. After several hours soaking I tossed them in the washer and they came out feeling soft and clean (this vinegar soak also helps to refresh cloth napkins and tea towels).
With our pillows and cases almost as clean as new, I decided it wouldn't hurt to have a couple of new pillows. I've been trying to prop myself in comfortable pregnant sleeping positions so it is helpful to have a few extras around. Pillows, of course, need cases and these happen to be one of the easiest sewing projects I can imagine. I had sewn two cotton sheets into a duvet cover which never really worked with our comforter but I realized it would make a few nice pillow cases. I simply cut large rectangles of fabric (measured to the same size as an existing pillow case) with the already hemmed edges of the sheets at the top and sewed up the other three sides. For extra reinforcement I added a zigzag stitch all the way around the outside of the seam.
I had another big pillow kicking around which was looking much worse for wear and I almost tossed it after a recent spate of organizing. Fortunately I realized that it just needed a wash and a new cover and it would be perfect as an extra cushion or seat in our living room. For this pillow case I used some recent fabric favorites in a simple appliqué design. An envelope cover is my favorite for this type of pillow case since there is no need to fuss with a zipper or buttons.
When I have the time and motivation, I like to put some energy into making our home comfortable, clean, and inviting. Although these domestic projects sometimes seem tedious or unnecessary, I believe that caring for our living space is an extension of caring for ourselves. If you are so inclined, the handmade touches are a small way to nurture our homes and make them even sweeter.