When you finally have an address… 

We spent just under 3 weeks in England, Arkansas… on the tower site… with no neighbors… and limited cell service.  Continue reading

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Piping Pillows!

I finally learned how to do piping! And I’m absolutely loving it! I’ve been wanting to publish this blog post for a while, but I wanted to surprise my mom more with her new throw pillows! 

The piping isn’t THAT difficult, I think it just took some trial and error and figuring out what works best. 

I don’t have a “zipper foot” on my sewing machine but I can get the needle to move to the left of center a little and that’s what I did.  

 First I’ll start with the pillows. I bought two 16×16 pillow forms and 4 different fabrics, 1yd each. Which turned out to be too much but I think I can squeeze two more pillows out of the leftover fabric. 

 I decided to fancy them up a bit and use more than one fabric. I cut three pieces for the front of the pillow in alternating patterns.  

  • 17×3
  • 17×7
  • 17×8

Total size is 17×18, but once you factor in the extra inch for the two seams it ends up being about 17×17. 

 
For the back, I made them envelope style and cut two pieces, a top and bottom envelope piece, both the same size. 

  • 17×13
  • 17×13

I factored in an inch for the hem on each piece, then 7″ overlap on the envelope part. (I’ve done less overlap in the past but I didn’t want the pillow peeking out at all.)

So I sewed the front pieces together then I hemmed the back pieces. Then it was time for the piping! 

I bought 1/4″ piping in a package. I cut bias strips of fabric to cover it. (This just means to cut the strips on a diagonal, so the fabric has a little more stretch to it.  

   
Then I sewed the bias strips together to make one long strip, longer than I needed to go around the whole pillow. 

Once I got that ready, I laid the piping inside and folded it up and pinned it in place. Then I sewed down the side of the piping.  

    
 
I found it helped to push the piping against my fingers to keep it straight.  

 
After that was ready to go, I pinned it to the front part of my pillow cover. The pillow cover should be right side up, with the piping laying on top with the open edge of fabric along the edge of the pillow cover.  I pinned that down. 

   
Around the corners I cut little slits to allow the piping to bend and still lay somewhat flat.  

 
Then I sewed all around. I started a couple inches from the beginning of the piping to give myself room to tuck in the other end, to make it look continuous. 

After I had the piping attached to the front of the pillow cover, I laid the back pieces face down on top, pinned them in place, then sewed all around that, finishing it up. Easy peasy! 

After those, I made Christmas pillow covers for us.  

 
Don’t mind Charlie in the background please! 

Happy New Year!

DIY Puppy Halloween Costume!

I love dressing up for Halloween, I love putting clothes on Charlie, and I love making things. All that adds up to…..

A Puppy Hot Dog Halloween Costume!!! 

 Last year all three of us dressed up like “Redneck and Proud”/hillbillies/white trash/Earl and Joy from My Name is Earl type characters… 

#redneck and #proud #halloween

A post shared by Rachel Gillen (@rachelegillen) on

 I’ve been planning Charlie’s costume for a few months now. I still don’t know what Allen and I are going to be… But at least Charlie’s all set!  

   
I took my inspiration from these pictures…  

  

 

I think I want to add a piece of yellow yarn to Charlie’s costume… But we’ll see. 

I started off by buying some yellowish/bun colored fabric and some hot dog/smoked sausage colored fabric. I already had the white jersey fabric. It has some kind of a floral pattern to it, but you can’t really tell when only a little shows. And I got a bag of stuffing for the buns. I also used scissors, needle and thread, Velcro and a sewing machine. 

After I had all my supplies, I started planning how I would do it. I started by cutting 2 ovals from a paper bag, one a little larger than the other, so the buns would poof out like buns do. I measured Charlie of course first and decided how long and tall they needed to be. For the larger oval I cut 2 pieces of the yellow and the smaller I cut 2 yellow and 2 white, for the inside of the bun.  I also cut a piece for the hot dog. I made that one almost as long as the buns then made it so it would wrap around her middle and stay there. You can see the shape in the pictures better than I can explain. 

    
    
    
 
I hemmed the red piece then double checked my measurements on my model. She hates that part. Then when I knew I had it right, I added sticky Velcro to each end. I wound up pleating the back end of the hot dog piece when I was all finished so it would fit better. Charlie has a large chest and a tiny waist. (I wish I was built like that!)

I sewed the smaller white and yellow pieces together first, then I pinned the bun pieces together like a sandwich. Yellow on each side with white in the middle. Or, right sides together, but with this fabric it didn’t matter. I started by lining up the sides and top and bottom in the middle. Then going from there, trying to evenly space the pleats.  

   
Then I sewed around the edge, removing pins as I went. Now, I probably should’ve left an opening a few inches long at the bottom so I could turn it right side out then stuff it. But, I didn’t. Total accident. But it worked out nonetheless. I had to cut a hole in the bun, I cut it on the inside, on the smaller oval so that it would be covered up by the hot dog.  

   
The. I stuffed it. Not too full, I didn’t want it to be too heavy for my little pumpkin and hurt her back. Haha but enough so it was reasonably poofy. 

I then crudely stitched that hole closed by hand then even more crudely sewed the bun to the red part. (After much measuring and trying it on Charlie and disturbing her precious nap time).  

 After I had that all finished, I tried it on her. That’s when I decided to pleat the back of the hot dog piece.  

 By this time she was super sick of me, but I managed to get one more measurement from the front of the hot dog, around her neck so that when she stood on her hind legs (we call this “sitting pretty” and she does it for treats only, never for free!) it wouldn’t fall down around her ankles and trip her. I cut a piece of the white fabric to that length, sewed a tube then attached it to either side of the hot dog.  

 
FINISHED! 

Charlie is a weiner! I mean a hot dog!  She’s actually part weiner dog. 

 
That reminded me of Pedro’s. It’s a campground/amusement park/rest stop on I-95 right on the border of North and Siuth Carolina. We stayed there once (after much pleading on my part why I NEEDED to see the wonder that is Pedro’s, simply because it is advertised on billboards on the side of the highway for hundreds of miles!). I love the billboards.  

    
 

Yesterday was a Sad Day… 

Yesterday my mom laid the plaque for my brother’s tree. I wish I could’ve been there.

  
We ordered it from International Bronze when I first got out here to San Francisco. It took almost 2 months. Joe, the designer I spoke with, was really nice and helpful and I recommend them to anyone looking for a plaque.

It’s in Mt. Healthy Park in my hometown. Adam always loved the park and especially the pool. We spent many, many days there when we were younger. They used to have a putt-putt golf course that cost 15 cents, or you could pick up 5 pieces of trash and play for free -that was what we always did! Adam passed his test to swim in the deep end with ease, me, not so much. But one day when the pool was crowded he pretended like he hadn’t taken his test yet, there were a bunch of kids that were going to take theirs at once. (You just had to swim back and forth across the 10-foot part.) But when we all started swimming, Adam helped me and it was too crowded that the lifeguards didn’t see. So from then on I was allowed to jump off the diving board. And that’s all I did was jump, towards the side, holding my nose. No diving for me! Then I would doggy paddle to the ladder and get back out. Thank you Adam. I love you.

So yesterday was pretty sad.

To top it off, it was National Dog Day. (I’ll explain why this was sad…) I made Charlie a new doggy bed. I was Pinteresting, yet again, and found an idea for an envelope dog bed, or a snuggly dog bed, or like a sleeping bag dog bed. I knew I had to make it for her because she is constantly wanting under the covers.

I woke up 5 minutes before Allen’s alarm went off this morning to Charlie whining in my face. I lifted up the blanket so she could crawl under. Still, whining. I laid my hand on her. No more whining. What a baby! 🙂

So I made this bed and I’m pretty sure it instantly became her favorite. (She has 3 – One that came with her from her old family, one I made last week and now this one… Allen says Charlie’s camper footprint is getting too large.)

  

So when we went to bed, I put it in the closet in the bedroom, for some reason she likes it in there, and both sides of the bed now have other dog beds. So she went in the closet and that’s where she slept, all by herself, almost all night. Without me. I had to sleep alone. Well, not alone, I mean Allen was there, but he’s not the same as my puppy. (Sorry honey, I love you!) So after Allen fell asleep, which he always tends to do a lot faster than me, I was awake and sad because Charlie wasn’t next to me and thinking about my brother, and I think I was awake half the night. Not being able to fall asleep is the worst.

 But, today is a new day, and I get to try out my new Bug-A-Salt rifle! Unfortunately it is not a semi-automatic… I have to pump it and turn the safety off every time. But hopefully I get rid of all these flies that hang around in my front dirt yard!  Good ole San Francisco


By the way, I made Beef Stew for dinner last night if you want the recipe… Yum!

And here are the instructions for the doggy bed on SuzySitcom. One thing I did realize, then I had to redo it, is the instructions say to put the pocket piece and the larger piece right side together. But this is wrong, you need to put the pocket piece and the larger piece both right side facing down… You’ll see!

Image Transfer DIY

Yesterday when I got lost in the endless Pinterest maze, I was actually looking for a way to transfer an image onto fabric. Since I made my pillow covers, I’ve been thinking they looked a little plain. I found a solution (I think!)

I still want to add to this but, now I know how to do it! It’s super easy! You need:

  1. A printer
  2. Wax paper
  3. Scissors
  4. Fabric

That’s it!

Remember everything will transfer in reverse. Good thing this was a test on scrap fabric!

Word… And my Sutro coffee cup…

I chose my image and put it into Word. Then I cut a piece of wax paper to around 8.5″X11″. I had to finagle it a little to get it into the printer. I wound up sticking it between two sheets of regular paper then pulling the top piece out. Hit PRINT. Then put the ink side down onto your fabric and rub, make sure it doesn’t move or it will smear. And don’t touch the image on the wax paper because the ink is wet. Voilà!

 

I need to figure out what else I’m going to put on this pillow cover because the chair turned out pretty small in comparison.

 The chair is a drawing I did when we finally had to get rid of the original. It was around 13years old and it finally gave out in Oklahoma City. We definitely got a lot of use out of it!

I just hung up these two guys this past weekend. The top one was a DIY I made for Allen’s birthday present. We picked up some Command damage-free picture hanging strips.  They are kind of like Velcro but they snap together.  I love all the Command products!

  
With a camper, space is limited so the more you things you can hang and keep out of the way, the better… But you can’t really put nails in the wall, and the studs are never where you need them to be. I still wanted to hang some things to make it more “ours”… They are holding so far! Here are some more Command products currently in use:

On the backsplash behind the stove

On the bathroom wall

In the half bath AKA broom closet!

Allen’s 34th Birthday!

Yesterday Allen got back to being 3 years older than me. Just how I like him! I usually try to make him something for his birthday since if I bought him something it would be like him buying himself something. Anyhow, I think this year’s gift turned out a little too girly for him. I tried to make it a little more manly but…

I wanted to make a canvas with a quote on it. I look at Pinterest all the time and I’ve been seeing some ideas on there for a couple of months now that really got my attention.

So I had a 10×10 canvas. And I found an old book down at the laundry room here at Candlestick RV Park. I had modpodge already. I had to buy some sticker letters. And I had spray paint. Here’s how I did it:

First I modpodged the old pages of the book onto the canvas and let that dry. Then I put the sticker letters on how I wanted them. I looked for vinyl sticker letters but couldn’t find them. I checked Walmart, the Dollar Tree, and JoAnn Fabrics. No luck. And being this is San Francisco, I’m not too keen on cruising around in the truck. More on that in a second.

 Once I had the letters placed how I wanted, I spray painted the whole thing with silver. I could’ve went with hot pink, leftover from my pink flamingo, but, like I said, I tried to make it manly! I wanted to just cover part of the canvas and leave some of the book showing through but it was ridiculously windy and I was worried about overspray… So I nixed that idea. I let the paint dry and peeled the letters off carefully. Then gave it one more coat of modpodge to seal the deal.

 I made some wrapping paper out of the same book paper and tied it with twine. I thought it came out really cute. I’m not so sure Allen felt the same way. Ha!

 But I made him a quiche and some waffles for dinner yesterday (He loves breakfast for dinner. And breakfast for breakfast.) so I think his birthday turned out okay overall!

This was Saturday night

So back to this truck driving situation. I drove, with Allen in the passenger seat, Sunday, 2.1miles to the grocery store and back. I parked in a tiny lot. I drove down tiny San Francisco streets, I passed a MUNI (city bus) on one of them with cars parked on either side also. Allen says my driving privileges are revoked while we are here. I’m fine with that. I had big plans but I can’t drive that huge thing here. That truck is made for Oklahoma or Texas or even Florida. Not San Francisco.

DIY Pillow Covers!

I thought I would take full advantage of this super foggy, windy, kinda rainy, gloomy day here at Candlestick RV Park and work on an indoor project. I bought a beginner’s sewing machine a few months ago and I haven’t gotten to use it a whole lot yet. I didn’t want anything too complicated. I’ve never used a sewing machine before. I did some research and decided on the Janome portable one in “purple thunder”! It was about $60 from Amazon.  I’ve been trying little things here and there. I’ve made a pair of Allen’s ripped jeans into shorts… I’ve also made a couple of onesie’s into outfits for Charlie… Just by hemming them a little here and there…  I got these at the Flea Market in Dayton, Ohio.

The Bengals one is 0-3months and fits a lot better than the cheetah print which is 6-9months

 

She was NOT happy that i woke her up to try them on…

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to cover up these hideous (IMHO) throw pillows that Allen has had forever. They are brown and dark blue and just have no personality. Yesterday I took a trip to Walmart (yes, a trip, out here in San Francisco) and I picked up some fabric. I had asked Allen what color he thought would look good and of course his answer was brown or dark blue. No chance. So I got some pretty teal stuff. I kind of followed this picture I found on Pinterest. They are envelope pillow covers. Super easy. I’m not a master seamstress by far! But I’m liking the sewing machine!      

Here is my super simple drawing of how i did the cover…

Overall, I think they look great and add a pop of color!

The gold pillows I found at a thrift store in Cincinnati for 69cents each!

Before I got the sewing machine, I still wanted to make Charlie some clothes… So these are a couple of little things I made for her. She’s such a good sport!

fur coat and booties! She would only wear two at a time, no way was she wearing 4!

 

She didn’t mind this sweater. She got her arms stuck in the knitted holes while napping one day and that was pretty funny!

 

she absolutely hated the snood part!

Flea Market Finds!

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Bengals onesie, muffin tin, ammo, scraper, Skin So Soft, puppy cookies, duct tape, perfume, and an awesome looking toilet bowl brush!

I LOVE flea markets!!! Allen had the day off yesterday so we went to Ceasar’s Creek Flea Market right up the street from the campground.  I found lots of cool stuff.  I thought Allen had found lots of stuff too, but it turns out he only got two boxes of ammo for his gun… But he got 2 sandwiches, a root beer and some fudge, so he wasn’t too upset.  It’s crazy how different we are when it comes to what catches his eye vs. what catches mine.  He goes straight for tools and little toy cars and I’m all about the jewelry and little crafty things and books…

I really love the toilet bowl brush, as odd as that sounds, but it’s pretty!IMG_0549

I think my favorite thing I found was a Bengals onesie. Charlie Bengals side view Not that I have a baby or plan to anytime soon, but I can make Charlie clothes out of them.  I made her a Bengals outfit last year from a onesie, and I thought it was adorable!

After all the shopping, we went and jumped in the pool to cool off, which took all of 2 minutes because the water is still freezing!  Then Charlie decided to sunbathe.FullSizeRender-3

Oh, and after the flea market adventure, we stopped at Dot’s Market, we keep hearing they have the best meat in town.  We found a trip-tip (hard to find outside of California). So we grilled that baby…. YUM!!!  The first time we ever had trip-tip was in Sonoma when we camped all weekend for the NHRA race last year.  Our neighbors made one and it was absolutely delicious… IMG_0536