Thursday, October 1

DIY Window Screens for our Ford Transit Camper Van

A while back I shared about how we convert our Ford Transit into a part-time camper with our removable bunk bed system, back door shelving unit, and insulated window shades. But there's still one more important tutorial to go! We'd be lost - well maybe not lost, but definitely bug-bitten - without window and door screens! And you know we DIY'd them for a perfect fit at a low cost. Here's all you need to know to make your own:

Check out the rest of our DIY Camper Van posts here.

Friday, May 1

DIY Magnolia-Style Throw Pillow Tutorials

For the first 12 years of keeping my own home, I was constantly on the lookout for the perfect throw pillows. You know what they always say, right?

"Throw pillows are the best way to add personality and color to your living room!" 
"You can change your pillows to totally change the space!"

But I went through a dozen different living room pillows over the years, and every time I felt like I was buying "the closest thing I can find" and never quiiiite exactly what I was looking for. Because I thought I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. Like I was some pillow conundrum and the pillows I wanted just didn't exist. It was frustrating. Frustrating because all the pillows I tried never really felt right. And frustrating because I would spend money on new pillows only to find I didn't like them any better. But it turns out I just didn't know what I was looking for. These pillows were full of personality, but the personality I was trying to force into my living room wasn't my own.

See this couch? This finally feels like Georgia's couch

Turns out I needed to learn a few important things about myself so I could make better pillow choices:
  1. I. like. plain. I think the main reason I was never happy with all my patterned pillows is because it turns out I just don't really like patterns. Or colors. I like things plain and simple. It's embarrassing how long it took me to learn this about myself. But it's amazing how much more peace I can create for myself in my home now that I've tuned into it.
  2. Texture is so much more important than colors and patterns to me. It adds all the interest I crave in the simple, muted tones I love.  
  3. Pillow covers are way cheaper than investing in new pillows every time I change my mind (and they're super easy to make with any fabric I like). I invested in several FJADRAR down pillow inserts from Ikea (only $6 each!) and I've never looked back! It's super easy to switch in Christmas pillow covers without using any storage space for whole pillows.
Now that I know what I like and why I like it, I understand better why I'm so drawn to the Magnolia Market pillows. They use neutral colors with a truckload of texture to keep things interesting. But those prices... oh man... I just can't. We have four boys to feed here, folks. Which is what led me on my original hunt for similar pillows at affordable prices.

You can check oy my original list of affordable Magnolia-style throw pillows here.

You can find all the pillows on my couch on that list (spoiler: that super-textured one on the right was under $8 for the cover!). At the end of that list, I kind of brushed over a few options to make your own DIY pillow cases that have a Magnolia-eque vibe, but now seems like the perfect time to revisit that and share a few of my favorite DIY pillow cover tutorials! I mean, most of us are cooped up right now anyway and making things is a great way to beat the Quarantine Blues.

Before we start, most of these tutorials call for a basic, blank pillow cover that you'll basically be decorating in various ways. I love Ikea's VIGDIS pillow covers (that's what's on my couch and they're only $8 each!) but if you don't have an Ikea nearby, these pillow covers on Amazon look pretty similar for $10 each (but be warned - I haven't purchased these and can't vouch for their quality). You can also make your own pillow covers really easily with my pillow cover tutorial.
Have fun!

  1. This tutorial from Lily Ardor shows you how to make a faux mudcloth cover with a fabric marker!
  2. This pillow inspired by the Hearth and Hand collection is my hands-down favorite in the lineup! A few simple stitches totally elevates a pillow cover to a new level. You can find the tutorial at Jones Design Company.
  3. These DIY tassel pillows by Rachel Schultz are adorable. You can play up the colors for a kids room, or keep it more neutral for a living room. Or not. If you love color, go for it! And if you love the tassels, you might also want to check out these yarn pom pom pillow covers.
  4. This pompom pillow by Almost Makes Awesome is a beautiful, understated way to add texture to a plain pillow cover. But be warned - those pompoms are glued on so it probably can't be washed. 
  5. Any crochet lovers in the crowd? This faux-mudcloth pillow cover is actually crocheted! I don't know if I have the patience for it, but I love it! You can find the tutorial at Make and Do Crew.
  6. This pillow cover is actually made out of one of the cheap woven throw rugs from Five Below! It gives this pillow a wonderful texture (my fave!) and you don't need to buy a base pillow case for this one! The tutorial is at Little House of Four, and she also has a tutorial for some cute tea towel pillow covers
  7. You can paint a pillow cover with fabric paint!
  8. You guys know I love macrame, right? And it's totally making a comeback! This macrame pillow cover by Emily Faith is a great way to add a little macrame texture to your space. There are dozens of tutorials for other styles on youtube!
I'll leave you with these two things. First, a boy pretending to be a book:

And second, a reminder from good old C. S. Lewis about finding peace in difficult times:

What's your throw pillow style? Do you like things plain and neutral like me, or do you go for something a little more exciting? And here's the big one - how long did it take you to find your style? 30 years? Anyone? Just me?

Friday, April 24

Easy DIY Planter

I have a super easy project for you today that will have your porch looking great this summer. We're going to make these sweet little planter boxes!

Check out the rest of my free building plans here.

And the bonus for me was that I made them entirely from my scrap pile! But if you don't have a stash of scraps yet, don't worry. Each planter uses just two short boards so it's still a budget-friendly project.

These planters come together super quick and it's a very simple project that's great for beginners. It just might be the easiest project on the entire blog!

Friday, April 17

Matching Child-size Ties + Bowties

When it comes to getting a house-full of little boys dressed up, I tend to fall back on my old favorite combo - a simple button up shirt with khaki shorts. It's easy, cute, perfect for summer, and it looks nice without being overly formal (we're not an overly formal bunch). Plus it's cheap - we already have those things in the closet (Dave Ramsey approved!).

But last summer I was putting together outfits for my sister's wedding and I wanted to add a special touch. Something to dress it up just a bit more than usual and add a little matching to the day (I love when they match). 

For little boys, that naturally led to matching ties and bow ties! I found a few ties on Amazon, but the ones I liked were almost $25 each. And the few I didn't totally hate (that would arrive in time) were still $10-15 each... and I would need four. Not how I want to spend my $$ today, thankyouverymuch. It just felt like a lot of money for a little accessory.

Then my sister was like "Duh. Make your own." And she sent me these two links:
And she was totally right. With DIY, I could make ties for all four boys for less than buying one pre-made tie. And I had a whole Hobby Lobby of prints and colors to choose from.

I decided on regular ties for the three bigger boys and a bow tie for little guy (so he wouldn't get tangled up while crawling around). For my 8-year-old, I added a few inches to the tie pattern to make it a little longer. My five- and three-year-olds are wearing it true to the pattern. Hopefully that gives you an idea for any adjustments you need to make for your own sizing! I also copied the velcro strap from the bow tie pattern and used it for the regular ties, too, instead of using the elastic it shows in that pattern.

Yes. I'm the mom that let them wear flip flops and didn't iron their shirts, but I did tuck them in... and you can see how long that lasted. I'm choosing different battles, folks.

My sister's wedding themes were navy + wildflowers and the boys were all going to wear blue shirts (all different shades, just working with what we have) and khaki shorts. So I picked a yellow floral  fabric with a vintage vibe that would work perfectly with all their outfits and fit the wedding theme! It was so perfect, I could hardly believe it.

The fabric was from Hobby Lobby and cost $7/yard regular price, but their fabric is always on sale so it ended up being only $5/yard. One yard was enough to make the set of four. I also bought one pack of  5/8" velcro for $2 and had plenty to split that between all four ties, bringing the grand total to just $7 for all four!

I couldn't believe how cute they turned out! I kept looking at them like "Did I really just make these??" So cute and so professional looking. And under two hours to make the whole set.

Just wanted to share since it's a great little project to tackle while you're cooped up at home (and perfect if you have scrap fabric to use up!). Seriously, I can't recommend these patterns (or little boys with matching ties) enough. What have you been making lately?