Blinged Out Rhinestone Pillows

Blinged Out Pillow
A couple of Christmases ago I got a text from Jared with a picture of a pillow. It was from a designer Orange County boutique super expensive and ridiculously overpriced and his sister fell head over heels in love with it. CAN U MAKE THIS? It said. :scoff: :pshaw: Can I make this. Please. Don’t make me laugh. Not only can I make this, anyone can make this.

Step 1
Cut your fabric to the size of the pillow you want to make. I think mine is 18 x 18, but literally any shape can be made without trouble. Then draw your pattern on it by tracing circular dishes. I like how it looks with large and small circles overlapping together.

Step 2
Use a heat tool to set your rhinestones in place. There’s no magic whatsoever. Just lay out your rhinestones along the circles you’ve drawn, space them out evenly, and use the heat tool to stick them down.

Step 3
To make the envelope closure for your pillow, cut two pieces of fabric the same length as your pillow front and half the width, plus two inches. Hem one side of each of those pieces, then lay them right sides on top of the right side of your pillow front. Line up the edges with the front piece so that the hemmed sides overlap, and sew all around all four sides. Turn them right side out and stuff your pillow form inside.

Step 4
These work best as decorative accents in places where they won’t get a lot of use. The rhinestone glue is far from perfect and the rhinestones can pop off over time or with a lot of wear and tear. Leave the netflix binges to the knit pillows and let these just add the bling.

Rhinestone Pillow
This is one of my favorite parts of being a craft educator. People act like it’s magic to know how to do things yourself, when really it’s just about knowing what tools exist and what they do. If you can curl your hair you can make some blinged out pillows. You just had to know that a heat tool exists. And now you do, so there’s no limit to the bling you can bring into your life.


How to make a cable knit pillow

Cable Knit Pillow
I asked Lion Brand to send me some of their gorgeous Hometown USA yarn in Cape Cod Tweed for the next pillows for my elegantly masculine bed. I love a big man in a sweater, so I wanted to put that influence right up next to all my suits, and I knew the Hometown USA would be bulky enough to work up fast but not so bulky I’d have to make enormous pillows to have a pattern show up. I loved how this yarn looks in a cable. If you’ve never knit cables before it can be intimidating, but just pay close attention to the pattern, recognize you’re going to have to rip out some mistakes, and just go for it. A little pillow like this one is a great first cable project because it’s as close to instant reward as you can get.

Step 1
In the video I made below, I walk you through the knitting in laborious detail. Give that a view if you’re a newer knitter or have never had to knit from a graph before. If you’re cool working with a graph, than here you go:Cable Pillow Chart
The graph starts on a right side row. Blank rows mean you just knit in pattern. Knit the knits and purl the purls.

Cast on 57 stitches.
Repeat the pattern three times to make a row, ending with a purl 3

To do the crossover:
sl 4sts to needle and hold in back
k 2
bring needle front
return 2 p sts to needle and p them
k2 from cable

Knit in pattern until the piece is roughly square. Weave in ends.

Step 2
My knit pillow measured 16″ x 16″, so to make my envelope closure I cut two pieces of fabric 16″ tall and 10″ wide. Hem one end of each of the pieces of fabric.

Step 3
Lay the fabric pieces on to the knit piece, right sides together. Match the edges up so that the hemmed sides overlap across the middle and sew around all four sides.

Step 4
Stuff with a pillow form and give the whole thing a fluff.

Knit pillows are a revelation. They’re so snuggly!! I think I might have to make versions of these for the living room, because these pillows are begging to be smooshed up and laid upon for a weekend long binge watch.


Turn old suits into pillow shams

Pillow Shams

I’m going for elegant masculinity in this room, and there is little that is more elegantly masculine than a suit. I already made the bed pinstriped in honor of it and it looks like a million bucks, eh? But I didn’t want the bedding to be slick and matchy matchy. That seemed like it would venture too far into the clinical and be too sterile. So I wanted to add a bit of a hodgepodge to the pillows, but still working with the elegant masculinity suit theme. So I decided to use the suits in a homespun way by piecing them together to make the shams. First step: To the thrift store!


Step 1

I bought a bunch of sportscoats and suits and took them straight to the washing machine. Suits are the worst for hanging on to the thrift store funk, so you might want to give them a couple washes. I’d avoid any wool suits for this project because they’ll felt before you can get the funk out, and won’t hold up to any future washings. Tear these apart on the seams and cut them into 3″ x 3″ squares. I tried to include any cool details like pockets or buttons and even some exposed interfacing because I think it’s cool to see all the stuff that these suits are made of, and I wanted to preserve the suit look through the pillow.


Step 2

I didn’t want to come up with a pattern for how the different fabrics were used. Different suits yielded different numbers of usable squares, and I didn’t feel like doing a lot of math, so I just threw all the pieces into a bag and shuffled. Pick out two squares and sew them together. Do that over and over until they’re all used up.


Step 3

Throw the pairs back into a bag and pull them out to sew together in a chain 10 squares long. Make 6 of those chains of 10 squares.


Step 4

Iron the chains flat. Depending on the fabric content of your suits this can be tricky, but iron all the seams in one direction. The flatter you can get these the neater the finished product you look, which will be important if you used some super heavy weight fabric mixed in with a lightweight one. Take one of the chains and flip it in the opposite direction before pinning it to the long side of another of the chains. This should let all those seams nestle up next to each other instead of on top of each other and decrease some of the bulk you can get working with these fabrics.


Step 5

For the front of a king sized sham I used 10 squares across and 6 squares down. Give the whole thing a good ironing.

Step 6

For the back I used an envelope closure. So that means I made two pieces of 6 x 6 squares and hemmed one edge of both of them. Lay them out on top of the front piece right sized together and match the edges, letting the hemmed sides overlap. Sew around all four sides.

Step 7

Trim the corners before turning it right side out and you’ll get nice sharp points in your pillow.


Suit Shams

I love how all the details look once it’s all pieced together. The little bits of pockets and cuffs and buttons make it obvious these are suits and not just a bunch of fabric pieced together. Just be sure when you’re laying it out that the buttons wind up on the sides and not right in the places you’re likely to lay your head.



We got a van!

Coverted Van
Meet Bertha. Big Blue Bertha if you’re feeling formal. She is finally, finally, after years of research and agencies and appointments and doctor referrals and funding negotiations and refusals and more meetings and two separate bids and test drives and waiting on forms and waiting on funding and waiting on more forms that weren’t filled out correctly the first time, and so much more waiting and red tape, she is ours.

This is actually the first new car I have ever owned in my life. And it’s the first car that is even in my name. I come from nothing and even the car that I lived in was a straight from the junkyard special with two kinds of paint and frame damage that made it so that if you opened the passenger side door you’d never get it closed again. For most of our married life we’ve made due with one car, or one car and something that had been passed through every one of Bear’s siblings. As our salary increased we’d get more recently used cars, but until this year we could only have made a new car work if we were willing to make major sacrifices and neither of us give a crap about cars, so we only cared about reliability.

But even once our finances stopped being so precarious, we couldn’t get a car that would suit Atti’s needs. The amount of work it takes to put in a lift or a ramp is mindboggling. The entire car needs to be changed to support the additional weight, seats and interior reconfigured, and that’s before you even get to the expense of the equipment itself. They are so expensive and they stay expensive because it is really really hard to find one on the used market. We’ve been making due with a van and my muscles.

Every time Atti has to go somewhere, I lift his lovable little 50 pound sack of potato self and put him in his car seat. Then I lift his equally heavy wheelchair into the back of the van. We drive to where we need to go, and then I lift the heavy wheelchair out of the back, bring it around to the side, lift him out of his wheelchair and get him all buckled in. Only after all that exercise do we get to actually run the errand we set out for. I don’t shop for fun. I never have days where I run errands. If I have to run two errands back to back that means I have to lift that damn wheelchair in or out of the car 8 times. If I buy something and it turns out to be wrong somehow, it usually just sits by the front door. Returns are more trouble than they’re worth. Amazon Prime is a gift sent straight from God.

But as I’ve thoroughly documented over the years, I am not a healthy person. I had major abdominal surgery in December. I have endometriosis and a host of other health problems and while I’m used to being in pain pretty much daily, the amount of pain I’ve been experiencing, when we just got the endo handled, has been alarming. I’ll write about this in more detail later, but I’ve gotten some new information about just how broken this dang body of mine is and one of the latest discoveries is that my neck is totally jacked. It’s so out of whack my spine is bent the wrong way. I bought a new bed, we changed my computer desk, and I’ve got some follow up to do, but carting a wheelchair around all the time was right at the top of the list for things to avoid if I want to keep from screaming.

LUCKILY! We were already well into the bureaucratic nightmare that is getting anything done with state agencies. So by the time we discovered my neck issue, I only had to wait about a month before the van was ready! And now here we are with my very first new car, with a ramp and special seatbelts, so I’ll almost never have to lift that wheelchair again.

We are so grateful to have such amazing people in Atti’s entourage to help us with this kind of thing. Until Betsy, our case worker at Alta Regional Center, we had no idea there were even agencies and vendors that would help us with this! We are overjoyed, and Atti is thrilled to be out of a booster seat and in charge of getting in and out of the car by himself. We are so lucky to live in California where programs like this exist and we have so much privilege to navigate those programs successfully. But even being white and native english speakers and upper class can only get you so far. I mention this not to be ungrateful, but because I want people who don’t have to navigate this world to know. There are so so many obstacles for the disabled that even all that privilege can’t get through it. For many people, buying a car is an exciting process. They dream about what kind of car they’ll get, what color, all the bells and whistles. For us, even with the agencies and programs that exist to help us, it is a ton of work. It took us nearly a year to get this van. We picked a make from a very short list of cars that would work. We picked a model and hoped for availability. Because we ended up working with a vendor that had a lot of resources we got the model we wanted but had to take the color they had on hand or pay for a different one to be shipped and pay a $1500 transportation fee. We decided the blue would be just fine.

We are so happy and so grateful, but it is never lost on me that this world is not built for people with disabilities. We are the lucky ones, with education and access and language and money to smooth the way, and the way is still so far from smooth.

But today was a win. So I’m going to try and ignore the bigotry and injustice that is a part of your life if you are disabled, I’m going to smile as Atti pushes his chair up that ramp, I’m going to strap him in, sit behind that wheel, and drive.


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