Herringbone Shuffle Dining Room Wall


Herringbone Shuffle Dining Room Wall

I finally finished painting my dining room!  (Well, that’s not exactly true, I do still have some touching up to do … but I’m still counting it.)  I used the Herringbone Shuffle stencil from Royal Design Studio Stencils, but because we have heavily textured walls I had to trace the stencil with a pencil …


and fill it in by hand with a small paint brush.


It took AGES, but it did allow for a much more random color placement.


The cats are thrilled to be allowed back into the room, and I’m working on a few smaller projects to finish things off, like hanging the curtains, touching up the paint and recovering the dining room chairs with a bright Marimekko fabric that a wonderful friend gave me.

Recovering Dining Room Chairs

I’m finding the chairs difficult to photograph, but there are the first two.  (Please ignore the puppy-chewed spindles on the chair to the right. )   I may also recover the ironing board because it often sits out in this room while I’m sewing.  It should be pretty too, right?


Hot and Cold Half Square Triangle Pillow


Time to Quilt

After a LOT of quilting, the second of ten couch pillows has been completed!  This pillow pattern is also from the fabulous book Pillow POP!  I’m used to making half square triangles that use value to create design, but this one uses a difference in warm and cool colors.  I wasn’t really sure how it was going to work out, but I do love the result!

Two Pillows

My pillow forms are a little larger than those used in the book and I also used smaller half square triangles, so the look is a little different.  I also quilted this one very, very heavily, as I expect it to be the one that sits behind my husband most often.  He’s not really gentle with handmade things, so it needs to be tough.  Extra quilting means extra strength!

Hot and Cold Quilting Detail

Hot and Cold HST Pillow

And now my couch pillow project is on pause because my lovely niece has asked for my help in a very worth quilting project.  I think the fabric will arrive this afternoon, so the timing of this finish was perfect!


Red Flower Pillow


Red Flower Couch Pillow

I’m replacing the smooshed back cushions of my couch with big, colorful, quilted pillows.  This morning I finished my first one, a huge red flower made from some of the scraps from my Lava Meets Sea quilt.

Red Flower Pillow Close Up

Next up is another design from Pillow POP!, Crystallized by Angela Mitchell.  I’m calling my version “Hot and Cold” because instead of using value in these half square triangles, colors are separated into warms and cools.  I have so many greens that look warm to me, so in my mind I’m sorting red, orange, yellow and pink or blue, purple and green.

Starting Hot and Cold Pillow Cover

My pillow forms are huge and I decided to downsize the half square triangles.  That means extra work, but I hope it will also make a seriously cute pillow cover.  We’ll see, lots more to sew!


An Upcoming Project — Pillows


First, meet Percy. Cute, isn’t he?  Then, see the blue couch to the left of him?  The cushions on the back of the couch are overly “smooshie”, and not in a good way.  They’re smooshie in a “what’s wrong with your couch cushions?” kind of way.  So I have a brilliant plan to replace the cushions with large, colorful, quilted pillows.  I’m starting with this one from the book Pillow POP!  The books is filled with great pillow designs, which will really be helpful as I have a lot to make.  This one drew me in first, Fresh Bloom by Ryan Walsh.

Flower Pillow Top

Recognize the colors from my Lava Meets Sea quilt?  (Yes, there will be a similar pillow in blue.)   One of my daughters noticed that the text fabric is about instructions for making a pillowcase.  Perfect, isn’t it?

But for now I’m back to finishing a quilt top.  Pillows (and the smooshie couch) will have to wait just a bit longer.


The Evolution of a Painted Fireplace


When we bought our house, I loved everything about it except the fireplace and my kitchen counters.  I’m still living with the counters, but I’ve been working on the fireplace.  (Note:  This is not a decorating blog, and this house is lived in and loved on by a family of four, plus three cats and two dogs.  In other words, nothing here is perfect and it’s always a work in progress.)

By the time I took this picture several years ago, I’d already painted the family room walls, including the backs of the built in bookshelves.

Family Room

Still, I had such an urge to paint the brick fireplace.  I know painting brick is a big step, but it wasn’t in great shape and I really didn’t like it.  My best friend felt the same about her brick fireplace,  telling me that it was so ugly — but if she painted it, she couldn’t ever have the old fireplace back.  Yes, exactly!  Never having that old, ugly fireplace back sounded like a huge plus to me, so I painted.  She moved.  :)

Fireplace After

This helped, but the brass fireplace surround irked me and anything I put on the mantel always felt like clutter.

So, more paint.


I used Rustoleum High Heat brush on paint on the fireplace insert.  I’d heard about high heat spray paint ages ago, but I just did NOT want to deal with plastic and taping and trying to spray paint inside the house.  The brush on paint was a little more expensive (about $15 a quart instead of $5-ish for a spray can), but I was much happier with the method.  With just one coat it has a smooth, satin finish and NO BRASS.  (That’s my favorite part, no brass!)

The backs of the bookshelves are actually five shades of gray, lightest at the top and darkest at the bottom.  There’s an earlier post about the birds and branches painted above the mantel.  (Ignore my little basket of knitting to the left on the mantel, that’s my attempt to keep it away from the cats.)

Have you painted a fireplace, or something else around the house someone told you not to paint?  Did you love how it turned out?  I was told that painting the backs of the bookshelves would “ruin them” and that they wouldn’t look like built-ins anymore.  I totally disagree.