home spaces

Creative Scarfing for Your Home!


Thank you, Modify viewing audience, who read the last blog post, “Who Knew? You Decide!” After all the work and research that went into that article, I was more than ready for some fun this week. We are about to take a detour from serious writing to creative sharing…and the topic is pillows!!

Pillows and lots of pillows have been the trend for a number of years! There are sophisticated home décor pillows as well as seasonal pillows that celebrate fall, winter, spring, summer and all the holidays throughout the year. Theme pillows in children’s rooms reflect what they love and what is popular and trending in their age group, too. There comes a point when the pillows that are no longer favored begin to take up storage only to buy new pillows to meet changing trends and décor taste. Problem! Solution??

Introducing pillow scarfing, a no-sew option

While at the mall the other day I went into Crate and Barrel. Browsing through the store fullsizeoutput_4858I came across beautiful cloth napkins. The fabric is sturdy and the designs are awesome! The size is perfect at 19” x 19”. Always thinking about repurposing, I thought these napkins would make great pillow covers!! I bought two and the photo shows the result after using my existing pillows (16” x 16”), which needed refreshing. As the photo shows, a print cloth fabric is used for the front and a solid gray cloth napkin for the back, making this a reversible pillow. Below is an illustration of the steps to create this look.

A seam ripper was used to put holes below the seam line in the fabric along the top, sides, and bottom. You can also use pointy sharp scissors. A wire ribbon was then threaded through. If the pillow is going to be in reach of youngsters and pets, suggest a non-wire ribbon, although you might need larger holes in the fabric to thread the ribbon through. You can add more holes along the top and side eN4AoWJQSXmoOVY9LyT+1gborders for ribbon but I tend to prefer a shabby chic look so having slight openings on the sides of the pillow works. Another great look is putting holes above the seam line and using twine. A longer strand of twine can be twisted in the center to hang a decorative button as an embellishment. When you want to change out the fabric pattern, perhaps during the holidays, untie, fold and put the existing covers away and replace with holiday theme cloth napkins, either reusing the ribbon or twine or adding new ribbon. The pillow forms remain! NOTE: I found it easiest to pin the cloth napkins to the pillow and then mark and make hole openings.

How do you use this concept for children theme pillows? There are a few ways to go about this.

  • Iron theme appliqués to solid colored cloth napkins.
  • Use theme fleece fabric as the printed side with solid colored fabric (or cloth napkins) on the backside, either ironing a ¼ inch seam to the unfinished edge or leaving the edge unfinished, as fleece won’t unravel.
  • Use cotton theme fabric purchased at the yardage store. Click Here for an example at Joann Fabrics. Steam iron a ¼ seam. You can use no-sew seam tape or fabric glue to keep the seam in place, if you prefer. I found both no-sew adhesive products at Walmart. See links to Resources below.

Other Options

  • Use décor printed pillowcase. Place the pillow on the case, and pin mark for a 1-inch allowance. Cut down the center of the pillow case starting from the finished cuffed edge. Place the pillow in the case to the pin. Place pillow in the case and tie at the top. You can also place the pillow in the center to pin mark one-inch allowance on either side to tie at both ends. The photo shows an example of tied at one end.
  • Sew a button to hang embellishments. Shown in the center photo above is a Christmas ornament hanging from the button.
  • Take a favorite fabric and fold, iron, and tie as shown below using plaid fabric. The result in the pillow as shown above, on the bed.

These pillow scarf projects are perfect for kids to get creative and make their own, although if cutting holes is needed in the fabric to thread ribbon or twine, reserve this task for ADULTS only. Seam rippers and sharp scissors can be dangerous for a child’s hands.

If you enjoy décor pillows as much as I do, and you are looking to save on storage and $$, creative pillow scarfing can be a unique way to have some fun and create your own theme and seasonal pillows!


home spaces

This or that?!?! How to choose between shades of gray.


It seems like yesterday my husband and I were combining apartments to move into our first home as a married couple. Furniture had been accumulated and distinct styles well established having met when I was in my late 20’s and he was in the latter years of 30. It was at this point we experienced our first serious relationship challenge in the midst of falling in love. What furniture remains and which to be given away? New furniture to buy? Traditional or contemporary? Color scheme? Layout? It didn’t take long to realize we are not on the same page. In fact, we are reading different books, so to speak, and each felt better qualified to author on our own!! We couldn’t have been more opposite in our style and preferences, to the point we took our first step back and wondered, “Who are you??” We are now witnessing couples starting their lives together, combining homes and facing a similar dilemma like we encountered 28 years ago. If you fall into this category or know others who do, listed below are some suggestions on how to successfully combine households and still love each other through the process. The information and tips apply even if you choose to use an interior designer.

The Foundation – what you can agree on

Color and Style – Identify 3 preferences most important to each of you. Although you may feel there are more than 3 critical needs for your happiness, you only get 3.

  • Colors and tones you love and hate? Share this information openly and honestly because once you fall in love with something, if it’s on your loved one’s hate list your enthusiasm will be quickly dashed leaving you horribly disappointed!
  • Bold and bright or gentle and serene environment?
  • Traditional and rustic or contemporary with clean lines?
  • Collectors look or minimalist?

There are many design styles today as shown in Design Styles Defined, HGTV. 

Furniture – which stays and which goes?

  • Once all of (1) identified above, select which existing furniture pieces best match look, feel and style?
  • Which pieces of furniture are in the best shape to keep? Often our emotional attachments make items look far better than they truly do!
  • If there is tension around a piece furniture, like a sofa or bedroom set, can you agree to sell it and purchase one that works best for both?

Local Facebook swap social media sites and Next Door are great ways to sell furniture and if on a budget, to find gently used furniture pieces.

Accessories and Artwork

  • Based on agreed to style and choices of (1) and (2) above, which accessories and artwork to keep?
  • If there is a collection of pieces not preferred by the other, can one or two pieces be selected among the grouping and placed in a mutually agreed to area OR be designated to another room, den or office?
  • Which accessories and wall hangings to replace with new finds?

Donate duplicate appliances and other no longer needed items to local charities; an awesome way to serve community. See links under RESOURCES for tips on how to scale back before moving.

The Lead – options to consider

After building your foundation of likes, styles, keeps and donate or sale items and new purchase ideas, it’s best one person take the lead to pull together several plan options for review and selection. Avoid competing efforts.

  • Present 3 options for discussion, after considering and combining each of your preferences that covers color scheme, furniture selection and layout per room, as well as artwork and accessories. This may also include using item(s) temporarily until a new piece(s) can be purchased that meet both your needs and budget.
  • Discuss space function such as…

How many TVs and location. TV in bedrooms or not?

My space, your space. This could be a room or a corner. We all need our space!

Plan ahead of clutter and identify that “drop and go” area. Life often turns into a “drop and go” until items can return to their proper place. Where is your mutually agreed to “drop and go” space?

Contention? Provide an explanation of why one layout might be better over another… open concept preferred or ideal setting for hosting company for an inclusive conversation area, etc. Often rationalization is needed to make sense of a suggestion instead of simply…”because I want it this way.”

  • Arrive at your mutually agreed to selection! Know that modifications can always be made later to make the space work best for both.

The Compromise – choosing between shades of gray

Often times both your ideas will work and it’s best to come to terms when you are simply struggling to choose among slight differences like selecting from a “shades of gray” palette. When space reflects each of you throughout the home, you both can feel at home. Be flexible and willing to compromise. Below are a few examples illustrating a win/win accomplishment after moving into our first townhome.

  • My bedroom set was ultimately chosen for our master bedroom, but, with my husband’s waterbed mattress. (This was a tough compromise for me but I survived!) His bedroom set was placed in the guest room.
  • Our king comforter was in my color scheme and instead of floral we went with his preference of a paisley design.
  • His GINORMOUS stereo speakers (popular at that time) we kept tucked in the fullsizeoutput_470fcorners of the living room, not to be the first glaring items seen as visitors walked through the door.
  • Chose his living room sofa and love seat, basic plain cream color and style, and purchased floral accent pillows to meet my print preference.
  • My living room furniture was placed in a small area off our kitchen instead of dinette table and chairs. Purchased bar stools for the counter, which is all we needed for daily dining at that time.
  • Kept my husband’s dining room set for the designated dining room area and sold my dinette set.

Blending styles can be stressful. And, preferences may not always be about what is right or wrong in a space and might be more about the pull towards preserving individuality. Be aware when choices come down to slight differences and disputing between shades of gray is where you are headed. Understand when it is hard for the other to let go of personal items, especially furnishings that provide a feeling of comfort and security or collections that trigger fond memories. Instead of being divided by the struggle of “this or that”, embrace the adventure to combine style and preferences to create a warm and welcoming home representing who you are, together. Combining homes can be an exciting time when the focus becomes you, the couple, and no longer on you, the individual. Even if you have been a couple for many years, this process can apply when considering an extensive remodel or updating furniture and style. We have found this method to work in many other areas of our marriage as well, when facing decisions that impact our family and relationship. Clearly communicating what is important to meet each of our needs has lead to decisions that benefit us mutually, thriving in our life, together.


home spaces

Take It High And Wide!

This past summer, as mentioned in a previous post, I took a basic interior design course. The instructor shared simple home modifications that can make an impressive difference whether looking to make home spaces appear larger, embracing small spaces for a cozy feel, or finding balance with color and prints. The class uncovered a few needed home projects. Determined to solve morning sun issues as well as creating balance and functionality for the main living space, new rod and drapery panels made it on my TO DO list.

Before DIY Project

Problem. The back wall of windows to our home is like a magnet to the morning sun, which can be bright and blinding, facing northeast. The existing drapery panels and rod with brackets were not working out so well. The brackets failed to support the weight of the panels. Also, the room didn’t feel balanced, with panels hanging directly around the slider doorframe.

Solution. After thorough resourcing, online/store shopping, planning, careful selection and work, I am enjoying new drapery panels beautifully enhancing the main floor living space. The room now has a definite focal point, going high and wide for balance and functionality to block morning sun as well as selecting complimentary fabric that works with existing furniture. If you are considering a room facelift, the process I followed is listed at the end of this article along with hyperlinked resources.

Industrial Plumbers Pipe Rod

Highlighting a project favorite, the industrial plumbers pipe used for the rod gives a
clean look (without brackets) and sturdy enough to support the weight of panels. DIY steps along with instructional resources are listed below. Recommend using a referred Interior Designer if this type of DIY is not your thing. You will want to do this right the first time around, so if professional assistance is needed, then do so. This DIY project cost under $500 for 10 feet of plumbers pipe, flanges, elbows, nipples along with 17 yards of fabric and accessories to sew drapery panels. Custom quotes averaged $1,800 just for drapery panels.

Wall With A View

It was exciting to immediately apply what was taught during the summer design class. Slight modifications changed the feel and look of the main floor living space by adding a unique rod, functional and designer style drapery panels, which when placed higher and wider than the windows, professionally accents the wall with a view. You can refresh the look of your home by updating window treatments or simply adding panels to stylize what is already in your home. Remember, take it high and wide, add that industrial rod, and, enjoy the feel of added space without the need for home construction.

Drapery Panels, DIY or Store Bought

Identify the working space

  • Focal point?
  • Adding panels on the right wall (side window)…not necessary
  • Space behind the chairs too tight for panels, not allowing adequate fabric stacking

Determine the height, width, and quantity of your panels

  • Guideline link for hanging drapery
  • Drapery/panels extend beyond the window frame, height and width, illusion of higher ceiling and wider room
  • Best to work in odd numbers for drapery panels; 3, 5, etc.

Choosing the rod

  • Determine rod length and placement
  • Rod could have been pieced across the room, 25-foot piece
  • I chose 2 piece rod… 8 ft extending beyond slider frame and 2 ft accommodating far left panel

Industrial Plumbers Pipe Rod 

  • Best instruction DIY Plumber Pipe Curtain Rod
  • DIY – made my own – 2 rods; 2 ft and 8 ft. approximately $45, purchased at Lowe’s Plumbing Dept; 10 ft, 3/4 inch galvanized pipe cut and threaded at no charge
  • Spray painted using Hammered color spray paint and 4 hours to dry
  • Option: Purchasing finished industrial plumber rod – online vendors can be pricey; best pricing and sizing I was able to find… Houzz

Fabric Selection and Drapery Panels

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Choose fabric that works well with existing upholstery, in color and print size, for balance. Mix Fabrics Like A Pro
  • DIY panels –  How To Make Lined Pinch Pleat Drapes
  • Fabric ordered through Hobby Lobby; guaranteed all 17 yards delivered in one continuous roll  (not guaranteed by every online fabric store – disaster if making drapery)
  • French pleat tape ordered through Amazon and followed this instruction video
  • Other options – Purchase finished drapery panels available in a variety of lengths, widths, and styles; French pleat, grommet, rod pocket, ring & clip, etc.
    1. Bed, Bath and Beyond (save those coupons) input criteria online and narrow down options –  custom made available
    2. Pottery Barn has an impressive selection
    3. Work through a referred Interior Designer

Additional Resources

home spaces


Yep! Another design tip blogged because I LOVE sharing!

My neighbor and friend who invited me to the design class, gave permission to share the new look of her living room space. Her cat, Raphael (pictured), gave two paws up on the new look and blog sharing, as well! Thank you, Raphael!

It’s amazing how moving furniture around, without having to add anything to the space, can impact look and feel! Pictured are before and after photos. The goal is to bring the room together for a cozy and conversation friendly space, working with beautiful outdoor natural landscape and light.

This past week we learned how important it is to identify the focal point in a room and then arrange large furniture accordingly. Sometimes the focal point can be dual vs a singular point. In this case, the fireplace is a focal point and yet, so is the beauty of the outdoors with all the windows surrounding the living room.

Moving the sofa away from the window opens the space so the eyes are drawn outside instead of the view stopping at the sofa. The new placement of the sofa creates a soft divider to the kitchen, distinguishing the living room from the kitchen. Bringing the end table between the two chairs creates a functional space that can now be used when hosting company. The space is conversation friendly as guests are able to face each other with an added benefit of the area being framed by the fireplace and outdoor landscape. The amazing greenery of the outdoors feels like it is part of the room! The large floor lamp is moved to the back of the room, with the black shade anchoring the space.

This was all planned first, on graph paper, with the wisdom and guidance of Pam Smith, Instructor. Visit Pam at Pam Smith Designs.

Pam has shared many tips and here is an awesome one, HGTV Home Design Studio Room Planner, through Basset Furniture website. This tool allows you to place furniture on a graph, planning and visualizing different options before you begin heavy lifting and moving. The instructions are simple and the results are effective!!

You, too, can refresh your home! If you are feeling a need for change, all you have to do is MOVE it!! As summer gets ready to usher in fall, pick a room in your home to highlight the natural beauty of the layout and bring in the outdoors. Go for a whole new look and feel that may not cost anything but a little time and some physical work. You can do it! MOVE it!!

home spaces

POP That Color!

Recently, a friend of mine asked if I would be interested to attend an interior design course to learn basic principles. Wanting to do this for many years, I quickly said YES!! Last week we attended our first class. And, this past weekend, I took out the material handouts for review. It didn’t take long to look at my home with a different “educated” perspective. This is when a little acquired knowledge can sometimes be dangerous!!

The class was on COLOR and after watching the suggested video, noticed some areas of my home that needed POP!! It’s ok to use different shades of the same color in a room. To create interest, however, include contrast, either much darker or lighter.  An example is shown in the blog photo of a guest bedroom in my home. All the colors are different shades but too much along the same tone. I happened to have a black and light cream check flannel fabric. Practicing the simple principle learned, decided to make 2 pillows in this fabric for the bed. Notice the difference? The room and bed now feel warm and welcoming, like a magnetic draw into the room.

If you have a room with similar color tones, add pillows or consider an accessory or throw blanket that is in a much darker or lighter shade. Perhaps choose items in a complimentary color on the color wheel chart. If you need to introduce texture, this too will incorporate interest adding contrast and value to your room. As shown in the before pics of my dining room, I needed to incorporate lighter colors to offset the dark room and dining room furniture. I purchased the perfect find, a light distressed wood cabinet at our local Castle Rock, amazing shop, The Barn! The color and texture are perfect for this room and functional, providing needed storage for some of my collectibles. See the difference? 

Decor pillows are a great way to introduce simple and low cost updates without breaking the bank. If you are not one who sews, Home Goods/TJ Max and Ross Stores almost always have a HUGE selection, organized by color. Other favorite stores for pillows and trending accessories are Pottery Barn and Pier 1 imports. If you live  near Castle Rock check out The Barn and The Emporium. Small changes can make for BIG results. POP that color!!

home spaces

Oil To Perfection!

A year ago, the credenza shown in the blog photo above looked tired with patches of scratches and a surface that was becoming dull and light in color. After trying a number of wood products, nothing appeared to work. At this point I decided to put a generous amount of olive oil on a clean cotton rag, and in a circular motion gently rubbed the oil over the top of the credenza. Like magic all the markings and dry patches disappeared and my credenza looked like new! Amazing, it has remained looking this way until I noticed a 2-inch scratch yesterday.

No longer do scratches and tired looking wood surfaces bother me. Why? Because, the olive oil trick works better than any solution I previously tried and so far, the solution has been permanent!

OLIVE OIL!! Pure OLIVE OIL! Wish I took a BEFORE photo of the scratch, but I didn’t. After applying olive oil, the above photo shows where the scratch simply disappeared.

Checking other areas of the credenza, noticed a few nicks. Applied the olive oil and the nicks DISAPPEARED as shown above, BEFORE and AFTER.

Love when simple home remedies work! If you have scratches on your wood furniture, try applying olive oil on a cotton rag, and gently apply in a circular motion. Once the scuffs and scratches disappear, run the oiled rag across the top of your wood surface. You will be amazed…oil to perfection!!

home spaces

Stack It!

When our house was being built, we were BLESSED with a HUGE closet. And, I have had no problem filling it! About a year ago I took a weekend to share clothing no longer needed, filling bags for Goodwill Thrift Stores. While closet organizing I became frustrated with folded clothes continuously falling over on the shelf. Neat piles (especially with workout clothes) would topple over, blending in a pile. I am one of those who says; “What do I have on hand that could solve this problem?” rather than “Where is the closest organizing store to pick up shelf dividers?”

Remember the metal bookends that were probably more popular years ago than they are now? When we moved here, so did a box of those old metal bookends. I knew exactly where they were stored. Excited, I retrieved them with great hope and enthusiasm. They proved to be the BEST closet solution and are now successful shelf dividers for workout clothes, leggings, t-shirts and skinny jeans. After one year these bookends have “stacked it” well, embracing their new calling as shelf dividers. Job well done! Cost to me? $0

The blog photo shows various types and styles of bookends available today as well as how they are being used in my closet. They are typically sold in pairs and come in a variety of colors. If your shelf can accommodate the height, I would go with taller bookends. Measure first before ordering. Amazon.com has a great selection. I like metal because they are strong, solid (not clear plastic) and sturdy. Closets that are décor pretty, decorative bookends are also available online. There are some very cute ones that can be bought for children’s rooms.

Although bookends from the name alone suggest use with books, they can be repurposed to accommodate stacking closet shelf clothes, drawer items such as PJ’s and underclothes (smaller bookends) and even pantry food boxes and bagged items. Whether you already have metal bookends or if you need to purchase, give it a try and STACK IT for your organizational needs!