How To Make an Ironing Surface

How to Make an Ironing Surface via Cottage Magpie

How to Make an Ironing Surface via Cottage Magpie

I don’t know how many of you sew, but there’s a lot of pressing involved. Getting the seams nice and crisp gives you a great result. I find that to be true whether I’m quilting or making pillowcases or any other project. Since sewing is one of my favorite therapies (along with gardening and reading), I sew almost daily in the wintertime, and I really don’t want to keep a full-size ironing board set up in my workshop all the time.

Enter the ironing surface. The ironing surface small, completely flat, very very slightly padded surface that you can iron on. My new one is only about 17″ x 25″ which is just the right size for me to press almost anything I’d need to and leave room on my console for other things like my made over radio cabinet and my lamp. I am certainly not the first person to create such a thing, there are tutorials all over the Internet. But I added a little twist of elevating mine off the cabinet top with “legs” and I thought you’d like to see how I did it. Read on for all the details! [Read more…]

How to Make a Vintage-Style Wood Sign Letter

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

I don’t know about you, but I love typography. I have a thing for old signs, old letters from signs, all that kind of thing. And I’ve always thought it would be fun to have an old, vintage oversized wooden letter in my creative space to inspire me. Before I even started I knew I was going to paint it pink to prop up next to my cute little yellow storage cabinet that I made over last week.

A quick search on Etsy gave me quite a few options. They aren’t cheap, though, with foot-tall letters coming in around $25-$30, and tall letters like I wanted (mine is about 20″ tall) are going for $50-$60! I’m sure that’s a reasonable price and the people who make those things really do deserve the money. But as you know, I don’t have any. So if I was going to indulge my dream of vintage-style typography in my space, I was going to have to make it myself with whatever supplies were laying around. Read on to see how I did it. [Read more…]

How (Not) to Rub’n’Buff Raised Letters or Numbers

Rub N Buff on Raised Numbers

Thrifted Mantel Clock Made Over

So, when I told you about my thrifted mantel clock makeover, I may have left out one little thing. I had a little mini-fail right in the middle of the project. I’ve never used Rub’N’Buff before, and when painting the little raised numbers on the clock face, it all went wrong. Not once, but twice!!!

First of all, if you’re asking, “What the heck is Rub’N’Buff, Angela,” then let me explain. Rub’N’Buff is this magical stuff that can make metal things look like differently colored metal things. Like a lot of people, I first saw it on Trading Spaces when the ever-fabulous Genevieve Gorder made a brass light fixture look like pewter. When she was done, the light didn’t look painted, it just looked like it had always been pewter! It was amazing.

Since it’s easy to use and comes in a convenient tube and dries almost immediately, people use it for all sorts of things. For example, Cindy from My Romantic Home uses it for lots of projects, including this amazing mirror:

So, let me tell you what I learned (the hard way) about how NOT to Rub’N’Buff something detailed like this, and then Mr. Magpie will show you (and me) what actually works.

First I got myself some Ebony Rub’N’Buff (i.e. black). Okay, actually Mr. Magpie got for me. He ordered the Rub’N’Buff from, since the local craft store only had gold, and we wanted black.

Ebony Rub N Buff

Since most people say to apply the stuff with a fingertip, that’s what I decided to try. With a glove since I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get it off my hands afterwards!

Dab of Rub N Buff

Just use the fingertip to apply….

Applying Rub N Buff with Fingertip


Total Mess with Rub N Buff

Total fail! My huge finger just smeared the Rub’N’Buff everywhere, and then when I tried to wipe it off it just stained everything. What a mess!! I had to re-prime and re-spray that section to fix it. Sigh.

So, I’m thinking, well, I need something smaller, like a cotton swab!

Using Cotton Swab for Rub N Buff

Just get a little on there, and then dab it on the number…

Applying Straight Rub N Buff with Cotton Swab


Messy Edges on Raised Number

Fail again! Granted, not a huge mess, but look at it! It looks terrible, all frayed around the edges.

This is when I called Mr. Magpie, who has actual art training. This is what he showed me. (Please forgive his perma-dirty hands — he does most of the heavy lifting around here).

First, get a TINY TINY amount of Rub N Buff on a cotton swab.

Picking Up Tiny Dab of Rub N Buff with Cotton Swab

Next, rub most of that off on a scrab bit of cloth or paper — in this case, the leftover packaging.

Rubbing Off Excess Rub N Buff on Scrap Cardboard

Finally, gently (gently!) swipe over the raised surface, one…

Applying Rub N Buff With Dried Cotton Swab


Applying Rub N Buff With Dried Cotton Swab


Applying Rub N Buff With Dried Cotton Swab

It’s like magic!

And that. my friends, is how you do that!

Finished Mantel Clock Makeover

What about you? Have you used Rub’N’Buff for any projects? What did you do with it and what did you think?

~Angela :-)

How to Take Apart a Battery Clock Movement

Yesterday when I told you about my thrifted mantel clock makeover, I mentioned that I disassembled the “clock part” so that I could sand and paint the clock, and I thought that you might be interested in exactly how I did that.

So, technically, the part of the clock that makes it go is called the “movement” (here’s a Wikipedia article about clock movements). The other parts are the face (the part you look at to read the time) and the case (the part that holds it all).

This particular clock was made with a battery operated movement. Basically you can turn just about anything into a clock if you can attach one of these battery movements to it. They’re not too expensive, either. Here’s an Amazon link that shows a variety of battery clock movements.

So, the way I could tell this clock had one of those was by looking at the back:

Battery Movement Inside Mantel Clock

See the battery case thing back there?

Then on the front you can see the hands are interspersed with a bunch of nuts and washers.

Close-up of Face of Battery Operated Mantel Clock

The first thing to do is pull off the second hand. It just pulls right off.

Taking Second Hand Off of Battery Operated Clock

Next there’s a little nut that’s holding on the hour and minute hands. You can get it off with needle-nose pliers.

Removing Nut that Holds Hands on Battery Operated Clock

There it is! Make sure to keep that and all the other little parts in a container (preferably with a lid) so you won’t lose them.

Tiny Nut that Holds Hands on Battery Operated Clock

With the nut off, you can just pull the hour and minute hands right off.

Pulling Hour and Minute Hands off Battery Operated Clock

There they are!

Hour and Minute Hands from a Homemade Battery Operated Clock

Definitely put those in the container, too.

Under those is the last little nut and washer, which hold the battery case in the clock.

Nut and Washer Holding Movement on Clock

Use needle-nose pliers again to get that off.

Loosening Nut of Battery Operated Clock Movement with Needlenose Pliers

There it is! Another tiny piece for your container of parts.

Nut that Holds Battery Movement in Clock

And with that, the battery case from the movement will come right out. There it is:

The Battery Case from a Battery Clock Movement

That’s it! Now you can sand, paint, or refinish your clock any way you want to!

Sanding a Thrifted Mantel Clock

Fun, huh? This was the first time I had done a makeover project on a clock. I would love to do another one. I’m thinking decoupage, maybe. Anyone?

What about you? Have you ever made or made over a clock?

~Angela :-)

How to Build a Faux Vintage Door in 5 Easy Steps (Tutorial)

Faux Old Vintage Door in the Garden

Faux Vintage Door on Piano Mantel

You know how a while back I decorated my piano like a mantel? And I used an “old vintage door” for the background? That’s a little picture there of it on the right. You can see the chippy white door in the background behind the flowers and the books.

I have a confession. That’s not a door. And it’s not old.

In fact, Mr. Magpie built it and I painted and distressed it the very same day I decorated my mantel (actually piano)!

Had you already guessed? Do you forgive me?

I hope so! Because now I’m going to show you how you can do exactly the same thing!! Hee hee hee!!!

How to Build a Faux Vintage Door in 5 Easy Steps

First of all, you need two packages of “Economy Plank Paneling” and two eight foot long 1″x4″s. For our 1″x4″ we used one called a “furring strip” because it was cheaper and looked nicer (go figure!). The plank paneling is this really thin tongue and groove paneling that you can use for all sorts of things. We get it at Lowe’s and we use it for everything! It’s 8 feet long and comes in packages of 6 boards, and at our local store it’s $8.99 per package.

Economy Pine Paneling and Furring Strip

For this project we only used 8 planks of paneling total, one full package plus two more planks. So you’ll have some leftovers you can use for other projects. It’s handy for all sorts of things.

So — here’s what you do.

Step 1: Cut Paneling Strips

Measure and cut eight of the planks to 78″ long. For the full package, you can actually measure and cut while the wrapper is still on and cut them all at once. Like so:

Measuring and Marking Paneling Strip

Cutting Full Package of Paneling Strips

Taking Wrapper Off Paneling After Cutting

Step 2: Measure and Cut Cross Pieces

Lay your cut strips out on the floor and interlock the little joints so you can tell how wide your faux door is going to be. You need to cut two pieces from your furring strip that will go across the boards to keep them from falling apart. We didn’t bother measuring, we just laid the furring strip across and marked where the cut needs to be. But of course, you can measure if you want to.

Dry Fitting the Economy Pine Paneling

This works better than just giving you a specific measurement, because your materials may be slightly different, and you may push your boards tighter than mine, etc. etc. etc..

Step 3: Nail Paneling Boards to Cross Pieces

Okay, once you know how big your cross pieces need to be, go ahead and pick up your paneling, and lay your cross pieces down on the ground. Then, starting at one end, start positioning and nailing your paneling pieces on. Measure in from the end to make sure that they’re the same on both ends. Ours are at about 10 1/2″, because that looked good I thought.

And here’s another tip. Only put in one nail each end of the board at first. Then, make sure everything is squared up, using your choice of a carpenter’s square, measuring crosswise both directions, or heck, just eyeball it. It’s not supposed to be perfect, right? Once you have it square, THEN put the second nail in both ends.

Measuring the First Paneling Strip for the Faux Door

Tacking Down the First Paneling Strip for the Faux Door

Measuring the Other End of the First Paneling Strip for the Faux Door

After that you can just press each board into the joints tightly and nail it together, one after the other until you get to the end. Like so:

Fitting the Second Paneling Strip for the Faux Door

Dry Fitting the Economy Pine Paneling

Step 4: Add the Angled Cross-Brace

After your cross-pieces are attached, your door is basically done. You could, if you wanted to, even just use the door like this. For a small project, it would be fine. We thought it would be better to add a little cross-bracing to make the door stiffer, so that’s what we did.

First of all, you have to turn the door over so you can see where the cross-brace is going to go. Then lay your second 1″x4″ across until it’s positioned basically where you want it, but with the ends hanging off. We’ll mark and cut those so it fits perfectly.

Laying out the Angled Cross-Brace on the Faux Vintage Door

Use a scrap pieces of the 1″x4″ left over from making the cross-pieces, and put it on top of the angled cross-brace, but line it up with the cross piece below. Basically you’re making a wood sandwich so that you can draw a line on the angled board so you know where to cut it. Like this…

Make your sandwich…

Marking the Angled Cut on the Angled Cross-Brace on the Faux Vintage Door

…and make your mark:

Lining Up a Scrap Board to Mark the Angled Cut on the Faux Vintage Door

Then it’s a simple matter of cutting the ends on the lines and dry fitting it into the door.

Cutting the Angled Cross-Brace for the Faux Vintage Door

Angled Cross-Brace Dry Fit Into the Door

In order to nail that in, we’ll have to flip it over. It should be snug enough to not fall out, but even if it does, you can slide it back into place and make sure it’s not sticking out at the edges.

But, where to nail it?

Simple! Use one of your leftover paneling boards to make a guide. You can figure out where to put it by where the board shows on the edges. Put it just to the side of where the big board is, and you can use it as a guide to know where to nail through the front of the door and hit the angled cross-brace behind.

Scrap Paneling Strip as a Nailing Guide on the Faux Vintage Door

And there you have it! Construction is complete. Once it’s finished to your liking, you can use it on either side — the plain side:

Faux Vintage Door -- Plain Side

Or the braced side:

Faux Vintage Door - Braced Side

But first, of course, you want to finish it!

Step 5: Make It Look Old (Faux Finish)

Of course, if you don’t want it to look old, or don’t want this finish, you can finish it any way you like!
First I stained it, one layer of “colonial pine” and one layer of “walnut,” then give it a quick coat of clear poly once it was dry.

Staining the Faux Vintage Door

After it dried thoroughly, I painted two quick coats of paint on it — in this case, Sherwin Williams sample paint (which happens to be satin) in the color “Steamed Milk.” I didn’t let the paint dry all the way between coats, I put the second coat on as soon as I could do it without mushing the first coat.

Painting the Faux Vintage Door

When the paint was still tacky, I distressed it using masking tape, sand paper, a drywall screen, a wire brush, and whatever other stuff was around. I tried to concentrate the wear at the bottom, where it would have taken more abuse, and I used the wire brush to make scrape marks as if it had been kept closed with a primitive wooden latch. Once it looked good to me, I let the paint dry thoroughly and added a coat of poly to keep it from chipping.

Distressed Faux Vintage Door

As a final touch, Mr. Magpie added some old hinges we had laying around in the garage.

Adding Hinges to the Faux Vintage Door

And there you have it! A decorative faux vintage door in five easy steps!!!

Faux Vintage Door

Have you ever made something designed to look old? How did it turn out?


~Angela :-)

P.S. I’m linking up to Tutes & Tips Linky Party at Home Stories A to Z and “Fabulously Creative Friday Linky Party” at Jennifer Rizzo’s blog.

How to Tear Out a Stone Indoor Planter (Part 3 of 3)

Planter Box Removed

Fireplace Stone

At last, we’re wrapping up this project — tearing out the indoor stone planter that has plagued me since I bought my house! I tore the planter out as a part of my dining room makeover for Thanksgiving, and I thought some people might like to know exactly how I did it.

I have shared how I got ready for the project, and how I did the actual demo. Today I’ll share how we finished up the demo and cleaned and finalized the project.

Though it seems daunting (which is why we put it off for so long), it turned out to be a fast and easy project. But a big portion of that was sheer luck. This planter really was built in a way that made it easy to get rid of it. I have no idea if that’s common or not, so it’s something to look at if you want to rip out one of your own.

I’m sure there’s lots of ways to do it. This is the way that worked for me. It’s a long story, so I’ve broken it into three parts:
Part 1: Prep Work
Part 2: Demo
Part 3: Finishing Details (this post)

That Last Row

Once we got all the main walls out, we ended up with one last row at the bottom that we couldn’t chisel out because the level of the mortar was under the level of the wood floor. Once we got there, we had to pound on the inside of the stone with the sledgehammer until they came loose.

Last Row of Stones in Demo of Stone Planter Box

Uhhh…. you’re not really supposed to work on projects like this in sock feet. So, you can pretend you didn’t see mine. Ooops.

Once we got that last row out, we had to work on the front of the fireplace, where the hearth is. I didn’t want to have a really sharp corner there, so we used the chisel to chip away some sections and make a “clipped” corner. (By “we” I mean “Mr. Magpie” as you can see.)

Chipping Out Corner DUring Demo of Stone Planter Box

As we worked, we tried to knock all the mortar off the stones and then stack them up to be taken out to the garden and (hopefully) used for something out there.

Clean Up

Once all the stones are out, there’s nothing to do but start cleaning up the mess! With all the big hunks of debris, the easiest thing to do is use a flat shovel and literally shovel out your house!

Shoveling Debris Up After Demo of Stone Planter Box

We put it all in bags and then loaded it into the car and took it to the dump. Our local landfill takes “clean” debris such as rocks, bricks and mortar for free. Sadly, it can’t really be reused for anything. We salvaged all the stones, though, to be reused.

When we did finally get to the bottom, we found, to our extreme relief, a smooth, level, concrete area. It was leveled off exactly at the level of the sub-flooring. Again, I have to wonder if someone along the way knew this planter box was going to go away eventually. It’s set up perfectly for us to patch the floor and have a seamless end result.

There was some old splats (that’s a technical term (not really)) of mortar on it, but Mr. Magpie hit them with the chisel and they popped right up.

Chiseling Old Mortar off the Concrete Base of Stone Planter Box

(That’s right, folks, I start the projects, he finishes them. Heh. I should probably be nicer to him, huh?)

After that and a quick vacuum, we had ourselves a nice, wide new place to walk through the middle of our house.

Planter Box All Gone

I think that says it all. 🙂

The funny part is that once we decided to actually start the demo, the whole project took about two hours, start to finish, including clean up. That’s it! After we were done, Mr. Magpie said, “I can’t believe we waited so long to do that, it was easy!”

You’d think he’d listen to me more. Hee hee.

‘Till Tomorrow…

~Angela :-)

P.S. If you missed it, make sure to go back and read Part 1: Prep Work and Part 2: Demo

How to Tear Out a Stone Indoor Planter (Part 2 of 3)

Planter Box Removed

Fireplace Stone

Welcome back! We’re in the middle of discussing how I tore out my indoor stone planter that was built into the side of the fireplace when my house was built in the ’50s. I tore mine out this week and I love how much more open it is. I can walk through the walkway without sustaining injuries!

Since there’s so many people out there with 50’s era ranch houses, and since indoor planters were such a popular feature when those houses were built (mystifying, but true), I thought you guys might like to know how I tore out mine.

First I shared my investigation and prep work. Today it’s all about the demo, baby.

I’m sure there’s lots of ways to do it. This is the way that worked for me. It’s a long story, so I’ve broken it into three parts:

Part 1: Prep Work
Part 2: Demo (this post)
Part 3: Finishing Details


My basic plan was to try and just chisel out the mortar between the stones and take it apart piece by piece. I didn’t want to swing a full-sized sledgehammer inside the house. Not only do sledgehammers and kids not mix (YIKES), I didn’t want to send junk flying everywhere or risk hitting the other parts of the wall.I thought I could just get the stones out one at a time and keep it simple, safe and relatively tidy. So, I only needed a few basic tools.

Demo of Stone Planter Box

Most important, of course, were the safety goggles. I knew there might be bits of (fake) stone, mortar or who knows what else flying through the air, and I didn’t want any of it in my eyes. Any other people who were in the room with me also had to wear safety goggles.

This project wasn’t particularly loud, but if it had been, I would have also worn ear protection.
Beyond that I figured I’d just need some chisels and the three pound sledgehammer. I didn’t know what exactly would work so I grabbed what we had. As it turns out, I only used one chisel, the one on the right, the flat one. That one is called a “cold chisel.” According to the internet, it is designed to be used with metalworking, whereas the ones designed for masonry are much wider. Well, this is the one we happened to have in the house and it worked just fine. Great, in fact.

The three pound sledgehammer is a very useful tool, one we’ve had for years and we use a LOT. It’s heavy enough to do some good work, but small so you can keep control of it.


Okay, so. I started by trying to peel off the slate on the top layer. I just put the flat part of the chisel into the mortar underneath a piece and gave it a few whacks with the hammer. I didn’t hit it all that hard. My Dad always taught me that it’s the hammer’s job to do the work, you just aim it. So I did that, and the stones popped right up.

Demo of Stone Planter Box

Once the top layer was off, I started looking for the easiest place to dissassemble the puzzle. I figured it’d be easiest to take out a stone that only had one end mortared in instead of both, so I found a stone that was exposed on the end, like this one on the corner.

Demo of Stone Planter Box

Then I just did the same thing with the chisel. With the bigger stones I might have to pound on it in a couple of places, but generally the mortar broke apart and then I could just lift the stones right off.
Demo of Stone Planter Box

You notice I’m picking that up with one hand. That’s because those stones are light. It only weighed as much as, say, a couple of big books, not like a rock. If it was real stone I would have had to use both hands and been more careful.

As soon as I lifted off a stone, I would find the next stone that seemed the easiest and go after it the same way.

Demo of Stone Planter Box

I just kept doing that until I got down to where there wasn’t any more mortar that I could get to with the chisel. It was surprisingly quick. My husband had thought I’d be at it for days, but we got the whole project done, including clean-up, in about two hours.

Tomorrow I’ll wrap up with how I finished off the project in Part 3: Finishing Details!

~Angela :-)

P.S. If you missed it, make sure to go back and read Part 1: Prep Work!

How to Tear Out a Stone Indoor Planter (Part 1 of 3)

Planter Box Removed

Fireplace Stone

I have to be honest, I’m not sure that those indoor planters that so many 50’s-era ranch houses have were ever a good idea. They’re never in a spot with good light. They’re never in a spot that’s great to water in. They’re permanent, so you can’t just dump them out when they get yucky. So yeah, not my cup of tea.

Even worse, is when you have one (like mine) that’s been built right in the middle of your walkway! Then it’s just wrong.

There’s only one solution to this gripping dilemma.


I’m sure there’s lots of ways to do it, but I thought I’d share the way that worked for me. It’s a long story, so I’ve broken it into three parts:

Part 1: Prep Work (this post)
Part 2: Demo
Part 3: Finishing Details

Prep Work

Before I did anything, I did a little investigating. Although it’s true, I am given to jumping first and asking questions later, this was unfamiliar enough that I thought I’d better do my legwork this time.
First of all, I wanted to make sure that the stone wall wasn’t structural. I figured the planter box wasn’t because it wasn’t holding anything up. But what about the rest of the wall? If I pounded on the planter, could I somehow damage the main wall? And if so, would that be a serious problem? Fortunately my Dad is a Civil Engineer (as well as an inveterate DIY enthusiast, so I got his advice.

Of course, this meant I also had to deal with the prelude to the information, mostly along the lines of, “You want to do WHAT?”

Dad assured me it that the wall was purely decorative. In fact, he said, the stone itself wasn’t actually stone, but made of concrete with some natural pumice filler to make it lighter. My stone wall is totally fake! It’s still reasonably heavy, but it’s not as heavy as stone, which meant I’d be able to move the stones if I were able to get them loose! It also meant that I would likely not hurt myself or break something shifting them around. Very important.

Okay, so, knowing that I would (a) not likely injure myself (unless I did something really stupid), or (b) knock my house down, then I figured I was okay to continue exploring this idea.

The next thing I did was take a good look at how the box was put together. Stonework is kind of like a big puzzle, and I wanted to make sure I could take part of the puzzle off without wrecking the whole thing. I mean, I was fine with a bit of patchwork here and there, and I was fine with covering part of it up with bead-board or something. But I didn’t want to have to completely disassemble the whole fireplace just to get the planter box off.

Fortunately, whoever built it must have predicted the future, because it was connected for the most part with one big seam (it was the same on the front).

Stone Planter Box

There was a bit at the bottom that wasn’t quite in line, but I figured I could always patch that or cover it with a big baseboard or something decorative.

Finally, I emptied out the planter box. I wanted to see what was IN there!

The kids and I worked on it off and on for several weeks. It was very dusty, so we set up fans in the windows and then we dug the dirt out with little shovels and put it in bags and put it in the trash. It was so dry and full of junk it wasn’t worth saving.

Once it was (mostly) empty, I knew three more things.

1. That the fireplace wall was faced with stone all the way down. I would have done the demo either way, but I would have had a bigger patch/cover job at the end. This way I could pull the box off and just be done with it.

Stone Planter Box

2. The box was open all the way down to the bottom. In other words, not filled with concrete or something nuts that would have required jackhammers or the equivalent.

3. That there WAS a bottom, somewhere down around the floor. I couldn’t get all the debris out easily, so I didn’t know exactly what was at the bottom, but I knew that it had one. So, not open to the basement or something else that would have made it more difficult.

Not that any of those things would have stopped me…. eventually. I just might have had to wait longer to get on with it.

So. Once I had decided that this was (a) possible, and (b) feasible, I was ready to actually get to work.
You know what that means… Demo, Baby!

Continue reading this amazing story in Part 2: Demo!

~Angela :-)

How To Sew A Throw Pillow Cover In 10 Easy Steps

How To Sew A Throw Pillow Cover In 10 Easy Steps

I admit, I tend to change my mind frequently. My husband would call it fickle. I just call it “ever evolving design tastes.” Whatever you call it, it means that I really love decor that has built in flexibility such as pillow covers that can be removed, washed, or changed. The best thing about pillow covers is that they are so easy to make. Here’s how I make a cottage-style throw pillow cover in 10 easy steps.

You will need:

  • A yard and a quarter (1 1/4) of 45″ fabric, or a yard (1) of 55″ fabric
  • Two and a half (2 1/2) yards of trim
  • A drinking glass and pencil
  • A sewing machine, iron, ironing surface, pins, scissors and thread
  • Optionally, you may want a rotary cutter and mat for cutting your fabric.

Step 1: Pillow Cover

Step 1
Cut your fabric into three pieces. For the front of the pillow, you will need one square 21″ x 21″. For the back, you will need two rectangles, 13″ x 21″ each. Note: Measurements given are for a 20″ square pillow. The formula for other sizes is at the end of the article.

Step 2: Pillow Cover

Step 2
To ease sewing and turning, we will round the corners of our pillow cover slightly. Trace a glass with a pencil on the wrong side of your fabric. Mark all four corners of the square piece of fabric and two corners on one long edge for each rectangle (see the picture at Step 4).

Step 3: Pillow Cover

Step 3
Cut along the pencil lines. To save time, I often double-up corners and cut two at once.

Step 4: Pillow Cover

Step 4
To prevent fraying but also avoid bulk at the seams, we will finish our raw edges using a zig-zag stitch or an overlong stitch if you have one. Finish all edges except the straight edge on each rectangle.

Step 5: Pillow Cover

Step 5
Since the straight edges of the rectangles will be exposed, we’ll use a more polished hem. Fold about 1/4″ – 3/8″ of the edge over twice to completely encase the raw edge and stitch it down with a straight stitch.

Step 6: Pillow Cover

Step 6
Next we will pin in our trim. On the right side of the square piece of fabric, start at the bottom of the pillow and carefully pin your trim, making sure the sewing band is to the outside and the trim to show is toward the inside of the square. Pin frequently, making sure not to stretch the trim. It should not have any tightness to it, or the pillow will pucker on the edges. Butt the ends together so the trim appears continuous, adjusting the length as necessary.

Step 7: Pillow Cover

Step 7
Next, we’ll pin the entire pillow cover together in preparation for sewing. Place one of the rectangular pieces face down, rounded corners to the outside as shown. Line the corners up and pin carefully, again, making sure not to stretch the fabric or trim.

Step 8: Pillow Cover

Step 8
When the first rectangle is completely pinned, place the second rectangle, face down, on the other half of the project. The hemmed straight edges will overlap. Again, beginning with the corners, pin the rectangle down carefully, making sure to remove any pins that might hide under the overlapping fabric and cause problems when sewing.

Step 9: Pillow Cover<

Step 9
Sew all around the pillow, using a seam allowance that matches the sewing band on the trim. For example, the sewing strip on my pom-pom trim was 5/8″ wide, so I used a 5/8″ seam allowance. For very bulky trims or piping that are close to the seam, you may need to use a zipper foot, but for flat trims such as fringe, or trims that hang away from the edge, your regular presser foot might work fine. If in doubt, sew a test using scraps of trim and fabric until you are comfortable with how the material will run through your machine. Finally, make sure to remove pins before you sew any given section of fabric! Sewing over pins can break your needle or even damage your machine. I usually pull the pins out of the 1″-2″ right before the presser foot and sew in small sections.

Step 10: Pillow Cover

Step 10
You’re almost done! Your project should now look like this. Next, turn the project inside out and press. Then, all you have to do is stuff the new cover with your pillow form.

Insert Pillow Form

Stuffing the pillow form into the cover is easy, just like you would put a pillow sham on a bed pillow. Smoosh it around and shake the corners until it looks right, and then, you’re done!

Finished Pillow Cover

Voila! One cute cottage style pillow cover. Now that you know this simple trick, you can change all the pillows in your house whenever the mood strikes. If you’re like me, that will be often!

My very best,

~Angela :-)

P.S.If you want to make a pillow cover for a pillow form other than the 20″ pillow I made here, you can figure your fabric sizes as follows:

  • Your square piece is the size of the pillow form plus 1″ square. So if your pillow form is 14″, your square piece of fabric should be 15″ square.
  • Your rectangle pieces are the same length as your square piece on the long edge. For the short edge, they are half your square piece plus 2.5″. So, if your square piece is 15″ square, half of that is 7.5″ and plus 2.5″ is 10″, so your rectangles should be 10″ x 15″ each.

How To Paint & Trim Oak Cabinets (Tutorial)

Paint & Trim Dated Oak Cabinets

One of the most common decorating challenges I hear about in kitchens is the dated oak cabinetry. My friend Kim has done a spectacular job of tackling this challenge in her own house. With her kind permissions, I’ve put together a step-by-step how to on her process. If you like Kim’s work, please also check out her blog: One Woman’s Cottage Life. There’s more stuff there than anyone could read in a lifetime, and it’s all adorable.
Kitchen Cabinets Before
When Kim bought her house, her kitchen had fine quality cabinetry with face frames and doors in solid oak. They were under 5 years old and in excellent condition. Fortunately for Kim, they also had a traditional raised-panel door, the shape of which was a nice fit for Kim’s history-inspired vision.
Kitchen Cabinets After
Kim added moldings, details, hardware and completed a multi-step paint finish that gives the entire kitchen a beautiful, timeworn feel. She also added a distressed island and updated her dining area to a farm-house style. Even through her kitchen and dining area are still under construction, the impact of the new finish on the cabinet doors is clear.

Before you decide to tackle this project, be warned, it is a very labor-intensive, multi-step project. If you don’t have the discipline and dedication to see it through, hire a professional. It’ll still be cheaper than buying all new cabinetry, and it’s nice to recycle if your cabinets are in good condition.

These are the steps that Kim went through to complete her project:

  1. Clean and degrease all the cabinets, inside and out.
  2. Remove the doors, drawers, shelves and hardware.
  3. Add crown & rope molding at the top of each cabinet.
  4. Add bottom molding (to hide under-counter lighting).
  5. Add beaded board panels to the cabinet sides.
  6. Add decorative moldings to the front of selected drawers.
  7. Sand all the cabinet carcases, shelves, doors and drawer fronts.
  8. Apply two coats of primer.
  9. Apply two coats of cream basecoat (so distressing, will reveal cream).
  10. Apply four coats of red paint.
  11. Lightly distress the drawers and drawer fronts.
  12. Use antiquing glaze on same.
  13. Dry brush same with light green paint.
  14. Wax cabinets, drawer fronts and doors.
  15. Spray paint old brass hinges with Krylon high-adhesion brown paint.
  16. Rehang and intall drawers and doors.
  17. Position and install new oiled bronze pulls.

In addition, Kim updated her interior shelves with toile style wallpaper covered with three coats of poly. The results are beautiful.

Kitchen Cabinets After

If you want to duplicate Kim’s gorgeous colors as well as her process, here’s what she had to say:

  • The red that I used is by Waverly and it’s called “Cherry.”
  • The off-white basecoat was American Tradition Homestead Resort Parlour Taupe.”
  • The glaze was “Raw Umber” translucent color glaze.
  • The green walls in the background are not permanent. We will be using a creamy, off-white wall color.
  • Our trimwork will also be painted white.

As for the final tip, Kim says, “I can’t really recommend waxing, though I did wax mine. It was really hard to get the wax buffed out and to get just the right sheen. I still don’t have the sheen I really wanted but removing wax isn’t easy – so I’m living and learning!”

Since completing her cabinets, Kim has also added a painted brick backsplash and a tongue-and-groove faux beamed ceiling. To see pictures of the latest, check out my post featuring her kitchen remodel.

~Angela :-)
All the photos and information here are from Kim at One Woman’s Cottage Life, reprinted here with her kind permission.