Monday, November 3, 2014

faux fur pillow covers

One of the quickest & most surefire ways to update your decor each season is switching up your decorative pillows. And I love fall inspired pillow covers. But I always run into the problem of having expensive taste & an unwillingness to fork over much money at all, especially if I think I can make it myself.

This season, I found myself longing for these faux fur pillow covers from Pottery Barn.

However, the PB version is forty bucks a pop! Ouch.

So instead, I made some & I was able to make multiple pillow covers in different faux furs for the price of one Pottery Barn cover.

And with a little gumption & know-how, you can too!

Buy some faux fur.

I found several different faux fur throws at TJ Maxx for $19 each.

Measure the pillows you are covering.

Mine were 18", which is a pretty common pillow size.

Cut your fabric.

To do an envelope-style pillow cover, you will cut one front piece & two back pieces. If your pillow is 18" x 18", you can just use the numbers I used...they are in bold below.

For the front piece, add an inch to the measurements of your pillow (since mine was an 18" pillow, my front piece was 19" x 19"). This will give you a 1/2" seam allowance. For the back pieces, divide the pillow measurement by 2 & add 4" (so I did 18" divided by 2 = 9" plus 4" = 13". Thus my back pieces were 19" x 13"). These pieces will overlap in the back of the pillow case to give you a place to insert your pillow. To cut my pieces, I used a cutting mat, rotary cutter & clear acrylic quilting ruler. This was definitely a helpful piece of equipment to have. My fur was sort of stretchy & it would have been difficult to get a straight cut with scissors. But do whatever works best for you.

Hem the back pieces.

To do this, fold over the fabric of one of the 19" sides about 3/4" & sew across with the longest stitch on your machine. I used a walking presser foot for all the sewing, which helped feed the material evenly & keep it from slipping.

Sew the 3 pieces together.

Now it is time to pin the pieces together. Lay the front piece the "right" side facing up. Lay one back piece on top of this with the "wrong" side facing up & the hemmed 19" edge toward the center. Pin the fabric in place along the raw 19". Sew this with a 1/2" seam allowance. Do the same with the other back piece. This should give you one long piece of 19" wide fabric, hemmed on either end.

Fold the back pieces onto the front piece so the "right sides face each other. Pin along the unsewn edges. Sew with a 1/2" seam.

Insert your pillow & enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

my top ten halloween movies

We are down to the wire! Halloween is only days away. My candy bowl is filled to the brim & my dvd player is ready for some spooky action.

I will quickly preface this list by telling you what I like in my scary movies. I don't like anything that is overly gory or evil...I like a good scare & I like suspense, but movies like The Exorcism or Chainsaw Massacre are not for me. I like a movie that has an interesting plot, decent acting, consistent suspense and/or startling moments & an overall spooky or creepy vibe. This description in a review I read of The Awakening really nailed it on the head:

"Sometimes less really is more. There is a fine line to walk--especially with a ghost story--to achieve that spine-tingling, skin-crawling feeling, and that element can only be teased from the psyche with mystery, not in your face guts or a head being lopped off--that is shock value and gross out, which is perfectly fine for a slasher pic or a grind house movie, but not a good ghost story."

Also, I like Tim Burton. The end.

So without further ado, here is a list of my favorite scary flicks.

1. Casper

Girl meets ghost. Ghost falls in love with girl. Oh what a timeless story :) So I know this one isn't actually scary & it's a kids' movie, but it's a classic! Plus with the awesome party Kat throws in her haunted mansion, it's even more Halloween appropriate than your average ghost movie.

2. The Sixth Sense

A classic M Night Shayamalan movie, it's a twisty ghost story about a boy who can see dead people & a man who is trying to help him deal with these apparitions. And the Hubs says once you've seen it, you can't really enjoy it again because you know the ending. But I still love it. I think this was one of the first movies I saw that combined good storytelling, good acting, good filmmaking & a great plot twist.

3. The Haunting

A group of people brought together under false pretenses discover that this house is haunted...or maybe just evil. This is another I consider sort of a classic, but maybe that's just because I first saw it a long time ago. This movie used to seriously creep me out &, honestly, it still does if I watch it alone in the dark. Again, a  nice plot with a good twist at the end.

4. The Nightmare Before Christmas

The classic story of the Pumpkin King who longs for something that will fill the empty space in his heart. Ahhhh, Tim Burton. Where would we be without him. I seriously watch at least 3 or 4 Tim Burton movies each October. Side note: If you haven't heard the Nightmare Revisited soundtrack & you are a fan of this movie, you should really check it out.

5. The Awakening

Florence Cathcart, an expert on supernatural hoaxes, is called to figure out what is happening at a boarding school. But is this "haunting" really a hoax? This one is mostly pretty mild, but I really enjoyed the plot & the artistic element of this movie. I completely agree with the tag line on the movie poster...visually sumptuous and chilling.

6. The Woman in Black

A young lawyer travels to a remote village to settle a large estate. But his work is interrupted by strange events that seem to be linked to a vengeful ghost. Maybe I just really like the way Brits tell ghost stories, but The Woman in Black is right up my alley. Creepy, dreary, it's fun to see Harry Potter as an awkward lawyer.

7. Corpse Bride

On the eve of his arranged marriage, a clumsy young man accidentally marries a corpse bride. Definitely one of my favorite Tim Burton movies. The music, the animation, the fun! If you like Tim Burton, you'll love this one.

8. The Uninvited

After returning from a stint in a mental hospital, Anna has trouble adjusting back to normal life with a cruel stepmother, aloof father & a ghost haunting the house. This one is a remake of a japanese horror film. And though I'm sure the original was scarier (the japanese apparently know how to scare you out of your pants), I enjoyed the filmmaking, plot & acting. Creepy & well done. I always really like Emily Browning.

9. The Conjuring

This might be the scariest one on my list. It's also one of the newer movies. Based on the experiences of Ed & Lorraine Warren, a married couple who investigated paranormal activities. A well-made, totally scary movie.

10. The Haunting in Connecticut

Talk about a well-told ghost story! A boy suffering from cancer is starts seeing disturbing thing after his family moves into a house that used to be a mortuary. When someone asks me what my favorite scary movie is, I answer with this movie. I've seen it enough now that it no longer scares me as much as it used to, but I still appreciate the story & like the fact that it revolves so much around the characters.

Now tell me, what movies would you recommend to me?

xo, erinkay

Friday, October 24, 2014

a very good {october} book

One of my favorite October traditions is to read (almost exclusively) scary literature during the month of October. I've read some awesome Stephen King books (a special shout out to Pet Cemetery & The Shining), a fair amount of Edgar Allen Poe and a few other randoms.

This year, I started off October reading Summer of Night by Dan Simmons. And I tell you, I LOVED it. It was the perfect blend of creepiness, story-telling & nostalgia & I would highly recommend this book to anyone who isn't afraid to be afraid.

Hope you're having a very spooky October.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

all hallows' eve

Just thought I'd pop in to show a few pictures of my house, all dressed up for the holidays. On October 1st, I went into a decorating/crafting frenzy that lasted for three days (although crafts & decorating has continued through the month). It was fueled by lots of pumpkin bread, pandora "Halloween Party" radio and classic Halloween movies. We went from having about 3 decorations to having a house full, which is just as I like it, especially since October is possibly my favorite month of the year!

Upon approaching our house, you are greeted with this wreath...please ignore the craziness of our front door. It is about to be repainted. Hopefully tomorrow. This was once one of those twig wreaths. But I covered it with torn up drop cloth & some book page scrolls. And a skeleton hand for good measure.

This is our entryway. I made the Happy Halloween banner last year using a drop cloth, a sharpie & some coffee to give it an aged look. The candles on the left are black tapers from Hobby Lobby placed in wine bottles spray painted matte black. I've used these several places in the house.

The pillows throughout the house were all crafted by me. I LOVE having a sewing machine :) The designs on all the light-colored pillows were drawn with sharpie & a careful hand. Making the pillows was definitely one of my favorite parts of crafting this year. The skull is from Walmart. I general avoid that place (the one in our town is such a nightmare to go to), but they have some great, cheap Halloween decor. And I feel like even something small, like a skull sitting on your coffee table, can do a lot for giving your home a bit of spooky Halloween spirit.

The black & orange garland hangs behind the couch with the trick or treat & nevermore pillows in the first picture. It was a pretty quick craft that I originally intended to bedeck an outdoor buffet table for a party we had a few weeks ago.

The "double, double toil & trouble" pillow is probably my favorite thing I made this year.

Our dining room is a fun hodge-podge of items. I went to several thrift stores & found lots of old silver trays to pull into my decor this year. While I was there, I spotted the candle-holder-arch-thing on the buffet hutch. I knew immediately it would be perfect somewhere in my house for Halloween. Once again you can see I have some wine bottles, one holding a candle & the others just looking pretty. I also have more bones & skulls from Walmart. Then I pulled in some pieces from TJ Maxx (white ceramic pumpkin, skull salt & pepper shakers, cake stand, glass container) & some real pumpkins & candles. The glass container on the table is actually a decanter I found at West Elm. It wasn't too expensive & it was beautiful & I knew I could use it to decorate in a lot of different ways.

This is our kitchen table. The skeleton is from of those 3 ft guys you see hanging in a lot of people's yards. I accidentally broke his head off & then actually liked him a lot better without a head on his shoulders, so I hot glued his skull to his hand & added some hot glue to his joints as well to keep him propped up. The bottle is another empty bottle of something intoxicating. If you don't have friends who drink, you should definitely get some if just for the cast off bottles. A lot of alcohol bottles are really pretty! And it seems like wine bottles in particular have infinite uses.

Anyway, add a couple mercury glass votives & a slab of beautiful olive wood (all from TJ Maxx over the years) & it's finished!

The thing hanging on the wall behind the table is just a roll of craft paper that says "something wicked this way comes." I originally planned to do the whole "by the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes" but it was really time consuming & I wanted to move onto other projects. I intended to come back to it, but haven't yet. Anyway, to make it I googled "halloween chalkboard art" and used a couple of the results as inspiration to make a design that suited my tastes. I freehanded the design with a pencil & then traced over it in sharpie.

The final room on our Halloween home tour is the living room, aka the fireplace room. Decorating the mantle is a favorite of mine & I like to think I've gotten pretty good at it with some practice :) I always like how my mantles turn out, anyway. The mantle was pulled together from a lot of items around the house, a lot of thrift store items & some mini pumpkins. The only items I bought for this mantle specifically are the silver trays (thrifted) & the orange glass bottle on the right (TJ Maxx). I made the "all hallows' eve" banner from old book pages, a sharpie & some coffee to age it.

The skull pillow was something I had been dreaming up for a long time. I think there was a pottery barn something-or-other that had a skull print similar to this ages ago & I had always liked it. Then I decided to try my hand this year at drawing the skull. It probably would be easier to just print it onto transfer paper & iron it on, but we don't have a printer & I don't think I ever found this same skull face on. The images were always skewed or showed the skull on a plate or something.

Anyway, here are a few more random images from around the house. Hope you enjoyed the tour of our house!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

thirty by thrity

I turned 26 last weekend. 26. It freaked me out. I'm approaching 30 faster than I care to think about. I looked back at my 25th year & thought, what have I accomplished? Am I closer to who I want to be today than I was a year ago?

I have to admit that 25 was a pretty amazing year. I went to new places, met a lot of awesome people, learned some new things & had a great year. But I feel like I didn't actually work towards any of those things. They just happened. I want to direct the upcoming years & make them what I want them to be. I want to set out towards 30 with a purpose. I want to direct who I will become.

So I decided, like many before me, to do a 30 by 30 bucket list. Some start this when they turn 29, but I figured if I gave myself more time I could make the goals bigger & more difficult. So after a week and a half of deciding, editing & fine-tuning, here is my list:

1. Make babies. I am excited to be a mom & plan to have this happen in the not so distant future. This one was a total no-brainer.

2. Practice yoga. I know this is not very specific, but I have done yoga a few times for a few weeks at a time. I always love how I feel when I'm doing it regularly...stronger, more flexible, more balanced & more zen :) Plus I recently met a true yogi (like, she lived in India for 3 months to get some certifications & practice yoga herself) & she inspired me.

3. Run a marathon. So...this is an intimidating one. I'm not that much of a runner. I honestly don't know if I am capable of running 26.2 miles at once. But it's something I'd like to try.

4. Get into the best shape of my life. I refuse to let the best shape of my life be when I was a teenager. I was high school skinny, but I was also pretty fit when I was preparing for Miss Idaho. I probably should put a weight down for specificity, but I'd rather just feel & see when I have reached this goal. This favorite workout kicks my butt every time!

5. Cut out soda. I love diet coke. But I know it is really bad for me. The very occasional soda is fine with me, but I need to stop drinking soda regularly. And to avoid all fake sugar, for that matter.

6. Try a cleanse. I've always wanted to but never have. I'm thinking about doing this one. But probably make the juices myself using these recipes.

7. Establish a small business. I have a lot of hobbies that other people do for a living. I would love to make a little money doing something I love. I have done some research & know this can take a lot more than you might think from the outset, but I am going to go for it.

8. Do a 365 photo project. Doing something once a day for a whole year sounds hard, but I think this would be worth it. Maybe make a coffee-table-style book after the year is over.

9. Memorize 30 scriptures with significance to me. I definitely want to develop spiritually between now & 30 and a lot of that will just involved studying & discussing & praying. But I thought this was a good tangible goal to reach for. Plus, having a few scriptures up your sleeve can be a handy thing.

10. Blog for real. I am always very inconsistent with blogging. But I love the idea of a space that is like my online journal, to document my life. So that's my goal. Make it an online journal for myself to look back at years from now.

11. Live in Europe. If we get the plane we'll probably get, we will have the chance to live in England. If we get a different fighter, then we may be able to live in Germany or Italy. Ultimately, this is out of our hands, but I will do everything in my power to make it happen.

12. Visit Asia, South America & Africa. I have now been to Europe, Central America & the South Pacific. This would round off the list nicely.

13. Go bungee jumping/sky diving. I've always wanted to. How cool would this be?

14. Read 10 travel books. Or books about places. I love to be inspired by other places & cultures & this is a great way to do it from anywhere I happen to be. I already have 2 on my list: Jungleland & Cutting for Stone. And I currently have Eat, Pray, Love in my library. Maybe I should bump up the number!

15. Learn a second language. Once again, intimidating. I feel like I have absolutely no gift for languages, but according to a lot of people there's really no such thing as being incapable of being multilingual. You just have to put in the effort. Apparently.

16. Learn to cook an authentic foreign dish. Like an intense one, from scratch. For example, homemade pasta, tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes & some fresh grated parmesan cheese. Mmm. And some homemade crusty bread on the side. Or something Asian...

17. Successfully plant 2 kitchen herbs. I want to be able to cut some fresh basil to make a quick pesto, or some cilantro to throw over some rice or chicken. I've tried basil before, but my black thumb quickly killed it. Try, try again.

18. Make a cookbook with all my favorite recipes & photos. I love to cook & I have lots of recipes I use regularly. I need to put them all together in one place. Plus, I know my mom & sisters would enjoy a copy.

19. Go hunting & learn to clean my own kill. I've always wanted to hunt. I've always wanted to cook game. Especially deer jerky. Although we'll see if I can actually bring myself to pull the trigger on this one.

20. Earn a bachelors degree. I don't regret my choice to marry my hubby when I did. But I do wish I had earned my bachelors somehow. Once again, not entirely sure I can make this happen before 30 (financially, mostly, as the hubs is currently getting his masters so he can continue to promote), but I'd certainly like to try.

21. Volunteer regularly. I feel so blessed & want to be able to help other people. And there are so many opportunities! I just need to get involved.

22. Get involved. I sometimes hear afterwards about community events that I wish I had participated in. This is one way, I feel, to love your community no matter where you live. I think this could be especially beneficial to make new friends & acquaintances when we move to new places.

23. Do 30 days of something (no sugar, become vegetarian, live in silence, etc.) I'm not sure what yet, but I think this could be very neat to try. And probably a huge test of my will power.

24. Build a [real] piece of furniture. Have you ever looked at It makes me feel like building furniture is super-doable. Plus, sometimes I know exactly what I want, but can't find it at all or can't find it for a reasonable price.

25. Sew a beautiful item of clothing. Ditto what I said for furniture. I have I idea what I want, but can't find it. Sew it! Although this is going to mean practicing some more technical skills & seams.

26. Do media fasts regularly. I often feel too plugged in, & sometimes I feel like I'm having withdrawals when I am without my iphone. This goal isn't super-specific, but it is definitely something that would be good to do occasionally and not only once.

27. Reduce my carbon footprint. I have started to be a lot more conscious of every item I throw into my trash can & I picture my bags of household trash in a landfill 100 years from now. Ugh. I would like to start recycling, composting, use reusable shopping bags, bicycling instead of driving (although in our current location, this isn't super-reasonable), using a rainwater collection barrel & even planting some edible plants of my own instead of using the grocery store for everything.

28. Make my house my own. Being in the military makes it difficult to feel like I can make improvements to my house, because we are only going to be living here for a few years. I am glad to have the chance to live in lots of different places, but it does make it difficult to settle in & make my place my own. I want to finally "finish" some rooms & make my house a little more homey.

29. Pay off all debt (excluding car/property). This is pretty doable for us. We are close to paying off a lot of our smaller debts. But I still want it as a goal to encourage us to avoid any new debt. It will feel so good to have more money each month in our pockets instead of the pockets of the banks.

30. Become a better budgeter. Sometimes I feel like I am still a teenager in this way. Responsible adults have a real budget, right? I tend to just have some vague numbers in my head for spending limits & goals. Let's get it down on paper & stick to it!

And there you have it. My 30 by 30. It's a little intimidating to have it all written down like that & to share it with the world wide web. But I'm also looking forward to moving forward.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

white wedding

I was the official photographer for my brother & sister-in-law's wedding...they're having another ceremony in the summer so the pressure wasn't as high. But here are all my favorites.

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself :)