Rocking' the pillow

I have always been intrigued by stories of people who downsize their material lives, commit to decreasing their carbon footprint, and refuse to let their lives be ruled by the almighty dollar. In fact, I have a version of a daydream wherein Sterling and I live very simply in rural Vermont, and we have chickens and goats and a huge garden. I also throw clay pots and wear Birkenstocks. [Please note: I've never been to Vermont or thrown clay pots. I plead the fifth on the Birkenstocks.] 

But . . . we are not quite there yet. What I am into . . . is downsizing the amount of miscellaneous and superfluous junk that is currently filling our happy home. Have you read about the 100 thing challenge? It's old news now, but still a fine idea. Personally, I have probably over 100 items just in the drawers of the desk I'm sitting at as I type this. I'm not at all proud of the 72 ipod and camera cords in the second drawer on the right. (See also here.)

Today, however, I reused. I took something old and unused and turned it into something new. I think the minimalist gurus might be tapping me soon for a spotlight.

Here's my grand idea:

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Well, Becca was also my grand idea. My idea for today, however, is CONCERT T PILLOWS! I know. You are jumping up and down. And screaming.

Me too.

My kids collect an insane number of t-shirts every year -- concerts, clubs, events, sports, you-name-it-we-have-a-t-shirt-for-it. They don't wear all of the shirts, but some commemorate special events, and thus, we must keep them forever and ever. Amen. So, turning the pillows into decor seems like just the ticket. We are reusing and sentimentalizing in one fell swoop -- it's hippy multi-tasking!

Here are the instructions I made up in my head one really busy afternoon (when I should have been doing 27 other things). While I do have a fair bit of experience behind the sewing machine, I don't own a serger, which I suspect would be ideal when sewing with knit t-shirts. But carry on anyway! (Obtaining a serger would put my possession list in the 1,000,000 range.) [Note #2: Anyone who can sew a straight line can make this pillow.]

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I had this fantastic Ingrid Michaelson shirt from a concert I went to with my girls. I've never actually worn it because it's cut for a 70 pound pre-teen (see pic of Becca above).  Because of its uber-tiny nature I could only get a cut of about 15" across. Hobby Lobby had 12 x 12 inch pillow forms, and although Hobby Lobby and I disagree politically, I partook of their pillow forms. I cut out the front piece at 11 x 11 (so, when finished, the pillow would be full and fluffy). I also cut two back pieces, each 11" across, and approximately 10" and 6" in length. This is for an envelope style pillow cover because theoretically I want to be able to take the cover off and wash it. In real life I probably never will. Just keeping things real. . .

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With RIGHT sides together pin the front to the back pieces. Do you see how I pinned the back envelope piece on top . . . utilizing the hem from the bottom of the shirt? DON'T DO THIS. Place the smaller, non-hemmed piece on top, because when you flip it around, you want the nice hem on top and showing. I messed this up because I have no spatial reasoning skills. This is why I'm an English student. Sew around all four sides.

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Once you've sewn all four sides, turn the whole thing right side out, and voila! A pillow. Stuff in the pillow form, fuss with the corners, and then pat yourself on the back. I had intended to make this pillow for the upstairs gameroom, but I think it is more COOL MOM-like down in my bedroom. With my stringy white pillow. Madison is planning a series of T-shirt pillows for her up-and-coming dorm room.

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Guys! That chair is also a REUSE. I bought it from Goodwill for $5.00 and had it recovered. Just a few more steps and I'll be in Vermont. I just know it.

If you have any questions about my less-than-clear instructions, just leave a comment or e-mail me. Happy Reusing!