it may not be cheaper to make your own cushions. . .


I made a bench cushion for my 81″ long bench in my kitchen.  Cushions always seem to be expensive, so I made my own.  The foam alone was well over $100 and that was with a 40% coupon.  The foam is a petroleum based product which accounts for some of the cost, but foam is just expensive.  Then I purchased 3 yards of sunbrella fabric so that it would be easier to clean.  I spent about $200 on just the materials, and I still had to make it!

I used an envelope method (where it overlaps in the back)  that my sewing teacher taught me in Oak Park.  It is easier and quicker than a zipper pillow. My first cushion I made was for my outdoor bench:

 

I made the cover too big and had to buy another piece of foam to put in it so that it would fit.  Fortunately, I had purchased 2″ foam, so that the final product was a nice comfy 4″ cushion.  for my Kitchen bench I purchased 4″ foam to start with, so I had to measure very carefully to make sure it was the correct width and length.  I did have to rip out one seam, but overall it went much smoother this time around.

My bench seat is 19″ deep, and the fabric had enough width to it that I could simply finish both ends, and there would be enough to wrap around the width of my cushion and leave a nice overlap in the back.  I then added 4″ to the 19″ to account for the height of the foam and folded the fabric so that it would have the appropriate width after it overlaped.  I then sewed up one end and boxed the corners. This is a good link from Craft Apple on how to box corners.  It is the final end that you sew that is so tricky.  I had to double check my cushion length and again add the 4″ to account for the height of the foam.   I sewed the seam and boxed the corners again, and viola, a very expensive homemade cushion!

This is the underside so you can see the seams, boxed corners and how the envelope opens in the back.


Just some random cuteness.  I found my children sitting together on the same chair (not using the 6 foot long cushion I just made!)

also, anyone remember Shirt Tales?

 

my “new” sewing chair


I finished my upholstery class at modhomeec and my teacher featured me on her blog!!  So here is my finished chair


Taking the class has inspired me to look for some vintage chairs to re-upholster to complete my sitting area.  I did find a computer cabinet on craigslist to use as my sewing cabinet


I got the idea from Heather Ross in her book Weekend Sewing to use a computer cabinet for sewing:

We have been loving this Indian Summer we have been having.  Yesterday Bridget and her friend from next door played “ninja” with shields and swords. . .

fall yumminess


I am loving this beautiful fall we are having, and I am finding myself making the two below recipes multiple times each week.

The Chai recipe comes from a dear friend from Oak Park and I love how my kitchen smells when I make it.

Chai recipe

Concentrate
4-5 cinnamon sticks (each 3″), broken
1 vanilla bean, split in half or 2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 whole nutmeg, coarsely chopped
6-8 cardamom pods (1 teaspoon whole seeds may be used)
3 whole star anise, roughly broken
2-4 tablespoons finely shredded ginger (I use 1 teaspoon ginger powder)
3 black peppercorns, bruised
3 whole cloves
pinch of sea salt
6 cups filtered water

place all ingredients in a stockpot and bring to a boil

reduce heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes. strain through a fine strainer or sieve. If there is a lot of sediment try straining through a strainer or sieve lined with cheesecloth.  The brew may be simmered longer to reduce volume and concentrate flavor.

Note: the spices may be used again for a second batch, reducing the water by half

Makes 1 quart

Chai Tea

2 cups chai spice concentrate
2 tea bags (green, white or black tea)
2 Tablespoons honey
2 cups milk of your choice

In a saucepan, bring the chai spice concentrate to a boil and turn off heat.  Steep the tea bags in the concentrate for 3-5 minutes.

Remove tea bags and squeeze out any liquid into the tea. Stir in honey to taste, add milk.  Warm over medium-low heat until piping hot.

caramel sauce

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream

in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and 1/3  cup water over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes.

Using a pastry brush, coat the walls of the saucepan with water to melt any sugar on the sides.  Increase the heat to high and cook, undisturbed, until amber-colored, about 5 minutes.  (I let it cook longer until it is more burnt, for more of a burnt caramel taste).

wearing oven mitts, slowly stir in 2 tbsp cream, 1 at a time. Using a wooden spoon, stir the remaining cream into the caramel.  Cook, stirring over low heat until combined, about 3 minutes.

This recipe goes great with freshly picked apples.  Apple picking is on of my favorite fall family traditions.  Our orchard of choice is Stuckey’s (which is where my parents took me when I was a child).  We also plan on checking out Tuttle’s this year after I run the Indianapolis mini marathon at Fort Ben in two weeks. . .

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