Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Headache Pillow DIY March 11, 2015

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 12:04 am
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I had a sewing project on my aspiration list for awhile.  I tried to make a jacket a few years ago….Didn’t really go anywhere past the fabric cutting stage.  This year I almost took it off my list, but decided I should just tone my expectations down a bit and I would be able to complete something.  I remembered I had pinned a Headache Pillow when Pinterest was brand new to me.  It linked up to Whitey’s blog Elm Street Life, where she had a tutorial.  I found it on my beloved ‘Possible Projects’ board and decided it was definitely something I could handle.  On top of it being a simple project, it would be useful too.  I tend to get quite a few headaches and it sounds weird, but it makes me feel better to put pressure on my head.  This pillow is filled with lentils and its nice and heavy.

The only thing needed to create your own headache pillow is: fabric, thread, lentils, and lavender.  I also needed a sewing machine to get it all put together.  That is where my sister comes in.  She has a sewing machine which I knew would help me get the job done a lot quicker.  I suppose I could have sewn by hand, but I assure you I do not have nearly enough patience for that.

sewing 1


  1. Fold your fabric in half longways and then measure and cut so that folded in half it measures 6×18 in. (or 12×18 inches when unfolded).
  2. Next, I made sure the fabric was facing inside out and then started pinning around the edges to prepare to sew.
  3. Setup your sewing machine- I cannot help you with this. I struggled and Kate helped me and in the end I sewed straight lines around the edges of my fabric and just left a small opening.
  4. Next I added some of my lavender along with the 2 lbs of lentils.
  5. Sew the opening closed.
  6. Now you want to separate the lentils in half and sew a line down the middle of the pillow. I am particular so I made my sister get out her kitchen scale so I could make sure the lentils were evenly distributed on either side of my pillow.  You could be less crazed and just estimate.
  7. I sewed a straight line right across the middle of the pillow and then repeated step 6 over to the left and then right so in the end you are left with 1 pillow that has 4 sections.

Sewing 2

The process is super simple, but really time consuming.  I ended up making two pillows in one night, but it probably took me 2 hours plus.  I thought for sure I’d finish all 5 I had planned to make.  I think it would have gone a bit faster if I was an avid sewer.  I still need to finish my last three.  And please, if you are my friend and have headaches, be warned.  You might be getting one of these from me.  Even if you think it’s silly, please accept it and act impressed that I made it myself.  You can always use it as a paperweight or something else equally useful!

Final Product!

Final Product!

Few Tips if you plan to create one yourself:

  • I bought the loose lavender from Whole Foods- you purchase by weight and I was surprised at how reasonable it was.  That whole bag I have pictures above was something like $4.50.
  • I ended up ditching the pins because I thought they were harder to sew with.  Plus this isn’t a project that needs perfect stitching.  When I use it I will feel like death and not be inspecting the stitching.

Swinging into Fall! September 11, 2012

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 11:13 pm
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I need your help.  I have a new project started, but it’s a bit daunting to me so I am going to tell you about it in hopes that I will have to complete it if I tell people about it.  Way back in March I was in JoAnn Fabrics with Karla and found  a fabric I just fell in love with {buttery yellow houndstooth!}.  I had no idea what I would do with it, but as I told the women who was cutting my fabric this she pointed out that the patterns were on super sale.  I have never sewn a piece of clothing in my life.  Did I let this stop me?

Nope!  I decided to try and make a swing jacket out of my lovely fabric (the jacket is pictured above in white}.  My sister and I were babysitting our goddaughter this weekend.  I decided to bring along the fabric and pattern and see if she could help me get started with the thing.  My first reaction after opening the pattern and attempting to read the instructions was:

‘I give up!’

All the contents and foreign sewing language was overwhelming me!  Kate suggested I start off by cutting out the different pieces.  So that is what I did first.  This calmed me down because I felt confident that I could cut out some shapes.  I did have to figure out what size to make the jacket, but once I made a decision on that I just followed the corresponding dotted line and cut my little heart out!

Here is my patterns all cut out!

Once all the patterns were cut I set aside the fabric and patterns and took a breather.  I thought I was done for the evening.  I put it all away and Kate and I watched some TV.  After awhile she fell asleep and I resolved to get a little more work done on this project.  I took everything out again and went onto the next step: cutting the fabric using the patterns.  I followed the instructions and folded my fabric in half.  Then I following the little picture they provided, I was able to layout the patterns on the fabric so everything fit like a puzzle!

Next, I grabbed my sister’s cutting mat and rotary cutter and set to work!

Just a little side note on the rotary cutter…this thing was amazing!  I thought it would be hard work to cut though the fabric using this thing.  I was wrong!  I only had to apply a little pressure and make sure the cutting mat was under the fabric and it cut very easily.  I actually had to slow myself down so I could follow the patterns.

Phew, that was enough work for one night!

I felt pretty accomplished at this point so that was as far as I got.  Now that I’ve shared this project start up with all of you, I am going to have to get moving on it so I can be sure to update you all on my progress.  Wish me Luck!  Oh and does anyone know what the heck to ‘Baste’ is?


Revisiting 30 before 30… January 12, 2012

Today is my 27th birthday.  That means it’s been about a year since I posted my 30 before 30 list.  And that means I have another 3 years to finish everything on it.  In the spirit of getting another year closer to that big 3-0, I thought I’d revisit to see the progress I’ve made…

1. travel to a foreign country (outside of North America, because let’s be honest, even though those Canadians can get  crazy, they don’t count for my list)…not yet…but I’m starting to make a list of places I’d LIKE to go.  Then maybe I can progress from there!

2. own a dog…not yet…this one won’t be able to happen until Jonathan and I move out of our apartment, since they don’t allow dogs…and gosh, moving is such a pain!

3. get a real Christmas tree (a live one)…not yet…we still had a fake one this year, particularly because we thought about a real one, but wouldn’t be around to care for it over the holiday since we went back to Chicago and decided we’d rather not come back to a fire hazard of needle piles.

4. read at least 3 books per year (ones I want to read, not required reading)…got it…so far since this post last year I’ve read OVER my quota of 3…including Room by Emma Donogue, The Help by Karyn Stockett, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson, and (one of my favorites, so it’s a re-read) Sense and Sensibility.  Let’s see if I can keep this up!

5. go back to Vegas…got it…Jonathan and I got to go back in November because he WON a trip from Allstate! Read about that here.

6. camp in a national park…got it…I’ve been camping in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, plus we’re going camping with some dear friends in Yosemite this May!

7. create a signature cocktail…not yet…but I feel like it will include Cake vodka 😉

8. swim with dolphins…not yet…

9. go on a hot air balloon ride (sorry Kel, I had to add this one to my list, too)…not yet…

10. go wine tasting (it’d be nice to actually know a thing or two about it, not just drink it)…got it…in Santa Barbara, California with some of my favorite ladies!

11. go back to the Grand Canyon…not yet…

12. learn a new song on the piano…not yet…and this one’s going to be harder now, because we don’t have a piano!

13. make a home with Jonathan…got it…love our neighborhood, love our apartment, still working on some of the decor

14. take a photography class (well, another one, maybe digital photography!)…not yet…

15. ride a double-decker bus…not yet…

16. take Jonathan on a ‘spring break’ trip (because he never had one)…not yet…but we may be going to Mexico this summer, so that’s pretty close!

17. try at least one adventurous recipe each month…got it…here are some of my favorites: meatloaf muffins with mashed potato ‘frosting‘ and the Barefoot Contessa’s chicken with goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes.

18. perfect my great grandma’s butter cookie recipe…got it…with my brother Sam’s help this year, I think we perfected it for our Christmas cookie tins (which I referred to in last week’s post).

19. have a garden…sort of got it…I’d like to have a real one, but at least we planted a small herb garden this year for our apartment…

20. write a book (I’ve been thinking of ideas for children’s books lately)…not yet…this one will be a challenge!

21. take a yoga class (this may surprise some of you, but I never have…I don’t want to do hot yoga, just a regular class)…not yet…still a bit intimated to show my lack of flexibility…

22. finish a triathlon…not yet…but I’d like to sign up to do one this summer and start training soon!

23. see another panda bear in real life…not yet…

24. sew something (other than just putting a lost button back on)…got it…took a sewing class, made a tote bag, got a sewing machine for Christmas, and you saw the pillows I made in last week’s post!

25. try a new haircut…sorta got it…got my hair chopped from being long this past fall.

26. take a golf lesson…not yet…

27. find a go-to sushi restaurant in Denver…got it…we LOVE Okinawa on Colfax, and we’ve been to Sushi Den a few times too.

28. take a Spanish class (or several)…not yet…

29. recycle more (and reduce, and reuse…)…trying to, but surprisingly enough it’s hard when our apartment building doesn’t provide a recycling service!

30. tell the people who are important to me how much I love them more often…on my way, working on it!

If I keep it up, I think the whole list can be green by the time I hit 30!  Although it’s amazing how quickly 3 years can fly by…


Sew Fantastic November 27, 2011

The only things I had sewn before in my life (other than many loose buttons onto coats and shirts) were a pair of flannel pajama pants and a pillow in home economics class in junior high.  And let me tell you, those pajama pants were an embarrassment: they were wider than they were long (I honestly think I may have flip-flopped the pattern at some point during execution on accident).  I went on another and long anticipated sewing adventure a few weeks ago with my friend Krista.

This was another one of those coupon adventures through Living Social that we thought looked like a fun girls’ adventure.  It was at an adorable new shop in Denver called Fabric Bliss, where they not only teach sewing classes, but the adorable young woman who owns it sells vibrant and original fabrics for you to use in class or on your own.  She also teaches knitting classes, which may be something we could try down the line.

My station, all ready to get started!

We walked in and saw the bag we were supposed to make.  It was just a simple tote, but it was so well-made and modern looking that I immediately turned to Krista and confessed that I had zero confidence in my own ability to make mine match the sample.  But our instructor patiently proceeded through the project step by step, adding some comedic relief and a lot of compliments about our abilities in the mix (which really went a long way!), and slowly my bag started to look a lot better than I originally expected.

Taking this sewing class got me thinking about how nice it would be to have a sewing machine so I could follow patterns, create handmade home accents, and maybe even create some clothes and accessories for myself someday!  Therefore, immediately I knew a Brother sewing machine had to top my Christmas list.  My mom was excited to hear this, and I know she already ordered it online (some of you may argue that this isn’t fun that I already know what I’m getting, but I’m so excited about it that I will be dreaming about unwrapping it from now til Christmas, so I feel as though the ‘fun’ of it all will certainly not be lacking).  My mom loves to give gifts that can be used and keep giving, so she was thrilled to steal this item off my list.

I can’t wait to start creating more totes and lots of other projects.  I’m planning on taking a few more classes at Fabric Bliss too, because obviously after only one I haven’t completely shed my fear of recreating those flannel pajama pants that I still have nightmares about.  But the sewing thing is a new endeavor that I can’t wait to continue to explore!

My finished product, I was so proud!


Project Lineup August 30, 2011

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 9:03 pm
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Kate was right!  I totally agree with her post above.  As a finance graduate and a HR professional I would recommend contributing to both a 401(k) and a Roth.  Doesn’t mean I’ve actually kicked my butt in gear to contribute to MY Roth {sorry Dad!}, but for the record I agree and those are the responsible things to do.

Speaking of my irresponsibility…this Saturday I found myself wandering the isles of Hobby Lobby {favorite craft store by far} for about 2 hours.  You might ask me what could I possibly do in a store for that long, but believe me it’s not difficult for me to do.  You see I’m definitely not an in-and-out of the store kind of person.  But then you add in all the possibilities in that store and I get a bit carried away.  I went in there for just 4 items:  A 16 inch pillow form, ½ yards of fabric, a marking pencil, and a 12in zipper.  I came out with those items plus items for 3 more projects! Yikes!

I love a creative project.  It will keep me in a good mood and challenge my creative side {that finance side of me needs a balance}.  It’s just that I usually don’t finish projects right away.  In fact I made a list last night and I am currently in the midst of 6 different projects right now.  Here is a glimpse of a few of them:

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Even though I have all of these projects at different stages, you’ll be happy to learn that I completed the project that required the 4 items {a 16 inch pillow form, ½ yards of fabric, a marking pencil, and a 12in zipper}!  I attended a sewing class this Sunday at The Needle Shop in Bucktown with my sister.  It was a four hour class that teaches you how to use a sewing machine {theirs or your own} and you complete a pillowcase during the class. It usually costs $70, but was on sale for $56 for the month of August {lucky us!}.  I really enjoyed the set up because there were only 4 students in this class so there was plenty of time for questions and Cherri, our instructor, was awesome and very patient!  I would recommend the class to anyone who is unsure if they want to learn to sew.  I definitely enjoyed the class and will be thinking about the next one I want to take.  Here is my final product:

To top it all off, this class helped me knock #10 off my aspiration list for the year!


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