Monday, July 1, 2013

The Floor Pillow That Nearly Killed Me

This is the floor pillow that nearly killed me.

"Could you make a floor pillow?" she asked. "It's for our new family room at the church."

"Sure," I said.

Easy, I thought. I'm an expert, my mind added.

Well. Not quite an expert. I've made exactly one.

Before this one. Now I've made two. But this one nearly killed me.

"It didn't nearly kill you," my husband suggested. "It just taught you some things."

Oh yeah.

He's right.

So I give you, in no particular order, the things the-floor-pillow-that-nearly-killed-me taught me:

1. Figure out your steps before you start a new project. I will probably never learn this one properly. It's just not my style to sit down and plan everything out beforehand.

But it's true. A little planning here would have saved me a lot of heartache.

Exhibit A.

This is the point at which I should have sewn on my industrial zipper. But since I didn't plan my steps beforehand, I didn't know that. And by the time I was thinking zipper, most of the rest of the pieces were already sewn together...making it very difficult to sew on a zipper for a complete zipper novice. Which is what I am.

Live and learn, man.

2. Don't curse in front of your kids. It's good to have a project every once in a while to remind you that this is never a good idea. Ever.

3. Procrastination is the enemy.

"I'm an expert."

"I can knock this thing out in two days, tops."

"I've still got a week."

"I've still got a few days."

"Oh, gosh, it needs to be ready tomorrow?"

You'd think, being in my 30's and having graduated from high school and college, that I would've learned this by now. But I have not.

4. Your fabric doesn't hate you. I'm still not sure about this one. Or how it happened that none of my pieces were square by the end. I'm pretty sure I cut them square. But they didn't end up that way. What in the world, man?

5. You can always hide the bad part.


6. Patience. Whatever you do, don't throw your machine across the room.

Take breaks when you need them. This tip works really well with number 3. If you haven't waited til the end, then you have the freedom to get away from it for a little while before coming back. I did leave myself enough wiggle room to take breaks. And I always felt refreshed and ready to tackle the challenge when I sat down again.

7. Use Fiberfill from old pillows. 

This one only works if you're not squeamish. But seriously, fiberfill isn't cheap.

I decided to stuff my first pillow with 2 small bags of fiberfill at 10 bucks a pop. Then I had a whole lot of empty pillow and not a whole lot of money, so I got creative. I cut up half a bag of old baby clothes destined for Goodwill and threw them in there. I thought it was such a great idea until I sat on it. My advice? Don't go that route. It's lumpy.

So...It would have taken 7 to 10 bags at least to fill this giant pillow. That's a lot of money for an "affordable" homemade floor pillow. So I bought some throw pillows from Goodwill. I smelled them. I inspected them for anything undesirable. Then I ripped those babies open and gloried in all the awesomely-almost-free fiberfill.

You know those scenes in movies where the main character finds a treasure chest filled with gold coins and precious stones? And they always end up throwing the gold everywhere? Now I know why they do that.

Floor pillow insert, newly stuffed with old fiberfill. Not lumpy.

8. Have the right equipment before you begin. Sigh. If you do not have the right equipment, you will begin to hate something when things go terribly wrong.

Remember this picture from above?

All those awful ugly stitches are the result of not having a proper zipper foot for my sewing machine. I used what I thought was the zipper foot...but upon closer inspection, it was wider. It had two sides. Almost like someone thought, "Hey, let's make this easier. Let's make it so that this foot allows you to sew on either side of the zipper." Which is great, except that that makes the foot twice as wide. And completely ineffective (if it was actually a zipper foot at all).

I realized this all too late. But by that point I was a quarter of the way done, so I barreled ahead, hoping for the best. The best did not happen. And I ended up hand sewing a bunch of stitches just to clean up my mess.

Grr. All because of a little extra metal.

9. Keep going. Sometimes it's good to do projects for other people. If this was a personal project, I might have quit at least 3 different times. And then I would never have learned how to actually install a zipper.

Something my husband reminded me of when I was nearly in tears last Saturday. I did not appreciate it at the time.

...but he was right.

10. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

This is the most important one: eventually you will be done.

And we almost always are our own worst critic.

The pillow isn't perfect, but this is:

It's good to stretch yourself. It reminds you that you haven't got it all figured out yet. It teaches you to lean on someone else when you know you can't do it by yourself. 

And it's good to serve, to give, especially when it's really a sacrifice. David said one time that he wouldn't offer a sacrifice that didn't cost him anything (2 Samuel 24:24). The ones that cost us something are the ones that mean the most.

And that's what the-floor-pillow-that-nearly-killed-me taught me.

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  1. Sarah, you are gifted in oh-so-many ways, not the least of which is writing a great blog. Keep up ALL the good work! XO - Kim Greene

    1. Thank you, Miss Kim! Your words mean the world to me :D

  2. Hahaha, I love this post! I've been there sooo many times myself. Your pillow turned out great, love the fabric!

    1. Thanks! I got that fabric from Jo Ann! They've seriously gotten some great fabric lately. :)

  3. I think it looks great! I am a terrible for leaving things till the last minute too.

    1. Thank you! In my opinion, this is the beauty of sewing projects - it might look like sheer chaos on the inside, but the outside really looks like you know what you're doing ;)

  4. I have experienced many projects that seem like they just will not end but then suddenly it is finished. And the feeling of victory is great. How about this? Pray for increased focus. It is truly lovely to work through a project without the "angst". God gives beautiful gifts to those who ask! This has worked awesome for us! I can testify that everything in our life is flowing smoother now!

    1. It's true - the feeling of accomplishment at the end is awesome! And yes, things would probably go a lot more smoothly (at least mentally) if we actually prayed in the midst of a challenge!

  5. That looks like a really comfy pillow to sit on!! I'm glad that it didn't actually kill you. I stopped over from Gratituesdays for a visit.

    1. Thanks - it did end up being pretty comfy. From that perspective, it was a major success! ;)

  6. What a fantastic pillow, and at the end of the day, it does exactly what it's supposed to do. We all have to learn something from our projects (my big lesson was putting lifelines in knitted lace shawls) but that makes us even more of an expert next time so that we can get something else wrong. Life would be boring if it were too easy!

    1. I agree - it really was a good experience, and I'm glad that I learned how to install a zipper...I had been wanting to learn zippers for awhile now. And thank you!


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