There is nothing like using crafts as a coping skill! Sometimes, you need to. And that is just what the 3 littles and I did this summer. My oldest daughter, Alexis Grace, (17)(and the littles’/triplets’ big sister), went away for 2 weeks!! (To a summer Catholic Collegiate program.) Now, for some, 2 weeks may be no big deal. But for us? HUGE? Remember; for me, my kids are not away all day, most days, at school. My children are all homeschooled. I’m not even remotely used to this. We’re together most all of the time, except for extra-curricular kind of events. On the other hand, it’s not like my oldest has never been away. She has, numerous times. In fact, she’s away on a regular basis. 3-4 days at a time, with no contact, when she goes on retreats with her friends. But 2 weeks…. . And FAR away. Yikes.
It was a good thing. MANY very good things about it, that are now gifts for a lifetime for Alexis Grace. But one being, we all (she and us!) needed this trial run of her being away from home for an extended period of time. Because she’s a senior this year! Which means she’ll likely be off to college next year! So, we all had to give this separation-thing a temporary go.
This was the big-first, and well, needless to say, the kids and I…were struggling. I figured about a day in, that it would be fun to come up with a project the kids could make, that we could use to ‘count down’ the days until Alexis came home. And frankly, I needed a busy-project! The trio brainstormed, and came up with a few good ideas! But ultimately they settled on one of them:
a countdown pillow.
Something that would serve it’s purpose for us, but end up being a memorable gift we could give her, when she came home.
And so that’s just what we made.
Now, I am no seamstress. In fact, umm, <gulp!>, I have yet to truly learn how to operate a sewing machine.
However, I do have my mother’s old one. And I do have a husband who knows how to use it!
(See? When I say I have a husband who knows how to do anything, I’m not kidding you!)
But of course, I really wanted the kids and I to do as much as we possibly could ourselves. The point was to have a project that helped occupy us, and kind of break up all of the crying jags! (Just kidding. It wasn’t quite that bad. ) (Ok, I did have one big long boo-hoo in my husband’s arms, and I felt so much better afterwards). Anyway, I did figure that creating a pillow slip-cover, would probably be easier than making a whole pillow from scratch.
So I got Googling, and found this easy and very helpful tutorial at the Happy Housie! So if you need directions yourself, see her, not me. I am showing you brief descriptions and photo steps here, and my own musings to share. But I was following those directions myself. Trust me.
It was this pillow that I decided to part with. It actually had beads dangling all around the edges, that the trio was happy to snip off before I got the pre-photo.
It was the perfect size for the pillow we wanted to create.
We knew the pillow would be kept in her room, and so we thought making one to be added to her huge, beautiful window seat, would be great.
To fit right in, we wanted to color coordinate with her other pillows there. So we took one to the fabric store with us, and then chose this pattern, ribbon and thread colors. They were perfect for our vision!
The kids and I got the fabric all measured, cut, pinned, and ready to be sewn.
Once the kids and I got the fabric all ready to be sewn, I set up my mother’s old sewing machine as best as I knew how, just in time for Michael to come home for lunch. (How convenient! “Hi Honey!! Here is your lunch all ready for you! Um, while you’re chewing, would you mind just sewing right up here, and here, and here…..like zip, zip, zip? 😀 ”
He was happy to lend his domestic hand. We were grateful.
Now really came the tedious time consuming part; hand sewing on each ribbon, right on each X that marked 12 spots.
See, Alexis was to be away for 14 days, but we weren’t counting the day we dropped her off, or picked her up. (No need to be dramatic, right!? 😉 )
This task really was a time-consuming pain in the derrie’re! Because one hand had to be way inside the way-overlapped fabric. There barely room to receive and send a threaded needle in there! I did prick my finger several times!
I cursed out loud every time. And Michael was like, “You should be using a thimble!”
Yeah, o.k. Mr. Martha! Or you can!
The kids sewed some on as well. (And I chalked it up to things made with love rather than perfection, mean more.)
We were 3 days in before we got them all sewn on.
This is what the envelope-like opening on the back of the case looks like. It was a tight fit! And it was not easy stuffing the pillow in there. I broke a sweat. I really made it to-size.
So we kept the pillow in an easy-access area, the sunroom, and we took turns as every morning, one of us tied a bow.
And we were one day closer to going and getting our girl!
12 bows – 12 whole days.
We did it! Is any one proud of us, besides us?
(I know. We’re pathetic. But we don’t much care.)
Alexis Grace really loved her gift. She felt loved, and thought of, and surprised!
And the truth is, she was happy to be home, too. If only for another little while.
Gosh, we’re going to miss having her around, most all of the time, next year.
But she’s got things to do int his world.
When she goes, I may have to cry in her pillow.
Unless, of course, she takes it with her.