DIY a Southwest Style Cactus Pillow – No Sewing Required!

Southwestern style is hot right now, and what better way to bring that trend into your apartment than with throw pillows? It’s much safer (not to mention cheaper!) to pull trending themes into your space with small accessories rather than with large furniture or rugs that require a huge commitment.

No Sew Cactus Pillow pillow living room sofa view

Even if you don’t have a sewing machine, you can save money by making your own decorative throw pillows. I whipped up this cool cactus pillow cover in less than an hour so that I could add a southwest vibe to my living room.

No Sew Cactus Pillow DIY cactus pillow

Supplies Needed:

  • Solid Color Pillow Cover (mine is from Ikea)
  • Iron
  • Iron-On Adhesive (I use Heat’n Bond Ultra Hold)
  • Craft Felt or Fabric (for the applique)
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery Floss
  • Embroidery Needle

Want to see how I did it?  Continue reading my full tutorial over at the blog!


Sapling Status: 5 Months

The Little Sapling turned 5 months last week, and all I could think is – she’s almost half a year old! Sapling 5 Months

If Maple’s 3rd month was all about “cooing”, her 4th was all about silence. She clammed up, except for talking to her toys when we weren’t in the room with her. On the day she turned 5 months, she started chatting up a storm with us, this time in crazy loud babble form! She’s been babbling like crazy every day since.

She’s got so much personality now and her hands are busy. Whenever she’s awake she’s either grabbing at a blanket and passing it between her hands, or putting anything she can reach into her mouth, or sucking/chewing on her fingers. Often while talking.

This month Maple just couldn’t stop kicking and squirming, and loved nothing more than to be balanced by our hands as she stood, supporting her weight on her legs. She still doesn’t like tummy time but she’s getting stronger and will tolerate it if we entertain her enough. She does love spending time on her play mat just wiggling around and rolling from side to side to grab at toys.

Sapling 5 Months tummy time

Speaking of her legs, they have gotten so chunky with rolls of baby fat. She’s in the 50th percentile for weight and it’s hard to believe that she was ever in the 5th percentile and not gaining weight!

Breastfeeding is quick and easy now, to the point where sometimes it only takes 10 minutes to feed Maple – a great thing when I need to run out the door! For the first few months it took so long that I wondered if it would ever become more efficient. The answer is YES!

The other big subject for many new(ish) moms is sleep! We’re happy that Maple often sleeps for 5-6 hours straight at night in her bassinet right next to our bed. (We transitioned her out of our bed around 4 months). Some nights she still wakes up every 2 hours to eat, which I can do half asleep, thanks to having her close by. On the really rough mornings I remind myself this won’t last forever.

I’m still trying to find the best way for balance as a working at home mom. I quit my day job, but I haven’t finished working for them yet. I’m trying to squeeze that work into my day, along with Janery work and my freelance writing. I try to get a good mix of playing with Maple, taking her for walks, household chores, and work (during nap time) into my day but sometimes, when Ryan gets home from work at 3, I wonder where on earth the day went.

Sapling sunglasses

For the real, meaty work, I have to wait for Ryan to get home, and then he takes over with Maple and I work before dinner and then again after Maple goes to sleep. I really hit my stride late at night when I’m sewing, but if I don’t get to bed by midnight, I pay the price the next morning.

We’re taking Maple on a beach weekend just before she hits 6 months. That will be quite an adventure, I’m sure!

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Roadside Find: A Mid-Century Wassily Chair Pair!

The other night I spied a Wassily style chair as I walked the dogs.  It was just like the one in Ryan’s office, except with different upholstery.

Ryan Office Wassily Chair

Ryan’s Wassily Chair

This chair was sitting in someone’s yard, not as part of landscaping, but more like it was destined for trash. Since it wasn’t on the curb, I wondered what was going on.

Last night I got answers!

Ryan and I were driving down our street as the homeowner carried an identical chair to the curb, setting it down next to his trash. Before I could finish squealing “stop the car!” Ryan had stopped on a dime, and I hopped out, asking the man if the chair was trash and we could have it.

He said yes.  Then he asked if we wanted a second one.

I almost died of excitement, but tried to remain cool. I didn’t want to seem like a grinning fool. Sure enough, the man carried over the chair from its spot in the yard.

We could only fit one of the chairs in the car easily, so I carried the other one home while Ryan drove. It was only a few blocks.Roadside Find Vintage Wassily Chairs

Once home, I inspected the chairs. The chrome tubing was in decent shape, nothing a little elbow grease won’t fix, but the canvas upholstered straps were gross from years of use.   Nothing a little reupholstery can’t fix!

The timing couldn’t be more perfect. I was looking for a pair of chairs for a room makeover Ryan and I have discussed, but I won’t spill the beans on that just yet!

What’s more exciting is that the chairs have old, worn labels on them, but I was able to make out some of the writing: “GAVINA Made in Italy”.

A little research led me to believe that these could be authentic Wassily chairs! They were manufactured by Gavina in the 1950’s and 1960’s until Knoll bought the brand in ’68. To find out more, I emailed my favorite vintage guru, Lance at Just L Modern Antiques and asked what he thought. I look forward to learning more.

Just Say No to Affiliate Links! My new advertising policy.

The Borrowed Abode is going ad-free and ditching affiliate links*.    I’ve only ever linked to products I use and love, but I’m getting rid of any affiliate linking to them because I’m tired of blog being overrun with affiliate links.

The Borrowed Abode Transparency Policy 2015

That’s the short version. Ready for the long one?

During my 6 years of blogging I’ve tried different revenue models, thinking it wouldn’t hurt to cover the costs of the site, and maybe have some money left over for projects.

I copied what I saw the bigger bloggers doing: sidebar ads, sponsored posts, paid guest posts, and affiliate links. Sidebar ads were a pain to manage, sponsored posts often felt awkward for me to write, and I quickly stopped accepting paid guest posts because they never felt authentic enough.

I always thought affiliate links were ok, though. I only included them when I mentioned products that I used and loved myself.

And I always made sure to disclose the advertising connection in accordance with the FTC guidelines.

Now, however, I feel like I can’t read a monetized blog without running into affiliate links and sponsorships. Affiliate links are taking over the blogosphere, often without proper disclosure, (ahem. . . RStyle links anyone?) and I’m just fed up. Remember the days when blogs were about sharing honest information on projects and inspiration?

There are some bloggers who I feel do a great job of balancing real, honest content with the occasional sponsored post or giveaway – Yellow Brick Home and iHeart Organizing, for example. But for the most part, the bigger design blogs are no longer in my RSS reader because I got tired of the many sponsored posts or the tons of affiliate links snuck in behind shortened URLs.

Over the next month we’ll be removing all affiliate links from old posts. I can’t remove sponsored posts, since part of the agreement is that they live for the life of the blog, but I won’t accept any more of them.


PS: You will see me promoting Janery products, but that’s because they’re my own!

*What are affiliate links? Most products you see linked to from blogs (especially any outfit or clothing) are linked using affiliate links. Let’s use Amazon to explain what this means. A blogger recommends a tool on Amazon, and links to it. You click the link to see more about it and you buy the product. The blogger gets a commission. OR, let’s say you click the link and don’t buy the product. But the next time you go to Amazon, you spend $800 on something else. Amazon remembers the last person whose affiliate link you clicked, and so that blogger gets a commission on your entire purchase – even if it has nothing to do with what they linked to.