The Neutral Pillow Project

Whether you lean towards Scandinavian-inspired, Modern Farmhouse, or California Casual, everything light, white, and wood is in right now – and I love it!

While I’m always excited to incorporate new looks into my home, it takes some creativity to do this – we’ve had most of our major furniture pieces for a decade or more.

One strategy that’s easy on the budget and environment is to change out accessories like pillows. Here are some light and bright ideas that you can use to give your room a new look!

Admittedly, my “things I have in the house already” is rather extensive, but I’m still proud that I managed to make all these pillows with them.

Here are the links to a tutorial on making simple throw pillows and tutorials for the window seat pillows, including bolster and flanged pillows.

Starting with: Ribbon-embellished geometric pillows:

  • I started by sewing lengths of ivory ribbon onto a linen-like fabric in diagonal stripes
  • I then cut out panels to create a chevron or herringbone pattern for two bolster pillows to add a neutral accent to my teal armchairs
  • With the leftover sections of ribbon-embellished fabric, I created one more throw pillow for our living room loveseat

Mudcloth-inspired contrast stitching:

Neutral doesn’t have to mean boring! I took some plain canvas fabric I had and, inspired by the oh-so-popular mudcloth trend, cut it into panels and sewed it together with contrasting navy thread:

There are a million more ideas for sewing simple pillows to change the look of your space – and when I try them all, you’ll see it here!


Quick and Cozy Fleece Blankets

Here’s the thing about the fog in San Francisco: you have to believe it is mystical and beautiful, or else you would just become horribly depressed. See that giant “cloud” at the base of Sutro Tower? Yes, that is fog. Brrrrrr.

Fog at the base of Sutro Tower, San Francisco.  Jewels at Home.

So, when we started planning an outdoor movie night for our oldest’s birthday party, I was a bit nervous, since the evenings are often chilly where we live. I decided to make fleece blankets for the boys to use during the movie, thinking they would also be great party favors. I mentioned in the post on alternative birthday gifts and favors that I like to give one or two larger items that can get some long-term use, rather than a lot of small disposable items.

There are a lot of ideas for fleece blanket projects out there. I was looking for something that would be substantial, easy to make, and still look great. That’s a tall order, and I was very happy to find this tutorial for an “Easy Peasy Fleece Blanket” from Polka Dot Chair. I made a few small changes when I did ours, and now everyone can stay toasty warm during our movie!


  • fleece – 1.5 yards of two fabrics (front and back) for each blanket. I found some fleece on sale or as remnants at the local fabric store and bought the rest from They had the best price I could find, when you take into account shipping costs and clearance items.
  • scrap fleece or felt for monogram letters
  • Heat’n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive
  • Computer and printer for making letter templates

Applique letters

I can do appliques in my sleep after all the recent appliqued clothes I’ve made for the kids! I decided to do first and last initials for our monograms, since we had a few kids at the party with the same first initial. I printed the initials in Century Schoolbook font in 430 pt bold. I then traced them in reverse onto the Heat ‘n Bond. I held them up to a window to trace.

Monogrammed cozy fleece blankets from Jewels at Home.

Print out the letter templates and trace them in reverse onto the Heat ‘n Bond.

I ironed the Heat ‘n Bond onto the fleece, cut out the letters, and ironed the letters on to one side the blankets, using a press cloth. Because the fabric is so thick, it helped to iron again from the back, to get the letters completely fused to the blanket fabric.

I wanted to apply the letters before sewing the blankets, so the stitching would not show through on the other side of the blanket. I had trimmed the fleece for each blanket already, so I knew the finished size. I then used rulers to mark off 5″ from each edge (3.5″ for the fringe and 1.5″ for spacing) and placed my letters in the corner (first picture below). I then sewed around each letter to secure it (second picture below).

Monogrammed cozy fleece blankets from Jewels at Home.

Iron your monogram in place in the corner. I measured 5″ from each edge, to allow for the fringe and some extra space.

Monogrammed cozy fleece blankets from Jewels at Home.

Sew around each letter to secure it to the blanket.


  • After choosing the fabric combinations, I laid out the top and bottom of each blanket and trimmed off the selvage and any other uneven areas. (top left picture below)
  • I then sewed the letters on one side of each blanket, as described above.
  • I pinned the two sides together (top right picture below).
  • Then, I sewed the sides together, with the seam 3.5″ from the edge. I found the easiest way to do this was to mark a 3.5″ seam allowance on the sewing machine using painter’s tape. (bottom left picture below)
Monogrammed cozy fleece blankets from Jewels at Home.

Lay out your fabrics, wrong sides together. Pin and trim. Sew with a 3.5″ seam allowance.

When I was done sewing, I cut strips about 1.25″ wide all around the blanket to make the fringe, stopping 0.5″ from the stitched line.

Here are the finished blankets. I love how each one is unique. The younger boys had fun prints on their blankets, and the older boys had solid fabrics or the graphic stars.

Monogrammed cozy fleece blankets from Jewels at Home.

So many ways to vary this simple fleece blanket design!

My younger boys were clamoring for me to finish their blankets, so they could use them right away!

Monogrammed cozy fleece blankets from Jewels at Home.

I like how Baby J’s firefighter blanket fits in with the rest of his nursery.

Colorful nursery from Jewels at Home.

Cozy fleece blanket tutorial from Jewels at Home.

And here they are one more time: cozy fleece blankets all ready for movie night! If I remember, I’ll take some pictures of the boys bundled up for the show.

Monogrammed cozy fleece blanket from Jewels at Home.

Yay! I wish I had the energy and fabric to make one of these for myself. I think I will have to wear a parka when we watch the movie…