Outdoor Throw Pillows From Throwaway Materials

My New Pillows!

My New Pillows!

Nearest the Front Door

Nearest the Front Door

It seems that it is on the verge of Summertime here in the South, and my plants are finally, finally feeling free after all of the crazy of our Winter (and Spring!) to give it their all, and are ratcheting up to full bloom.  In fact, the weather has been nice enough these last few weeks that I don’t mind stepping out into the flower beds, and pulling a few weeds here and there, keeping it all as lovely as someone so inexperienced in the garden possibly can.

Thank goodness it’s all stuff that pretty much does itself, I just have to keep those nasty tuberous violets out of the mix, and the rest is all on autopilot….  The garden is making me look like I know what I’m doing, and its all a lie, a lie, I tell you!  But yet, it is a lie that I continue to live, as it makes me and my home look good, and these are the fibs that I seem to be always willing to tell.  Whatever, it’s not like there is some rule that just because I wasn’t the original planter of these things, that I can’t upkeep and continue to enjoy them, right?  (I DID plant the creeping jenny and the hosta, so I guess I can take a wee bit o’ cred.)

In the last couple of months, we’ve cleaned out the greenhouse, purchased a mower, and gotten on a regular lawn schedule.  We’ve hacked out the dead cactus, and its rotting stump that it occupied in the front yard.  Overgrown bushes have been trimmed, and my few pieces of lawn decor have found more appropriate and visible homes.  It’s really impressive how just a little bit of work has brought us so far forward.  I’m not embarrassed by the front entry anymore– quite the opposite in fact, we’re on the fast track to actually being quite cute around here.

I guess the truth is, for the first time since we’ve moved in, we’re getting the chance to put a little thought to how pretty the outside of the house actually is.  It’s a nice feeling.  It automatically gives off a more welcoming vibe when you pull into the driveway or step out of the front door.  My friend ran to the door to pick me up the other day, and the two minutes she was standing there, she complimented me on three things.  Yay!  That is always a good sign!

I have this metal patio table and four chair set that I estimate is from the sixties?  We’ve moved it into the greenhouse, where we hope it gets a little more attention.  The set is very hefty and solid, and actually quite comfy as far as the shape goes.  Yes, they need some serious work by way of de-rusting by whatever horrible means, and some fresh, solid paint color, but they are still quite functional, and their new home keeps them out of direct weather.  I really do love them, and I’m happy my aunt gifted them to me, even if they are in current poor shape, we use them.  I’d genuinely like to use them more.

Greenhouse-- Lotsa Shabby, Little To No Chic

Greenhouse– Lotsa Shabby, Little To No Chic.  At Least It’s Clean?

After working myself into a sweaty lather to clean out the greenhouse the other day, it was looking better than it ever had.  (Dang, have ya’ll ever noticed how HOT it gets inside a greenhouse?  It’s like I have to re-learn this lesson every year!)  I started to put a lot of thought into what would make it a more inviting area.  You know, other than air conditioning.  I spent an afternoon rounding up every plastic and clay pot on the property, and then spent another afternoon scrubbing, and soon another afternoon will be spent painting those same pots.  Plants will help, but that’s not something I’m going to be able to do all at once.  I thought about it some more, and I decided to go my outdoor pinterest boards to look around.  That place is always rife for inspiration.

I poked around awhile, finding ideas about what plants to choose and the like…  I wasn’t seeing anything that compelled me, however.  Then I followed a pin to this post about making your own outdoor pillow inserts out of those crinkly old grocery bags, and there it was, inspiration.  I just HAD to give it a go!


I don’t know if ya’ll are already familiar with Diane’s work, but I was.  I had ventured over to her blog a few times before.  This woman is amazingly creative and innovative.  And even though her home’s style and mine are a little bit different, we draw many of our furnishings from similar sources (thrift stores and rummage sales, discount home stores), and I feel we work in a very parallel fashion in the way we like to alter and reinvent our prizes.  This specific idea is too brilliant for words!

Create something functional and pretty from something that is essentially annoying trash?!  Um, yes, please!  I knew I had a ton of grocery bags clotting up my pantry floor.  (What is *up* with those things?  I can never seem to contain them for very long!  It’s like they grow and expand out of whatever confines I try and put them in.  Hopefully NOT THIS TIME.)  I ended up reading through her tutorial, and just sort of winging it around her idea.  I never used a stapler, and my process for my cover is completely different, but I owe her for the overall idea, which is pure brilliance.  I am so excited by how great my finished product has come out!  I’m going to get another discount vinyl tablecloth and make a few more of an alternate pattern!

I mean, yeah, they are a little bit crinkly to lean back on that first time, but any friend that is going to avoid hanging out with you because your pillows sound a little bit like a milk leak in a rice krispie factory, isn’t a friend that deserves your delicious frozen peach margaritas.  I mean dang, they don’t have to have a big, fat comfy pillow out on the patio!

My "Pillow Form" and Making Its Cover

My “Pillow Form” and Making Its Cover

My basic process was to choose four grocery bags of the same shape and size, fill two of those bags with thirty flattened and arranged bags each, tying them shut just with their handles when they were ‘full’.  And then I slipped those two clumps, knots-together pillowcase-style into one remaining bag and then the other.  Sixty-four grocery style bags to make one pillow via this method, I had more than enough to do two!  Yeah!

For the covers, I had a scrap of vinyl tablecloth from left over another project– you know the ones, the cheapies with the fuzzy backing.  This is one of those *perfect projects* because I didn’t have enough of the vinyl that it could still function as a proper tablecloth, so it was a random bit of stuff to be hanging on to with the hopes that I would someday have a use for it.  I love it when my hoarding actually pays off.  Yay, it’s someday!

I had just enough that I could construct two cases if I just made simple pockets that folded over on themselves.  I had some excess velcro from another project of my past, and when I snipped it in half, it was alllllmost as long as one of my pillow’s sides.  So, I separated the velcro and stitched those strips on the opposite ends first, then folded on itself wrong-side out and stitched those two open sides closed.  This was all extremely fast and easy on my sewing machine, but it is not a whole lot of stitching, even if you only did them by hand.  Flip them right-side out, and shazam!  A new, durable, pretty pillow for outside!  Yayyy!  It is unbelievable how easy all of that really is!

Chair In the Greenhouse

Chair In the Greenhouse

They really do make for more comfortable seating, and I know they are going to weather reeeeally well.  They’re mostly plastic! Anything attractive enough that my husband notices them is GOOD.  He leaned back on them yesterday and said, “Hey, these are nice!  Are they the ones you made?!”

In fact, they’re so cute, they’re pushing me to think about how NICE that patio set would be if they were repainted….  dang, always so much to do….

Oh, and a special thanks to Miss Diane for posting her amazing ideas!


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