11-11-11 Hockey Bag Pillow

Happy 11-11-11 everyone!  This is an awesome day for many, many reasons.  I would like to start with thirdly, my Driftwood Christmas Tree post is being featured by Jamie at The DIY Home Sweet Home Project today.  WooHoo!  This feature business is F-U-N, fun!

Secondly, the wonderful number 11 has been my favorite number for as long as I can remember.  To have a whole day dedicated to the number is quite cool in my little opinion. AND mostest importantly, today is A-W-E-S-O-M-E (spelled out like a cheerleader hopping around with pom poms) because today is my dad’s 65th birthday.  Happy Birthday Dad!!! For your birthday I got you a blog post.  😉  Well, I actually made you a pillow, hope you like it.

Unfortunately, (to some, but probably not my dad) the down side of being a beginner blogger is that I don’t have any before pictures.  Frown.  I actually cut this material out of a big ol’ hockey bag.  When my mom came to visit us in February (Yes, I’ve had the bag hanging around for over 8 months and didn’t snap 1 pic, sorry!) we ordered just a few small things (read: too many large, awkwardly shaped things).  We had these things shipped to her house to bring down with her.  Darn those international shipping charges! It may or may not have been the new weed wacker that sent her looking for a bag big enough for all our loot.  😉  But, my dad has played ice hockey his whole life and he happened to have the perfect bag on hand. It was big enough for everything, small enough that the airline didn’t consider it oversized and he didn’t need it back.  Thanks Dad! It was actually my handy, crafty mother who gave me the idea to make something out of it.  Thanks Mom!  8 months later (just weeks before blogging, dang it) I went ahead and cut the bag.

No, of course I didn’t make the pillow then.  I often work under the philosphy that if I start the project I will feel more pressure inspired to finish.  My husband claims that the chair I’ve been meaning to reupholster for the past, oh, has it been 8 years now (holy crap that’s terrible, don’t remind him how long, he’s terrible with dates!) is proof that this train of thought is flawed.  Whatever!  After I found the chair put out for the garbage by one of our neighbors in Indianapolis (Yep, definitely at least 8 years ago, and 2 moves. Crap!) I promplty un-upholstered the chair in an effort to get me jump started on the re-upholstery project.  Then…it…sat…and sat…and sat.  😦 I have the material, I painted the structure of the chair, I know, I have no excuses.  I actually stapled on the fabric for the seat and front of the back of the chair for him for his birthday this year.  Quite the giver I am.  😉 This also means that this finely un-upholstered, unusable, currently unappealing chair made it on my essentials list when deciding what to bring to this little island.  It made sense in my little mind at the time.  🙂

Anyway, onto projects that are getting done.  🙂  I didn’t do any pre-measuring when I cut the hockey bag to start making the pillow.  I just cut bigger than I knew I would want the pillow.  I’m such a thinker.  😉  Then I measured 4 inches up and down from the lettering and 4 inches out to the side from the outside of the red stripe.
I figured if I did this the same way for both sides they would end up the same size, and it worked.  Phew!  And, for all you wondering “Why wouldn’t she just cut them at the same time to make sure they end up the same size?  Duh!  The answer is that the material is really thick and rubberized on the back side so I couldn’t cut the two sides at the same time.  The answer is NOT that I didn’t think of that, luckily for my ego.  🙂

There were a few spots on the material that needed mending so I just hand stitched them from the back side.  Is it normal that my right index finger was bleeding after this step? (Didn’t think so!)
Then came the real sewing.  Now, I do NOT fancy myself a sewer lady.  I have a sewing machine, and it made the list of essentials when we moved down here, but that’s all the commitment I offer to the trade.  Sounds similar to the commitment I offer the chair.  😉 I took an upholstery class maybe 5 years ago, you know, to learn how to reupholster the chair.  Wow, I’m beginning to feel really bad about that stinkin’ chair.  Sorry Joel!

I learned a few new things in the upholstery class.  But, shortly after the class I thought I was going to be awesome and took home a small pillow of a friend of mine that had been destroyed by one of her dogs, thinking I was going to make it better than new and surprise her with this awesome resurrected pillow.  It turns out, I had forgotten that you can’t start sewing something with corners ON the corner or you won’t be able to hand sew the last corner to look like the other corners that had been turned quite nicely with the sewing machine and the hand sewn corner will be all wonky.  😦  Make sense?  I gave the wonky pillow to my friend anyway, and she accepted it with a smile.  Come to think of it, I don’t remember seeing it the house again after that.  Remember that Jeni???  I totally should redo it for you.

Anyway, that lesson has clearly stuck with me since then.  So I lined up my sides for the pillow inside out and pinned around the red stripes since I wanted to make sure they lined up:
Then I started sewing near the middle of the bottom (heading toward the closer corner), sewed all the way around and left about a 3 inch opening to stuff.  This is a picture of the opening and my mad sewing skilz.  You’re supposed to go forward-backward-forward when you get started, right?

Now, get your hand up in that opening and pull the pillow right side out.  You may need to use something to help finagle the corners out as much as possible.  I used a stick, anything that same shape (pen, pencil, butter knife, etc) would work.  Focused pillow, blurry stick:
This is what she looked like ready to be stuffed.  Does that caption conjure up visions of yourself at a Chinese Buffet ready to be stuffed, or is it just me?
Then, I cut open a pillow I already had (8 bed pillows made the move to Curacao.  Have I mentioned we have a 1 bedroom?  Geesh!) I stuffed to the density I wanted. TIP!!! Pulling apart the batting in small bunches (smaller than in the pic below) helps prevent a lumpy feeling in the new pillow.

You can see the opening for hand sewing near the center of the bottom of the picture above. Now, let the hand sewing begin.  I would like to be able to say here that I used a whip stitch, or a loop stitch, or give any kind of helpful detail.  But honestly, all I know for sure about this step is that there was a needle and there was thread and after about a glass of wine and half an episode of Survivor the opening was shut. And my fingers hurt and there may have been just a teensy bit more blood.  All I want for Christmas is a thimble!

Yep, that’s a sneak peak of the infamous chair, and some totally awesome rental house tile.  Don’t be jealous, we have that tile in most of the house – including the bathroom walls.  Nice!

I may or may not have fallen out of love with the chair fabric at this point.  Is that justification enough to continue to hold off on that project?

I didn’t think until after I had cut the material that I could make one of the envelope closure pillows described so well by Ashley at Domestic Imperfection here, but I felt confident that my dad was NEVER going to wish he had the ability to take the cover off to wash it.  Trust me on this, we’re good with no way to wash it but spot cleaning that will only get done when I visit.  🙂

I LOVE how it turned out.  I love the weathered, textured feel and look of it.  I love that it once was something else that was useful to my dad and now will be something meaningful.  I love that I didn’t totally screw it up.  And I love that it was absolutely FREE and at the same time very thoughtful.  🙂

AND I love that it’s 11-11-11 and I love my father!  I know he will love it because I can do no wrong in his eyes made it special for him from something that already had meaning to him.  Love you dad!  Happy Birthday!!!  XO

So, what do you think?  What have you re-purposed from one thing into something totally different?

Just for fun…remembering picking up that chair from our neighbors in Indy got me thinking about our very first house.  I wonder how she’s doing today?  (Yes, I view everything without a gender in the world as a female.)

 Please check out here, here and here to see where I will be sharing this post around the blog world.

Leave a comment


  1. Deanna

     /  November 11, 2011

    This one really made me chuckle. Great idea! You’re slowly beginning to inspire me. Perhaps today I will look for my sewing machine 🙂 ox Happy Birthday Uncle Gene!

  2. Would luv for my readers to see this awesome idea, will you please join our weekly party at
    have a great crafting weekend!

  3. Love the pillow! What a great way to use an ‘old’ bag. I have several bags that I would love to use this way. I never seem to use them as bags, LOL! Thanks for linking up with FiF, and for adding our button to your party list.
    ~Kimberlee, The Spunky Diva

  4. I’ve never seen your first house! Awww!! Miss you and tell your dad happy birthday from me!

  5. What a fantastic idea! Definitely going to have to steal this one!

    Jessica @ Mom 4 Real

  6. That is fantastic! Great job!
    Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie this week! I can’t wait to see what you have for next week!

  7. It looks great. Thank you for sharing my button.
    P.S. I have another giveaway going on right now. Would love you to stop by and check it out.

  8. Very cool idea!
    Thanks for sharing at Show & Share!

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