Easy Throw Pillows

Though out the past year, my husband and I have been working hard to make our house feel like a home. This translates into hours of wallpaper pulling and plaster repair, as well as painting, flooring and general house up keep. We have started filling rooms with plants and our photo, as well as thought carefully about how to make the best use out of every room.

One thing that has come of this is the slow creation of built in furniture (he made me a countertop bar for crafting and other activities) and upcycling thrifted finds to add personal touches. My most recent project was to create throw pillows for a guest room we converted into a quiet room, they add a beautiful pop of color and allowed me to practice working with invisible zippers (spoiler alert: I still suck at them).

Multi colored striped throw pillow

Supplies to make ONE pillow:

  • 22×22 Pillow insert
  • 20in invisible zipper
  • 1/2 yard of of fabric or 2 fat quarters
  • Sewing machine (recommended)

Instructions:

  1. Cut the fabric into 2 20×20 squares
  2. Attach the invisible zipper to both pieces of fabric, leave the zipper slightly unzipped
  3. Sew the remaining three sides right sides together
  4. Turn the pillow case inside out
  5. Stuff the pillow case with the pillow insert
  6. Enjoy!

Trying something new: homemade fig bars

Between the general goal of trying new things, a desire to suck up to the poet in my life, and withdrawal symptoms from a lack of new Great British Baking Show episodes beginning to show, I found myself perusing Pinterest in search of a homemade fig bar that wouldn’t take hours of prep and millions of ingredients.

Enter Alida’s kitchen, or more specifically the blog that I found the recipe of choice on. Alida’s recipe, known as Oatmeal Fig Bars, is seven steps (check) and everything on her ingredients list, minus the dried figs, was already located in my cupboard (check). Skimming the recipe, the only piece of equipment I didn’t own was a food processor. Having a friend I could borrow one from, this satisfies another checkbox for me: no crazy equipment that I need to purchase for one bake.

Sliced dried figs cooking on the stove top.The best part of this bake? Each part was delicious on their own. I can see myself using the fig filling as a jam or as something to add to brownies. Or using the oatmeal base to create other types of cookie bars.

I can’t get over how easy it was to make the fig filling, which was the part of the fig bars that in my mind would be the most difficult part:

  1. In a small saucepan, put figs, water, lemon juice, and zest, and bring to a boil. Simmer until mixture starts to thicken (about 3 minutes). Let cool for about 5 minutes.
  2. Put filling in food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.

That was it. Two steps, totaling less than ten minutes. Ten minutes meant the kitchen smelt so good my dog didn’t want to wander too far from it. Another five minutes to make the dough and 25 minutes until they were sitting on the counter waiting to be eaten.

Close up of homemade oatmeal fig bar before being cut.Some general notes on the recipe that it may be helpful to be aware of:

  • The dough is very dry — that’s ok! Do NOT add water. I made this mistake, it made the dough sticky and hard to spread. It also meant my bars needed a little more time in the oven and never goldened.
  • There is not enough dough to have a top and bottom layer. Alida says as much in her recipe, the top of her bars have the dough “crumbled” on top. I would consider doubling the dough recipe in order to have two complete layers
  • The figs are delicious — but that step would be a fun place to add additional fruits.
  • For a fig bar lover, the 35 minutes this process took was too long. I thought it was very reasonable.