Friday, January 12, 2024

• How To Make Your Own Down Bed Pillow •

A few years back, my husband had the idea to buy some bulk down so I could make some pillows, vests, and a comforter.  When I went to make the pillows, upon looking for tips and tricks for how to do so, I found there is virtually no information or tips about it online.  So I decided to write up a blog post about it for anyone else who might want to make their own as well! 

It only takes a short time to whip these up - I seem to recall getting all four pillows stuffed and sewn shut while my daughter was taking an afternoon nap.

You will need:

- Down proof ticking.  I purchased mine here on Etsy.  This is not the standard striped ticking that comes to mind when you think of pillow ticking, this is a thicker fabric that is specifically woven to keep all those feathers inside! This particular fabric is very nice, heavyweight but feels great and would even work well to make throw pillows.  

- Bulk down!  We purchased ours here on Amazon, in the 80/20 blend.  For one pillow, you will need 2 pounds of down. (See more about the weight later on in the tutorial)

- Thread, and a sewing machine

- A large bowl

- Scale

- Pins

- Lint roller (to get those pesky stray feathers)

To begin, cut your ticking into a long rectangle, 57.5” x 21” (for a standard size bed pillow).  

Fold the fabric in half, lengthwise, matching up the edges.

On the short end (where we will leave the opening), fold the edges of the fabric over to the outside 1/2" like this, and pin:

Sew the two long edges shut, using a 1/2" seam and a very short stitch length (I would recommend about half of your typical stitch length, as we don't want the feathers to escape!). 

Next, feed the pillowcase onto your ironing board, and first press the side seams flat.  

Then, press the opening raw edge over 1/2" to line up with those edges that you sewed!

Now, we are ready to fill the pillow!  For this step, I highly recommend setting up outdoors if possible, as the feathers do like to fly.  I set up a little table on our front porch (in town, yep!  All the neighbors already know I'm weird...) and stuffed them before bringing them in to sew shut.

First, tare your scale for the weight of the bowl + your pillowcase.

To begin filling the pillow, I stuck the pillowcase down into the box and tried to fill it as carefully as possible, because if you take a handful of feathers out in the air, it will make quite the mess.

Grab handfuls of the fluffy down, and begin stuffing away!  It doesn't take too long, but it definitely will take more feathers than you initially think to fill the pillow.

Once you think you have enough, throw it on the scale and check!  I used 2 pounds of down for our well-stuffed pillows, and I believe about 26 ozs for slightly less robust ones.

Once you have sufficiently filled the pillow, pin it shut carefully, making sure to line up those pressed edges.  

Sew across the entire opening, using the very small stitch length, and backstitching at the ends!  You may also wish to sew the entire seam a second time to reinforce it. 

It can be a bit of a wrestle to fit it under your machine, but it is very doable.

Once you've finished sewing, you may remove the pins, give it a once-over with the lint roller, and you're ready to go!  

You may experience a bit of feather loss over time - not that your pillow necessarily feels smaller, but you may just get an occasional poke in the neck from those pesky quills.  One thing I can recommend to alleviate that is a pillow protector like this one.  I have also just doubled up on pillow cases, and it seems to work quite well. 

We have been using our pillows for about a year and a half now, and love them as much as (or more than!) the very first day.

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and found it to be helpful!  Let me know in the comments if you've ever made a down pillow before!

Have a great weekend, friends!!

♥ Esther

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Tuesday, January 9, 2024

• Coming Back To The Blog •

 Greetings, after such a long time!!  If you’re still around and reading this, let me start off with saying “thank you!”  It’s been a long time, between the whirlwind of marriage, having kids, and running a home.  The shifts in the online community have greatly affected my dedication to this space as well, where it feels like blogging is a thing of the past, falling in the shadow of the constant blur that is social media.  But my husband and I are implementing some changes in our home around less screen time (to prevent the constant display of less-than-wholesome content in our kids’ faces), and with that I will be stepping away from Instagram very soon, and stepping back into more blogging again!

In September of 2022, I reopened my vintage Etsy shop, Northern Shore Vintage, with the original intention of selling handmade antique quilt coats, antique quilts, and vintage clothing.  That soon morphed into selling a broader range of antique home decor and the like, and I was excited and motivated to build my Instagram following and have a successful Instagram business and Etsy shop.  All of that was, and still is, a great thing to aspire to, however the realities of raising children (of any age, but especially these first years) make it impossible to devote the level of time necessary to grow my Instagram business in a successful manner.  I love the idea of having my little business, but I also love my children, my husband, and my home, and I cannot and will not sacrifice being present with and invested in them to grow a business, which falls outside of my true calling - that of a wife and mama.  

All that being said, I have no plans to stop selling antiques, making quilt coats, vests, etc, but by stepping away from Instagram, it will remove that constant pressure of "I really should be making a reel right now," or knowing in the back of my mind that it’s been sooo many days since I last posted.  I don’t need or want that type of pressure in my life!  I’ll continue to source lovely antique finds that make me happy, list them on Etsy where I find the time or inclination, and thereby serve both my little hobby that I love, as well as my family that I’m so beyond blessed to have!!  

Another huge reason I found to step away from Instagram entirely, is the way that it breeds constant comparison, dissatisfaction, and “lust” (as in the desire of products/items/neat things that you do not need, but now want because you’ve seen them!).  And can we talk about the waste of time and productivity?  I know it will be a huge adjustment, but I’m so ready to make this move and be more present with my babies, have more time for the needed housework, as well as sewing and crafting - the hobbies that I’ve always loved.  

So!  If you’ve made it through all of that, once again I am thankful!!  :)  I hope each one of you is well, and that the new year has you excited for the ways in which you can better yourself, your home, and your environment!  New Years’ resolutions are not my jam, but I am excited to embrace life changes that will positively impact our family for years to come.

Another change we’ve recently implemented was to move to low-tox products in our home.  We struggled with sickness for months this fall and early winter, and between that and hormonal issues ever since having our second, I was at my wits' end to find a solution.  I always resisted the idea of “going low-tox” in the past; I enjoy a natural remedy, I enjoy gardening a bit, but in my heart I really just want to microwave some mac ‘n’ cheese, light a candle, and eat Oreos.  I have no desire to be a homesteader, a low-tox mama, or any of those stereotypes!!  That being said, once I started to really look into some specific products (I had recently started using a wax burner with scented wax melts every single day, something I’d never done before, and was having new and relentless symptoms), I couldn’t ignore the facts about how truly, literally toxic these products are!  So we’ve switched the majority of our products in our home to better choices, and without much more cost than the previous toxic products that we were accustomed to using. 

I’m still using bleach when washing my towels, and as needed for other things around the house (quite infrequent for the latter application), toilet cleaner, and ammonia for the occasional super-deep cleaning of the bathroom and washing floors.  But we’ve switched out shampoos, soaps, lotions, hair products, cleaners, and laundry products and with good results! 

If anyone is interested, here are the low-tox items we’ve started using.  Click the photo to view each item on Amazon.  (These are affiliate links, and I receive a very small compensation if a purchase is made using them)

Laundry soap:                            

Dish soap:

Shampoo/body wash (for the whole family!): 


Toothpaste (adults):

Toothpaste (training):

Hair pomade (guys):

Lip balm:

Baby lotion:

Clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils to make this DIY Thieves Cleaner

This Castile soap concentrate to make foaming hand soap (simply dilute approximately 6 parts water to 1 part Castile soap in a foaming soap dispenser such as these)

I’m still on the hunt for low-tox makeup (something that provides decent coverage without clogging pores or breaking the bank!), and a few other products like face cream and hairspray.  But we have already seen huge improvements in our health and the look/feel of our skin, just since making the switch a short time ago.  So if you’re on the fence about whether to switch or not, I would highly encourage you to give it a try!  Start small, and start with products that have the biggest impact (such as lotion, dish soap, laundry products that are on your skin or breathed in frequently).  

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions, and let me know also what you’ve been up to!  I’ve missed you all, and look forward to coming back to this platform and the simple, slow, much more enjoyable environment that it provides!  

Have a blessed week!  ❤️ 


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Thursday, November 30, 2023

• Just Popping In… •

 Hello, friends!  I just wanted to pop in and say hello, after far too long!  I hope you all are well, and enjoying the start of the Christmas season.  

I wanted to let you know that my Etsy shop, Northern Shore Vintage is 15% off, through midnight tonight!  I’ve recently added several new items, including quilt sweatshirts (so cozy!), a new quilt vest, and more.  Do check it out, and let me know what you think!  

Thank you, as always, for following along!  I would like to get back to blogging a bit more often in the future, but until then, you can follow me on Instagram here.

Merry Christmas, friends!  ❤️

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Friday, October 28, 2022

• An Etsy Update •

 Hello there folks!!  It’s been quite a long time, as usual!  I hope you are all well and enjoying the beautiful fall season that has arrived.  

I wanted to give a little update on my Etsy shop - Northern Shore Vintage, specifically.  My husband and I have reopened the shop and are busy stocking it with vintage clothing, home goods, and best of all, quilt coats! I recently started making quilt coats out of well loved antique quilts (1940s and earlier), and am happy to be able to share them with you!  Check out the shop and let me know what you think!  

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