I don’t know about you, but I love to change the decor in my house depending on the season. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s really pretty simple. One of the easiest ways to change the look of a room is by changing the throw pillows on the couch. Making seasonal throw pillow covers can be really easy and really cheap!
One of the cheapest ways to find fantastic fabric to make some pillow covers is by looking for napkins and tablecloths at discount stores. For my pillow covers, I found some cheap, large tablecloths at HomeGoods.
Once I got my finds home, I gathered the supplies I’d need to make the covers. I used my cutting mat, quilter’s ruler, a rotary cutter, thread, scissors and pins. And of course, my sewing machine.
The first step is to cut your fabric. Remember, you want to cut your fabric to leave room for seam allowance. My pillow form for this project is 18X18, so to make a cover for this form I cut my fabric as follows:
(1) 20X20 panel
(2) 20X12 panels
The next step is to sew a one inch seam on one of the long sides of each of the 20X12 panels.
Next, lay your 20X20 panel right side up. Then take one of your 20X12 panels and line up the un-sewn long side with the top of the 20X20 panel, right side facing down.
Now take the other 20X12 panel and line up the un-sewn long side with the bottom of the 20X20 panel, right side facing down. The sewn sides of the 20X12 panels should overlap by about two inches.
Pin the raw sides of the panels together. Now sew around the entire perimeter of the pinned panels one inch from the raw edges. After your pillow form is sewn, cut the corners as shown:
Finally, turn your finished cover right side out, poke out the corners with your finger, and stuff in your form! Voila! You just made a cheap and easy pillow cover!
Now just repeat all the steps for as many pillows as you have and go crazy making pillow covers!
I recently had the opportunity to spend most of a weekend at La Torretta Lake Resort in Montgomery with a group of wonderful women I adore. As a homeschooling mother of six, I can’t tell you how excited I was to get away! We checked in at noon on Friday, and driving in, I was thoroughly impressed at the beauty of the grounds. There is an expansive golf course, multiple water features, beautiful landscaping, and of course, a front row view of Lake Conroe. La Torretta is geared toward groups, with several options for activities as well as conference rooms and ball rooms to accommodate events. We happened to be sharing the resort with the coaches and players from Ole Miss, preparing for their game against Texas A&M Sunday. We did as any good Texans should and terrorized them (playfully, of course) for the duration of our stay, and their coaches were actually very good sports and played along! Our group reserved several of the cabins, which sleep 4 to 8 and are large, modern suites. The cabins are a bit far from the main buildings, so we called for an SUV shuttle to take us to the aqua park. The aqua park boasts a lazy river, both an infinity and a Mediterranean pool, as well as two water parks for children of different ages. There is a full service outdoor bar and plenty of chairs for lounging. While I soaked in the sun, some of our group headed over to the spa. The general consensus among them was that, after the booking issues were resolved (more on that later), it was quite amenable and relaxing, if a little overpriced.
Me at the pool!
For dining, there are several restaurants within the compound, with options including sushi, upscale lakeside dining, an outdoor grill, a casual coffee shop and a buffet style restaurant. The latter, Restaurant 157, is where we ate for the duration of our stay. The food was absolutely delicious, and there were many options to choose from. For lunch, I ate a green salad and pistachio crusted salmon with braised haricot vert and a shameful amount of cheesecake for dessert. (Don’t you judge me- I AM still breastfeeding, AND I didn’t have to cook it. So there!) However, I must say I was thoroughly disappointed by the service. I am generally extremely forgiving of waitstaff, having spent six years of my youth serving and bar-tending in a variety of establishments from casual to fine dining, but for a resort of this caliber, I expected the staff to be at least somewhat attentive. The dining area was only at about 25% capacity, and there seemed to be an abundance of servers. So it was a bit frustrating that it took 20 minutes to receive my drink, and due to a language barrier, it was the wrong one. Twice. It seemed as if none of the servers spoke English and for the most part, were completely uninterested in attending to the guests. Unfortunately, it was the same at every meal.
Service aside, La Torretta has quite a bit of entertainment options including a piano bar, a younger crowd-oriented bar called Energie which featured karaoke on Friday night, a miniature golf course, and courts for volleyball and tennis. There is a fitness center with both Yoga and general fitness classes. For families, the resort has a children’s camp and youth center with games, crafts and classes to keep the kids busy while Mom and Dad relax.
Overall, my impression of La Torretta Lake Resort was mostly favorable. There is no shortage of activities or luxury. However, when I go on vacation (which in my family is very rare- this was my first overnight trip without my children in many years), it is a great disappointment when the service is not up to par with the ambiance. When you pay for a stay in a luxury resort, you expect to be treated as a valued guest. Having a fine meal with the service quality of a fast food restaurant or trying relax with a housekeeper almost running you down with a towel cart, is just not the same as when the service is exceptional. Our reservations were made months in advance, yet there were significant problems when we arrived to check in. Apparently, the representative our group had coordinated with was nowhere to be found, and they were not ready or simply unaware of our itinerary and planned accommodations for several hours, which took time away from our retreat. The front desk staff were cold and made no effort toward hospitality, and several members of our group witnessed various displays of unprofessional behavior by hotel employees over the course of our stay. Also, we were told that a number of spa appointments would be reserved for our group, but upon arrival, we were told that the spa was completely booked. They did open a few spots eventually, but I found that to be just one more example of low quality service. Reading the reviews on LaTorretta’s facebook page have confirmed what I feared- this was not an isolated incident. Altogether, it would seem that such a beautiful resort would have a higher level of general hospitality, making guests feel welcomed, relaxed and most importantly, valued. Four star prices should be paired with four star service. That being said, I would be willing to visit La Torretta again simply for its beauty and variety of both cuisine and entertainment offerings, provided the aforementioned shortcomings were corrected.