Saturday, March 03, 2012

My Quest for the Perfect Pillow

When we moved into our house 6+ years ago we went from one living area to two and it became necessary to buy a set of family room furniture. Having just had our second baby we opted for the indestructible brown leather couch and arm chair that, as we suspected would be necessary, were capable of surviving throw up, pee (both baby and dog), marker, smashed snack foods and who knows what else. The only problem with this miracle furniture was the new need for throw pillows. The fabulous pre-baby cream, chenille and leather couches in the living room came with their own so this had never been a consideration before. We started the quest at Costco. Not really on purpose but on a shopping expedition we came across inexpensive micro fiber pillows in a pleasing pallet so they made their way home with us. They were ok. Just ok. They were stiff - polly filled - and did not have removable covers which, with toddlers, is not adequate. Sometimes those things just need to be washed. Shortly after, on a trip to Ikea, I came across nice feather filled pillows with removable corduroy covers. It came to my attention, abruptly, that these new pillows were not down filled but contained the feathers of some other sort of barn yard fowl which didn’t like to stay in the pillow. They shed feathers like crazy making our family room look like a chicken coupe. I attempted to fix this problem by sewing an extra cover over the pillow insert which really just prolonged the inevitable. The now double walled insterts only held the escape feathers for a short time before they found their way out again. So I could wash the removable covers but couldn’t keep the essence of the pillow in the pillow. Our pillow issue became somewhat of a topic of discussion and a family joke. We bought a dog that didn’t shed but couldn’t keep our pillows from shedding. The next Christmas my mom joined the fun and bought us fabulous big pillows with zippered French linen covers. They were polly filled, once again (I think everyone was a little down-shy at this point) and really rather stiff. We used them for over a year trying to mould and shape them to fit comfortably behind the back or under the head on the couch. To no avail. These are some seriously good quality pillows that do not do that annoying poly pillow thing where all the stuffing comes apart, separates and ends up making the pillows look like they have cellulite. This 6 year process made me realize that I had to take matters into my own hands if I was ever to have comfortable, washable and aesthetically pleasing pillows. My friend Megan began "Operation: Pillow" by finding actual down filled pillow inserts for me at a ridiculously affordable price. Next, I busted out the sewing machine - after many, many years - and whipped up some linen and African print pillow covers. As optimistic as I wanted to be they hadn’t stood the Elvin Nina Pillow Squish Test yet. He has a way of contorting and manipulating the best pillows into submission which often times forces them into early retirement. But now, 2 weeks in I can say we may have solved the great pillow mystery - finding the perfect pillow has been neither easy nor cheap but somehow in the long run it’s been worth it. It makes a great story and creates in us a deep appreciation for how far we have come. In addition to all of that it’s gotten me back to the sewing machine. Stay tuned because I have another nail biting pillow idea in the works!

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