Thursday, December 21, 2017

I love making Christmas presents for the family!  Last year it was placemats and potholders and this year it's pillows!

I had the opportunity to take a quilting class with Katie in October and really liked the pillow forms that she was using ... she shared that she buys them at Garnet Hill.  Waiting patiently, I was able to pick them up some of the 18" x 18" down-filled pillows on sale for $13.50 each (25% off their list price of $18). 

She also introduced me to the beauty of Essex Linen ... which by-the-way ... I LOVE!!!  And set out to design some pillow covers that didn't look "home made".

The first pillow was light on quilting but had some geometric chops (my favorite!). 

Then, delighted to find a zipper tutorial that has to be the easiest zipper install EVER ... the backs of the pillows got a little visual punch with a contrasting strip that covers the zipper.

I then created a few different neutral versions with just enough quilting to give them a finished look, but not too much to make it look to crafty.

But then ... I got another idea ... why not make some additional pillow covers?

Holiday Pillow Covers Front

Settling on the holiday theme (they are Christmas presents after all) Rudolph (with his red nose) and Christmas Trees seemed appropriate.  I was able to pick up a reindeer silhouette on Etsy for $2.35 that I printed out at 140% to create the template for the cut out for the pillows. The Christmas tree was inspired by this Instagram post.  The backs were made with the same zipper tutorial as the fronts.

Holiday Pillow Covers Back
I shipped the pillows to their recipients with the Holiday covers on them ... and then in a separate package that will go under the tree, I included the folded up covers that they will be able to use the other 11 months out of the year.

In addition to using high-quality down pillow inserts that are super comfortable, I am really happy with the decor pillow covers!

The elf shop is closed for the season and I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!

All the best

Blue Offset Diamond Baby Quilt

Friday, December 15, 2017

I just received a commission order from a friend for her new niece and nephew ... twins!

We spent a little time with my Kona color chart and she came up with the following palette ... the blues on the left are for the little boy and the lavenders on the right for the her niece ... she wants to have a pop of Sprout green in each.

I am still thinking through design plans for hers ... but have started on his.  I sketched out the what I want for his.  Wider strips of blues with narrower strips of white in an offset diamond pattern comprised of HSTs.

It's a variation on the a baby quilt I made several years ago for a friend. 

Today I got all 252 squares up on the design wall.

I used different white neutrals in the rows of white instead of a solid color.  I did this on my Rainbow of Color quilt earlier this year and felt it really calmed the pattern down.  I loved how it softened the rows.  I didn't understand why I liked it ... but then someone explained that it was because it added texture ... which it definitely did.

Hope to get it pulled together this weekend and finish designing the second quilt.

Whilst I've been busy with holiday presents and these commissions, John was equally busy in the house with his latest Ikea hack from Billy bookcases.  We learned our lesson last year on our first  book case hack (see our do's and don'ts here) and he used primer on all the surfaces before paining it to match our woodwork and a contrast color on the back panel.  It came out pretty good ... a custom look at a fraction of the price.

Hope everyone has had a great week out there ...

All the best,

Sail boat quilt

Sunday, December 3, 2017

My husband has 6 grandchildren!  I prefer to say it that way than to say I am a step-grandmother ...

This quilt is off to the youngest for Christmas ...

Eric, just turned 1 in September.  His mom let me know about 9 months ago that she was going with a nautical theme in his bedroom.  Once I clarified that meant boats not fish (duh) and the colors she was using ... I started trying to come up with design ... and boy did I struggle!  My Pinterest board is filled with about 30 different options.  I knew that I didn't want to do applique, but was struggling to find a way to piece it that I would result in a design that I was happy with.

Then one day, I came across this fabric online ... I was so excited to have found what I KNEW would be the whole-cloth back.  When it arrived in the mail a few weeks later, I was totally disappointed to discover that I have purchased decorator weight ... not quilting cotton.

In the end, I decided to go with it anyway ... I used the fabric as inspiration for the front.  And was able to make a simple pieced front that still passed my design sensibilities.

I had recently taken a course in straight-line quilting and had also just bought the book Walk by Jacquie Gering (which is worth it's weight in gold!) and wanted to try it out a bit on here.  I started with the large sail and went at an angle in the right angle portion ... I have a Juki and a not-so-great walking foot, which meant that if I didn't want to mark it, I would be stuck with 3/8" quilting lines.  I started it that way, but in the end, felt that with the heavier weight back, that would simply make the quilt too stiff.

Decided to go ahead and leave in the 3/8" that I had done ... it doesn't detract and brings a little texture & differentiation to the straight lines that I ended up with placing at 3/4" spacing for the rest of the quilt.  For the water, I used the first free-motion quilting technique that I ever learned, I don't know what it's called, but it's from the Plain Spoken quilt in Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr's "the Modern Quilt workshop" book.  I think that it gives it a bit of movement like ripples.

The binding was simple, I just used the same Kona gray that I had used for the body of the boat, with a little bit of patterned print on one side to break it up.

Overall ... I am pleased that I tackled and accomplished something that I had struggled to get started on for quite a few months ... it's been washed a couple of times and has softened up a little, although it will always remain a bit stiffer due to the decorator fabric on the back < sigh >.

It will go in the mail on Tuesday and I hope it puts a smile on mom and baby's faces on Christmas morning.

Well ... I am now off to attend a forum to learn more about the impact the proposed tax legislation will have on my health insurance and small business ...

Hope all is well out there with everyone!

All the best,

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