The Lucky Stars Medallion Pillow

I'm so pleased to share that I packed up my box for the

SewSew Modern swap

just in time for the deadline earlier this week, and I'm really excited to hear from my partner soon when she receives it. It was hard to pack up the pillow cover I made for her, but really, with a swap, that's a job well done, I think.

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I made a large pillow cover for my partner, using two

Lucky Stars patterns from the 2013 series

, the practice block and the December block. I resized both of them to suit my design, and got to stitching, creating a medallion design using lots of low volume prints as well as some bold fuchsia, teal, and gold prints.

The threads for my SewSew Modern pillow

When it came to quilting, I really wanted to try to match threads where I could, so I used a soft yellow in the star points for the center block, Aurifil #2105, then for the low volume areas, I used my trusty white, Aurifil #2024, and in the stripy border areas I used a really light gray, Aurifil # 2165. For the teal sections of the center star, I used Aurifil #1148 and for the aqua sections, I used Aurifil #2830, one of my current favorite shades of thread.

FMQ'ing away!

I added a simple envelope style back to the pillow - I'm a fan of the envelope for a couple of reasons. If you have a super poofy pillow, it allows a little bit of give to the fit, and on the other hand if your pillow is a little deflated, you can tighten the fit a little bit with an envelope back. I hope my partner will be happy with it! I've been wanting to try using the

Lucky Stars blocks

in a different kind of way, so I'm glad I did that with this pillow. I love how versatile those blocks can be and how many different ways they can be used.

FMQ Close Up 1 - Pulleys in the yellow star points, tight stipple in the low volume

I also added in to my partner's box a cool journal with a quote from Jimi Hendrix and a few sweet treats as well. Here's hoping she gets it today! That's absolutely the best part of swapping - that first contact you get from your secret partner after they receive what you made for them. Totally makes the swapping process worthwhile, in my opinion. :) Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Folded and ready to wrap - my SewSew Modern package

Pillow Stats

size

- 23" square

fabrics

- a bunch of fuchsia, teal, aqua, yellow, gold, and low volume prints including but not limited to Oval Elements in fuchsia and aqua, assorted prints from Zen Chic's Comma collection, Lucky Penny by Alison Glass Bike Path in fuchsia, Sun Prints by Alison Glass Corsage in teal, and more

quilting

- Tight stipple in the low volume areas in Aurifil #2165, outline quilting in center star in Aurifil #1148 and #2830, pulleys in the yellow star points in Aurifil #2105, and mod clamshell (

tutorial here

) in the stripy borders with Aurifil #2165 - all in the 50 wt variety

pattern

- adapted two

2013 Lucky Stars BOM blocks

to suit what I wanted to do and made it work

FMQ Close Up 2 - Mod clamshells in the stripy border

Fourteen days and counting

Just fourteen more days to go until Christmas! How on Earth did that happen?!?! I spent a good bit of quality time with my sewing machine this weekend, trying to gear up for some serious handmade holiday gift-making. It was really quite fun to crank up the holiday music and just sew, in between trekking out to holiday parades and birthday parties. The best part so far about this holiday season is hearing my munchkin singing along to the Christmas tunes, that positively puts a smile on my face.

This weekend, I focused on finishing two pillows and getting my pouches started. Admittedly, one of the pillows is for me, but I figured while I was finishing off a gift pillow, it wouldn't take long to finish off the pillow for me. Let's start with my pillow...

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The dog apparently thinks I made the pillow for him. He's sorely mistaken ;)
I've been working off and on since some time in September on a little English paper pieced (EPP) project that I've enjoyed more than I could have ever imagined. Inspired by Terri's gorgeous pillow from the PTS swap round over the summer, I bought some paper pieces (Diamonds and Jewels, in the 3/4" size) from the aptly named Paper Pieces shop and got to it. It took a while, and a lot of templates, but I actually turned them into a pillow, and I absolutely love it.

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All of the fabrics are from my scrap bin, save for the Sweetwater print I used for the background. I even used a stash print for the backing, from Flea Market Fancy. The pillow is quilted in simple straight lines, using 50 wt Aurifil thread in white. This pillow cover fits perfectly on a 20" pillow form.

Scrappy Spools pillow top


The gift pillow I finished up this weekend is going a long way to a good friend, so I really needed to get it finished so I can ship it off. I started this pillow a while back, for the Pillow Talk Swap, but as I finished up the front, I started to feel like it wasn't quite something my partner would like, so I set it aside and made something else. Fortunately, I happen to know someone who will appreciate this pillow very much, so I decided to finish it up for her. I added some simple wiggle FMQ to the sashing, in white 50 wt Aurifil thread, and added a simple envelope backing to finish it off. This pillow cover will fit perfectly on a 22" pillow cover (which I can't seem to locate at my house at the moment!).

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I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Happy stitching :)

Circle of Friendship Pillow

It's funny, sometimes out of sadness comes real beauty.  When I learned that a dear friend of mine was moving for a great job opportunity, I was sad.  She's been a good friend to me, and to my family, and while I'm sad to see her go, I'm excited about this new phase of her life for her.  As I often do when I feel intensely about something, I took to my sketchbook, and sketched out what I was feeling.  Believe it or not, I kept sketching color wheels.  I wanted to make something for her, to brighten her new temporary living space while she works out the details of uprooting and moving her family and life to a new city.  I've spent a lot of time in hotels in my life, and while for a few days, they can be a welcome change of pace, I can imagine that day after day, it can get a bit...well...lonely.  Enter this pillow.

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As I worked on my Bottled Rainbows blocks, I realized there was no way I was going to make much of a dent in my scraps.  My scraps are now wonderfully organized by color, which is fantastic, but there's still lots of them, so I started to play with them.  I wound up with a pretty good sized chunk of lime green fabrics, and I decided to cut a dresden leaf from them, using my Fat Cats dresden ruler.

The importance of play

Then, I did some quick math and realized that I could totally do a color wheel with dresden leaves, if I did two of each color, for a total of 12 leaves.  Then, I got to work, and pieced a bunch of random scraps together, and it started to look like a color wheel, slowly but surely.  I cannot find the right words to tell you how much fun it was to just play and cut and let my fingers wander.

color wheel in progress

When it came to finishing this pillow and quilting it, I went super simple with some random straight-line quilting.  I traced the lines I wanted on the muslin backing side of my quilt sandwich, and went to town.  It was a lot of fun, actually, although I normally get bored with straight-line quilting.  I really like the effect it has here.


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I hope that this pillow will bring some cheer to my friend in her new journey.  I know it brought some cheer to me while I was working on it and it absolutely re-energized me creatively.

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I'm going to enter this pillow in Stitched in Color's fantastic Blogger's Pillow Party.  If you're interested in making a pillow, this is a fantastic place to look for inspiration!!

Blogger's Pillow Party

Let the sun shine...also known as my 100th post

It's my mother's birthday this week.  If you ask her, she's turning 27.  She's been 27 pretty much since my now 45-year-old brother was born, so there's really supposed to be quite a few more candles on her cake, but that's neither here nor there.  My mother is one of those people who collects things - she collects sun faces.  She has an entire wall of them at this point, with over 40 various pieces.  Some are works of art, some are plates or pottery pieces, some are needlepoint, some are metal - it's a really vast kind of collection.  I wanted to contribute, but since I didn't see myself taking up metalwork any time soon, I wanted to sew her something.

Then, I saw Lee's tutorial at Fat Quarterly, and it was perfect.  Have you seen it yet?  Hop on over to FQ right now, because this pillow will surely make your day!  Make sure to leave a comment, too.  :)  Lee's tutorial was super easy to follow, and quick, to boot - I finished this pillow in just a few hours!


I kept the quilting very minimal and simple, because my mother claims that she's not a big fan of quilts.  I really loved putting this pillow together, and I can't wait to give it to my mother for her birthday!


Happy birthday, Mom!

I'm linking up over at Sew and Tell over at amylouwho today.  Hop on over, it's a great way to find some inspiration!

P.S. - This also happens to be my 100th post, so I'd just like to say thank you to all of you who follow my crafty exploits and share your thoughts with me.  Your comments and feedback make my day!

It's like a pillow factory at my house...

I must stop making pillows.   I feel like I'm running out of surfaces to put pillows on!  Last month, I made three gorgeous holiday pillows, and this holiday weekend, I made another three.  I've still got one more in my head that I haven't made yet, but I've decided to focus my attention on more quilty adventures at the moment, since my to-make quilt list keeps growing exponentially.

I finished Betsy 2.0's very first project, a simple HST Modern Meadow pillow, which I really love.  One of these days I want to make a whole HST quilt.  I love how simple the piecing is and how many options you have when you start putting them together.  I outline quilted this little beauty, which was super easy.  My biggest problem was getting used to the insane amount of speed this new machine has.  Learning this new pedal is going to take some practice!


I really love the confetti or improv style of blocks I've been seeing on Flickr lately, so I decided to build on that and make a pillow from some of my favorite Anna Maria Horner scraps.  Oh, how I heart some of her older fabric collections.   Don't get me wrong, I like Innocent Crush a lot too, but I really love the saturated colors she used in Good Folks and Garden Party!  This pillow was a lot of fun to put together.  It was really cool to put this pillow together in an improv kind of way.  I saw a quote on Amanda Jean's blog on Saturday, when I was feeling a little stuck on this pillow, that really just made me want to keep going, and let myself just create for the fun of it.

"Make what you want to make, and make it the way you want to make it." Gwen Marston

That was just the inspiration I needed to finish off this pillow.  I think it might be my favorite pillow I've made thus far.  I quilted it with a simple stipple, which felt good.  I used my new spring-loaded free motion foot, and found it very easy to use, which was a pleasant surprise.


I also finished up the embroidered robot pillow for my munchkin, which I'm happy to say he loves.  He's so fickle these days about his things - favorite toys get discarded on a dime around here, but so far Hug-Bot is his new friend, and there are serious tears shed when he can't find him.  I really love this fabric I used to sash the robot with, it's from David Walker's Robots collection.  I just adore those bright, wonky stripes!  The embroidery pattern, by the way, is from Sublime Stitching, which is an awesome treasure trove of all things embroidery.


I also did some bee blocking this weekend.  For our first month in the {Sew} Beautiful BeeCherie had selected a dresden plate block, using a different ruler than I've used before, so I thought I'd do a practice run, just to be on the safe side.  I dug out some favorite Amy Butler fabrics and cut right in.  I'm glad I did - when I first showed some of these fabrics to my husband and proposed a quilt for our bed, he was totally against it.  But in a pillow?  He thinks they're pretty cool.   I'm really glad Cherie turned me on to this ruler, I really love the chunky look that it gives, and I fully intend to make another dresden pillow with this Fat Cats ruler for my mom's birthday next month.


It feels good to finish a few small projects on Betsy 2.0.  Gives me some confidence.  I'm feeling like I'm getting to know her a lot better.  There's still a lot to learn, but I no longer feel like a full-on novice, which is nice.  

I'm entering these pillows into the Blogger's Pillow Party contest that Rachel at Stitched in Color is hosting.  Check it out!

Blogger's Pillow Party

I'm also linking up this week with Sew & Tell this week!  Amy's been off for the holidays, and I'm excited to get back to linking up with her this week.


Did you see that I'm starting a quilt-along?


It's aptly named the Sliced Coins Quilt Along - I'm attempting to work up a button you can add to your blog and hope to have that up by the end of the week along with a list of materials so you can start gathering everything you need for the quilt top.  This quilt would also be a great scrapbuster!  We'll be getting started with the sewing toward the end of this month.  I hope you'll join me, the more, the merrier!

I {heart} pillows

Are you looking for my giveaway day post?  It's right over here...

It's official.  After the Pillow Talk {Swap}, I now love making pillows.  I haven't received my pillow in the swap yet, though I have a few guesses as to which might be for me, so I was itching to have a new pillow on my couch this weekend.  Somehow, I found myself making a trio of holiday pillows.  I just couldn't stop!  I suspect I'll be making them all the time now.  I am already planning to make one for my mother's birthday in February - a dresden plate in yellows, because she loves sun faces, and I think this will remind her of a sun face.  So rather than hand stitching the binding to my Urban Lattice quilt along and That Girl quilt along quilts, so I did pillows instead - perfect for way faster gratification!


Speaking of dresdens, I made my first one in this trio of holiday pillows.  It's miles from perfect, but I learned a lot while doing this.  I used a couple of different tutorials, but the one that was most helpful was Elizabeth Hartman's from Sew Mama Sew.  I wish I'd done a solid for the center, but all in all, I really enjoyed making a dresden.  It's a great way to use up scraps or charm packs!  It sounds like we might be doing one next month in my bee, with Amy Butler's new collection, to boot.  I can't wait!



And I also made a scrappy Christmas tree pillow, thanks to Kati's super awesome tute.  I adore this pillow.  I'm so glad I got over my fear of paper piecing, because I am really loving the things I'm assembling that way. Thank you, Kati, for sharing the details on your pillow, it's been one of my favorites from the Pillow Talk {Swap}!


For my final pillow, I went super duper simple.  I absolutely adore this Alexander Henry print that I found at my LQS.   It's quite possibly the best Christmas fabric I've seen.  It's from a small collection called Merry Moderns, and I just love the old time-y feel it has.  Feels like a vintage newspaper ad.  This is quite possibly my favorite holiday pillow of all, even though the others required far more work and such, I just love this fabric so very much.  Fortunately, I've got plenty more to use next year.  I'm strongly considering busting out my Christmas stash in July and doing some holiday sewing then.  Maybe I'll even do a linky party...hmm....



And speaking of linkies, don't forget...I'm going to be hosting a linky next Monday, December 20th.  I'm going to be sharing my ideas for sewing and quilting next year, and I'd love to see you guys do the same and join in the fun!   Share concepts, inspiration, stacks of fabric, lists, whatever you like.  I adore lists, they make me happy, so I can't wait to see what you all are planning for next year.  :)