Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Puppy Pillow!


It comes from all sorts of places.

Its pretty rare for a completely new idea to just pop up out of nowhere.  And nowadays its almost too easy to find crafty ideas, what with the thousands of blogs out there and sites like Pinterest!  I know that I have pinned hundreds of good ideas and filed them away under "to do sometime..."  Every so often though, I'll be trying to think of a gift idea and something will jump out and say "I'm perfect! make me! make me!"

That happened as I was thinking about what to make my mom for her birthday.  I was perusing Marcia's "Quilt Blocks Galore!" website when I stumbled across an applique pattern she had made for a black labrador retriever.  It was perfect!

You see, my mom loves dogs.  For the past 6 years or so she has been raising and training labs to be guide dogs.  She also works with Noel, one of the dogs that didn't pass her guide dog training, who is now a therapy dog that works with special needs kids and helps them with their reading skills.

So I used Marcia's "Black Lab" applique pattern and made it into a Yellow Lab!

With a little embroidery to define some details, it turned out really nice!

I then pieced together a "frame" using some paper pieced hearts.  I quilted the whole thing using what I like to call "invisible" quilting... stitching as close to the seams between the blocks as possible so that you can't really see the stitches!  I feel that technique better shows off the fabric and the design naturally created by piecing the quilt blocks together.  But that's just me and my own personal taste!

This was the first time I tried working with a ruffle which I sewed around the edge of the pillow.  It's not perfect, but I did learn a lot!

And finally, the pillow was stuffed!

My mom absolutely loved her present and had to take a picture of the real Noel with pillow Noel!

...and as you can see, Noel knew exactly what the pillow was for!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Personal Pillows

We have many siblings, my husband and I, and every sibling has a birthday that comes around every year... and every year it seems that just when we finish a gift for one sibling, its time  to think up a new gift for the next!

So this year we've planned ahead and made things simpler for ourselves.


Everyone will be getting the same thing!

That's right siblings, practice your surprised faces because you will all be getting the same thing for your birthdays.  Everybody's getting pillowcases.  Of course, they will all be different and customized so there will be some uniqueness to look forward to!

Here is how I customized little Roslyn's pillowcase:

I wanted to put her name on the pillow somewhere, so I found this really cute set of free alphabet paper-piecing patterns from The Quilter Community.  I love how the letters are easy to read and yet have just enough funkiness to make them fun!

I scaled down the letters to make them 2 inches square and printed them off.  Paper piecing is so simple... instead of fussing with seam allowances, you simply sew on the lines!  It's my favorite method of quilting because I don't have to be precise in how I cut out the little pieces of fabric, yet the result is crisp and perfect!  (Perhaps someday I'll get around to a paper-piecing tutorial... for now I'll recommend Marcia's tutorial from The Quilter's Cache.)

So anyway, I pieced together Roslyn's name and spaced the letters half and inch apart.

...and here is the back:

At this point it still looks a little messy... I'm a messy quilter.  But after trimming and sewing on the rest of the pillow band (and peeling off the paper patterns... always a fun part!) it looks pretty sweet!

The back doesn't look too bad either (at least in my opinion...).

To finish it off I did add a small piece of thin batting behind the letters and quilted around them to add a little stability.  Then all it took was a few seams to add on the rest of the pillowcase!

Ta Da!  Time for some sweet dreams!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Itty Bitty Butterflies

The butterflies that I got for my birthday are super colorful and super easy to make!  (...easy enough for a three-year-old at least!)  Thanks goes out to my sister-in-law for coming up with these.

All you need are two squares of fabric (these were 5"x5") and a fuzzy pipe cleaner.

Fold the squares of fabric in half and place the folded edges next to each other.

Pinch the fabric squares together in the middle and wrap a pipe cleaner around them.

Trim and bend the pipe cleaner into the butterfly's antennae.

Ta da!  You just made a butterfly!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Birthday Butterflies!

I had a birthday a few weeks ago!  I got to hang out with my family and a bunch of friends and it was a pretty fun day.

However, I didn't get to see the little Mosher girls until just recently and they had a surprise birthday present for me.  They had made me a whole box full of rainbow butterflies!

Their bright, fabric wings and colorful pipe-cleaner antennae are just too cute!  I had to find a good way to display them, so I made a mobile.

I twisted some wire into a flower-shape and hung all of the butterflies off of it with some thin string.

Now I have some cheery butterflies fluttering around my living room!