My hair stylist recently moved into a new salon, one of those places where each individual stylist has their own suite. One of the benefits of this set up is she gets to decorate her salon, her way – in this case, minimalist, with a touch of bohemian flair.
As a “salon warming” gift, I offered to make her a lumbar pillow for her washing station chair. She chose teal and orange for the colors and asked that it include hummingbirds. There was actually a fabric called “Bohemian Hummingbird” available in that color scheme – felt like kismet, so I ordered a bit more than I needed and made a matching table runner, too.
Of course, when I gave these to her, she said they were too pretty to use**. So instead, she has the pillow displayed on a nearby shelf… where it still provides a pop of personalized color to her space, but it’s away from the hair dye, too! 😀
**No, really, it’s OK if you sit on my quilts, says the ghost of Mary Ellen Hopkins. It’s a losing battle, Mary Ellen, I reply; a losing battle.
You know the saying “More Ideas than Time“? Yeah, that’s my life. I’ve had the idea to add a Doctor Who / Police Box ribbon to this blue wool hat since November 2015.
I finally finished it this weekend, 2 years and 8 months later.
My embroidery machine is wonderful, but what I really need is a time machine to get all my crafty projects done…
I keep kidding my husband that I want to leave our Grinch-themed holiday decorations up all year long – well, he thinks I’m kidding. I’m actually dead serious.
Until I get him on board, though, I’m going to have to sneak my Grinch fix in during the other 11 months of the year, like I’ve done with this newly finished quilt –
That Grinch panel has been in my stash for years because I couldn’t come up with a quilt design I liked enough to use it. Finally, I decided I’d had enough and spent an entire weekend back in February creating potential panel designs***
After narrowing those choices down to 3, I ended up picking a pattern of wide borders made with scrappy crooked blocks. With all the fun angles and bright holiday colors, the final design turned out appropriately Seuss-ian. At the same time, the big blocks don’t overwhelm the panel – it’s still the focus.
Side note, I think I’ve come to a better understanding what my customers go thru! When you request a custom quilt design at Whimzie Quiltz I typically respond with 3-4 designs to choose from. I’ve been told – repeatedly! – how hard it is to pick a favorite when there are so many options. After this, yeah, I get it now 😀
I chose a red and white dot Minky fabric for the back. But to keep the soft Minky pile from getting too squished down, I had to keep the quilting simple. So there are lots of straight lines in the green areas and oversized asterisks in the red areas. My hope was that they would call back to mid-century design elements popular when Dr. Seuss wrote the original Grinch story while still letting the quilt drape and cuddle.
The Minky backing makes this quilt SO soft and snuggly (which is why, ironically, it is named “Cuddly as a Cactus” 😀 ) I’m still not good enough at quilting Minky to offer it as an option to customers, but perhaps with a few more Minky-fied quilts under my belt, I soon will.
My Grinch fix for July is now taken care of – Whew! But there are still 161 days until Grinchmas 2018, so I’m off to start another Grinch-y project to hold me over ’til then…
As an added bonus to my weekend of “panel productivity”, I figured out a design for a leg lamp quilt panel I’ve also had for years (Hubs is a huge fan of A Christmas Story.) And I now have LOTS of quilt panel designs to suggest to customers who want a custom quilt featuring a large central image, too!
The traditional Zia sun motif was created by the indigenous Zia peoples of New Mexico to symbolize the importance of both the sun and the number 4 in their culture. In keeping with that cultural tradition, here are 4 fast facts about these quilted Zia pillow shams I made for customer Barry L. –
They were a free gift with his purchase of a custom Whimzie quilt… yes, free! (You can find out more about his original quilt in my blog post Big-Hearted Zia Quilt for a Big-Hearted Customer.)
When you request a custom Whimzie quilt, I typically provide 3-4 designs to choose from. Barry had such a hard time picking between his favorite and second favorite designs that the runner up became these pillow shams.
So that they’d coordinate well, all the fabrics for these pillow shams were fabrics also used in the making of his quilt – except one. In addition to two Adobe reds and two turquoise fabrics, the pillow design called for two ocher yellow fabrics instead of the single ocher I used in the quilt so I had to purchase another.
Barry’s was the first request I’ve had for a Zia sun symbol, though not my first Southwest-influenced quilt design. The very, very, VERY first full-sized custom quilt I ever made featured a Southwest pottery fabric and ombre greens. I called it Anasazi Fair because the quilt block is known as a World’s Fair.
This is a photo of a photo of that quilt because it’s been so long that I don’t even have the computer hard drive the image was stored on anymore!
One of my favorite parts about custom quilting is when a customer comes to me with an idea for a quilt design that I never would have thought of on my own. Barry L.’s recent request for a Zia quilt is one such request.
The Zia is a classic Southwestern sun symbol – and turning it into a quilt design really let my creativity shine (see what I did there? :D)
Barry’s wife is a native of New Mexico, so he wanted the design to reflect not only the state she was born and raised in, but also that they were about to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. A quilt that featured both a Zia symbol for NM and a heart for their relationship seemed to be the perfect combination.
Since New Mexico was the driving theme, I definitely wanted to stick to traditional Southwest desert colors. The heart is pieced from a number of Adobe red fabrics and I chose a single ochre yellow for the symbol and the border accent. Various turquoise print fabrics were the perfect choice for the scrappy background.
To keep the New Mexico flavor going, I chose several Southwestern motifs for the quilting, too. For instance, there are swirled sun symbols quilted on random blocks across the quilt top. I’d originally considered quilting each individual block with this design, but felt they’d lose their specialness. In the end, I like the surprise of a few scattered symbols among the regular meander quilting.
The quilting on the Zia rays and the accent border is inspired by squash blossom necklaces, another popular Southwestern design element. And I echoed the swirled sun ray quilt motif around the center of the Zia to tie everything together.
Let the sun shine through your heart
Barry’s big-hearted desire to give his wife a meaningful anniversary gift really “shined” through all my interactions with him. I wish them both many more years of wedded bliss, cuddled together under their Zia Heart Whimzie quilt!
Got to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter yesterday… had a GREAT time, but imagine my surprise when one of the shops* in Hogsmeade had fabric and buttons on display. Seems everywhere I go, sewing follows me, even into the magical realms of JK Rowling. 😀
*I found them in Gladrags Hats and Capes, so technically a tailor’s shop, but I’ll take it. Sewing is sewing!
Our niece was set to graduate high school this year and we were anxiously awaiting the announcement of which college she’d be attending in the fall. It wasn’t a snap decision, as she had a lot of great schools to choose from, but ultimately the she went with Judson College.
As I usually do, I went straight online and bought a couple of t-shirts to turn into dorm pillows for her graduation gift. Judson isn’t a huge school, so I didn’t know a lot about it, but I knew it was a religious institution and that their team mascot was the Eagles. I fell in love with the graphics on these two and quickly set about finishing up the pillows.
Yep, those pillows are for Judson University. My niece is going to Judson College.
In my defense, both are small, religious institutions and both have an Eagle mascot. I’ve since found out that there are FOUR institutes of higher learning with the name Judson, none of which are affiliated in any way. What are the freakin’ chances?**
I apologized profusely that her graduation gift would be late and got to work on turning shirts from the right Judson into dorm pillows. While I didn’t get them to her in time for her graduation party, I did get them finished before she leaves for college this fall.
Now that she has her quilted dorm pillows in hand, I’m super happy to say…
Congratulations, Kari, on your graduation!
And thanks for being so understanding 😀
**I was able to reach the Judson University Communications Department and offer them the original set of pillow shams. They are going to use them in a give-away so at least I know all that hard work isn’t going to waste!