When you are trying out different fabrics for part of a quilt, looking for the perfect choice, quilters call that “auditioning” fabric. Sometimes a fabric walks into the spotlight, belts out a showstopper, and you just know it’s the one. Other times, fabric after fabric traipses across the stage and you despair of ever finding a new super star.
When Larry T. asked me to create a quilted Happy Who-lidays table runner and placemat set, he had already picked out a favorite Grinch-themed fabric. I added some green and red fabrics featuring Seussian drawings of Whos from my stash and everything was going together fine. Then it came time to audition fabrics for the binding…
My original design called for a solid black fabric binding, but once I tried it, the dark color overwhelmed everything ~ it was all you saw. I tried a black and white stripe. I tried a red stripe. I tried a dark green.
Nothing was working.
I tried a solid green that matched the Who accent fabric and then I tried a solid red coordinate. Both were close and I agonized for quite a while about which one I should use. And that’s when it dawned on me ~ what this whimzical dining set needed was BOTH.
Yes, alternating red on half the placemats and green on half the placemats really made the whole thing sing!
Perhaps you noticed the silverware holders? Decorative holders for silverware are all over Pinterest these days! I’ve seen a number of different designs that are quilted, but thought these simply sewn pouches looked best with Larry’s placemats. Luckily, there was enough of the Who accent fabrics to make 3 green and 3 red pouches; when tied, each holds a knife, fork and spoon.
I also had some Cindy Lou Who fabric in my stash, so I made a couple of coordinating mug rugs for Larry and his wife. My thinking was, the dining set is for company, the mug rugs are just for them to enjoy after their guests leave 🙂
And look ~ I got to use a black and white stripe binding somewhere after all!
Since today is January 21, 2019, you can look at this posting in one of two ways ~ either I’m a little late sharing this holiday banner for last year or I’m super early sharing it for this year’s Christmas season. Are you a bobbin half-empty or a bobbin half-full person?
In any case, I created this Happy Who-lidays banner to get additional experience appliquéing letters using my embroidery machine. There were a few bobbles along the way, but by the end I think I had it down. Plus, it’s hung up pretty high so you don’t notice 😀
This was one of those projects for which, since it was mostly practice, I didn’t want to purchase a lot of materials. The white denim is the only new fabric and that’s because I wanted to see how a heavier cotton embroidered. But all the scrappy red, pink and black fabrics were from my stash. The cord and baker’s twine were left overs and while I didn’t have enough black buttons, but I did have a can of black spray paint and a supply of extra buttons – problem solved!
To kind of tie this post back into the New Year, my “resolution” was to try to use more of what I have on hand for projects this year, like with the spray painted buttons. I mentioned it’s January 21st, right? Three weeks in and I’ve already failed ~ there’s some new fabrics for my stash in the mail as we speak! Maybe I can change that resolution to posting about my projects sooner instead…
A person cannot quilt 24/7/365. At the very least you need to stop to eat and – briefly – sleep. And, I’ll admit it, I sometimes get a thrill out of cheating on my quilts with other crafts. I call them WINQ projects, or things to do When I‘m Not Quilting.
Who knew dyeing your own bottle brush trees was so easy and fun? Well, EVERYONE, it seems. Still, while I may be a little late to the bottle brush tree craze, but I can’t help but think that I’m taking it to a whole new level with this “Whoville Tree Farm” Christmas Countdown Calendar.
I started this project in the off-season, so it was a bit difficult to find 25 different sized trees. But as November 2018 starts, I’m seeing them everywhere so it shouldn’t be too hard to find some if you want to do something similar. I also purchased a variety of 25 wooden spools from various local and online craft stores.
Your Home Based Mom‘s tutorial for bleaching and dyeing bottle brush trees was super helpful. If I had it do over again, I would have taken my trees out a bit faster. I was trying for vibrant colors, so I left them in a bit too long. Shorter dips in the dye until I got the shade I needed would have worked better.
My spools are painted with white craft paint (the kind that comes in those little plastic bottles) and each number was printed on regular white copy paper. It took a few times to get the right size for each, but because it was just cheap copy paper, I didn’t mind needing a few tries. They are, of course, numbered 1-25, with the largest, grinch-y green, tree as “25”.
I picked up the wood plaque for the base from a craft store and used the same white paint on it. This particular red bow was left over from another project, but those are easy to make with any red ribbon you happen to have lying around.
The letters were drawn on ~ printing the words made it easy to get the font right and I used graphite pencil to transfer the outlines, then filled those in with a black marker. The addition of “-Open Daily-” to the label is perfect for the Advent calendar theme as every day in December I plan to add one of the trees to the “lot”.
I LOVE how this project turned out so far. In fact, this is how I was originally going to leave it. But today I had an additional idea! I’m going to include a couple of tall poles on each side and string either tiny LED lights or a banner between them to add to that real tree lot experience.
We have something like 5 traditional Christmas trees of various sizes, and when questioned about it, I always smile and say, “You can never have enough Christmas trees.” So, yeah, this “Whoville Tree Farm” Christmas Countdown Calendar ~ with it’s additional twenty-five dyed bottle brush trees! ~ fits right in at my home.
Happy counting, Grinches!
A pro tip from Cindy Lou Who – fill the Advent calendar pockets with Who candy, not Who roast beast!
The Mean One can try his best to keep Christmas from coming, but it won’t work if you are counting down the days with this adorable Grinch quilted Advent calendar. Features embroidered Grinch face in the style of the classic Dr. Seuss book with “I must stop Christmas from coming… but how?” stitched below.
10.5″ x 21.5″ :: holds 25 small candies :: hanger included
I can’t wait for the new animated Grinch movie coming from Universal this November!!!
The promotional movie poster was ridiculously inexpensive on eBay, which is a good thing, since making the marquee frame to display it was NOT cheap (or easy.)
But it was totally worth all the time and effort because I’m getting LIT with the Grinch this holiday season. 😀
Should you be interested in doing something similar, here’s some links for the various parts of this DIY project –
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!
As of today, there are 80 days left until Grinch-mas 2017! Yes, I’m counting them down… and I can’t wait to get to use my just finished “Merry Grinch-mas” quilted advent calendar.
It’s the standard design I created years ago, though the first quilted calendar I’ve done with a Grinch / Who-ville theme (check out others in my Whimzie Quiltz Etsy shop.) Each little pocket holds a single peppermint or Hershey’s kiss, so you can enjoy one per day – every day – until the BIG day!
This is the last calendar that my fabulous friend Shirley helped with. I’ve since purchased my own embroidery machine, and it’s a lot of fun, but I miss working with her terribly!
Love the Grinch as much as I do? Check out these blog posts with more of my holiday Who-ville decor –