More like Merry CUTE-mas

Blasphemy be damned (wait, what?)–I’m renaming Christmas to CUTE-mas. How can I not when this stinker of a happy new pillow has just found its home on my couch?

Christmas Joy pillow

Christmas Joy pillow

I was recently delighted to rediscover a bunch of Alpine Wonderland fabric I have that was leftover from my favorite Christmas table runner. Nordic Christmas: #cantstopwontstop.

Christmas Joy pillow

To make the front panel I just fussy-cut two of my favorite Alpine Wonderland scenes (sleigh and chalet) and pieced those into a square with a blue dot print above to represent snowy sky and some brown fabric below to look like earth (I think the brown print is from a collection with “woodland” something in the title but cannot remember–help me out if you know it!). Then I just sewed on a couple borders to make it big enough for my 20-inch pillow form.

Christmas Joy pillow

After that I used fusible web like in this Sew Mama Sew tutorial to make the appliqué JOY letters, which I top-stitched down with a simple straight stitch (no zigzag required since they were already heat-fused down with the webbing and very secure).

Christmas Joy pillow

Finally, I chose some festive prints for the back, enclosed it with a zipper flap, and attached the binding (the flap is Lizzy House, the dot print is Michael Miller, and the binding fabric I believe is Riley Blake Small Chevron in Green but don’t hold me to it). I originally wanted to do piping around the edges but was about a foot short on rope so binding it was! I ain’t mad at it.

Christmas Joy pillow

The general consensus in our house is that the pillow is everyone’s new favorite decoration. I’ll be so sad to pack it up after Christmas, but then I’ll probably forget all about it and flip out next year when it’s time to pull out Christmas decorations. I can’t wait to rediscover it on an annual basis! :)

Christmas Joy pillow

Madrona Road Polaris Pillow

The Front Range Modern Quilt Guild just held a pillow swap in honor of the Modern Quilt Guild’s Madrona Road Fabric Challenge.  Our swap assignment was to make a pillow for our secretly assigned partner using only the fabric collection Madrona Road by Violet Craft, plus solids (if we wanted).  Here’s what I came up with:

Madrona Road Pillow - from Marta with Love

The back is my favorite print from the collection, Wild Carrot in Straw.

Madrona Road Pillow (back) - from Marta with Love

I was excited for this swap because (A) I’ve loved Madrona Road for a while and (B) my partner was our guild president and my dear friend, Melissa!  No pressure, right?  I included for her a custom card with a Morning Glory sewn onto it.  Morning Glory in Charcoal is my other favorite print in this collection (I previously made a little bow clutch with it).

Morning Glory card - from Marta with Love

I call the pillow Polaris (the fancy name for the North Star, for those of you who are unfamiliar) because the pattern (Two Stars Squared by Diane of from blank pages), to me, resembles the North Star.  And for someone like Melissa, who is constantly guiding her fellow quilters with ideas, encouragement, and inspiration, I found it extremely fitting.  She definitely lights the way!  Har, har, har.

Maybe I should call it the Fiery Russian Meteor Pillow?

Madrona Road Pillow (in progress) - from Marta with Love

Madrona Road Pillow (paper piecing) - from Marta with Love

Madrona Road Pillow (wrong side of quilting) - from Marta with Love

I didn’t make the pillow in time to submit it to the MQG challenge, but I did make it in time for my guild’s swap deadline this past Saturday. That gives me a .500 average, which, if we were talking baseball, would guarantee me a spot in the Hall of Fame.  Keep that in mind.

Madrona Road Pillow (close-up of quilting) - from Marta with Love

I chose these prints because I like the brightness and vibrancy of the magenta and tangerine against the neutral Yarn-Dyed Essex Linen in Flax (this is the 876th project for which I’ve used this fabric but I am in love with it and will likely use it on 876 more projects).  The other neutral solid is Kona Snow.

Madrona Road Pillow (text detail) - from Marta with Love

Madrona Road Pillow - from Marta with Love

Oh yeah, look what I got to come home with!

Pillow from my swap partner, Anne - from Marta with Love

My secret partner was Anne and she totally rocked it.  This is her first project in 10 years!  I can’t believe this is how dusting off sewing cobwebs looks for her.  What’s her next project going to look like?  My favorite detail is probably the yellow quilting thread.  It’s so pretty and her stitches are so even and lovely.  Thank you SO MUCH, Anne!

Pillow from my swap partner, Anne - from Marta with Love

Oh, and I’m happy to be linking up to the Let’s Get Acquainted Monday Link-Up on my friend Martha’s blog today!  I get oddly excited when I happen to post on a linky day and realize I get to participate. :)

Feeling the Holiday Spirit

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet but I’ve already made and received a few Christmasy treasures that I’m sharing with you to welcome the holiday season which unofficially begins this week!

First, the ornament I made for my partner, Jessica, in our guild’s ornament swap using a fussy-cut square of Alpine Wonderland, Essex linen, and Sublime Stitching embroidery floss:

Here are the ornaments Jessica made for me, which I LOVE:

I sent my Pillow talk swap partner this little mug rug (also featuring Alpine Wonderland) with her pillow:

And last but not least, here’s the pillow and an extra something I received from my awesome partner, Cathy, in the Pillow Talk Swap.  Ahhhh I’m in love!

I can’t wait to start seeing all the holiday projects pop up around blog land.  People are so talented, and seem to really flourish when it comes to holiday creating.

Pillow Talk Swap!

My Pillow Talk Swap pillow is officially done and mailed!

I actually made this pillow twice.  The first time, I miscalculated my measurements and ended up with flat edges where pointy points were supposed to be.  Surprisingly, I liked it so much I quilted it up and almost assembled it before deciding to make a better version.  I just didn’t want my partner to think those flat points were the result of my doing a crappy job and not paying enough attention to detail.  You never know whether someone might think it’s awesome and modern or inaccurate and carelessly put together, so… new pillow it is!  Here’s pillow Version 1.0:

I’m really glad I chose to remake the pillow.  My piecing was much improved and I even like my 2nd fabric choices better.  My partner loves text prints (featured in both Version 1.0 and 2.0) and is a big fan of modern designers, so I grabbed some of my favorites from my stash to make this 20-inch, half planned (“business in the front”), half improvised (“party in the back”) pillow.

Since the piecing is all geometric shapes, I wanted to quilt it with a more fluid design.  I love the juxtaposition of the angles and diamonds and the bubbly quilting.

I recently purchased a big batch of stash builders on sale from Pink Castle (hello, moving sale!) and didn’t even need to buy any additional fabric for my pillow.  I, um, had plenty to choose from. I’m on a self-imposed fabric-buying fast for the next few months (until Field Study voiles ship to stores, that is –let’s not get too extreme with this).

Hope you like your pillow, partner! I’ll make one every day if it gives me an excuse to dig in to this DELICIOUS rainbow :)