Christmas pillows…

My DIL, Celia, always puts the cutest Christmas pillows on her sofa and bed. I admit to being inspired! I often buy pillows but you know what? We can sew and pillows are EASY! I made these 2 blocks when I was teaching Pick-Up Sticks (from The Quilter’s Practical Guide To Color) with the idea in mind that they would make a good pillow.

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The four 8″ x 8″ blocks in each of the larger blocks are the same, they are just turned differently. I sewed the blocks together, being careful to leave an opening for stuffing. You could insert a zipper on one side and insert a pillow form if that suits you better.

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I turned the pillow right sides out and pressed with steam, using my new Laura Star iron. (More on that in a future post.) It did not take long to stuff it with polyfil and sew the opening closed.

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I love a fast project! I’m not sure which side I like the best.

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The Santa pillow came from Hobby Lobby. It didn’t look nearly as good in the store as it does on my sofa :-).

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Can you take a better picture?

Do you remember when photos were printed on paper, from film that had to be developed by someone that was not you? Opening the package of prints was always a surprise — often not a happy one. On my best days, 1 print out of 10 might be good. The rest never did match my memory of the moment.

Fast forward to now. Digital photography has advanced to the point that we take pictures all day long. The results are immediately available and we can see if the picture is good, or not. But here’s a question: Do you apply a critical eye to your photos? Are you taking the best photo that you could?

Three years ago I signed up for Ricky Tims’ 52-Week Photo Challenge Class. I had no idea how much I didn’t know! The dials and buttons on the camera are no longer a mystery. I’ve quit relying on autofocus!

I’ve learned to pay more attention to the image before I actually take the photo. What needs to be in the photo, and what does not? Every photo gives you the chance to play with light, color, and scale — and the relationships between them. Happily, the same rules of design apply to quilting!

Much of the class is about image editing. Ricky teaches how to use both Lightroom and Photoshop, both of which are powerful editing tools. I had never used Lightroom and now can’t image working on photos without it.

After I finished the 52-week class, I signed up for the Critique class. Even when I’m busy, I do my best to take my weekly photo. Maybe that’s why it feels like a gift! Taking time to do something that makes you happy is the best gift you can give yourself.

Ricky is starting his 4th 52-Week Photo Class. If it sounds good to you, click here and sign up. You will be glad you did!

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Here are a few of my photos…

Taken near the Hudson River, NYC. This was a quick photo, lightly edited.

Taken near the Hudson River, NYC. This was a quick photo, lightly edited.

My granddaughter offerred to help out by posing which was very nice.

My granddaughter offerred to help out by posing for my Wonderland photo assignment which was very nice.

For the Mirror Mirror challenge.

For the Mirror Mirror challenge.

Show and tell…

Stars In The Garden by Maxine Olson

Stars In The Garden by Maxine Olson

I love seeing how quilters use our patterns to make their own quilts! Here is the story of this quilt, sent to me by the maker. Maxine did, indeed, make a wonderful quilt!

Here are pictures of my completed and wonderfully quilted (by Linda Carey) “Stars In The Garden” quilt. I just love it and I can’t thank you enough for saving me when you sent the PDF so that I could finish the setting. I have still not found those directions…I know they have to be in this cluttered quilt room somewhere.

Everyone who has seen my quilt just loves it. My quilt was a BOM that was left behind when my dear friend, Linda, died from a terrible disease. Being the appliquer in our group made me the likely recipient. I requested my quilter to quilt “Linda” somewhere within the quilting. She did that on one of the latices.

This is my third Piece O’Cake quilt I have completed. I have done Simply Delicious and A Walk in The Mountains, My husband saw your Land of the Free…so I think I might have to do that one too. Oh my..  I also have Beautiful Berries awaiting….

Again thank you for replying and helping me when I really needed it. I hope I have done your pattern justice.

Please enjoy the season.

Maxine O.

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