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!