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Still Here, I Promise!

Okay, I haven’t fallen into a hole, although it may seem like it. The gist is that I’m working on a few different things, none of which I can disclose right now.

I know, bummer. Total womp womp.

With all that secret stuff going on, I’m also juggling other random things because I seem to have a penchant for saying YES! to everything and everyone who needs my help. I’m crazy like that.

I’m on my son’s school fund-raising committee and am part of a small core group of parents spearheading a big year-end school Spring Fling party, with raised funds going towards our library and computer labs. That is a cause I can get behind, so it’s a no-brainer for me to volunteer some time. 

So today, while I was really supposed to be working on other things, I got myself knee-deep in making signage for the events we’ll be hosting at the party tomorrow night.

I started out at a good pace and once the one o’clock hour hit, my work began getting sloppy because, aside from the permanent marker contact high, I had once again worked through my morning with no formal breakfast (aside from coffee) and at that point, no lunch.

All work and no vittles makes Mama HANGRY.

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Here’s a bit of today’s handiwork. The Bub helped by coloring in all the little illustrations on the signs. Tomorrow they get posted and we party.

Then Mama can rest. For a minute.

Stackable Ottoman Totem Faces!

I designed these stacking ottoman totem faces for the debut of Spoonflower’s new gorgeous faux suede upholstery fabric!

Thanks to Kate for sewing them up so beautifully and thanks to Spoonflower for showcasing them so wonderfully in great photos like the one above!

Get the designs here and see more photos of all eight vibrant guys on the Spoonflower blog today!

I think I want some for my house now!

Quiltmaker Blog Tour: Giveaway Winners Announced!

Wooohoooo!

We did it, fine folks! We made it to the end of another week and this one was filled with all sorts of quilting/sewing/blogging fun!

Thank you first and foremost to all the wonderful new people who stopped by my blog this week to see what I do with myself between regularly scheduled episodes of naval-gazing. 

I truly had a BLAST reading all of your comments. Many were hilariously fun, insightful and thoughtful, and all were so very complimentary and kind. Um, seriously, who could ask for anything more?!

But let me stop yapping and let’s get on with tonight’s showcase event: The Picking of the Giveaway Winners!!! (insert game show music here)

The hundreds (!) of entrants were printed out and placed into a fine flocked fern fedora (go on, repeat that in your head again; it’s fun):

imageThe Bub, decked out in his Friday finest, was eager to get the ball rolling and mixed all the names up numerous times to even out the playing field:

imageHe reached into the pool of names:

imageAnd chose:

image"What does this person win?", he asked me.

"A copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 9!!!!", I replied.

He looked at me blankly.

The hat was then passed over to an equally-fascinated Mister Baby Pants, who was more than happy to just sit there holding the hat:

imageTold he could reach in and get a slip of paper out, he responded with great intensity:

imageBecause he’s two and it was late, he wasn’t interested in holding up the paper for the camera, but this is who the second lucky winner is:

imageYou will receive the fat quarter bundle of yummy Timeless Treasures Soho Solids! Woot! Woot!

The Bub was more than happy to get to pick the final winner:

imageAnd that third winner iiiiiiiis:

imageYou are the recipient of Pellon’s super soft cotton quilt batting and fusible web!

CONGRATULATIONS to all the lucky winners!:

imageAnd a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated!

Come back soon and see more of what I’m up to, because there are always new projects and designs I’m working on and rolling out and I really look forward to sharing them with you!

Yay! Thank you! Good night! 

xo
Samarra

P.S. Yes, that’s my new Flannel Cats fabric staring at you; you can find it in all its meowvelous glory here.

Great Gotham: In Stores Now!

April is just about over and my new Great Gotham collection is out and available in fabric stores now! 

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If you have a thing for New York City, taxis, transportation, maps, and who knows, maybe even epically-detailed pen + ink illustrations, Great Gotham just might tick all those boxes for you in one fell swoop.

Fuggedaboudit!

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Insider fun fact: When hailing a NYC cab, do not say where you want to go until you are physically inside the cab. Cabbies are legally required to take passengers anywhere in the five boroughs, but they often get away with denying rides to newbies if you ask (ummm, ask? hello, it’s not a favor…it’s a service you’re paying for!) or politely announces your destination from outside the car and your body is not already seated inside and therefore undeniable. Sure, it may make for a seriously unpleasant and grumpy-pants driver who might shoot daggers at you from the rear view mirror, but if it’s your only option to get home at 2:00am, you gotta get scrappy to get what you’re entitled to.

Um, hello. When I said epically-detailed, I meant epically-detailed:

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Insider fun fact: This year’s 4th of July fireworks display is coming back to the East River! No more sharing the party on the Jersey side of Manhattan (sorry Joisey!) and not showing love to Brooklyn and Queens on the east side. Get your photo-ops ready! Holla! Oh, and p.s. I drew every single bridge to resemble its true likeness as closely as possible. Mama doesn’t mess around with her references and research, yo!

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Insider fun fact: Never get into an empty subway car. It’s empty for a reason. Sure, it could be empty because there’s no air-conditioning, or, you know, because of a raging stench that will make your sinuses want to gather up their belongs and run screaming from both nostrils. Bing bong. The doors will close you in at the exact moment you realize your fateful error. The glee you once had 10 long seconds ago over finding a bunch of available seats will be quickly replaced by your olympic hopes that you’ll be able to hold your breath til the next train stop. And that could take a while. Good luck. Stay zen.

Great Gotham: Go get some and make fabulous things!

Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Vol. 9 Blog Tour : Meet Samarra

Happy Monday, fellow Computer Screen-Staring People of the World!

For those of you who don’t know me, what on earth took you so long? Hmmmm?

Fine, fine, water under the bridge. Let’s move on, shall we?

I’m so glad you’re here! I’m an artist, illustrator and graphic designer; the list is probably technically longer, but I don’t want to completely boggle your mind. Not this early in the work week, anyway.

Checking out the assorted galleries on my website will probably give you a pretty good sense of what makes me tick, so pop some popcorn and review it at your leisure.

My passion for surface design reared its addictive and obsessive head about six years ago and morphed into my fabric designs being available both online and at brick + mortar shops through Timeless Treasures. (<—-I hope you clicked on this link. Don’t make me get all Mom Face on you, if you thought you could skip it.)

If you can’t find them out in the wild out at your local quilt shop, well, gosh darn it, ask the shop owners to order them for you, because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that you probably don’t have enough fabric in your stash.

I’m all about aiding and abetting, people. I’ve got you covered.

Now, onto the topic at hand:

I’m very proud and honored to be a part of Quiltmaker Magazine’s 100 Blocks Volume 9! And psssst, I’m on the cover too. Hello, double-score!

First, let me say that although I’ve known how to sew since I was about 8 or 9 years old, I never delved into the world of quilting until my recent years as a textile designer.

I wasn’t previously aware of Quiltmaker Magazine and the huge following it has. Until now. Nor had I ever pieced together a single quilt block before in my life. Until now. (note: please reread these last four sentences in your best movie trailer voice, you know, for more impact).

So, in true SK form, when the opportunity presented itself for me to design a quilt block from scratch, I went wildly traipsing into the unknown. I made one block with a different design concept; it worked out fine enough, but I just couldn’t shake a better idea I had in the back of my mind.

What I realllllly wanted to make was this, T-H-I-S, good people:

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Oh yes, a red stapler. That’s right. All our dreams have been answered now, have they not?

The pride I had for physically achieving what was in my noggin was quickly overshadowed by waves of separation anxiety, as Quiltmaker’s guidelines require that you send it off to them, never to get it back.

So I did what any normal person would do. I stared at it wistfully as I shut the mailing envelope in super-slow motion, peeking in at the flashes of red and turquoise, all the while holding up the post office line. I sent it off and quietly panicked like a mother who had just sent her child off to school for the first time.

I went home and channeled my loss by doing something I just about never do….I made another one. See, when I typically resolve something and make it to my satisfaction, I just move on to the next thing. But parting was such sweet sorrow and I needed a replacement. Fast.

So I made another for myself and turned it into a throw pillow for my living room sofa. So now I can stare at and pet that one all I want, whenever I want. Please, no judging. 

If you love red staplers too and you feel the need to watch Office Space any time it happens to be on t.v., no matter how many times you’ve seen it before, then I recommend you try this pattern out.

I think it would look really divine in a sea of black/grey staplers, as the one single punch of color on a quilt top. Just sayin’.

But wait. There’s more.

As you may know, as part of the Quiltmaker Blog Tour, I get to give away one fun-filled copy of this issue of 100 Blocks!

It looks like this, but you know, bigger, and with those things they call “pages” that you can peruse and enjoy whenever your heart desires:

And guess what? I’m also giving away a sweet fat quarter bundle of 25 Soho Solids from Timeless Treasures. Yup, you read that right, you lucky dog, you!

Behold the scrumptiousness:
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And since things are always nice in threes, hold on to your hats, because I’ve got a third wonderful giveaway! Ready to have the chance to win a lush pack of throw-sized batting and a package of Wonder-Under fusible web from Pellon? I thought so.

Feast your eyes:

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If you don’t know Pellon, go introduce yourself to their great line of products and check out this recent project I did for them while you’re there.

See now, wasn’t it worth reading through this entire post!? :)

Three separate winners will be hand-selected by my personal unbiased random generators (aka my 5-year old and 2-year old sons; the third winner will be the result of them fighting over who’ll get to draw another winner. It won’t be pretty but someone’s gotta do it.) 

For your chance to win, comment below on this post and tell me:

1. What’s your favorite color palette to sew/make/create with? 2. What novelty fabric themes are you dying to see produced or wish would come out on the market again? 

Oh, sure you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all that jazz. Just don’t follow me home because that’s creepy and weird.

Contest closes at midnight EST, on Thursday, May 1st. Winners will be announced and contacted on Friday, May 2nd. One entry per person.

Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

-Samarra

Editor’s Note (pu-leeze, there’s no editor, it’s ME, Samarra); 11:49am EST; Monday, April 28th:

I have heard from a a few of you who are having problems commenting on my blog post. Yup, it makes me nuts too; oddly the comments field is located at the *top* of this post by today’s date and title (yes, I’d be typically looking at the bottom too, which is why I understand a lot of folks inadvertently commented on my previous blog post; don’t worry, you’re all entered to win.) It makes this anal retentive control freak frustrated too. Sooooo, see if you can find the correct comment hyperlink up by the title of this specific post. If you still have no luck and feel like you want to toss your computer out the window, stop before that happens, comment anywhere and I’ll get it; worst case, send me an email, but kindly use that as a last resort.). I’m here for you. Let’s win these giveaways! :) -SK

Couple O’ Quick Things

I love illustrating recipes and maps. I wish I had more time to draw up more, but I’ve been lucky recently to create one of each for the great site They Draw and Cook (TDAC) and sister-site They Draw and Travel (TDAT). 

First up is my recent set of three potato-centric recipes for TDAC:

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And for a recent TDAT call for maps that focus on the more creative and curious highlights of your city, I chose to dig deep into little-known New York City curiosities:

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I know. Totally foolish. Just how I like it. But I’ll bet you didn’t know all of these things about NYC, did you? If so, get yourself a Big Apple Tour Bus job PRONTO! If not, you just might now be equipped to kick some major booty at your next pub-hosted trivia night.

1. Albert’s eyes? Yeah, a pretty shocking discovery to me too. A couple of sources claim they’re in NJ but most document them as residing somewhere in NYC. But who cares!?!? Either way, it’s totally and utterly bizarre and sad, in fact, considering this all went against his final wishes. I just wish I could find out which exact safety deposit box we’re talking about…

2. Sure, sure, by “tiny’ we might really mean “microscopic” and by “shrimp” we might really mean “crustacean invisible to the naked eye”, but who could resist illustrating these guys any other way than this? Talk about ultimate shrimp cocktail…

3. As for feeling gassy in church, NYC law states that a person is guilty of disruption or disturbance of a religious service, funeral, burial or memorial service “when he or she makes unreasonable noise or disturbance while at a lawfully assembled religious service, funeral, burial or memorial service, or within one hundred feet thereof, with intent to cause annoyance or alarm or recklessly creating a risk thereof.” Under the law, a fart could potentially get someone charged with a misdemeanor.

4. The Empire State Building has its own zip code, who knew? 5. Toilet paper was invented in NYC. I think a quiet collective whisper of “Thank you, Joseph, thank you” is in order right now, don’t you think? 6. Scrabble was invented in Jackson Height, Queens; if you’re ever in JH and you look around closely, you can even spot the street sign honoring Mr. Butts’ great contribution to many a family game night. 7. New York City was the first capitol of the United States, with George Washington being sworn in at Federal Hall. But you knew that, because you paid attention in U.S. History class, right. RIGHT?!?! 8. Air-conditioning was invented in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1902…stay cool, hipsters, stay cool.

That concludes a couple o’ quick things and a little brain expansion for ya. Enjoy!

Spoonflower Headquarters: An SK Tour

I’ve only been obsessively designing and uploading my surface designs to Spoonflower for, oh you know, the better part of the last six years. 

So when the opportunity arose last week to actually get my physical self to their North Carolina headquarters, I did just that.

But wait. Before you think this post is going to be a guided tour of their amazing facilities, let me go ahead and make this perfectly clear. This post is a post like no other. Why? Because, good virtual friends, I’m about to give you the most concise and tailored tour of….wait for it…

THE BEST PLACES TO LIE DOWN once you’re inside Spoonflower Headquarters.

Oh yes, be stunned and amazed. And thank me in the form of pre-ordered fruit baskets scheduled to appear at my home’s front door. 

Thrilled and excited? You should be.

Let’s begin…

Once you have found your way to and arrived at Spoonflower’s Meridian Parkway address, parked your car and made it through the front doors, it is wise to spread out in the foyer to get a lay of the land…

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You’ll not only be impressed by all the fine upholstery work, but you’ll quite likely find the carpeting to be on the lusciously plush side of office chic.

Head through the magical doors that divide mere common folk from those charged with the heroic task of printing any and everything under the sun onto reams of scrumptious fabric and you just might be lucky enough to spot a design or two of your own…

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Such sights might become justifiably joyfully overwhelming, so you might consider resting for a bit. Maybe here is a good choice…

imageOr if you’re feeling a bit more social, you might consider a location like this…

imageWhile relaxing, you might just look up and notice a design or two of yours adorning some of the shelves, like #9 for example…

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Why not shake things up a bit and move to a more open area of the great Spoonflower landscape. Taking some of their golden toys with you wouldn’t hurt either.

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This might be a good time in the lovely tour of All-Things-Wonderfully-Spoonflower to consider a bathroom break. 

Take a moment to appreciate and give big mental kudos for “Best Bathroom Stall Decals EVER.” Because behold…

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Once the call of nature has silenced itself, waste no time and get yourself right back into the center of things.

You’ll find that the carpet around Danielle’s desk is quite inviting…

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Feel the need to be vertical again for a few odd minutes? No problem. Head on into one of the far offices and be welcomed with the surprise of an oversized plush unicorn.

Sure, this looks like a routine pony proctology exam, but in fact it’s a purple horsey tail that will hold your attention for a more time than anyone thought one ever could.image

Say “until nayyyyyy-xt time!” to your new unicorn friend and head back out into the main floor area where you will find ample room to make unseasonable snow angels and whatever other poses you see fit.

The spatial options in this part of the Spoonflower floor plan are endless.

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Interested in actual furniture that you might consider putting your body on versus the floor? Then head on back to the main lobby, where your clothing colors will be instantly coordinated with a complimentary palette.

Because you are one here (and pinks with orange are a classic pairing)…

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Once you’ve experienced just how wonderful the people of Spoonflower are, go back to the point where you began your tour and bid everyone a fond farewell…

imageSee you on the digital flip side, Spoonflower peeps! Thank you for a grand visit. 

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We knew your fabrics rock…and now we know your floor does too.

Double-score!

SK’s Mini Fabric Giveaway Winner ANNOUNCED!

Woohoo, it’s time to announce the winner of my mini fabric giveaway!

First, let me tell you that I really loved reading all your entries. I’m happy to know that my Great Gotham collection is so popular already and brings back great NYC memories for many of you. I’m also happy to hear which fabrics you’d pair together for the Modern Traditional Mini Quilt Challenge and am waiting eagerly to see the entries!

I realized it was too hard to pick a winner because I was smitten with every comment for one reason or another, so I did the next best thing….I enlisted the help of Mister Baby Pants because, frankly, he doesn’t care who wins as long as he gets to be the one to pick out the piece of paper and unfold it.

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And the winner is……………….

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Terry Maimone! Congratulations, Terry!

And thank you to everyone else who participated! Giant virtual high fives and low fives to all of you! Yay!

Modern Traditional Mini Quilt Challenge!

Hey, hey, did you hear about the great Modern Traditional Mini Quilt Challenge announced yesterday over at Timeless Treasures and Dear Stella?

If you thought you might enter but don’t have just the right Timeless Treasures fabric to add to your Mini Quilt entry, not to worry because here’s where I save the day like the pretend superhero that I am!

*Cue the wind machine and trumpets! Where’s my cape?!*

Da-da-da-dahhhhh!

I’m hosting a mini contest within this mini contest: Win some of my fabulous Timeless Treasures fabrics to use in your Mini Quilt entry! 

What You Win:

1. Two, count ‘em TWO luscious yards of one my latest fabrics, YOUR choice!

**OR**

2. Four, that’s right, FOUR 1/2-yard cuts of any four of ANY of my latest fabrics, YOUR choice!

Here are just some of the designs you can pick from…

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How to Enter:

1. Go look here to see my latest Timeless Treasures fabrics. Comment below on this blog post, telling me which of those fabrics you’d pick for your Mini Quilt Challenge entry and why.

2. If you are on Facebook, share this post on your wall and tell me which fabrics of mine you’d pick for your Mini Quilt Challenge entry and why. Make sure to ‘like’ my page: Samarra Khaja | Sammyk Fabrics and tag it along with hashtag #DSTTchallenge.   

3. If you are on Instagram, re-gram this post and tell me which fabric you’d pick for your Mini Quilt Challenge entry and why. Make sure to tag me @samarrakhaja​ along with hashtag #DSTTchallenge.

4. If you are on Twitter, tell me which fabric you’d pick and why, tag me @samarrakhaja​ and use hashtag #DSTTchallenge.

Smell a pattern here? Good!

I’m all about overdoing it (same goes with chocolate-eating), so if you have more than one of the above, spread the word and chime in all over the place. Multiple social media outlets are encouraged! (Have I gone mad? Maybe.)

Seriously, I want to know what you’d pick and why! I can’t wait to see everyone’s interpretation of “Modern Traditional”, so let the brainstorming begin!

Deadline:

You have until Wednesday, April 10th at 12:00 Noon EST to enter.

I’m not using any automated system to pick a winner (be thankful I didn’t strong-arm you into signing up for more annoying email spam; you’re welcome), so please follow the steps above and tag me so I can find your entry. I’ll read all entries with my own two eyeballs and select a random winner from all who enter.

So be impassioned, be heartfelt, be verbose and emphatic!

Let me see some SK fabric love and in return you’ll get some in the mail! That’s nothing but win-win!

I can’t wait to see what the SK fabric winner makes for the Mini Quilt Challenge! Good luck!

No Foolin’: Recent Sewing Projects

Firstly, Happy April Fools’ Day. Secondly, I have no pranks for you today. Sold out of them yesterday and getting restocked tomorrow, so today, you’re just plain outta luck. Sorry.

Now on to more interesting things…

Here’s another bunch o’ stuff I’ve been up to recently. I figured it would be nice to post these all together since they’re all sewing projects, but they’ve been occurring on and off of the last few months and for different purposes, so it’s also nice to see them as a collective. Plus, I can retrospectively see mini themes and groupings, like the colors I’m drawn to at any given time or similar techniques or fabric types. Nice and cohesive.

—-

First, there’s always my staple go-to gift, the personalized toy bag. I can’t stop making these because they’re so practical, useful and fun to sew up. 

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These were for couple of birthday boys from The Bub’s school. I enjoyed tailoring them to suit their (haha, okay, really their moms) tastes and sensibilities. 

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And what’s up with all the “J” names, I have no idea, but this was literally the fourth “J”-initialed bag I’ve made in the last month.

It’s been enjoyable to revisit and rummage through all my fabric in search of the perfect combos to make all these goodies with. I still have the much bigger goal in life to have more stuff *leave* my house than *enter* it, so I continue to slowly chip away at what seems to be my own private art supply store. Okay, fine, maybe it’s a chain by now.

—-

I guess the gender divide is starting to happen because I can’t recall the last girl’s birthday party my eldest was invited to; it’s been a while. That makes me sad because I hold onto hopes for more gender coexistence, especially when the kids are still young. C’est la vie.

Anyway, I was very excited to once again have the chance to make a gift for a birthday girl, and in this case one who is quite the girlie-girl and very much a fashionista. I love any 5-year old with a diehard fashion conviction.

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So of course I took the opportunity to go over the top with a jazzy tote bag paired with great pops of color and fun textures. 

I made the whole thing up from scratch as I went along; I really sew the best that way (you know, when I don’t completely screw it up and it actually comes out just the way I imagined it). This time I nailed it. Phew!

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I had actually never worked with webbing before but for some unknown reason I have numerous giant spools of the stuff, so I swore to myself I’d start using it. I wasn’t originally going to put a letter on the bag, but The Bub insisted we needed an “O” on it and I’m glad he did because the neon pink sets the entire color palette off just that much more. 

I think I just might love egg yolk yellow together with neon pink. Yeah, that’s right, I’m calling it now. Future trend alert.

—-

Not too long ago, I found myself the willing sucker of a social media pay-it-forward gift-making assignment. A friend posted something to the effect of, “Hey, if you’re one of the first five people to comment on my post, I’ll make you something sometime this year.” I thought, ‘Heck yeah!”.

The kicker was that I had to agree to post the same assignment and rules, so I did. Three friends of mine responded. Three. Um. Not sure what that says about me, but I was also really kinda fine with only having to make 3 things instead of five. Less people to follow through with gift-giving? Sure thing!

I don’t have the third gift made (haven’t even thought about it yet), but I have finished the first two. 

First up, a giant stuff carrot. 

Obviously. 

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I got to use up more of the luscious upholstery fabric I was recently bequeathed by my personal Fabric Fairy.

Turns out, I am a complete and utter sucker for great-quality velvets and corduroys. I’d probably eat the stuff if given half the chance.

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This project required some sorting out as I wanted the stems to not be completely floppy and dead-looking, so I sandwiched in some wire armature supports into each leaf.

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Can you tell from this photo how totally chewable and yummy that orange velvet is? Gorgeous and heavy, I want a three piece suit made out of it.

But for now, a giant useless carrot will do just fine.

And you know how sometimes you stuff something and those funky buckled creases occur? In this case, those creases are perfect because they mimic the grooves and texture that a carrot has. I was originally going to embroider some lines onto the surface, but no need!

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Why is this giant stuffed carrot on a plate? For no reason other than to show you the scale…and it’s funny.

Eat your vegetables!

—-

The second gift for my other social media sucker friend was also an extravagant velvet and corduroy affair.

For this gift, I chose to focus on her cat, Daisy, who, after gracefully adjusting to life with two new kid additions to the family, deserves a little extra attention of her own, methinks.

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I perused my friend’s online photos to find close-ups of Daisy and sketched out my version of her.

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I transposed my sketch into little pieces of fabric and became a zig-zagging fiend on my sewing machine, appliquéing them all together.

The photo doesn’t do it justice, but that yellow ( kinda ochre-y, kinda chartreuse-y) velvet background fabric is simply edible in my book. It’s divine.

I used a dark purple thread, partially because it would add an extra pop and partially because I was totally and utterly lazy and didn’t want to change my thread. 

I love the results.

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What makes it even better was finding the perfect fabric to back it with; not only does it have just about the same colors in it as the front design, but it’s a sweet floral and, hello, for a cat named Daisy, that makes it a perfect match. 

This is what the finished pillow looks like.

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It looks a tad deflated here because I didn’t have the right-sized pillow insert at the moment, but you get the idea. Oh, and I failed to iron it before taking the photo. Another signature SK move, you’re welcome.

Anyway, I think Daisy likes the finished product!

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I love mini projects like these because they break up my regular schedule of bigger design jobs and make for nice quick bursts of imaginative carefree fun. 

That’s it for now!