Paisley Placemats - Completed
2014 Finished Quilts, Quilted Placemats

Birthday Gift for a Friend {Secret Sewing}

A little over a year ago, I make a quilt for two friends as a wedding gift; I named the quilt Stargazer. These friends spend a lot of time outdoors camping and rock climbing each year.  Both of our friends are born in early to mid December, making them both Sagittarians. I found a beautiful pattern on Spoonflower of a fierce Sagittarius, so I used that custom printed fabric for the backing of their quilt.

Well, here we are a bit over a year later in the month of December, and our Sagittarius friends are having birthdays. In fact, today is Paisley’s birthday. Paisley is a fantastic yoga instructor, and she is a fierce friend. One week ago from today, her husband, Aaron, celebrated his birthday. For Aaron’s birthday, I baked some homemade chocolate chip cookies and shipped them off to him (he and my husband work closely together making my husband the perfect delivery man for some of my gifting)! Aaron reached out to me in November, and we hatched a plan to create some beautiful custom placemats for Paisley. It was a fast and fun collaboration: Aaron knows that Paisley loves batiks and it was easy for him to select fabrics he knew she would love. He left the design and implementation up to me after he purchased the fabric. Perfection!

Placemat EQ5 Design

Placemat EQ5 Design

I really love how closely the EQ5 designs match to the final quilted items when using the fabric images for design. The concept above is the same as the placemat top in the upper left hand corner of the image below. I ventured to make a square in a square block as the center piece for each placemat. It was by far more time consuming to create the 6 square in a square blocks than it was do do the rest of the piecing for the placemats!

Paisley Placemats - Piecing

Paisley Placemats – Piecing

There was about a half yard of one fabric left over (it was the end of a bolt and thus more than was ordered arrived – yay). And there was about a fat quarter of each of the other fabrics remaining. I used the left over fabrics to assemble 6 different sized simple drawstring bags for Paisley to use for future gifting or whatever else she might need.

Gift Bags with Leftover Fabric

Gift Bags with Leftover Fabric

I especially love the binding fabric for the placemats – it is the perfect red / purple blender and it works well with each unique color combination, I think.

Paisley Placemats - Completed

Paisley Placemats – Completed

I quilted the 3 red placemats with a red 50wt Mettler cotton thread, and the 3 purple placemats with a variegated purple YLI thread on Olive (needle full to the left, and no dropped stitches!). I used the same repeated spiral / loop pattern as the quilting design across all 6 placemats.

Paisley Placemats - Quilting Detail

Paisley Placemats – Quilting Detail

This weekend, we were lucky enough to be able to celebrate with both Aaron and Paisley at Joshua Tree National Park. It was wonderful to hang out with them and their close friends and family, and it was fun to gift the placemats to Paisley in person! It was also great to get some time out and away from home in nature.

Joshua Tree Indian Cove Campground

Joshua Tree Indian Cove Campground

We walked about 3 miles on Saturday from our campsite up into Rattlesnake Canyon and back. In the canyon we scampered up among granite boulders and climbed about 2/3rds of the way up a canyon to sit in the setting sun before heading back to the campground for dinner and evening birthday festivities.

Rattlesnake Canyon Boulder Scampering

Rattlesnake Canyon Boulder Scampering

On Sunday morning we walked back into the canyon again, but this time for probably only a mile round trip. We tried a different route but ended up a bit more stymied by larger boulders that were harder to figure out how to climb up and over. On the way out of the canyon and just before getting into the car to drive home, I found this large lizard enjoying the warmth of the sun and paused to enjoy a bit of the solar energy while watching him, myself.

Lizard Enjoying the Sun

Lizard Enjoying the Sun

I hope that in the few remaining days before Christmas and the new year you are able to find moments of peace to pause, reflect, and enjoy the warmth of the sun on your own skin.

Linking up to Monday Makers @ Hug-a-Bit Quilts.

0 thoughts on “Birthday Gift for a Friend {Secret Sewing}

  1. Lovely placements–I like that quilting design. It makes sense in my brain…
    You must have had a wonderful weekend!!

  2. Lovely placemats! The fabric choices are terrific and it was so nice for you to be able to use the leftover fabric to make those little bags. Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend outdoors and were able to enjoy some calm during this crazy busy time of year.

  3. Jan O says:

    Your placemats turned out beautiful! I love those fabrics together. And your rock scampering adventure sounds like a lot of fun, lizard and all.

  4. Placemats are wonderful~love how you do things that are similar, but not matchy-matchy! Happy Holidays to you and yours, Yvonne!

  5. Judy says:

    WOW, the placemats are awesome! Batiks are on my favorite list as well and Aaron did a fabulous job in picking out some truly awesome fabrics! Glad to hear you had a great weekend in the outdoors 🙂

  6. Renee says:

    I love the name Paisley, I totally voted for that (and was immediately vetoed, haha). The placemats turned out great! Glad Olive was cooperative in quilting them for you.

  7. brenda223 says:

    Beautiful setting to enjoy wonderful friends and birthday celebration. The place mats are terrific — hope your friends loved t too.

  8. Sandra :) says:

    WOW that is an awesome gift set for your friend – you did an amazing job!!!!!! Those fabrics are so rich and saturated – they’re just gorgeous 🙂 Have you tried paper piecing? It might have made the square in a square blocks go faster – it’s the only way I can get actual sharp points, lol! Cute lizard, btw!

  9. Jasmine says:

    Those drawstring bags were an excellent use of the leftovers. What a great addition to the beautiful placemats.

  10. Vera says:

    Nice placemats and your trip must have been fab! Lovely pics!

  11. No dropped stitches on Olive?! Hurrah! That is one technical hitch of a long-arm machine: they are a bit of overkill for something as small as placemats.

  12. They indeed turned out great and glad you had a nice little getaway!

  13. SonJa says:

    Aaaah! My machine is named Olive! Not a longarm, but I still love her!

  14. sally says:

    Great placemats, and I love the bags with them. Your weekend looks amazing, seems very strange that you’re enjoying such dry, warm weather!

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