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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.