Monday, January 9, 2012

Heirloom Pillows

Every year at Christmas, I struggle with what to get my dad and step-mom. They are pretty well set, and my dad is super picky, so I try to get (make) them things of sentimental value that they couldn't buy in a store.
When I learned to embroider the long and short stitch, I got the idea for this portrait pillow.
The pillow on the left is my grandparents. I took a photo of them, which was already in black and white, and opened it in a graphics program. I gradually decreased the colors until there were only six colors left in the picture, including black and white. I then placed a piece of tracing paper over the screen (it needs to be a flat screen) and traced the blocks of color. It looked like a paint by number. I then transferred the drawing to fabric, and began filling in the blocks of color using the long and short stitch. I then appliqued the two portraits onto muslin, embroidered the family names on, and sewed it into a pillow with a brown leather backing.
My moms pillow was a tad bit more difficult to come up with. Her favorite thing is being a grandmother, and she dotes on all of her grandkids. Naturally, a pillow with their names on it would be the ticket, but some of the kids haven't even started making their own babies yet. I came up with the idea of the name-tag pillow. Each grandchild has their own name-tag, which is done in a different style and color pattern than any, and the name-tag then sewn on to the muslin pillow. The idea is that with every grand child that is born, I will make a new name-tag out of whatever scrap fabric I have on hand, and send it to her in the mail. She can then sew it on. The pillow matches the one I made for my dad, with leather backing, but to underline the "grandma-ishness" I added some handmade lace. They were really pleased, and I think these are gifts that will have a great longevity for them.

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