Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fancy Pillowcases

We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers. -Seneca

I've only been blogging for three and one-half months, but in that short time, I've noticed that bloggers love two things: readers and free stuff. I've also noticed that bloggers will do almost anything to get readers (like give away free stuff) and to win free stuff (like follow a new blog and tell all their readers about it). I've also noticed that giveaways sometimes coincide with special occasions, like post 100 or a blog-iversary. This is my 98th post but I'm not quite ready (don't have anything made) for a giveaway, so I've been conserving posts, hoping to get ready (make something) before I hit post 100 but it's not happening. So I've decided that I'm just going to post away and when I finally get ready (have an actual finished item I want to give away in my shameless and transparent effort to bribe more people into reading my blog) I'm going to do my giveaway then. Even if it is some odd post number like 137 and not post 100. Mr. Monk would so not approve.

In the meantime I wanted to share with you what I've been up to (and this is going to be a doozie, because as I mentioned, I've been saving up). I've been making pillowcases for a swap I signed up for on a whim. I loved making a Fancy Pillowcase to go with LadyBug's High School Musical Quilt. So when I saw a pillowcase swap I signed up, notwithstanding the huge backlog of crafty things I have going on. Wanda sent me some of her fabric stash cast-offs, so I pulled pieces from there that might be big enough to work with and then went through my stash to see if I had any pieces that went with what I was using from Wanda. Then I went to JoAnn's during a sale and bought the rest of my fabrics at 50% off.

I see a few people scratching their heads and wondering "why so many fabrics? Why so many pillowcases? What kind of crazy swap is this?" Well, it's not so much the swap as the swapper. In conjunction with the swap, the hostess suggested that we make and donate a pillowcase to the American Patchwork & Quilting 1-Million Pillowcase Challenge. And as we all know, my motto is go big or go home.

I must pause here to say that I'm not in the regular habit of knitting underpants for the homeless. Oh, I do like to 'share,' but I'm essentially a selfish person and 'sharing' is on my own terms (ala The Year of 100 Aprons). 'Sharing' is really code for imposing a gift of my homemade goods upon the unsuspecting in hopes of praise and thank you notes telling me just how talented I really am and the opportunity to blog about it later.

Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Go big, or go home. Since I was already going to be making one pillowcase, I decided I might as well make a few. There was a little bit of logic to this, namely that part of my fabric was donated, some of it I already had and the rest of it I got to go shopping for (at 50% off, thank you very much. Have I mentioned I love a bargain?). And then there is Newton's First Law, which says something about inertia and a body in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. Cutting through all that scientific mumbo jumbo (and you thought High School Science would never pay off) it boiled down to the fact that I was making something cute and fun and couldn't decide exactly which fabrics to settle on for just one pillowcase, so I made eight instead.

I realize that eight is a bit much. Although I haven't been properly diagnosed, I'm certain I have OCD. I'm pretty sure a lot of you have it too. Oh, I wasn't meaning to be rude, but I think that blogging is fueled by Obsessive Creative Disorder, which isn't a bad thing when it is properly managed. Take for instance, this adorable purple lady bug fabric that my cute friend Mel sent me. Does this not make the sweetest pillowcase you've ever seen? I'm hoping that it will really brighten someone's day.

Because despite the sarcasm about my true motives for donating these pillowcases, if my pillowcases bring even just a little bit of comfort to a foster child, a battered woman, a cancer patient or a nursing home resident, it will be totally worth it. AND, I get a new button for my sidebar. How cool is that!? You can see there is absolutely no altruism here. I'm all about the perks of giving.

I haven't decided which of these pillowcases will be my swap pillowcase. There is something about each one that I like. I think I might go with one of these cute little pink and tan and red ones (there are twins, which is why there are only seven pictures here, but I keep insisting that I made eight pillowcases). Yes, that might work. Twin pillowcases is pretty genius -- one to swap and one to donate.

And speaking of genius, the people at American Patchwork and Quilting are pretty genius too. They've made participating in their challenge so easy that even I could do it. They provided free patterns on their site and they've teamed up with quilt shops and charities across the United States so that you can make a donation locally. That was a huge motivating factor for me; the pillowcases that I made will go to people in my community AND I don't have to stand in line at the Post Office or pay outrageous postage fees to get them there.

A few more things before I wind up Post No. 98. I finished this swap waaayyyy before the deadline! Chalk one up for 'just do it!' Also, this makes eight (count them, eight) finishes for me in April. And I linked up over at Sew & Tell Fridays. Wohoo! And just so you don't think that I'm a really nice person masquerading as a curmudgeon, I will probably donate the pillowcase I get back from the swap with the seven others I made to the APQ Challenge, because let's face it, I'm super picky. I like my bed linens to all match. It was silly of me to sign up (I said it was a whim, didn't I?) and a swap pillowcase will not match. But the first one I made (for LadyBug, which incidentally does not match her bed linens or the walls I spent three days doing a fancy paint job on -- I try not to look when I go in there) turned out so fun that I wanted an excuse to make more. Sidebar: for those of you wondering why I don't make quilts and pillowcases for Grasshopper, I am an equal opportunity mother. I've got all the fabric washed and ready to go for a Star Wars quilt and matching pillowcase, but I'm waiting for the mood to strike before I get moving on it. And finally, I noticed that the Fancy Pillowcase pattern I used was not one of the patterns that APQ featured on their website. So, I think that Post No. 99 will be a run-down of how to make this quick and easy Fancy Pillowcase.


Shay said...

I have never mnade a pillow case in my life (being of the super picky variety myself as well) but your pillowcases for the swap are really really beautiful.

And now I'm waiting for the pillowcase tutorial. Because maybe I could make matching pillowcases for some of my bedlinen.

Now I'm eagerly awaiting your giveaway post as well! Love the random-ness of when you might post!

(I'm making cushion covers today -if I can drag my backside away from the computer- and I've never done them before so that could be a bit of laugh)

Wanda said...

I have to say I love your good use of my leftover fabrics and stash I thought I wouldn't use! Pure genius! Perfect use! I hope they bring a smile to those who receive them because I thought they were darling. I don't need another project but your pillowcases are inspiring.

Jennifer Lovell said...

Pillowcases are what my mom made for all of her grandchildren (10) one Christmas. She made a bunch with lots of different themes, and let everyone pick two. I love my Halloween and Fall and Christmas pillowcases that she let me have! Seasonal pillow cases are fun for me since none of the bedding in our house is coordinated ; ). Just thought I'd share that idea with you!

Your pillow cases are beautiful and I love your fabric combinations.

QuiltNut Creations said...

good for you Elizabeth; such a wonderful thing for you to do.

i bought too much fabric to make a quilt for #4 and i've been waffling on doing a pillowcase for him to match his quilt. and maybe i will now since his birthday is very quickly sneaking up.

and OCD, i have OCD-obsessive cullen disorder ;)

mills5 said...

I have only made pillow cases once before, but they were really cute. They were part of my sister's Christmas gift one year. I love the one's you made. You are so creative.

Peg - Happy In Quilting said...

Elizabeth your pillow cases are just so lovely...I have never made pillow cases but I think I might have a go..thanks for the inspiration....Peg

Threeundertwo said...

I must do this. What a great way to cut through some overflowing stash. I like the idea of making some holiday themed ones too - my kids would love those.

Thanks so much for linking up to Finished for Friday! (and I had to go read the link about knitting underwear for the homeless, tee hee).

Paulette said...

Well, how awesome is that, and for a good cause. Your pillowcases are super cute!

Michelle said...

First off, your fancy pillowcases are just lovely! Second of all, your blog was just a hoot to read, so I'm not going to wait for your 137th post which may have a free giveaway attached to start following. (And you're right, Mr. Monk would so NOT approve.)

Nima said...

wow...awesome...i love all the combinations...brilliant work

Jamie Janow Elfert said...

Like you, I have only started blogging! Whole new world and enjoying every day. I love your pillowcases -- I have been addicted to making them since our LQS started collecting them for the Million Pillowcase Challenge. Enjoyed visiting your site -- you now have a new fan.

pinksuedeshoe said...

What a great project, and way to go using stuff from you stash!

Vicki @ DottyJane said...

Great pillowcases! I need to get mine done so thanks for the reminder:)

Rene' said...

Those are some fancy pillowcases!!! Really pretty.

Fresh Poppy Design said...

fabulous pillowcases, like the tutorial too!