Chairs, Prayers, and Blossoming Creativity: Our Favorite Completed Projects of 2012

Nelly Schrager captures a "busy" bee at work--here's to many bee-you-ti-ful projects accomplished in 2013!
Nelly Schrager captures a “busy” bee at work–here’s to many bee-you-ti-ful projects accomplished in 2013!

As we transition from one year of projects to another, we’re taking this opportunity to look back at some of those we finished in 2012. Perhaps there are quilts in the mix that please us or maybe even something stitch-less that brought us extra pleasure. Here’s a look at what tickled our fancy:

Darra Blooms With Creativity

From the standpoint of creativity (and productivity), 2012 was a unique year for me. Rather than keeping my primary New Year’s resolution private, I announced it right here in a December 2011 group post: the commitment to spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day, every day, doing something creative. For the most part, I was pretty faithful to my resolution. Yes, I hit a few bumps along the road–more about the challenges (and how I overcame them) in an upcoming post–but by and large, 2012 was perhaps my most creatively adventurous and fruitful year ever.

Bloom_detail 2

“…and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” I’ve always loved this quote from French author/diarist Anais Nin. Never, however, have I felt the connection more strongly than I have this past year. And so I took that joy of self-discovery and expressed it in fabric.

Bloom, 13 1/2" x 9", made by Darra Williamson, 2012.
Bloom, 13 1/2″ x 9″, made by Darra Williamson, 2012.

It may not be the best piece I created all year, but it is–without doubt–the most meaningful to me.

Laura is Hopelessly Devoted to Chairs

I’m a sucker for old chairs, and over the years, I’ve learned to both re-upholster and add new caning to furniture that probably would have been tossed had I not wanted to breathe new life into them. Keeping my hands busy and learning new skills is at the top of my list when choosing how to spend my free time.

Here’s one of two matching wing back chairs I recently finished. Believe me, deconstruction was far worse than re-construction. I’m practicing and gaining confidence to tackle a patchwork chair. Just think how much fun that would be.

L: chair1

Here’s one of a pair of old chairs I’ve had in my garage for over 20 years. I just couldn’t bear to part with them so I decided to tackle the repair myself. Caning is a tedious job, but oh so rewarding. I love how they turned out.

L: chair2

Friends who are aware of my interest often “gift” me with old treasures. Here’s one I recently acquired. It’s a perfect candidate for a new needlepoint cover. I’ve always wanted to learn this art form and Kaffe Fassett’s stunning needlepoint designs have been speaking to me. I hope I can share the new look in a 2014 post.

L: chair3

Soon I’ll be known as Laura Nownes, quilt and chair maker.

Jennifer Sends Out a Quilt and a Prayer

Quilt-J:  Close-up of Jennifer's version of Christie's BOM

I don’t often have a surplus of quilts to give away as gifts, but after I made two of Christie’s block of the month projects in 2012, I ended up with a couple of finished quilts with no particular destinations. Well, that’s until I bestowed one as a wedding gift for the daughter of very dear family friends, leaving me with the other one which, I admit, I was eyeing possessively. You’ve got a detailed view above–Elaine Beattie quilted it for me with lovely feathery details.

It’s probably one of my favorite completed projects for the year. The white background fabric delivers a crisp and clean feeling, while the citrusy and jungle/sea colors call to my tropical alter ego. I actually gave you a sneak peak earlier last year after a trip to my Florida home town. Clearly, I didn’t follow Christie’s layout–well hey, I’ve gotta do my own thing.

What I didn’t mention then was that I visited with a high school friend in Florida and had a chance to catch up on our lives, children, and aging parents. Turns out her eldest child was amidst a freakishly awful year that was culminating in major surgery at year’s end. If ever a person deserved and needed the healing touch of a quilt, it was she. So much for coveting my own handiwork; that quilt had a job to do. I attached a special heart label, sealed the shipping box with a prayer, and sent the quilt on its way. It arrived just in time for surgery. She’s mending now and rebuilding her life. I’ve got the iPhone photo her mother sent from the hospital where she’s wrapped in the quilt. Of course I got misty eyed, but I also smiled because I know handmade quilts are healers. (Although I do think her mother is due for a quilted embrace too.)

Quilt-J:  Jennifer's version of Christie's BOM

Here’s to a new year with exciting creative opportunities! While Darra quotes Anais Nin, I turn to the immortal words of Anne Shirley, the heroine of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s  Anne of Green Gables books:  “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” 

p.s  Thanks to Nelly for her stunning bee photograph!

p.p.s.  I just spoke to my Florida friend for an update on her daughter. She’ll be recovering for a long time, but it turns out the quilt is evolving into a communal hug. Her mom (my friend) collected 80 fabric hearts with personalized messages from her daughter’s kindergarten students and family/friends to add to my heart label and her (my friend’s) 90-year-old mother is going to sew them all onto the quilt back. Isn’t that the coolest thing ever? Makes me weepy in the best-possible way!



21 thoughts on “Chairs, Prayers, and Blossoming Creativity: Our Favorite Completed Projects of 2012

  1. Laura,
    My mother would be thrilled that you cherish her chair. I am sure you will do make it astounding. Sometimes these things find their right owner.


    1. Well Pat, the pattern is Christie’s 2012 BOM in our free Pattern library at SHWS. I just selected 4 colors and made 4 of each monthly block. To layout I stacked the blocks in offset rows. Here’s the challenging part: I selected an accent color and went back into randomly selected blocks in each color row to add the accent colors before I sewed the quilt top. Then I used the accent color, again randomly, in the borders paired with each of the 4 original colors. That’s pretty much it. A riff on Christie’s 2012 BOM. It was totally scrappy, except for the white background fabric which I had to buy. As I don’t have the quilt anymore I can go back and remeasure the gap in between each block. It’s something in proportion to the block size–just can’t remember. Good luck!


      1. Thanks so much. Found the directions and now just have to find the right fabric.

        I love the blog — and am looking forward to some amazing inspiration!



  2. You guys are amazing. I love your chairs, Laura! And Ms. Jennifer, I’m sure the healing quilt is greatly appreciated. Thank you all for the inspiration to plant some new seeds and grow!


  3. Thank you for your wonderful posts.  All three of you inspire and encourage me.  I love to give quilts away and appreciate that you do too. You give me a gift each time you post.


    Anne Richardson


  4. A lovely and inspiring post from all three of you lovely ladies.  Thank you so much. from Kathi



  5. I just signed up for your news letter, taking Craftsy BOM 2013, and just read newsletter. Looking forward to a great creative year!!!!


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