Sewing Christmas Presents: Quilted Pillows

Merry Christmas!!  Over the past couple years I've chosen not to sew any Christmas presents, as I inevitably procrastinate and then stress out over not getting things done on time.  Even if my blog doesn't show it (holy shit do I have a backlog of things to post) I've had a really productive year of sewing mostly for myself, and I've kind of rekindled a joy of quilting.  SO, I figured it was time to make some gifts for my family this year.  Also, I figured it might make up for me not actually being there on Christmas ;)

Anyways!  I have had my eye on the Dogs in Sweaters pattern since we have a few (past & present) weiner dogs in the family.  From there, I figured I could make animal-themed pillows for everyone.  Weiner dogs for my sister and grandparents, elephants (dints!) for my brother & his girlfriend, and some birds for my parents.

For each of the pillows I used the following patterns:
Click through for details pictures of each! [...]
First up, the pillow I made to look like my parents' weiner dog Wilson (he made an appearance in my last post!)  He's probably my sister's favourite sibling (ha) so I made her pillow look kinda like him!

Next, the two pillows for my grandparents.  They have a weiner dog named Patsy right now, who is mostly black with some brown spots.  I thought she had brown ears... but I was wrong.  Ahh well, close enough!  Also, they had a weiner dog when my mom was a kid named Heidi, who based on a couple photos I've seen, is mostly brown.

For these two pillows, I made one facing each direction... so they would be facing each other if placed on a bed or somewhere together.

My brother growing up LOVED elephants (still does)... but couldn't quite say the full name so he called them "dints".   I found this fantastic elephant pattern ages ago and have been keeping it on hand to make something for him.  He and his girlfriend live together, so I made them matching pillows, and like the ones for my grandparents they face in opposite directions.

Last are probably the most detailed (and complicated) of the pillows - the cardinals and bluejays for my mom and dad.  Living out in the country, my parents get lots of different birds to the feeder - but there seems to be a crazy amount of bluejays.  I made the bluejay pillow for my dad - and I know the male and female bluejays are basically the same colour, but I went with two slightly different shades of blue just for fun. 

As for the cardinals (for my mom), I wanted to have a male and female bird so I got some light brown fabric for the body of the female.  Also!  I didn't really want the branches hanging out in the middle of the pillows, so I used up the brown fabric I had for the weiner dogs for the borders, making it look like two trees. 

A couple things with the cardinal pillows - the pattern called for black beaks, but when I was checking my bird colours, all the photos of cardinals showed orangey-red beaks... so I went with that.  Also, I managed to mess up a step and the cardinals ended up looking fatter than they're supposed to... but I like it much better!  They always look puffed up and fatter than bluejays, so I thought it looked better and didn't unpick anything.  Last, in the wash some of my stitching came undone (noooo!) but I fixed it up with some hand stitching, and I think the little fringe of fabric looks kinda like feathers?

Here are the two pillows together:

There we have it!  Matt and I spent Christmas in Ottawa this year and didn't head back to Guelph, so I have to get these pillows done early enough so I could mail them off.  I watched that tracking number like a hawk and couldn't relax until I knew the package had made it.

This is the first time I've done this kind of fabric piecing, and while I won't do it again for a while, I really enjoyed it!  Surprisingly it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  It's like putting together a puzzle!  I also liked changing up the colours to get the result I was looking for.  The birds were definitely the most complex as the pieces were smaller... but the result is totally worth almost sewing through my fingers ;)