Happy Easter!

I made a couple of quilted Easter decorations in time for Easter this year!

OK, full disclosure… I made them last year, but didn’t get them done in time for Easter! So technically, my first statement is true… LOL!

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As soon as I saw this bunny banner pattern by Sugaridoo in Quiltnow Magazine Issue 60, I was super excited to make it! I just think this little bunny is adorable!

FYI- Quiltnow Magazine is not longer being published and they have taken down the website where this pattern was located. The pattern is not in the magazine. Sugaridoo doesn’t have this pattern on her website, but she does have a similar bunny that you could use for a bunny banner project!

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So cute with the little chick on top! The pattern is a paper pieced pattern. I did not get very creative with this one, even the fabric colors are very similar to the one she made in the magazine. I really debated the quilting. I couldn’t decide what to do and was worried this diamond shape would take away from the bunny. In the end I think it turned out just right.

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I didn’t piece the back on this one. I did add a sleeve, but didn’t use it in the photoshoot!

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And you probably know that I love to just my scraps from a project in another project or a coordinating project right away. So I made Easter eggs! Scrappy, improv Easter eggs. I used this tutorial for my eggs, but instead of a circle, I made the egg shape.

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And I used more scraps from the eggs to make the back!

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A little invisible zipper action.

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Three eggs and another chick from the original pattern, makes for a cute pillow, if I do say so myself!

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I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend and hopefully you are able to get some sewing time in! I plan too. A little Easter Egg dying and sewing for my weekend.

Improv Stars Quilt Block Tutorial

This one is long overdue! I made the tutorial WAY back in 2017 for my group in the do. Good Stitches group. A long time ago!

I asked my group to make a few of these stars each and send me some navy squares as well. The stars and navy squares turned into this lovely quilt I call, Falling Stars.

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You may recognize it as I’ve posted it on the blog before when I was honored to have it featured in the Curated Quilts Curves Edition. The magazine is fantastic and this issue is full of great talent (if I do say so myself!)

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I even had some left over the quilt back. I think a random scrappy placement would make a really cool quilt, too!

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You can take this block tutorial to make all sorts of fun things! So let’s jump into it! They are curves, but they are super simple! Trust me on this! Let’s go!

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1. Stack the background and star fabrics, right sides up with the star fabric on top of the background fabric. 

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2. Trim off each corner with a quarter circle shape. No rulers! Start your curves at approximately the center of each side of the background fabric and finish on the adjacent side of your square, in approximately the center of the background fabric block.

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3. You want to keep the corners in the same location as they were cut! Discard the star fabric corners and the background fabric star. (I keep all my scraps, so you can keep them and use them to make an inverse color Falling Stars quilt!) Then stack your star and corners and move to your sewing machine.

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4. Line up your star fabric with a quarter circle of the background fabric. Right sides together. You will want the background fabric to overlap the corners of the star fabric by about a half inch. Do not line up the corners of the background and star fabrics!

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5. Now sew it together. No pinning! This is all about moving the pieces slowly through your machine and continually aligning the two pieces. You want to hold the top fabric in your left hand and very slowly, move the star fabric with your right hand. As you sew, continually move the blue and yellow fabric towards each other so that the edges align with each other as you continue from one end to the other. If you need to stop and adjust, that’s fine. At the end, the bottom fabric is going to try to stick out and it’s ok if it does! 

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6. Iron each quarter circle as you go. Iron towards the background fabric. You’ll see that the fabric will guide you to ironing towards the background fabric! 

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7. Sew on the next quarter circle. Make sure you overlap so that you have at least 1/4″ before the yellow, preferably more.

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8. You’ll end up with a pretty funky shaped block! Use a 6 ½” square template if you have one to square up your blocks. Try to keep at least ¼” of background fabric at each corner of the star. 

Once you get it, you’ll have plenty of stars in no time! Enjoy! 

My son started a new quilt this week and he wanted stars, so I didn’t teach him any old star. I taught him an Improv Star. He made tester block for his first attempt and it wasn’t very good. (Mostly because I cut the fabric the wrong size since I thought it was just a test.) He kept trying to convince himself that it would work because he didn’t think he wanted to make three of these. But by the time he finished the second one, he realized how easy it was and continued on to make the third! If he can do it, so can you!

Can’t wait to see what you make with the Improv Star Quilt Block!

Impossible is a Bad Word- a mini quilt

Here’s a min quilt you may recognize. I actually finished it in 2019, but again, never blogged about it. Catching up! Late is better than never! ha!

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This mini quilt was a Curated Quilts challenge for the Well Said Issue. The challenge was to incorporate a word into the quilt, literally or figuratively. I have always told my son to never say, ‘I can’t,’ without at least trying first. During Christmas time we read a book by Matt Haig, A Boy Called Christmas, and in it the word ‘Impossible’ is considered an elf swearword. The book was great, but that sentiment has stuck with me. That sentiment, combined with our family not saying ‘I can’t’, inspired this quilt.

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I absolutely loved the color pallet for this challenge! Pink, orange, teal and bright green. I could use this color scheme over and over.

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I started by piecing the letters. No plan, pretty improv. The strips of pink were all the same size and I tried to make the letters the same size. But pretty much just winged it!

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Then I sewed them together. It had to be a square, so I had to rotate the letters in a ‘circle’. And I added the border.

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Then I do that crazy thing that quilters do. I cut it into pieces and sewed it back together. I wanted the word to look shattered!

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I wanted the quilting to further enforce the idea of the word being shattered.

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I took these pictures at Jackson Lake Island near Montgomery, AL. It’s a little island where they filmed the movie Big Fish. The only inhabitants are the goats. I just loved this series of pictures and watching the goat look and me, then see the quilt and then head over to maybe take a taste of the quilt. We moved fast, so maybe he just wanted a closer look, but I wasn’t taking my chances…

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Quilts in the Wild! ha!

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Have you made a word quilt? This was my first. And even though I made it in 2019, I still love everything about it. I’ve since made another word quilt last year. Before I made this one, I didn’t think I’d ever really make a word quilt. But now I wouldn’t be surprised if I make more!

A Buffalo Cushion

This is an oldie project that I never shared, but since I’m broken and confined to elevating my broken leg, I’m pullin’ out the oldies to share!

I’m an architect and at our firm at least once a year a vendor will ask us to participate in a design fundraiser. They usually supply a piece of furniture and we have to make it something else or embellish it or something! Then we give the piece back when we’re done and they have a party and silent auction to raise money for something. For this project, I contributed my quilting skills.

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The firm I work for is called Buffalo Design, so we decided to make a Buffalo seat cushion for part of the transformation.

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This is what we started with. A plain blank white chair that’s way heavier than it looks! A co-worker drilled the holes in the back of the seat. (more to come on that…)

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The name of our firm comes from the building where the firm actually began, but our logo is an actual buffalo. Everyone has different colored business cards and we each have a few different angles of the buffalo. The colors of our business cards became the colors of our cushion.

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I sketched out how the pattern would go together and put it in CAD. Which is how I make all my paper pieced patterns!

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Then I just started paper piecing it together until I had our colorful buffalo!

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The cushion fit perfectly in the curved seat.

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My co-workers took on the yarn embellishments! I love the pattern on the front and the pompoms on the back. And again, we stuck with all the colors of our business cards.

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The great thing is, my bosses went to the party and were the high bidder on our chair! So it’s still in our office for us to enjoy! I keep saying I’m going to make the office a buffalo pillow for our couch in the waiting area, but I haven’t yet. One day soon!

Yellow and Grey Improv Complete

This little lovely is the 2016 Seattle Modern Quilt Guild Block of the Month! Yep, 2016. It took me four years to finish it for some reason… No idea why… It wasn’t hard.

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Each month there was a different block or ‘slab’ as the designer, Matt, described it. Each month he’d give us a type of block. Since it’s improv, there weren’t many directions rather a type of block.

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One reason it probably took me longer was that I did it as QAYG (quilt as you go). Which in theory, should make it go faster, but it didn’t seem to be that way for me. When I do these as QAYG, I do it slightly differently than a traditional QAYG. I start the blocks with quilting the middle blocks on the batting. Then I combine the blocks with a 3/4″ seam allowance. then once two blocks are combined, I continue to quilt the blocks, sewing over the seam allowance. At the end I add the quilt back and sew it on by adding more quilting, including some stitch in the ditch.

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I even took my friend, Debbie’s improv class to get some blocks done. And this was back in July of 2017. I got to hang out with her, learn some improv tricks and also get some more blocks done!

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I think that center block is my favorite block in the whole quilt! I could make a couple of quilts from that layout! Right now I’m thinking Christmas placemat and a whole quilt.

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Second favorites are probably all the triangle blocks!

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And the back is made up of all the scraps, extra blocks and extra fabric left over from the front.

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One thing I’ve done this year is finish my stack of SMQG BOM quilts! I need to share the others soon!

I Really Do Care, Do U?- Vote!

The US election is in less than a week. Have you voted? I have. And you probably know how I voted. I’m lucky enough to live in WA and I have voted by mail in ballot and my voted has been counted.

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Do you recognize this? It is definitely not an original graphic image. What’s that word the MQG likes to use?? Derivative? Yep, it’s derivative alright…. But I did make a little change, from Don’t to DO!

I was recently watching a show that mentioned how fast the news changes. One day you are on the front page, the next day, the public has moved on and won’t remember. I’ve shown this to a couple of friends who had forgotten the inspiration behind it.

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This image of this coat on a very important person (to some people) on her way to a very emotionally and politically heated location was seared into my memory. I will never forget this. I will never forget the statement she was making as a part of and for this administration, as it is clearly a feeling the administration has for about half of our country. This is not an administration for all.

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I have never made a politically motivated quilt. My quilting usually doesn’t make a statement. Quilting to me is a way to disconnect from the world and the heaviness that I can’t control. It’s my therapy per se! Kinda like that shirt that I love, ‘I quilt so I won’t kill people.’ That’s totally me!

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Making the letters was a little harder than I imagined it was going to be! For each one I did a version of the inset circle tutorial I have on the blog. Just not always circles! Not all of them look exactly like the jacket I was trying to recreate, but I think I got pretty close.

Another technique I used was just curved piecing.

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If you look closely, check out the quilting. It’s actually hard to see, but it does say VOTE. Our way as Americans to make change is to VOTE for those who we feel will represent us and our ideals in the law making. There seemed to be a lot of apathy in the last election, but I’m hopefully that this election year has brought out the power of the VOTE for the upcoming younger generations.

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And the back… A little play on our flag… I had this red and white striped fabric sitting on my shelf for about 10 years now, so I was so excited to use it. I took it down and it had these stains on it. I was so bummed!

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Sitting next to the striped fabric all these years was also this red and white gingham that is very Americana to me. An upcycled sheet waiting for it’s new life! It was big enough to use as a whole piece. But as I was standing there, looking at it, I looked up and saw this bright blue fabric (Cotton and Steel Freckles) with the little ‘stars’ on it, I had to throw it in there!

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I always throw in a label photo….

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A little behind the scenes, ‘Are you done yet?’ Ha!

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I had so many Halloween makes planned, but this got in the way…

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The Daily Improv

I’ve said it other years, but this is my year of cleaning out my WIPS! I’m doing a good job of it, now to get them photographed and blogged about!

This is my first quilt I finished this year! It’s not one of my oldest WIPs, but it was sitting there just waiting! All the blocks were done, they just weren’t put together…

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Amy Ellis of Amy’s Creative Side had a one week Improv Challenge last year.  The intent was to get you started in improv. I love improv and am not new to it, but I couldn’t resist her one week challenge. Who knew it would actually over a year for it to all come together though… (well, I should have known based on my track record!)

Each day you get a prompt and make one block from that prompt.

And actually, it looks like anyone can still do it any time. Just sign up here!  Each day sends you a new prompt and it’s a great way to try something new or different with out the commitment of a long term sew along!

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I really love how it turned out!

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I think the first day was stripes. In this picture you can see my stripes block and one of the triangle blocks to the right. The top one was the paper pieced improv block challenge. I still struggle with the idea of paper piecing and improv in the same sentence. To me they don’t go together! Other people would totally disagree with me and that’s ok! So I made a couple of paper piecing patterns and went with it. We’re trying new things, right?

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This is my favorite one! The Log Cabin block! I love improv log cabin blocks. love love love! I actually made two of these!

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And curves. Another of the prompts was curves. I think I ended up with two curve blocks, too. There’s even more curves bceuase as I was squaring up the blocks, I would use those cut off pieces in other blocks areas to make the blocks ‘fit’ with each other. I love the little bits of curves here and there.

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And then the back was a big improv block in itself! As I mentioned before, I used a lot of my ‘cut off’ pieces to piece the front. I also incorporated smaller scraps to fill in the background space. I had a few smaller pieces left over for the back, but I mostly used the bigger scraps. When I was done with the back, I had just enough of this fabric pull left for the binding!

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I’m usually a straight line, one pattern all over kind of quilter. Trying new things with piecing doesn’t scare me. trying new thing with quilting does! In this one, I tried to change the quilting in different areas to reflect the improv shapes of the blocks. You can see it here on the back pretty well.

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What do you think? Are you up to the challenge? Give it a try!

The Daily Improv

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Design by me, with prompts from Amy’s Creative Side

Quilted my me

Completed in  March 2020

 

Flamingo Pouch

My mom recently had a flamingo themed birthday party, so when I saw the flamingo pattern by Quiet Play, I knew I had to make her something using the flamingo pattern! And I’m totally in love with these 3D Flamingos! ha! I also used them on her party invites.

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The pattern is for a 12″ paper pieced block, but I reduced it in half to get a 6″ block for the pouch.

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I added a little back pocket to the pouch.

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I had this coral fabric that I bought because my flamingo loving mom is also totally in love with coral. I’ve had it for ages knowing I’d have a good reason to use it for her. And this worked perfect with the pink flamingo on the front. You can also see the outside pocket was lined with this fabric as well.

I also love the pink zipper!

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What else would you use this pattern for?? I love it and want to use it again!

Improv Mini Quilts for Curated Quilts Issue 5

I used to post 2 to 3 times a week, every week… Life has gotten in the way of that. Now with my haphazardly posting routine, I just realized I never posted my mini quilts for the Improv Issue of Curated Quilts!

 

Yes, Issue 5 was released by in 2018… But I still love these mini quilts!

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I made and submitted three mini quilts for this challenge, but only one was chosen to be featured in the Mini Gallery. Down the Rabbit Hole is the one that made it in. I called it Down the Rabbit Hole because I had only intended to make one mini quilt, but once I got started making, I went down the rabbit hole of mini quilts and made 3!

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My original design idea was to make one of my Quilt Design a Day quilts into a mini.

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And I started it, but my first block was too big to combine three of them into a mini. So I went with this block and made a mini with it.

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I kinda ‘framed’ the circle piece inside an improv log cabin. And this is the one that was selected to be in the magazine.

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I love a pieced back, but for these mini quilts, I almost never piece the backs! At what size do you decide to make a pieced back versus a single piece of fabric back? My first mini submission for Curated Quilts, I do have a pieced back, but that might be the only mini with a pieced back I have done.

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Then I went back to my original project idea and made three smaller circular pieces to match the original QDAD design.

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The funny thing is, I made this one, and was so excited about it. But once these first two were done, I knew my favorite was the Down the Rabbit Hole!

So then I still had a pile of scraps from both of these quilts and what was I do to with them, but make a third mini quilt!

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Keeping in line with the improv curves, I decided to try out one of my office doodle designs!

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If you follow me on IG, you know that I have a habit of doodling during office meetings and lectures. It does actually keep me focused on what is being discussed! I had this one in my sketch book and decided to try it out!

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And this is what became of it! and this started me on a course of many more quarter improv circle quilts. I’d say in the last two years, it’s probably my favorite design! You’ll see it more once I start blogging my more recent finishes…

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And now I want to turn them all into pillows! What do you think?

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What do you do with your mini quilts?

A Little Elephant Pouch Gift

For the holidays I really enjoyed making handmade gifts for family. I do enjoy a nice quick ‘er’ project than a full quilt every now and then!

This project was a bunch of new! A new pattern, times two, altering a paper pieced pattern, sewing with cork and new quilting pattern.

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The pattern is by Olesya Lebedenko Design and I got it from her etsy shop. She has a lot of cute patterns.  This came in a set of other ‘Jungle Flat Face Animals’. The paper piecing pattern set up is different than I am used to. It’s not set up with the 1/4″ seams shown, so there are more copies required to get the pattern pieces you need. But it still worked. I loved the elephant face, but I didn’t like that the trunk just ended. So I added that on myself. The corners didn’t come together perfectly, but close enough for me. And if you look at at the right angle, you don’t notice it as much! ha!

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Then I had to decide what to do with my little elephant head! This person was already getting pot holders and I’d given them coasters another year… Then I found Sew Sweetness’ Persimmon Dumpling Pouch pattern. And that was that! It’s a free pattern on her blog and even comes with a video tutorial. It’s a really easy make.

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Not too long ago, I was gifted an amazing pouch by a friend in my guild and she had done this awesome quilting on it. (Yes, I still need to share about that!) I was totally inspired by her to do the quilting on this little pouch! The quilting on the back is moreo detailed than in the front. I was planning on doing the back pattern on the front as well, but it seemed like it would be too busy and take away from the elephant.

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The inside uses a contrasting grey fabric. I also love how well this zipper goes. When I saw the zipper I knew I’d be able to use it and this was the perfect project for it!

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And the cork bottom! This wasn’t actually the first time I had used cork. But it is the first time I’ve used it in a pouch and really had to work with it. I’ve ben hoarding my cork fabric for way too long. I finally busted it out and made some wallets and was hooked! Ordered more and have a lot of plans for it now! I love it!

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And that’s my elephant pouch! It’s my Persimmon Dumpling Flat Faced Elephant Pouch!