Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Ultimate, Practical Christmas Tree

SewCalGal is running a Christmas quilt show starting November 14, 2010. 


This blog entry is my submission to the show, although the quilt itself was made in 2004.  Although this quilt has it's own webpage on my quilting website, Dread Pirate Rodgers, I am copying the information here, so it can be included in SewCalGal's Christmas Quilt Show.



The Ultimate, Practical Christmas tree  
(for apartment dwellers)  
made in 2004


I'm not quite sure how I allow myself to get into these situations, but here's another case of Real Life doing an end run around my plans to stick to my UFO pile.

Earlier this year, my oldest Dear Daughter, who is living in an apartment while she attends college, had bemoaned the fact that she had absolutely no space for a Christmas Tree and she was Very Sad. Being the supportive Mom that I am, I suggested that I could make her a quilted Christmas Tree wall-hanging as a substitute.  With further discussion, it evolved into a wall-hanging that she could actually hang real ornaments on and that real lights could be used. At that point, we just left the discussion where it was.

Over Thanksgiving, she was able to come home and the project was resurrected.


She drew a full-sized pattern for me to work from; we raided my stash (pitifully lacking in appropriate fabrics) and augmented with fabrics from 2 different local quilt stores.
 
I began working on it and steadily over the days, it began to take shape. Dear Daugher returned to school and I continued working on her wall-hanging.  I put an extra layer of batting in the snow boughs so they would be extra poofy.










Originally, my daughter wanted "branch shaped" quilting lines on the snow boughs, but after I showed her a picture of it, she decided that she liked the unquilted snow boughs better and could I please remove the quilting? [sigh]

(aside: isn't this picture awesome??  The light coming in from the side window really shows the poofy "snow covered" branches and reveals just how three-dimensional it is.  It also shows the branchy quilting I had done, which was ultimately rejected.)


Originally, the thought was to put ribbon loops on the tree so that real ornaments could be hung, but in practice, the ribbon loops looked awful. I substituted loops made from perle cotton. I found some extra tiny mini-tree lights, powered by a battery pack at JoAnn's. I made buttonholes in the wall-hanging where the lights could be pushed through to the front.


At night, with the mini-lights turned on, it looks very dramatic. The battery pack was placed in a pocket I sewed to the back of the quilt. Two hanging sleeves where made .. one obviously on the top, but another one on the bottom, so that another rod could be put there for weight ... to help hold the wall-hanging straight.

Addendum:  the quilt was delivered to Dear Daughter,  who has since moved several times.  I hope that this quilt has moved with her, even if all the boxes were never fully unpacked after each move.   When she finally settles in one place for "a while" and the contents of the boxes are rediscovered, I hope the quilt brings back fond memories. :-)

Merry Christmas, Catherine.  :-)


love, Mom

40 comments:

  1. That is so clever. I've certainly never seen anything like it. I love how it can be lit up too.

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  2. Wow! This is a brilliant idea. Great design and planning on your part.
    The end result looks great and can be used exactly as your daughter wanted.
    A wonderful quilt!

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  3. This is an amazing tree! What a great idea for kids who are moving around, seniors who are in small spaces or just as a cool home dec. LOVE IT!Thanks for sharing it!

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  4. I have never seen anything like this one - how original.
    Karen
    http://karensquilting.com/blog/

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  5. Shelley, What we won't do for our children LOL! You are one very resourceful lady :)

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  6. Wow- you love your daughter LOL!! I can't even imagine letting my daughter design for me. I'm in the middle of a Christmas art quilt too so I know how hard design decisions are!! Great job!!

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  7. Wow!! It's really great. Love it!!

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  8. You are my hero!! I have been trying to find a way to put lights on a wallhanging for 2 years. Awesome job.

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  9. Very clever indeed. Great job :-)

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  10. This wall hanging is wonderful! And I agree that the poofy boughs look better than the quilted ones...just a crime to remove quilting, though! Ouch! Thanks for the inspiration....and....

    You win the best mom award!

    regan :o)

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  11. What a good Mom you are, and what a lucky daughter you have. That design is beautiful and awesome. I'm sure she treasures it.

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  12. Well that's a novel idea. Hope she gets many years of usage out of it.

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  13. This is such a neat idea! I wish I had one of these when I lived in a tiny apartment!

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  14. What a great Mom! And yes, the one pic is awesome showing the dimension! Well done!

    ...Karen

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  15. You are a wonderful creative Mom. I'm sure that quilt will be loved forever and continue to be a source of memories. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Great idea! Great mom! Great story!

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  17. Mom, you are the greatest and she will have one of a kind and one very special mom. Love Lois

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  18. That is so cute!! I've neve seen anything like that...kudos to you and daughter!

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  19. To make design and make something with your daughter is so special! And it will be a wonderful reminder when she opens it again.

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  20. What a loving Mama you are! Lucky gal. That is one cool tree quilt!

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  21. What a great mom you are! It is terribly creative!

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  22. Hi all -- I'm Shelley's eldest daughter. :)

    I do indeed still have this quilt. My mom wasn't wrong in assuming that during some moves, I haven't always found which box I'd packed the quilt in before Christmas arrived. But I definitely still like and hang up the quilt whenever it is found in time. (I've lived in 11 different apartments since she made me the quilt, so the stars do have to align for it to get hung up on the wall for Christmas.)

    In addition to the lights, which are awesomely pretty, I've also sometimes hung real (light-weight) ornaments from it. The cats find that to be great fun.

    I do feel lucky to have a creative, generous mom. Shelley is my favorite mother. ;)

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  23. Your tree is lovely, and isn't it fun having a daughter that can talk you into making things... I ended up making a civil war ball gown for ours because I told her she should dress for her Halloween day at work and this year it was help her make a wedding cake for her step daughter.. Open mouth insert foot... but I love it, makes me feel appreciated.

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  24. Una idea grandiosa!
    Ciao Domenica

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  25. What A great design/idea. Its a wonderful quilt...

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  26. Very clever and creative. Great design.

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  27. What a wonderful quilt and precious story of how it came to be! You should work up a pattern because I think this would wonderful for all those college kids in tiny dorm rooms!

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  28. It's amazing what you can come up with when a couple of people brainstorm! Love it!

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  29. Love the lights! What a great project to do with your daughter!

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  30. Wow, very impressive. I have never seen lights on a quilt, but I like it. Your daughter is lucky, and talented.

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  31. Wonderful originality, you do need to market a pattern I would buy one!

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  32. What a clever idea. Love the snow branches.

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  33. How cool is this! Very nice - thanks for sharing

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  34. A lot of work, but it paid off in the end. Very original and clever. I must congratulate you on this one...
    Elzaan

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  35. Wow I need to put on a jacket as I just got a chill! Amazing quilt. You did a fantastic job. Love it.

    SewCalGal
    www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

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  36. Wonderful design, the quilt is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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  37. Beautiful quilt. Such a wonderful idea on the lights.

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  38. I googled "Christmas tree quilt with real lights", and came across your blog. Thanks for sharing! I have been making plans and sketches to make pretty much this same quilt for about a year and a half now, and was looking to see if anyone had made something like what I wanted before. (I don't want to reinvent the wheel if I don’t' have to.) The similarities between what I've come up with and your design is scary...down to the white snow bottom and blue sky, and button holes for the lights! Now that Christmas is over, I might get a chance to finally get started on it.

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