Finally, I had a single spark 8 days before the deadline.
Here is my partner's inspiration mosaic. I stared at it off and on for days. Suddenly, the apple fabrics and the pear shapes and the leaves struck me, and I thought, "pear tree." That immediately led to singing a part from the Twelve Days of Christmas, which led me to "partridge!!" I knew I wanted details. I didn't want to fit a vague bird on top of a tree on a small potholder.
We've been doing a lot of reading to Henry about the alphabet and that led me think about alphabet books featuring one simple picture and a letter. I then exchanged the letter "P" for a strip of pieced squares instead. I thought the squares would tie the two potholders together best.
Then I drew my designs, and traced them onto freezer paper. I heavily starched my fabric choices, ironed the fusible webbing on the back, ironed the freezer paper shape on the front and then carefully cut out each shape. After that I peeled off the freezer paper, placed the pieces on the background fabric and ironed them to fuse. Lastly, I carefully appliqued each piece, adding the stem and the eye last.
The bigger block was cut and the strip of squares was sewn on. I used a square of recycled felt sweater for the insulating part of the potholder. Wool felt works great to keep your hands safe and it is flame resistant. I also love the texture of wool inside a potholder as opposed to the standard crinkly Insul-Bright.
To complete the potholders, I did some simple machine quilting around the designs and some hand quilting in the ditch between the design square and the pieced border.
Sometimes I just have to wait for the creative inspiration to strike and then roll with it. I'm really glad I did. These were hard to let go of.
Next time I'll have to tell you about the ornament design that I made up and completed in just three days! I might just pull together a tutorial for it, too.