Last November I spent a week with my Aunt Sandra in Santa Fe.  I called it a week long “Artist’s Date”.    Aunt Sandra had a successful Interior Design Business in the 1980’s. While I was there she bestowed upon me her “Stash” of designer fabrics. They would qualify now as vintage or retro. I get the two mixed up.  The only thing she asked in return was for me to make her ten chair cushions to replace the old ones that were made when she built the house 20 years ago.  I’m returning to visit her again next month.  The cushions are finished. The following is a little “Show and Tell” of my (non) process.

We laid four large tubs of fabric out on her dining table.  Mostly decorator samples and some yardage.

I kept sorting and rearranging, touching, feeling and rearranging again. I was completely absorbed in the textures and colors for days.  Even though the fabric is 80’s vintage, good taste and quality are timeless.

I brought one of her sad little old pillows home with me for measurements and reference.
It was so sad I felt sorry for it.
I called a source company that I use,  Pillow-Express, with the measurements. They fabricated these custom inserts and shipped them to me in less than a week.  They do a beautiful job and are reasonably priced.
Aunt Sandra’s only requests were these:
 zipper closures, no quilting, no piping, random fabrics.
 She wanted no two alike. I started pulling fabrics and sorting them.
This part was fun, but out of my comfort zone.  As a former accountant, my brain is trained for everything to balance and be the same.  I know my Aunt Sandra very well and I love her taste and her home (and everything else about her). That’s were the fun starts.
 I started staging the fabric. I did not have it in me to be totally random with it.  That must be a personality disorder. I felt compelled to match the texture and weight of each pillow as best I could. I tried to have a floral on one side, a geometric on the other, similar colors  In other words,
I drove myself crazy trying to organize randomness!
I made one prototype to test the measurements and the best way to install the zipper. Honestly, I’m pretty sure I haven’t installed a zipper since Mrs Yeck’s Home Ec. class. For sure it was the first time on this machine.  I was surprised to find a zipper foot.  Who knew?
I was also surprised to find out how hard it is to find a zipper in a store these days. I had to go online which made me a little nostalgic for the hometown fabric store of my youth.
The rest of the process was super simple.
Cut the squares, install the zippers, finish the seams, square up the corners, stuff them.
Happy pillows.
I like these so much. I think I’ll order more inserts and make some for my new Etsy Shop.
Puncher, Misti and I are headed to Santa Fe in November to see Aunt Sandra and give her the new cushions.
Maybe we’ll run into Julia again.
Love,  Cowgirl Red   aka Terah
P.S. My Aunt Sandra. My mother’s sister.  She has known me since I was born. Mom’s been gone a while now. This is where I go when I need some “mothering”.
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  1. Lucky Aunt Sandra, I love how they are all different, so lovely…love your kitchen dinning room too!

  2. Those pillows did need a new cover. I'm so glad you did that for her. I absolutely love-love-love that she wanted them all different and no two the same!! You know me and variety. I ordered separate place settings for the table…no two alike. I can pick and choose depending on my mood or what I am eating–LOL! I think I'd love Aunt Sandra!!

    You did a great job. I can't remember the last time I sewed in a zipper, but I may be doing that come fall, too. Have a great time! Hope you get to see Julia, too. 🙂

  3. Anna Circo says:

    Beautiful post dear Red! The cushions are perfect. She is going to love them.

  4. Auretha Callison, SuperNatural Stylist says:

    lOVE, Auretha

  5. rajns (carolyn) says:

    Your cushions are magnificent! She must be thrilled to have such colors! I love the fabrics, probably because I clearly remember the 80's and loved it!

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