Friday, 10 February 2017

Happy Little Mushrooms

Its been a pretty rough few weeks at work.  I've been getting frustrated, very negative and extra cynical about things that are outside of my control. I found myself frequently referring to myself and my colleagues as "Happy Little Mushrooms". (For those that might not be familiar with the phrase, its a reference to the preferred growing conditions for many mushroom species - kept mostly in the dark and heavily fed/fertilised with manure!)

All that negativity was not good for my well-being; it was not good for the people around me and it was really not very professional (especially given my tendency to blurt out exactly what I'm thinking when I let my emotions get the better of me - that's going to get me into big trouble one day!). I really needed to find a way to turn that negativity around and get into a better head space.

Creating makes me happy so what better way to turn it around than to channel all that negative energy into something creative?

And so the "Happy Little Mushrooms" pattern came into being. These little paper pieced guys were originally based on some clip art I came across, but remind me very much of the mushrooms in Nintendo's Mario games.

I got a mini production line happening and made 6 of these paper pieced little mushrooms over the past week. I then turned them into coasters/ mug rugs by adding 3/4 inch sashing strips of background fabric all around, quilting and then machine binding them with a mitred and flanged machine binding (from a tutorial I found over at Karens Quilts, Crows and Cardinals).

It was a good opportunity to practice my FMQ and binding skills - I get tons of practice paper-piecing blocks but I still haven't finished many of my WIPs so the quilting and binding is a part of the process I'm still working on getting right every time I attempt it.

Six happy little mushrooms

My Happy Little Mushrooms  have now been shared among my immediate work colleagues (who have also been going through the same frustrations). Between us the finished works are sitting on desks, pinned up on partitions and whiteboards or being used as mug rugs. They're so bright and cheerful that just seeing them around the office makes me happy!

About the pattern

You can download the Happy Little Mushrooms Pattern here,

The pattern is designed for paper-piecing and finishes at 5 inches square (5.5 inches unfinished).

If, like me, you are planning on using the blocks on their own for mug rugs or similar I suggest adding a 1/2 to 1 inch wide sashing strip of background fabric on all four sides before quilting or the edges of the mushroom might get lost in the binding. This will obviously make your finished block larger than 5 inches (size will depend on the width of sashing you choose) so make sure you take that into account when you're planning your project.

I hope you enjoy. And don't forget to share pics or let me know how you went if you try making these happy little guys.


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