A packed Bliss cushion. 

It all started at the Bloggeratti retreat in November.  I had the idea to make personalised reading cushions for my son, daughter and their partners for Christmas. I have blogged about the making of  ‘Bliss’ pillows before ( https://ukqu.co.uk/the-bliss-pillow/ ) and, in short, these are reading pillows but with the added bonus of having a pocket for a book, wine and chocs; everything in one place for when you have time to relax. These sounded perfect for my grown-up kids and there partners.

I love the improv stars (thank you Helen Howes for introducing them to me in your blog) and wondered about putting images in the centre of the stars.  In preparation for the retreat I printed a number of small images; each cushion, I decided, required an individual image of the recipient and one with their partner.  I used a PhotoFabric which is 100% cotton poplin.  This comes in A4 sheets and is ready to go through an inkjet printer.  Once printed, the ink is dried overnight and then rinsed under cold water until all the spare ink disappears – not that I have ever seen any ink coming out when rinsing.  Just as a side note; I did print colour images but black and white are more stable.  Check out what type of ink you use if you want a long life image;  pigment inks tend to be permanent and not all colour cartridges are the right type, while black ones tend to be OK. 

I cut the photographs 1/2” larger than I wanted for the centre of the star and then worked the improv star around it.  The stars are quick and easy to make and look very effective.  You can read Helen Howes wonderful blog on how to create them.

I made a selection of these – then got cold feet about whether or not they would appreciate them or find them too twee!  So I packed them up at the retreat and went to work on something else.  When I got home I decided to be brave and go ahead patching the stars together to make four cushions as originally intended. 

No one ever tells you how difficult the decision making process is for making gifts for other people – no matter how well you know them!


The pieces were patched together so that the star blocks were in the top half of the 19″ square (for an 18″ cushion pad).  This was then layered and quilted before a pocket  was added stretching the whole width of the cushion and about half way up.  A dividing line was stitched down the pocket to make two sections. The dividing stitch line was slightly off centre making a bigger section for a book and a smaller section for a small bottle of wine and a bar of chocolate. All that remained was to add the back section and insert the cushion pad.  I did add a little pocket on the back of each and this is for a pair of glasses or tissue.  Job done!

I am pleased to say they were well received at Christmas after I filled them with a book, a small bottle of vegan wine and vegan chocolate. These would make great gifts at other times as well!