Then I saw a pattern for a pieced Deer Quilt Block on the Sew Fresh Quilts blog and just had to make it. I picked a leafy green for the background to give the impression the deer was deep in the forest. This pdf pattern finishes as a 8" block so some of those pieces are tiny. I did not want to invest the time for a whole quilt, but a small wall hanging would be the right level of effort. I finished the block long before house guests arrived for the holidays.
Then I got the idea to print the photo of Dan in his rugged pose on fabric and use it on the reverse side, but ran out of time before Christmas morning. So I scanned the block I'd pieced, printed its scan and the photo on paper, placed them back to back in a sheet protector, and gifted that under the tree. This also had the advantage I could give my son the choice of a wall hanging or a small pillow. Here is my son holding up his promise of a gift. He elected I make it into a pillow that he could take with him on future hunting trips.
Today I set out to complete the pillow. This is the photo fabric I used. It worked like a dream in my inkjet printer. What did not work like a dream was that I could not find the package I'd bought before Christmas and had to run out and buy another after 90 minutes of frustrated, fruitless searching about my sewing room and computer area. Five 8½" x 11" sheets of cotton twill come in the package for $11.99 but I used a 50% off coupon so paid just over $1.00 per sheet – if you do not count the first package I lost somewhere in the house. Oh, well. If it turns up I will return it. I was determined to complete and blog about this project today.
Here is the bordered block and the bordered photo squared up and ready for a 14" x14" pillow form. I topped stitched the brown border seams around the photo to reinforce them.
I backed the pieced block with a square of bamboo batting covered by a square of flannel. The layers can be seen in the upper right corner of the next photo. This precaution was to keep the reindeer head intact by preventing those ¼" seams from coming loose. The block was not paper pieced. I did a stitch in the ditch around the deer head and antlers through all three layers and here is how it looked from the back.
The infamous photo is on the reverse side. It is orange and somewhat scary, so perhaps it is better suited for Halloween. Nevertheless, I will mail the pillow off with a note that wishes my son Dan a "Merry Christmas". Much to my son's chagrin and my relief, it was a merry holiday for the unscathed deer as well.