Guest blog post by Sari Thomas of @sariditty and Nikki Young of @lillyellasworld
While neither of us can remember exactly how we met (we just know it was on Instagram) and it was only about a year ago, we both agree it feels like it’s been a lifetime and agree we must be twins separated at birth. We are just a couple years apart in age and are both military wives without children who love big mutts and cannot lie. An affinity for donuts and hyperactive creative drives are the two most prominent traits we share among a lengthy list of similarities. It didn’t take long before a few emails turned into an occasional text, which turned into an everyday text, which turned into neither of us being able to make a decision without the other one involved. All of our projects began to feel like joint efforts, so it only made sense for us to team up officially.
While some people may think all we do is eat donuts and wear fancy leggings, in reality, we’ve teamed up and created SARIELLA (@sariellastudios) to bring the best of our two minds to life through unique patterns, fun tutorials, and miscellaneous crafty goodness. When we’re invited to work with a fabric line for an event or blog tour, we can’t help but jump at the opportunity for an exciting side project (and by jump we mean dive head first and don’t come up for air until we’re done). #sendcoffee #andpoolnoodles
In this instance, Andover asked us to create a piece for Spring Market using the new Whisper Palette by Lizzy House. The timing was serendipitous in that we already had a work visit (a.k.a. SARIELLA retreat) planned at Sari’s for the following week. Though we’ve grown accustomed to working with 1,466 miles and two time zones between us (Sari currently lives in West Virginia and Nikki is in Colorado), sharing airspace definitely makes the collaborative process easier and way more fun.
When deciding what to create with a specific fabric line or bundle, we draw our inspiration solely from the theme of the collection. We are constantly brainstorming and always have several patterns and ideas in various stages of development. We look to these first and decide if any are a good match to best showcase the fabric, but we often end up designing a new pattern specifically created for the collection. This involves maxing out an unlimited cell phone plan (I bet you didn’t know that was possible) and bouncing ideas off each other for about 15 uninterrupted hours, pausing only for dog exercise and donut refills.
With Whisper Palette, however, we knew almost instantly that a few antique star cut diamond sketches that Sari had been working on would showcase the collection perfectly, so the only question remaining was what specifically to do with them. We tend to dream big, and that’s always where we start. Occasionally, we have to rein in our ideas due to any number of limitations; whether it’s turn around time, space constraints, or a limited amount of fabric because we’re working with strike offs. And sometimes all of the above.
We’ve both really been into adding fun 3D elements to our projects lately and our initial idea was to create a large mobile of dangling gems; however, hanging it was just not a possibility with the setup of the Andover Spring Quilt Market booth. So, from there we scaled back and revamped our idea into what became our final design.
After hashing out all the project details, Sari finalized her sketches and sent them off to Nikki to work her digital pattern magic. One day later (and one day before her flight to BWI), three patterns were ready to go. Thanks to the perfect timing of Giuseppe and UPS, a box of whispery goodness was waiting for us at Sari’s house when we got home from the airport. The next steps of deciding on fabric placement and creating the pieces took a fraction of time compared to what it normally would since we were together, but typically this process involves texting numerous photos back and forth, mailing supplies, deciding how to split the work load and partaking in a few dozen overly-caffeinated Face Time sessions.
While most of a project’s details are determined ahead of time, sometimes ideas for special finishing touches hit us only after a piece is completed. In this case, we both knew that these gems needed a little extra sparkle and that heat set Swarovski crystals were perfect for the job. We also have one more final step to complete this piece, but you’ll have to wait until Market for that reveal!
With side projects like this, sometimes a pattern we create is ready to be released as is, and sometimes the pattern needs modifying into a more versatile design before releasing. We wanted these diamonds to make a bold statement for Market, but will most likely add additional gem cut designs and create a larger series which are formatted to be used as minis, pillows, or in a quilt.
We’ve loved sharing a bit about ourselves and what SARIELLA is all about. And we can’t wait to hear your feedback about our Andover project. If you are in attendance at Market, please find the awesome Andover booth and snap a pic with our gemstones and tag us on Instagram (@sariellastudios) – we’d love to see them and you!
xo Sari & Nikki