How I did it: I am a member of the Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild. We were given a challenge to create a doll quilt in any design, at least 12" square.
I like to decorate for the seasons and I wanted to make a wallhanging for April. I found a couple of paper-pieced umbrella blocks and used Electric Quilt 6 to combine them to make a new block and design a simple on-point quilt.
I went to my fabric stash and pulled a pale gray solid to represent a cloudy day, a mottled bright pink for the umbrella cover, and a black solid for the handle.
Once the quilt top was sewn together, I cross-stitched "April Showers" in the center block. I did a pillowcase finish, attached raindrop-shaped beads and added some stitching in metallic thread.
I like how the little quilt turned out. I took it to my guild meeting yesterday and people seemed to enjoy it. I'll use it as a wallhanging.
Lessons & tips: Be willing to accept less than literal elements. I was lucky enough to find raindrop-shaped beads, but until then I had gathered half a dozen other shapes, and I was ready to choose the best of those.
Be true to your style and esthetic. When I first learned of the challenge it was to be a competition. My first reaction was to create something different from my own style in order to win the prize. But after thinking about it and remembering the many Top Chef and Project Runway shows I've watched, I decided to do my own thing even if it meant not winning the prize. As it turns out the competition part was cancelled, and now I have a little quilt that I love, and I was able to stay true to myself.
Resources: Internet search for paper-pieced umbrellas
Cross-stitch.com (Caption Maker)
Electric Quilt 6
My fabric stash
It took me 7 days.
It made me smile