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5,4,3,2,1 Things About Me

Makezine has a really fun series of profiles using a 5,4,3,2,1 format and Wild Olive invited her readers to join in. And now Makezine has invited everyone to join in. So here goes. . .

Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World with her first quilt

One Project You Are Particularly Proud Of

1: My very first quilt. I had almost no sewing experience at that point and I designed this enormous quilt with insane needle-turned applique letters and hand quilting. I figured it out as I went along (this was – ahem – before the internet) and just took it one step at a time. And it turned out fine! That experience really informed what I do now – I think beginners can tackle just about anything if they take it one step at a time. The most important thing is to make something you’re excited about making.

Two Mistakes You’ve Made in the Past

1: Not studying art in college. I was a good student and good students don’t go to art school, right? Plus, I thought that artists were painters and I’ve always been intimidated by painting. I wish I had known back then just how many different careers there are for artists.

2: Doing too much production work in the first iteration of Shiny Happy World. For me the joy is in the designing, figuring out the kinks, making the construction as simple as possible to achieve the look I want. Once I figure all that out, assembly-line construction of 100 bunnies isn’t much fun – though they look cute all stacked up. 🙂

Three Things That Make Your Work Unique

1: There’s a deliberate asymmetry and hand-drawn quality to all my designs that I think (hope) gives them personality and charm.

2: My color choices might look wild, but I actually have a very specific palette of bright, true colors I go to again and again.

3: Almost everything I do is designed to be made by beginners.

Four Tools You Love to Use

1: Needle and thread. I LOVE sewing and quilting by hand.

2: My Pfaff sewing machine with built-in walking foot.

3: My extra large cutting mat.

4: My extra-wide ironing board.

Five Inspirations

1: The Muppets

2: Ed Emberley

3: Eric Carle

4: Lauren Child

5: vintage toys (especially Fisher Price Little People)

Want to join in? Post your own profile 5,4,3,2,1-style and put a link in the comments so we can all read it!


Applique Wendi (with fabulous hat)



  1. Fun! I’ll be getting to this, I’m sure. I thought it was really neat that Craft invited everyone to play along.

  2. Thanks for playing along, Ruby Lynn! And I can’t wait to read yours Amy!

  3. It was fun to read yours – and I love that little girl dolly!

  4. Hi Wendy
    I really enjoy your patterns and send some of my students to your site to have a look see! Can you tell me which Pfaff sewing machine you have please? Watching your quilting video — it looks like a super machine. I have a chance to buy a second user Pfaff Epr 4.00.

    Thanks in advance!

    • It’s a great machine – the model is called LifeStyle – but I bought it 12 years ago and they don’t make it anymore. 🙁

  5. Crystal Bullock SAYS...

    Do you teach classes I live in NC would love to take a class.

    • Sorry – I almost never have time to teach in-person classes.

  6. First of all, you have beautiful skin. I ended up on a page with a picture of you with short pixie hair. Couldn’t find the page again. Second thing is that I evidently forgot to download Lucien the Lion when he was up and could I buy it again, I think it was August selection funny faces. I have made (sort of) Silas and Bellamy and am going to make them into place mats (hopefully) thought I’d put a Christmas design on back of them for the holidays. I wrote before but I think I was confused and it probably sounded like that too. I love these little things you do, so much fun. I’m working on my designs right now so I’ll post a picture when I finish.
    So happy to hear how you started as I almost started sewing the same way, wanted more clothes in high school so sewed them myself by following the pattern to learn to sew them.

  7. Lisa Joiner SAYS...

    I could not put my finger on what was resonating in your designs…until I read this post. Ed Emberley!! I have loved him since I first found him back in the 80’s. I just started quilting this summer and have finished 3 quilts. The new year is when I concentrate on making shiny, happy things! The sloth and munch top my list, then I’m doing the cats in black and purple. Thanks for making everything look easy. Tell Alan hello…before I loved your work, I loved his…and from him, learned about you!! He visited my school in Lawrenceville, GA. PS: do you have a studio people can visit in NC?

    • Thanks so much! And no – I don’t have a studio people can visit. I do all my work at home and just try to post as much as possible about the process online. 🙂