Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Galentine's Day!

You haven't heard?  It's Galentine's Day!  The day before Valentine's, and a day to celebrate your "gal" friends.  The special women in your life who support you and are there for you. It's not an official holiday yet (I have hopes, lol) but it was made up by Leslie Knope, a character from the TV show, “Parks and Recreation”.

Island Batik asked the Ambassadors to celebrate by making mug rugs or postcards, and sent us a pretty FQ bundle of pink, red and cream baitks. Mine featured cherries, lemons, and some fun polka dots. Yes, dotty batiks! If you love dots, you'll have to look for this. The cherry print and other fruit will be featured soon.
Why do I forget to take a photo of my bundle before I cut?? lol I guess I can't wait to play!

I decided to make 2 heart blocks. I cut out the following pieces:
Cream/pink dot background: 2 6" squares, and 4 2 1/2" squares.
Pink Fruit: 1 6" square.
Red Cherries: 1 6" square
Assorted other pink and reds: 12 total 2 1/2" squares.

Step 1: Draw diagonal lines from corner to corner on the 2 6" cream blocks. Place right sides together with the pink and red 6" blocks, and sew down 1/4" away from the drawn lines, in both directions. You should have 4 seams per block. Cut along drawn lines, and also along the center square (3" line), both ways, to make 8 triangles. Trim, using the Quilt In A Day Triangle Square Up ruler, along the 2 1/2" line, so they finish at 2", and trim dog ears. Press the pink to the cream side, and press the red/cream to the red side.

Arrange the squares in a 4 by 4 array to make the heart block. Sew columns 1 and 2 together, chain piecing, and not clipping the connecting threads. Add Column 3, then 4, then sew the rows, alternating the direction of the seams. The block should measure 8 1/2" now. I added 2 1/2" wide strips for a border. Love the dots! I didn't take photos of the steps, but I do the HST like Eleanor Burns of Quilt In A day (there are free tutorials on how to do it, and use the ruler). I like making 8 at a time, and in this case, it was perfect to make 2 blocks, so I could alternate the colors and make it look more scrappy.

I layered it with batting and backing, and quilted with Aurifil 50wt Mako cotton thread. The backing is cute. It has little hearts. My Gal pal Christine had given me vintage afabric she got from an estate. I think this piece was included, so it's only fitting that some goes back to her, on the back of the mug rug.

I used another Island Batik fabric I had that matched, as the binding.

For the second heart, I only added borders on 2 sides.

This one is for me. I need a new makeup bag, and figured a heart would be cute!
I cut the same vintage heart print for the lining, and added a wrist strap. This will look really cute in my bathroom, because the towels and accents are pink. I even had a great pink zipper in my supply.

I quilted the bag front, and the back (a solid piece of pink Island Batik) with hearts and feathers, using the same pink Aurifil thread.



Christine will get her Mug Rug when she comes to have a sew day with me. I hope she comes before all the cupcakes are gone. I baked Red Velvet Cupcakes, but didn't use red food coloring (I limit my artificial ingredients, and wanted to just use the colored sugar). I added a heart shape of red sugar crystals to the top, using the heart cookie cutter from Pampered Chef as a stencil. I just shook the sugar into the heart, after putting it on the icing. Fun, and festive! A great way to celebrate friendship!



I hope you visit the Island Batik Facebook page and look for more inspiration and fun for Galentine's and Valentine's from the Ambassadors. There are so many cute projects!
Thanks for visiting! Have a great week, and I'll be back soon with some kennel quilts.



Maryellen


Friday, February 10, 2017

2017 Island Batik Ambassador Box



This is SEW exciting!  I'm an @IslandBatik Ambassador again, and so thrilled to be part of this wonderfully fun program for another year.  I've been one since 2014, which I think was the first year.  I get gorgeous fabrics, and now, even thread from Aurifil and Superior, and love sharing ideas and the projects made with these products.  

Although the FedEx tracking said my box was to be delivered Thursday, Feb. 9, Long Island was socked with a blizzard and about a foot of snow. 

The truck was recalled, and shipping was rescheduled for today.  It was here before I woke up, so Mom took the box in.  Normally she comes down to my apartment and lets me know, but that didn't happen today.  

So, after putting in my contacts, and letting Hazel out, I took a few moments to open the box.  Yes, before showering and breakfast!  I didn't turn the camera on me, because you really don't need to see my bedhead, lol.





I love being an Ambassador.  The fabrics really are the best, and the colors are wonderful. 
 The monthly challenges are fun, and really push me to design and create things.  I'm glad you're visiting and will share this adventure with me!  

Nancy in California was picked as the winner on the #NewBeginningsBlogHop post I shared in January.  Here's a quick photo of the fabric I'm sending her.  Each piece is at least 1/4 yard.  The top 2 were part of the Christmas 2016 line, and the bottom pieces are from Fifi and Fido, which should be in stores now.  I used them for the hop quilt, and will be using some of the other pieces left to make a few kennel quilts, the challenge for February.  


Thanks again for visiting!  

Monday, February 6, 2017

Finish # 4, Catching Up

Hi!  Thanks for stopping by.  I have something finished.  This was started for the June 2016 Island Batik Modern Batik challenge.  I set the blocks aside, until I could really decide on the layout.  I only had 9 blocks, so couldn't do one I was hoping for, so decided to just do the 7's layout, with all blocks going the same direction.  

Have you done a log cabin block?  My first quilt, back in the late 1980's was a Quilt In A Day Log Cabin, and. the quilt really was done in a day, because we tied it.  I don't know where that quilt ended up (my ex took it), but I do actually have 1 block (my oldest orphan block?)  I do love Log Cabins, and have used my original book to make other quilts.  I also picked up the Quilt In A Day Twisted Log Cabin pattern and the Wonky Ruler a few years ago, and really wanted to try them.  When June's #IslandBatik challenge was Modern Batik, I decided to make the traditional look new, using pinks, creams, and grey.  Then it sat!  

In January 2017, I decided to participate in the APQ 2017 UFO challenge, and this is the quilt on my list for February.  So, it's now a finish!  Yes, finished on Day 5 of the month!  I'm pretty excited about that.  (But I'm procrastinating something else, so finishing this may sound like I'm organized, but it's only a mirage, lol).  #APQResolution


 It didn't take long to sew the 9 blocks together, then add the borders.  I liked the way the cream piece was added, so decided to use the pattern's border design, although I did cut my pieces wider than directed.  It required partial seaming, but that's actually easy, and the directions were perfect.  
 I quilted the light/grey section with a feathery design, and used Aurifil 50wt Mako in 2600, Dove, and the pink and border sections in Aurifil 50wt Mako 1100, Red Plum.  I left the cream border unquilted.  I wanted this to be soft and cuddly, and used a wonderfully soft Ultra Cuddle fabric from JoAnn's on the back.  I'm going to list this as a baby/lap size quilt, because it's really wonderfully soft.  I don't like to do too much quilting when using minkee style fabrics on the back, because it detracts from the softness and can cause stretching.  
 Simple is sometimes better!  


I'm calling this Finish #4 because the quilt for the Tennessee fire victims was finished by Lily at The Batty Quilter.  The rest of the Quiltsy Team donation quilts will be arriving to Jennifer's house soon, so they can be given to the victims in Gatlinsburg.  I'll share the blog post about that when it happens.  Watch my Facebook wall!  

I'm procrastinating doing some more organization in my sewing studio, and I'm waiting for the first box for 2017 from @IslandBatik.  I was chosen again as an Ambassador, and Katie has shared photos in the Ambassador Facebook page to tell us our boxes are coming soon.  I'm thrilled to be an Ambassador again.  The fabrics in this quilt were from Island Batik.  The quality and colors are always wonderful.  And this quilt uses fabrics from previous boxes (as well as some I purchased).  I don't want to start another project yet, because I know I'll want to make something with fabric from the new box.  So, finishing something I had already started makes sense, right??  

Thanks for visiting.  

Monday, January 23, 2017

Island Batik Ambassador Season for Giving

Hi.  This post is a little late, but things have been nuts, as usual, 




Displaying Tis' the Season for Giving.jpg

It's interesting to me to notice that my life is nuts, and that's usual.  It's fine.  Life's a rollercoaster, and I do enjoy a good wooden coaster ride.  

Anyway, Island Batik asked the Ambassadors to make something to donate for December.  And my Quiltsy Team (sellers team on Etsy) asked for quilts to be donated to the survivors of the Tennessee wildfires.  Lily from The Batty Quilter generously offered to quilt 4 tops to send, and I decided to take her up on her offer.  I picked the Lavish strip bundle that was in an Ambassador box, and decided to use the Jelly Roll Race pattern to make a quick top.  I had hoped to get the top done in December, but that's my life right now.  Other things bumped this down on the list.  

Have you seen Lavish?  This strip bundle had beautiful greens and blues.  The prints are unique and the colors are just wonderful.  So, I just sewed the strips end to end, in the order they came out of the package, and then proceeded to make the top. 






To finish this off, I added a 2 1/2 wide border from the Basics collection in Navy.  I was contemplating adding a second border, but didn't have enough in Lavish, and although I have another piece from a new group, which matched the colors, I didn't think it added to the design of the top.  As a frame, it would have been too busy.  So, it's now a top, and on the way to Maine so Lily can have some fun with it.  She'll send it to Jennifer At The Bright Spot, who lives in Tennessee, not far from the fires.  Jennifer plans to deliver over 40 quilts, all donated by Quiltsy Team members, to the victims of the fires.  

I love being an Island Batik Ambassador, and just found out that I'm also a member of the 2017 class.  I'm honored to be picked again, for the 4th time.  They are generous in their boxes, and the monthly challenges have been fun.  I was so glad that this challenge coordinated with the need for quilts for Tennessee, and that I knew Jennifer would get these to people who need them.  It was also wonderful to know that Lily would quilt it for me.  Everything worked to make this a perfect project for #TistheSeasonIB.  

Quick reminder, the #NewBeginningsIB hop is still going on.  Please check my older post for info about the give-away and the schedule.  I hope you've entered to win!   

Thanks for visiting.  
Maryellen


Monday, January 16, 2017

Finish #2 in 2017

Hi!  

I'm so excited about this finish.  First, some background.  I've been sewing for almost my whole life.  I've made tons of things, including a number of "quillow" pillow quilts.  I had used pillow panels and coordinating fabrics, and made tons of these for friends in the 1990's.  My son loved snuggling with his when he was little, and his favorite thing was to put his feet in the pillow pocket.  I think over the years I had made him 2 or 3, because he wore them out.  Yup, it was before I knew about cotton batting, and free-motion quilting.  It was a craft item, and I was making dresses and doing alterations.  I had only quilted down the lines with the edge of the pillow pocket, so 2 lines in a 45" width.  I don't think I have any photos, but it is fun to remember all the ones I made.  

About 3 years ago, after making many real quilts, including one for his bed, I asked my son if he wanted a lap quilt.  I had a beautiful pack of  Island Batik strips in blues and greens.  I had been making the Quilt In A Day Zig A Zag quilt, and knew these strips would be beautiful in it.  He agreed, so I purchased fabric for the setting triangles, border, and binding.  I had the green for the inner border from Island Batik.  I started the quilt, and then it was put aside for other projects.  I needed more stock for my store.  I got a special order, and then more.  I was doing costumes for a high school.  I moved.  You get the picture.  

So, my goal before September was to get this top done, so I could give it to him for Christmas.  I finished the top, added the borders, and got it pinned.  Then my machine broke.  The support for the needle arm was loose, and would require ordering a new head, which basically would cost more than the machine was worth.  I know I'm tough on my machines.  I ended up trading for the same model, but rarely used.  I love Pocono Sew & Vac.  I'll take the 2+ hour trip for the best machine prices and support!  

Then Matt said he was unable to come for Christmas, and I also had the Island Batik quilt to design, and finish to send to be included in their Spring catalog, and to write the pattern.  Quilting this was set aside again.  Until this week.  Matt was coming down to visit this weekend, so I wanted this done.  
Finally!  It's done!  



Matt loves it!  


I added a label to the pocket for his feet.  This was quilted with an all over loopy design, with a feather variation in the border.  I used Aurifil 50wt thread in a beautiful dark teal.  I used about 7 bobbins in the quilting and binding.  It's long enough for him to really snuggle, with his 6'4" length, and he's thrilled with the pocket for his feet.  

While I was finishing his quilt, Matt built the #Arrowsewingcabinet I had won last May.  I can't wait to get it filled with things!  It's perfect for the side of my table, and I've put a rotating cutting mat on top, and can just turn to the side to trim blocks.  I had put the mat next to my machine, but it wasn't the best place to keep it.  This will be awesome! 


This is my January #APQResolution.  I knew January was #6, so I wrote this quilt on that line.  It needed quilting, the pocket, label, and binding.  I need to finish my list, but hope to get many UFOs done this year.  

Now, back to making something for my shop, and memory bears for some family members. And the donation quilt.  And...

Thanks for visiting!  

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Beginnings Blog Hop

Displaying New Beginnings Blog Hop.jpg
Hi, and Welcome to my day for the #IslandBatikAmbassador's New Beginnings blog hop! 

These fun collections have been out since Fall Market, so they're arriving in stores now!  If your favorite LQS didn't order this, you're going to have to ask them to get this for you. If you're a pet lover, you need this!  My collection is Fifi and Fido, an adorable group of bright batiks featuring paw prints and a variety of dogs.  You may have seen this collection when Aurifil Thread, Island Batik and some other companies had information about October's National Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog blog hop.  You can read more about that HERE.

Photo from Island Batik.

So, here's my reason to love dog prints!  
This is Hazel.  She's 7 and was adopted from North Shore Animal League when she was only 7 weeks old.  She's a sweetheart, and loves to play ball, and snuggle on my quilts.  She approves of this new top!  
I received this bundle, and had no idea what to make!  I thought of a purse, and of some kennel quilts for shelter dogs (and I'll make some), but what could I do that was different?  A friend suggested Attic Windows featuring the dog print, but I needed to use 8 prints.  Finally, an idea popped into my head.  I had been seeing lots of posts from the Be My Neighbor by Moda quilt, and I purchased a copy of American Patchwork & Quilting, which had Wendy Sheppard's Close Quarters house quilt on the cover.  
So, I figured the neighborhood also needed a dog house!  

I checked on EQ7, and they didn't have an actual dog house, and most of the houses looked more like people houses, so I drew my own.  Here's what I did.  

Dog House Block
1 12" finished size block.   Use 1/4" seam allowance.

From Red FQ (I used 2 from previous Island Batik collections):  
Cut one 6 1/2 by 10 1/2" rectangle.   
Cut one 5 1/4 by 7" rectangle (you'll need 2 if using regular prints, but 1 will work for batiks and solids) (1 FQ will give you 2 house blocks).  

From Blue Sky fabric:  Cut 1 strip 2 1/2" by 12 1/2", and one 5 1/4 by 7" rectangle (again, 2 if using regular prints).
Green scraps for side lawn:  2 pieces that are 1 1/2 by 6 1/2"
White Accent Trim:  Cut one 1 1/4 by 20, pressed in half, wrong sides together, to make a piece that's 5/8" wide.  

Dog House Opening:  Black piece about 3 1/2" square.  I fussy cut dogs from the Black Dog print, SKU 121614795, backed it with fusible web, and then trimmed it into an arch top shape.  I was thinking of adding a template for this shape, but since each of my dogs has a different size, it didn't make sense.  



Directions:

1.  Sew the green to the sides of the base of the house (6 1/2" by 10 1/2" rectangle) to make a 6 1/2" by 12 1/2" rectangle.  Press to the red.  

2.  Place the blue and red 5 1/4 by 7" rectangle right sides together, and cut on one diagonal.  

Sort the pieces so they look like a peaked roof, with the red on the bottom and blue on top.  I wanted to have the accent, so I layered the triangles and the accent together, and sewed in 1/4" seam.   Line the white accent cut edge along the diagonal edge of the red triangle, and the flip over the blue, and match all cut edges.  The corners are close to matching, but there's extra to trim, so if it's a little wonky, it's fine.  
   
Press this seam to the blue.  

Now, trim your roof/sky section to 4 1/2 by 6 1/2" 


The white section should be 1/8" away from the top corner.  Note where that is, as well as the white on the bottom left section.  Since it's a weird angle, the ruler doesn't have a line to place the white on, so just make sure it looks even and square, and that you've left 1/8" at the top of the peak so you won't chop it off when sewing.  

Do the right side, reversed, lining up the white on the top left side, again, down 1/8" from the left top of the ruler.  

Join the left and right peaks together, matching the top roof line, and press this seam open.  




3:  Sew the 2 1/2" by 12 1/2" sky strip to the top of the peak, (press to sky) and sew the peak/sky section to the house/grass section (press to house).  Choose your puppy, and applique it on!  I used Aurifil 40 wt in black, and a blanket stitch.  

Your Doghouse Block is done!  


For my quilt, I made 3 doghouses, chose 3 different dogs, and set them apart with a 2" by 12 1/2" black paw print sashing.  


I set aside the multi/dog and multi/paw print for border and binding, and cut the other fabrics with my 6 1/2" Accuquilt GO! Tumbler die.  I wanted something that would be fun to show the prints, but not be just blocks.  I sewed 9 tumblers into a row, and made 5 rows.  I trimmed the tumblers even with the doghouse blocks, added the black paw print inner border, and the multi/orange dog outer border.  My top measures about 50 by 53", great for a toddler bed or a fun lap quilt, or Tummy Time quilt.  


If you make some Doghouse Blocks, please share on my Facebook page!  I would love to see them.  I would also love it if you would "LIKE" my page while you're there.  


I have a great idea for some quilting, and plan to use a Minkee type backing fabric.  I'll get this finished soon, hopefully before the blog hop ends.  I can't wait to show my idea for quiltig! 


So, have you been following along with the other Ambassadors? Check them out for inspiration and chances to win prizes. 



Here's the schedule...

Monday, January 9 – Coastal Mist
Stone Cottage Quilts
Wednesday, January 11 – Drizzle
Webster Quilt
Thursday, January 12 – Fifi and Fido + Happy Hounds
Mary Mack Made Mine
Quilting Affection
Friday, January 13 – Fresh Catch
Bejeweled Quilts by Barb
Monday, January 16 – Glowing Embers
Purrfect Spots Designs
Tuesday, January 17 – Lake Life
Freemotion by the River
Wednesday, January 18 – River’s Edge
Ark Angle Creations
Jennifer Sewing
Friday, January 20 – Blushing Blooms
Desert Bloom Quilting
Monday, January 23 – Gone Fishin’
Maria Michaels Designs
Wednesday, January 25 – Surf and Sand
Linda Pearl
Beaquilter
Thursday, January 26 – Twilight Blush
KISSed Quilts
Friday, January 27 – Happy Harvest
For Quilts Sake
Monday, January 30 – Jolly Holly
Connie Kauffman
Tuesday, January 31 – Frost
MooseStash Quilting
Wednesday, February 1 – Merry and Bright
Patchwork Breeze
Sally’s Quilting Corner
Also, I have a prize for someone.  Just comment below with the name of your pet, or what you would do with this collection.  I'll be sending someone some Island Batik fabrics, a few FQs for you to play with.  I may even include some Fifi and Fido 1/4 yd cuts.  (International winner will be asked to help cover the difference in shipping).  I'll draw a winner on Feb. 2.  
And Island Batiks is giving away 2 bundles of fabric, so please use the Rafflecopter link for more info on that.  
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks so much for visiting!  Enjoy the rest of the hop, and I hope you have fun with my block!  

Maryellen

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Finished! Update on Creative New Quilts.

Hi.  Back in March, the @IslandBatik Ambassadors were asked to participate in a blog hop celebrating Wendy Sheppard's newest book, Creative New Quilts.  

Here's my post from then.

I finally had a chance to get this quilted, so here it is!  Done, and listed in my Etsy store.  



   I love how the green stars add sparkle to the design.  

 The London Fog fabrics are gorgeous, and the backing, using Sea Salt Sandy, is just wonderful.  Wait until you feel it!  It's so silky and smooth!  

I hope to get more quilts finished soon, but my machine is being a little grumpy right now.  I must admit I broke over 12 needles quilting this.  I think the timing is off just enough to not like quilting, but it does sew other things well.  I guess it needs a spa day at Pocono Sew & Vac.  

Thanks for visiting, and have a wonderful week.

Maryellen