Thursday, March 16, 2017

March #MiniMadnessIB Ambassador Challenge

Displaying Mini Madness.jpg
Want to laugh with me?  I got the memo for this.  I really did.  I knew it was a MINI challenge, "Finished size under 24"."  I also knew it was either foundation pieced or English Paper Piecing.  

I also knew I was offered a chance to be an ambassador for QuiltSmart.  They make pre-printed foundations on fusible interfacing.  Sounds like I can combine these 2 things and meet the goal of the Island Batik challenge, right?  Sure.  No problem.  Choose a Stamp pack (5" squares) of gorgeous (no, really gorgeous) Island Batik Desert Rose, cut 8 more 5" squares, add in strips for handles and fabric for lining, and I can make a Mondo bag.  


                                      Mondo Bag Girls
Mondo Girls from the Quiltsmart website.  

This is where I went wrong.  Mondo means big.  As in BIG!  But it's only a bag, with a 10" base and 17" sides.  Sounds less than 24", right?  Keep laughing.  Maybe I should have looked at the Mondo Girls photo sooner, lol

My Sister-In-Law was visiting, and I asked her to model for me.  She's petite, but still, this bag is huge!  Past her knees! lol  Totally a #MarchMadnessMiniIB fail, lol.  

 Using the fusible interfacing was fun.  The directions were good, and the prep and sewing was quicker than expected.  I took the squares out of the pack and arranged them on the interfacing panel, right on my ironing board.  Once I liked the color order, I made sure all the squares were touching, put an applique pressing sheet over it, and pressed.  I did all 4 sections, and then just sewed along the fold lines between the squares, as directed.  I think I had all 4 sections pressed and sewn, and the bag outer body assembled in about an hour.  

The bag is beautiful, and was really fun to make.  I decided to use the 5" squares as they were, not cut them to 2 1/2".  I added a Basics Raspberry lining, and used some of the ribbon from the Stamp pack for trim on the key clip tab.  I also put in 2 pockets, using their directions.  Although I have something to turn the straps, I wanted to do the type where you just press it in half, place the fusible fleece at the fold, and press in the edges, to meet, and topstitch the edges.  If I make it again, I'll add patch pockets, after getting the inner bag assembled.  The ones they recommend are actually angled, where I would prefer them to be parallel to the top.  

So, my Mini Challenge isn't mini.  It's big enough to carry my sewing machine, lol.  It'll make a great project bag, or for the pool or beach.  My mom thinks it's hers, lol.  Anything with purple fabric?  She claims it.  

So, there you have it.  But, maybe I didn't fail the challenge?  I did make the sunglass case and check book covers.  Those are mini.  But not foundation pieced.  Hmmm.  I do have 2 other foundation pieced things to work on.  Maybe I'll get them done in time for this challenge.  

I'm still laughing.  
Thanks for visiting.

Maryellen

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Little Sewing Time

Hi!  I finished a special order Pirate Shirt this week, but forgot to take a photo before it was shipped. This photo is of a previous one.  I need to count how many I've made, but I'm sure it's over 25 by now.  I like hearing who will be wearing it.  This one was for a dancer in a competition, but others were for Renn Faires, including the Groom's shirt for a wedding.

I also made 2 check book covers and 2 sunglass cases.  I had given a previously made case to my mom, to protect her sunglasses, and needed to make another, but just hadn't taken time.  Do you do that?  Make for others, and push off something for yourself, that will take less than an hour to do?  I think we all need to give ourselves permission to do something for us.  It's not selfish, especially when it's saving money over purchasing the ones from the big-box sellers.  And using up some scraps.

 The first case, on the right, was too small for my sunglasses, but will work for my readers.  I had forgotten it would get smaller with binding and that my sunglasses were more curved when closed.  This was fast and easy, I just quilted some @IslandBatik fabric strips, about 3 1/2" wide by 12" long, curved one end, and folded it in half and added binding around the 3 sides.  The first one was a 2 1/2" strip.  I used Aurifil 50wt thread and Warm & Natural batting scraps.

 I also needed 2 checkbook covers.  Mine is the pieced one, and the other is for the checks for my mom's account.  Again, some sweet Island Batik fabrics, and Aurifil thread.  These have Pellon Shirtailor fusible interfacing in the pockets, and the pieced one has fusible fleece for the quilting.  The other is more interfacing, to give the cover support, and durability.  Aren't my checks cute?  I found a Quilt design through BJ's Wholesale Club's check company.
 I'm so happy I took time to make these.  The older checkbook cover I had made was actually too small, and didn't have interfacing.  I'm going to enjoy using these and finding them easily in my purse.
In other news, I finally have the backsplash done in my kitchen.  Charley from Allbright Construction had the light colored tiles, but not enough for the whole thing. After looking for additional 3 by 6 pieces to create a "scrappy quilt" look, I opted for a Mosaic from Home Depot called Amalfi Cafe for the center, with the 3 by 6 top and bottom. We had done something similar in Mom's kitchen, only with white marble and white and silver glass mosaics.  It was easy to cut and install, in my case, very cost effective. I'm happy with the results, and enjoy using this kitchen now.  I still need to replace the flooring and paint the walls, but this is good progress after living with the broken cabinets and ruined top, and leaking sink for so long.  The upper cabinets are the original ones, and the base and granite countertop was installed in November.  I'm still unpacking after my move 14 months ago.  I'm just happy there's progress.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Please be on the watch for the Island Batik Ambassadors March Mini Madness posts.  Mine will be coming soon.  I have 3 ideas, and I'm not sure which I want to do, but all 3 will probably get done at one point, lol.  With the blizzard coming on Tuesday, I'm planning some Sew days!

Maryellen


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Precision Piecing Quilt-A-Long

QuiltShopGal is hosting a Precision Piecing Quilt Along!



I'm linking up with the Precision Piecing Quilt Along.  I decided to use some scraps from the Valentine's bundle from @IslandBatik, and made this tiny Churn Dash Block.  

I plan to try a few other blocks.  I need to work more on precision!  This was definitely a learning experience.  It's a little larger than I really hoped it would be.  

Thanks for the visit, and hope you check out the quilt along, and try some tiny blocks.  The patterns are free, and there's a chance to win prizes. Let me know if you make any! 

Maryellen


Monday, February 27, 2017

Island Batik February Challenge Kennel Quilts

Island Batik Ambassadors are challenged every month to make something with their wonderful fabrics.  This month, it's for the dogs.  Or cats.  

Here's some of the details from Island Batik:

In 2016, Island Batik joined forces with an existing group of  industry partners and supporters of the Petfinder Foundation to create the Piece for Shelter Pets (PFSP) initiative. The initiative supports the Petfinder Foundation, a “public charity that works to end the euthanasia of adoptable pets by assisting animal shelters and rescue groups across North America”, through financial contributions made possible by the sale of fabric, thread, and other quilting related products. PFSP sponsors include The Quilt Pattern Magazine, Island Batik, Aurifil Threads, QuiltyBox, Benartex, and Hancock’s of Paducah.



The TQPM Small Kennel Quilt Team is a volunteer organization sponsored by The Quilt Pattern Magazine (TQPM) that springs into action (or should we say “stitches” into action?) when disasters strike, sewing small kennel quilts for animals in need while they are separated from their humans and possibly injured.  Creating kennel quilts is a way for quilters to help our animal friends in times of need by doing what we love. TQPM Small Kennel Quilt Team supplies kennel quilts to shelters across the United States. Learn more here.


Hazel is a rescue from a puppy mill, and adopted through North Shore Animal League in Port Washington, NY. My first dog, Taylor, was also from them, and both dogs are (were) wonderful pets. I am pleased to share that North Shore will get 3 kennel quilts from me this week, and possibly more in the future. Hazel even approves. She just celebrated her 8th birthday! She's happy to know her little friends will have something to make them comfortable while they wait for their fur-ever homes.

 I used some of the Fifi and Fido collection, including some of the left-over 6" tumbler shapes that I cut for my New Beginnings Blog Hop post.  The other 2 quilts will be simple 3 1/2" strips cut 18 1/2" long.  I do need to quilt these a little, and get them washed, but wanted to share that they are on the way.  All 3 have Warm & Natural batting inside, and a soft flannel back.



I was hoping to get the 3rd done today, and then switch the feet for quilting, but that didn't happen.  They will be finished soon, though, and delivered.   I'm sure I'll be making more of these.  It's fun, and a great way to use some left-overs, and give something to the pets.  

I've been reading some of the postings by shelters who receive these.  One stated that the new owners are thrilled that the pets get to take them, because the pets sleep so well the first night home.  The transition is easier because they have something familiar with them.  Isn't that sweet?  I love knowing we can make a pet happy by helping them get used to their new home.  

If you make some, please check with the above links for shelters to send them to, and the size and directions.  Thanks for helping us make pets comfortable.  

Check out the other Island Batik Ambassador posts, too.  There are some fun designs.  

Thanks for visiting.

Maryellen


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.