Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Happy Galentine's Day!


Island Batik Ambassadors are celebrating our Gal Pals!  This is our second year, and it's just as fun.  It's actually a fictional holiday based on the TV show "Parks and Recreation", but it's still a really sweet way to celebrate women in our lives.  

I needed to start this before my 2018 Ambassador box arrived (sewing time is limited, especially lately.  Mom's dementia is progressing, and we've had quite a difficult time over the last 3 months).  I also found 2 12" blocks from last year (also known as UFO's or UnFinished Objects).  I wanted to make 2 placemats for Mom's table.  Yes, I get to use them too.  Since she thinks I'm her best friend, I figure she won't remember to get me a gift, and I don't want to buy something for myself.  So I'm doing it for both of us. Her dining room table always has a fabric tablecloth.  I noticed that using placemats last fall made a difference in keeping the cloth cleaner, so I want to make some for each season, to go along with a runner I have already made.  The runners aren't with Island Batik, but that's fine. I'll use them anyway.

I cut out squares to make Half Square Triangles (HSTs) and 3 1/2" squares, from my collection of Island Batik scraps, including some from Cherry Berry.   I picked a background that has a little bit of a peachy color dot.  Last year's hearts were 8" squares, made with 2 1/2" units with a 2 1/2" border.  This year I decided to make them bigger, using 3 1/2" units, for a 12 1/2" square (12" finished).  For the placemats, I just added a 6 1/2" piece to one side, so the mats finish about 18 by 12.  

Mom has one pretty floral plate, but a sweet collection of rose glasses from her mother, so I added them for the photo. 

I opened a new spool of Aurifil 50wt thread in 4660 Pink Taffy to quilt feathers in the hearts and border, and a swirly feather in the sides of the placemats.  I pieced these with Aurifil, too.  Batting is Warm & Natural.


 I was given this sweet heart print a few years ago, and just love using it for backing. It's a vintage piece, only 36" wide, from an estate but so cute!  I often list other vintage things for sale, but this one is mine.  I love hearts!

A friend from grammar school recently contacted me.  We "found" each other on Facebook a number of years ago, and chat often.  She recently asked for prayers for a medical issue, so I plan to drop one of the mug rugs off to her.  Hopefully it will bring a little cheer and let her know I'm still praying for a good result.  I'm not sure who will get the second one.   My besties got some last year.


I'm so happy with how these came out, and hope to make more placemats for other months.  
How are you celebrating your Gal Pals?  Let them know you care, especially today.  

Saturday, February 10, 2018

2018 Ambassador Box and...

I'm an Island Batik Ambassador!  This is the beginning of my 5th year, and I'm still thrilled.  I get 2 boxes of Island Batik and assorted other brand items, to sew with, create with, and play with.  Island Batik has monthly challenges for the Ambassadors, and 2 annual blog hops to help showcase their gorgeous fabrics.  

I made a video of my box opening.  It's on my Facebook page. I wanted to show another photo.  

Yes, the gorgeous blue scarf with green leaves is missing from this photo, because I wore it yesterday, as soon as I opened the box.  :)  Aurifil thread supplied a large cone of 2024 50wt white thread, as well as 2318 in a spool, and 40wt threads in 2510, 2225, 4020, 2430, and 2255.  Hobbs batting supplied a twin size Heirloom, which is an 80/20 cotton, and Thermore, a queen size thin polyester batting.  

There's also a large bundle of gorgeous fabrics with sweet designs on it, but you'll see that later.  I can't wait to play with it. 

I'm also a member of Quiltsy Team on Etsy.  It's a seller's team, almost like an international quilting guild.  We cheer each other on, support each other's businesses with advice and suggestions, and also support our personal lives.  It's the best team.  We also do a charity component.  Last year we sent quilts to Tennessee to help the people affected by the brush fires.  This year we're working on things for California, the fires and mudslides.  I've made 3 pillowcases so far, and need to make a quilt block to send.  I do think I'll be finding some green fabric from my Island Batik boxes and get that ready to mail for Monday.  

I used some fun novelty fabrics, so hope they cheer up the children who receive them.  Green Lantern, construction equipment, and cell phones.  

The last little thing I made tonight was a little pillow for this box.  I have a jewelry box, but most often only wear this necklace and earrings.  I put them in a small box, on top of my big box.  I saw this purple (my favorite color) box in the Avon catalog, and a percentage of the sales goes to help victims of abuse.  I'm a survivor, so wanted to get this box to replace the damaged little gift box I was using, and because it was purple.  I wanted something inside to help protect my necklace and earrings.  I grabbed a purple scrap of Paisley Dot and made a little pillow with batting inside.  It's so cute!  I'm thrilled, and know my necklace and earrings will be easy to find and safe. 


Thanks for visiting!  I can't wait to show you more of fabrics and the challenge pieces.  My Galentine's project will be done for Tuesday, and then there's a mini coming.  



Friday, February 9, 2018

Winners and Finishes!

Hi!  Welcome back to my "catching up" post.  

First, the winner for my Stack Tiles pattern and some Paisley Dot Fabric is Angela S, and the winner for the Zen Basket Pattern with City Culture 2 fabric is Jayne P.  Prizes have been shipped to them this week.  Thanks so much for hopping along with the Island Batik Ambassadors, and for taking time to comment.  I loved reading them. There were many great places to visit in the cities, and I laughed at some of the Summer comments.  


Now onto the finishes.  I'm doing a presentation at the Pieceful Patchers quilt guild.  It's about being an Island Batik Ambassador and designer, and Aurifil Artisan.  I have a few UFOs I wanted to get done so I would have lots to show and discuss.  

These stunning Fat Quarter pieces called Sea Salt Sandy were given to us in one of the 2015 boxes.  I loved how each color had 2 different textures.  One with lots of "sand" and the other with less.  I decided to use both to make something that hopefully looked 3D.  The colors were just so pretty, so I made a baby size quilt, using triangle shapes made from 6 1/2" strips and the 60* ruler.  

At the time I had asked the other Island Batik Ambassadors for suggestions on quilting.  An idea was formed, but I didn't get this top basted with batting and the tan Minky backing until about 2 months ago.  I love using Minky, it adds so much cuddle-worthy comfort to a baby quilt.  Last week, I searched for that conversation on Facebook, and remembered that someone suggested I change the design a little for each color.  I did waves and swirls in the blue, leaves in the green, and different swirls or patterns in all the other colors.  I'm not sure if you can see it here.  I'll try to get some better photos to show the texture from the quilting.  
 Each color stripe has a slightly different design.  I used @AurifilThread 
Sea Salt Sandy Pyramids was started in February of 2016, and now it's done!  

Another recent finish is the #TableScrapsIB top from December.  You can read more about that quilt in this blog post.  I did get to finish the quilting.  I used Aurifil 50wt for the background quilting, using a feather motif.  I used a variegated for the colored leaves and center block edge.  I switched to a solid purple in the outer border, and picked more of the Cherry Berry collection for the binding.  
This is the best shot of the actual color.  The next one was taken during the evening, and is a little more yellow than the actual color.  

This was taken outside, on our currently brown lawn, and although the purple and brights are true, the background is a little brighter than actual color, as well.  

I'm really looking forward to my first trunk show and talk, and hope it goes well.  It's an exciting new step in my life.  I contacted Aurifil and Island Batik, and even have some sweet things to share and give away.  I hope to share photos after the presentation.  

I'm currently working on some #Galentines2018 Island Batik challenge items, plus some pillowcases and blocks for the California fire victims.  Plus, I'm SUPER excited that my newest #IslandBatikAmbassador box will be arriving Friday, Feb 10.  That's the best Valentine/Galentine gift I can think of!  I plan to share a video on Facebook and Instagram, so I hope you follow to see what I get.  I've seen some of the unboxing videos and photos, already.  The items look great, with thread from Aurifil, batting from Hobbs, and gorgeous batiks, including a scarf, which has been on my wish list for years!  I can't wait to see which colors I get.  

Thanks again for visiting, and check back soon!  

Maryellen

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Island Batik Four Seasons Blog Hop City Culture



Hi, and welcome back to my second day on this hop.
Today's Summer feature is City Culture 2.  I received a bundle of Fat Quarters and 2 2-yard pieces of this to create something for this hop, in my Island Batik Ambassador box.   

This was one of "those" bundles.  I looked at it.  I set it out.  I waited for inspiration.  I looked to see if I had other pieces in the box that would work with this, and even thought about some of my older Island Batik Ambassador boxes, or Island Batik I've purchased.  I petted it a few times, and pulled out certain designs.  There were colors that didn't make my heart flutter, but the purples, burgundies and wines caught my attention.  I wasn't sure what to do with them, though.  


I had been working on a new design project, and set this aside.  Then I realized that the request to use as many of the fabrics as possible in our project reminded me that my Zen Basket pattern needed to be done in other colors, and that I could cut strips from the Fat Quarters.  So, that is what I decided to do.  I used the yardage pieces for the Stakes (the uprights in a basket) and made this top.  


Pieced with Aurifil 50wt, 2324, the large cone I received as an @AurifilArtisan. 


The designs in this collection are interesting.  There are some simple sketched stripes, the grid-like design that almost mimics a giraffe (but more geometric), some round stone look designs, and the grass-look and leaf-look prints. 

This is one of my favorites, but it's purple and gray, so that's obvious, right?  


As much as I had hoped I could get borders added, and have this quilted for today, that didn't happen.  Although my brother and sister-in-law were here for 10 days, and left early Monday, and I did get more sewing time than usual (because they could visit with Mom so I had more free time) it didn't quite get me to where I hoped to be.  I should be able to get borders on and get it quilted, soon, though.  I even have a great place to do some photos planned.  Since I live near a city with lots of culture, lol

In the meantime, while you wait for me to finish it (because you all need to see more, right?lol) please visit the other Island Batik Ambassadors that are sharing more about City Culture today and tomorrow.  


My give-away today is a copy of my Zen Baskets pattern, and some 5" squares of City Culture 2.  Just leave a comment below.  What's your favorite thing to do in your nearest city?  I love going to the Empire State Building, and to Broadway shows, but that doesn't happen often.  I think it's been over 5 years since I went for a show, but I've been to Quilters Take Manhattan more recently. 

Original Zen Basket quilt.  It works in other colors, too. 
And please check the Island Batik Blog for links that you may have missed, as well as Fall, coming next week.  Remember to enter their give-away, too!  

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Four Seasons Blog Hop

Hi, and welcome!  Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you've been enjoying all the inspiration and eye candy along the way with the Hop.  Today's posts kick off 4 days of Summer, with gorgeous fabric and lots of give-aways.  

Today's group of fabrics is called Paisley Dot. It will be shipping to stores soon, so please ask your favorite shop for it!  


Last Winter, a call went out to the Island Batik Designers to use this (or any of the new collections) in a pattern we designed, and wanted to create.  Island Batik accepted my idea, and I created this quilt and pattern to feature the Brights part of the group in an easy quilt for Stacks, 10" squares.  I now have published the pattern, and I'm selling copies in my Etsy Shop, Mary Mack Made Mine.  You can also contact me or Island Batik about wholesale purchases for your shop.
First, I need to tell you that this group is just stunning.  The colors are bright, rich, and joyous, and the design of the dots is just fun.  It adds a great texture where you need a blender or supporting fabric to mix with a pretty screenprint (non-batik), but also works so well as a group.  There are a few multi-colored designs, too.  I used one in the border.  


As for my pattern, you need 42 10" squares, border, binding, and just a little bit of the border or binding yardage to finish the blocks.  This is a perfect beginner quilt, because there are no major seams to match, just the actual squares.  It's fast, too, and great to feature larger prints within a Layer Cake.  
Wouldn't this be pretty as a picnic quilt?  Or on porch swing? 





I have a give-away today.  Comment below about something you love in Summer, and I'll choose a winner on Feb 2 for a copy of my Stack Tiles pattern, and some 5" squares of this collection, that I'll cut from the fabric provided for the pattern.  

Also, please remember to enter the Island Batik give-away, with the Rafflecopter widget.  Even if you don't have a Facebook account, you can still visit, and get credit for that action.  

And, please visit today's Bloggers 
January 22 – Paisley Dot

If you've missed any of the previous posts, please check the list on the Island Batik blog page.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Table Scraps with Island Batik


Hi!  I hope you've had a wonderful December, and are ready for the new year.  This is the last Island Batik Ambassador challenge for 2017!  Hopefully not my last.  January is the Blog Hop with the new collections, and I hope I'm accepted again as an Ambassador for 2018.  I'll let you know as soon as I do.  

So, December is #TableScraps.  I had ideas floating in my head all month about what I could make, using some of the scraps from any of the multiple collections I've received over my 5 +years as an Ambassador.  I've even pieced scraps together to make table runners before.  My Zen Basket pattern has a runner from scraps.  So, I looked through my scraps.  I looked through patterns.  Then last week, I purchased some of the new patterns from Quilt In A Day, one of my favorite designers.  So, Friday, I get a package.  It's the order, with 3 new patterns, including Table Scraps.  Yes, the pattern and challenge have the same name.  How can I ignore that??  Kismet!  Fate!  Easy, decision finally made.  So, which scraps to use?  I have sections of the Cherry Berry Collection, pieces left from my Apple Core top. (Yes, still need to finish quilting that, it's on the UFO list for 2018).  
I have enough pieces left from Lake Life, and also from Paisley Dot, the fabric in my newest pattern, Stack Tiles.  
But going back to Table Scraps, I think I need to use lemons, cherries, grapes and that leaves Cherry Berry.  I decided to stick with the theme, lol.  Table Scraps using the Table Scraps pattern made with scraps with food designs.  Yes, corny and goofy, I know, but a girl's gotta find the laughs somewhere. 

So, here's my project!  
Blocks are assembled.
I can't believe how quickly this went together.  I had spent time cutting the squares and background last night, and hoped to get the blocks done tonight.  I ended up spending about 2 hours sewing, and TADA, the table topper is done!  I couldn't believe I had it done that quickly, and that Mom was actually fairly cooperative during that time.  (Before then, not so much, which is why I went up to sew earlier than normal, she was driving me crazy.)
 I do love these colors together, and the background, Moo Milk, offers a great chance for pretty quilting.  I also love the split border look, the blocks go into the border area.  I think I'll use either the other dark purple or one of the multi-color fabrics for binding, when it's done.  I'm thrilled I got this much done before the end of the month.  That was a challenge in itself.  

 Pieced with Aurifil 50wt, the large cone that I was provided as an Aurifil Artisan. I love that it's just always there!  I can thread my machine and not worry about running out.  Not for a long time.

Now, to decide on the quilting design for the pieced block, and find backing.  Which Aurifil thread should I use for the pieced blocks?  Any suggestions?  
 Remember to visit in January for the Four Seasons Blog Hop. 

Thanks so much for visiting, and I hope you visit the other Island Batik Ambassadors for more inspiration.  Enjoy!  And check back for more finishes from me, including this one.

Here's a list of possible links.

Nan from Purrfect Spots Designs
Turid from Den Syende Himmel
Stephanie from Quilt’n Party
Pamela from Pamela Quilts
Anna from Ark Angel Creations
Kathy from Kathy’s Kwilts and More
Jessica from Desert Bloom Quilting
Connie from Freemotion by the River
Kate from Seams Like a Dream
Sharon from Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
Tina from Quilting Affection Designs
Jennifer from The Inquiring Quilter
Barb from Bejeweled Quilts
Sally from Sally’s Quilting Corner
Jeanette from Inch Worm Fabrics
Connie from Kauffman Designs
Joan from Moosestash Quilting
Bernadine from Needle and Foot
Bea from Beaquilter
Cheryl from Cheryl Lynch Quilts
Maryellen from Mary Mack’s Blog
Joyce from Hearts Creations
Marlene from Kissed Quilts
Karen from The Quilt Rambler
Marian from Seams to be Sew
Laura from Slice of Pi Quilts  Linda from Inspired Layers
Vicki from Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting
Nancy from Masterpiece Quilting
Carol from FunThreads Designs
Terri from Meanderings Along Lizard Creek
Alison from Little Bunny Quilts
Suzy from Adventurous Applique and Quilting
Jean-Sophie from Sophie Junction
Janet from Whispers of Yore

Friday, December 29, 2017

A Gift for Father Rudy

Father Rudy Pesongco is a Phillipino priest in our parish for 12 years.  He's been visiting my family for most of that time, once he discovered that our house is across from the closest high school track.  He often stops during his exercise in warmer weather, and takes a moment to chat and rest before walking back the almost mile to the church rectory.  Over the years, he's had a few desserts with us, as well.  He and my dad used to chat.  Dad was a Knights of Columbus, usher, member of St. Vincent de Paul society and overall volunteer at St. Anne's.  When Dad passed away May of 2016, Fr. Rudy was the one who visited him in the hospital, and gave him last rights. 

A few weeks after Dad passed, my brothers came over to choose some of Dad's cuff links and tie tacks, and from his collection of rosary beads and crucifixes.  Among the crucifixes was a reliquary.  I hadn't realized what it was, but after some research, I discovered it's similar to this one.  (photo from youtube, not my father's).
Image result for crucifix reliquary

There was a small screw holding the top and bottom together, and when the crucifix is opened, there are tiny glass pieces with labels that identify the saint the relic is from.  According to the family research, this may have been given to my paternal grandfather, after his near death as a New York City fireman, back in the late 1920s or early 1930s.  He was injured in a building collapse and fire, and since many of Dad's cousins and a few aunts were nuns, it's possible one of them gave this to help my grandfather heal. (Joe actually figured out his own physical therapy and was able to walk again, much to the surprise of his doctors.)  My dad's brother figures this scenario to be the best story of how Dad got this reliquary, after their parents passed. 

As John (my oldest brother) and I discussed, we had hoped to present this reliquary to St. Anne's in Dad's memory.  But unknown to me, on that day, my youngest brother claimed he was "getting the remaining items cleaned at his jeweler" and we haven't seen the reliquary since.  I was really disappointed that a special memorial from Dad, who was such a part of the parish for 64 years, was not presented.  Nothing special was done in Dad's memory, which bothered me.

During this summer, Fr. Rudy started visiting again, and asked about my sewing, and then asked me to do some repairs and alterations for him.  I was happy to help.  He also mentioned that he would be celebrating his 35th year as a priest, with a parish celebration on December 3.  One of the things he asked me to repair and restyle was one of the white albs he wears.  I wanted to make something for him, in Dad's memory, to celebrate his day, so I did some research on albs and fabric, and some discussion with him, and decided to make one.  I happened to have a small bolt of white poplin, and found a pattern in my stash I could use, and added a label to commemorate his jubilee and my dad's memory. 

I was honored he wore this for his celebration mass, and that he loved that the label included my dad in his day. 

Back 
 Front, he wanted an easy zipper closure.

 Label

During the procession.  I LOVE the windows.  The church is beautiful. 
Fr. Rudy celebrating the mass.  

I'm still hoping the reliquary will be returned so we can present it to the church, so others can benefit from the prayers and comfort it can bring.  But at least now there's something at St. Anne's in Dad's memory.  

Thanks for reading.  It's not often I share about non-quilted items I make, and this was a creative use of things I had in my stash.  Dad would be proud of that.  

Maryellen