Thursday, July 30, 2020

Christmas in July Then and Now

Welcome to my day on this fun hop.  Have you checked out the previous days, and gotten inspired?  Feeling a little cooler after seeing so many great projects?  Christmas in July is fun to celebrate, and anticipate.  And get the list of possible projects started. 

Here's my table runner project.  

I LOVE fancy ornaments, as well as home-made and quaint.  My tree mixes it all, because that's what I love.  When I saw this embroidery collection on Embroidery Library, I wanted to make them. 

I also had this fabric with beautiful blue and cream ornaments so picked a creamy tone on tone snowflake fabric and started up the embroidery machine.  I used Aurifil 40wt in shades of blue.  I love how it looks.  I kinda sorta started this maybe 2 years ago, when I was still caregiver for my mom.  (She's doing okay, in the nursing home now, but I haven't been able to see her since March 10).  It got set aside for a while.  I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the embroidery and fabric, and had so many ideas.  But that was then, and this is now.  Get it?? lol.  I have been spending this year trying to get more finished, and clear up some UFOs.  This blog hop came at the right time.  

I decided to just allow the embroidery to stand out.  I trimmed them to square, cut 3 squares of the printed fabric, and stitched it in a row.  I often have something special in the center of a table runner, but realized that may be where people put flowers or another centerpiece, and maybe it was better to put the embroidery blocks out of center.  I added borders to make it about 15 by 50".  

I loaded it on my Handi-Quilter Amara with Prostitcher, and did the cross hatch around the embroidery with Aurifil 40-3 thread, in cream.  I quilted snowflake designs in the other squares and the border.  I think it came out pretty!  I will be binding it soon, but there are so many "end of month" deadlines, this had to be put off again.  

I love how it replicates vintage fancy ornaments, but has the more modern blue, silver and cream colors.  Then and now.  

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I hope you've enjoyed my project, and choose to follow my blog and Instagram (marymackmademine).  Please also visit the other bloggers listed below, and leave them a positive comment.  We all work hard to make your visits fun and inspiring.  Please enjoy!  And make your Christmas project list.  Stay cool!  


July 27
July 28
July 29
July 30
July 31

Monday, July 27, 2020

Diamond Anniversary

I can share this now! 

Last week's secret sewing was a gift for some favorite people in my life.  My wonderful Aunt Joan and Uncle Bob, my dad's brother, are celebrating 60 years married.  
Photo courtesy of Anne's Facebook page. 

I have so many wonderful memories of time with them and my cousins, and they've been wonderful to me over the last 4+ years, while I was caring for my parents.  Before my dad had the stroke, we had visited them in Ohio.  After Dad passed, we took Mom to see them again, and it was great for her, and wonderful for me.  Mom loves them, so I could actually get a break and got to do some sightseeing, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, on one trip.  Aunt Joan is also a quilter, and Uncle Bob jokes that he can't understand why she cuts up perfectly good fabric just to sew it back together again.  I'm sure he's looking at this and trying to figure out how it was built.  If only he knew how many pieces of fabric were cut!

Because of Covid-19, they couldn't have a big party, but were able to celebrate a little.  I wanted to send something that would celebrate them and thank them. 

I searched for diamond quilt blocks, and saw Andrea Tsang Jackson's  Gemology book, which has 9 foundation pieced gemstone shapes, and color suggestions for birthstone colors, and a few great projects.  I was happy to see that the foundations can be printed to make 4 different size blocks.  I made the 18" version.  I picked white, grey and Charcoal of the Island Batik solids, plus Opal and Sterling of the Basics to add the sparkle of a diamond.  The book directions are great, and I have experience doing foundation piecing.  I was able to increase the copy size on my printer, and used Carol Doak's foundation paper, which I keep on hand.  

 I didn't do an actual count, but there are over 50 pieces of fabric in the stone. 

After assembling the block, I added the borders to make it a little bigger, using Opal.  I quilted 60 and a heart on the "top" of the stone, and did ruler work along some of the facets, using Aurifil 40-3 thread in 2021, Natural White.  I free-motioned the feathers for the background and border, and added a hanging sleeve to the back.  

Happy Anniversary, Aunt Joan and Uncle Bob!  I wish you many more years together, and thank you so much for all your prayers and support for me over the years.  You've blessed us with love. 


Sunday, July 26, 2020

Christmas in July with Island Batik and Accuquilt.

I love being an Island Batik Ambassador, and enjoy when the partner companies give us different challenges.  This month, Accuquilt wanted us to make something using the new GO! ME die cutting set to give to someone, and then give them the cutter, too.  We were asked to pick someone who would enjoy using the GO! Me.  

It took me a little time to figure out who I would like to share this with.  I know others who have the GO!  Who could use a ME!?  I know my niece Lisa wants to get more involved in quilting.  I taught her to sew when she was little, and gave her a Janome Magnolia for her wedding gift.  And a serger later.  I kind of had hopes she would do lots of sewing, lol.  We've made a baby quilt together for a mutual friend, and her college friend convinced her to take a quilting class, too.  Lisa lives in Colorado, and was having a house built, which was going to include a craft room for her and her 3 kids.  I knew she would like a new table topper for the house, and that Noah, 12, and Abigail, 7, would be perfect ages to learn to sew.  Eliana is 4, and will be learning soon.  I called Lisa and asked if she was interested, and she was thrilled.  She said she had just purchased curtains for the sun room/dining area, in shades of grey and yellow stripes on white.  

So, my plan, using the Accuquilt GO! 3" half square triangle die, was to create quarter square triangles, larger than the 3" finish, and make a topper.  I picked Island Batik Sterling, which is a Basics, along with Grey solid, White solid, and an older Butter yellow.  Here's the EQ8 version

My original plan was to not have sashing, but when I played with the die, the 3" finished half square triangle die made 4+" units, not 6" as I was hoping.  The die is the right shape, even if 4 sewn in the Hourglass unit block is not a standard size.  I think they were about 4 5/8" along each side.  It's still a great way to make the unit, if it's not being added to another block.  So, to make the top about 32" square, as Lisa requested, I added 1" sashing and corner stones.  
It took just a few minutes to cut all the units for the Hourglass blocks, and then I used a rotary cutter to do the strips and squares, and the 2 1/2" strip die (I used my GO! for that) for the border.  

 Because the dog ears are already cut, I started chain piecing from the square corner, with half sewn with grey on top, and the other half with white.  
 Match up the centers (pressed towards the grey) and stitch the units.  
I love webbing the top together.  I sewed the Sterling with the sashing, then the horizontal sashing, to a square.  Keep going down the column, joining 1 and sashing.  Then add column2, sashing,  3, sashing, 4, sashing, and 5.Then you just sew the rows together, nesting seams along the way.  You can check that it's perfect before you have the whole top sewn, and fix if needed.  So smart!

 TaDah, it's a top!  Press it with seams going towards the white sashing, add the border (skip the outside sashing and cornerstones from the EQ8 plan, if you wish, lol)  and choose backing and batting.  I used more of the solid White for backing and a scrap of Warm & White, and put my Handi-quilter with Prostitcher to work.

I picked an all-over floral design and Aurifil 40-3 in white, 2021.  

 I wish I could have given this in person, but we're over 1800 miles apart.  I would have loved to share the cupcakes and lemonade with Lisa and her family.  But I can't mail cupcakes.  

I packed up the topper, the GO! Me and some additional Island Batik fabric, some elastic (she was planning to make more masks) and some Aurifil 50wt thread, and sent it off to Colorado.  

Lisa got it just in time to use the runner for Sunday brunch!  

Good match to the curtains, right? I love having such a great supply of Island Batik.  
I wrapped the GO! Me in Christmas tissue paper, because I wanted to add to the fun.  The topper was wrapped, too. 
 Lisa is exited to try this!
Lisa and I will be doing some Zoom calls to help Noah and Abigail learn about the sewing machine and GO! Me, and I provided fabric for them to make pillow cases, as well as Stash Builder rolls to use on the GO! Me.  Lisa is looking forward to trying the GO! Me as soon as she gets the sewing room set up.  She's thankful that I first shared my love of sewing with her as a child, and for this gift, to make quilting easier so she can share it with her children.  She said she loves that we've always had this connection.   I'm excited about passing quilting on to the next generation, even if we can't meet in person.  I do hope to visit them again soon and can't wait to see what they make.  

Thanks for stopping by!  
Maryellen and Lisa

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Island Batik Ambassador July Unboxing!

Have I mentioned I love being an Island Batik Ambassador?  Twice a year we get shipments that provide us with the supplies for our monthly challenges, and then some.  Island Batik, Hobb's Batting, Aurifil Thread, and the other partners are very generous.  This time we also have a challenge to use a tool by Studio 180, which is provided, and to make a bag using the pattern of our choice, and they sent all the supplies. We even got a fun Christmas in July surprise from Accuquilt.  Click the link to watch the video for more information, and see the photos below. I'll do another post on the Christmas in July challenge soon.  

Ambassador Unboxing July 2020

Here are some photos of the contents from the 3 boxes.  And another is coming this week, with one more collection.  Overall, there was over 30 POUNDS of fabric and supplies. 
 These are 1/2 yard cuts of the Foundations and Blenders, plus Solids that coordinate with the Summer collections that are in the surprise packages.  We can mix them with those projects, or use them with others.  
 This is a 10" Stack of Floralicious, which may be available in stores now, and 2 yard cuts for borders, etc.  The top is Aqua, and the bottom is Orchid.
 Very generous 4 yards each of the Black, White and Grey Solids
 4 yards of Coconut for background, etc. 
 A Fat Quarter bundle of Northern Lights, and 2 packages of Stash Builders.  I've already cut into the blues.  Stash Builders are 5" by width of fabric strips, and each roll has 4 strips.  I love them for adding scrappy touches, or for applique, or making test blocks, but there are so many uses.  I also give them away, since they're fun to get.  
 Surprise!  You'll see more of these after September.  
 6 generous spools of Aurifil 50wt in gorgeous colors for a Thread challenge in October. 

The kit for the Round Trip Duffel, for the September In the Bag challenge.  It includes everything we need to make the bag, including the Soft and Stable, fabric and lining, mesh for pockets, hardware, zippers, strapping, and the hard plastic base.  I can't wait to get started on this.  But I have to finish the August challenge first.  That uses the Studio 180 Split Rects tool.  Here's a tease of my start/test blocks.  

As stated above, we also got the Accuquilt GO! ME kit with 2 3" dies, the quarter square, and half square triangles.  The challenge was to use the kit to make a project for someone, and give the kit and project to that person.  I'll be sharing that soon. 

We also received a box of batting courtesy of Hobb's Fibers.  We got a queen Heirloom Fusible, a queen Black 80/20, a throw size Silk batting, and a roll of the new 2 1/4" wide fusible strip for rugs, purses, etc.  I love the black and silk batting, and I'm looking forward to trying the 2 fusibles. 

Thanks so much for reading this post!  It's a long one, but the boxes were very full!!  I'm honored to be an Ambassador, and thank the team at Island Batik, especially Natasha Khiev and Kathy Engle, and the staff that ensure this is the best Ambassador program in the business.  The challenges are always fun, interesting and push us as designers and creators, and we get to play with gorgeous fabrics along the way.  Applications are accepted in December, so follow Island Batik on Facebook to get the news about that.  

Saturday, July 4, 2020

July One Monthly Goal

What's your goal for July?  I have a few!  As usual, and I'm linking up with Elm Street Quilts.

Goal 1 is the table topper for my niece, to go with the Accuquilt GO! ME Christmas in July Challenge for Island Batik Ambassadors.  
Here's my plan, using the 3" dies provided and designed with Island Batik fabric I entered into EQ8.  

My niece just had a new house built, and picked white curtains with grey and yellow designs. 
I'll explain how I'll make it in the Challenge post.  
The next goal is to continue working on the Red Elegance top, which I hope to finish this month, too. 

3, I want to finish the June Mini Challenge quilt.  I have 28 out of 30 6" blocks done, and I want to make it a wall hanging for my bedroom. 

Here are the latest blocks. 

I was also contacted to make a First Communion dress out of a wedding gown, so that also needs to be done this month.  I'll share photos of that, as well. 

I like starting off the month with this list, and seeing what I get accomplished.  Progress is so much fun!  Thanks for reading, and I hope you decide to link up each month, too.