Thursday, February 23, 2017

Paying it Forward to our Furry Friends

Paying it Forward to our Furry Friends


My furry friends have always been part of my life - the majority of my baby pictures have a dog or cat in them as well as me! So when I read this month's Island Batik Brand Ambassador challenge, I was eagerly excited to pay it forward for some furry friends.
 
 
 
As part of the Piece for Shelter Pets Initiative, Island Batik as well as The Quilt Pattern Magazine, Aurifil Threads, QuiltyBox, Benartex and Hancock's of Paducah joined forces to assist animal shelters and rescue groups across North America. One project included creating kennel quilts to help our animal friends in times of need, such as when disasters strike and pets are separated from their humans.
 
Since I have owned several rescue dogs in the past and currently have one, Miss Lilly, I knew I wanted to make several quilts.  I ended up making a total of 6!
 
 
The center two quilts are made using Island Batik fabrics and the remaining are made from orphan blocks from another project.  What a great way to utilize orphan blocks! 
 
 

And finally, the quilts must have a Paw of Approval before being shipped to Bark N Roll, a shelter currently in need in Louisiana.   Zoey, our solid black Cockapoo, was quick to test out the quilts and determined they are perfect for sitting!  Miss Lilly, our tri-colored Corgi-Chihuahua mix, is a bit camera shy but she finally joined in the fun and decided to pose for a photo too. :)


 
 


 
 
I hope these quilts provide comfort to the furry friends who need them.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Galentine's Day !

 
Whoa, wait .... Galentine's Day....  Yep, Galentine's Day!
 
 
If you’re not familiar with Galentine’s Day, a holiday created by the fictional character Leslie Knope from the TV show, “Parks and Recreation”, watch this video.
 
As Leslie explains, Galentine’s Day is a celebration of our best gal pals and lady friends, and it’s the day before Valentine’s Day. Why shouldn’t we celebrate our fellow females who encourage and inspire us?!
 
So regardless of how you refer to them - your tribe, your posse, your Ya-Ya sisterhood - they are the important women in your life.  The ones who keep you sane, the ones who comfort you and the ones who tell you to "suck it up and move on" and I'm incredibly thankful to have an amazing group of women who make up my tribe!
 
In honor of Galentine's Day, I've created a mug rug as a perfect gift for my gal pals. 
  
 

The design is 6" x 10" so it's large enough not only for a beverage but a snack or two.
  
 

It's super simple and really fast to make - about an hour from start to finish.  I selected three fabrics from the Valentine's Day group that arrived in my Island Batik Brand Ambassador Box.  First step was to cut the fabrics and lay out the pieces as they were to be pieced.



I stitched the center section and the end units together; pressing seams open so the finished mug rug wouldn't have bumps from the seam allowances.



Next step was to stitch the remaining seams, press and trim the edges even.



I went "old school" to create my heart template.  Using a method I learned in elementary school art class, I folded a piece of paper in half and drew a half-heart on one side, then cut it out and traced it onto a scrap of fusible web with paper release.



And here is my Galentine's Day finished mug rug top - complete with a raw edge fusible applique heart that I machine stitched in place using an applique stitch.  


The last step was layering the top, batting and backing and machine-quilting a few straight lines to hold the layers in place.  After trimming, I machine stitched the binding to finish. 

Super simple - fast and easy! 
 
Another tip that allowed me to complete this project quickly was the thread I selected.  Yes, the thread!  I used Aurifil Mako 50 weight thread in a matching color for the piecing, the machine applique and the quilting.  One bobbin fill and no top thread changes can save a lot of time!  It's great to be able to use a really versatile thread.

How you use your mug rug is up to you!  Whether for tea and cookies or like me - a Yeti of brewed ice cold tea, string cheese and a handful of almonds


 
So from all the Island Batik Ambassadors, we wish you and the important women in your life a very Happy Galentine's Day!
  

 

 

Friday, February 10, 2017

It's Better Than Christmas Morning

I remember the anticipation of Christmas morning as a child - all the boxes under the tree with my name on them and I didn't know what was inside them!  I felt that same anticipation yesterday as the Fed Ex truck pulled up  ... with a big box of fabric and I didn't know what was inside. 
 
My first Island Batik Ambassador shipment had arrived and I couldn't wait to open it! 
Thankfully there wasn't 6 layers of wrapping paper, duct tape and smaller boxes wrapped inside bigger boxes like Christmas at our house! 
 
 
I grabbed my camera and started snapping photos to share with you!  
 
One of my favorites is the Lake Life Collection that is available in stores now.  You can check it out at Lake Life - Island Batik
 The wonderful staff at Island Batik curated collections specific to each Ambassadors wish-list. Since I'm trying to expand my color palette and challenging myself to design with more muted fabrics Lake Life is perfect for me.  For those who don't know me or follow my designs, typically I play in the bright, bold and full-of-color world! 


As I was opening the box, these little guys caught my eye - aren't they gorgeous? 
They remind me of pinwheel cookies!  They are Stash Builders!   

 
Each individual roll contains 4 - 5" x width of fabric strips.  How genius is that! 
And there are a total of 5 rolls in a package for 2.8 yards of fabric!
 
You can use them as-is for borders.  Cut them in half lengthwise for 2-1/2" strips. Cut them into 5" squares.  I spent most of my sleeping hours last night thinking about all the things I can create with them!   No wonder I'm living on caffeine today!

And last but not least - the thread.  Huge thanks to Aurifil and Superior Threads for donating their products, of course, in colors that match our fabrics!

Okay - enough for now.  I'm off to start creating with all these beautiful fabrics and threads. 


 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

EXCITING NEWS !


We all love exciting news and I have some to share .... 
I have been selected as an Island Batik Brand Ambassador for 2017. 
 
 


What does this mean?

It means I am part of an international group of quilters who will be creating designs
for and making all sorts of fun projects using Island Batik fabrics.  
Stay tuned because lots of designs and new projects will be happening fast...
I have two new projects to be announced yet this month.
 

Not familiar with Island Batik? 

 Be sure to check out their website at Island Batik Website to see all the gorgeous fabrics. 
I will be sharing more about the company and their products each month.
 
 

 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

On The Horizon

Even though the weather forecast includes words like snow, cold and ice in Northern Indiana right now, Spring is just around the corner and now is the perfect time to start sewing for it. 
My design, On the Horizon, is in the Spring 2017 issue of Quilter's World Magazine which is arriving in mailboxes and hitting the newsstands this week.


 
 
My inspiration for the design was the spring sunrises, that I love so dearly, and how they seem to stretch endlessly across the horizon. Spring sunrises have such brilliant colors - so I used batik fabrics to provide a rich saturation to the colors. 
 
 
 
Size-wise, the quilt is a 60" x 70" so it can be used as a couch throw or fit on a twin bed.
 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Romantic Charms

In Annie's Quilting with Precuts, I had two quilts selected for the magazine.  One was Zippers, the Cover Quilt.  If you want to learn more about it, check out my previous blog.



The second quilt is Romantic Charms....


Romantic Charms is made with 5" precut squares and a neutral solid that compliments the colors in the precut pack.   I really wanted the charms to be the focal point of the quilt, so I used a light peach solid. For the sample quilt, I selected Little Miss Sunshine Charm Packs designed by Vanessa Goertzen of Lella Boutique for Moda.  I loved how there was a wide range of colors in the charm packs.

This is truly a throw quilt measuring 56" square. It would be perfect for covering up with while watching TV or could even do double duty as a table cloth for a picnic. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Zippers - Cover Quilt of Annie's Quilting with Precuts

Zippers made the COVER !

Finding out that my Zippers quilt was selected as the cover quilt of Annie's Quilting with Precuts was the best Christmas present.  I actually found out a few days before Christmas but needed to keep it under wraps until the magazine went on sale to the public.



This quilt is made with 2-1/2" precut strips paired with neutral solid.  I selected a jelly roll of Bobbins and Bits designed by Pat Sloan for Moda.  I fell in love with the fresh color palette.





While I was working on this quilt late last summer, I had several quilts in progress all with similar publisher deadlines.  As the projects were attempting to merge together on my cutting table, I had to QUICKLY figure out a way to keep them organized.  I grabbed the first thing available - a vintage enamel wash pan.



I am avid collector of all things antique and vintage.  (That sounds much better than auction-junkee!)  So it only made sense that I had several of these pans at the studio.  And the best part - they work great!  I had enough room to put the yardage along with the unrolled jelly roll.  As I was cutting the pieces, I could easily toss the extra pieces back into the pan to keep them together.  I now have 4 or 5 of these pan in the studio with projects-in-progress in them!

If you make a quilt using my pattern, be sure to share a photo of it with me on my Facebook Page -   Masterpiece Quilting   I would love to see your version!