Thursday, January 21, 2021

Island Batik - The Unboxing

There is a first time for everything, right?  This is my first attempt at making a video. 

I hope that what I lack in production quality and overall appeal is balanced (somewhat) by my genuine excitement.

Well, according to Blogger, my video exceeds their size limit (yes even after cropping and reducing file size). Insert raspberry here. 

You may view it on my Facebook page here.  Here are a few highlights from the Box.

Full of goodies

This gorgeous bundle contains 20 fabrics, 1/2 yard of each, which I am using in the February Blog Hop challenge. The post will go live on February 1, 2021.  See more pictures below.  Autumn Sunset ships to stores in February 2021.

Autumn Sunset by Kathy Engel

Autumn Sunset by Kathy Engel

Autumn Sunset by Kathy Engel

Matching Yardage

Design in Process

Blinded by Science, 10" Precut by Jackie Kunkel of Canton Village Quiltworks. This ships to stores in February 2021. I used this precut in the January Placemats Challenge

Blinded by Science 

Coordinating Yardage (to match Blinded by Science)

The box included these neutrals.

White, Black and Gray

6 Yards of Yolk

I may have to make myself a blouse. This rayon from Island Batik is luscious :-) 

2 yards of rayon

Holly Holiday, 2.5" Precut Strips and matching Yardage in Red and Gold

2.5" Strips + Matching Yardage

Island Batik Half Yard Foundations Bundle

Yummy Solids

Island Batiks Blenders and Basics

Aurifil Threads - 4 spools of 50wt Aurifil Thread for patchwork and 3 spools of 40wt Aurifil Thread.

Aurifil Threads

Schmetz Needles (70/10, 80/12, and 90/14) with Color Code, Luggage Tag and a Small Notepad.

Hobbs Batting  - Polyester, Cotton-Poly Blend, with Scrim, and Black

Hobbs Batting - Polyester and Black

Hobbs Batting with Scrim :-)

I also received a separate shipment containing the Accuquilt Ultimate Fabric Cutting System with all the standard supplies, a GO cutting mat and the Snails Trails Die.  All this is brand new to me. I am excited and a bit apprehensive. 

The Island Batik and Accuquilt challenge will come later in the year. For now I must focus all my energies on the February Blog Hop Challenge. Won't you revisit on February 1, 2021?

Disclosure: The fabrics, thread, batting and needles were generously supplied by the following companies:

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Island Batik January Challenge - Placemats

The Island Batik January challenge is Placemats. 

The Island Batik box included a pack of 10" squares of "Blinded by Science" designed by Jackie Kunkel of Canton Village Quiltworks.  The solid gray yardage was also provided by Island Batiks.

I used the 70/10 Microtex Sharp Needle by Schmetz Needles that was part of the Island Batik Box. 

Schmetz needles 

The four placemats finish at about 12" by 18" each. And I tried appliqué for the first time. 


Well that was the executive summary. The story follows:

Paul: What are you making?
Me (smiling): I am making eggs.

Applique in progress

Paul: Do we have bacon?
Me (trying to control my giggling): Yes and it is looking crisp.

Making Breakfast :-)

Paul was disappointed that none of the breakfast items were edible.  But once he was fed, his mood brightened.

Eggs and Bacon

Paul: I like this font.
Me: It is so happy. It makes me smile.
Paul: If I ever become a teacher, you can come decorate my classroom.
Me: You should ask Wendi Gratz.
Paul: Who is she?
Me: I got these letters from her website - Shiny Happy World.
Paul: Nah, I prefer to outsource it to the Indian woman.
Me: You bet.

Toast and Milk

Paul: That "o" in "bacon" looks different.
Me: And so does the "o" in "toast".

Sharing is Caring :-D

Paul: What happened?
Me: When we go out to eat, and let's say you get crab cakes and I get shrimp and grits.
Paul: Yeah?
Me: I let you taste my shrimp and you let me have a bite of your crab cake.
Paul: So?
Me: So that is exactly what happened here. Bacon and toast are sharing :-D 
Paul (mildly exasperated): But eggs and toast are not sharing the letter "s"?
Me: I wanted to add a touch of whimsy. Too much and it loses the impact.

Breakfast is Served!!!

At this point Paul rolled his eyes loudly and walked away.  But don't you walk away without telling me how you feel about bacon and eggs. Of course if you are a vegetarian, I'd happily welcome your thoughts on milk and toast.

Disclosure: The fabrics and needles used in making this project were generously supplied by the following companies:


The Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for January is Pink! After thinking, re-thinking, evaluating and discarding some (more than a few) options, I decided to follow Angela (well, almost).

I will be making the Sister's Choice blocks with a small difference. Instead of using a 2" grid that would yield a 10" finished block, I am using a 3" grid to yield a 15" block. 



Lots to Find :-)

Contrasting Center

I chose the center square such that it is in contrast to the rest of the block.  I am sure it will create loads of interest in the completed quilt.

So here are my Pink blocks for January 2021. Whether you blush at the thought, or you turned crimson cause you were caught in the act, there is a pink for you :-)

January 2021 Blocks

I have been watching Bridgerton on Netflix and these colors mirror the entire range of my thoughts. 

I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties plus Angela's Linky Party, see full list on the sidebar.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

New Beginnings

Me: I hope this year is a new beginning
Paul: All beginnings are new, by definition
Me: Unless it is old wine in a new bottle
Paul: Wine does not get old
Me: It becomes vintage?
Paul: Absolutely
Me: I am going to add some wine to the beef stew
Paul (with anticipation): You are making beef stew?
Me: After I finish writing this blogpost
Paul (naughtily): I can help you finish.
Me: BRAT.  Just help me take pictures of this big quilt top, will you?

When Via (not her real name) a dear friend/co-worker shared that she was going to be a first time grandma (her first grand baby) it was most definitely a new beginning. The baby is due in February 2021.

Sketch Design & Calculations

Boy or girl, I asked.
They chose to not find out, Via replied.

This reminded me of Peter Sagal on one of the episodes of NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me.

SAGAL: Back in the day, you'd reveal a baby's gender by waiting till it grew up, joined the workforce, and then you see how much it gets paid. But these days, apparently, parents have these gender reveal parties. Some people make a cake that are blue or pink inside. Some people release blue or pink balloons. And one couple used a, quote, "pyrotechnic device" that started a wildfire that is currently burning down most of the forest east of Los Angeles.

Now, what's weird is, after all that, we don't even know what the gender of the baby is. Congratulations, proud parents. It's a disaster.

Although I am glad that Via's son and daughter-in-law avoided fireworks, it would have been helpful (for a quiltmaker) to know whether she should use princess fabric or truck fabric.


All Blocks Done

So I made a very conscious effort to keep the quilt gender-neutral. No trucks, no fairies but cute animals. Personally I believe that babies don't care about specific colors but bright colors are better for stimulation and cognitive development. So here is my first finish of the year - Hop and Skip.

Hop and Skip at 40" by 40"

Is it too Christmassy?

Avoiding all blues and all pinks I stuck to green and red. I found some cute animal prints on light background. Framed in bright red they would form the perfect stimulation for a baby's eyes. Alternated with calming green 16-patch blocks. Does it look Christmassy?

Ester Bunnies

Cute Cows

Puppies and Snoopy

Cats and Dogs

Giraffes and Monkeys

That Frog is so cute!!!

Tiny Bees, Big Cat

Being in a quilt is such an equalizer. The tiny bees have as much say as the mighty tigers. 
This is a democracy and not the jungle :-D

Cool Cats

I have had this cute winter cats fabric in my stash for a while. It was part of a scrap bag (they really are a mixed bag) and although I like it, it didn't really go well with any other fabric line. Not suitable for fussy cutting either :-(

Pieced Backing

Combined with this leftover picnic plaid from Our Property Values it makes the perfect backing.  I may be just a bit more fond of the backing.

Perfectly Matched

Simple walking foot quilting.  Same bright red binding brings it all together.


Cats - Fierce and Cool

Ready to Nap


Ready for a Cuddle

I will mail it to Via by the end of the month. And then I will have to wait patiently for the baby pictures. But please don't make me wait for your reactions :-)


January also marks the beginning of a new Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC).  I have been participating for two years and I am completely hooked to this warm and loving community of scrap happy makers. In the hopes of finding inspiration for 2021 RSC, I started looking and came upon this tutorial by Rachel Hauser of Stitched in Color.  She does gorgeous work and I highly recommend that you check out her blog.

I loved the block for two reasons
1. It does not rely on a background color. The background color can become a challenge when you come to yellow or beige/neutral colors in the RSC. A white background won't work well and using a different/darker background may throw your quilt layout.
2. I could play with values :-) This would be fun.

But something wasn't clicking. I bookmarked the page and went about organizing my scraps and such.
I came across these scraps (came in a scrap bag) and then it clicked.  

Cut from a Panel

Dreami in Process

First Block

Taking Off

I immediately knew what I had to do!!!! This was a huge AHA moment. I dropped everything and made it.
It was a DREAMI!!!  

Blocks on the Design Wall

You can see Leela is languishing by the side while I put these blocks together. 

Leela waits patiently while I chase these animals!!!

Once the flimsy was completed, I quilted and complete Leela.  And then it was time to complete this cute and wild and dreamy quilt.


Fun Green Backing, Striped Binding


I chose a bright, kid-friendly green backing. A striped black/white binding works for both the front and the back. 

The floral animals became the focus of the tunnel blocks.  The tunnel block no longer appears like a dead end or a blind alley. There was light at the end of the tunnel, in a manner of speaking.  

Of course you can get in their face - they won't bite :-D

Toucan in Yellow

Bulldog in Orange



Regal in Purple

Red is Royal

I prefer this side

Golden Yellow is my color

I'll be your pet :-)

Wild and Handsome

Fierce in Purple

Orange make me look good!

So here is my second finish of the year - Mild & Wild, because some of these animals can be pets but others definitely belong in the wild. Mild and Wild finished at 39" by 44".

Here are a few more pictures because I am so wildly happy with it.


Playing with Values

Cool and Warm

Bold and Bright

My favorite way to show off a finish

Rolled Up

What about the RSC?
Oops!!! In chasing this Dreami, I almost forgot about the RSC.

According to Angela, the RSC color for January is pink. Pink is definitely the color of new beginnings, like newborn puppies :-) Yes, I have cute animals on my mind. I wonder why? 

I do have a good selection of pinks. I am still ruminating over what to make. Do you have any suggestions?

January is PINK!!!

Speaking of RSC, the second (2 of 3) flimsy for the Picket Star Quilt blocks is finished. Leela was first.
With 30 blocks, measuring 17" by 17" + borders, it finished at 88" by 102". 

Dwarfed by the Huge Flimsy

IT. IS. HUGE. So I have sent it to Rebecca of Rebecca Grace Quilting for some longarm quilting love!!! 


This blogpost won't be complete without my big news. I was chosen to be an Island Batik Ambassador for 2021. I am thrilled although I have a feeling I am going to get my butt kicked. 

Check out all these 2021 Island Batik Ambassadors.

I have received two boxes full of goodies from Island Batik and I am dying to show you the contents. Do return on January 21, 2021 when I post the Unboxing Video.

January Finishes

Two finishes in one month is not new but my ambassadorship with Island Batik is definitely a new beginning :-) What is your new beginning in 2021? 

I will be sharing will my favorite linky parties (see full list on the sidebar) including Angela's and Sandra's (when it goes live).