Saturday, July 3, 2021

Island Batik July Challenge - The Holly Family

The Island Batik Challenge for July urged us to get an early start on Christmas and other end of the year holiday projects!

In my first Island Batik Ambassador Box, I had received a strip set of Holly Holiday fabric, designed by Kathy Engle. With deep red/dark green colors and reindeer/pine shaped trees it screams Christmas. Naturally I set it aside for the July challenge.

Holly Holiday Strips


I chose to make a tree skirt.

We have a small Christmas tree and some years we even put it up, when we are not traveling. If I make a tree-skirt, we may do it every year. I had made a Dresden Quilt once before and I followed the same general guidelines. I just had to make a larger template to cut out the long blades.

Enlarged Dresden Template

Two at a Time

Assembling was simple and quilting was fun. It all came together neatly. Don't look too closely.

Layered on Hobbs Batting

Golden Aurifil Thread

Quilted and Trimmed

For the sake of simplicity (and to avoid making bias binding), I chose to turn it inside out.


Ironed and Top stitched

Since I find the ties/strings rather finicky and clumsy, I chose loops and buttons. This meant a quick run to the fabric store but that is never a chore :-)

Elastic Loops

Matching Buttons

Ta Da!!!

Completed Tree Skirt

I did not use the entire length of the strip set. Adding two more 2.5" strips. Some cutting and sewing led to a baby quilt. I chose Island Batik Neutral Yolk for background and Island Batik Foundation Gold for binding. The backing is a kid-friendly cute vintage fabric.

Island Batik Neutral - Yolk

Using Leftovers

Big Blocks + Simple Quilting = Quick Quilt

Gorgeous Gold for Binding

Baby Quilt 40" Square

Yolk Background, Gold Binding

Hello Sunshine

Vintage Backing

But wait there is more. 

Paul: Zippered pouch?

Me: I considered making a zippered pouch but realized that it would lead to the "milk and cookies" problem.

Some time in the past, Paul had explained this "milk and cookies" problem to me.  

Paul: It is when you eat all the cookies and there is still plenty of milk left.

Me: So? Can you not just drink the rest of the milk?

Paul: You could. Or you could get more cookies.

Me: I am sure that would soon lead to too many cookies and not enough milk.

Paul: That could very well happen.

Me: Would you get more milk then?

Paul: Most probably.

Me: How long does this fiasco go on?

Paul: Till you either eat all the cookies or drink all the milk.

Me: Of course because until then the problem is unsolved.

Paul: Oh you get it.

Me: No, I don't. Just sit with the entire gallon of milk and the entire box/tray/batch of cookies. After all you are not fooling anyone into believing that you are interested in portion control.

Paul: Well, by now (after a lifetime of milk and cookies) I know exactly how much milk will be enough for how many cookies.*

Me: Thank you for saving the world.

Paul: Clearly, you have no interest in milk and cookies.

Me: No, tea and biscuits may be. But there isn't a problem there.

Paul: Why not?

Me: Third world.

Paul: Ah yes. Of course "milk and cookies" is a very first world problem.

The joys of marrying someone from another culture/world are indeed immeasurable. I can say so much more about what happens when a "Milk & Cookies" man marries a "Tea & Biscuits" woman. But I digress. Back to the challenge. I did not want to cut more fabric to make the zippered pouch. I was ready to wrap it up. So the leftover bits were made into a mug rug and it is just perfect. May be I will use it to set my cup of tea and biscuits :-)

Mug Rug :-)

So here is the entire Holly family - TreeSkirt Holly, Quilt Holly and MugRug Holly.

Holly Family Picnic

Mission Accomplished!!!

I used Hobbs Cotton Batting. Thank you Hobbs. I used Schmetz Microtex Needle 70/12 for piecing and Schmetz Needle 90/14 for quilting and binding. Love Schmetz Needles.

I used Aurifil Thread 50wt for piecing and 40wt for quilting. 

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

For a chance to win a set of 10 Holly Holiday strips, please leave me a comment. If you are a no-reply blogger, please include your email address. If you follow me on Bloglovin, let me know for a second entry.

Prize 1

Prize 2

(Almost) Ready to Ship

There are two prizes and I will pick the winners on July 10, 2021.

Will be linking with all my favorite linky parties. See full list on the sidebar.


Angela has announced the color for July - Dark Blue, which I interpret as Navy Blue (to distinguish from bright blues). Here are my initial fabric picks.

Navy Blues + Orange Pop

Cuteness in Navy :-)

Will be linking with Angela's Linky Party.


Remember Novella, the Table Runner

Novella is now a pattern. Many thanks to my speedy pattern testers SarahJoleeKatrinMaya, and Yvonne for providing valuable feedback.  Here is a glimpse of their test runs for Novella pattern.

Jolee's Cats on a Couch - So Darling!!!

Katrin's Floral Cats - Love them!!!

Maya's Bright Cat in Solids 

Sweet Cats by Sarah of Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Yvonne from SewYummy - Spectacular!!!

Thank you ladies. You are awesome!!!

Pattern for Novella, Wall Hanging (Table Runner) is now available in my Etsy Shop. 25% discount till July 15, 2021.


* According to Paul, a glass of milk is perfect for either two large cookies (such as Sausalito macadamia nut cookies by Pepperidge Farm) or six small chocolate chip cookies (such as by Keebler).

Issued in public interest. No affiliations with any cookies.


  1. Thank you, Paul, for the lessons on "portion control". Hahaha! Preeti, the Holly Holiday projects are so creative and beautiful! I love how you jumped right on that tree skirt. The "family portraits" are perfect! The RSC selections look to be spot on too! Have a great weekend!

  2. Love the tree skirt! And the cat runner is gorgeous! Thanks for the inspiration Mumbird3atgmaildotcom

  3. I made a tree skirt something like that one two years ago and it has worked out well - I dont have buttons on mine but I can see the sense in that - your projects all look great and your testers did a fine job on the cat

  4. That's a beautiful line of fabric and looks perfect for the tree skirt! I love how your simple design went together. You are a master at using up the scraps right away, too! Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. P.S. I do follow you on Bloglovin! And congratulations on the pattern release, too!

  6. The tree skirt is so festive. Neat idea to use buttons for the closure. And then to continue to use leftover strips for a baby quilt that is just fun, way to go Preeti!

  7. Yes I follow you on Bloglovin.

  8. Love the tree skirt with the big bottons and love the baby quilt too.
    Great dark scraps to play for the RSC. And the cat runners are adorable.
    You rock, Preeti.

  9. The whole family is super cute! I love the tree skirt, and the cute litte mug rug will be perfect for tea and biscuits ;))
    Well done with the new pattern!

  10. And yes, me too, I follow you via Bloglovin ;)

  11. Wow what a wonderful blog post! So many things to see and learn :)
    The Holly family projects are wonderful!

  12. Once again, I am blown away by your trio of projects! How do you get so much sewing done? I love the closure you used on the tree skirt, the quilt is playful, and mug rug - so useful. Milk and cookies vs tea and biscuits? Hilarious! Have a fabulous day!

  13. LOVE your posts! Especially the ones with the running comments from you both as you discuss things -- what a nice chuckle to start out the day! Thank you for the tutorial for the tree skirt. Made one for hubby & I years ago and then made one for our son & daughters homes, also. I want to make one like yours now from some of my batiks that are a bit more 'Christmas' in colors. Thank you! Deb

  14. Yes, I also follow you on Bloglovin'! Look forward to every post. Deb

  15. I love this! You are amazing me….getting 3 projects done for the monthly challenges! I love the tree skirt and the way you connected it. I love the kitties too…it is a fun pattern and I hope you do well with it. Oh.and I do follow you on Bloglovin!

  16. Beautiful tree skirt. And what a simple, clever idea for a baby quilt. Of course I had to chuckle over the milk and cookies conversation. I think that is one of the ways that my scrap baskets keep growing instead of shrinking.

  17. I love your Christmas tree skirt--great use of the fabric! Congrats on the Novella pattern.

  18. Great projects for Christmas in July, Preeti!! Can't believe you managed to get a start on Dark BLUE for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, too. Congratulations on your pattern release!

  19. I really enjoy your blog, and love the cat pattern! I follow you on Feedly, not Bloglovin’. Don’t know whether that counts. Dot

  20. I love how you use up every bit of fabric Preeti, all your projects are fantastic, the colours of that batik pack are so vibrant and of course I always enjoy your conversations with Paul, I am a tea and biscuits kind of girl too!! 😁😁. The baby quilt is wonderful you have such great ideas. Cats are cute and I follow on Bloglovin' too. Have a great weekend.

  21. There you go again, making 3 project, not just 1 for the IB monthly challenge. But good idea to use it all at once. We don't put up a tree any more, but I'd consider this pattern if I did. And in the milk and cookies competition, my husband would always eat all the cookies before the milk was gone.

  22. Just signed up to follow you on both and Bloglovin'. I'm testing them both to see which one I prefer.

  23. I love your tree skirt. Beautifully done and creative.

  24. I'm a milk and cookies girl... eat til they stop tasting so good, and drink til they are gone.

  25. So enjoy your creativity as well as your interactions with Paul. I follow you on bloglovin also. nikki_moshier at

  26. I love your projects, especially the tree skirt! And I would consider myself a coffee and cookies person. :-)

  27. Your milk and cookies story is so fun - as usual. I think the tree skirt turned out lovely and you will have to show us again when it is under the tree for Christmas time :)

    And your pattern testers did a great job on your novella block/runner. xo

  28. You are the master at using up! And making do! Love the buttons on the tree skirt! Your mug rug will be fun to use Christmas Morning with your tea and biscuits!

  29. I would love to win those beautiful batiks, and I would probably copy you and make a tree skirt with them! ☺️

  30. What a creative idea for a tree skirt!

  31. Thanks for the opportunity to win these batiks. The cat pattern is calling to me for my neighbor.Her two cats live at my house so I could make it for her to have two cats at her house.

  32. Your tree skirt is so beautiful. I love those batiks.

  33. Well aren't you clever to turn your tree skirt like that. I will certainly remember that trick as I really dislike sewing biased binding. Thanks for linking up with Oh Scrap!

    Now I am off to go find some tea and biscuits :)

  34. Love the buttons on your tree skirt! Clever!
    And at least Paul will be ready with the correct amount of cookies on Christmas Eve! :-)

  35. Wonderful projects, I love the tree skirt!!!

  36. Thank you for sharing your projects with us. And I enjoy your conversations with Paul. The batiks would be a great because I haven't bought holiday fabrics in a long time. I make items for my library's holiday fundraiser sale, and these strips would be fun to work with. Thank you! villagequilter at gmail dot com.

  37. I love all of your projects. I keep telling myself I'm going to make a tree skirt, but....

  38. Love your Holly family, Preeti! The tree skirt looks fabulous! So clever to use loops and buttons, and the buttons look cute, too. I totally understand the milk and cookies problem :)

  39. Great projects! I really need to make a tree skirt, so thanks for the opportunity to win the Holly Holiday strips!

  40. Good for you to put the scraps from the tree skirt to use right away! I like the loop closure -- did you sew the loops into the seam? Thanks for the giveaway opportunity. I do follow you on Bloglovin' so appreciate the second entry.

  41. Great use of all the Christmas fabric. On the tree skirt, how did you turn it after the quilt sandwich was already quilted. Did you add another backing? I do like the idea of no binding, so I am looking for more details. The cat table runner turned out well for all your pattern testers. Cute pattern.

  42. Love the big buttons on the tree skirt. What a great idea! And those colorful kitties are awesome!

  43. The colors of your fabric are so rich! I envy you your creativity and talent!
    Carol S.

  44. I have a feeling that my grandfather, who owned a bakery, and Paul would have been fast friends! Thank you for sharing your creativity and talent with us!

  45. 6 keebler many Oreos?

  46. Silly me. I thought the tree skirt was delightful... and sufficient. Then you made two more items. How is a large quilt a "leftover" from a small skirt?? And then you wrote up your kitty pattern. You have been so busy. Congratulations.
    Love the milk and cookies/tea and biscuits discussion, too.

  47. Love your discussions, and that gorgeous gold fabric you used for binding! I could use a whole bolt of that one!

  48. Wow! What a smart "cookie" you are in using up all your scraps as well as your stash! Thank you so much for sharing!

  49. I especially like the baby quilt with the fun batiks scattered over the neutral background. I follow you on Bloglovin' so I never miss a post! teeterdm at windstream dot net

  50. Your tree skirt is fabulous, Preeti, and I love that you have a matching mug rug! Now you definitely have to put up your tree, even if you are traveling. And that baby quilt will be perfect for a December baby gift. Once again, you have gone above and beyond like the overachiever that you are. You deserve some tea and biscuits!

  51. I love that you get the absolute most from every group of fabrics you work with! the tree skirt is beautiful! as is the baby quilt!!

  52. Love those "true" hunter greens in the Island Batiks holiday collection. Would love to win some strips!

  53. I guess you really hate scraps! Lovely projects you made using up Holly Holidays. Thanks for sharing on Wednesday Wait Loss.