Christmas in July

by | Jul 31, 2022 | 9 comments

This month, AccuQuilt provided the ambassadors with the Tree of Life BOB (block on board) and challenged us to create a project and gift it to someone for Christmas in July. Island Batik allowed us to use any fabrics we had received except those reserved for special months. Let me just say, I love this die and challenge!! Have you seen the different projects the ambassadors have designed? If not, there will be links at the end of this post to check them out!

AccuQuilt Tree of Life Die

I knew exactly what I wanted to make for this challenge. Some of you may know I love to digitize embroidery designs and incorporate them into my quilts whenever possible. So that is what I did!

I play bass and sing in our praise band at church, and have for the better part of the twelve years we’ve attended here. Our worship pastor and his wife are in the process of building a house (as you go style!) and I knew I wanted to make something special for them. We “adopted” them into our family many years ago!

AccuQuilt has a printable coloring sheet and great printable instructions and videos on how to lay the fabric out on the die for cutting. I love that you can cut the entire 14-inch block in one fell swoop!! And because the die cuts the pieces so precisely, the stitching goes perfectly!! Well, I’m certainly not perfect, but this die makes easy work of this block!!

I played around in EQ8 designing my project, as I always do, to come up with my design. It’s great that you can add embroidery and photos to quilt designs as well as creating blocks! I decided to add an extra “tree top” and changed out some of the half square triangles for solid squares to create the heart at the top of the tree. After deciding on the layout, I chose the fabrics.

I knew I wanted to use Island Batik white for the background. For the heart, I chose a pretty strip from one of the stash builder bundles I received from Island batik. Isn’t it perfect with those hearts on it?!

For the leaves, I chose one of the greens I received in the foundations bundle this month. It is called Foulard-Apple. The foundations, including blenders, neutrals, and solids, are available year round from your favorite quilt store! If you’ve never used Island Batik solids, you are in for a treat! As I said in my first unboxing video, these are not your granny’s solids!! They are of the same great quality and thread count as all Island Batik fabrics. No shadows!!

For the digitized applique lettering, I used a darker green strip from the stash builder bundle, and used a brown strip for the tree trunk.

And after a round or two with Jackie the Ripper and getting those partial seams just right, here is the wall hanging I made for them. From my stash, I used Aurifil gray 2605 to embroider the names and Aurifil green 1114 for the appliqued letters. All piecing was done with Aurifil white.


For the backing and binding, I used Island Batik solid gray. For quilting, I used 50 wt. Superior in white and a light gray 60 wt in the bobbin. I sat and stared at this for a while before the quilting came to me! I decided to quilt piano keys in the top portion where their name is. The corner triangles were quilting using a design from my Handi-Quilter Avante’s Pro-Stitcher. I had fun with the free motion and ruler work on the rest of the quilt. I even free-motioned, Live, Laugh, Love and Family in four of the smaller negative spaces. Pebbles filled the rectangles for the childrens’ names, and hearts and swirls for the parents names. I alternated leaves and hearts in the green squares down the trunk of the tree, and even made some “roots” in the grass under the tree! For the heart, I used an HQ ruler. Since this is a tree, I thought there needed to be some free motion leaves in those HSTs! Here is a picture of the back. You can see the leaves better here.

Despite being sick about 2-1/2 weeks and then a quick road trip to North Carolina to visit family, I was able to get this completed! “Family” measures approximately 30 x 36 inches. They are on vacation today, so this will be gifted next Sunday at church.

Many thanks to Island Batik and AccuQuilt for generously supplying the materials to make this project for someone to have a very merry Christmas in July!!

Please visit my fellow ambassadors and check out how they used this die in their projects.

I hope you all have a great week and month ahead!! Until next time, keep on stitchin’ and grinnin’!!

See you soon!


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  1. davemelvanolan

    What a beautiful gift! Thanks for sharing on Sew & Tell 🙂

  2. joymcd305716439

    Wow Brenda! That is amazing!! I love the quilting and the design and… oh everything!!! xx

  3. Joy

    Brenda, the quilt you made for the Mallorys is beautiful. Your quilting is
    outstanding. I know they will appreciate and love it.

  4. rl2b2017

    Hi Brenda! What a beautiful and thoughtful gift for the Mallorys. Not only is the subject matter very fitting for them as they are a part of your family tree, but the quilting is just stunning. WOWEE! Beyond nice job and it’s even more amazing that you were sick and got this completed. {{Hugs}} a bunch. I hope you are feeling MUCH better now. ~smile~ Roseanne

  5. Kathleen McCormick

    You did a fabulous job with this. I love the way you did everything – piecing, embroidery and quilting on this wonderful piece. Congratulations on a fabulous project and a wonderful gift for your Pastor & his family.

  6. Daryl

    Wow that is so gorgeous, Brenda and so sweet of you to give. They will LOVE it!

  7. Jennifer Thomas

    Brenda, this is so beautifully done! The design, the names, the quilting. It’s just gorgeous. Have a great day!

  8. chrisknits

    How beautiful, they will love it!

  9. Gail Beam

    Hi Brenda, The Tree of Life Family Banner for your Pastor and his family is Awesome! I am sure they will love and appreciate all of the beautiful quilting and design work that you incorporated into their special family banner. Hope you are feeling better!


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