Summer FUN with Michael Miller's I Need a Vacation Fabric Collection (and Fabric Give Away!!)

The products featured in this post were provided by Michael Miller Fabrics, Therm O Web, and Olfa as part of being a Michael Miller Brand Ambassador
I am sooooo excited to to debut my first project made as part of being a Michael Miller Brand Ambassador!!!  This month's theme is Adventure, and we were invited to make projects related to traveling, vacation, or chilling out using some of the NEW fabric collections.  Given my last name, Beach, I was especially excited by the I Need a Vacation collection featuring beachgoers, shades, and the water!!  Be sure to see how you can win your own bundle of the Shades print (details at the end).
I Need a Vacation Fabrics

Michael Miller Fabrics is all about Making It Fun!, so I wanted to pack plenty of FUN factor into my first project.  Some of my favorite summer memories are playing games with my family so I designed a collection of travel-friendly games for the entire family.  I will be sharing construction tips so you too can create your own family fun!  To double my fun, each game is paired with another game for the backside, making them reversible!!
The first duo of games will get you moving and aiming for FUN with two Bean Bag Toss Games, combining a Bullseye Bean Bag Toss Game (Side A) and a Tic Tac Toe Bean Bag Toss Game (Side B) for a finished size of 39" x 39".
Bullseye Bean Bag Toss Game (Side A)
Fabrics Used:

I drafted my bullseye rings onto freezer paper using a Dasco Pro Compass (Stanley Fatmax is another brand that I have used).  To achieve the larger rings, I replaced the 12" rod with a 1/2" dowel.
The radius (distance between center point and pencil mark) used for each of my rings was:
  • 16" - Black Ring
  • 12" - Blue Ring
  • 8" - Red Ring
  • 4" - Yellow Ring

Drafting Rings Using Large Adjustable Compass

I prepared each of my rings for applique using the freezer paper template and starch.  Starting with the largest half-circle template, I folded each of my fabrics in half and placed the straight edge of my template along the fold.  I cut out the fabric circle with 1/4"-3/8" extra beyond the freezer paper template.  I used a dry iron to press the freezer paper onto the backside of the fabric and used a small paint brush to apply the starch along the edge of the fabric. I carefully folded the starched edges over onto the top of the freezer paper and pressed into place with a hot dry iron.
Preparing My Target Rings

To complete each circle, I repositioned the freezer paper template and turned over the remaining edges.  Once all the edges were turned, I turned over the entire circle for one more good press.  A very small thin line of Elmer's White School Glue was used under the edge and heat set with a dry iron.
Basting with Elmer's School Glue

Once all 4 rings were prepared (again working from large to small), it was time to start appliquing them into place.  Starting with the smallest circle (yellow), I centered it onto the red circle, making sure I had 4" all around.  I used a few safety pins to hold the yellow circle in place, and then using matching thread, I top stitched all along the edge (Note: My sewing machine is a straight stitch machine, but you might consider using a zig zag and/or decorative stitch).  Once the stitching was complete, I carefully trimmed away the excess fabric 1/4" inside the stitched line to prevent bulk.
Assembling the Target Rings

Repeat these steps until all 4 rings are layered and stitched into place.  Center the rings onto the background fabric (I Need a Vacation Sun and Fun Yellow), stitch down, and trim away the excess background fabric beneath the bullseye.
Rings Layered and Stitched onto Background Print

To play, take turns tossing your team colored bean bags to earn points.
Suggested point values:

  • Yellow--5 points
  • Red--4 points
  • Blue--3 points
  • Black--2 points
  • Background--1 point

Tic Tac Toe Bean Bag Toss Game (Side B)
Fabrics Used:

Cut out 9 squares, each measuring 12.5" x 12.5" from the Aqua print.  I added extra yardage above to allow for selective cutting so you can get the same section of aqua stripes.

Cut out 4 WOF strips, each measuring 2" wide from the Red Cool Shades print to use for sashing.  Subcut two of these strips into 6 sashing strips, each measuring 12.5" x 2".  Layout your squares and assemble with a sashing strip in between the squares and each row, pressing the seam allowance under the red strips.

Layer and center with the Bullseye Bean Bag top (which will be a few inches larger), quilt, and bind with the Black Garden Pindots.

To play, take turns tossing your team-colored bean bags.  First bean bag to land in a square wins that square.  First player to achieve 3 squares in a row (vertical, horizontal or diagonal) wins the round!
Bean Bag Assembly

Both of these games requires a set of 5 bean bags (made using the red and blue Shades prints-some of which was trimmed away during the bullseye construction).  Each bean bag is made using two 5" squares.  Place squares right sides together, stitch 1/4" along all 4 sides, leaving a 2" opening to turn and fill.  I opted to stitch around twice using a slightly shorter stitch length.  Trim corners and turn right side out.  Each bag was filled with 1 cup of dried Pinto Beans.  Each opening was pinned closed, and two more pins were used to hold the beans away from the opening while I stitched them closed (again using two lines of stitching for reinforcement.
This next duo of games is all about strategy with a classic checkerboard (or chess board if you prefer) for Side A and a Mancala Board for Side B, for a finished size of 25" x 25".
Checker/Chess Board (Side A)--can accommodate checkers/chess pieces 2" and smaller
Fabrics Used:

Cut two WOF strips, each measuring 2.5" wide: 2 from the the Black Garden Pindots and 2 from the Red Cool Shades.  Piece one red strip to a black strip, pressing all seams to the dark side (which will help nest seams throughout the construction).  Piece together both pairs into a strata set as seen below.  Cut 16 units, each measuring 2.5" wide.  As I was trimming away the selvedge, I noticed a happy little message.
Checkerboard Prep

Piece two units end-to-end to create a 1x8 square column (with all seams pressed to dark side).  Alternate the direction of each strip set and assemble into pairs, pairs into quads, and then one last seam to complete the center of your checkerboard.
Checkerboard Assembly

Cut 2 WOF strips, each measuring 5" wide from the I Need a Vacation Sun and Fun Yellow print.  Each strip was cut in half and partial seams used to attach the border print onto all 4 sides.
Finished Checker/Chess Board

Mancala Board (Side B)
Fabrics Used:

The Mancala board features two rows of 6 rectangles for a total of 12 rectangles, each measuring 3.5" x 6.5".  To help differentiate the rectangles, 6 were selectively cut from mostly aqua sections (creating horizontal stripes), and 6 were cut from mostly white section of the Aqua print (creating vertical stripes).  The center was assembled by piecing alternate rectangles into a 6 x 2 layout measuring 18.5" x 12.5".  Attach a red and blue rectangle (each measuring 4" x 12.5") at opposite ends.  
Mancala Board Assembly

Add borders to top and bottom using the selectively cut tan strip from the I Need a Vacation Aqua print (cut 2.25" wide x 25") and I Need a Vacation Sun and Fun Yellow Print (5" wide x 25").

Layer and back with Checkerboard.  Quilt and bind using Black Garden Pindots.

To play--here is a great online website that provides some History on Mancala and Basic Rules of Play.  You will need 48 flat glass marbles/gems to play, so I made a small drawstring pouch.

The last group of games utilizes Therm O Web's Iron-On Vinyl, which was included in my Michael Miller Brand Ambassador Welcome Box.  A few weeks ago, I conducted a few experiments to familiarize myself with Therm O Web's Iron-On Vinyl, and see how easy it was to use with dry erase markers (and erase the marks).

Each of these games utilize the same basic construction technique:

  • Selectively cut the background fabric (I Need a Vacation-Aqua or Peppermint Dumb Dots)
  • Draft a paper template in Microsoft Word for the game title, brief instructions, and board design
  • Use light box and Micron Archival Pen to trace information onto fabric
  • Heat set with dry iron
  • Follow instructions on packaging to apply Iron-On Vinyl
  • Layer with batting and another game on reverse side, baste stitch along edges and carefully bind without use of iron.
  • Use fine tip dry erase markers to play.  A tissue, soft paper towel, and/or scrap of batting can be used as erasers.

Shark Game

This first game is Shark Attack, an alternative to Hangman, found online here.  One player chooses a mystery word, and the other player may pick letters to help guess the word.  If a letter selected is not included in the word, the shark fin moves one wave closer to attack the swimmer.  7 incorrect guesses = game over for the poor swimmer.

The reverse side is Words from a Word.  A word (7 or more letters works best) is selected and written along the top line.  Players must see how many words they can make using the letters contained in the selected word.  Finished Size:  13" x 15"

Create an Alphabet I Spy, where players must explore their surroundings to find objects starting with each lettter of the alphabet.  Imagine my surprise of finding a rooster and a cow in the local park!  Finished size is 12" x 17".

No need to spend several minutes drawing a grid of dots, as Michael Miller's Dumb Dots (Peppermint featured above) are the perfect scale for playing Dots and Boxes game.  Players take turns connecting 2 adjacent dots with a vertical or horizontal line.  If your line completes a box (4 sides), you add your initials inside the box, earn a point, and get to play again by adding another line.  The player with the most completed boxes wins!!
A small reversible totebag was made to hold all 8 games and acessories, making it easy to grab & go for all and any summer adventures that await!!  It's hard to believe so many hours and hours of family fun fits into one small tote bag (with room to spare to pack a bottle of sunscreen, coloring books, reading books and snacks!!) 
Double the Summer FUN
I sure had a lot of fun playing with Michael Miller's I Need a Vacation Fabric collection.  These fabrics will start shipping to your local quilt shop in August 2019.  In the meantime, you can score your very own bundle of Cool Shades prints containing a fat quarter of the yellow print, 1/2 yard of the red print, and 3/4 yard of the blue print.  You can enter to win this fun fabric bundle in two ways*:
  • Leave a comment below by June 8th (midnight PST) sharing your favorite summer fun story!  It can be a special memory and/or an upcoming summer adventure!!  
  • Read my upcoming June e-Newsletter (scheduled to go out Saturday, June 1st) for another way to enter.  Not a subscriber yet?--you can sign up here to receive a monthly boost of quilting tips and inspiration from my studio!
One winner will be randomly drawn on June 9th--GIVE AWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  The winner has been notified via email.  I will announce the winner here and email the winner.  If you use a no-reply account, be sure to check back to see if you are a winner.

* My sincere apologies to my international readers, but this giveaway is open to US residents only.  

Wood You Like to Win This Bundle?!?

Many thanks to Michael Miller Fabrics for all the fabric used in these projects, Therm O Web for the package of Iron-On Vinyl, and to Olfa for the Summer Splash rotary cutter and hot pink cutting mat!!

Thanks for reading and wishing y'all safe and FUN summer adventures ahead!


  1. Do you have a new little buddy, Mel?

    Once while at the beach as a child, my dad bought us ice cream. I watched as he buried his change in the sand. I was horrified! He told me someone else would find the coins and be really happy. All I could imagine was that the coins would be scattered across the ocean floor, never to be seen again. Dad is 86 now and it is fun to remember that he has a rarely seen whimsical bent!

    1. What a fun memory. Ice Cream and buried treasure!! Thanks for sharing Joni!!

  2. Summer school and moonpies...
    Swimming lessons...
    Swings at the drive in...
    Block parties...
    Thank you for reminding me! :)

    1. What a fun round up of summer memories. Oh--I so miss seeing fireflies on warm summer nights in NY. We don't have them here in California.


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