Monday, August 17, 2015

Summer In the Country with Island Batik

Take a stroll with us, down to the country with Island Batik.  Grab a glass of lemonade or sweet tea, and enjoy the fun we have planned for you!

Find out more at Island Batik's Blog.  We have some fun recipes, great designs, and previews of all the gorgeous new batiks heading to shops.  Lots to inspire and enjoy.


My day is later in the hop, and I have my recipe and project planned.  I can't wait for you to see it.

In the meantime, I'm working on some special orders that include a variety of batiks and I'll show them soon.  I've been procrastinating, though.  I want to get them done, but something else was bugging me, and I couldn't work on the fun stuff.  I know you've probably felt the same at times.

My ironing board cover is disgusting.  Really ugly.  Stained and yucky.  I liked the design, for the most part.  It's the one from JoAnn's, with the grid and measuring tape printed on it.  The lines helped square blocks, and estimate sizes, but the grid stretches, so it's not accurate.   I've been meaning to make a new cover for quite a while (a few years), but I couldn't decide on the fabric to use.  I was thinking about all the great cotton prints I have, and how pretty they would look when I was pressing blocks or clothes.  But I also wanted something a little heavier and durable.  Not denim, though.  What did I have that was pretty, and heavy?  Because I didn't want to spend money when I have stuff that would work, but maybe not so pretty.  I've been pondering this for over a year.   I was working on the pirate shirt a few weeks ago and looked through the fabrics I had stored in that cabinet, while I was getting the leather lacing and rivets for the shirt.  And I spied it!  Ohhhh, there's a pretty blue and yellow floral, in home dec weight!  That would make a pretty ironing board cover, and be durable (and the colors won't transfer to what I'm pressing).  So, I pulled it out, measured it, and figured it would be perfect, with quite a bit left for other uses.  I purchased it from an ebay auction years ago.  It was a bargain, and I'd thought of a machine cover and a case for my extension table for my machine, when I travel, but I never cut into it.

I kept looking at the fabric.  I put it, folded, on the ironing board.  Then moved it to the top of the washing machine.  Then put it on the board when I needed to do laundry.  For about 2 weeks, the fabric taunted me.  I shouldn't take time to sew for myself when I needed to finish the commission work, right??  I even wanted to do it before the Ambassador Favorite Things hop.  Procrastination!! Well, last night, I needed to do laundry, and had to move the fabric again.  Nothing was getting sewn because I needed to replace the cover on the ironing board, which I was procrastinating.  Well, I decided to just do it.  At Midnight, last night, I pulled the old, gross, cover off the board, and got some scrap batting, and cut a piece of Insul-Bright to fit, and made a new cover.

You may ask why I didn't buy a cover.  I haven't seen any I loved, and they are expensive.  I have so much fabric that I could have used, it didn't make sense to spend money when I could make it.  I have the knowledge and batting, and would prefer to buy new quilting fabric with that money.

But I thought it would take a long time, so I kept putting it off.  I was done with the whole thing in less than an hour.  I wasted so much time procrastinating!  But now I have a pretty cover and can get the other projects done.



Here's what I did.  I laid the fabric over the board, allowed for about 5" to go down and under each edge, and used pins to mark the shape.  I cut out the cover, did a quick serge around the sides (to finish the edge), curved the bottom corners a little,  turned under about an inch and stitched a casing, leaving an opening in the narrow flat section for inserting elastic.  I curved the corners carefully, making little pleats (knowing I would be inserting a safety pin to pull the elastic through).  I've found a safety pin to be the best for pulling things in casings.  Easy, and very cheap.  I used about 3 yards of 3/8" elastic (again, something I had plenty of).  I pinned the ends of elastic to the cover (so it wouldn't slide into the casing opening) and tried it on the board.  I had put the Insul-Bright down first, then the batting.  I put the cover over that, and adjusted the fit until I was happy, and the cover was smooth, and then pulled the elastic a little tighter and tied a knot in the two ends.  DONE!  The elastic allowed the gathers to be easily adjusted, and now I can work on a pretty surface!  Yippee!!

It really adds a bright and pretty touch to my little pressing corner in my laundry room off the sewing area.  The board is old, but very steady, and a perfect height.  And now it's pretty again!

I hope you don't procrastinate making a cover for your ironing board.  It's not worth wasting the time!  I'll be back soon with my batik projects, and you'll get to see what I did with buttermilk and these pretties soon!


Thanks for visiting!
Maryellen

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Winner

Hi!  Thanks for all the great comments on My Favorite Things Blog hop!  I did a random.org number thing, and the comment chosen is #40, Allison CB.

I've contacted her, and she'll be getting 3 Island Batik FQs.

Let me tell you, it's so hard to part with these gorgeous fabrics.  I really do love them all.  

Emily asked about the star blocks on the design wall.  They are Hunter's Star, and I used the die from my Accuquilt GO!.  It was a breeze to cut out, and piece the blocks on the vintage machine.  As soon as the blocks are all pressed, it'll become a top.  Many of the batiks are from Island.

Allison, congratulations again, and thanks for commenting.  I'll get your pretties out this week.

And remember to stop back for the Island Batik Ambassador blog hop starting soon!


I've shared this on Facebook, but wanted to thank Chris again.  He purchased some vintage embroideries from me in my Etsy shop a while ago, and we've been chatting about vintage textiles and sewing machines since.  He asked me to make the embroidered pieces you see in this photo into the dress they were supposed to become 100 years ago.  He finished the embroidery.  It's stamped from the Royal Society, and it's Craftsmen style, or Art Deco style.  Among our conversations about him searching for machines, I mentioned I wanted a black long bed Singer 301.  It's larger than a featherweight, but a slant needle, so you can see more of the work area.  Jokingly, I had mentioned one time that people in the Vintage Sewing Machine group on Facebook talk about buying an accessory as bait.  Once you have the accessory for your dream machine, the machine usually follows.  Included in the box with the dress I'm to create was a few yards of vintage beaded Cluny lace, a vintage appliqued tablecloth, and a box containing a zig-zagger for a 301.  He sent me bait, just because I've given him info on machines.  But he's given me info on textiles and refinishing furniture, as well.  I joked about something, and he found it, and gave it to me.  I'm just so touched!

I plan to make the table cloth into a quilt.  And if you know of any sources for Royal Society dresses (I've found lots about crochet), please let me know.  I'll share more about the linens in another post.


Lots going on here!  Thanks for stopping!

Maryellen

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Last Chance!

Hey!
I hope you've been hopping and checking out the fun Ambassador's Favorite Things posts!  There have been some great ideas!

Quite a few were having give-aways, and I'll be picking a winner on mine tomorrow, July 30.  If you haven't entered my give-away yet, please go to my original post and comment!

I've been doing some cleaning since then, and making some things.  I finished a raggy style quilt, because it was fast.  I have so many more things I want to make, and have a special order for a batik dress, 2 baby quilts (for twins, a boy and a girl) and a Pirate shirt!  Plus I'm vending at lots of local craft shows.  That's so much fun!  And I stained and finished my new quilt rack that Dietrick Woodworking built for me.



I'm having issues with the internet today, so I can't leave a link for my Favorite Things post, so just click on the "older" button below and open the Favorite things post that way.

Thanks so much for visiting, and keep watching for this awesome blog hop in a few weeks!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My Favorite Things Blog Hop Tour

Hi, and Welcome to my day on this fun hop!  This is my second year as an Island Batik Ambassador, and I'm having lots of fun!

I'm Maryellen.  I've been sewing since I was about 4, got my first little Singer machine when I was 6, and was given my mom's old machine, a Bendix,  when I was 7 and she got a new one.  I've owned many since then, and sewn everything from dresses, doll clothes, wedding gowns, slipcovers, curtains, and quilts. Quilting is my favorite now, though.  I even did alterations for dry cleaners and bridal shops, and fixed tents!  I've made costumes for local schools, some of which were on TV during the Freddy Awards.  

 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the Music Box Dancer costume, and Joseph's Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. are among my favorites that I've made.

My training is as a teacher, with an art background.  I've taught every age, from preschool to college. Some people still call me Professor, which makes me grin.  I've taught sewing, too. That's my favorite thing to teach now.  

So, where do I work?  I have a few spaces.  The main space is a sewing room/studio in my basement.  I love that it's next to the laundry room, and I can sew while the machines are running.  Plus, the ironing board is set up in the laundry area, and I have some storage shelves for batting.  It also provides space for my design wall.  I wish I could step back and see the designs better, but it does help to have a place to put blocks as you work.  This one is a flannel backed vinyl fabric from JoAnn's, a little heavier than a table cloth, and I used simple strips of wood to frame it.  I used a brad nailer to nail the strips over the edge.  When it was just nailed, it tended to rip.  The frame helps support it and it doesn't rip.  My favorite thing is it cost about $15 to make. 




The sewing area is a small room.  It has a built-in desk in an L shape.  There's a tall cabinet to the right of the serger, and a cabinet above it.  There's a shelf over the sewing machine area, and a cabinet to the left of that.  Beyond that cabinet on the left is the entrance to the laundry.  The drawers under the machines hold needles, zippers, rotary blades, buttons, tapes, patterns and other notions.  The cabinets hold other fabric.


Above the machine is the thread rack my dad and I built about 25 years ago. It's one of my favorite things.  It's made out of 1x4 boards in a stair step design, and long nails.  We designed it to fit the space between the shelves, and the nails to be long enough to hold coordinating bobbins and spools.  As you can see, I have quite the collection of Aurifil.  I prefer that thread when piecing and quilting, so I'm replacing the other brands.  I also have 3 plastic kits of Aurifil, the 12 spool boxes, that are not on the wall, and my tool box has thread colors that I use often, as well.  I have a pink tool box (from Lowes) that holds many of my notions and tools for sewing, and since I travel to New York fairly often, that is easy to grab for trips.  I bring my Viking machine and some projects and sew there.  I have a desk in the basement apartment in my parents' house, where I stay during the visit.  There's a gate-leg cutting table there, too.  My favorite thing is sewing with Christine (you'll meet her tomorrow) while I'm in New York. 

Side note on the thread rack:  I have a friend who will make one for you, if you want.
Dietrick Woodworking  He's building racks for me to display my quilts at shows, and another to organize my rulers.  He has a shop on Etsy, as well, and makes doll furniture.  



This is my ribbon rack.  It's above the serger, and my dad and I built it, as well.  Slide the dowel to the left to remove and replace the spools.  And funny thing about the TV, I don't use it.  I don't think it's been on more than 4 times in 25 years.  Below this rack is a hook that holds my quilting stencils (and a funny calendar).  The wall behind my chair has serger cones on a thread rack. 

The wall to the left of the laundry room is fabric storage.  I'm showing a photo, but it's very messy right now.  I've been digging for a few projects lately, and haven't gotten around to tidy it again.  The fabrics are by color, but Christmas and Autumn, and Patriotic are in separate bins, on shelves near the cutting table, which is in the main part of the basement. The project bags have jelly rolls or charm packs and the coordinating yardage.  The section on the top right is batiks and solids, but my Island Batiks are in a separate bin, as well.  I love being able to see the fabrics.  But this is just too messy right now. That door to the right is to the laundry room.  And under the fabrics, in front of the shelves, is a vintage sewing box, the kind that opens to both sides, which I love.  Vintage sewing finds are just so much fun to collect!  I have a few special things I love, including the iron that was my grandmother's.  
My cutting area is outside this sewing room, as well as additional storage for fabric.  And it's really messy, so you're not getting a photo.  I also have bolts of fabric that I sell on Etsy for a friend, plus the bins of vintage fabric I sell.  

But my other favorite thing is the vintage machines I have in my dining room.  




I love sewing on my vintage Singer machines!  The big one is a 15-91 in the trapezoid cabinet I refinished, and the little one is a Featherweight.  I have a cutting mat and some basic rulers on the corner of the dining room table, just to the left of this.  I placed the Featherweight on this side of the table, because it has a 1/4" foot, and I can piece flying geese units and half square triangles on that, but the 15-91 has a seam guide that is great for assembling units and piecing strips.  The guide gets in the way when trying to sew in the middle of pieces, so using both makes it easy. I've been making sampler blocks and pieced tops on these cuties.  I also love the view here.  My sewing area down in the basement has a window over the cutting table, and I can see my back yard, but I can't see it when I'm sewing.  This window has a nice view of the trees in my neighborhood.  (Churn Dash blocks featuring Island Batik).  I also have an Accuquilt GO! Baby in the dining room area (along with other vintage machines) and the GO! and rest of the boards and mats on shelves in the basement area.

I love to bring the cutting mat and even the featherweight onto the deck, just outside this window, and work/play out there.

So, that's a few of my many favorite things, and more about me.  I hope you enjoyed my little tour and very long post.  The Ambassadors will be doing another hop in August to share the newest Island Batik fabrics that you can purchase.  I hope you choose to visit again and discover what i'm doing with these beauties!





Leave a comment to be entered into a random drawing for something sweet.  It's a surprise!  
And be sure to check in with the other Island Batik Ambassadors for their favorite things!

Here's the full schedule.

July 13:  Linda Pearl www.onequiltingcircle.com
July 14:  Barbara Gaddy www.bejeweledquilts.blogspot.com
July 15:  Maryellen McAuliffe (HERE!!) www.teachpany.blogspot.com
July 16:  Christine Martinez www.madeinscraps.blogspot.com
July 17:  Maria Hrabovsky www.mariamichaelsdesigns.com/blog
July 18: Tammy Silvers www.tamarinis.typepad.com
July 19: Joan Kawano www.moosestashquilting.blogspot.com
July 20:  Marlene Oddie www.kissedquilts.blogspot.com
July 21:  Nan Bakerwww.purrfectspots.blogspot.com
July 22:  Adele Mogavero www.adelemogavero.com
July 23:  Pam Geisel www.forquiltssake.blogspot.com
July 24:  Bea Lee  www.beaquilter.com
July 25:  Connie Campbell www.conniekresin.com
July 26:  Pam Boatright  www.pamelaquilts.blogspot.com
July 27:  Connie Kauffmann http://kauffmandesigns.blogspot.com/
July 28:  Patty Bochey  www.lemontreesnippets.wordpress.com
July 29:  Carol Steely www.funthreads.blogspot.com


Thanks for stopping!  See you soon!
Maryellen

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Our Favorite Things, with the Island Batik Ambassadors


Come meet the Island Batik Ambassadors for 2015 and see our studios and items we love!  There may even be some give-aways!!

Hop starts Monday, July 13.  My day is Wednesday!

Here's the full schedule.

July 13:  Linda Pearl www.onequiltingcircle.com
July 14:  Barbara Gaddy www.bejeweledquilts.blogspot.com
July 15:  Maryellen McAuliffe (HERE!!) www.teachpany.blogspot.com
July 16:  Christine Martinez www.madeinscraps.blogspot.com
July 17:  Maria Hrabovsky www.mariamichaelsdesigns.com/blog
July 18: Tammy Silvers www.tamarinis.typepad.com
July 19: Joan Kawano www.moosestashquilting.blogspot.com
July 20:  Marlene Oddie www.kissedquilts.blogspot.com
July 21:  Nan Bakerwww.purrfectspots.blogspot.com
July 22:  Adele Mogavero www.adelemogavero.com
July 23:  Pam Geisel www.forquiltssake.blogspot.com
July 24:  Bea Lee  www.beaquilter.com
July 25:  Connie Campbell www.conniekresin.com
July 26:  Pam Boatright  www.pamelaquilts.blogspot.com
July 27:  Connie Kauffmann http://kauffmandesigns.blogspot.com/
July 28:  Patty Bochey  www.lemontreesnippets.wordpress.com
July 29:  Carol Steely www.funthreads.blogspot.com

So, grab your favorite beverage and get to know us a little better!



Sunday, July 5, 2015

Little Dresses for Africa

Sew and Sow Farm


I saw Jan from Sew and Sow Farm's post about making dresses to donate to Little Dresses for Africa. I knew I had fabric that would work, and enjoy making dresses, so I decided to take a mini-quilting break and make 2 dresses.



I pulled fabric from my stash, and it measured 2 3/4 yards.  It's an older print by Benartex, and I knew it would make pretty dresses.  The olive background is shaded, and the flowers are a deep magenta.   I went through my pattern supply, also, and pulled out a simple dress pattern that I've used before.  It's an older Simplicity pattern.  I had just enough fabric to make 2 dresses the same, so I layered the fabrics and cut them both out.  Although the suggested style is a pillowcase dress, I wanted something a little different, but still a pull-over style.  This one has a cute tie for a bow in the back.


I've made many dresses for girls over the years.  It was fun to make something like this again.

I have one dress done, and will finish the other tomorrow.  I need to do the armholes and attach the skirt.  Then I'll send them off.  The pattern called these a size 7, and according to the LDFA chart, will be a size medium.

I hope the girls who receive these will love wearing them.  The fabric is soft and silky, and they should have fun twirling in the fuller skirt.

As I sewed, I thought of the little girl who had clothes made from this pattern.  I was dating her father at the time, and I'm sure she's all grown up now.  I hope she's well, and happy.  I also thought of my dad's cousin, Sr. Doris.  She's a nun, and spent over 40 years working in the schools in Africa.

I'm linking up with Jan today, and I'll be sending 2 identical cotton dresses to this charity.
Thanks for visiting!

Maryellen

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Quilts on Cars

Hi!  Thanks for stopping by!

Fun story about this quilt.  I purchased a 12 piece Fat Quarter (Relatively Creative Ariel by Quilting Treasures) bundle from Hancocks of Paducah last spring, 2014.  I found a 13th FQ to coordinate, and cut out the pieces for the Hole in the Wall quilt by Quilt In A Day.  I sewed some of the pieces during the Rodeo last summer, where I was vending.  I took the rest and sewed it during my vacation in Colorado.  The blocks sat for a while during the winter, as I was concentrating on Christmas stuff, but eventually I got the top together, and added a 6" border from coordinating yardage I had purchased.  Then the top sat.  I actually brought it to NY at one point, thinking I could piece a backing and get it basted, but then realized I should have brought the Warm & White batting, as the natural batting would affect the white of the quilt.  So, it sat again.

Finally, knowing I would be doing a craft show to benefit the Children's Miracle Network for Geisinger Hospital, and that parents would be attending, I wanted to get this quilt done.  It's very pretty and would be perfect for a girl's bed.  So, last week, when I went on the road trip with Sue to Ladyfingers and Wooden Bridge, I picked out this sweet green wide backing fabric.  Since the top was about 88" long, and I would need the backing to be at least 90", regular 44" wide fabric would require another piece to make it long enough.  I prefer my seams going across the width of the quilt, so backing that was already at least 100"  made more sense.

 So, I got the quilt sandwiched and began working on the quilting part.  I decided to stick with Aurifil 50wt Mako cotton, in 2024, white, for the blocks, and 2423, a soft pink, for the border.  I used white in the bobbin.  Since the blocks are about 15", I wanted a design that would fill the space well.  I was inspired just before I fell asleep.

When I was little, I doodled constantly.  I'm sure some teachers noticed, but I'm more curious about what they though of my fingers always "tapping".  If the pen was not in my hand, my fingers were practicing guitar picking patterns, lol.  But back to the doodles.  I used to draw roses and flowers.  I used the idea of the rose for the quilting design.



What is fun is that each is similar, but different, just like real flowers.  Also, because the design was in one block at a time, managing the size of the quilt was fairly easy.  My Viking performed very well, and Aurifil is always wonderful to use. I quilted feathers in the outer border, and finished the quilt Saturday night.

Sunday, at the show, there was also a car show.  A man drove in with a pink and white car, and I knew the quilt matched it!  I asked him if I could use his car for the photos, so I could list the quilt in my Etsy shop, and he agreed.  The car is a 1957 Crown Victoria.  He said it's been in his family since it was purchased, new, and for a while he drove it to work.  They refurbished it, and now he shows it.  He was really sweet to allow my quilt to drape his car, but it really was a perfect match.  The car was stunning!



Here's how I did the quilting design.


First, start with a circle in the center of the block.  Then, stitch curves to resemble the center of a bud, with the petals covering each other.  Next, go around the outside, forming the opening and opened petals.  You'll need to backtrack just a bit to make it look like the petals are behind each other. Remember that flowers are not perfect, and some petals have wavy edges and points.  Have fun, get creative, and design your own quilting motif!  This makes a really cute design in each square, and I filled in the corners with what could be the leaves behind the flowers.  You can make most doodles into stitching designs.  This will be used again.  I hope you try it, and share your flowers with me. Thanks for visiting!

Oh, and be on the watch!  The Island Batik Ambassadors are planning some fun!  We're doing a blog hop to share our favorite things, and then another with the preview of the latest Island Batik fabrics!

See you soon!
Maryellen