Sunday, December 27, 2015

The winner!

Hi!

I hope you've all had a great Christmas!

I had a great time with my favorite people, and the food was wonderful.

I used random.org to choose the winner of the fat quarter assortment from my post for the Holiday Happenings post with Quilt Shop Gal's #NightsbeforeChristmas post.

Random picked #32, and Pat from Texas won!  She's excited to have a surprise Christmas present.

I did have a few new followers on my Facebook page, but I didn't hit 350 yet (as of now, it's 340!  So close!)

Keep an eye on my blog posts coming up, though, because I'll be involved in #IslandBatik's next blog hop (and sharing more about the newest collection) and a book review hop.

And, just because I think I need to share a photo, here's one of my latest quilts, available in my shop, an adorable baby size.  I'll be making 2 more soon.  2 of my nieces are expecting.  One is due any day now!  Exciting stuff coming!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Holiday Happenings!

I'm linking up with QuiltShopGal's Linky Party! #NightsBeforeChristmas!  And #Creativegoodness.

Here are some things I've done lately to get ready for Christmas!

nights before chistmas party

I've used an older charm pack, Royal Holiday, from Moda, and Little Charmers II by Anka's Treasures, and a gold metallic print fabric from Timeless Treasures.



This is a great pattern for charm squares.  I planned the layout to make sure the gold smaller squares created the alternating design.  Anka's Treasures has lots of patterns for charm squares.  I like them, especially if the packs are older and you didn't think to buy coordinating yardage for borders and binding.  You can always find something that works for binding, though.  This is a Benartex metallic pindot that matched the colors in the squares, and had a little touch of gold to pick up the gold print fabric. And yes, I mix brands. I'm using my stash!

I also made this runner featuring Island Batik fabrics.  


I had seen similar runners made by friends, and then saw a share on Olfa's Facebook page for this free pattern.  I do have enough triangles left for a smaller piece.  I need to play with layouts to decide how to make it.  I used 4 fabrics, and quilted it with Superior Metallic in Light Gold.  My suggestion is to press the strips in alternate directions, so more of the seams lock.  I'll play with some tips for the next one I do.  I used the 60* Ruler from Quilt In A Day.  Any ruler about that size would work, though.  I've seen some really pretty runners using the same shape ruler, and you can play with the layout to make different looks.

Next on my list is baking!  I love the old Spritz cookie recipe, and my cookie press, for holiday cookies.  I double the batch, and leave 1/2 without color, and the other half colored green.  I bake the plain ones first, then mix in the green food coloring to the remainder.  I use a round or flower shape for the plain, then melt about 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave and mix until smooth (my microwave takes between 2 and 3 minutes.  Just make sure the bowl you use is dry.).  Dip 1/2 of the top side of the cooled cookie in the melted chocolate and then some colored sprinkles (in another bowl) and let them cool.  For the green dough, I use the tree shaped die and just add some colored sugar, or snowflakes or sprinkles on the top.  It's the perfect buttery flavor cookie with great texture and looks elegant for parties.  You'll be asked if you purchased them from a bakery.



Finally, I'd like to give away some Island Batik fabric.  You can win an assortment of 4 Fat Quarter pieces.  Leave a comment for one chance.  Sign up for emails of my blog post (up on the right hand side), and let me know if you do, for another chance, and "LIKE" my Facebook page, with a 3rd comment, for 3 chances.   I'll pick the winner on December 26, but prize will be shipped in January.  I'm not sure which fabrics I'll choose yet, so we'll all be surprised.  I have some more from the collection in the black and gold runner, but may decide to send some of the newest collection called Sea Salt Sandy, which won't be in stores until January.  Or something else!  This is going to be fun!  (International followers, if you wouldn't mind chipping in towards the extra shipping fee, I'm glad to include you.).  If Facebook goes over 350 followers, I'll choose a second winner from these comments!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I do hope you'll visit QuiltShopGal's party and see what the others are sharing.  It's a great way to spend #NightsBeforeChristmas!

I'm off to make a cheesecake, and some bread dough for Sausage Bread, and work on a quilt using Island Batik for my son.  He needs a new lap quilt.  Enjoy the 8 days until Christmas!

Maryellen

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Busy Sewing

Hi!

I'm busily sewing.  I have lots of projects to finish before Christmas, and I've been doing weekend craft fairs, too.  Some things I'm making just for the fairs, like the recent group of mug rugs aka snack mats.

Some are just 7 1/2" strips of width of fabric, layered and quilted, then cut into 4 sections and bound.
Easy, fast, and a great way to practice free-motion quilting and play with thread.  I used gold metallic thread on top; it just adds an extra sparkle.  What's a mug rug or snack mat?  Basically a mini place mat or jumbo coaster.  It's roomy enough for your beverage and snack, and is washable.  It protects the table, adds color and they are fun to make.
This is another style.  I made some small pinwheel blocks (each 1/4 of the block is a 2" half square triangle unit).  This one was a gift for my son.  Some can also be used as mouse pads.   Any novelty type fabric would be fun in these.  I made this one about 8 by 10", and have a second listed in my Etsy shop.   I think it would be a cute gift with a mug or gift card to your favorite beverage place.
 I've also been using scraps from other quilts and making doll bed size quilts.  This was from 2 1/2" strip sets that were sewn together.  I made 4 patch blocks and just sewed them together, added a border and quilted it.  It's pretty for a table topper, too.

This one was from 2" squares left from another project, too.  The customer requested purples and a doll size pillow to match.
Doesn't it look adorable on a bed from Dietrick Woodworking?  They're made to fit 18" dolls (American Girl or similar).  To see more of Jeremy's products, visit Dietrick Woodworking.

Just a side note, he also custom builds quilt racks.  I love the one he made for me.   He even put in hooks on the sides so I can hang my purses and aprons for shows.

I also finished a flannel baby quilt.  I had gotten the panel a few years ago, and added the Hourglass blocks on the side, and then it sat for a while.  I decided to get it finished and figured it needed more borders, so I added a pink flange border and then one in the blue stars.  It's quilted with stars and swirls around the sweet characters in the panel, and curves to accent the blocks.  I used a solid white flannel on the back, and the batting is 100% cotton, Katahdin Autumn by Bosal.  I had been given a trial package of it, and it's really nice to work with.  It quilted and washed beautifully.  I used Aurifil Mako 50wt cotton for the quilting in 2710, a soft blue.  I think it's so pretty!
The panel features a teddy bear reading to his friends.

And I've been working on a Frozen quilt!  I made blocks in various shades of the panel to surround it, and then added a border.  This is about 70 by 84".  I still need to quilt the white parts, but had fun quilting details of the Elsa and Anna characters in the panel.  I have 2 more panels like this, and one Olaf panel to make into quilts.  I'm going to offer them as custom options on my shop.  This is a gift for Jeremy's daughter, from him for Christmas.  I love the aqua blue backing I found.  It has snowflakes and a little glitter. The edge fabric has lots of glitter, too, and the white background fabric has tone on tone snowflakes.


Yes, it's bound and not completely quilted.  I wanted to bring it to the show I did at Msgr. McHugh's Spaghetti Dinner on Saturday, and show Jeremy.  I didn't want to display it without binding, though.  I didn't want the edge to get ruined.  This one used so many colors of Aurifil!  I changed threads about 16 times.  Some colors were just in 2 blocks.  I used 2588, Light Magenta, in the pink blocks, Anna's cloak, and the frame around the panel.  1243, Dusty Lavender, is in the 4 purple corner blocks.  2692, Black, is the bodice of Anna's dress, 2775, Steel Blue is her skirt, and 2330, Light Chestnut was used to accent her hair.  Elsa's dress is 2815, Teal, which is also in the bobbin and most of the background of the panel, with 2000, Light Sand, for her hair and around her face.  2510, Light Lilac, and 2710, Light Robins Egg, are in their matching blocks, and I used 40wt 4660, Pink Taffy, a variegated thread, in the outer border.  I still need to use 2024, White, in the white areas.  I'm so glad that I've been collecting Aurifil, and that the colors really add to this quilt.  I'm putting this aside for a few weeks, though.  Other things need to be finished first.

I have more to do, including a custom order, and some pies to bake.  Thanks for stopping to read!  If you want details on how to make a mug rug, just let me know.

I do hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving!  I'm thankful that you read my blog.

Maryellen

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Sew Simple Saturday

Sew and Sow Farm

Jan from Sew and Sow Farm is having a linky for Sew Simple Saturday.  She's doing it once a month. You should check it out!

I'm working on a second table runner with appliqued Hexies.  Jan actually picked me as a winner on a Facebook contest months ago, and I made this with the kit I won, a candy charm pack of April Showers by Bonnie and Camille for Moda.  I added cream centers and made the runner based on the tutorial that Jan showed, but mine is a little larger.  It's really cute!


I normally don't do a lot of hand sewing.  My hand falls asleep.  But doing the hexies was fun.  I used a dot of washable glue to hold the shapes to the papers, then thread basted the edges around.  My friend uses paperclips, instead of glue.   I used Aurifil 50wt for joining the pieces, and then for the applique and quilting.  I worked on this during craft shows where I was vending,  (and told many that you can sew anywhere)  and at Dr's appointments.  The last of the hexies were sewn together just after cataract surgery follow-up visits.  

It was so much fun I purchased a second mini charm pack and the border fabric, this time using Mistletoe Lane, by Bunny Hill for Moda.  It's a cute mix of winter fun, like skating and trees and plaids and stripes, in pink, brown, cream, green and red.  I got the red plaid for the edges of this one, and the stripe for binding.  I hope to have the top finished this week.  This time, I used all the squares, putting the lightest cream/tan prints in the centers.  Again, this was completed during craft shows and Dr. visits.  I felt productive while waiting for customers or the Dr.  It starts lots of fun conversations, too. 


I also purchased a regular size charm pack of this collection, and plan a pieced runner.  I think it would be cute as accessories in the same room, same colors, but different looks.  I'll share that when I decide how I want to piece it.  But that'll be done on machine.  

I'll need to get another mini charm pack soon.  Hexies are just too cute and fun! 

So, check out Jan's posts, follow her blog, and visit some of the others who linked.  You may just enjoy yourself!  

Thanks for visiting! 

Maryellen

Monday, November 2, 2015

Flying Geese and Corn Mazes

Hi!
I do hope you've taken time to enjoy some Fall activities!
I suggested a name for Mazeilla's 2015 maze, and the theme was Transportation.  My suggestion was "Are we there yet?" and it won on the Facebook contest, so I got 2 free tickets to the 11 acre maze.  I thought my suggestion was fun, because the phrase is a common thing that kids say when travelling, and something you would say if you were lost in a maze.  I'd never done a maze before, and my son and I decided to go.  I'd actually met the Klingle family years ago, when I made costumes for Mary Poppins at Holy Family church.

Since most of my weekends have been occupied by craft shows, it wasn't until Halloween that Matt and I could go.  We had a gorgeous day, and lots of fun.  Mazeilla has a passport, and within the maze, near each vehicle, is a hole punch.  When you find all the vehicles, you've conquered the maze.  Matt and I found a few of the punches easily, but couldn't find 3.  Although we had an idea of what the maze looked like from above, it wasn't until Matt realized he was walking the zig-zag of the Hot Air Balloon that he figured the direction of the photo, and from there we were able to find the last 3 easily.  What made me laugh was we were told to get lost and Matt and I both have a really good sense of direction.  So even if we couldn't find the punches, we knew which way was "out" of the maze.  That was kind of funny.
 I got to pet a llama.  Look at those eye lashes!! 

 Yes, my son is tall, but not quite tall enough to see over the corn, lol.  Gorgeous sky behind him, though.
It was the perfect day for a wagon ride to the maze and other activities, and to visit the farm stand.  I got some apples for a pie for Thanksgiving.  

I also worked to finish the table runner from the You Can Quilt  blog hop.  I made the 3 blocks from the Flying Geese chapter, and decided to make a runner using fabrics from the Coral Reef collection from Island Batik.  Have I mentioned that the colors and fabrics are so pretty?  


I quilted it with Aurifil Mako 50wt cotton in 1243, Dusty Lavender, in the middle shade of purple, 4225, Eggplant, in the darker purple and border, and  3840, French Lilac, a really pretty variegated thread, in the lighter areas, including the background.  Dusty Lavender was in the bobbin for all, because I used Gilded Greenery in Pansy Purple by Blank textiles for the backing.  I did custom quilting on my Viking Sapphire, to accent the shapes of the blocks.  I did a pebble filled center with an outer ring of feathers in the center of the Sawtooth Star block (center of runner) and curves, swirls and loops in the rest of the blocks, with feathers in the sashing and borders.  After 3 bobbins used in quilting, there was very little lint in the bobbin case.  I love that Aurifil hardly ever breaks and is good for my machine, and the colors are really gorgeous with Island Batik fabrics.  


 Blocks are "Breaking Out, Sawtooth Star and Double Star". 


I used 2 1/2" strips for the sashing/inner border, and 4 1/2' wide strips for the outer border.  The finished runner measures 25 by 53" and is available in my Etsy shop, Here.  

Thanks for visiting!  
Maryellen





Sunday, October 25, 2015

Some Prizes and Finishes.

Hi!  This has been a fun week.  More of the You Can Quilt blogs have been shared, it's Quilt Market time in Houston, Tx (despite Hurricane Patricia's rain), and I got a new contact lens that fits well, and gives me 20/20 vision in my left eye, which is amazing.  If you've been following my blog for a bit, you may have heard that I have Keratoconus, a degenerative corneal disease.  I had a cornea transplant in 2014, and recently had cataract surgery and an implant, all in the left eye.  Without the lens my vision is 20/400.  This Scleral lens, combined with the implant and cornea transplant are medical miracles for me.  It's been fun to actually see the signs in the aisle of the grocery store, and see the people walking, too.  

So, the prizes.  
Shannon from FabricsNQuilts sponsors the Scrap Quilt Challenge, and since I've been a friend for many years, and love a challenge, I've been entering the challenge for 5 years, too.  She does a random drawing for the prizes, so it's not a popularity contest, but the more scrappy quilts you finish, the more chances you have to win.  Kim from Persimmon Dreams is going to host the challenge next year.  Keep an eye out for info.  I won a book called Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts.  

I really liked this design, but I adore blue quilts.

Another prize was the seam ripper from Havel's.  They had a question on the Facebook page, and my response was randomly chosen to get a seam ripper. 
I guess I'll have to make a mistake so I can try it out, lol. 

I also finished 2 smaller quilts.  The first is another Autumn Leaves by Quilt In A Day.  I made some a few years ago, and 2 of them have Fibre Optic lights around the center square.  When a customer at a show saw it, she wanted the leaves, in a shorter runner, and "no lights".  

Since the pattern makes 4 leaves, I decided to do hers, and another for the shop, without lights.  This one has the rust leaf print for binding, and I like it.  I used a stencil to quilt the center block but put feathers in the rest of the cream areas   I quilted the leaves to look like they had veins, in Aurifil 50wt Mako colors 2355 for the brown, 1103 for the rust/red middle section, and 2324 in the golden tan area.  The rest of the quilting was 2000, a sweet cream.  I love how the Aurifil thread colors work to accent and blend into the leaves.  Here's the quilting from the back (yes, I use matching bobbins to avoid the bobbin thread showing on the top.  I just free-motion veins!  It's fun.  Aurifil makes it so easy to get good results.  



The other finish is Pumpkin Grins, also a Quilt In a Day pattern.

I added LED lights and changed the face features.  I had actually made this a few years ago, and it was a class sample on how to add lights.  I decided to finish it, and list it in the shop.  If I have a chance to teach this again, I'll make another one.  I used a tan clear nylon thread for the spider web shaped quilting.  

This is heading to the shop, too.  Just FYI, the sweet border fabric is also available there.  

Yesterday's show was my first Juried show, at Dansbury Depot in East Stroudsburg, PA.  We had a fun time, and it was really neat to see the train from Steamtown in Scranton come in.  This was the last of the Foliage tours for the year.  The passengers have time to shop and get lunch, and tour the restored Depot and the tower.  The riders all enjoyed the day.  

Thanks for visiting.  I hope you decide to join the Scrap Quilt Challenge group on Facebook, and if you follow my page there, you'll see that I share many chances for you to win prizes from other companies, too.  I think that if you enter a lot of contests, you have better chances to win something.  Just remember to read the contest rules and make sure you're commenting on the sponsor's post, not on my shared post.  Have fun, and let me know if you win something.  Oh, and I now have 330 followers on Facebook.  I'll be doing a random drawing for that milestone, and the winner will have a choice of prizes.  I'll let you know who wins and what they choose. 

Maryellen

Thursday, October 15, 2015

You Can Quilt Blog Hop


Are you ready for some fun?  Are you a beginner to intermediate quilter who is looking for inspiration, great information, and some fun blocks?  Are you looking for gorgeous fabrics to play with?  Then this is going to be a blast! 



Have I mentioned I LOVE being an Island Batik Ambassador?  Okay, maybe you're getting tired of me saying it, but it's true!  Marlene Oddie, a fellow IBA, recently co-wrote a book with Leila Gardunia called YOU CAN QUILT.  You can find it HERE at Shopaqs.com or if you want a signed copy, HERE at Marlene's Blog (click on the photo of the book) 





So, about the book.  I volunteered to review Chapter 4, Flying Geese.  Of course I needed to read the first few chapters, as well.  It starts out with great info on beginning quilting, from cutting to choosing fabrics, and getting an accurate size finished unit.  The next chapters build on these skills, and go from simple strip piecing to more detailed units, including foundation piecing and sewing curves.  It's a great resource with interesting blocks, and you could make a fun sampler with all the blocks.  Or just use the blocks for something smaller, like I plan for a table runner.  


In Chapter 4, Marlene and Leila detail 3 different ways to make flying geese blocks, from cutting triangles to the flippy corner style, to the "no waste" style (which is my favorite). Then these styles are featured in 3 blocks, from the standard Sawtooth Star to Breaking Out, (love the pinwheel center) and Double Star block.  


The fabrics I chose are the gorgeous lavenders and purples from the soon to be presented at Market collection called Coral Reef.  Yes, this is a preview before your shop owners get to see it.  Aren't they pretty?  I also grabbed a background called ALMOND, a sweet dotty swirl with specks of grey, pale lavender and aqua.  


Sawtooth Star


Breaking Out
Double Star (but I made it 3 fabrics plus background, just because I LOVE the colors in the batiks!


I laid them out on the fabric I picked for a border, but think I want to do a lighter sashing and inner border, then the dark outer and binding.  I may also move the Sawtooth Star to the middle, because it's simpler than the other two.  I need to think on it.  As soon as i decide and finish it, I'll share photos!  
  
I really enjoyed using the book.  I felt the directions were clear, well written, and the illustrations were well done.  I even used one of the foundation pieced blocks for the Teal Mini blog hop (look at my last post for details).  I know I'll pick ideas from this book again and again.  I think it's a great resource for quilters of all levels.  There are lots of hints and suggestions, too.  I'm sure you'll find something that will improve your quilting skills.

Please consider adding this to your collection, and follow along with the other bloggers to see more details about the book.  


Oct. 9 – Ch. 1. Basics - Leila Gardunia  http://sewnbyleila.blogspot.com
Oct. 12 – Ch. 2. HST - Tammy Silvers  http://www.tamarinis.typepad.com/
Oct 14 – Ch 3. QST - Connie Kresin Campbell http://www.conniekresin.com
Oct. 16 – Ch 4. Flying Geese - Maryellen McAuliffe http:// teachpany.blogspot.com (You're HERE! Thanks!)
Oct 19 -- Ch. 5. Wonky - Christine McCrann Martinez http:// madeinscraps.blogspot.com
Oct. 21 – Ch. 6. Improvisation - Connie Kauffman http:// kauffmandesigns.blogspot.com
Oct. 23 -- Ch. 7. Foundation Paper Piecing - Joan Kawano http:// moosestashquilting.blogspot.com
Oct. 26 – Ch. 8. Curves - Marlene Oddie  http://kissedquilts.blogspot.com
Oct. 28 -  Ch 9. One-Patch Blocks - Bea Lee http://www.beaquilter.com
Oct. 30 – Ch. 10. Applique - Barbara Gaddy http:// bejeweledquilts.blogspot.com
Nov. 2 – Ch. 11. Inset Seams - Pamela Boatright  http://pamelaquilts.blogspot.com/
Nov. 4 – Ch. 12. Challenge Blocks - Linda Stewart Pearl http:// www.onequiltingcircle.com
Nov. 6 – Ch. 13. finishing – Marlene   http://kissedquilts.blogspot.com

AND Please click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter to win one of 4 books and some great fabrics.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thanks so much for visiting!  AND, if you LOVE the fabrics I used, please ask your favorite shops to get them for you.  Make sure you mention the Coral Reef collection from Island Batik.  The colors and designs are gorgeous, and the fabric base is just wonderful to work with.  Also, Aurifil had a thread collection designed to go with some of the new Island Batik collections!  Watch for that, as well.  


If you haven't followed my Facebook page yet, please do!  Marymackmademine is growing, and I share lots of other give-aways and inspiration.  There will be a FB Fan only give away soon!  Maybe even a choice of prizes.  And to keep up with me, please follow by email. Someone on that list may get a little surprise, too.  

Maryellen