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

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Island Batik at Quilt Market

If you've been following any quilting related social media, you know that International Quilt Market is this weekend in Minneapolis, Minnesota.   Since I'm not going, yet (it's on my bucket list), I figured I would share some of the gorgeous new fabrics your favorite quilt shop owners will be seeing.

Why do I have these?  Because I'm one of the Island Batik Ambassadors, and I get samples to share.

So, get your eyes ready to feast on these stunning fabrics.

This group is called Grapevine.  It features teals, purples, golds and yellows.  The colors are rich and vibrant, and the fabrics are just wonderful.  I love the crispness and the feel of the greige goods, and they take the dyes so well.   I can't wait to play with these!  So far, I've only been looking at them, and trying to decide how they want to be put into a project.


This year, the prints include the paisley/traditional style, and the small pine tree print, among others.  I wish you could see these in person, and touch them.  You'll see why I love Island Batik fabrics.

The paisley and sunflowers will be in other colors, too, as will the animal print.  

This one is my favorite.  When I opened the box and pulled this out, I just said "OOOHhh".  It was stunning, and caught my attention right away.  The colors are just so vibrant, and that paisley speaks to my "traditional" print heart.  This is one I would buy yards of, and savor for a while before deciding what to make.  

The second collection I got is called Buttermilk.  

The colors in this are really yummy!  I'm sure that led to the name.  
 Cream and peach with swirls of dots, and a gorgeous floral with a touch of lavender. aqua, and yellow, as well as the peach and cream.

 That gorgeous paisley again!  
The pine trees, this time in pale green on cream. 
 Paisley again!  
These two were my favorite in this collection.  

So, any thoughts on what you would make?  Do you plan to ask your favorite quilt shops to carry Island Batik?  Which of these would you buy?  Let me know!  I love your replies.  
Thanks for visiting!  Enjoy the rest of the Quilt Market posts!  Hopefully, they will get your ideas flowing, and you'll end up with some gorgeous quilts and purses.  

Maryellen
Creative Goodness at QuiltShopGal

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

16 Dresses and a Skirt and a Man's Vest


Was that the title to the movie with Katherine Heigl?? No, the movie is 27 dresses.  This is also not for the same plot, but it does explain what I've been doing for the past few weeks.


As I mentioned in THIS post, I'm making dresses for the Quilt Dance at Lehigh Valley Charter Arts.  I'm finally done, and wanted to share some of them.  There are 16 dresses altogether, plus a vest for the male dancer, and I also made a skirt for the soloist who sings the opening of this piece.  The students love the dresses!  I'm thrilled.  I added vintage buttons to some, and other details to others.  One has red trim, so I'm calling it my "1950's Diner Waitress" dress.  I need to get a photo of the group, and that dress.  It was fun to add little touches.  


The first one is made with a grey mottled cotton.  It looks great on stage.  This one has cuffed sleeves, and vintage brass buttons, in an olive green woven polyester.  

This one is a super soft homespun fabric.  It's the kind of dress you would want to live it, it's that comfy.  Those 3 use the same pattern.

 This is another homespun plaid, and it has a very retro vibe to it.  The pattern is Simplicity.
 This is the same dress, only in solid black cotton, with gold and pearl buttons.  I think June Cleaver or Lucy Ball would have worn something like this.  I joked that the girl needed a black patent leather belt, a strand of pearls and a brooch.  She's using a belt.  And, with her beautiful black hair, she really does look very good in this.  Very '50s Hollywood.
This is the third style, only I left off the pockets.  Again, another great teal and purple homespun.  I wish I had more of this fabric.  I would love a shirt in it.

And the skirt fabric is great, too.
I hope to get more photos of the students wearing these, and the other 9 dresses.  It's been a challenge to make them, using retro patterns and trying to use fabrics and trims I had here or could purchase from Paul.  I think I did well, and the look for the theme of the dance is great.  One student said that it's the first time she has a costume that actually fits her.  I'm thrilled to have made her happy.

And I'm thrilled to have finished these dresses!  It's been an interesting process, and now I have tons of fabric scraps to cut into squares and strips for some scrappy quilts.  I have lots planned, and need to get the Accuquilt GO! cutter out and get the piles cleaned up, cut, and sorted.

Thanks for visiting!

Maryellen



Friday, May 1, 2015

And The Winner Is... And an Island Batik Challenge

True Random Number Generator  82Powered by RANDOM.ORG

82 
Melissa said...
I follow fnq on fb ��
Melissa, I've sent you an email.  Thanks, everyone, so much for participating in this hop. Melissa I can't wait to see what you choose from Fabrics N Quilts.  Have fun shopping!  

For other news Island Batik has teamed up with  Superior Threads and  American Sewing Expo for a challenge - the  Chic Batik Challenge!  
Order your fabrics from Superior Threads, make a gorgeous garment, and enter by August 1, 2015.  You have a chance to win great prizes.  Find all the info HERE
I'm planning something with these gorgeous rayon batiks. I'm trying to decide on my colors.  
Should I go with  Boysenberry Jam?
Or maybe Raspberry Fusion?

Or maybe Hummingbird Punch?  
Or... I wish I could get all 3, and the black and white...  Now to pick out a garment!  I know I want a batik shirt. Maybe a skirt?? Or should I do a dress??  Ohhhh.  I can't wait to play! I hope you choose to participate, too.  


Thanks for visiting!  I'm also linking with Quilt Shop Gal's Creative GoodnessShe's also sharing her May Free Motion Quilting Challenge. So, go, and be inspired!  Have fun!Creative Goodness landscape copy
Maryellen