Destino – a Dali Quilt

In September of last year, the Tampa Modern Quilt Guild took a field trip to the Dali Museum, in St. Petersburg, FL.This was the new location, as the museum had recently moved. Many members, including myself, had not visited the museum yet.

And there was a special exhibit at the time called Marvels of Illusion.  The main piece was a special effect that took your picture and added it to a mosaic.  The special exhibit was inspired from “Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea Which at Twenty Meters Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln (Homage to Rothko)” created in 1976.  We quilters saw a quilt in this! Everyone was very inspired from the visiti to the museum.  We decided to create a mini quilt/pillow challenge based on what we saw at the Dali.

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Having gone to art school, I knew about Dali’s work and some of the pieces that were not included in the museum.  There wasa piece I found pretty significant, that wasn’t on display. Which I didn’t believe it would be, it being a digital piece.  In the 1940′s Walt Disney contacted Salvador Dali to create an animated short.  It was originally planned to be in a sequal to Fantasia, as a short on its own to music.  However, at the time Fantasia did not do well in the box office and the squeal along with many beautiful shorts was cancelled. Below is a sketch from the original storyboards.


But what I believe is one of the most wonderful things about Disney is their archives. They keep absolutely everything.  And recently, they stumbled upon the concept and sketches.  And this time, the animation was created.  It wasn’t part of the second Fantasia which came out in 2000 (Fantasia 2000).  But it was created beautifully to stand on its own.  Below is a still.  You can view the animation here.


This is what I wanted to create my mini quilt from.  The movement and dance of the woman, the morphing of her into flying and the bell shape really stuck with me.  I wanted to recreate her and the environment.  Every quilt I do I try to challenge myself with something. Since this was a mini, I did a few challenges. I challenged myself to use low volume prints for the background and an improv manner.  I call it semi-improv since I used a whole bunch of patchwork to create the landscape, but need to secure the bell tower and shadow.  and then I used my Brother Scan N Cut for the first time to create the woman. It took a few tries to get the tension right, but when it did the machine cut her perfectly. I then did free motion quilting on my home machine.  I tried different ways to add texture and keep with the perspective of the shot. I did a simple outline of the dancer so she would ‘pop’ off the quilt! I am very happy with how this mini turned out.  And lucky me, my guild chose mine as the favorite from the challenge although there were many wonderful quilts displayed.



Jack the Seam Ripper

monumentOver a year ago I took a class at a local quilt shop taught by my friend Katie. The Lone Star has been on my bucket list as soon as I learned how to quilt. This is a Quiltsmart lone star, so it made it even easier! Before I took the class I saw someone post a great halloween quilt online which is where I was inspired from.  Halloween is so much fun and I didn’t have a quilt for that holiday yet! I went to another local quilt shop, my personal favorite Crafty Threads and bought all the fabric I could need for it.  The back which you don’t see is actually lime green of this silly little sewing witch.creppyhousedraped

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Monkey Wrench


This past April during my mom and I’s big trip to Paducah, there was a little show on the side by their Rotary Club.  It had some nice traditional quilts and interesting quilts from the turn of the century. But there was one booth that caught my eye the most, Cherrywood Fabrics.  And on their table they had bundles of green fabric for a Wicked challenge. At this point I was very busy with quilts to make for classes and saw the deadline right before the Tampa Bay Comic Con. I thought I wouldn’t have enough time so walked away. But yep, walked the floor once and went straight back to the challenge bundle. I figured even if I didn’t have enough time, better to have the challenge then regret not getting it. It’s still fabric right?  And they were all hand dyed fabric, really great quality.


So fast forward to the deadline, I am sewing up a storm for Tampa Bay Comic Con and running out of steam. This happens a lot during my ‘production sewing’ mode. I needed a break from plush making and thought that little mini quilt would be perfect.  The size had to be 20″ square but whatever you wanted.  The colors were not really speaking to me, so I decided to do something completely different than normal.  I wanted to create a minimal style quilt, focusing on the steam punk gears. Then I found this awesome embroidery from Urban ThreadsContinue reading →

Monster’s Inc Quilt


I made this quilt in November 2013 and it was all inspired from the fabric! Riley Blake had just come out with neon fabric. It was brilliant, bright, and amazing! I bought a yard of five different colors, plus some extras to go along with it.  When the fabric arrived I instantly thought of the opening sequence to Monsters Inc.  It’s a great 2D animation of the doors coming open and monsters hiding behind them.  These neon fabrics reminded me of the bright colored doors.  Once I re-watched the film to get more design ideas I realized there were lots of doors actually darker than what I remembered!  But I was still going for it.


With the Tampa Modern Quilt Guild we recently had had a meeting about improv quilt design.  I thought this quilt would be a great attempt at it.  Now I wasn’t (and am still not) completely comfortable with improv design so I first created a simple color layout in Photoshop.  I don’t like to leave things to chance, especially when expensive fabric is at stake! MonstersLayout monstersbreakdown

Going off my design, I mixed the neon fabrics with black yardage I also ordered.  I tried to stick to the layout but still use improv to build the shapes.  I started with the larger door pieces and then figured out how much black to add around to create the quilt.  I knew I wanted it to be on the smaller size. It would be a quick throw quilt for my daughter or a fun wall hanging.


I also learned how to sew my first partial seams, which was much easier than I thought!  I decided to use simple black line quilting around the doors, echoing all of the frames. I used a simple zigzag to outline difference door elements and door knobs, similar to those on the original Monsters Inc opening.  I also learned how difficult it was to photograph a black quilt in daylight, to show off the quilting! I tried three different times of day, two cameras, lots of post work and finally found some acceptable images. My darling helper helped with the final overall shot. You can see her little fingers holding up her new quilt.  She titled it “Doors!” Her excitement was all I needed. This quilt doesn’t need to travel, it has a lap to cover.

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit


I thought I would share how I created my Oswald the Lucky Rabbit quilt!

First his back story: I am part of a group at my local quilt shop, we call ourselves the Smokin’ Needle Quilters. Fo the summer we gave each other a challenge to create a Black and White Quilt with 10% of another color.  This was my first quilt for it.  I adore how it turned out, but didn’t think it really fit the challenge. I wanted a color that would pop! So I made another quilt.

I found this image of Oswald on society6 by Ed Burczyk.  I teach animation and know this character well.  I thought the artist’s interpretation of it looked like patchwork triangles. So I brought the image into Photoshop and divided it into even more triangles! I then printed it out to create my own paper piecing pattern.


I have done paper piecing before but am no expert.  I decided to work on the ears first, they were quite easy. I did the feet next, still rather simple.  The hands were a bit of a challenge with all the fingers but not too difficult.

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The head and body were the real challenge! Everything else had been strips, now I had a mass! I broke the head and body into even more sections, trying to find areas to sew together with Y-seams.  Once all the pieces were together I needle turned appliqued him down onto the backing fabric. I did meandering free motion quilting on my Pfaff. He finished 30″ square.

I am so happy with how this turned out! I felt the color didn’t work for my group’s challenge but still love it!  I learned a lot about creating paper piece patterns and breaking it into sections. I want to make more characters like this! Steamboat Willie anyone? I am considering doing that if I get into Sewvivor. It would be my ‘nautical’ quilt I think! As well as six other designs I have in my head. :)

Happy quilting!

Sewvivor – Handmade3D – Ellen Ault

So I have decided  to enter something crazy and that sounds just like me – Sewvivor! I remember hearing about the last round and knew I was too busy to do it.  This round being quilting I am throwing my needle in! I also thought it would be perfect to do to help keep me blogging more!  And a way to get new followers. And I will always be busy so what’s more sewing?  Also, if accepted the competition starts after Tampa Bay Comic Con, which would be great! So first my quilty entry – my utmost favorite quilt I ever made “See the Light.”


I made this quilt in July 2013 for the new category of Modern Quilting for AQS Des Moines show.  And I was accepted and it was amazing!Ault_SeeTheLight_detail Ault_SeeTheLight_back

I was inspired by the Disney film “Tangled” which was one of my daughter’s favorites.  I wanted to do something besides the common hair and tower image.  I loved the idea of the lanterns, wishing for new dreams and decided to do that!  This was my first original design quilt.  I drew it all out on graph paper (which I swear I still have – just no idea where it is) and calculated my yardage.  Let me tell you I was good on my math, I had under a 1/3 yd left! Which made me nervous if I screwed up – but luckily I didn’t!  This was also my very first try at long arm quilting! I tried to do something in the sorts of McTavishing, playing with the idea of Rapunzel’s long twisty hair.  I added in the suns on the lanterns from my mom’s suggestion since their spaces couldn’t be left blank in the quilting. For the back I wanted to something really simple and ‘modern’ in the artistic sense, I did a single strip of yellow to represent her hair and then continued the color gradation.    “See the Light” didn’t win anything and didn’t get to travel to other shows, but is still my utmost favorite!   Continue reading →

Welcome back!

In the words of Kermit from The Muppets “Welcome Back everyone! I know the old place doesn’t look it’s best, but we’ll be fine.”

This is currently the lead into my daughter’s favorite song “We Built This City” from The Muppets that we listen to at least twice a day.  I love it too and think it fits here.  I have decided to create a brand new website, something that will be easier to manage. I was tired of the old and felt even though I still use the same branding the website was doing nothing for me.  Everything is still here but in a nice clean format. All the kinks are not out of it yet, but hey look at that fun hexie button over up top!  Click on the menu lines and you can still access everything you need.

I have uploaded my two favorite posts from my old site but plan to put all new material from here on forward. I have a post planned to show off my original quilt design and process for the ‘Curvy Mammoth’ to do soon.  Over this past weekend I created flowers from the Super Mario games that turned out to be a big hit so will post about them too. With this WordPress format I hope to post more often. I feel my sewing and quilting skills have come very far over the past year and I want to share more work of that with you. Here’s hoping to more posting!  Please let me know if you have questions or requests on plush, quilts, or anything sewing related.

Guess What Came in the Mail!!

<originally posted January 2013>

Twice a year a national magazine comes out that is just filled with plush inspiration.  It has been a goal of mine for years to get into this publication.  I have tried before and was sadly rejected.  But that was in my brand new infancy stage of my business.  This past year has been the strongest year yet for me and on a whim I submitted a piece to the magazine.  I found out in December that I was accepted and today I received my early copy.  Can I just say how amazing this makes me feel as a plush artist!  I love my work, I know my buyers love my work, but to be recognized like this is an honor.  I truly appreciate being selected.


I flipped through the magazine, of course searching for my own page.  I found that I was listed in the Editor’s Note, huge surprise there!  Then I found out I was on page 14 of 144!  I know there are many reasons for page layout decisions from the number of pages an article takes, to color, etc.  But page 14!  Wow.


I flipped through the rest of the book and realized the majority are new artists that haven’t been in the magazine before.  In past issues I see names repeated over and over from other issues and always felt they needed someone new.  This issue looks fantastic! Lots of new artists and some well known plush artists with their amazing work.  I am truly inspired!

The Making of a Tardis

<originally posted May 2013>

TardisOften people wonder how I make what I do, so welcome to “The Making of a Tardis!” First I start with the wonderful Tardis blue fabric and cut 6 panels for each Tardis.  The Tardis is basically a box, so hence it needs six sides.Once they are cut I first stitch the side door panels with straight lines to define the door frames.


Well, wait. I’m out order. While I am cutting the panels, I actually have my embroidery machine working.  I created the Police Box top panel in my embroidery software and then set my machine to stitch out 10 pieces at a time.  10 may sound like a lot but it only makes two and half. Remember the four sides of a box?  Each side needs the police sign on top.

Ok, so once the door frames are stitched, I cut out and clean up all the embroidery pieces. I then stitch them to the top of the door frame.

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