Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Pugtastic Tuesday: A Visit from Roxy

People often ask why I have pugs. After 9/11 I decided to get a dog because I had always wanted one and I wasn't going to wait for the "right time" any longer. I knew that I wanted a small dog. I investigated several different breeds including pugs, Boston Terriers, and King Charles Cavalier Spaniels. I also considered adopting a greyhound (not a small dog, but a fairly complacent breed), but my boyfriend, at the time, didn't want a "used" dog (his words, not mine).

Enter Lyn. Lyn was one of my very favorite clients, and she had two pugs, Rocky and Harley. She told me funny stories about them all the time. I also read Clara: The Story of the Pug Who Ruled My Life by Margo Kaufman and fell even more in love with the breed. I brought my first pug, Romeo, home in March 2002 and the rest is history.

Lyn has retired and moved to Arizona. Rocky and Harley and Romeo have all crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Roxy is Lyn's current pug. I got this adorable photo from her the other day.
It’s cold in Arizona right now. Time for old gals to get out their minks and jewels. (The mink was inherited from a dog friend, and one of my dog walking pals was so charmed by Roxy  in her fur coat that he made the necklace for her.)
Isn't she precious?

In other big news, the Pug Boys are on Kinga Nichols' refrigerator (to me, this is on par with being a football fan and Tom Brady puts your Christmas card on his refrigerator)! Kinga Nichols is a bead embroidery super star and she is one of my idols. I took a bead embroidery class with her and we bonded over our love of pugs. Kinga has an adorable white pug named Karl Barx and two other fur babies, Samantha Regina, a beautiful boxer, and Butters the cat.
Check out the Pug Boys at lower right.
If you didn't get your 2018 Pug Boys holiday card, don't despair. I'm still writing out a few more.

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Royalty Earrings

Hello Dear Blogging Friends,

Here is my most recent beading project: Royalty Earrings. This pattern is an original design by Christa O'Brien who teaches at The Bead Cache in Mansfield, MA. I took this class on Saturday afternoon. I finished one earring in class and the other earring on Sunday. There are over 50 steps in each earring and probably almost 100 beads in each one.
I finished my earrings! They are made with Super Duos, crystals and seed beads.
They are small but sparkly.

My husband says they remind him of Dream Catchers or a crucifix. I think they look like snowflakes.

My brother Gary liked his yoga bag!
He has already taken his bag to his yoga class and said that all of his classmates were jealous.

I'm taking two wire wrapping classes on Thursday with Melody MacDuffee and I can't wait! So you will probably see some more jewelry soon. If you prefer my quilt projects, don't worry, I'm in no danger of running out of fabric or projects. I have two quilt weekends coming up, so I will have something fabric-related to share with you in my blog.

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Yoga Mat Bag for Gary

I am fortunate to have the most fantastic family who support all of my craft endeavors. Most recently my brother Gary requested that I make him a yoga bag to carry his mat to his yoga class. He sent me a sweet email with his request as well as links to two free patterns that he had researched. This is the pattern that I used to make his bag. It was fast and easy. Gary also went to Joann Fabrics' website and chose the fabric that he wanted. Here is the second pattern link option that he sent me, which I did not use.

Here is my husband Mike modelling Gary's finished yoga bag which I mailed to him on Monday.
Gary wanted a "bad-ass" yoga bag with skulls and flames!
The pattern was quick and easy. The recommended fabric is decorator weight, but Gary had chosen quilting weight cotton, so I added a layer of fusible foam for firmness. Next time, I think I will also interface the fabric. The handles are made of webbing and the bag closes with a simple loop and a button. Of course, I added pockets to the bag: two on the outside, between the bag handles (one on each side) and two patch pockets on the inside. I also added an inside strap with an S-hook for Gary's keys. The pattern called for turning the bag inside out at the top seam, but I prefer to do it at the bottom of the lining.
Here is Mike showing you one of the outside pockets.
Here's a close-up of the clever outer pocket that I added with orange trim. There's a close-up of the skull button in the photos below.
I added a key loop. Orange is Gary's favorite color.
Contrasting inner pocket. Can you see the skull faces in the flames? Gary chose the bright orange for the lining too.
No bad-ass yoga bag would be complete without a scary skull button. I made this from a plain black button and a Halloween figurine (found at Joann Fabrics) of the three skulls. I glued them together with my trusty E600.
I'm looking forward to getting a photo of my brother with his new yoga bag. I promised my sister-in-law that if she joined Gary at yoga class that I would make her a bag too! Thank you Gary for your patience (email request sent in mid August, bag sent December 31st).

I also included some new pillowcases in Gary's package for him, his wife and their two little nephews.
Some of my next projects are two baby quilts (one for my friend Anna and one for my brother Gary for his co-teacher), and a leopard print pillow for my friend Julie.

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Pugtastic Tuesday: Happy 2019!

Happy 2019! Not sure how we got to a new year this fast! Here are some fun pug photos for New Year's. They are not my pugs, although I will share some pug photos of the pug pack at the end. Yes, you can find almost anything on the Internet, although most of these popped up in my Facebook feed.

I am not ready to go back to work after a glorious week off. I feel relaxed and could happily spend at least another week at home playing with all my beads and fabric and the Pug Boys. Plus, Mike and I have at least another four movies that we want to see.

Mike made a glorious New Year's Eve dinner.
Stuffed mushrooms in progress. Not as good as Nancy Dorgan's version but I found her recipe in my cooking notebook and we'll try it next time.
Surf and turf! Mike found delicious fillets, and served them with mashed potatoes and parsnips, jumbo shrimp (my favorite oxymoron) and roasted asparagus. Yum!
I believe that we are all supposed to start exercising, organizing and dieting. Phooey!
My brother Jeff and his family went to Hawaii for Christmas week vacation and they visited a quilt store. They apparently bought fabric, but it's not a gift for me, it's so I can make them Hawaiian pillowcases.

Here are some pictures of the handsome men in my life.
My handsome husband Mike, and our sweet baby Elvis, age 16.
LarryPug, at left, and Caesar. Larry will turn 10 this year and Caesar will turn 5.
Thanks for visiting! As a reward for reading this entry, a real post about sewing will be up tomorrow!

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are getting ready to depart for our annual epic road trip to see Mike's entire family. We're having Thanksgiving dinner in Philadelphia which is hosted by his Mom's side of the family, his cousins Merrie, Robin and their families. Then on Friday we head to Ocean City, New Jersey for an annual family reunion with Mike's Dad's side of the family. On Sunday, we will visit my brother Gary and his family for the day and then we'll drive home on Monday, hopefully avoiding traffic. If time permits, we'll stop in New Jersey and visit our friend Phil and eat some Dim Sum and possibly stop in Connecticut and visit my friend Rebecca and eat at Rein's Deli!

It will be lots and lots of driving, driving, and more driving, plus eating and more eating! Packing all my comfy pants! I can't wait to see everyone!

Pugs and kisses,

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Forecast: Jewelry Making Weekend Ahead!

This weekend I'm taking two jewelry making classes. Today at 10 am, I'm heading to PFlora Metal Arts in Canton, MA (my new happy place) to take this class.
The name of the class is "Nailed It" because we are using manicure art to make the impressions. That's all I know right now. There is still one space left in the class if you are an early riser and live nearby. Here's the link.

Tomorrow, I'm taking a private class with a group of friends down in Plymouth at The Art Shoppe. We'll be making the Sea Wave Copper Bracelet. I've taken one class here before just to check the place out and the instructor was great.
This class is only $30, and we have a few empty seats, so give me a call or email me if you want to join in the fun. The class starts at noon.

Mike is looking forward to playing his guitar this weekend and we're also meeting some friends for dinner. The Pug Boys are wondering if they are getting jewelled collars for Chanukah this year.

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, November 15, 2018

There will be beads...

This year I have had my own personal art renaissance. For many, many years I have devoted myself to sewing and quilting, but this year has been different. I've taken several different art classes and opened myself to new experiences and techniques. Marion and I started beading a year ago this past May, and it is a new hobby that I thoroughly enjoy. I also found a great art workshop near my house and have been taking lots of jewelry classes there.

I still like to sew and will continue to make quilts but thought you would enjoy seeing some of my newer endeavors.

Here's what happens when you combine two of your favorite things: beading and pugs!
This has been about six hours worth of love so far. It uses tiny, tiny size 15 seed beads. It is also dimensional, with several layers of felt to give it shape. Isn't my pug darling? It is intended to be a pin (brooch), but I want to try and put it on a large cuff bracelet.
This is a beaded embroidery kit that I bought on Etsy at The Lone Beader. Owner and designer, Diana Grygo, sells finished beaded dog and cat jewelry along with kits for her embroideries. I noticed that she lived nearby and reached out to her through Etsy and took a private bead embroidery lesson with her.

She invited me to her apartment and I was stunned and amazed to see the beautiful beaded "paintings" that she had displayed throughout her home. Diana works only in size 15 seed beads and creates large portraits of landmarks (the Citgo sign in Boston, the White House, and many more), vehicles, as well as pet portraits. I was so overwhelmed, I didn't take any photos. She is currently working on a beaded scene of Moscow. It is magnificent.

In addition to beads, there were babies!
Meet Pat's new twin granddaughters born on October 30th! Just in time for their first Halloween. Juliette is on the left, and Kerstin is on the right. So cute! I wish I could snuggle one right now!
BatMan enjoys beading too!
Thanks for the warm welcome back: Mary (glad you are safe from the fires in CA!), Colette, Mari (waving back to you and wishing I could see you at Thanksgiving), Lee Anna, Jenny, Julie and JulieRose!

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,