Monday, October 17, 2016

Introducing my friend, artist James Russell

Mike and I went to the Fort Point Open Studios yesterday to visit my friend Jim and see his paintings. Jim lives in an artist community in a converted factory loft. The community hosts an Open Studio event twice a year. I met Jim because he works at the Courtyard Marriott where the Brown Bag Quilters meet each month. Jim is a real sweetie and loves to come into the conference room to see what we're all working on. He spoils us with snacks and drinks and praises our quilt projects excessively. In turn, we make sure that Jim always gets a piece of birthday cake. A few years ago, we made Jim a quilt because all the Brown Bagger girls just love him.

Jim has told me about his paintings before and showed me one or two on his phone. However, he works on a large scale (most of his paintings are 48" square or larger), so I was blown away when I got to see them in person. Sadly, my little iPhone photos are not doing Jim's GORGEOUS paintings justice. You'll just have to make sure to go to the next Open Studio event and see them in person.

Jim doesn't number his work or even name his paintings. A lot of his current work shown was in blues and greens, which is one of my favorite color palettes. Some of the paintings even had some glitter in them. Jim originally started with oil paint but now works in acrylic.
This one reminds me of the Carribbean. It makes me feel calm and tranquil.
Here is my friend Jim, the man behind the paintings! This one reminds me of Monet's water lilies.
50 shades of teal!
I wish this painting was fabric!
This one looked like a winter view of trees while skiing. It would be a fabulous batik! My apologies for the bad lighting!
This painting looks like it has lace in it. Mike questioned Jim on how he obtained this effect.
This is one of Jim's earlier pieces.
This orange painting greeted you when you entered Jim's loft.
This painting is in Jim's bedroom. It hangs over his desk.
This painting is in Jim's living room and hangs over his fireplace.
This is a giclee print of a very large painting (over six feet tall) that Jim did not have hanging on his wall. I thoughtfully offered to take it home so he'd have more space. I'd happily redecorate my whole house around it. The giclee print is lovely but the actual painting is even more magnificent. This was one of my favorites. I think it would make a gorgeous quilt. (I am running out of adjectives!)
Here is the quilt that we made for Jim.
This is Jim's floor which he hand-painted! I think he was subliminally inspired by the concentric squares in his quilt.
I would be happy to have any of Jim's painting in my house. The colors really speak to me. I've even offered to trade him a quilt for a painting. Or perhaps we can do a collaboration together!

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Pink Table Runner for Dianne

We've had a series of "corporate actions" at my workplace over the past three years. The first one, labelled a "reorganization" resulted in a move to a new position that to put it mildly, I did not like. I suffered a lot of emotional distress for the past 2.5 years, and I wouldn't have gotten through the day without my co-workers, Julie and Dianne. Fortunately, this past September, we had yet another "reorganization" that resulted in a new job that I LOVE!! (Said with fingers crossed, don't want the bad karma to come back...)

I decided to make a quilt for each of my two friends as a token of love for their support and friendship. I did let them know that I wanted to make each of them a quilt, just in case they didn't want one. Julie opted for a quilt, but Dianne wanted a table runner. In theory, a table runner is easier than a quilt, but Julie's quilt was so easy for me. We both love animal prints, and her quilt didn't make the slightest dent in my stash. Dianne asked for a pink table runner to match her pink dining room. While I do have pink fabrics galore, I never realized how hard it is to combine different pinks together!

I finally found the perfect pattern in a free online quilt magazine, Modern By the Yard, Issue One. The design that I used is called Icicles and it appears on page 18. All of the pink fabrics came from my stash. Anyway, here is my finished table runner. I think it is one of the nicest things that I've made in a long time. I wanted to keep it. Fortunately for Dianne, my dining room table is round!
Ironically, this is my friend Julie (who received the animal print quilt) displaying Dianne's table runner. Dianne was absent the day I brought in her gift, so she received it a few days later. She was really surprised!
The road to finishing wasn't without a few mishaps... Right after I sewed the binding to the back, I decided to square it off. Bad mistake! I cut two holes in the binding that I had already sewn on.
This corner has a nice hole in it.
While I managed to slice this corner completely in half.
Choice curse words were uttered and I had to put it aside for a couple of days until I was in the mood to repair it. One corner is slightly wonky, but only noticeable by other experienced quilters!
The fabulous "extreme quilting" was done by my friend and award-winning quilter Karen Pratt. It is the same quilting design that was shown in the magazine.
Here is the table runner in Dianne's pink dining room. It looks very cool on her glass table.
Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Fort Worth Studio, and Busy Hands Quilts. Linking up on Saturday to Crazy Mom Quilts. Linking up on Sunday to Quilting is more fun than housework!

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Quilting with Angst, the Martha Edition

You may recall that I made a quilt for my veterinarian as well as Chubby Charmer Tote Bags for two of the three women who work behind the front desk. Katie and Anna had definitive color choices. Katie wanted camouflage and Anna wanted purple. Everyone else who likes purple also wanted Anna's bag when they saw it. But alas, Martha couldn't make up her mind. Even when I finally gave up and gave the bags to Katie and Anna so Martha could see her "surprise" gift, it didn't help.

So, I invited Martha to come over to my Studio and pick out her fabric colors. Little did I know what I was in for...

Martha arrived promptly. She was so excited. She told me that she had been thinking about her color choices all day. And then she said, "The bag that you gave Katie and Anna is too big for me." Just as I was about to say it was no problem to make her a smaller bag, she said, "So I've been thinking that I'd rather have a quilt, just a small quilt that I can throw on my couch. That will be a lot easier for you than making a bag."

I was dumbfounded. And for once, I didn't know what to say. I'm not sure why Martha decided it was easier for me to make her a quilt. And I felt guilty because I'd already given Katie and Anna their bags, and what if they had preferred a quilt instead?

And it kept getting worse. After I took Martha into my Studio, she fell in love with some gorgeous, drool-worthy, hand-dyed fabrics that my friend Terri had made. I didn't realize that they were in the box of blue fabrics until Martha grabbed them. I had been saving these fabrics for a few years since Terri had stopped selling them. And then Martha chose a brand new piece of fabric that I had just brought home, that wasn't even part of what I was showing her.

I can only commend Martha for her good taste. I didn't give her any more options and I quickly escorted her from the Studio.

I made a Disappearing 9-Patch. It went together quickly. Joannie offered to quilt it for me for free to spare me any additional costs. Thank you Joannie! She did a big stipple and even quilted some dog bones in it.
Here is Martha's finished quilt.
I will say that Martha was thrilled with her finished quilt. Every time I go to the vet's office, which is often, she tells me how much she loves it. And Terri is thinking about dyeing fabric again! Hooray!

Here are a couple more photos.

Has this ever happened to you? What would you have done in my place?

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A Quilt for Baby Nate

Hello Dear Blogging Friends,

Sorry I haven't written in a while. Everything is ok here. I made it through a tumultuous "reorganization" at my office which resulted in a month of stress, sleeplessness and heartburn, but things are hopefully on the upswing right now.

Mostly I haven't written because I feel like I haven't made anything interesting lately. I've made a lot of pillowcases, but do you really want to see them? Plus Mike uploaded new software on my computer and downloading photos has gotten kind of quirky. I used to be able to "select all" and they'd all load up, but now when I do that they don't all transfer. It's kind of weird.

Anyways, I have gone back and checked my list and I do have some finished quilts to show you.

This is Baby Nate and his sister, Pickles, on Nate's Winnie the Pooh quilt.
Not sure who likes the quilt more, Nate or Pickles.
Baby Nate is Mike's Cousin Abby's first baby. We can't wait to meet him at Thanksgiving. He'll be about six months old by then.
Here's another photo.
This pattern is called Warm Wishes and it was in QuiltMaker magazine many years ago. I had this design in my "to-do" file, and it was the perfect choice for Nate's quilt. You can download the pattern for free here. Abby had requested Classic Pooh, i.e., non-Disney Winnie the Pooh, which was challenging to find. I finally purchased some fabric on eBay. This color palette is much more subdued than I usually work with but Abby and her husband John were thrilled with the quilt.

Abby's Mom, Leah, sent me some photos of Nate's room. Abby and John (Nate's parents) made all the wall decorations. They are so amazing! And I'm happy that the quilt is a perfect match.
Linking up on Tuesday with Freemotion by the River's Linky Tuesday and Val's Quilting Studio. Linking up on Wednesday to Let's Bee Social by Sew Fresh Quilts.

Joy--thanks for your sweet note asking me to return to Blogland. Here's a picture of the Pug Boys for you. They send you lots of kisses.
We took the Pug Boys on a vacation in August. Here they are in the back seat of the car. From left to right: Snoozing LarryPug, age 7; a wide awake Elvis, who just celebrated his birthday and turned 14 on Sunday; and a sleeping Romeo, who will be 15 in December.
Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Friday, August 26, 2016

Time to Vote for Pets on Quilts

Voting has opened for Pets on Quilts.

Here's how to vote. Visit this link. Leave a comment on the bottom with your choice of photo. You can vote for four categories: Dogs on Quilt, Cats on Quilt, Pet Themed Quilt. The Pug Boys are #52.
  1. You will need to decide which post you think is the very best for each of the four categories; dog on quilt, cat on quilt, other animal on quilt, and pet-themed (animal themed) quilted project.
  2. Leave a comment on this post with your four choices, like this:
              dog - number 52 (Pugs on Quilt)     For example only...
              cat - number ###
              other animal - ###
              pet-themed project - ###

Here are some of the out-takes from our photo shoot on Wednesday night.
Start with LarryPug.
Add Elvis.
Add Romeo. Mike is trying to hold onto him and somehow keep his arm out of my photo.
Romeo jumps off the bench. Let me remind you that he is 15 and blind and deaf. He jumps off the bench every year. He did not get hurt.
Elvis considers jumping off the bench but decides it is too high. Smart pug!
In desperation, I add Mike to the photo to secure Romeo, who desperately wants to jump off the bench for the third time. Elvis tells Mike that Daddies aren't allowed in the Pets on Quilts contest. LarryPug grows bored...
Elvis and LarryPug finally strike a pose!
Thanks for visiting.

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pugs on Quilts entry for Pets on Quilts 2016

Hello Dear Blogging Friends,
It is time for our annual Pets on Quilts entry. We are entering in the Pugs on Quilts category. Ok, so it's actually the Dogs on Quilts category, but Elvis and LarryPug are petitioning to have it amended...

I almost forgot to enter this year, and I am throwing my blog post together before the opportunity to enter closes. We ran out into the backyard tonight after dinner and took 51 photos! Eldest pug, Romeo, almost 15, did not want to enter and kept jumping off the bench. 

Mike updated my computer last week and the new operating system is abysmally slow. I am still waiting for my photos to download, so I am forced to email them to myself!
Here are two of my handsome pug boys. Elvis, my black pug, will be 14 in October. LarryPug is seven. He rules the roost. The quilt they are sitting on is quite ancient. I made it almost 20 years ago. The pattern was taught as a mystery by my friend Sandie who blogs at The Lone Quilter.
Here's a close-up.
The very handsome and spoiled LarryPug
To see our previous entries, go to 2015, 2014, and 2013 for more pictures and information about my darling pug boys.

Thanks for visiting! Hello to all our doggy and kitty friends who are participating in the Pets on Quilts contest. We've met so many nice friends through this event. We look forward to it every year.

Pugs and kisses,

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Oh Baby, The August Quilt Weekend Edition

There must be a baby boom in Boston because I saw a lot of baby quilts being made at our August quilt weekend.

Pat finished three baby quilts, complete with binding! She is a quilting whiz!

Debbie finished two tops. She also finished the top of her baby quilt with stars for her grandson, Kellen. You can see it here. It just needs binding.

Kim P. made this darling baby toy out of fleece. It is a caterpillar that turns into a butterfly. The pattern is by Abby Glassenberg and can be purchased here.
I need to work on my baby quilt for my darling friend Anna who is having her second baby next month. It is started, but nowhere near finished. I think the baby will beat me. Anna is expecting another boy. She has also requested that I make her a diaper bag. Yikes! Better get sewing.
She is super skinny and adorable with a giant baby bump!
Anna's first baby, Logan, just turned three and started preschool yesterday!
First preschool, then college!
Linking up on Tuesday with Freemotion by the River. Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,