Thursday, December 1, 2016

So Happy It's Thursday! #1

My darling friend Lee Anna has started a new blog series, entitled "I like Thursdays." As a working person, I don't much like Thursdays except that they usually mean that Friday is not far behind and Project Runway will be on television that night. I prefer to watch PR without commercials and I don't like to stay up late, so I record it on TIVO and watch it the next day or over the weekend.

Anyways, I had a pretty good day today and it inspired a So Happy It's Thursday post.

1. I adore my friend Lee Anna. First she was a blogging friend, then we had the chance to meet in person and I adored her even more. She's a part of my every day life, even if she is far away, and we usually talk on the phone at least once a week. We're kindred spirits. Plus she likes Project Runway too, so we get to discuss it!
Our first meeting at the Houston Quilt Festival in 2014.
2. And then there's the Pug Pack. I start my morning by taking these adorable little fellows to the park each morning. Today was a really good day because everyone pooped and peed outside, which is a victory, when your Pug boys are 15, 14 and 7.5. My 14-year old pug, Elvis, is actually the most house-broken. Romeo, age 15, never had an accident until he became quite elderly. LarryPug just likes to mark for fun. The Pug boys bring joy to my life every day.
From left to right: Romeo, LarryPug and Elvis. This photo was taken a few years ago before Romeo went blind.
3. Got some holiday shopping done without leaving the office. My friend Dianne made this fabulous, hand-made Christmas present for my friend Carol. I'm pretty sure that Carol doesn't read my blog. Hey Carol, if you're reading this, let me know and I'll give it to you early! If you want to order one, send me an email and I'll put you in touch with my friend Dianne. My email, of course, is Pugmomquilts. It is at gmail.com.
My friend Dianne and her husband Rich are making and selling these beautiful wooden leash holders, customized with your dog's name on it. Carol's dogs are Harry and Bella. That is my handsome husband Mike doing his Vanna imitation.
Here's a close-up
4. Lunch was delicious! I had shrimp tempura rolls and rainbow cookies!

5. The weather was unseasonably warm in Boston! In celebration, I had a chocolate frappe (milkshake to those of you not from New England). It went very well with the shrimp tempura rolls and the rainbow cookies.

6. I went to the fabric store at lunch time and hit the mother lode on the remnant table. At Sewphisticated Discount Fabrics, remnants are $2.49 a yard. The top two fabrics are Phillip Jacobs from his Snow Leopard line. The fairy print is from Riley Blake. The tiger striped fabric is an African import and it was $3.99 a yard. Whoever said that money can't buy happiness never struck gold at the fabric store!
You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much fabric.
And in celebration of my first So Happy It's Thursday post, I am offering up a little contest. How much fabric (in yards) did I buy at the fabric store today and how much did I spend? I'll come up with some type of prize for the person who gets the closest answer without going over. Write your answer in the comment section of this blog post.

Thanks for visiting!

Linking up with Lee Anna's I Like Thursdays late at night on Thursday.

And what is better than Thursday? Why Friday, of course! Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy




Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving Road Trip 2016

From Thursday to Sunday, Mike and I visited 52 relatives and friends (we counted them on the way home) in three states, driving over 600 miles (we lost count). We left the house at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and pointed the car towards our first stop in New Jersey.
Mike behind the wheel of the PugMobile!
Overall, our trip down on Thursday was uneventful. We rocked out to seventies music on Sirius radio. Traffic was fairly moderate. We hit some slow spots in Connecticut and towards the Tappan Zee Bridge into New York. A few rain drops fell as we approached the bridge, but mostly the weather was clear and not too cold.


We used the GPS and the WAZE app, but both kept trying to take us to the George Washington Bridge. Fortunately, we knew to avoid that! It was pretty smooth sailing after we made our way over the bridge.
By 2:30 p.m., we made it to Scotch Plains, NJ, to enjoy a delicious Dim Sum lunch with my brother Gary, his wife Susie, and our friend Phil. This is one of our new favorite Thanksgiving traditions. You know, the warm-up dinner before the big dinner.
The waiter took a lovely photo of us and it looks even better after I cropped out the dirty dishes on the table!
Our tummies full, we hopped back in the car and made it to Lafayette Hills, PA, by 6:30 p.m., in time to eat some more food with Mike's Mom's side of the family, at their annual Thanksgiving dinner hosted by Mike's cousin Robin. Robin's husband, David, is a musician. While Mike went upstairs to check out David's three new guitars in his music studio, I fixed Robin's sewing machine.
It is a lovely vintage Kenmore. I re-threaded it and adjusted the presser foot tension. I made a new friend when I used it to repair three-year old cousin Holden's luvvie.
We spent the night at Mike's parents' house in Wilmington, DE. The next morning, we had breakfast with our friends Matt and Mary Kate, who were also home in Delaware visiting their families. Mike and Matt have been friends since high school and Matt was the best man at our wedding. At 6'8", he was taller than our Chuppah (wedding canopy).
I re-homed another quilt with Matt and Mary Kate. Mary Kate is a fellow pink-lover! We also share the same birthday!
Although our ultimate destination was Ocean City, NJ, for the rest of the weekend, we had another detour planned! My blogging friend Mari had just moved to Wilmington, DE, and she was only about 10 miles from Mike's parents, so we had to drop by and see her new house!
PugMomQuilts! and The Academic Quilter
While Mike hung out with Mari's husband Larry (aka LarryMan, so as not to be confused with LarryPug), Mari gave me a tour of her new sewing space. She is very organized! Look at her beautiful fabric collection all neatly wrapped on comic book boards!

Here are some of her beautiful blocks in progress on her design wall.
Mari showed me so many of her lovely quilts but I didn't photograph any. You will have to visit her blog to see them.
I picked up these lovely fabrics on Black Friday without having to hit the mall, during my visit with Mari. Mari is hosting a lovely event that she has named the Gratitude Sale. All proceeds are being donated to charity. She is holding the Gratitude Sale through the end of the year. Please check it out and if you buy anything, please tell her that you read about it on my blog! If you enjoyed my Judy Niemeyer post, Mari has a couple of her patterns listed for sale here (just scroll down towards the bottom). Remember, shopping with Mari is a mitzvah (good deed)!

Our visit with Mari and LarryMan over, we got back in the car and headed towards Ocean City, NJ, site of the annual family reunion with Mike's Dad's side of the family. Every year, they rent an entire floor of the Watson hotel, and we eat Thanksgiving dinner for two more days. The rooms are mini suites with kitchens and living rooms, so I always bring my sewing machine because I have plenty of room to spread out.
Saturday breakfast with Mike's family. From top, nephew Sam, Mike's Mom Bobbie, sister Susan (yes, I have two sister-in-laws with almost the same name, although Gary's Susie is really a Suzanne), my brother-in-law, Paul, Mike's Dad Norman, and Mike. Not seen is nephew Josh who had been dropped off in Poughkeepsie, NY, for a cross country meet the day before (I think Paul was trying to challenge our driving record for the weekend)
I made two fleece blankets on Saturday afternoon while Mike strolled the Boardwalk with his Dad and brother-in-law. Mike was a sweetie and returned to the hotel with fudge!
11-year old cousin Yael, shown with Mom Sarah, loved her new cupcake blanket.
Here is baby Nate with his new monkey fleece blanket.
We certainly managed to cram a lot of visiting in just three short days. We left Ocean City at 6 a.m. on Sunday to try and beat the holiday traffic. Driving on Sunday of Thanksgiving Weekend is the worst day of the year.
Here's another picture of adorable baby cousin Nate held by Mike's sister, Susan. Nate's Mom is Abby (not pictured), but she was very generous about passing Nate around all weekend so we could all enjoy him. He is a very happy, good-natured baby. Nate is the recipient of the Winnie the Pooh quilt.
Here is Mary Kate with her two boys, George (on MK's lap) and Reiko (on the right), enjoying their new quilt. I am so happy to see it being loved and appreciated!
Thanks for visiting! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday too! I guess it's no surprise that I'm still tired from all the driving and not too anxious to take any more long car trips soon!

Linking up on Wednesday to Freemotion by the River and Sew Fresh Quilts.

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

Monday, November 21, 2016

In which we meet Judy Niemeyer again...

I have a love, hate, love relationship with Judy Niemeyer and her oh-so-intricate paper-pieced patterns. Catnip or kryptonite? I want to make them all, but I'm not sure if I will live for the next 250 years...

Once again, I convinced Joannie to take a JN class with me. Ginny Radloff was teaching a "catch-up" session and you could bring any JN pattern that you had in progress. You have to be a certified JN instructor to teach her techniques. Ginny is a great instructor. Fortunately for me, she has a ton of patience!
Joannie worked on her Bali Bed Runner. This is a happy face photo from the end of the day with one of her finished blocks. The colors are gorgeous. Her outfit coincidentally matches her fabric choices, but you can't really see it in my photo.
This was the beginning of our class. Have I mentioned there are a lot of pieces....
Here is our teacher Ginny helping Joannie figure out where she left off the last time she worked on her project.
My sordid on again, off again love affair with Judy Niemeyer...
Several years, ago, I enlisted Joannie and Nancy D. to join me at my first Judy Niemeyer paper-piecing class. After the first lesson, I was in love. I was a paper-piecing convert. I sailed through my second class. I spent an entire weekend working on my Bali Bed Runner. Still in love with Judy's patterns and techniques, I signed up for the Glacier Star Technique of the Month while my Bali Bed Runner was still a UFO. I survived the first lesson. But I ran out of patience after a few classes...

So, I had two JN projects to choose from. I brought the Glacier Star, since I was confident that once we attended this class, Joannie would be able to help me with my bed runner.
Here's what I made!
It's beautiful and precise, so maybe I shouldn't mention this was my entire output for the class.  I finished eight identical units in SIX HOURS! And not finished. I added one more triangle after this photo, taking me up to line 7 in the ark. There are 22 lines of paper piecing in this unit alone.
Have I mentioned that Joannie and I have already signed up for another JN Weekend in April 2017? Am I a glutton for punishment or just a slow learner? Have you ever started a JN pattern? Have you ever finished one?
Linking up on Tuesday with Freemotion by the River. Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

Monday, November 14, 2016

November Sunday with the Brown Baggers

Just another fun Sunday with my Brown Bagger quilting friends. If you're new to my blog, here's the secret guide to the origins of the Brown Bagger quilting group.

Here are a couple of very pretty quilt tops that were finished (or almost finished).
Joannie made this stunning t-shirt quilt for her friend who recently lost her son. She is making a second t-shirt quilt for the young man's Aunt.
Pat is working on a block of the month kit that she bought a couple of years ago. I love the beautiful colors and Kaffe Fassett prints. It is really more of a border of the month kit, radiating out from the center medallion.
Marion has two more borders to add to her batik beauty.
Debbie layered her Yellow Brick Road.
Here are some photos of us in our native habitat.
We celebrated three birthdays. Our day began with delicious celebratory muffins (thanks Debbie) and ended with equally delicious frozen yogurt cake from Orange Leaf (thanks Kim).
As good as they looked...
Junior Brown Bagger Emma, Aunt Joanne and Marion admire Joanne's zesty striped blocks.
Debbie chose 30s prints for her blocks. Marion is our designated wrapping recycler. She is very good at folding tissue paper.
Kim P. provided bright conversation prints. Marion and Joan S. are checking them out. Kim is considering making two quilts from her birthday blocks. One cut into squares and one using circles. Our birthday block this year is the Dresden Squared from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.
Two more pet pillows were stuffed with recycled scraps. Thanks Brown Bagger friends. This year, we've donated 36 pet pillows to the local MSPCA.
Emma rode out in style with a push from Aunt Joanne.
Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

Sunday, November 13, 2016

September Scenes

Hello Dear Blogging Friends,

I'm still cursing out the new Photo App on my iMac. Much harder to use than the old friendly iPhoto. Not all photos load automatically, so I have to go back and search my phone for the missing ones, which are then loaded out of order. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Anyway your Brown Bagger update is quite late. Below are some scenes from our September Sunday meeting. In September we were busy working on the "in-between" stages. Not much to show, no finished tops, just sewing, eating cake and having fun.
Lori brought us a delicious birthday cake.
Sue was making donation quilts for the NICU.
Jo Ann E. was working in batik, instead of her preferred brown color palette.
Sally
Kim P.
Joannie C.
Lynne
Joan S.
Nancy D.
Joanne S.
PugMomQuilts!
Marion
Darling husband, Mike. Avid Brown Bag supporter.
Pat
Red tree in the park. The PugBoys and I visit the park every morning. It's about two blocks from our house.
Elvis
LarryPug  
We find Romeo sleeping in all sorts of funny places. He is blind now, so I think that sometimes he gets stuck and just decides it's a good place for a nap. Here he is sleeping between the water bowls and the hand made cedar chest that my brother Jeff made me over 25 years ago.
Romeo sleeping in the kitchen between my chair and the refrigerator.
7:15 am on a beautiful Sunday morning. TIme to take the PugBoys to the park and then head off to my Brown Bagger quilting day! Have a great day everyone. More soon! I promise!

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy