Sunday, March 31, 2013

My Bonus Day

Friday was a stock market holiday in the U.S., so I had the day off. Marion, who is retired, and has every day off, joined me in the Studio for a morning of sewing, then we went to our favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch and enjoyed a scrumptious buffet.
Marion worked on her crazy quilt panels. She will be making them into a jacket.
I also have one in progress, but Marion is much further along than I am.

I dug this baby quilt out of cold storage. I got almost all of it
quilted, except the last border. Now it just needs a binding.
Then it will go up for sale at our Etsy shop.
We also made a small road trip to the local quilt store and I bought two more batiks for my Popsicle Quilt.

Best of all, my husband came home from his four-day ski trip! And took me to my favorite place for dinner--the IHOP!
Here is my darling husband Mike. He prefers to be on
the other side of the camera, taking the picture!

I like all the flavors, but boysenberry syrup is my favorite!

Chocolate pancakes with chocolate chips and whipped cream! Yum!
Hope that you and your family are having a lovely Easter weekend. I am still recovering slowly from my cold, but feeling a little better every day.

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Return to Vertical

Last Wednesday night I arrived home from my quilt group quite pleased that I had finished this quilt. I also noticed that my throat felt scratchy and my nose was kind of runny. Thursday and Friday, I worked from home. I felt lousy but managed with the help of some DayQuil to soldier through. I assumed it was just a cold and hoped that I would be better on Saturday so I could do some sewing and some blogging. Much to my surprise I felt worse over the weekend, and lay supine on the couch for the next four days surrounded by pug love.

The pugs and I watched A LOT of television as I was really sick and couldn't do much else. If I attempted to look at the computer or read a book, it gave me a headache. My head felt like a block of wood, my ears were blocked, and I tried to concentrate on breathing through my mouth. I wished that I had gills like Aquaman. My husband valiantly nursed me, bringing me more cold medicine, tissues, and orange juice. He even made home-made chicken soup and matzo balls for me in a valiant attempt to kill off the nasty cold germs.

When I finally emerged from my couch coma on Tuesday evening I had a burning desire to rearrange all the furniture in my office/mini sewing room. This was probably a direct result of watching at least 2 dozen episodes of HGTV's Love It or List It, a show where they redesign problem areas in your house, while simultaneously showing you other listings available in your neighborhood.

Enter Joannie. Only Joannie would be brave enough to enter my house full of disease and help me move stuff around. Mike, after patiently nursing me for four days, had left for his long-planned ski trip, so he wasn't home to remind me that this was probably a stupid idea. I think the room does look better (still too messy to take a photo), but did I mention that now my back hurts?

Yesterday was my first day "back" from being sick. I took a shower and put on real clothes, a welcome change after wearing sweatpants and fleece for almost a week. I was almost even happy to wear a bra!

Joannie came over last night for a few hours to sew. While I was out of commission for almost a week, she made two lovely table runners that will be Easter gifts. She brought them for Show and Tell.
Asian fabrics in blue and gold.

Asian fabrics in purple and green.
Aren't these pretty? She got the pattern in a kit at our local fabric store and it is simply named Diamond Table Runner with no pattern credit, whatsoever. A quick web search found this pattern, which looks remarkably similar.

Joannie never makes one of anything, unless she can make at least a dozen last night she was making a third Diamond Table Runner for yet another Easter gift.

Joannie made it look easy. Once she cut out the diamonds, she sprayed the batting with fusible spray, and laid her pattern out. Once the layout is complete, you cover the raw edges with binding and stitch them down, which also quilts your table runner.

I made four pillowcases for two little boys who lost all their belongings in a fire. Two are made from karate fabric, one has dolphin fabric, generously donated by my friend Valerie, and the fourth one has musical instruments. I bought the karate fabric at Fabric Smart on Etsy. The music fabric is from my stash.

Thanks Valerie!
I also made pocket tissue covers as a special request from my brother Jeff. I found a great free pattern at JCasa's blog. I made two different kinds: one with a center opening and another one in a pouch style. They literally took about 5 minutes to make. Jeff wanted them to be "masculine", so I made them in denim. These tissue holders would be a great project for your Brownie or Cub Scout troop if they can use a sewing machine. Or a super easy party favor or stocking stuffer.
Here are my three constant companions. Elvis and Larry take a nap while Romeo stays awake to watch over me.

I am so happy to feel well again! I have lots of sewing to do! Anna's wedding quilt is back from the machine quilter, so it only needs a binding and a special label. And I also need to get the background cut out for her baby quilt.

Hope that you are all well in your neck of the woods! Happy Passover and Happy Easter!

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A UFO No Longer!

I am pleased to report an actual quilt finish for 2013!
I started this quilt in a class at the Vermont Quilt Festival in the summer of 2009. It was a Let Me Surprise You class with Charlotte Angotti. Charlotte provides the quilt as a mystery, in a pre-cut format with all the fabric included, so all you have to do is show up, sew, and have fun. I took the class with my friends, Carol, Sally, and Sharon. I finished the top within the year, and I got it back from my machine quilter, Terri Bearer, in 2010. And then the poor quilt sat, just needing a binding until yesterday. I'm not sure why I didn't finish it, except that it didn't have a deadline or an intended recipient (and in the interim, I did finish quite a few other projects). I just took the class to have fun and I was quite satisfied with the final product. My friends Pat, Beth, Judi, Toni, Ginny, and Nancy all volunteered to take the quilt off my hands, but I think that I will hold onto it for now.

Here are my oldest and youngest pugs. Romeo, at left, will turn 12 in December. Larry just celebrated his 4th birthday. They are cuddled up on another Charlotte Angotti quilt, a scrappy log cabin, that I made a long, long time ago, even before Romeo was born. In the background you can see my Bethany Reynolds Stack 'n Whack Pinwheel quilt, another oldie, but goodie.

Happy Birthday Pat! Hope you had a great day! You look so gorgeous in this photo that I stole from your FaceBook page.

Wishing you all sweet dreams as I crawl off to bed,

Pugs and kisses,

P.S. Linking up to Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Richard and Tanya Quilts.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New Projects

Last night in the Studio, I decided to start on some new projects. I bought this adorable bundle of fat quarters at the quilt show last Saturday to make a baby quilt for my coworker Anna. Anna's baby (a boy) is due in July. They are doing an ocean theme for his room. The fabric is a new line by Laurie Wisbrun for Robert Kaufman fabrics called, Don't Be Crabby.
Adorable whales, fish, crabs and sailboats.
I really liked this bundle because it is very contemporary, the colors are crisp, and the designs are not too baby-ish. Anna's husband is on a sailing team, so he will like the sailboats. My favorite fabric is the little crabs.

This is the pattern that I am using. It is from Quick Quilts magazine. I got all of the novelty prints cut out last night, but still need to cut out the white sashing fabric.
I also pulled together this magnificent bundle of batiks, which I bought in the back room ($5.99 a yard) at Quilter's Stash in Attleboro the previous weekend. I'm not usually a lime green, orange, and yellow girl, but these babies were singing to me, "Don't leave us behind." They reminded me of LifeSavers candy. I added the hot pink batik that Joannie gifted me with for my birthday. I'm going to use the Atkinson Design's pattern, Slide Show (shown below) with a white background. I am calling this my Popsicle Quilt, and I hope to finish it in time for the summer. Aren't the colors great?

Over the weekend, I attacked my scrap bucket and did some more cleaning, sorting, and donating. I found some buried treasure as well as some fabric that needed to go to a new home. Here is a bag of fabric for my friend Sue, who teaches quilting to ladies who live in a shelter.
Fabric for Sue's ladies!
This big bag of scraps is waiting for my friend Janet to return from Florida...she should be able to make a bunch of quilts from this.
Joannie says, "Hurry home, Janet, this bag is heavy!"
Do the fabrics ever sing to you? Isn't it fun to start a new project? What are you working on this week?

I am linking up to Free Motion by the River Linky Tuesday.

Have a great day!

Pugs and kisses,

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Really Random Sunday

My niece Ginger turned five this week. She is the one wearing the party hat in the photo. Also pictured are my nephew Ben and my niece Rachel.

This is my friend Cindy's Dad, Jimmy. Jimmy is the official babysitter of the Pug Pack, ably assisted by Cindy's sister MaryAnne and her boyfriend Mark. I made him this fleece blanket as a gift.

This is Larry Pug and his girlfriend Ella. Apparently Larry enjoys being wheeled around in the walker when he visits Ella at playgroup. I'm not sure who the walker really belongs to. Hopefully they don't mind a little pug fur on the seat.

Have a great day!

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Knee Deep in Quilt Books

As part of my ongoing struggle to take back my house and organize my life, I started sorting through my quilting books. About two months ago, I moved my quilting bookcase/giant ironing board from my former sewing room (now home office) across the garden to my quilt studio above the garage. I have A LOT of quilting books.
Now I have a great big ironing board/bookcase in my studio. Unfortunately, the quilt books haven't made it across the lawn yet, so I am starting to fill up all those nice little cubbies with other things.
Here is my bookcase in its new home. I love this bookcase! It has
wheels on the bottom and it holds my giant ironing board surface on top.
When I first emptied the bookcase, I originally thought that I would try to go through the stacks and re-read one or two quilt books a day, but I realized that might take a while! So today I did a quick dump and sort. So far there is a pile of books on machine quilting for Joannie and another pile for my coworker Anna who is a new quilter and will probably appreciate some basic books on technique.

I can see my quilt studio from my home office window.
Yes, I have a lot of quilting books, but I've been quilting for at least 20 years. When I first started quilting, it was hard to find quilting books, so I bought whatever was available.  As my skills have grown, my tastes have changed. Today there are so many more books and patterns available, plus a vast array of information on the Internet. So I'm weeding out older titles, plus books on techniques that I've tried and not really liked (hand applique, french ribbon, paper piecing).

Here is my "keep" pile so far. Only two boxes, but I'm not finished. I hope that Mike will carry these over to the studio for me. I also need some more boxes. My "donate" pile has about 40 books in it so far. Unfortunately, I am at the point where the whole mess looks worse before it gets better, so I'm taking a break.
Elvis is a very good boy who stays out of my way when I clean!

Part of the "keep" pile

Keep! This was one of the first quilt books I ever bought. Remember
when Diana McClun and Laura Nownes had a television series?

Keep or Donate?
Remember when this series was popular? I used to be able to pick these
titles in my local book store before I started frequenting quilt shops.

Here are two of my handsome helpers, Larry and Elvis
It is fun to look through all my books and get more ideas! Some of my favorite authors are Eleanor Burns, Kaffe Fassett, Terri Atkinson, Kim Diehl, Heather Mulder Peterson, and Bonnie Hunter. Lately I've become intrigued by the Modern Quilting movement and am also buying a lot of scrap quilting books in hopes of making a dent in my stash.

Who are some of your favorite quilting authors?

What was the first quilting book you ever bought?

How many quilting books do you have?

Want to come over and help?

Have a great day!

Pugs and kisses,

Sunday, March 10, 2013

OPP (Other People's Projects)

Last Sunday, the Brown Baggers got  together for our monthly meeting. We celebrated four birthdays with a full day of food. Terri brought breakfast, Sally made lunch, Pat brought the birthday cake, and I brought a veggie tray and chips and guacamole. When we weren't eating, we spent the rest of the day opening four different sets of birthday blocks: Kaffe, batik, reproduction and animal prints (mine). I didn't take too many photos because I was one of the birthday girls.

Here is our guest of Honor:
Pat got to babysit while her daughter went on a short vacation.
Jackie is lucky that Pat gave Matthew back when she returned!
This is Pat and her grandson, Matthew. Isn't he adorable? Everyone had a turn holding him and passing him around the room. He was quite a good sport and didn't cry once. I think that he enjoyed all the attention! Pat said he slept very soundly that night.

Here are some of the other things that the girls were working on.
Lexine was making a baby quilt.

JoAnn was quilting her Dresden Plates.

Joan S. was starting a Bonnie Hunter Scrap Wave.

Carol was making a kitty cat quilt.

Terri and Marion were both working on the Bonnie Hunter Easy Street Mystery.
This photo is Terri's project. You can see a little bit of Paula's Red Sox Patriotic quilt at the top.

More Easy Street.
Happy March Birthday to all of my quilting buddies: Judi, Terri, Sally, Pat, and Jean. And a special happy birthday to 4-year old Juliana, a future Brown Bagger. And a moment of remembrance for the birthday of our late friend Rochelle. Hope there are a lot of exotic male dancers in Heaven.

Here's a big Congratulations to our buddy Kim G. who has her quilts on display this month at Tumbleweeds. If you're in the Cape Cod area this month, go check them out!

Pugs and kisses,

Snow, snow, and more snow

On Thursday and Friday, we had another little gift from Mother Nature...
The weatherman had said we were going to get a small storm, about 4-6 inches. Oops! We actually got about 2 feet of snow over two days.
Mike went out and shovelled the paths at least three times.
Dashing through the snow in my purple puggy coat---wheeeee! Larry Pug
Larry Pug loves the snow. He went charging in over his head and was racing around. Elvis and Romeo were not as thrilled.
Snow falling on Elvis

This is a stone pug in my garden buried up to its neck.

This is another one of those infamous quilts that both Marion and I have made. Both are finished. They took us several years over many long quilt weekends. Let's just say this quilt has a lot of pieces and a lot of machine applique. Our friend, Joan S. nicknamed it, Those expletive-deleted Snowmen, apparently because of all the words that Marion and I uttered under our breath while making them. I LOVE this quilt and am greatful that Marion nagged spurred me on to finish it.

This is a table runner that I taught as a class a few years ago.

A close-up, the snowmen are made of quilt batting!
This is actually a framed quilt. I made this in a class with Jackie Paton at All About Quilts. The top is a stencil, the bottom is teeny-weeny paper-pieced log cabin blocks. I finished this in 1997--I know because I signed it on the front! Sorry, it is crooked. It hangs in my stairwell and there isn't any room to back up.
Fortunately it has warmed up since Friday and all you can hear is the sound of snow melting. Roofs are dripping, drains are running, and it is quite a slushy mess everywhere!

The girls and I are headed out for some Chinese food and a quilt shop!

Have a great day!

Pugs and kisses,