Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat

My friend Kim P. sent me the two photos below of some of her newly finished projects. The Scottie Dog is a free pattern that can be found here. The cat is a purchased pattern, called Flatty Cats by La Todera. You can find it here.

They are so adorable! I love the bright, fun colors that Kim used. The stuffed dogs and cats reminded me of this poem that I had heard as a child.

The Duel

by Eugene Field

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
‘T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t’ other had slept a wink!
      The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
      Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
            (I was n’t there; I simply state
            What was told to me by the Chinese plate!

The gingham dog went “Bow-wow-wow!”
And the calico cat replied “Mee-ow!”
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
      While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
      Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
            (Now mind: I’m only telling you
            What the old Dutch clock declares is true!

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, “Oh, dear! what shall we do!”
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
      Employing every tooth and claw
      In the awfullest way you ever saw—
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
            (Don’t fancy I exaggerate—
            I got my news from the Chinese plate!

Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
      But the truth about the cat and pup
      Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
            (The old Dutch clock it told me so,
            And that is how I came to know.

This poem is in the public domain. I found it here.

I have been doing some sewing, but I have nothing remotely interesting to show you. I've made a few pillowcases, a fleece Star Trek blanket, and last night I sewed together a zillion (ok, half a zillion) 2.5 inch half square triangles. I thought Kim's projects would make a better blog post. Thanks Kim P.

Linking up on Tuesday to Freemotion by the River. Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Family Time

I haven't done any sewing this week but I have a good excuse! My parents are visiting!
My parents arrived Wednesday night from Florida to spend Rosh Hashonah (Jewish New Year) with us. On Thursday we drove up to Mike's sister's house to have a festive meal. We had a lot of fun. Susan and Paul (Mike's sister and brother-in-law) are great at throwing a party and there were 21 people in attendance from age 4 to 84.

I brought my world famous kugel. My Mom was very happy to see that I use her recipe.
LarryPug met his grandparents for the first time! Grandpa Alan declined to take a nap with him, but Grandma Phyllis let LarryPug sit next to her while she read a book.
My brother Gary spent seven hours in the car on Saturday to drive down from New Jersey and surprise our parents. Uncle Gary is also a dog person, so LarryPug was delighted to meet him.
On Saturday we threw a little party so my parents could visit with my friends. We celebrated a whole bunch of birthdays, including Mike (September 22nd), Merwyn (September 6th), Paul (October 1st) and Elvis the Pug (October 2nd).
This is the world's best chocolate cake from Whole Foods.
It is like eating pure fudge. Expensive, but worth it!
Front row: Dad, Mom and Gary
Back row: me and Mike
A good time was had by all!

Thanks for visiting.

Pugs and kisses,

Monday, September 22, 2014


It just slipped by somehow, but my last post, A Plethora of Pugs, was my 300th entry in this blog. When I mentioned it to Marion and Joannie, Joannie said, "do you mean that I've read 300 of those things?"

I saw my friends Kate and Karen from Berkshire Quilts at the Herring Run Quilt Show yesterday and I asked if they'd like to do a give-away on my blog in honor of my 300th post. We don't have anything ready yet, but stay tuned because they both said Yes, and I'll be doing one sometime soon (well between now and my 350th post).

Today is another milestone, it is my husband Mike's birthday. Happy Birthday Mike! When Mike and I were on vacation a few weeks ago, we found the item below in an antique store. I bought it for Mike for his birthday. Do you know what it is?
This is an antique pachinko machine.
We're not sure how old it is, but it is made of solid wood and very heavy. Mike loves vintage things and this is a very cool addition to his collection. I also made Mike another apron (guitar fabric reversing to hot sauce fabric) and a reversible fleece blanket with a guitar print.

No sewing was done this past weekend. Mike was busy cooking for the NOLA party we attended on Saturday. I spent the day sorting an enormous mound of clean laundry that had been living in laundry baskets at the foot of our bed. On Sunday, I had planned to do some sewing, but decided instead to go to the quilt show with Joannie and Marion. We also managed to hit a few additional quilt stores on the way home from the show. Does thinking about sewing and writing about sewing, count as sewing? Does buying fabric count?

From my other, not-so-lazy friends, I offer up some photos.
Marion has assembled her 2014 Birthday Blocks!
She made a few extra...
When we hung this quilt over my porch railing to take a photo, the little girl who lives next door asked, "Are you having a party?" So, I've nicknamed Marion's quilt, It's a Party! Not surprisingly, I'm making the same one. I love Marion's, so I better get back to work on mine.

Joannie finished a baby quilt that she is donating to a fundraiser at her church.

Pat made this cute baby quilt top.

She also assembled her 2012 Birthday Blocks. I like the yellow outer border. It's one of my favorite Philip Jacobs' prints.

Jo Anne S. is working on the masterpiece below. This quilt has really, really tiny pieces! She is working on borders next.

Thanks for visiting! Linking up on Tuesday to Freemotion by the River. Linking up on Friday to Richard and Tanya Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Pugs and kisses,

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Plethora of Pugs!

When the Pug Pack and I got to the park this morning, we met a new friend, Forrest.
A few minutes later, our neighbor Jen pulled up with her pugs, Lily and Daisy, and we found out that Forrest is Lily's brother! Daisy is Lily and Forrest's Mom. Forrest belongs to Jen's sister, Ginger.

A pug six pack! Unfortunately, I don't have great photos, because trying to take a picture of six pugs is like herding cats.
Sniff, sniff, everyone says, Hello!
LarryPug and Romeo give Daisy a kiss.
Heads or Tails?
Jen valiantly tried to round everyone up for a group photo.
More than enough pug love to go around!
The End!
Jen's brother-in-law, Danny also has two pugs, Fenway, and Yawkey. Fenway is a black pug like Elvis. Maybe next time Jen will invite them and we can have eight pugs in the park!

A perfect way to start my day!

Pugs and kisses (with lots of extra pugs),

Cooking with Nancy

Mike and I are going to a double birthday party/New Orleans pot luck style dinner tonight hosted by our friends Mike and Christine. Mike and Mike have birthdays only 1 day apart, so we thought it called for a party. We've gone to the New Orleans Jazz Festival with M & C several times, and the last time we visited, we all took a Cajun cooking class along with our friends Deb and Greg.
So last night, Mike was slaving over a hot stove, after spending the week pouring through recipes. He made Shrimp Etouffe and Red Beans and Rice. Our house smelled like a Cajun festival. He crawled into bed at 2 a.m. while visions of Beignets danced in my head.

I made dinner to help Mike out.
Wonder why they didn't ask me to bring a dish to the party today?

For a real cooking blog, go visit my friend Daphne at Ivy, Phyllis and Me.

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Another Great Block Swap

This block swap, organized by Debbie, ran for one year and was also revealed at our Brown Baggers Sunday meeting last weekend.

Behold the power of color! All the blocks in the photos are the same. Each participant used a different background fabric and provided a different colorway for her blocks. The book used for this swap is Lessons from Mama by Terri Atkinson. Each month, the participants made a different sampler block and then passed the bag to the next participant.

Here are Marion's blocks.
Here are Lynne D.'s blocks.
Here are Terri's blocks.
Here are Joanne E.'s blocks.
Here are Debbie's blocks.
Here are Valerie's blocks.
Here are Lexine's blocks.
Don't they all look different?

Here is our intrepid blog photographer in action! You can see that she is not afraid to stand on a chair to get her shot!

LarryPug, my coauthor of the blog this evening.

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Baby's Got A Brand New Blog!

Want to read some of my other stuff? You can find my new blog here. Don't worry, PugMom Quilts! isn't going away, but sometimes I like to write about other things.

Hope to see you there!

Pugs and kisses,

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Big Reveal! Row by Row Exchange, Group Two

The Gals from Group Two (left to right): Joannie, Nancy D., Debbie, Val,
Kim P. (head on a stick) and Kim G. (holding Kim P.'s head and her quilt)
Here is the happy Row by Row gang from Group Two. By coincidence, both Joannie and Nancy chose a sewing theme and used the same pattern for their starting row. You'll see that both quilts came out completely different. Debbie had a Spring theme. Val had a snowman theme. Kim P.'s theme was Anything that makes me smile!

I apologize in advance for not being able to give credit for each row in the individual quilts of Group Two. I know which row Joannie made in each quilt because we usually worked on our Row by Row quilts together on Monday nights.

Here is Joannie's sewing quilt (obtained late at night after a frantic phone call). How embarrassing is it that my own personal papparazzo forgot to give me a photo of her own quilt? If Joannie can ever get her daughter Jill to move out, this will look great in her new sewing room... I have to give Nancy D. a shout out for the intricate paper pieced sewing notions blocks. Joannie's starting row is the one with the cute little black featherweight.

Here is Nancy D.'s sewing quilt. Nancy made the starting row with the sewing machine; Kim P. made the row of quilt shops (they each are named for one of our favorite local quilt shops); Joannie made the row that included Nancy's penguin pin cushion that she made in our wool felting class this past May.
Nancy's quilt will hang in her new sewing room!
Here is Val's snowman quilt. Val's starting row were the paper pieced snowman with the hats. Joannie made the top row. It came out really cute and Val can display it all winter, which is sometimes quite long here in Massachusetts!

Here is Debbie's Spring quilt. I can't remember which row Debbie made and she isn't in the photo shoot from the Row by Row Kickoff. Joannie made the row of rain boots. The colors in Debbie's quilt are very pastel and pretty, unfortunately washed out by the camera.
Debbie invited paper Nancy and paper Kim along for her photo op!
Here is Kim P.'s quilt. Her theme was Anything that makes me smile! She made the top row with the two cats who have dimensional tails. Joannie made the second row with the birds and the flower. Check out the mice in a maze, also with dimensional tails, and the cats with the goldfish. And there are happy flowers on the bottom!
Stunt double
The real Kim P!
Kim also got to have her head on a stick (thanks Joannie), but she popped in for a brief visit along with her Mom and Dad, Caroline and Ken. Kim's Mom is also a quilter and Kim's Dad invented the pin catchers made out of flip flops.
To see the Group One Row by Row quilts, click here.

Here are all ten of the Row by Row quilts. Aren't they fabulous?
Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Big Reveal! Row by Row Exchange, Group One

When you can't be there in person, your head on a stick is the next best thing!
Did I tell you that the only bummer part of going on a beach vacation last week was that I would miss the Row by Row swap official reveal? Yes, Mike and I left for the beach last Saturday and on Sunday, my Brown Bagger buddies met and everyone got their quilt top back!

Here is mine. Since I couldn't be there in person, Joannie very thoughtfully put my head on a stick. I was feeling a little like Marie Antoinette when I opened this photo in my email!
I love my Pug quilt!
The top row was made by Lexine; the next row is my starting row; Pat made the row with the pink bicycle and Nancy D. made the row with the purple bench from my garden. Joanne E. finished my quilt off with the vertical row that reads: Pugs in the Garden! The colors are a little washed out in the photo, however my quilt is stunning in person and I am thrilled!

Next, here is Lexine with her quilt. Lexine's theme was Christmas. She is very fond of country colors.

Joannne E. made the top row; the next row is Lexine's starting row; Nancy D. made the holly; I made the Christmas presents and Pat made the Christmas stockings.

Here is Pat with her quilt. Pat wanted a beach theme and she hopes to hang her quilt at her daughter's beach cottage once it is finished.
Joanne E. made the top row with sun hats, sunglasses and dolphins; the next row is Pat's starting row of flip flops; Lexine made the beach ball row; Nancy D. made the seashell row and I made the row of fish. Pat's quilt is also very bright and fun, for some reason, the colors in the photo are washed out.

Here is Joanne E. with her quilt. Joanne really challenged us with her theme which was, Put the kettle on, call friends, put your purse away, kick off your shoes, take off your hat and quilt!
Joanne typically uses a lot of browns, so I was thrilled with the fabric choices that she provided in her bag. Joanne's row is on top; I made the second row in her quilt (My friends Karen and Kate from Berkshire Quilts came to my rescue. Karen redrafted the star pattern to fit Joanne's row size and Kate made me the letter templates); Pat made the row with sewing notions; Lexine added the row of teapots; Nancy D. gave the quilt a funny conclusion with Turn your lamp on, put on some fuzzy slippers, sit in your comfy chair, read a good book and have a martini!

Nancy D. organized our Row by Row swap and participated in both groups to give us an even number of participants (thanks Nance!). She was a busy sewer!

Here is Nancy D. with her quilt that was in our group. It has a music theme. Nancy is going to give it to her niece, who is a musician, as a gift.
Nancy D. made the starting row at the top; Joanne E. made the piano keys with appliqued jazz cats; I made the row of guitars (my husband Mike helped me draft the patterns); Pat made the row with the gramophone; record player, records and boom box; Lexine made the pieced blocks with the music fabric.

The Row by Row quilts from Group One.
A very special thanks to Joannie for photographing all of the Row by Row quilts for me.
If you look closely, you'll see that Joannie is no amateur paparazzo,
she's wearing a press pass that reads, Official Blog Photographer.
Next blog post, The Big Reveal from Group Two!

Linking up on Friday to Richard and Tanya Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts. Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Around the World Blog Tour

Note to Readers: This is a very long blog post, but don't worry, I have scheduled an intermission. Also, this blog post is early, it's not supposed to be published until Monday.

My dear friend Daphne, who blogs over at Ivy, Phyllis and Me, "tagged" me last week to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop. What is a Blog Hop you might ask? Well, basically, it's like a giant chain letter for bloggers without the bad luck. Daphne's friend CeLynne tagged her, then Daphne tagged three other bloggers, I will tag three other bloggers, until we have tagged every blogger in the entire universe! And you don't have to dump any ice water over your head!

The questions I will answer for you today include:
  1. What am I working on?  
  2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?  
  3. Why do I write/create what I do?  
  4. How does my writing/creating process work?
So before I get started, let me give a great big thank you to my friend Daphne for nominating me. You can read more about Daphne, in her lovely Blog Tour post here. Daphne writes the most beautiful cooking blog, including a musical sound track to cook by, which is a visual treat for the eyes. I have been known to send a recipe to Mike in hopes that he will make it. One day I hope to go to England and hang out in the kitchen with Daphne while she makes me every thing in this chocolate fest post. Or Daphne can come here to the U.S. and cook with Mike. I'll take her husband George to the hardware store. And everyone can get some pug love.
Have sewing machine, will travel! Sewing with Marion this summer at the beach!
1. What am I working on? 
A lot. At all times. I have more UFOs then you can imagine. I try to keep one project in the car for my weekly Thursday Night quilt excursions and have another quilt project going in the Studio. But I am also burdened by quilt obligations that sneak in like my Brown Bagger (monthly Sunday quilting group) Birthday Blocks and Row by Row Exchange. Thankfully, I am three blocks away from finishing this year's Birthday Blocks and our Row by Row Exchange is tomorrow! I think that I am taking a break from Birthday Blocks next year. I cut out three new quilt projects in the past few weeks, blogged here and here, and I got a new quilt kit in the mail. Plus, my Scrappy Bargello has only two panels left to finish.

Scrappy Bargello in progress! Happy colors!
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? I like to think of myself as without genre.
Got genre, Baby?
My quilt projects are driven more by the fabric and the colors than by pattern or originality. I love color, as long as it's not brown or beige, and like to use it liberally in my quilts. And I love fabric! Also, the fabric is often dictated by the recipient. For example, last year I told my friend MaryKate that I would make her a quilt and she chose a pre-printed panel. Lately my quilts have been exceedingly simple, but the fabrics are singing. And surprisingly, so far this year, all the quilts that I've finished or are close to finishing have been made out of my Stash. But don't worry, I'm frequently replenishing the Stash.
Adding to the Stash! Must support the economy!
BLOG INTERMISSION. Take a break and come back.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?
I've always enjoyed writing and making things. My Grandma Tilly taught me to crochet and knit when I was young. I liked making sewing cards. Anyone else remember those? I've done lots of other crafts such as woodworking, stained glass, and counted cross stitch, but I always come back to sewing. My Mom taught me to use her Kenmore sewing machine when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade and I began by making doll clothes. In 4th grade, there was an after school sewing program and I made a halter top and shorts (it was the '70s). I enjoyed making clothes; however once I discovered quilting, that became my primary focus. The beauty of quilting, for me, is that you only need to sew a straight stitch, and if your quilt is too small, it can become a place mat or a mug rug, and if your table runner is too big, it can be a bed quilt.

I have also enjoyed creative writing since I was young. I had a monthly humor column in my high school newspaper and a weekly humor column in my college newspaper at Boston University's Daily Free Press (anyone ever read Trivial Pursuits by NB Cohen?). For the past four years, I've been writing a semi-monthly humor blog that is published on our corporate Intranet (I work for a large insurance/investment company). I plan to set up a separate blog so I can publish these posts for everyone to enjoy. I love blogging because it combines all of my passions: writing, photography, and quilting into one! Writing my blog at work inspired me to start my quilting blog.

4. How does my writing/creative process work?
I talk to myself in my head all day long, kind of like an ongoing sitcom narration. I talk or sing (making up my own songs, of course) to the pugs when I take them for a walk. It's hard to shut my brain off, which may account for the very colorful dreams I usually have every night. When I write a blog post, I usually have a lot of the ideas already thought out in my head and they just flow out of my hands onto the keys and into the computer. I do take a lot of time with my writing. I check my sources and links thoroughly, I proofread and I run spell check. Spelling errors make me crazy! Note: I am a "professional communicator", so many of these things are just second nature to me. It's probably taken me about four hours to write this post and I've been thinking about it for a week. I try to post on this blog at least twice a week. So far, my only "regular" feature is Quilt of the Month, which I instituted this year in an attempt to show you some of my older quilts from my pre-blogging days. There are still a few more to go! I think I may also start a Top 10 monthly list, because I had a great time writing my 10 Quilty Little Secrets.

My quilting aka creative process varies from my writing process in that it is much more impulsive. I love fabric like a magpie loves shiny things (although I like shiny things too!) and I jump from one project to another. You should also know that I am the slowest sewer in the world. Quilts can go unfinished for years, although most of my UFOs are things for myself; I tend to finish quilts that are intended for others. I have to meet a lot of deadlines for my real job, so I try not to give myself too many deadlines for quilting. It's my hobby! It's supposed to be fun. I do admit to making a monthly quilting "to-do" list, but I give myself permission not to look at it...

Tag! You're it!

Meet my friend Kat, who blogs at Made with Love and Ladybug Hugs. I dare you not to fall in love with my friend Kat, especially after you read this entry on the meaning of ladybugs. Kat does a variety of quilting projects, from bags, to t-shirt quilts to charity quilts. And she also made darling costumes when her family took a Disney cruise. In addition to being a Mom and a quilter, she works full time, and runs marathons! I hope to meet her this winter when I go to Florida to visit my parents.

Meet my friend Tanya, who blogs at Tanya Quilts in CO. Tanya's quilts are wonderful. I openly covet her orange peel quilt that she recently finished. She also does gorgeous needlework, like this cross stitch sampler. Tanya is a teacher and a Mom, and she has two dogs. I recently found out that she is a football fan. You can find my blog on Tanya's blog roll!

My friend LeeAnna was too busy to join the blog hop, but make sure to read her blog at Not Afraid of Color. And my friend Lara at BuzzinBumble, who is too busy because she is publishing a quilt book! And I could list at least 20 other blog friends, but you can find them on my blog roll. They're a fun bunch!

And since the nut doesn't fall far from the tree, if you need a good laugh, check out my brother Gary's blog at Cohencide. Warning: he's not a quilter, he's extremely sarcastic, and you may see a naked Barbie doll. Or read my Mom's column in the monthly newsletter at Majestic Isles (she's the editor and a monthly columnist, but not a quilter). If you read the summer issue 2014, Mom's article is on page 12.
Mike and I are headed to the beach! See you in a week.
If you've made it all the way through this blog entry, thanks for visiting! Don't forget to go visit all the other great blogs that I've mentioned!

Pugs and kisses,