Thursday, January 29, 2015

Marion's Got a Birthday!

If you are looking for my Grow Your Blog Post, click here

If you see this woman below, please wish her a happy birthday! We are escaping the blizzard of 2015 and heading off to our annual February quilt weekend at the Cape. There is an indoor pool and a hot tub, so we can pretend we're in Florida, at least in spirit.
I'm sure there will be ice cream some time this weekend!
Happy Birthday Marion!

Today, we will celebrate in style! (Marion's birthday is actually the 30th, but we're starting the celebration tonight.) I've made this bag for her. There's room to put a couple more presents inside... Marion loves Kaffe Fassett prints, as do I. And I think it is the ultimate compliment to give a gift that you want to keep for yourself!
It has polka dot handles, but I was taking the photo solo.
Yes, it's the ever popular Chubby Charmer tote bag again. I actually made a list the other night, and I believe that this is at least the 10th one I've made. Many of those were in pre-blogging days (PBD), but you can see four others ones that I've made for Eleanor, Diane, Pat, and Rachel. It's a great big bag and most people that I gift it to use it as an overnighter. I own three beautiful versions that were made for me by Pat, Joannie, and Sue. I keep different quilt projects in them.

I can't say enough nice things about this pattern. It's easy to make and the directions are excellent. Here are some views of the interior in progress.
On one side, I make a really big pocket that closes with velcro. I used
the same fabric as the lining, so you can't see it well, but the top of
the pocket is trimmed with polka dots. The zebra fabric is my ironing board.
I made a little polka dot pocket that goes on top of the big pocket.
My friend Lee Anna showed off these metal tags in her blog, so
I had to buy some. They were in the papercrafting section at Joann Fabrics.
There is another pocket the same size on the other side. I divide that pocket in half. I also make the handles longer, so they fit over your shoulder. I add a snap for closure. Marion's bag also includes a strap for her keys inside.

There's a chocolate cake in the trunk of my car. Let the celebration begin! You can't beat a quilt weekend for a birthday: Chinese food, chocolate cake, fabric shopping, sewing, good friends, and hot tubbing!

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Yes, we have no bananas

If you are looking for my Grow Your Blog Post, click here.

In case you missed the national news, Boston is digging out from its first blizzard of 2015. Fortunately we were well informed about the upcoming storm, so most people had time to make preparations. We had a little snow on Saturday, just to give us a preview.
Saturday: Nice, normal snow fall. Isn't it pretty?
I did some sewing for half the day and then I watched some television with the Pug boys. They are always happy to sit on the couch with me. Pugs are bred to be lap dogs and mine take their job quite seriously.
I pulled out my Valentine's Day fabric collection and admired them.
I don't think I will get to work on my Valentine's Day quilt until 2016.
I have some gift commitments that I must focus on.
The weather forecasts grew more dire over the weekend. Mike went out early on Sunday and attempted to go to the grocery store. He couldn't get into the parking lot. I waited until 4pm, then I went out to try again. As I went in the grocery store, I passed a woman who was leaving. I asked her if it was crazy inside. She said that it was OK, but the store was out of bananas. That was fine with me. I was going for donuts! Everyone knows you need chocolate during a blizzard!

Mike left on Sunday afternoon for a ski trip with his friend Phil. The snow started late on Monday evening and went through Tuesday evening. We didn't lose power and I was able to work from home, so no snow day for me.
The purple garden bench, also pictured above, by mid-day on Tuesday.
Where's the bench? Wednesday morning.
My friend Kat, who blogs at Made with Love and Ladybug Hugs, sent me a picture of her new pool at her new house.
Yes, I think I would have rather been at Kat's house.
Kat, I'm ready for my Florida quilt weekend!
Want to see more snow?
The view from my front door this morning. I can only get the door open about 18 inches.
My back yard. The fence you can see is six feet high.
I missed my sweet husband, but the pug boys were good company last night.
LarryPug, at the top, and Elvis snuggled on my lap. Romeo, is curled
against my hip, so he is not in the photo.
The Pug Boys take a very quick biology break!
Only this five foot wall of snow is keeping me from my freshly plowed driveway!
Luckily Mike returns from his ski trip today to shovel!

Snow selfie!
Fortunately, the Brown Baggers and I are going to the Cape tomorrow for a quilt weekend! Hooray! Although, yes, I would rather be at Kat's house!

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Grow Your Blog

Hi! I'm Nancy from PugMom Quilts! Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I'm thrilled to be participating this year in the Grow Your Blog Hop from 2 Bags Full.
Hi! I'm Nancy!
I write about my quilting adventures. I love to share my works in progress and I am always thrilled to show you a finished quilt. I love to shop for fabric, go to quilt shows, and attend quilt retreats. My blog regularly features the adventures of my Brown Bagger friends and their quilts. You will also meet my handsome husband Michael and see many of his culinary delights. And, of course, there are frequent appearances by the world's three cutest pug boys: Romeo, Elvis, and LarryPug. You can also read more about me here.
These are my best gal pals and my quilting gang. From left to right, Joannie, Marion, Me, and Sue.
Meet the Brown Baggers!
Here is my handsome husband Mike at the grill. I made his apron, of course.
These are the pug boys, from left to right: Romeo, LarryPug, and Elvis.
Here are some of my quilts.

I've been sewing since I was a little girl. My Mom started me off with sewing cards with a big needle and yarn. Then I moved on to hand sewing and made clothes for my Barbie dolls. When I was in Fourth Grade, my elementary school offered an after school sewing program, where I learned to use a pattern and sew on a sewing machine. The first thing I ever made was a halter top with matching shorts (it was the 1970s).

I started quilting by accident in 1989. I was newly married and only a few years out of college. I commuted an hour each way to work, so I had started to knit on the train. The closest knitting shop also offered quilting classes. My husband and I had opposing work schedules, so I had a lot of time on my hands. The shop owner sold me Eleanor Burns' Quilt in a Day log cabin book and signed me up for a class and a quilter was born! I divorced that husband a long, long time ago, but I've been a quilter ever since!

Did I mention that I like to shop for fabric?

If you've made it this far, I am hosting a give-away of Hoffman Fabrics Bali Crackers in Sparrow (these are 40 pre-cut 10"x10" squares). I will announce the winner on February 15th. Just leave a comment below in the comment box to enter. Let me know what you would make if you win. If you are a no-reply blogger, make sure to include your email address. You don't need to be a subscriber to participate, although I would love it if you choose to sign up. I have a bloglovin' option, an email option and a google plus option in the right hand sidebar. And I would be thrilled beyond belief if you decide to include my blog in your blog roll!
You never know what will happen at a quilt weekend!
Thanks for visiting! Come back soon!

Pugs and kisses,

The End

Friday, January 23, 2015

Susan's Quilt: Tales from a Slow Sewer

I spent the entire MLK quilt weekend assembling a king size quilt top for my sister-in-law, Susan (Mike's sister). It is a  good thing that I like my sister-in-law, very, very much! It was also good that I had my Brown Bagger quilting buddies to keep me company!

I've been promising to make Susan a bed quilt for several years. She picked out this design, Jungle Rain, in 2011 and I ordered a kit from Hancock's of Paducah. Unfortunately, I dilly-dallied, and right before I got started last May (2014), Susan bought a king size bed! I knew that I didn't have enough fabric, so I chose a new pattern and continued on. I finished all the blocks by Thanksgiving and I showed them to Susan. She was thrilled.

I know that I am a slow sewer, and I was not naive enough to think that I'd get all 240 blocks (they are 7 inches, unfinished) assembled into a king size quilt top (16 rows, each 15 blocks wide) in one day, but I was kind of hoping that I'd be done by Saturday morning...
There are 14 shades of green batik in Susan's quilt. The little pink things in the picture are labels to help keep the colors in order. It's a very simple pattern -- a block with sashing on two adjacent sides, similar to a half Log Cabin. I decided after making all the blocks that it would be "fun" to color sort them on the diagonal. Since I came up with this brilliant idea AFTER I made all the blocks, it wasn't that simple. I had different amounts of the 14 different color green prints since some of the fabrics came from the kit I had purchased and some came from my stash.
This is the quilt diagram that I drew before the quilt weekend. It took me two hours to draw. But having it as a visual reference, since I didn't have a gi-normous design wall,  made putting the quilt together quite simple.
Day 1. On Friday, five rows have been assembled by 4:50 p.m.
Progress on Day 2. I have eight rows assembled by 2:57 p.m., on Saturday.
Day 3. On Sunday, at 5:35 p.m., the top is done. It is 97"x104".
Thankfully Susan doesn't want an outer border.
I came home on Sunday night and found that Mike had made
Italian Wedding Soup. I think that it matches Susan's quilt.
I know that quilting is not a race, and that I'm not competing against my Brown Bagger friends. However, I want to know: How long would it have taken you to sew this together? Am I incredibly slow, or is my sewing time average? In my own defense, I did pin all the row junctions, every block was squared off to a perfect (or nearly perfect) 7 inches, and all my seams are pressed nicely on the back.

Now I have to piece the backing fabric...

Thanks for visiting! Linking up on Friday to TGIFF, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Richard and Tanya Quilts and Crazy Mom Quilts. And I just found a new linky party, Fabric Frenzy Friday!

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Annual MLK Quilt Weekend

The Brown Baggers have been holding an annual MLK quilt weekend for a very long time. The past couple of years, we've been sharing the hotel with assorted youth hockey teams which has made for some interesting experiences. This year's group was the best behaved group of young men ever, unlike other years where the kids were literally hitting a ball off the conference room wall next door. Marion and I went hot tubbing with a couple of the coaches one evening (sorry, no photos!) and made sure to compliment them on their teams' good behavior.

Here are the Girls and their Quilts (or Works in Progress...)

Joanne S. was cranking out quilt tops!
Joanne put the final borders on this amazing quilt top!
Here's a close-up.
She also put together two more tops from Birthday Blocks from previous years. Read more about our Birthday Blocks.
2013 Birthday Blocks in Kaffe Fassett prints against a vibrant orange background.
2014 Birthday Blocks in autumnal colors.

Kim P. did some machine quilting and binding over the weekend and finished three quilts!
Kim is donating her pink and purple heart quilt to charity.
Here is Kim with her completed Row by Row quilt.
This was Kim's "oldie but goodie," a curved log cabin quilt designed by her sister Karen.
Kim enjoyed frozen yogurt for breakfast one day.
She is a girl after my own heart!
Kim's sister, Karen, also spent her weekend machine quilting and binding.
Karen's sheep wall hanging.

This triangle quilt, and the one below, are made of flannel.
Karen is donating both of these quilts to charity.
She made them from her fabric stash. Unfortunately
she acquired some new stash along the way...
Karen completed her 2014 Birthday Block quilt in pastel batiks.
Karen finished at least one other project that I didn't get a photo of. Her machine never stopped!

Marion brings a different project to work on for each day of the quilt weekend. On Friday (day 1), she finished the borders for her Sampler quilt.
Marion always dresses to match her quilt project!
Joannie was working on her sister's quilt. Although in this case, her sister is supposed to be making the quilt as a wedding gift for her son. It needs to be finished by March, so Joannie volunteered to lend a hand.
Joannie spent the entire weekend appliquing arcs to background squares for this contemporary Double Wedding Ring Quilt technique. Joannie is making one of these for herself too. She got a lot of practice this weekend!
Joannie's daughter, Jill, came to visit us and was pressed into service.
Sue was gracious enough to bring her AccuQuilt GO! fabric cutter to our weekend and gave us a demonstration. I couldn't believe how easy it was to use. This may go on my Birthday wish list!
Sue, in green, is letting Pat take a turn. Pat is using the cutter to make 5 inch squares.
She cranked out a whole bunch in no time at all!
Nancy D. went home and brought in her Halloween fabric the next day and cut out 2.5 inch strips. We were all impressed.

Wendy, our newest quilter, finished the top of her third quilt. Aren't the colors pretty?
Nancy D. is Wendy's quilting mentor.
Nancy D. did a coffee run to keep us all caffeinated!
She was also working on a Double Wedding Ring quilt like Joannie.
Pat and Sally were working on quilts with lots of tiny pieces.
Pat is working on Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion
mystery quilt. You can find the pattern here.
Sally is working on her Christmas Pickle Dish.
We should see it before the next Millennium.
It is that kind of project...
I decided that my wedding fascinator added the perfect festive touch for the weekend.
I think that it is so pretty, I might wear it to all the quilt weekends!

Somehow, Debbie, Jo Ann E., Valerie, Joannie, Sally, and Joan S. managed to evade my intrepid blogger's iPhone camera. Don't worry, my pretties, I'll get you the next time!

I enjoy the different approaches that the girls bring to their quilt projects for the quilt weekend.

Thanks for visiting! Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Richard and Tanya Quilts. And I just found a new linky party, Fabric Frenzy Friday!

Pugs and kisses,