Saturday, May 30, 2015

Purple Season in The Garden Has Sprung!

It's only been a few weeks since I posted some photos of the beautiful pink flowers in my garden.  Now the purple flowers have arrived.
These are miniature iris that my sister-in-law Susan just gave me.
They are not more than six inches tall.
Allium. They look like giant purple fuzzballs!
Here's a long shot of the Allium with lilacs at the back.
Don't miss my purple pug flag hanging from my garage/studio.
These beautiful little purple violas are growing outside my fence in my driveway.
False Indigo at lower right.
A bumper crop of Allium this year.
Our lilacs are late this year. They smell heavenly.
I wish I could add "smell" to this blog post.
New purple flowers that I bought a few weeks ago at Lowes.
They look kind of lunar-ish to me.
This is a silk floral arrangement that I bought on Etsy for our front door.
I hope you're not surprised that our door is purple.
Almost forgot our Clematis.
These are the little violas pictured above.

Thanks for visiting! More purple pictures soon. I have at least four sizes of Iris! Don't forget I also have a beautiful purple garden bench, which you can see here.

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Berkshires: The Wrap Up

In between quilting our little hearts out, lots of other fun was had. Of course we played our favorite dice game, Right, Left, Center (RLC). Other people play for money, we play for fat quarters. Since our group was small I was hoping that luck would be on my side, but alas it was not to be...

Jean and Sally both cleaned up, each winning two games. Jean won the Kaffe Fassett fat quarters and the swirls. Sally won the polka dot fat quarters and our bonus game of 20 lottery tickets. It took her a long time to scratch them all, but she ended up winning $34. Karen won the batik fat quarters.

Jean was thrilled with her winnings!
Sally gave Kellie one of her tickets. Kellie has not yet told
us how much money she's won... she wants to buy a pony...
Sally will probably buy fabric...
Last year Karen arranged for us to take a felted wool class, this year's event was a Paint and Sip Party. Sally, Jean, and I didn't take the class, we had an excursion to Joann Fabrics and King Kone for ice cream instead.
Here are the happy artists with their masterpieces. From left to right: lady unknown (one of Karen's friends); Nancy D., Joannie, Cheryl, Kellie, Joanne S., Cindy's daughter, Cindy, and Karen.
Cheryl and Joannie at work.
Joanne S. and Nancy D. deep in concentration...
Our week flew by! All too soon it was time to go home. I could have stayed for another week.
Last day! We are tired but happy!
From left to right: Sally, Nancy D., Joanne S., me, Joannie with Kate in front.
Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Brown Bagger Projects from The Berkshires

We had a very small group this year at the Berkshires: Nancy D., Joanne S., Sally, Cheryl, Jean, Karen and me. Local friends, Kate and Cindy, joined us for a few days and Joannie showed up on Friday afternoon. We also enjoyed seeing some visitors: Monty (Kate's Mom), Sophia (Kate's three year old granddaughter) as well as Kathleen and her kids, Kellie and Eric. Kathleen and her gang are regular visitors to our Berkshire retreat. Kellie, who is now 10, usually joins us for some sewing.
Here's our silly group selfie: from left to right: Joanne, Sally (wearing the iron); Nancy D., Cheryl, me, and Karen. Jean is the white cotton ball in front.
Unfortunately Karen had to leave early on Saturday morning because her Aunt passed away as well as Cheryl and Jean who also left unexpectedly on Saturday morning when their dog Spencer got ill. Sadly, Spencer passed away on Monday morning. He will be missed. My deepest sympathy to all.

I drove up with Sally this year. She was nice enough to pick me up as well as pack everything that Mike had prepared the night before. Since my recent gallbladder surgery, I'm not supposed to lift anything for a month. The other Brown Baggers were equally wonderful and they rushed to help Sally unload the car once we arrived. Sally and I visited several of the stores from my Go West itinerary along the way. I promise to share some photos of the goodies in a future post.
I confess that all the crap in back of Sally's car belongs to me.
Not sure why Sally is smiling... she had to pack it and unpack it.
Thanks Sally, you were an excellent roommate!
There are several different ways to approach a quilting retreat. Some of the Brown Baggers brought a variety of different projects to work on and some brought a single project and worked on it until it was finished. I brought a couple of tops that were close to completion and managed to finish two that needed borders. My projects can be seen here.

Nancy D. was the most prolific of the bunch AGAIN! She put the binding on 14 Halloween table runners, quilted seven Christmas table runners and pieced two baby quilts. Nancy, did I miss anything? The table runners she made below are from Karen's original pattern called Cat Tales. I sense a Pug Tales version in the making even if I have to design it myself!
Nancy is all smiles after putting the binding on her 14th table runner!
These beauties are gifts for Nancy's book club friends.
Nancy, did I mention that I'm joining your book club???
Never too early to get started on your Christmas projects!
Sally and Joanne spent their week dedicated to some elaborate quilt projects. Sally was putting together her Christmas Pickle quilt (I'm not kidding, that's the name of the pattern).
Here is Sally's quilt. It is a real beauty in batik.
Sally has been bringing this project to our retreats for a couple of years.
I LOVE IT!!!! We ALL loved it!!
Joanne finished all 64 blocks for her Double Wedding Ring quilt.
Joanne's quilt grew and grew over the weekend. Fortunately Nancy D. brought her large design wall.
Here is Joanne with her box of arcs.
The quilt grew larger than the design wall. FABULOUS!!
Here's a close-up of the Double Wedding Ring block. Joanne used fabulous
Kaffe Fassett prints with a super cute polka dot background (also KFC).
Joanne still has to sew her blocks together. I can't wait to see this when it is finished!!!

Cheryl worked on two beautiful quilt tops also made with Kaffe Fassett fabrics.
Cheryl completed this top. Each block is like an individual miniature quilt.  GORGEOUS!!!
We all helped Cheryl layout her blocks for her second quilt
and she assembled all of her rows by the end of the week.
Next step, assemble the top! Also GORGEOUS!!!
The quilt shown above is from Livin' Large by Anka's Treasures.

Karen was hard at work designing some new patterns.
She sent me this photo. She was also working on another one that I don't have a photo of.

Jean worked on these graphic log cabin blocks.
Joannie was working on her Mystery Quilt project. I didn't get a photo. It has A LOT of pieces. The colors are red and aqua. It is very pretty. Kate was designing patterns on her computer for her company Kate Mitchell Quilts. She didn't bring her sewing machine. Cindy was also designing some new patterns that will be sold through Karen's company, QuiltLily Designs. I didn't get any photos, but I'll be sure to ask Karen when the patterns are ready. There was a beautiful cat wall hanging (looked like Morris the Cat), a Halloween Tree, and an owl pattern. Cindy does most of her work by hand.

Thanks to all my Brown Bagger buddies who contributed photos for this post: Sally, Cheryl, and Karen!

I've got more Berkshire stories. Come back soon! Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

A Week of Accomplishments!

I spent last week in the Berkshires with my Brown Bagger buddies, sewing happily from Monday evening until Saturday afternoon. Our group was small this year, so we hunkered down, avoided distractions like nearby quilt shops (for the most part) and got a lot of sewing done!

I am excited to report that I had some very big finishes and one small finish!

I finally got the borders on my Blue and Purple Scrap Wave. This quilt is gi-normous. Because it is so big I wasn't going to add any outer borders, but I'm glad I changed my mind. I love the reddish purple borders with the extra squares going around in between them. I bought this fabric on our April road trip and it was the perfect color.
I'm in love with the colors and can't wait to get it back from my friend Kate who is machine quilting it for me.
I also finished the top of my Rangeley Star quilt with its 36 star outer border! For awhile, I almost scrapped the outer star border because it originally had the very pale blue fabric used in the background for the accent strips. When I laid it out, it looked washed out with the dark stars. The girls all gathered around for a consultation, we experimented with layout and color and Joanne S. finally suggested the green. It really brings the quilt together!
This quilt top actually has one more outer border of the blue batik, but I didn't get a photo of it.
I also put the binding on the quilt for my sister-in-law, Susan. All this baby needs is a label and it's ready to go to its new home. I started this project last year in the Berkshires. You can read more about it here.
I am very glad that this quilt is finally finished!
I also finished my Flourish wall hanging. This is an original design by my friend Karen Pratt. Karen also did the machine quilting on this for me. I bought some crystal snowflake buttons and I'm really going to "bling" this up! My friend Jean insisted that I use black fabric for the binding and it looks great. It really frames the quilt.
Yeah! Another finish!
Coincidentally all my projects last week were in batik. Several more blog posts to come about our Berkshire adventures!

Linking up on Wednesday to Freemotion by the River, Fabric Tuesday, Let's Bee Social and WIPS Wednesday. Linking up on Thursday to Needle and Thread Thursday. Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Richard and Tanya Quilts, TGIFF, WIPS Be Gone, Fabric Frenzy Friday and CrazyMom Quilts. Linking up on Saturday to my newest favorite blog party, Pet Project Show from Pink Doxies. Thanks for visiting!

A big thank you to Myra at Busy Hands Quilts who created this fabulous list of linky parties. Check it out here.

Pugs and kisses,

Monday, May 18, 2015

Inspired by Pink!

Today's blog is brought to you by the color PINK!
Gorgeous hot pink azalea in my back yard.
Pink tulips
My pink cherry tree is raining pink flowers on my purple bench.
Pink tulips and Bleeding Heart.
My purple bench awash in pink finery.
Cute little pug tushies among pink flower petals.
...And a pretty pink pedicure to match!
This color is called Girls Love Ponies by OPI.
Today, I'm headed off to the Berkshires to quilt with my Brown Bagger buddies for the week. I will do my favorite things: shop for fabric, sew, take naps and go out to eat! I bet some of the girls will be checking out my Go West itinerary... if so, they may run into Sally and me... I'm not sure if the blog will be silent while I'm away. I bought myself an iPad mini, so you may hear from me... or not.

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A little weekend update

This weekend brought some unexpected pleasures and treasures. On Friday afternoon, my friend Pat dropped by to see me and brought me the most beautiful Kaffe Fassett Diva Doll. I will take a photo and post it soon. It was made by Maggie Tuite who lives in Dubai. In Pat's honor, I have named her Patsy LaBelle. She will hang out in the Studio.

This is one of Maggie's Divas. My Patsy is a redhead.
I also had a quick visit from my friend Jeff Turner on Friday night. Mike and I even squeezed in a trip to Ron's Ice Cream for a late night snack! (Yes, my tummy is feeling much better!).

On Saturday morning I had an impromptu visit to the local plant sale with Joannie. We bought a few plants there and also managed to get a few more at Lowes. They have already been planted in the garden, thanks to a little help from Mike. I'm looking forward to seeing my new beauties spread and multiply.

On Saturday night, Mike and I went to Gardner, MA for our friends, Deb and Greg's wedding. It was lovely. Since Gardner is about a 2 hour ride from our house, we treated ourselves and stayed overnight in the hotel where the wedding was held.
Here is our "selfie" shot in our wedding finery.
Fortunately, one of the people at our table took a better photo.
On the way home, we mapped out a route that would allow us to visit the Brimfield Antiques Show. My friend Jeff had gone there earlier in the week and found some cool vintage camera stuff. Mike was hoping to find some vintage ephemera and I was hoping to find some vintage sewing items. We didn't see a lot of "real" antiques, unfortunately most of the stuff I saw looked like it had come from my Dad's garage. Note: the Brimfield Antiques Show is HUGE, and we did not see the entire show. Nor did we leave empty-handed...
Here is Mike checking out the vinyl.
We didn't purchase any antiques, but we did buy this very cool kinetic sculpture for our backyard.
It reminds me of giant lollipops. Mike is going to paint it in neon bright colors.
Not a lot of sewing was done this weekend, but A LOT of sewing will be done this week. Stay tuned!

Pugs and kisses,

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Go West, Young Quilting Women!

Waaaay back in April we made a road trip for Joannie's birthday. The itinerary was a surprise for her and although she drove, I entered the addresses in the GPS, so she didn't know where we were going. We headed West on the Mass Turnpike (aka Mass Pike for the locals). I've included the name and location of each store so you can replicate our journey.
Sue is clearly having a good time filling the shopping cart.
In light of full disclosure, we all shared the same cart.
The original agenda had five stores. I would read a clue to Joannie before each store to see if she could guess where we were going. Our first stop was the Auburn Discount Fabric Store (formerly known as the $1.99 Store, but they've raised the prices slightly). There's no guarantee what you will find here, but it's always fun to stop and look.

Clue: Our fabric is so cheap, you’ll want to buy a heap!
Location #1: Auburn Discount Fabric Store
773 Southbridge St
Auburn, Massachusetts 01501
We hit the mother load at Auburn Discount Fabric Store and walked out with bulging shopping bags. They had just received a delivery of Northcott Fabrics. None of left empty-handed. I also picked up some Elvis fabric for my friend Toni and some hockey fabric for my friend Pat.

Clue: Our fabric can’t be beat and we’re just right down the street!
Location #2: Appletree Fabrics

850 Southbridge Street
Auburn, MA 01501

Appletree Fabrics is literally on the same road as the Auburn Discount Fabric Store. It is a lovely quilt shop and I would be in trouble if it was closer to my house. They have a huge selection of batiks among all the other gorgeous fabric that they carry. We thought we were super clever and when Joannie went to the ladies room, we hid the quilting book she was looking at so Sue could buy it for her birthday.
Co-conspirators Marion and Sue line up at the cash register.
You can bet that some of these purple batiks went home with me!
Joannie was probably wondering what happened to her quilt book, but Sue gave it to her at lunch.
Clue: This store is super organ-ized! It’s a blessing to buy fabric here.
Location #3: Charlton Sewing Center

12 Stafford Street
Charlton, MA 01507

The Charlton Sewing Center is in an old church, complete with pipe organ! The owner will play it while you are shopping. I was hoping to get her to play Happy Birthday to Joannie, but she wasn't in that day... As always we found more fabric to buy and the lady waiting on us told us about another quilt store that wasn't on our original list... They had some beautiful buttons here (I was good and left them behind), and I hope they are still there next week when I hope to head back! The owner collects vintage sewing machines and sewing themed items and they are all over the store.
The organ is massive and its sound fills the room.
It almost makes shopping a holy experience!
And of course, it wouldn't be a church without some beautiful stained glass...
Here is the gang (from left to right): Sue, Marion, Joannie and me.

Clue: Are you up for store #4? This place offers more…
Location #4: Fabric Stash

45a Sturbridge Road (Route 20)
Charlton, MA
This beautiful log cabin quilt was next to the register.
Here are some of the fabrics on display.
Fabric Stash is within a mile of the Charlton Sewing Center. It is a full fabric store with a large supply of quilting cottons. If you collect vintage machines, last month there were two sweet ladies waiting for new homes.
This fabulous BELAIR from the 1950's is definitely reminiscent
of the cars of that era, especially her two tone green paint job!
This 1940's Kenmore had a plain black WW2 finish.
Clue: Still alive for clue #5? This store is tiny but mighty!
Location #5: The Quilt and Cabbage
538 Main Street (Route 20)
Sturbridge, MA

The Quilt and Cabbage is one of the smallest quilt shops I've ever been in, but the owner manages to pack a lot of good inventory into a very small space. Fair warning that they don't have a public restroom or accept credit cards, so make sure you bring cash or your check book (and pee at the previous quilt shop!). I didn't take any photos here because there is nowhere to back up! As usual, I managed to find some batiks to follow me home.

Bonus Location #6: Meeting House Fabric and Trim
83 Main Street
Wales, MA 01801

This is the bonus shop that was recommended to us by the nice lady at the Charlton Sewing Center. I thought that I was familiar with every quilt shop within a 200 mile radius, but none of us had heard of Meeting House Fabric, which apparently has been open for a few years. It's about 10 miles from The Quilt and Cabbage. It is also located in a former church building.

The store is filled with light.
She had the cutest displays. Check out this darling stove!

Here is the outside of the quilt shop. Isn't it cute?
This is definitely the store for you if you like traditional fabric (think Jo Morton, Civil War prints or Thimbleberries). She also had a large selection of wool applique. The store mascot is the biggest German Shepherd puppy that I've ever seen, but he is quite friendly. If you are not an avid dog lover like me, the owner is happy to put him behind the gate at the cash register.

Hope you enjoyed our road trip! Let me know if you check out my itinerary!

Pugs and kisses,