Monday, May 22, 2017

In the Garden of Beadin'

I haven't told you about my newest hobby yet... A few weeks ago during our annual Berkshires quilting retreat, Marion and I took a private bead weaving class at Yummy Treasures in Pittsfield. Last year we took a wire-wrapping class there and made pendants, so we were eager to try something new. Originally we were going to take a kumihimo braiding class, but ended up taking bead weaving instead.

We left the store with finished bracelets!
Marion's bracelet is lavender and mine is dark purple.
The bracelets are strung with a beading needle and made using nylon thread, seed beads, and crystals. It took us about three hours to make our first ones shown above. I thought it was great fun and bought some beads to make another.
This is my second bracelet in progress.
Although I love black and pink, I don't like this. It reminds me of a giant caterpillar and that's all I can see when I look at it. I'm going to take it apart and remake it in different beads. Right now I'm planning to make it royal blue and black.

Before we left the Berkshires, we made a second visit to Yummy Treasures and bought some more beads. On Saturday, Marion and I got together and worked on bracelets together with our beads from Yummy Treasures.
Here is Marion's second bracelet!
This time it only took us about two hours, now that we know the technique. Marion and I love all the same colors, so I definitely need to make a turquoise bracelet and a lavender bracelet too!

Sadly, I didn't have enough beads to finish my bracelet in progress, shown below.
Love, love, love this! The name of the beads is Water Lilies.
Of course, this necessitated a trip to find our local bead store! Who am I kidding, we were going to check it out anyways!
Happily for us, Bead Addiction is right down the road from one of favorite Chinese restaurants as well as one of our favorite quilt shops, All About Quilts. A Marion and Nancy trifecta (or perhaps a Bermuda Triangle for my VISA card).
Sadly, they didn't have the beads that I needed for my project. So Marion and I bought some new beads and signed up for a class.
Here is my newest bracelet in progress. I think it is going to be a gift for my youngest sister-in-law. I've sent her a photo to see if she likes it.
This morning I couldn't sleep so I got up at 5:30 a.m. I was hoping to work on my new beading project but our printer was out of ink and I couldn't print out my pattern. When Mike got up several hours later, he printed it out for me. We spent part of our day working in the yard and then we went to the garden center. Mike bought a variety of heirloom tomato plants and I got some perennials. When we got home, I was tired and I ended up taking a 3 hour nap, which resulted in me being wide awake at 9pm (normally I'm winding down and thinking about going to bed), so instead, I went over to my Studio and worked on my bracelet for two hours.

It's midnight so now I'm going to force myself to go to bed since I have to get up for work tomorrow!

Hope you like my bracelets. I've already promised to make some for my friends Kat, Colette and Mary Kate, so there will definitely be more for you to see.

Don't worry, I haven't stopped quilting!

Thanks for visiting.

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

P.S. My new friend Beth at Yummy Treasures was happy to mail me more beads to finish my bracelet.

P.P.S. My friend Kim G. has warned me that beading can be as addictive as quilting! I think it's too late...




Thursday, May 18, 2017

One Million Pillowcases

On Tuesday, as part of Voya's National Day of Service, my co-workers and I made 38 pillowcases that will be donated to Boston Children's Hospital as well as nine pet pillows that will be donated to a local animal shelter.
My friend Sue came to my office and helped me run the event! We had over 15 volunteers and used two conference rooms so there was a lot of running back and forth!
Here are some of my intrepid volunteers.
Showing off our finished work!
At the end of the day, Julia and I are tired but very proud of all of the finished pillowcases!
Before the big day, I had pre-cut 38 pillowcases and my friend Carol had cut another 20. This way, when people showed up, we could hand them something ready to sew. What surprised me the most was how many non-sewers wanted to participate in our event. We gave them some pinning and pressing lessons and they prepped as we sewed. Overall we had seven sewers and an army of pinners. I'm sorry I didn't get any photos of my pinning crew, they were really great!

Scenes from the workroom. From front, Jodi, Kathy, Julia and Lauren
From left (clockwise), Sue, Lauren, Lorraine, Carol, Jodi, Kathy and Julia
This is my sweet co-worker Lauren. We sit next to each other at the office. She is 26. We have a lot of fun together.
Here are our finished pet pillows. My Brown Bagger quilting buddies save all their fabric scraps for me and my garage was overflowing with their donations. My army of volunteers stuffed them in about half an hour and asked for more!
Everyone had a good time participating and they are already talking about signing up for next year! Guess I better start cutting some more fabric!

Linking up with:
Midweek Makers
Wednesday Weight Loss
Needle and Thread Thursday
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop
Finished or Not Friday
Quilting is more fun than housework hosting for TGIFF

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I took the Crayon Challenge

My friend Kim P. issued a Crayon Challenge to our quilt group. We each got to pull two crayons out of a paper bag and we were to make a quilt using those colors. Kim allowed us to add any other colors that we wanted, as long as the two colors we selected were dominant in our project.

We held our "reveal" last month and it was a great show!

The challenge pieces were presented anonymously by number and judged by a panel that included Caroline (Kim and Karen's Mom), our friend Jim, who works at the hotel where we meet and is a talented artist, and several of Caroline's fellow quilting friends in Florida. Jim even brought in additional hotel staffers and guests to see our show.

All photos provided by Kim P.
Kim P: I modified Karen's Pin Showcase pattern. I used the Accuquilt cutter for the circles and Karen's lesson on how to make two-color binding.
Karen created an original design, Tumbling Cats, and you can purchase it here.

Pat made this adorable Christmas pillow complete with pom pom trim!
Marion's table runner was awarded first prize by Caroline and her quilting friends.
Sally made these adorable coasters.
Sandie: My daughter Emma inspired these. She's an art major and I gave her this challenge. She "taught" me the Fibonacci sequence  and I made it. She designed the quilting design on the white one. I was on my own for the sea green, thus the straight lines. These were actually from 2 different challenges and I figure I'll just keep going Fibonacci for all challenges.
Debbie's wall hanging is the Bunny Bait pattern by Patchabilities. My Pug Boys also love carrots, so I could make one and call it Pug Bait!
Valerie went outside the box and made a fabric wrapped bowl and plate.
Nancy D. made this cute little mug rug.
PugMom Quilts: Of course I got orange and beige! So I made a funky orange place mat with a pug on it. The pug is faux suede and I quilted my place mat with a double needle. One day, I'll finish the companion place mat and add the binding to both.
Joannie made this beautiful quilted bag to carry her gym accessories. I assumed that she had purchased it at Vera Bradley until she told me that she had made it for the crayon challenge. Pattern is the Professional Tote.
Lori: I'm really into this hexagon trend. So I thought I'd do that for the challenge. I was just going to do three flower hexagons (the three "burnt sienna" ones and then make stems out of the "green yellow," but I got carried away and it became a flower pot of flowers.
Kim G: My goal was to make four panels: two with wisteria backgrounds, two with royal purple backgrounds. After making one tree, I knew it was time to move on and call it a day!
Thanks for visiting! Have you ever done a crayon challenge? Which one of our pieces is your favorite?

Linking up with:
Midweek Makers
Wednesday Weight Loss
Needle and Thread Thursday
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop
Finished or Not Friday
Quilting is more fun than housework hosting for TGIFF 

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May 2017 Brown Baggers Show and Tell

Marion finished the center of her Gypsy Wife quilt. She is planning to add outer borders. This pattern is by Jen Kingswell, an Australian quilt designer. Marion has inspired at least four other friends to start one. I think it is outstanding!!!
Kim G. made this attic windows quilt with beautiful hand-painted floral blocks created by her friend Bev.
Sally assembled the top of her fishing-themed Yellow Brick Road for her grandson John who is going to college this Fall. I know the Brown Baggers have been meeting for a long time, since I remember when John was born!
Here's a close-up of some of the cute fabrics in Sally's quilt.
In addition to finishing my Birthday Stars quilt, I worked on these blocks... Anyone recognize this or remember this pattern? Hopefully more to show you soon!
Thanks for visiting! What are you working on this month?

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

Monday, May 1, 2017

Birthday Stars, the back story

I finished this quilt on Sunday afternoon at my monthly Brown Bagger quilt meeting. Every quilt has a story, but this one's a little longer than most...
Rainbow batik birthday stars!
I received these blocks for my birthday in our 2000 birthday swap. Yes, 2000. This is not a typo. I always intended to make more blocks so it would be a bed size quilt but I never got around to it.

My next idea was that I was only going to use the blocks that were in jewel tones (blues, purples, greens) and make a table runner or a wall hanging.

Finally I brought the star blocks to a Brown Baggers' meeting and my fellow quilters encouraged me to use all the blocks and helped me lay them out in a pleasing order. There is one leftover block. It will probably float around my quilting room forever.

I assembled the center of the quilt in December of 2013 and then it sat around some more. I was thinking of creating a fancy outer border that would continue the blue stars...

In 2016 while working on my Rainbow Connection quilt, inspiration struck again. I had many leftover strips in short lengths from making the blocks and they were also colorful batiks. They would make a great border for my Birthday Stars! The border finally got added to my quilt in January 2017.

Extra credit goes to:
  • Joannie C. and Jo Ann E. who gave me fabric for the back of the quilt when I finished the top unexpectedly at a quilt weekend and had to layer it RIGHT AWAY!
  • Kim P. for her beautiful machine quilting.
  • Joan S. for loaning me blue thread yesterday so I could sew the binding down to the front of the quilt! Again, I wasn't expecting to put the binding on yesterday, but divine intervention occurred.
Thanks Gals!
Instant cuteness! Just add LarryPug and Elvis!
Good thing that batik never goes out of style! Like fine wine, sometimes my projects need to sit for a while... Does this ever happen to you?

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rainbow Connection

I'm not certain why this quilt has barely appeared in my blog. I started this project in a class with Bonnie Hunter at the Vermont Quilt Festival in July 2012. Hard to believe that 2012 was five years ago. It is a free pattern, Scrappy Trips, on her website.

I finished the top at the end of last year. And then it sat and marinated for a while. Meanwhile my friend Kate moved to Florida and sold her long arm quilting machine and my friend Terri had a brand new grandbaby so she was too busy to do the machine quilting. I knew I wanted something more intricate for the quilting design than a generic pantograph.

Enter Marie, of Coady Quilts. Marie makes custom memory quilts and also does long arm quilting. I met Marie through my brother Gary. Ironically, Gary and Marie have never met. They have a mutual friend on Facebook. Marie quilted my top in an allover feather design (my choice) in a variegated pink thread. I asked Marie to choose the thread color as long as it wasn't brown! I'm not sure if she knew that pink is my favorite color, but it looks perfect on my quilt of many colors. Didn't she do a beautiful job quilting it?
Photo credit: Coady Quilts
Photo credit: Coady Quilts
Photo credit: Coady Quilts
Photo credit: Coady Quilts
Photo credit: Coady Quilts
Photo credit: Coady Quilts
The quilt is all batik and made entirely from my stash. It looks different from every angle. Below are some photos of the top before Marie quilted it for me.

I assembled it last October at our Brown Bagger weekend and several of my Brown Bagger friends helped me sort my blocks from light to dark in a rainbow like pattern. I made the blocks with no color pattern in mind, just combining different strips that I liked together. I also tried the layout as just random blocks of color, but I preferred it its color-sorted final version.

The quilt is huge, measuring 96" square, shown here on my queen size bed.
It looks better with a pug on it! LarryPug
LarryPug! My favorite quilt model! He looks good on everything!
Here's Kermit with the Rainbow Connection song. Warning, you may sing it in your head all day...

My quilt just needs a binding and it will be finished! What color would you choose? Or should I just go scrappy?

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

Monday, April 24, 2017

Missouri Star Quilt Company--What We Bought--Part 2

The Great Reveal is here! Here's what we bought, or what we'll admit to, on our trip last month to the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

After we shopped all day on Thursday, we gathered in the kitchen of our Bed and Breakfast to display our purchases. Unfortunately I had shipped mine home already, but now my friends can see what I bought. After our show and tell on Thursday night, we went back to MSQ the next morning before we went to the airport in case we missed anything!
Joann's haul.
Nancy D.'s haul.
Joannie's haul.
Joanie's haul, part 2...We found a second bag after the first photo was taken...
Sue's haul.
Marion's haul.
The biggest part of my haul... new fabrics for quilts I am making for Logan, Cameron and Baby Nate. While I have a lot of conversation prints, I wanted some newer fabrics to mix in. I found some great fabrics for little boys. A special thank you to Jennifer and Hannah at the MSQ who helped me find all of these.
My haul, part 2.
True confessions... I bought these fabrics on my phone while I was waiting in line (in person) at the MSQ. I figured it would be one less thing to carry, although they shipped my entire order home for free.
Selfie with LarryPug
Sorry to have kept you waiting. The ending of my trip was bittersweet. I arrived home from my trip to find that Romeo had stopped eating. We took him the the vet who gave him IV fluids. He rallied for a week or so, while Mike and I hand fed him liquefied dog food with a syringe but he was losing weight and getting very weak so we had to decide to let him go. It was my worst day ever.

Thanks for all your sweet notes and cards. We are giving Elvis and LarryPug lots and lots of pug cuddles. They are such sweet boys and such a comfort.

Thanks for visiting.

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy