Saturday, November 23, 2013

Brought to you by the letter "S"

Today, my Saturday involved sewing, shopping, and sushi.

Marion came over this morning to sew with me for a few hours. She was working on a ballerina print tote bag for her granddaughter. I took the plunge and started a new project, my Modern Maples Quilt. (Note: You can download this pattern for free on Lark Crafts' website here.) I decided I would make one block to check out the instructions and to see how I liked the background fabric I had selected.

One completed giant Maple Leaf.
How do you like my polka dots?
I'm using autumn-colored Kaffe Fassett fabrics from my stash for the leaves. I found a really funky taupe with polka dots on last weekend's shopping expedition with Joannie and Marion to Fabric Corner in Arlington.
I think the brightly colored polka dots will help give my quilt a modern feeling.

I was really surprised when I pulled the bolt off the shelf to find it was a border print, fortunately only on one side.

There are about eight inches of birds along the bottom.

I am trimming off the birds before I cut my background squares. Guess there will be bird place mats, bird table runners and bird tote bags in my future--I bought six yards of the background fabric because I wasn't sure how much I would need for a queen size quilt.

After a few hours of sewing, Marion and I headed out to Natick. We met Joannie for lunch, then headed to our true destination, Fabric Place Basement. We had Living Social vouchers to spend! Nothing exciting to show you, I bought some Kona black and some Kona grey for a quilt that I'm planning for my Dad.

Tonight, Mike and I went out for sushi to his new favorite place, Genki. They feature all natural and organic sushi. Their food is excellent.
Dining with my handsome husband

I don't care for raw fish. I had these yummy California rolls.

I think sushi is so beautiful. It is definitely an art form.
Mike won the admiration of our waiter by eating these
two trays plus the one below.

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Pugs and kisses,

Enhancing the Stash

I've been buying fabric again! Since fabric prices for quilt shop quality cotton seem to have gone through the roof, I've been trying to cut back on my shopping (well, at least a little). While I love to buy fabric, paying $12 to $14 a yard is A LOT of money, especially when a large quilt can require six yards of fabric or more.

So lately, I've been making pillowcases. They satisfy my urge to create. They only take about a yard of fabric. They are quick and easy to sew. And, they make great gifts, for everyone young and old.

Unbelievably, my blog post last week on pillowcases was my most popular blog post so far. I got 600 hits and received 8 comments. Thank you! If you didn't read it, you can click on the link above. The post also has a free pillowcase pattern and video tutorial link.

I bought these beauties at Sewfisticates last weekend on the remnant table
for $2.49 a yard. They are mottled cotton solids. Not quilt shop quality fabric,
but more than adequate for a pillowcase end or an accent stripe.

These little pretties came from the red tag section at my local Jo-Ann Fabrics.
They were 50% off the red tag price, so I paid between $2.49 and $3.00 a yard.
Again, not what I would use to make an heirloom quilt but great for a pillowcase.

I spent some time this week cutting up my new fabrics for pillowcases.
From each of the solid colors, I cut two 10" pieces (for pillowcase ends)
and two 2.5" strips (for accent stripes). I'm not planning to use all of these
fabrics right now, but everything will be cut and ready to sew.
Here are some of my focus fabrics that I'm using. Aren't they fun?
I bought the bacon fabric at Fabric Place Basement to make pillowcases
for my two nephews, Sam and Josh. Ben, my youngest nephew, doesn't eat
bacon, so he is getting a pillowcase with money fabric.

Here is my own pillowcase factory this past Thursday.
I am starting to invade Pat's sewing space.
I currently have 21 pillowcases in there one in your future?

Have a great day!

Pugs and kisses,

Friday, November 22, 2013

Shamelessly pandering the pug pack (again)!

This week, Quilting Gallery is sponsoring a Thanksgiving Quilt contest for their weekly Quilters' Show & Tell. Won't you vote for us? Click on this link here. You can view all the quilts (there are only 19) and vote at the end by putting a check mark next to the name of the quilt that you like best. The name of my quilt is Tom the Turkey. It is lucky number 13 in the show. I hope that by putting my cute little pug pack in the photo, it will help garner votes.

Romeo, Elvis and LarryPug say "Vote for PugMom!"
I linking up (and begging for votes) to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Richard and Tanya Quilts and CrazyMom Quilts

Thanks for your support!

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quilting night with my Thursday girls

The Thursday night girls are sorely under-represented in my blog. I've decided it's for the following reasons:
  1. I have a limited amount of time to sew, usually 2-3 hours, so I need to buckle down and not lallygag around taking photos.
  2. A number of the girls appear to be in the Witness Protection Program and don't want to show their face, or else they just don't like to have their picture taken.
  3. Doesn't it always look better to have a list of at least three reasons? I can't really think of a third one...
Beth and Ginny were both making duffel bags. Ginny made this gorgeous one last weekend and brought it in to show us.
Here is Ginny modelling her lovely duffel bag.
She is rocking the paisley shirt as well.

Vera Bradley, eat your heart out!

Ginny is making a second duffel bag as a gift.

A view of the inside in progress. Ginny added
contrasting pockets to the bag.
Our resident bag expert, Pat, gave Beth a little help with a difficult part of the pattern.

Project now under control, Beth was pivoting
those pesky bag corners like a pro!

Here is Beth's finished bag. Isn't it pretty?
Judi, at left, and Toni are hard at work.

Judi assembled the top of her snowman
lap quilt. It is made of yummy flannel.

Toni was cranking out some Christmas gifts,
including this table runner.

She also made this cute little basket which she is
going to fill with DVDs and popcorn for her son.
I was busy making more pillowcases... are the next 12 pillowcases in progress.

Pat has her next diaper bag almost finished.
She just needs to add the handles.
Nancy Q. is making this adorable wall hanging for her
grandson Ethan for Christmas. It is all appliqued by hand.

Here is a close-up of the cute little mice.

Karen brought in her block of the month quilt.
She machine quilted it herself. It came out really great.
Don't I have a nice bunch of talented friends? A productive night of sewing for all! I will miss my Thursday night gal pals, since we won't see each other for two weeks, since next Thursday is Thanksgiving.

Hope you enjoyed seeing our projects!

I am linking up tonight to My Quilt Infatuation. I will be linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Richard and Tanya Quilts and CrazyMom Quilts.

Pugs and kisses,

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ten Little Pillowcases

Gift giving season approaches! Monday night I cut out nine pillowcases while Joannie worked on Dan's Christmas quilt, which you can see here. Last night I started sewing my pillowcases together assembly-line style. I'm deliberately only showing you the tube stage, since they are holiday gifts. You might be getting one!

I make my pillowcases using the sausage pillowcase method. You can find a free pattern here or watch a video here for more information. This is a quick and easy technique, plus all the seams are finished when you are done.
Too many to hold!

Nine little pillowcase sausages all in a row.
Here is pillowcase #10, which I made last week. I sent it to my
nephew Sam for his birthday. It has sushi fabric for the main panel
and the end panel is a Dr Seuss print -- it says, "Sam I Am".
Sam thought it was fabulous! I love that boy!
In other exciting quilting news, my friend Pat finished her
golf-themed baby quilt for her new nephew Colton.
Happy Friday! I am linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Richard and Tanya Quilts and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wishing You a Very, Merry Zombie Christmas

For the gal (or guy) who has everything, let me introduce you to Zombie Christmas Cards.

My brother, noted independent comic book author, Gary Cohen, is producing these cards. You too can own a set by pledging to back his kickstarter campaign here. Personally I prefer our pug holiday cards that my husband Michael designs each year, but my brother has assured me that photos of one's offspring are "so 1975" and can be seen on Facebook (or my blog). I'm giving the cards to my nephews, age 17 and 14. I'm sure they will enjoy them.

My brother Gary loves comic books the way I love fabric. When I got my driver's license (way back in high school days), my little brother Gary was always happy to take a ride with me to the original Fabric Place in old downtown Framingham, since his favorite comic book store was down the street. Ironically, Sewphisticates now resides in the former Fabric Place location, and Fabric Place (now renamed Fabric Place Basement) reopened a couple of miles away in Natick.

Gary has always been supportive of my sewing efforts. I used to make him Hawaiian shirts and jam-style shorts in all types of crazy fabrics. I found one of the shirts I made for Gary a few months ago when Mike and I were cleaning out old boxes in the basement. It must have gotten mixed up with my sewing stuff when I moved from my old apartment (14 years ago) to my house. Since I made it for Gary when he was in high school, I'm sure it wouldn't fit him anymore. But it fits my nephew Sam, age 17, perfectly. Sam also likes wacky clothes like his Aunt Nancy.

Here I am with my handsome nephew Sam. He loves his retro shirt.
He wore it to school for "90's Day" -- only a decade or
so behind when I actually made it!
The other day I found a shirt that I had started to make for Gary and never finished (a truly ancient UFO). I'm going to finish it for Sam, so he'll have a second Aunt Nancy shirt for his collection.

I hope that today's blog post wasn't too scary!

Pugs and kisses,

If you're not afraid of zombies, you can watch my brother's zombie video here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Good Kind of Spiders

One night a few weeks ago, Mike came home to find this cute little box on our doorstep.

How adorable is this little box? But what was inside?

LarryPug checked it out for us. He sniffed and
sniffed and appeared very excited to open it.
Unfortunately for LarryPug, no dog cookies inside, only cupcakes!
Honestly, for a little while, we were nervous about eating them. There was no note on the box. What if it was some kind of nasty trick versus a treat? Finally, Mike said that he was pretty certain it was a surprise Halloween gift and a note would have ruined the surprise. Besides, he said, "We don't have any enemies." I thought it over and decided I was being overly cautious. There aren't any cupcake poisonings that I've heard of. So we ate them. They were yummy.

The next day, Mike saw our neighbors waiting for the school bus on his way to the train station. Their seven year old daughter told him that she made them for us. Mystery solved!

Hope there are only good spiders in your day today!

Pugs and kisses,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Showing Off Our Tops!

Sunday was my monthly get-together with my Brown Bagger quilting friends and the sewing machines were humming. Gift season is upon us. I asked the girls to bring in their first quilt projects, which you can see in my blog post here.

Here are the latest and greatest in progress.

Valerie finished the top of her Maze Quilt. It is going to be a gift for her son TJ. She also put together a baby quilt for her grandson, Nolan.

I love the 3-dimensional effect of this design.
This is Valerie's Circus Quilt. So cute!

Joannie is working on an Irish Chain lap quilt, which is a Christmas present for her husband Dan.

This handsome quilt is made with batik fabrics.

Kim was hard at work on her pink and purple star quilt, which will be a gift for her co-worker's granddaughter.

Perfect colors for a 4-year old girl!
Debbie is making this adorable super hero quilt for her new grandson, Kellen.
Bright and cheerful!
Pat is making a play mat for her grandson Matthew. There is one more round to go, so it will be the perfect size to keep away the winter chills.
Pat bought this cute pattern on Etsy.
I am working on a bed quilt. I laid out the top four rows, which is nearly one quarter of the quilt.
All Kaffe Fassett fabrics.
Have a great day!

Pugs and kisses,

Monday, November 11, 2013

In the Beginning...

Unbelievably I've been making quilts for over 20 years. I think that I got started in 1988 because I remember that two of my friends got married in 1989 and I made both of them king size quilts as wedding gifts.

Here is a photo of my first quilt that I made at The Red Barn in Merrimac, MA. I'm happy to say that they are still in business! This, of course, is Eleanor Burn's Quilt in a Day Log Cabin. Helen, the shop owner, gave me a quick lesson with a rotary cutter and I went home and made all of my blocks before the first class even started. It is tied, not quilted. The fabrics have faded and even shredded in places. This quilt used to grace my bed, many years ago when it was new. It lives on my couch but LarryPug was starting to snack on the batting that was peeking through the holey parts, so it is now underneath two other quilts (but still on the couch). I can't bear to throw it away. I can't decide if it should be burned like a retired flag or buried.

Marion became interested in quilting in 1976, when the Bicentennial popularized quilting again, teaching herself through books and magazine articles. Here is Marion (and Sally) with Marion's first quilt. Marion made this quilt in a one-day workshop with Jane Smith at Framingham State College sometime in the early 1980's. This is a Trip Around the World quilt. This quilt is hand tied. Marion's quilt is also shredding and is currently living in her attic.

Here is Terri with her first quilt top. She has never layered it, so technically it is still an Unfinished Object (UFO). This sampler is hand-pieced. Terri made this quilt in a class in 1987 with Louisa Smith who is now an acclaimed quilter and quilt book author.

Kim brought a treasure to share with us. This quilt was made by her grandmother, Emily Pratt, in an adult education class that she took with friends in 1976. Everyone in the group made a block and Kim's grandmother won them all. The blocks are all signed by each maker and it is labeled on the back. Kim's grandmother's block is the blue churn dash towards the lower left. The quilt is assembled in the quilt as you go method and is hand quilted.

Kim also brought her first quilt and two other quilts from her early quilting days. Kim's Mom taught her to quilt and Kim made the blue and white quilt below in the late 1970's for her college dorm room. Like my quilt and Marion's, it is also tied and falling apart from years of use and love.

Another of Kim's early quilts. This pattern is called
Hidden Wells and it is designed by Mary Ellen Hopkins,
a noted quilt book author, who passed away this summer.

Another of Kim's early works, a half log cabin.
Lexine learned to quilt in 1996 at the long defunct Quilted or Not. Lexine brought in one of her early quilts. It is not her first quilt. She thinks it was probably her third quilt. Really? We were all quite impressed.

Lexine's lovely fan quilt
LarryPug and Elvis say "Time for bed."

Getting late here. Hope that you enjoyed our little quilt show and that you are sleeping under a quilt tonight!

Pugs and kisses,

P.S. Updating this blog post with a link to Nadine's Memory Lane Monday! Thanks for stopping by.