Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Job That Ate My Brain

Sorry to have been absent from blogging for the past two weeks, but the real world was calling. For the past several months I have been leading a project at work that required enough planning for the next Normandy Invasion. We are developing a personalized micro site for one of our clients. The last two weeks have been spent testing it. I have spent entire days on the telephone going to virtual meetings. And I haven't eaten in a week. At first I thought I had food poisoning, then I thought it was a stomach bug. Yesterday the light bulb went off and I realized it was stress.

In short, I have been feeling a lot like this!
Last night at 5:15 pm, after another day of meetings and subsisting on ginger ale, bread and crackers, I approved the micro site, which will launch on Tuesday.


I immediately felt better. Mike and I went out to dinner. I was able to eat, although I was careful. I went to bed with a full and happy tummy!

Today, Mike and I are getting our taxes done, then Joannie, Marion and I are heading to the Quinobequin Quilt show.

So I hope that you haven't forgotten me. I still have some more birthday weekend photos to share if you're interested.

Pugs and kisses,

P.S. The photo above is upside-down LarryPug, who is lying on top of Elvis. The paw growing out of Larry's head belongs to Romeo. All of them are on my lap.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Big 5-0!

Ingredients for a successful birthday party:
  1. Start with three days of non-stop quilting
  2. Add in a visit to the quilt store
  3. Saturday lunch at the Chinese restaurant
Don't forget:

Solid chocolate...YUM!
This is the chocolate flourless cake from Whole Foods. Pure fudge shaped like a cake.


Pink and black zebra, my personal favorite!

A special pug balloon brought to me by my friend Kate!

Thanks to Kim P., my birthday outfit was now complete!
and of course... GAL PALS!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday was Dress Like Nancy Day! Everyone had fun! Check out all the pink and the animal prints. I coveted Karen's pink fur hat (on far right), but Cordula stole the show (and won first prize) decked out completely in zebra and finishing her outfit with a pink and black zebra print cowboy hat and leopard print Ugg boots!
The Gal Pals should wear pink more often! From left to right: Terri, Jo Anne E., Kim P., Joannie and Pat.

A special thank you to: Joannie, Marion, Sue, Pat, Linda, Kim P., Karen, Joan S., Jo Anne E., Joanne S., Nancy D., Kim G., Cordula, Debbie, Lexine, Terri and Kate for an AMAZING, FABULOUS, SUPER-FANTASTIC BIRTHDAY QUILTING WEEKEND! And to my darling husband Mike, who performed a special guitar concert and spent Saturday evening with us (and also took me for a delicious Sunday breakfast at my favorite restaurant, the IHOP).

Stay tuned for a few more fabulous, fun-filled weekend details!

Pugs and kisses,

Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me!

My Mom and I are very close. I am her only daughter and the oldest of her three children. I talk to my Mom on the phone every day, since the day I left home to go to college 32 years ago. Sometimes we talk for five minutes, sometimes we talk for much longer. Some days we talk more than once. Every year, my Mom calls me on my birthday and tells me the story of the day I was born. The story changes slightly from year to year. Sometimes new details emerge. My Mom wrote the blog post below but she left out the part where she was wearing her brown plaid wool coat and her fur hat. 

Here I am this past January in Florida with my Mom, my niece Rachel, and my sister-in-law Diane.

Fifty Years Ago Today, The Day Nancy Was Born... A blog post written by my Mom
It’s the middle of the night and I am almost jolted out of bed. Though this is my first time, I know immediately that this is it. That long expected blessed event is beginning now, three weeks early, but who is complaining. I wake my sleeping spouse who reluctantly opens his eyes and tries to comprehend what is happening. I hate to tell him this is his last uninterrupted night of sleep (for the next 20 years or so) but together we decide to wait a while to call the doctor. These were the days when we wouldn’t want to trouble the doctor by a 2 a.m. phone call. Dozing and groaning we wait until 9 a.m. and after a brief talk with the nurse by phone, we stop at the doctor’s office. Too early, he decides. Go home and come back around 5 p.m. So back we drive through the cold and snowy Massachusetts’ streets and I decide to take advantage of my time by putting up a nice chicken dinner for the new daddy to enjoy. Big mistake. Barely had I taken the chicken out (which I would later remember as looking strikingly like a new born baby) than the real baby becomes insistent. Back we go to the hospital and before I know it, I am prepped and sedated for the big event. In those days, the doctors preferred that we not participate so I sleep through the whole thing.

Late in the afternoon, I am finally awake enough to realize where I am and say in a groggy voice to my husband at my bedside, “Did I have the baby?” He laughs and replies, “Yes, a baby girl.” The nurse comes in with a tightly swathed baby and I get my first glimpse of Nancy, a full head of straight black hair adorned by a green ribbon (for the upcoming St. Patrick’s  Day holiday) and two bright dark eyes in a face still red from her journey. Her two little fists are tightly clenched and she has a look that seems to say, “Where am I and how did I get here?” With a baby blanket tightly wrapped around her, she looks like a little papoose, a nickname her grandmother would call her for a while.

So we all began our journey together as a family. Nothing would ever be the same again and we would all grow together and learn from each other, bound by that strong bond of love that only a baby can engender. So Happy Birthday, Nancy! You are still my baby.

I am having a 3-day quilting birthday party to celebrate! It's the big 50 this year! Hard to believe that I am half a century old (young?).

Happy Birthday to me!

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Heaven is made of Chocolate!

Last Saturday, Joannie, Marion, and Sue took me out for a pre-birthday celebration at the Cafe Fleuri's Chocolate Bar. This is an all-chocolate buffet at the Langham Hotel in Boston. A gastronomic pleasure for a die-hard chocoholic, we had last eaten there two years ago for Marion's 75th birthday, and ten years prior when I turned 40. You have to pace yourself.

My special birthday plate (just a warm-up)
The Chocolate Bar is a veritable feast for the eyes as well as your stomach. Full warning that the following photos may cause you to go into diabetic shock or race to the nearest candy machine.

Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate! It was everywhere you could see, in every shape and form!

Chocolate truffles on a stick. The most sinful thing I have ever eaten.
Pastry swan swimming in a sea of chocolate!
Chocolate-dipped cannoli! Yum!

Sue checked out the chocolate fountain!
My plate: made to order chocolate crepe filled with dark chocolate and berries; chocolate bread pudding with whipped cream, chocolate truffle on a stick and a chocolate dipped strawberry!

From left to right: Sue, me, Marion and Joannie.
We also went to two fabric stores on the way home... Thanks Girls for a perfect day!

Hope you are eating chocolate wherever you are!

Pugs and kisses,

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

With the Heart of an Elephant

Only a clever hunter can take down the mighty elephant. Our LarryPug is that hunter. My older pugs, Romeo and Elvis, just like to hold their stuffed animals and lick them to death. LarryPug prefers a more direct approach. He tears them apart. Fortunately, we have a ten year supply of stuffed animals to entertain him with and it usually takes him awhile to destroy one.

I found this on the couch the other day. What is this benign looking object? Why it's the heart of an elephant.
Am I happy that LarryPug didn't swallow the squeaker? You bet I am!
LarryPug gives Booda the elephant a final desultory sniff.

Yes, Booda is definitely dead.
The proud hunter and his prey. Keeping us elephant-free since 2012.

Alas, poor Booda, he'll squeak no more! Hope your neighborhood is elephant-free!

Pugs and kisses,

P.S. All crime scene photos are re-enactments, although Booda the Stuffie is most definitely dead.

Row by Row Show and Tell

Some of the Brown Baggers brought in their Row by Row quilts on Sunday for Show and Tell. A Row by Row is similar to a Round Robin. A group of quilters get together. Each one creates their own row of blocks. The row is passed from member to member, usually once a month. The next member adds a row to the original row. Sometimes there is a theme. The original quilter gets her own quilt back at the end of the time period. Our group has done a couple of them.

Kim P. brought in three Row by Rows that she has participated in.
Easter Quilt

Spring Quilt

Halloween Quilt
Kim also brought in her Round Robin quilt. I participated in this although I wasn't in Kim's group. We did this one a really, really long time ago. I think it was 1996. My quilt had apples on it. I auctioned it off for charity at my office about five years ago. The person who bought it had a country kitchen and really liked it.

Kim made the beautiful appliqued center and the other girls added the borders around it.
This is Terri's Christmas Row by Row. I like the non-traditional colors.

This is Sally's Winter Row by Row.
Nancy D.'s Christmas Quilt

Jo Ann E.'s Row by Row. Love the dresses!
Nancy D. is organizing a new Row by Row this Spring. I think I'm going to participate. I haven't done a Row by Row yet. I would like to make a pug quilt!

I hope you are having a great day!

Pugs and kisses,

Monday, March 3, 2014


I had a rollicking good time with my Brown Bagger buddies yesterday. We celebrated birthdays for Pat and Sally as well as retirement for Nancy D. Pat brought in breakfast and Sally made a delicious carrot cake from scratch with super yummy cream cheese icing. Did it have a hint of orange peel in it?

Sally's birthday blocks are done in pastel Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

The three that I made are on the far right towards the bottom.

Pat was going for a more muted palette and asked for grey and white birthday blocks.
Remember her Fifty Shades of Grey quilt?

Here's another look at the blocks she received.
Pat has been working a lot with grey lately. She made this quilt which you can see here if you scroll about half way down the post, but it was a gift for her niece. She also started a grey and yellow Metro Rings quilt with me in September, but we only finished four blocks. We need to get back together to work on that project. So, it wasn't hard for me to pick a color palette when we made Pat a quilt for a special birthday coming up.

Here is Pat with her lovely birthday quilt.
Nancy D. celebrated Valentine's Day by retiring from her career in nursing. In the past two weeks she has read four books and is ready for lots more adventures. We gave her forty fat quarters from the new Downton Abbey fabric line as a retirement gift.
Can't wait to see Nancy D.'s new quilt in progress!
Sally brought in a family heirloom quilt that was made for her oldest brother as a baby gift when he was born in 1938. It is hand appliqued and hand quilted. Her Grandmother gave it to Sally's mother as a gift, but Sally doesn't think that her Grandmother was the quilt maker. The little appliqued characters are adorable.

Valerie and Kim P. each clocked in with a finished top, but looking at two design walls, it appears that Marion and Lexine aren't too far behind...
Valerie shows off her new top. The pattern is Cheaper by the Dozen.

Marion was making a Yellow Brick Road out of bright flannels for her eight year old grandson.

Lexine is making this autumnal colored batik quilt that she bought as a
kit from Quilt Sampler magazine a few years ago.
If you're paying attention, you'll notice that I forgot to get a photo of Kim P.'s quilt top, but I'm sure I will see it again soon.

Have a good night!

Pugs and kisses,

P.S. Adding a link on Wednesday to Sew Fresh Quilts: Let's Bee Social. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March Quilt of the Month

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may have seen this quilt when I finished it in October of 2012. This quilt really doesn't have a name. I refer to it as the Charlotte Angotti Orange and Purple Houston Mystery 2001. If you ever get a chance to take a class with Charlotte, go for it! She is a lot of fun. This class was a completely cut out kit, so we spent the day sewing and listening to Charlotte's crazy stories. It only took me eleven more years to finish it, but who's counting?

I love the appearance of curves in this quilt, yet there are no curved pieces or circular seams in it at all. This pattern is called Faceted Jewels and it is by Glad Creations. Here is a link if you are interested in purchasing the quilt pattern.
This shot shows off the tapestry hanging over our bed. The colors in it seem to go with every quilt we have.

A shot without the tapestry. The little controls hanging from our headboard are for our heated mattress pad, one of the world's best inventions, especially this winter here in the frozen tundra of Massachusetts.
A close-up of all the pretty colors.

The backing fabric is seizure-inducing. I got it on super double clearance for $1.99 a yard. Joannie has the rest of the bolt. I think the fabric store was almost willing to pay us to take it. I kind of like it, as long as the lights are off.
For a few more details about this quilt, you can refer back to my original blog post here. There is also a full view shot which shows the pretty border fabric. I bought the border fabric ten years after I took the class, but managed to find a fabulous Phillip Jacobs print that pulled all the colors in the quilt together.

Hope you are having a great weekend! I'm off to a very quilty birthday celebration with Pat and Sally!

Linking up on Sunday to Sew Many Ways. Linking up on Tuesday to Freemotion by the River Linky Tuesday. Thanks for visiting! I love new followers. You can follow my blog by email, BlogLovin' or with Google.

Pugs and kisses,

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Pugs 'n Roses

I have been doing a little sewing and a lot of cutting this week. Birthday blocks are due for a major blow-out March celebration with Pat and Sally tomorrow. I also owed blocks to Jo Ann E. (sorry Jo) from last month. Sorry, no photos of the birthday blocks because they are supposed to be a SURPRISE for the recipient, even though we all pick our own color-ways. You can read more about our birthday block swap here. I also finished cutting out my strips for our upcoming black and white strip swap. Ten of us are swapping, so I will get 90 new black and white strips for an upcoming project.

I'm not sure where the rest of the week went, but here are some photos of my darling boys to brighten your weekend.

Two of my favorite things, pugs and quilts. This is LarryPug snoozing on an
ancient log cabin quilt that I made with Charlotte Angotti about 20 years ago.

My husband, who is a talented amateur photographer, always urges me to get low and close when photographing the pugs. Here is a progression of LarryPug and Elvis that I took a couple of nights ago. I think you'll agree with him.
I'm sitting at the kitchen table eating dinner. These two were hoping for a handout.
Romeo likes to sit behind my chair next to the refrigerator.

I love my vinyl floorcloth, still looking pretty and very dog proof
after many years. However, my kitchen floor definitely needs to be refinished.

Closest and cutest!

Sneaking in a picture of my husband Mike. He plays classical guitar.


My house is full of roses, courtesy of my husband (Valentine's Day and our anniversary six days later).

Hope you are having a great weekend! Happy Birthday Terri!

Pugs and kisses,