Saturday, December 27, 2014

Confessions of a Bad Blogger...

You know you've been a bad blogger when your own Mother complains. FYI, I talk to my Mom on the phone every day, so she has a first-hand narrative version of what appears on the blog, but apparently she also likes the written version... so Mom, this one's especially for you.

There has been no apparent reason for my absence from Blog-land. Ironically, I have been on vacation since 5:00 p.m., on December 12th. I return to work this upcoming Monday, December 29th, and I'm sure that within 15 minutes of my arrival, it will seem like I have never left. Every day my Mom asks me if I'm tired of being on vacation, and the answer is still "no."

So what have I been doing with myself for two weeks? Time has flown by and I don't have much to show you. I had grandiose plans of sewing and blogging every day as well as cleaning my house from top to bottom as well as getting back in shape and losing 50 lbs. Okay, my plans may have been a little extreme...

Ski and Sew
Mike and I went to Vermont for a few days during week one of vacation for what we like to call "Ski and Sew." We rented a condo at Okemo and Mike skied for two days, while I sewed (actually shopped). The Vermont quilting economy took a sharp uptick since there were two fabulous quilt shops within 20 minutes of our lodging, as well as a third fabulous shop on the way home.

My first stop was Waterwheel House Quilt Shop in Londonderry, Vermont.

The view from the front porch at Waterwheel House Quilt Shop.
More Kaffe-alicious goodness at Waterwheel House Quilt Shop.
This was only my second visit to Waterwheel House Quilt Shop, but it did confirm its status as one of my favorite quilt shops. This is a shop catering to quilters who love modern fabric and bright colors. They have a huge selection of Kaffe Fassett fabrics and a ton of gorgeous samples, plus lots and lots of kits! Just revisiting my own pictures is tempting me to call the shop this morning when it opens to see if there is a kit for that gorgeous yellow and red Trip Around the World quilt in the top left...

Next, I visited Country Treasures in Chester, Vermont. This shop is deceptively small from the front. Once you go inside, it is an Alice-in-Wonderland rabbit warren of rooms, and it is two floors! I asked one of the clerks if they do a head count before they close to prevent locking customers in the store. She laughed and said, "yes!" Apparently they've had a couple of close calls. The fabrics are in groupings by theme in each room. Despite their "country" name, they have an entire room full of batik.
I had so much fun in Country Treasures that I visited it twice. There is also a great little sandwich shop in the same plaza. Sue, the owner of the quilt shop, was really nice and spent about an hour helping me choose 20 batiks for a future bargello quilt.
I bought this cute little kit to make for my husband, Mike.
They are ukuleles, but I may modify them to make them guitars instead.
On the way home, Mike and I also stopped at Quilt-a-way Fabrics in Westminster, Vermont. I didn't take any photos, but this shop is also FABULOUS! They had even more batik than Country Treasures! Plus a huge selection of everything else.

I did do a little sewing during our Ski and Sew.
I finished a few more panels for my blue and purple scrap wave.
This isn't sewn together yet, so don't be fooled into thinking it is close to being finished...
Pug Time
When we returned from Vermont, I spent a lot of time with the Pug Boys. Although they were well cared for in our absence, nothing beats a little (a lot) of Mommy time.
The view from my lap. From right to left: Elvis, LarryPug and Romeo.
Romeo, upper left, Elvis, upper right, and LarryPug, front and center (as usual).
Holiday Celebrations
I had a festive pancake breakfast with my friend Eleanor. She rarely appears in my blog because she isn't a quilter, but she is one of my dearest friends.
Eleanor is also a dog mommy. She has a Scottish Terrier named Cole Haan.
Mike and I celebrated Chanukah, which started December 16th. We even brought our Menorah to our Ski and Sew trip. This Menorah is very special to me. My Mom gave it to me. She bought it when she was in college.
This was Night Seven!
I got a wonderful surprise gift from my friend LeeAnna who blogs at Not Afraid of Color. Don't you just love my Chanukah Pug Snow Globe? I think he looks just like Romeo. To see more of LeeAnna's snow globes, click here, here and here.
Our Chanukah Pug Snow Globe is hanging on our refrigerator. I may leave it up all year.
This guy had a birthday! Romeo turned 13 on December 23rd.
Romeo grudgingly let me pick him up for the photo.
Studio Time
Joannie and I did a little sewing. I finished the top of Flourish, an original pattern by my friend Karen Pratt from QuiltLily Designs. If you want to make exactly the same one as shown below, you can buy a kit on Etsy. Tell Karen that I sent you.
LeeAnna's gift, shown above, has inspired me.
I'm planning to add some pugs and baubles to my tree.
Joannie actually ran out of projects on Monday evening, so we had an impromptu "staple night" and used my new staple gun to recover the ironing board in the Studio and create a second design wall panel. Joannie's husband, Dan, is going to come over one night and screw the design wall panels into the wall.
Here is Joannie preparing the fabric before we attached it to the ironing board.
Here is the newly recovered ironing board!
The ironing board is wood so we could staple right into it. We left the old yucky cover on, and added a layer of heat resistant fabric with upholstery weight zebra print on top of it.

I also did 87 loads of laundry, went to two fabulous holiday parties (thank you Thursday Girls and Sue), watched my own private mini marathon of DVR'ed episodes of Love It or List It and Property Brothers, and cleaned the garage.

Two days remaining of vacation, I must stop blogging and take the puggies for a morning walk so I can come back and SEW!

Ok, I guess that I had a little more to show you than I thought. If you're still reading, thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holidays!

I have sent a pug holiday card since I brought home Romeo in 2001. On my own, they were fairly simple affairs, but once Mike and I got together in 2008, they morphed into grander proportions. Mike is a talented designer and a whiz with PhotoShop. I'm extremely creative and a good copywriter. Together, we make a great team!

This is our card for 2014. Mike really wanted to do a cartoon style card. He created it using several different filters, and a little bit of drawing, with PhotoShop and Illustrator. This year our card was mostly Mike, my input was to add a party hat for Romeo and to wish him a Happy Birthday. Romeo turned 13 on Tuesday!
To read Romeo's 2012 birthday post and to see more pug photos, click here.

Have a wonderful day!

Pugs and kisses,

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December Quilt of the Month

I did not make my December Quilt of the Month. It was a wedding gift from my Brown Bagger friends when Mike and I got married in February of 2012. My surprise wedding quilt was organized by Marion and Joannie. We kept Joannie hopping in late 2011, because I also organized a surprise birthday quilt for Marion, simultaneously (and obviously unknowingly). Joannie said that she felt like she was a spy because she was so busy keeping secrets from each of us!

My quilt is all wonderful Kaffe Fassett fabrics, predominantly in pinks with lots of other lovely colors mixed in. I love it! The pattern resembles a half log cabin. Marion found it in a quilt magazine.

A cheery quilt for December!
A close-up of some of the lovely fabrics.
LarryPug and Elvis were both happy to model, but I couldn't get them to sit close together. I kept posing them and when I would go to take the photo, they would move apart.
Here is my handsome black pug Elvis. He is 12.
Here is my most-willing pug model, LarryPug. He is always ready for his close-up.

Thank you Brown Bagger friends for my fabulous wedding quilt. We love it!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. Thanks for visiting!

Adding links on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Richard and Tanya Quilts, and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Pugs and kisses,

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Randome Project Round-up

Hooray for me! I am on vacation for the next two weeks! I hope that there will be some sewing in my future!

In no particular order, here are some great finishes, none of them mine, to share with you.

Below is a quilt so gorgeous, I wish that I had gotten a chance to see it in person. This pattern is from the book One Block Wonders. It was made by my co-worker Karen H. It is a gift for her niece. She said that it took her over a year to make it.  There are a few girls in my office who quilt and when we run into each other, we always share stories and photos. Maybe I should start an inter-office quilt group...
I love the gorgeous fabric in this quilt.
Joannie has been busy making Christmas gifts. The bag below is for one of her friends in her golf league. It has scenes from different golf courses on it, and of course, it closes with a tiny golf ball button. This is the second golf-themed bag that Joannie has made for her golfing friends. I'm sure they will all want one!
Love it!
I briefly saw my Thursday Girl friends this week. Our friend Toni is very sick, and we sent her home from quilting for the second week in a row. Feel better Toni! The other girls left immediately after dinner, but Pat and I hung around until 8:30pm and got some sewing done. Pat is finishing her t-shirt quilt and I am making a few more panels for my blue and purple scrap wave. Karen made the two Christmas stockings below from a video she watched at The Missouri Star Quilt Company.
Karen finished these two stockings in a jiffy!
Beth brought in a finished project to show us that was also a video from The Missouri Star Quilt Company. She designed the border from her left over scraps. I think it really adds to the quilt!
The colors in Beth's quilt remind me of grapes.
Close-up of the border made from half square triangles.
Have a wonderful weekend! Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Silence of the Lambs

LarryPug the mighty hunter has vanquished another prey. LambChop will bleat no more. He used to say, "Happy Easter," but he's gone on to the big farmyard in the sky (or perhaps to the landfill).
Hannibal-LarryPug in action.
When he's not chewing his stuffies to death,
he sharpens his teeth with the bone you see at left.
Help! He's eaten my leg!
The final resting place
Fortunately, we have a ten year supply of stuffed animals and a box full
of bones to keep LarryPug occupied. At least he's not eating our sofa!
Elvis and Romeo say, "We are never naughty!"
Perhaps Santa Claus will bring LarryPug some more stuffies for Christmas!

Pugs and kisses,

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

On Sunday, the Girls Slept In...

Sunday morning I awoke bright and early and couldn't go back to sleep. So I decided that I would surprise my Brown Bagger friends and arrive at quilting early. I was there promptly at 8 am (usually I stroll in around 10am) and was greeted by an empty room.
All alone in the empty room with nothing to do but sew!
16 tables all for me! I had lots of room to spread out. I was busy working on Lily's Owl Quilt, but I was wondering where everyone was... finally at 9:30 am, Marion strolled in, followed shortly by Joanne E.

The room was humming as the girls were busy making holiday gifts. Nothing like a little pressure to get you to sew faster! Lots of pillowcases were in progress, but Sue was crowned the pillowcase queen at the end of the day when she clocked in with 15 finished pillowcases!
Here is Sue hard at work.
Lots of finished pillowcases!
Check out Sue's cute novelty prints. Starting at the top: Bad Hair Day, puppies,
Paris, postmarks, doggy cowboys, baking kitties and sushi loving cats.
Joanne E. and Debbie were also working at the pillowcase factory.
Here is Joanne showing off one of her creations.
Check out this cute fabric with lingerie.
Debbie had 10 pillowcases ready to sew but her machine
decided to be naughty and not sew. Even Sally, our master
repairwoman couldn't fix it.
Debbie's sewing machine wasn't our only casualty. Somehow, I managed to iron my thumb! Ouch! The first rule of thumb in quilting is not to iron your thumb!

Lori was making minky scarves. They have elastic thread inside them to make them scrunch up. They are warm and cuddly just like the pug boys! Perhaps if I am really, really good, Lori will get some more leopard print minky and make me one...

Here is Lori modelling her first completed scarf in grey minky.
Joannie was making a Christmas table runner. She quilted it using her embroidery machine.
Isn't this red and silver fabric pretty?
Kim P. was making potholders to give as Christmas gifts to her co-workers.
Black and white will look good with everything!
As usual, Kim was working from her stash.
Recently, several of the girls took a Double Wedding Ring class at the Button Box. Both Nancy D. and Sally brought their newest UFOs to work on and show us what they had learned.
Nancy shows off a completed block in 30's prints.
Here Sally is using a little wooden roller to press her seams.
Sally is using these lovely batiks in her Double Wedding Ring.
We were happy to welcome back one of our original Brown Baggers, Lynne, to the group!
Here is Marion checking out Lynne's newest project.
It is a Jewel Box variation done in lots of Kaffe prints!
After a full day of eight hours of sewing, I managed to assemble the top of Lily's quilt. It just needs outer borders and I need to go buy more green flannel. This pattern is Colonnade by my blogging friend Kim from Robot Mom Sews. It is fast and easy. This is the second one I've made. You can see the first one here.
Lily's Owl Quilt is made of flannel. It will keep her warm this winter.
Here is a close-up of some of the cute fabrics. I bought them all at Joann Fabrics. Owl prints are "in" right now and I can't stop buying them. I will try to use more of them on the back of Lily's quilt.
A special thanks to my darling husband who not only baby sat the pug boys for me while I sewed all day, but greeted me with this delicious dinner when I got home.
It was so good that I had seconds!
You can find the recipe here. It is called Slow Cooker Moroccan Chickpea and Turkey Stew. Mike made his in the pressure cooker.

Thanks for visiting! In case you are an avid reader like me, you might notice that my title pays homage to the Rabbi Small mystery series by Harry Kemelman. Have you ever read them? Linking up on Tuesday to my blogging friend Connie at Freemotion by the River. On Friday I am linking up to Richard and Tanya Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A December Evening with the Thursday Girls

I did a little sewing with my Thursday Girl friends tonight. I'm working on an owl quilt made of soft flannel for my 5 year old friend Lily. I hope to finish the top this weekend and then I'll show you a picture. It won't be done by Christmas (unless a Christmas miracle occurs), but I'll be sure to give it to her before Groundhog Day.

Here are some photos of my friends' projects.
Ginny was ready to layer her Nutcracker quilt tonight. Isn't it adorable?
I forgot to ask her the name of the pattern.
Here is a close-up of one of the Nutcrackers.
Pat was machine quilting a very large t-shirt quilt.
Mother and daughter team, Judi and Beth, were layering a quilt that Mom Judi had made.
It's a disappearing 9-Patch. Judi used the tutorial from the Missouri Quilt Company.
Ignore the fully stocked liquor cabinet behind them. We really do meet in a bar.
Here's another shot of the quilt. It is lime green, black and gray. Very striking!
My friend Nancy Q. was hand stitching some felted wool minis.
Here are her November Turkey and her October Pumpkin.
These are quite small, I'm guessing about 4" to 6" square each.
Here are my two senior pug boys. Romeo, on the left, celebrates his 13th birthday
this month on the 23rd. Elvis turned 12 in October. They are sitting on the padded
anti-fatigue mat in front of my kitchen sink. There is also an air vent right behind
them that blows hot air, so it's a comfy spot to hang out.
Don't you just want to squish them?
Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Richard and Tanya Quilts, and Crazy Mom Quilts. Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,