Friday, February 27, 2015

Pin-up Girls

This post is dedicated to Kate, who was lamenting that she had left her favorite pin cushion at home while we were sewing at our February Cape Cod weekend.

As  a quilter, I don't typically use a lot of pins. My pins of choice are the flat flower head pins. They are extremely thin and very sharp. Especially when you prick your finger or your boob.
I use three boiled wool pincushions that I bought at the now defunct Heartbeat Quilts in Hyannis. I have two large ones that I keep at home (one has flat flower head pins, the other holds cheap pins from Walmart), and one smaller one that I keep in my sewing machine case.
I was surprised to see that Pat had one too, until she reminded me that I had bought it for her.
Not surprisingly, Pat's pincushion looks like mine.
Here is a round-up of the girls of the Cape with their pincushions.
Cordula's pincushion is felted wool. She bought it at a craft fair in Germany.
Sally's pincushion, also boiled wool, sits on a wooden base.
It was a gift from her kids. Sewing gifts are the best!
Here is Kim G. with her magnetic pincushion.
She is showing us her best pin-up girl face!
Sisters Kim and Karen must have a secret sweet tooth because both of them keep their pins in candy tins.
Karen uses a mini Whitman sampler tin. Makes me wish for chocolate.
Kim P.'s Valentine tin has Elvis on the cover. My friend
Toni would want this one. She loves Elvis Presley.
My heart belongs to Elvis, my black pug.
Joannie and Sue show off their Hawaiian pincushions that I brought
back from my honeymoon. Sadly, I think the pincushions were made in China.
Marion's pincushion was hand made by Jean, another Brown Bagger.
Jean made one for each of us as a thank you for her birthday quilt, many years ago.
This is not a pincushion, but Cordula wanted me to share this adorable needle
book that was hand made for her by a friend in Germany. Isn't it cute?
Here is Kate with her special pincushion as seen on her laptop. It is
a cupcake. It was a gift from Karen, who is behind her in the photo.
This cupcake pincushion is also a favorite of Kate's granddaughter
Penelope when she comes to sew with Nana.
Hope you enjoyed our pincushion parade!

Thanks for visiting.

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February 2015 Quilt of the Month

This is practically the February Quilt of the Week, since I think we managed to put it on the bed last weekend. After starting this series a year ago, I am running out of bed size quilts. This one really isn't bed size. It is about 72x80, so it just covers the top of our queen size bed. Luckily we have flannel sheets and a down comforter underneath, so the quilt is really more like "bed dressing."

This quilt was a pre-cut kit of fabric squares of large floral prints from Benartex that I purchased several years ago. I bought two kits because I wanted to make the quilt larger. This quilt is usually on our couch. I've never had it on my bed before, so I was surprised at how red and orange the quilt reads and how strongly the blue squares stick out.

I finished this quilt in November of 2012. It was machine quilted by Shirley Gammon of Maine.

Cheerful colors to help fight the winter blues.
All my quilts look better with a pug (or two) on them. Here are the handsome LarryPug and Elvis.
Here's a close-up of some of the fabrics.
This pretty tulip fabric is on the back. I wonder if my real tulips will be
able to come up this Spring. They are underneath five feet of snow!
I love flowers. I have a huge collection of floral fabrics, so perhaps this Spring I will make a larger, bed-size floral quilt.

Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Richard and Tanya Quilts. Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sew Together Bag

The Sew Together Bag by Sew Demented has been floating around the Internet for a while. I managed to resist, since I'd seen numerous complaints about how poorly the pattern was written, but I was tempted by the nifty three zippered pockets inside. A few weeks ago I was on a waiting list for a Sew Together Bag class but I didn't get in, so I figured that was it was a sign that it wasn't meant to be. However, my friend Kim G. got into the class and made the bag. She arranged for a private class for the Brown Baggers (and she really liked the class, because she took it with us for a second time!).

Peg McGowan at All About Quilts was our instructor. She had at least a dozen sample bags to show us. The class was four hours long and we were instructed to come with our pattern pieces cut out and ready to sew. Pat, of course, finished first. Kim G. finished three bags, but she took the class two weeks ago and came with several bags in various stages of completion. My bag was almost done when I left and I finished it at home this evening.
We did it! Top row from left to right: Peg McGowan (our instructor), Pat, Kim G.,
Marion, and Nancy D. Bottom row from left to right: me, Cordula, and Joannie.
Here's my finished bag.
This is the interior of my bag. There are three zippered pockets.
Here are the girls' finished bags from our class today. Everyone's fabric was so bright and pretty!
The verdict? The bag wasn't hard to make, although I would recommend it for a beginner. Putting the zippers in was easy. There are a lot of "fiddly" parts and you need a good sewing machine that can go through a lot of layers of fabric. I brought my Janome Gem Platinum to class which is a light weight machine that I travel with and Jimmy Janome (as I call the little guy) was not thrilled about sewing such heavy duty stuff. In fact, he shut himself down at one point. When I got home I finished the bag on Bernie Bernina (my 20 year old Bernina 1260) who sewed through the layers of fabric like butter. The pattern lacks diagrams and I would never have been able to make the bag without taking the class. I even asked the instructor how she had figured out the pattern, and she said that she had taken a class!

If there isn't a class in your area, I highly recommend that you visit The Quilt Barn Sew-A-Long. She dissects the bag pattern into five easy blog posts and shares lots of photos.

It is a nice little bag and the three zippered pockets are great. I may use mine to hold jewelry when I travel. I showed the finished bag to my husband Mike and he said it was "awesome."

Have you made a Sew Together Bag? If so, did you take a class or were you able to understand the pattern?

Linking up on Friday to Richard and Tanya Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Linking up on Tuesday to Freemotion by the River and ChrisW Designs Brag Bag Tuesday. Linking up on Saturday to Pink Doxies: Pet Project Show. Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Late to the Party: Pretty in Pink!

I LOVE the Rainbow Quilt Scrap Challenge that is hosted by SoScrappy. I've wanted to participate for a long time, but I am always behind! I told myself that I would definitely participate this year. Obviously, I've missed January, and I'm almost out of time for February.

I've chosen two blocks and may decide to save one of them for 2016. The patterns are Twinkle and Soul Searching from the book Making Quilts - The Promise of Joy by Kathy Doughty (Material Obsession). My friend Mary from Needled Mom did Soul Searching last year and I loved it. Wanda Hanson from Exuberant Color also made one. My Brown Bagger friends and I made Twinkle in 2012 as a group birthday gift for my friend Marion. I have cut out the blocks in pink and in blue, but haven't had a chance to sew them yet.

I did use some lovely pinks from the scrap drawer to make little zipper bags! I obsessed for a while because all my zippers were not the same shade of pink, but finally I talked myself down from the ledge.
I made these all from the same fabric.
This is the perfect size to hold a few credit cards or your ear buds.
These bags are for my friends at work: Dianne, Elissa, Julie, and Lauren. They are a very nice bunch of women and they help keep me sane. We all sit in cubicles in the same row and pink is our favorite color.

True confessions? I made these using my embroidery machine. The CD is called Boutique Zipper Case and Fanny Pack by Pickle Pie Designs. They were so easy to make that I made four more for the girls in a larger size. You know what takes me the longest? Picking out the fabric and cutting the pieces to size. There is a third, larger size on the CD but it doesn't work on my embroidery machine.
Two of these are the same print, but the medium size bag uses more fabric,
so I went wild and made the other two different.
Here you can see the small bag next to the medium bag.
The only problem? My friends liked their bags so much that they showed them to all the other girls in the office and now everyone wants one...
The Pug Boys say "Have a great weekend!"
FINALLY linking up to Scrap Happy Saturday. Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Online Fabric Shopping Fun

Hello Blogging Friends!

There is too much snow for me to make the effort to go to the quilt stores lately, but there is always online shopping. At our January Brown Baggers meeting I asked the girls for some of their favorite online fabric stores. We all agree that you should "shop local" first because we don't want any of more our favorite quilt stores to go out of business, but since the weather has been frightful, it's been easier to shop on my computer (although the weather impacts the mail delivery as well).

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I've purchased fabric from almost all of the places I'm going to list for you here. Please note that I am not compensated in any way for my recommendations, I just like to buy fabric!

I love:
The girls also recommended a few I haven't tried yet, or haven't shopped at in a long time. Here are some of their favorites.
I will give another ringing, yet unpaid, endorsement to my friends Kate and Karen. They don't sell fabric online, but check out their wonderful websites for original quilt patterns and quilt weekends (in the Berkshire, MA area) at QuiltLily Designs, Kate Mitchell Quilts and Berkshire Quilts. If you visit Kate or Karen, please tell them that their friend Nancy from PugMom Quilts sent you!

Any fabric websites that you love? I want to hear about them. And for my non-quilting family and friends, if you've made it through this list, remember, my birthday is next month and these are great places to get a gift certificate! I never say "no" to fabric!

Happy shopping!

Pugs and kisses,

Monday, February 16, 2015

When The Shovel Breaks...

We got more snow over the weekend. I keep thinking about the pretty bulbs I planted last Fall and hope they are sleeping well underneath their six foot high blanket of snow. I wonder if they will even be able to come up, when the snow finally melts in July.
These mounds are at least Triple D!
If you stand inside the house and look out my front door, our yard looks like a giant post-modern sculpture of a very voluptuous woman lying on her back.

Mike and I managed to go out on Friday night for a pre-Valentine's Day dinner. Since my only condition was that the restaurant have a parking lot and no wait time, we ended up at Pizzeria Uno. I had the portabello mushroom ravioli which was kind of salty, but was able to wash it down with my giant cookie sundae.

The snow started on Saturday afternoon and was coming down hard by 7pm. What do you do when you're snowed in for the weekend?

On Saturday afternoon, I went over to my Studio and cut out a bunch of projects to bring over to the house.

I fired up my little pink featherweight and did some sewing on Sunday. Isn't she gorgeous? I bought her as a birthday gift (from me to me) last year on eBay. Her name is Pinky Tuscadero. Of course, I had to buy her the pink table from Pottery Barn kids. My friend Lee Anna made me the adorable pink owl pincushion.
Pinky sews like a dream!
Romeo and LarryPug played a vigorous game of Hop on Pop with PugDaddy, Mike.
We watched two movies, Saving Mr. Banks (thumbs down) and Philomena (thumbs up). We took a nap every day. Mike attempted to get caught up with his never-ending supply of Time magazine.

My sweet husband bought me chocolate truffles and roses and made me a special Valentine's dinner on Saturday which included filets with assorted mushrooms in a wine sauce, fingerling potatoes and roasted asparagus. He also surprised me with an amazing chocolate mousse cake for dessert!
Elvis and Romeo watched Mike avidly in case he drops anything while cooking.
LarryPug invited himself to dinner!
His newest trick--he can jump on the kitchen chair and reach the table.
There was a lot of shoveling! We were both shoveling on Saturday night at 11pm when Mike's shovel broke. Time to call it quits for the evening. Fortunately, we have plenty of shovels.
Mike to the rescue! Small dogs gotta go!
Lots and lots of snow! I have lived here my whole life and I have NEVER seen this much snow at one time.
LarryPug on the pug track!
Goodbye fence!
Goodbye shed!
Goodbye back yard!
The snow is soft and powdery like sugar and it is easy to shovel; however, not so easy when you now need to lift your shovel over your shoulder to find a place to put it!
Goodbye front yard!
Snow double selfie! Boston Blizzard 2015
Ironically, this is a "before" photo, on Saturday afternoon.
Thanks for visiting and for your snow condolences!

Pugs and kisses,

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

Time to announce the give-away winners! Actually, I'm a day late, but I'm sure my winners won't complain. The winner of my Grow Your Blog Post fabulous prize is Terry. Terry has two blogs! You can check out her quilt projects at Country Lady Quilts or read about her country lifestyle in I'm A Country Lady At Heart. Maybe she will post a photo of what she makes with her Bali Crackers.

The two winners of a fabulous pattern of their choice from my friend Karen at QuiltLily Designs, offered in Part 2 of my Cape Cod Weekend blog, are Hollie and Kat.  

Ladies, send your thanks to my husband Mike who served as my official random number generator (LarryPug declined to officiate).

In case you are wondering about the origins of the phrase, Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner, according to A popular story about the origin of this phrase is that in Las Vegas you could get a nice chicken dinner for less than $2.00. Since winning an average bet would make you over $2.00, the two were equated as being approximately the same value. If you won, you could buy a chicken dinner. (Blogger's note: obviously, this was a long, long time ago!)

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sew Days, Snow Daze

Still time to participate in two great give-aways on my blog! Both are open through February 14th. The first give-away can be found on my Grow Your Blog Post. The second give-away, which is for Karen's original pattern designs, can be found in Part 2 of my Cape Cod Weekend blog. Enter today! Don't delay!

Hello Blog Friends. It's me, Nancy, reporting live from the new snow capitol of the world, Boston, MA. We haven't taken our trash out in three weeks, and we appear to be running out of light bulbs and paper towels, but otherwise, we are okay. We should be able to make it to March as long as we have dog food and donuts. If you want to skip the quilting report, the snow pictures are at the bottom of the blog.

Last weekend it only snowed lightly, but the threat was enough to keep me (and most others) indoors and at home for most of the time. Happily I was able to get some sewing done. I did a bunch of random but necessary sewing and organizing which included making the giant back for Susan's king size quilt (9 yards of fabric--luckily purchased this summer for $1.99 a yard at the discount fabric store in Auburn, MA--their prices have since gone up), made two blocks for a swap, and organized my box of Kaffe scraps. Now I have neat piles of 2" strips, 2.5" strips, 5" squares, and a smaller pile of "miscellaneous."
What will it be... YBR of course!
I surprised myself and starting cutting out some of my Valentine's Day fabric. I know that this quilt won't be done for Saturday, but at least it's in the works. Most of my Valentine's Day fabrics are ancient and I noticed that some of them were quite thin while I was cutting them. The prints and colors are cheerful and I look forward to having this on my bed next year for February Quilt of the Month 2016.

I finally started to work on a table runner for my co-worker Brooke. I promised it to her two years ago as a house-warming gift, then it became an engagement gift and now it is a wedding gift. I better finish it before I need to turn it into a baby quilt!
All the purple fabric is from Nancy's House of Fabric (aka my Stash).
I also made two pillowcases. I actually went to the Post Office yesterday to mail them and it was closed!
Valentine Owls for Lily and Mickey Mouse for my friend Dianne's grandson.
I asked the girls to report in since none of us were able to get together.

Kim G. ventured out on Saturday and took a neat bag-making class at All About Quilts in Walpole. This is the Sew Together Bag by Sew Demented. Kim, of course, made two bags.
This is the bag when it is closed.
Lots and lots of zippered pockets inside!
Kim was also busy using her new Go! Cutter to cut up her entire fabric stash. If this snow doesn't end, I'm afraid that she will move on to her curtains and table cloths!

On Saturday, Joannie was hard at work on her sister's Double Wedding Ring (this is a quilt that in theory Joannie's sister Mary is making to give to her son and his bride for their wedding). On Sunday, Joannie was able to work on her own project, which is a gift for her sister, Janet, a Sparkling Gem Stones quilt.

Marion stayed at home and finished two pieced borders for her Sampler Quilt. She also started a new project.

Pat did some sewing, cleaning, and organizing and found an older UFO that she had forgotten about. The top was done and it only needed borders.
This beautiful top is machine embroidered and appliqued.
Everyone reported that they did a lot of shoveling!!!

Are you ready to see a lot of snow pictures?

On Saturday, I took some "before" photos.
You can still see the purple bench if you look hard.
Lamp post

This is where our plow guy puts the snow so we can get into our garage.

Back patio
The Pug Boys say, "Make it Stop!!"
Front yard
Mail box
LarryPug on the path to the garage
Elvis says, "Will this ever end?"
Romeo says, "I am 13 and I have NEVER seen this much snow in my life!"
Front of the house
More front yard
Front gate
Side path
Let us in!
It snowed all last weekend as well as all day Monday into Tuesday. On Tuesday, I took some "after" photos. It was early in the morning and the light was eerie and blue.
We can still see the lamp post.
You can no longer see the six foot high fence at the top of our driveway.
This is my driveway on Tuesday morning. Two feet of snow!
No sign of the purple bench. I guess we'll find it in the Spring.
Garage and Quilt Studio
Back patio... perhaps the snow will melt in time for the 4th of July.
Front door
Front yard
Not sure the mailman can find the mailbox... should I raise the flag?
I'm afraid to think about how much money we owe Kevin the plow guy. I wonder if he is married. Perhaps his wife is a quilter and he will work for fabric?

Thanks for visiting! Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Richard and Tanya Quilts and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Pugs and kisses,

P.S. Guess what's in our weather forecast for today and this weekend? Snow...