Sunday, June 28, 2015

Belated Happy Birthday to Terri!

A very happy belated birthday to Terri. We surprised her with a quilt today (and cupcakes)! This pattern is the Disappearing Hour Glass from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. There is a free tutorial on their website and if you get their magazine, the printed directions were in it a few issues ago.
Terri matches her quilt so I know we chose the right colors!
The border fabric is just perfect for the quilt top. We need to recruit some taller people to join the Brown Baggers.
I saw these flowers outside our local diner this weekend. Can anyone tell me what they are? The waitress said they are perennials. They are the palest pink with fern-like stems.

The Pug Boys said they have been under-represented in the blog lately, so here they are... live from under the kitchen table, hoping I would drop something while I ate dinner.
From left to right: LarryPug, Romeo in motion, and Elvis.
Same arrangement with Elvis looking off camera.
More photo fun, this time Romeo is looking down. Just noticed Mike's slippers appearing in the photo at lower left.
Thanks for visiting! And thanks for all of the nice comments on my recent blog posts. I really enjoy hearing from you. I write back to everyone personally. If you don't hear from me, you are a "no-reply" blogger.

Pugs and kisses,

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Blinging Up Linda's Bag

Last week I showed you Linda's bag. It's all finished, but it needed a little extra, which morphed into handmade zipper pulls.
I had already bought some charms to put on Linda's bag, but was originally just going to put them on a jump ring and attach them to the zippered interior pockets. But then I got motivated to "get fancy." So I googled "handmade beaded zipper pulls" and found this tutorial on Sew Delicious. This afternoon I went to AC Moore and bought some head pins, some split rings (all items described in the tutorial above), and some beads.
Voila! Zipper pulls!
Here are the new zipper pulls installed in Linda's bag.
I purchased the "I love singing" charm on Michou Beads on Etsy. I purchased the "handmade with love charm" from FactoryDirect Craft. The blue beads and the jewelry findings came from AC Moore.
On the outside of the bag, I used a large zipper pull that I purchased from Zipit on Etsy.

The idea to make beaded zipper pulls was inspired by two bloggers that I follow regularly: Daryl who blogs at Patchouli Moon Studio and LeeAnna who blogs at Not Afraid of Color. Daryl makes a lot of gorgeous bags and she always finishes them so nicely with a handmade zipper pull. You can see one in this post. My friend LeeAnna is a super talented art quilter and she is always blogging about the clever little charms and other cute objects she finds to use in her quilts. She has a magpie's eye, just like me, always wanting whatever is glittering or shiny.

Linking up on Saturday to Pink Doxies' Pet Project Show. Linking up on Sunday to Sew Many Ways' Sew Darn Crafty linky party. Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Friday, June 26, 2015

Pinky's New Project

What's black and white and read (pronounced "red" -- get it?) all over? A newspaper. Sorry, I couldn't resist this old joke! Today, however, it's my blog about Pinky's new project: a scrappy black and white strip quilt. Although there isn't any "red" in my quilt, my frame fabric is more purple or fuchsia.
Pinky is my pink featherweight that I bought myself for my special birthday last year on eBay. She is a very nice girl and she sews like a super star! I also bought her a lovely matching pink table from Pottery Barn. Pinky is stylin'!
Pinky lives in my home office in my house. I don't know about you, but I like to keep one quilting project on the same machine whenever possible. So, my Strip Therapy WIP, which I showed you the other day is Bernie's project (Bernie, a Bernina 1260, now 20 years old, lives in The Studio) and Pinky and I are making Radio Way by Jaybird Quilts. The black and white strips came from a strip swap I did with my Brown Bagger buddies and I found the purple/fuchsia fabric at Sewphisticated several years ago at $2.99 a yard.
Here's the pattern cover next to my blocks in progress.
There are lots of fun fabrics in my quilt: all kinds of geometric shapes,  polka dots, zebra print, Dalmatians, dice, and musical instruments, just to name a few. Marion is also making this quilt, only she is using Kate Spain's Horizon line so our two quilts will look very different from each other.

I am making the king size version of the quilt so I need to make 121 blocks. I ironed a bunch last night and thought I had all of them made. Unfortunately I can't count. I have almost all of the framed blocks made (see white framed blocks on pattern cover), but I still need to make 60 more unframed blocks.

Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Crazy Mom Quilts, Richard and Tanya Quilts, WIPs Be Gone, and Fabric Frenzy Friday. Linking up on Saturday to Pink Doxies' Pet Project Show. Linking up on Sunday to Oh Scrap! Thanks for visiting!

You can read my other blog here. Check it out!

Pugs and kisses,

Monday, June 22, 2015

Strip Therapy

Sewing makes me happy. Sometimes I just want to sit at my machine and feed 2.5 inch strips through it without thinking. This was one of those weeks.

This week I just worked on an old UFO. This is Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trips Around the World. This is a free pattern on her blog. I started this project in a class with Bonnie at the Vermont Quilt Festival in 2012. No particular reason why this is still a UFO, except that it's for me, so not a priority to finish, so it got shoved by the wayside.

Below, I have 20 blocks finished. I want to make a total of 64, so 44 more to go.

All the fabrics in these blocks are batik. I did a batik strip swap with my Brown Bagger buddies several years ago, so most of the fabrics in this quilt are from that. As I sew, I enjoy looking at all the different fabrics and wondering what projects my friends used them in. It also expands my horizons because I get to work with colors that I might not normally choose, however I have set all the brown and beige strips aside (yuck!).

When I finish all my blocks I will play with them. I may color sort my quilt (many choices: from light to dark, in rainbow order) or I may leave it randomly delicious. It will be fun to play!

Linking up on Monday to Oh Scrap! Linking up on Tuesday to Freemotion by the River and Fabric Tuesday. Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Richard and Tanya Quilts. Linking up on Saturday to Pink Doxies' Pet Project Show. Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Sunday, June 21, 2015

ScrapHappy Saturday on Sunday with Light Blue

Thanks for visiting my blog today. I haven't been doing too well keeping up with ScrapHappy Saturday, but I'm continuing to plug along. This is only the second time I've posted this year. Here is my light blue block for June.
This pattern is called Twinkle. Here are the other blocks that I've made so far. I need to go back and make purple twinkle blocks and green twinkle blocks.

Linking up to So Scrappy's ScrapHappy Saturday. Linking up on Monday to Oh Scrap! Linking up on Tuesday to Freemotion by the River and Fabric Tuesday. Thanks for visiting.

Pugs and kisses,

Friday, June 19, 2015

Gadget Grab 'n' Go Bag

Back in February I took a class and made the Sew Together Bag. You can read my pattern review here. Rochelle from eSheep Designs saw my blog post and asked if I would try her pattern called the Gadget Grab 'n' Go, which is similar. I don't think either of us expected that it would take me almost four months to get to it. (Sorry Rochelle). Although at the time, I didn't plan to have gallbladder surgery, either...
Here's my completed bag. Isn't it pretty?
Here's my disclaimer: Rochelle at eSheep Designs gave me this pattern for free in exchange for my honest pattern review.

Overall, I really liked this pattern. The pattern has 37 pages with lots and lots of photos. I thought the diagonal zipper placement was very cool. Inside the bag are two small zippered pockets. Rochelle also gives you instructions at the end of the pattern if you want to change the size of the bag or add additional pockets, which makes it very easy to customize.

Here's an inside view of my bag.
It took me seven hours to make the bag from start to finish. This included reading the pattern and cutting out the pattern pieces. I am a slow sewer and I wanted to make sure I was doing everything correctly. I'm sure that the next time I make it, it won't take me this long.

The inside zippers have zipper tabs which are sheer genius when installing multiple pockets. I use zipper tabs all the time when I make zippered pouches and I was pleased as punch that they were a part of this pattern. It made installing the pockets a breeze. Another idea I really liked was her recommendation to use a separating zipper for the outside. Taking the zipper apart made installation super easy. Her creation of the inside pockets is marvelous. I've never made them this way. (You will need to buy her pattern to find out how.)

The bag pattern references three fabrics: an exterior fabric (On my bag it is the dark mottled blue), a lining fabric (medium blue) and an accent fabric (blue multi print). This pattern requires very little fabric, but one of my few critiques is that I would have liked a fabric guide (i.e., cut 2 side panels and your back panel from your exterior fabric, etc.).

I cut my binding wider than the pattern specified at 2.5" instead of 2", which is a personal preference and my binding went on like a dream. I used a size 100 needle and a slightly larger stitch (almost a 3 on my Bernina) for all of the bag making process. When the going got tough (i.e., lots of layers), I moved the take-up wheel by hand, slowly, and I never had a problem at all with the assembly. Once I had the inner section of the bag put together, I couldn't wait to finish this little beauty!

This is NOT a pattern for a beginning sewer. You should have made a couple of basic zipper pouches or at least have a basic familiarity with installing a zipper before you start this project.

If you want to make a multi-pocket zipper bag, I'd definitely recommend this pattern. Here's a link to eSheep Designs' the Gadget Grab 'n' Go Bag. It's only $7.95 on Craftsy. I don't get anything if you buy it, but please tell Rochelle that you read my pattern review!
Here is my Gadget Grab 'n' Go Bag shown in front of my Sew Together Bag so you can see the size difference.
Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Crazy Mom Quilts, Richard and Tanya Quilts, TGIFF, WIPs Be Gone, and Fabric Frenzy Friday. Linking up on Saturday to Julie at Pink Doxies' Pet Project Show. Linking up on Tuesday to Freemotion by the River and Fabric Tuesday. Thanks for visiting.

Pugs and kisses,

P.S., Dear Linda B., if you're reading this, this bag's for you!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Curious Case of the $23 Zipper

Last Friday night, I popped into Joann Fabrics to pick up a zipper for a special project. There was only one navy blue 18" separating zipper in the entire store, but a few more items caught my eye and jumped into my cart.

First, I found the pale blue animal print (two pieces! an additional 50% off!) in the remnant bin. Then I hit the mother-lode in the clearance aisle. I paid less than $4 a yard for the two ugly green fabrics and the handsome cowboys. I bought a yard of each of the ugly green fabrics with a purpose. I'm making a camouflage print tote bag for one of the girls at my veterinarian's office and these two fabrics coordinate with it perfectly. I'm going to use the dark green for the trim and handles and the lighter green for the lining.
Honestly Honey, these fabrics followed me home!
Sadly, I almost feel a compulsive responsibility to buy rescue fabric when I find it for less than $5 a yard, since fabric prices have gone through the roof. Do you ever feel that way?

And who could resist those hunky cowboys for $3.50 a yard? They are Alexander Henry pin-up boys and you can still buy them for full price at many websites for $10 a yard and more. I think there was around 3.5 yards left on the bolt, but it all came home with me. Do you want to see a little more of those handsome cowboys?
Be still, my heart...
At least I got the zipper!

Has this ever happened to you?

Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Linking up on Saturday to Julie at Pink Doxies' Pet Project Show. Thanks for visiting.

Pugs and kisses,

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Happy Belated National Sewing Machine Day!

Saturday was National Sewing Machine Day and I joyously spent the whole day sewing with Marion. We decided to do a "class" day, so we chose a new project and we each made one. More later on our project, I'm deliberately being vague...

Anyways, while we were taking a quick break and having lunch at Panera Bread, we got a call from Joannie who was on her way home from taking two quilting classes at two different quilt stores. She had picked up some quilts from our friend Terri, a professional long arm quilter. The quilts belong to Marion, Pat, and Karen, so we headed over to pick them up. Next, I'll pass Pat's quilt to her and she will take Karen's quilt and give it to Karen. Sort of like a modern day Quilting Pony Express.

Here is Pat's quilt. Pat has been working a lot with grey lately. This quilt is a "keeper," it's for her own bed. She recently re-painted her bedroom to match. These are our Brown Bagger birthday blocks from last year. There are definitely more than 50 Shades of Grey here! It is gorgeous, Pat.

I apologize for the not-so-great photos. All three are super gi-normous quilts. Joannie and Marion (neither of whom are very tall) are standing on a very tiny landing in order to get some height, I am shooting into the direct sunlight, and I am backed up against Joannie's garden fence as far as I can go.

I love the sunny yellow border.
Standing a little further back to try and get the whole quilt.
Interestingly, the next two quilts, which were made by Marion and Karen, are the same quilt, but in different settings. This quilt was a block of the month at Ann's Fabrics. Marion actually made two of these quilts in different color-ways.

Here is Marion's quilt. It is set in a traditional sampler setting. I really like the addition of the tulip blocks in the braided border.
Came out great, Marion!
Next, here is Karen's quilt, which is the same set of blocks as Marion's quilt. Karen added alternating blocks. I like the star in the center of the quilt.
Beautiful job, Karen!
I am always fascinated by how different two quilts can look when you change the setting or the colors.

What is a reasonable exchange rate for Pat and Karen to ransom their quilts from me? Lots of chocolate? Oodles of Fat Quarters?

Linking up on Sunday to the Pink Doxies Pet Project Show. Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Monday, June 8, 2015

Purple Neigh

I'm officially the aunt of two high school graduates!

My lovely niece Rachel graduated from high school last weekend in California. I'm making her a new quilt to take to college. Rachel is an accomplished equestrian and she will be attending Cal Poly in September where she plans to study animal science and eventually attend vet school.

Rachel loves purple, just like her Aunt Nancy.
I've only just started the quilt. So far I have finished all the 9-patch blocks. Next, I need to make 18 snowball blocks. I completed four of them tonight. Ten of the snowball blocks will feature embroidered horse squares. You can see two of them above. I purchased these machine-embroidered blocks from King's Treasures. There will be sashing in between the blocks. This is a free pattern that I found on Riley Blake's website called Bonnie Rose. I am enlarging the quilt to make it bed size. All  the purple fabric came from my Stash. I did buy the lavender fabric that will be the background. I was happy to find it at Sewphisticated for $3.99 a yard.
Here is my beautiful niece Rachel. I'm not sure it's a coincidence that she chose a college that has a horse (mustang) for a mascot.
My nephew Sam also graduated from high school last weekend. Luckily Mike's sister doesn't live too far away from us so we were able to share in the celebration! This handsome young man will attend Wentworth University in Boston this Fall and study industrial design.

After I finish Rachel's quilt, I am starting one for Sam to take to college. I showed him the design that I had chosen and he really liked it. It is going to have a rich royal blue background with pops of bright colors.
Here's the family at Sam's graduation.
And here's a purple woof!
Here's my handsome LarryPug showing off the new flannel pillowcases that I made for my friend Eleanor's birthday. LarryPug also brought his monkey pirate doll along for his photo opportunity.
Here's a close-up of the fabric.
Linking up on Tuesday to Connie at Freemotion by the River Linky Tuesday. Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Richard and Tanya Quilts, TGIFF, WIPs Be Gone, Fabric Frenzy Friday and Crazy Mom Quilts. Linking up on Sunday to the Pink Doxies Pet Project Show. Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Lovely Blogger Award

Way back on May 20th, my lovely blogging friend Sandra who keeps me laughing at Musings of a Menopausal Melon nominated me for One Lovely Blog Award. Just one day later, my glitter sister LeeAnna (we were separated at birth) who blogs at Not Afraid of Color also nominated me. At the time, I was happily ensconced in the Berkshires sewing my brains out for a week, so it's taken me a little while to respond. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! You girls rock! Is there anyone out there NOT reading either of these two blogs? Go take a visit, you won't regret it.

Part of the award requires that I tell you some interesting factoids. Since I'm not exactly a shrinking violet, I actually struggled to come up with:

Seven Things You Don't Know About Me...
  1. I have a second blog. It's not about quilting, but it's pretty funny. You should sign up to follow it right now. I'll wait. Did you miss the link in the first sentence? Here it is AGAIN...
  2. I always have a pedicure, even in the winter when only I can see it. I love it when my toes look nice. I rarely get a manicure. I'm always doing something with my hands.
  3. My husband has longer hair than I do, and his hair is much nicer than mine. My brother Jeff says that my husband Mike has "David Cassidy Rock God hair".
  4. If I didn't have the three pugs, I would love to own a really big dog, like a Great Dane or a Mastiff. I think they are magnificent creatures. However, my three pugs are super funny and endearing.
  5. I love to read and I'm a super-fast reader. I rarely use a bookmark because I typically read an entire book in one sitting. For some reason, this annoys other people.
  6. People assume that since I'm a quilter, that I'm just like Martha Stewart. This is far from the truth. I like doing the laundry (although I don't like putting it away and sometimes I just wear it out of the basket) and I bake occasionally (usually from a mix), but that other domestic crap bores me silly. You'll never find me weaving the pugs' fur to make a blanket and I suck at wrapping presents.
  7. I'm a morning person and the best part of the day takes place before noon. Naturally, I'm married to a night owl.
Can't get enough? Read more about me (ad nauseam) at Grow Your Blog, Grow Your Blog Tour and Ten Quilty Little Secrets.

Here's the good part, where I nominate other great bloggers so you'll have even more to read:
This was also difficult since a lot of my blogging friends had already been nominated and I think that I also subscribe to about 50 quilting blogs. Please check these out, you will love them. Maybe I should tell these girls that I nominated them....

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,