Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Birthday Blocks on Parade

One of the annual traditions in my Brown Bagger's Quilt Group is our birthday block swap. Like every Brown Bagger activity, participation is optional.

This year's block is a free pattern, Dresdens Squared from The Missouri Star Quilt Company.
These are Marion's birthday blocks. She has the first birthday of our group, on January 30th. Happy Birthday Marion!
If you want to make this block, here's the video.
I didn't like last year's block, so I opted out. However, lately I've been "wowed" by how our 2015 quilt blocks can look in different fabrics and different layouts. The next two quilt photos are composed of the same identical block. You'll be amazed.
Joanne chose red, white, and blue fabrics and set her quilt in a star burst. Doesn't it look great?
Pat used Kaffe Fassett stripes and shot cottons and set her top in an attic windows style. The pattern has a great three dimensional effect and the blocks appear to be popping out of the quilt. It will be a gift for her son-in-law, Andrew to use at the firehouse.
 Can you believe that both of these quilts (above) are made from the same quilt block?

Here is Valerie pondering her newly completed top made from her birthday blocks from 2012-13.
Want to see how Valerie's quilt would look in animal prints with a hot pink background? Check out my version, aptly named Wild Thing. Yes, it's the same quilt.

At our recent MLK Quilt Weekend, Karen finished an oldie but goodie, starring flying geese blocks we swapped back in 2009.
Isn't this gorgeous? I made the block in the upper right center with two purple triangles and one teal triangle. Everyone had fun looking for the block that they gave Karen.
Here's a close-up of Karen's beautiful quilting in progress.
I still have my flying geese blocks in a box, but Karen's layout has inspired me, so I need to see if I have enough blocks to copy her design--remember, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. I used Kaffe Fassett fabrics against a lavender background. I think that if I add some appliqued pugs, it may look even better!

I am off to a quilt retreat tomorrow and promise to take lots of photos. I still have some quilt photos to share from my talented Brown Bagger friends from our previous two meetings in January, so stay tuned!

Special thanks to Karen who contributed many of the photos for this post!

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Sloth Diaries

For the past six weeks, I've been going to Physical Therapy twice a week due to my back attack in November. Physical Therapy is just another word for exercise. It makes me very sore and very tired. On the positive side, I am building up my core and I haven't had any back spasms. Today I did 66 sit-ups! On the negative side, I hurt in strange, new places, I am developing a potential addiction to Advil, and I want to sleep ALL THE TIME. This past weekend I took a three hour nap on Saturday afternoon and a three hour nap on Sunday morning as well as another two hour nap on Sunday afternoon. That didn't leave much awake time for sewing.

I have finished the top of Sam's college quilt and sent it off to my friend Terri to be machine quilted. I also put the borders on Rachel's college quilt and will be sending it to my friend Kate to be machine quilted. Sorry, you'll have to wait until I get them back for photos. I also made the quilt bindings so I'll be ready to finish them when I get them back.
Purple binding for Rachel's quilt.
I don't have too much more quilty stuff to share with you at this time. I've made some pillowcases, a quilt back for Sam's quilt, and today I machine quilted some large squares on some camouflage print fabric that will become a tote bag.

My favorite candy has returned early to the stores. All hail the Cadbury Egg (the big ones with the goo inside, not the tiny ones). I keep an eagle eye out for these and found them a few weeks ago at the super market, in front of the Valentine's Day candy!
I do have photos from our early January Sunday Brown Bagger's holiday party as well as our recent MLK Quilt Weekend, which I promise to share soon, if I can stay awake long enough to write a post!

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Resolutions to Keep

A belated welcome to 2016. I'm looking forward to a great year. 2015 was one of the worst years that I've experienced in my life, both personally and professionally. I can only thank my wonderful husband, loving family and fabulous friends for helping me get through it. Hat's off to 2016!


This is my mantra for 2016. I'm not going to get consumed with quilting deadlines. Quilting is my hobby and it needs to be fun. I love to sew, it's been a passion of mine since I was in elementary school. Deadlines are for my real life, for my job that pays the bills and supports my hobby. I'm going to do what I want, went I want and make quilts for whomever I want.

Which segues nicely into the one resolution that I'm making, that I am guaranteed to keep. I'm going to buy fabric whenever I feel like it. Because buying fabric makes me happy.

These three huge bags of fabric came home with me last week. It's part of my extensive fabric rehabilitation project. I rescue fabric from a lonely life on the shelf at the fabric store and bring it home to my house for a happy ever after. I scored big at Sewphisticated last week, visiting two out of their three locations. Almost all of the fabric in these bags came from the remnant table at $2.49 a yard. How could I leave it there?

Want a peek?
This lovely floral came home from the Dorchester location with me on Tuesday. I scored six yards at $2.49 a yard. Would you leave it there? Originally I thought I might make some pillowcases, but almost in a dream the fabric told me that it wanted to go on the back of Rachel's horse quilt, Purple Neigh. Purple Neigh just needs some outer borders and it is ready to be sent out for quilting.
I also bought several yards of this lovely print on Saturday at the Framingham location. Marion and I had a fabric shopping day and we also met the lovely Miss Linda B. for lunch. I think it may go on the back of my Valentine Yellow Brick Road.
I had seen the Barbie fabric at the Dorchester location on Tuesday but managed to pass it up, at least then. But finding it on the remnant table on Saturday at the Framingham location was a sign that it was meant to be. Ironically, I also found the perfect fabric for the accent piece, but I bought it at full price at $3.99 a yard.
This will be a pillowcase for my best 6-year old gal pal, Lily.
And then there was the fabric that I bought from the people standing next to me in line. Ever done that? Luckily, they were only buying a yard to make a pillow. It is pre-quilted. This was $10 a yard. Every time I look at this fabric I find something new. The zany colors and patterns make me smile. There are large flowers and a giraffe (not seen here) and lots of zebra stripes. I didn't even see the birds in the print until I took this photo. I am going to use this fabric to make a jacket. It will certainly liven things up at my office!
Oh baby! My co-workers will need their sunglasses when I wear this!
Also in the three bags and not shown here deliberately: some fabric for my friend Lee Anna (not from the remnant table) and some adorable food fabric for my friend Sue. And I may also have purchased some fabric on Etsy too...

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Day of Arts and Crafts

Today was spent doing arts and crafts. This morning Marion and I took a silk painting class at the Batik Art Studio in Newton Center. We each painted a scarf using a cold batik method. Picasso need not worry, his spot in art history is safe, but we both had a good time.

Since neither of us can draw, we took advantage of some large foam stencils that the teacher offered. You start by tracing your shape with a disappearing marker, the same kind that we use in quilting.
Marion chose a flower.
I chose an octopus.
I attempted to draw some starfish but they didn't quite come out... luckily the ink will disappear!
Once you have your fabric marked, you affix it to a frame and then you trace your outline with a chemical resist. Then you get to paint.
Marion's scarf in progress.
My octopus in progress.
Marion's final flower. She opted to keep her background white.
I've got a heavy hand with paint and couldn't resist covering the entire surface of my scarf with color.
The painting part was fun because as soon as you put your brush to the silk, the dye flows like magic. It is "stopped" by the chemical resist. The final step is to steam the scarf for 40 minutes over boiling water and then to wash it. I will hopefully do that sometime this week. I'm curious to see what the final colors look like.

I was energized by the class and I decided to do some sewing when I got home. I finished seven projects! Before you get jealous, it was five pillowcases and two boxy pouches, and all of them were in progress. But I was thrilled to spend some time in my Studio and to have something to show for it.
Two Christmas penguin pillowcases for the divine Miss Linda B. and three pillowcases for our (mine and Marion's) Etsy Shop.
The infamous Boxy Pouch. Original size on the right and super size on the left (cut your fabric 10x12 instead of 8x10).
Before you go, you should check out the other people's work from our scarf class today. Several of the other ladies (there were eight of us in total) could actually paint and did some more intricate work (not requiring the foam stencils!).

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,