Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Pugtastic Tuesday: Pug Mugs

Before we get to Pugtastic Tuesday, I need to wish my good friend Marion a Happy Birthday. Marion and I have been friends for well over 25 years. It is a rare and wonderful gift to have a friend who always wants to eat Chinese food and ice cream, as well as visit the fabric store or just come over and sew.
Happy Birthday Marion! And many more!
Today I show off my collection of pug mugs. I have enough for a small tea party of fellow pug lovers.
I have two of these mugs. I bought one and a friend (Carol? Eleanor?) bought me the second one. Due to the shape of the top with the indented pug ears, it's impossible to drink out of, but it's great for pens. I have one on my desk at my office and one at home on our kitchen counter.
These mugs were both gifts. The one on the left came from my friend Anna. I asked her if she had it custom made, but she actually found it in a store. The pretty green mug was given to me by another friend, I can't remember which one!
I have three of these mugs (two of the one on the left, the duplicate is kept at my office). The smaller versions were gifted to me by my friends Eleanor and Carol. My friend and fellow Brown Bag quilter, Sally, gave me the super-sized version on the right.
This image is reproduced from our holiday card the year we adopted LarryPug. Mike designed it as the cover of Time magazine. If you can't read the caption, it says, "And Larry makes three... Is it hoarding or is it rescue?"
 Here are my sweet pug boys to wish you a very Pugtastic Tuesday!
Tic tac toe, three pugs in a row. I only had to take four photos to get this image with all of the pugs facing me with their eyes open. They lined up all by themselves. I was eating dinner and they were hoping for a handout. Elvis in front, Caesar in the middle and LarryPug is the caboose.
 Here are two cute pug photos that my husband Mike took recently.
Mike and I take endless photos of the pugs sleeping together. Probably because they're so darn cute.
Love, love, love these squishy faces. LarryPug on the left and Caesar on the right. One day, these two boys will be friends.
Hope your Tuesday is just PUGTASTIC!! Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Your vote counts! Help choose Baby Ava's quilt.

Nothing exciting occurred in the quilt studio this weekend. I worked on three fleece blankets that I layered a couple of weeks ago. The blankets were hogging a majority of my pins and I needed them back. So all three blankets (two different Star Trek designs and a music design) have been assembled and the pins are back in my pincushion. Now I just need to turn them right side out and top stitch around the outside edges.

The intrepid Brown Bag quilters are venturing to a new location this weekend for our annual February quilt retreat. We've been going to the Cape Point Inn in Cape Cod for more than 20 years but it is closed for renovation -- we only found out two weeks before we were supposed to go! We are trying a new location in Rhode Island. Same driving distance as the Cape but in a different direction. We'll get to check out some new quilt stores and restaurants.

So far, I've decided on two projects to take with me. The first is my purple batik sweatshirt. I started this project in a class that I took with Joannie back in December of 2015 and I can find no evidence that I've ever shared it with you in my blog. If you can find it, let me know.

The second project is my Swoon quilt blocks. Apparently, I last worked on them a year ago. I haven't quite found the project box. Yet...
Last seen in my blog one year ago...
For a third project, I am going to start a baby quilt for my friend Maria who works at Sewphisticated. She had a baby girl named Ava in December. I routed through some different options in my abyss of a sewing room. Here are my three choices:
I hate brown. This block just makes me say "blerghhhh..."
  1. Resuscitate Lily's ugly owl quilt, a disappearing 9-patch in flannel, shown above. Pros: I have nine finished blocks, which would make a decent size baby quilt. I just have to sew them together. Cons: Problem is, I still think these blocks are ugly. I ended up making Lily a different quilt.
  2. Use the "girl-themed" charm squares left over from when I made Logan's quilt. Pros: the charm squares are cut and ready to be sewn. Cons: I'd have to spend some time putting some sashing around them.
  3. Start a new baby quilt with some cute cupcake fabric found at Nancy's House of Fabric, aka my Stash, shown below. I have some pretty pink and aqua fabric to go with it. Pros: I can knock this out quickly, using my favorite baby quilt pattern of a four patch alternating with a plain patch. Cons: I'm starting from scratch, but at least I'd like what I'd be making...
Pretty fabrics all found in my stash...
Now is the time to cast your vote. Which baby quilt should I make for Ava?
  1.  Flannel disappearing 9-patch
  2. Conversation charm square quilt
  3. Cupcake quilt
Linking up on Tuesday to Freemotion by the River. Thanks for visiting! You need to vote by Wednesday so I can pack the car.

Pugs and kisses,

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Winter Table Runner for Dianne

After my friend Dianne's Mom passed away, she asked me to finish a couple of quilt projects for her. One of them is the turquoise Irish Chain shown in a previous post. The other was a simple table runner. It was just a solid piece of fabric, layered with fleece and backed in a solid green. I believe that Dianne's Mom had intended just to do a flip and turn, but Dianne requested that I quilt it.
Here is Dianne with her new table runner.
I wasn't sure what to mark the white fabric with so I turned to my friendly blog readers for suggestions. Several people recommended marking the lines with blue painters tape (you can buy this at any hardware store). I've done this before and it works well. Simply put the tape down and use it as a guide. Sew next to the tape, not through it. It peels right off.
I started by marking lines six inches apart (the width of my ruler). I stitched the lines using my walking foot.
Here's another view.
Naturally six inches apart was just too big, so I added another line in between, making the quilting lines three inches apart. I had always planned to quilt in both directions, but instead of quilting in a square pattern, when I added the vertical lines, I moved the ruler to a 45 degree angle and made diamonds. I think they look nice.
This is the front.
You can see the diamonds more easily on the reverse side.
Finishing the table runner, late at night, it was time to hit the stash for the perfect binding fabric. Down in the basement to my deep, dark Stash, I found the perfect piece of plain, dark green, almost an exact match for the backing fabric from Dianne's Mom. I rarely buy solids and I know that this piece of fabric is more than 20 years old because I bought it on a shopping trip as part of a scrap bag with my friend Sandie before she had her daughter (who has graduated from college). This just goes to prove that you can never have too much fabric!
Here is the table runner in Dianne's dining room. You may recall that I made her a pink table runner in 2016, shown here. Dianne is selling her house so she painted the dining room a neutral color for resale purposes.
Thanks for visiting.

Pugs and kisses,

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Pugtastic Tuesday: Pug Socks!

What better to follow Pug Shoes than Pug Socks? Welcome to Pugtastic Tuesday, a series I introduced two weeks ago, which may run forever or until I run out of pug-themed items to share with you. Please note, that unless I specify otherwise, all items live in my house along with my three real pugs, Elvis, age 15, LarryPug, age 8 and Caesar, age 4, plus my husband aka Pug Daddy, Mike.

My friends and family like to buy me pug socks. I found nine pairs of pug socks when I opened my sock drawer.
Here are some that I've owned for a while. I like the pink socks because pink is one of my favorite colors and this design has both fawn pugs and black pugs on them.
Joannie gave me these for Chanukah last year. She thought it would be cute if I wore one black pug and one fawn pug sock. I haven't worn them yet.
I think that both pair shown here were also gifts.
This year's holiday gifts. My sister-in-law bought me the pink ones, so now I have a back-up pair. My boss bought me the coral colored pair.

In which LarryPug and Caesar decide that Elvis makes a swell pillow...
Keeping Mommy company while she works from home.
This is Gracie. She is Caesar's girlfriend (although she likes to kiss Elvis too). Gracie is a beagle/dachshund mix and she lives on our street. She is new to the neighborhood.
Have a Pugtastic Tuesday! Thanks for visiting! Here is the introductory post if you missed it.

Pugs and kisses,

Friday, January 19, 2018

Construction Notes on the City Zipper Bag

Here are some notes from the making of Anna's bag. This is the City Zipper by Quilts Illustrated. Overall, I loved this pattern and will make it again.
Here I am with my beautiful friend Anna and her new bag.
The first time I make a pattern, I generally try to follow the directions as written. I do take notes as I go, especially if I change things. I've used patterns from Quilts Illustrated before and they are well written and easy to follow. This bag is very similar to their pattern, the Chubby Charmer, which I make often.
Anna put her bag to use immediately. She was able to shove a ton of stuff into her new bag, including her laptop!
My first change was to use one solid piece of fabric for the outside of the bag rather than assemble patchwork. I didn't use fusible fleece, I used cotton batting. I put two layers of batting for the outer bag and one layer of batting inside the lining. I also added a decorative strip of fabric to the top of the bag. I forgot about it when I cut the batting, so there is only one layer of batting in that section, instead of three. That's just an accident, not a design choice.

Don't be afraid of the zipper. This is one of the easiest zipper insertions ever. I used my edge stitch foot (number 5 foot on my Bernina) to do the stitching on the zipper tabs and the straps and I used a zipper foot to insert the zipper. I used a walking foot for the rest of the construction. The zipper in this bag is optional.
The pattern included instructions for the zipper tabs too.
The pattern calls for a 22" or a 24" zipper. I used a 22" zipper, but I will definitely get at least a 24" zipper or longer. Next time I make this pattern I will use a sports zipper because it's heavier and I'm sure this bag will get open and closed often.  I think I'd like a separating zipper as well, but would have to modify the zipper tabs to accommodate it.

The pattern calls for the handles to be 22" long. This would make it a purse strap length. I made the handles 28" long. I wanted them to fit over Anna's shoulder (see her picture at the top). The handles have a neat design feature using four 1" rectangular rings. I actually had some rings in my Stash, so I used them. I only used one layer of batting in the handles so they wouldn't be too thick.

Attaching the handle.
Edge-stitching the handles. I love flat flower head pins. They are sharp and fine. They are especially sharp when you stick them in your finger by accident.
I personalized the bag with my label and I also added a cute tag that I bought in the scrap booking section of Joann Fabrics. My friend Lee Anna taught me to look there for cute items to use in wall quilts and bags.
I purchased my name labels on Etsy several years ago. The seller I purchased them from is no longer listed.
I had an epiphany and I glued the metal tag down so it wouldn't move before I sewed it.
I roughly timed my efforts and it took me about 20 hours to make the bag. Let me know if you found my construction notes post helpful. Hopefully I will remember to re-read it before I make my next City Zipper bag!

Linking up with Freemotion by the River. Thanks for visiting.

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

My MLK Mitzvah Weekend!

Here are some of my projects from the MLK Quilt Weekend.

I made two blocks for the Ventura Quilt Guild project. My Brown Bagger quilt buddies were all eager to help and by the end of the weekend, we had made 20 blocks. They are easy and quick to sew. Please consider making some too. You can find this Thomas Fire Relief 12-inch block design at the Ventura Quilt Guild HERE. 
Here are some of our blocks.
They look good in every type of fabric. The girls had fun playing with the different layouts.
We also made lots and lots of pet pillows that will be donated to our local animal shelter. Sandie, Marion and Kim each brought three completed pillows, plus two more empty pillows to be stuffed. One of Marion's sewing friends had donated a huge bag full of upholstery fabric, so Emma and I cut out seven more dog beds. After my best helper Emma finished stuffing all the pillows that Sandie, Marion and Kim had brought, we drove back to my house where she got to visit the pug petting zoo (Caesar gave her lots and lots of kisses) and we filled my car with the extra bags of stuffing that was taking over my garage. I hadn't expected that we would get to make so many pillows! Thanks also to Joanne S. (Emma's Aunt) and Kim P. who helped me sew pillows to keep up with Emma's rapid stuffing efforts!
When we were done, the back seat of my car was full with 18 new pet pillows.
Emma rides to the rescue with the extra bags of stuffing.
This quilt is for my friend Dianne. I've layered it with a piece of fleece for the back to make it extra cozy. I'm going to quilt it myself with just a simple stitch in the ditch.
My friend Dianne's Mom passed away this summer. Dianne is an avid crafter and her Mom was too. Dianne asked if I would finish a couple of sewing projects for her. The quilt you see above was still in a bag with the extra fabric, the book and some unsewn pieces. She had completed the center of the quilt. The pattern is Eleanor Burns' Triple Irish Chain from Quilt in a Day. This weekend I added the two borders. I managed to find something at Fabric Place that coordinated with the fabrics that Dianne's Mom had purchased back in 1996 (yes, receipt was still in the bag...) for the outer border to make the quilt a little bigger.
Here are the two birthday blocks I made for Marion. She asked for jewel tone batiks so I chose sapphire and emerald.
Marion nicknamed it my Mitzvah Weekend. In case you don't have any Jewish friends, a mitzvah is a good deed or act of charity. While I feel that I didn't accomplish much, Marion thoughtfully pointed out that most of my efforts were for charity and that I should be proud of what I had done. (The back story: last week while I was away on a business trip, my Mom fell and broke her arm in two places as well as cutting her knee so badly that they casted it and put it in an immobilizer. Most of my quilting time was spent talking on the phone to my two brothers, my two sister-in-laws and my Mom... We are all spread out geographically and trying to figure out how to best help my parents. Thankfully, my youngest sister-in-law was able to hop on a plane at a moment's notice to help out my Dad.) We are heading to Florida tomorrow.
I assembled fleeece "office blankies" at our January Sunday meeting and I top-stitched them on Monday evening so I could bring them to work. They are belated holiday gifts for my three coworkers, Dianne, Julie, and Lauren (not pictured) who are always complaining that they are cold! All fabric came from my Stash. Dianne has hearts (this fabric has been with me for so long, I forgot what I was making with it; Julie has leopard print, which I bought specifically last fall to make her a blankie; and Lauren (not pictured) has llamas on a lavender background that I bought at the end of 2016 to make for someone's 6-year old (I made them something else).
My dog walker sent me this adorable photo of Elvis today. She bundled him up warmly to take him for a walk. He has two coats on and three blankets. The fringe from the blanket looks like a fright wig!
Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Pugtastic Tuesday: Pug Shoes!

Isn't this little girl pug just the sweetest thing?
Welcome to the second edition of Pugtastic Tuesday. If you missed the introductory post, you can find it here.

Part of the fun of pug ownership is dressing up your pugs. The pug boys have Halloween costumes as well as coats for all types of New England weather. My thought is if I'm cold, they're probably cold too. And who wants to get wet when you walk outside in the rain? The two things that the pug boys balk at wearing are headgear and footwear. Even Romeo, who was the gentlest of souls, wanted to bite my hands off when I tried to put boots on his feet to protect them from road salt in the winter.

This week, I'll share some of my pug shoes. I bought my first pair of pug decorated shoes on eBay about 15 years ago. They were sky high platform wedges and someone had painted pugs on the front of them and along the platform sides. I couldn't actually walk in them, but they were very good looking. Eventually, I donated them to Goodwill.

I purchased the first two pair of sneakers below from websites I found through Facebook. These sneakers are made in China. The quality is decent and I enjoy wearing them although they are not suitable for long distance running or scaling a mountain (fortunately I rarely do either). Be aware that sometimes these manufacturers are unscrupulous and steal artwork. If I recognize the artist I always reach out and ask if they've licensed their designs before buying the shoes.
Don't mess with my blue pug sneakers!
My pink pug slip-ons are quite droll.
I made these sneakers on the Keds' custom website a long time ago (before LarryPug). They feature photos of Romeo and Elvis. Keds no longer offers this service but just search for custom photo sneakers and you'll find several places that offer this service.  Sadly, these are a little too small for me, but I'll never get rid of them.
No shoes for us! Here are the handsome Caesar and LarryPug (in purple) posing together in a rare moment of mutual understanding. I definitely need to get my hardwood floors refinished. After 16 years of pug racing, they have taken a beating! I will never tire of Caesar's little snaggle tooth grin.
This is my little neighbor Damian who came by to visit the pugs. Elvis is his favorite. Damian is 7, so Elvis is more than twice his age!
If want to join me and you have a pet themed collection of your own, I'm happy to link to your blog at the end of my post. Just send me an email at PugMomQuilts (@ gmail.com).

Hope your Tuesday was Pugtastic! Thanks for visiting.

Pugs and kisses,

Monday, January 15, 2018

2018 Brown Bagger MLK Quilt Weekend

First finish of the year for the talented Kim P.
Here's the back of Kim's quilt so you can see her very fabulous machine quilting. She used lime green thread. Kim is an award-winning quilter who has exhibited her quilts at the Vermont Quilt Festival and in the Hoffman Quilt Challenge.
Another lovely MLK quilt weekend has come to a close. We've all lost track, but we've probably been doing this for at least 20 years. We held a birthday party for Marion, hosted a black and white fabric RLC, and held our overdue holiday fabric swap. We were thrilled that our favorite junior Brown Bagger, Emma, age 11 joined us. Wendy sewed with us this weekend and we were also visited briefly by Cordula who came by to layer a quilt. Sending get well wishes to Pat and Lori who were still sick and couldn't join us.
Marion, at right, completed this lovely lap quilt. She is assisted by Sue in this photo.
Here are some of the blocks that Marion received for her birthday.
Here is Kim G. with the top of her Broken Dishes quilt.
Emma finished this cute reversible fleece blanket for her dog Wags.
Since Emma got a new dog, Ginger, for Christmas she made a new blanket for Wags so he wouldn't feel left out.
Come back tomorrow for Pugtastic Tuesday. I will have more later this week on my own projects from the MLK Weekend plus I will eventually get to writing the review of making Anna's bag.

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,