Saturday, October 21, 2017

Back from Outer Space

Sorry, I've been a little tied up lately...
I've been posting sporadically for the last few months and I hope that this post marks the return of a more regular schedule. Since May I have been working on four major projects for my real life job and they are finally nearing completion. These projects sucked the life out of me. Most of the summer I would come home late from work (usually the last one out of the parking lot, except for the cleaning people), eat dinner and go to bed. On the weekends, I did laundry and napped. I barely touched my sewing machine or my beading projects. I apologize to my lovely husband, family and friends who put up with a very grumpy and depressed PugMom for far too long. Ironically, the less I wrote, the more followers joined my blog...

Here's a few highlights to get you caught up.
On August 5th, Caesar joined our family. He is four years old. We adopted him through New England Pug Rescue (PRONE).
On October 2nd, Elvis had a big birthday!
He turned 15, which is 105 in dog years. And yes, we had a party for him!
I got to meet Natalia (JMag) who appeared on Project Runway Season 15. She was did a lecture for Marion's sewing guild at the Framingham Public Library. She was just delightful. We got to check out a rack of her hand-made clothing items. She also shared some of the Project Runway behind the scenes dirt with us...
I've finally started sewing again. I'm making a quilt out of my birthday blocks.
Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Brown Bagger Babies

I have been remiss in sharing the latest crop of Brown Bagger grandbabies. Today, we'll show off the 2016 models.

This is Rex. He is Kim G.'s grandson. He is a very happy little guy!
This is a recent photo.
In this photo, Rex is a little younger, but I thought everyone would enjoy seeing some of Kim's beautiful quilts.
This is Madison. She is Terri's granddaughter. Terri is bringing her to our Brown Bagger meeting today, so hopefully I can get a picture where she is awake.
Sleeping beauty!
The 2017 models are just in! On July 27th, Eden Lee was born. She is Debbie's first grandaughter. And on Thursday, August 10th, Ryan Michael was born. He is Sue's third grandbaby, and second grandson. Congratulations Grandma Debbie and Grandma Sue! Hopefully I'll get some pictures soon.

No word on any pending 2018 models yet, but Joan S.'s son got married in May, so who knows...

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

I had a dream...

The other night I had a funny dream. In my dream, I promised my husband Mike that I would finish 100 craft projects using my existing Stash before I bought anything new. I was relieved to wake up since I had plans to go fabric shopping with Marion on Saturday.

This is a true story. I'm wondering if I should use my dream as an inspiration for a challenge...

What do you think?

Thanks for visiting.

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

Monday, July 31, 2017

Taking Val's Piggy Bank Challenge again!

Just wanted to drop by and let you know that I am taking Val's Piggy Bank Challenge again. My "piggy" is actually a bear!

This past month, I emptied my Bear and took my savings to the Coinstar machine at my local supermarket. If you exchange your coins for a gift card, there is no charge to sort them. So it was a no-brainer to get an Amazon gift card.

I then used my Amazon gift card to buy myself some gold sandals because a girl can never have too many shoes or too much fabric!

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy


Sunday, July 16, 2017

What's New Pussycat? A Quilt for Angie

Angie turned 5 last month. She wanted a quilt for her big girl bed. She loves cats and the color red.
Here is the finished quilt.
When in doubt, I always turn to Yellow Brick Road which is my TNT (tried 'n true) pattern. It goes together quickly and allows me to use a myriad of fabrics, patterns and colors. I had been collecting cat fabrics for Angie but as usual, I had collected more cat fabric than I could possibly need...

I think that little kid quilts should have lots and lots of colors and patterns to look at. The quilt looks a little garish in photographs, but I think it will be a hit with Angie. The quilt is en route to Oregon, and I'm waiting to hear how she likes it.

Here's a close-up of some of the cat fabrics. Most of the red fabrics are ancient fat quarters from my Stash.
I use some large pieces of cat fabric on the back. There is more feline fabric left over so Angie will definitely be getting some kitty cat pillowcases soon.
The quilt was machine quilted by my friend Val. She even did a kitty cat pantograph.

Here is Angie's baby quilt which I made in 2012 which was the year that I started blogging.

Thanks for visiting.

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

Monday, July 10, 2017

Sandie's Scraptastic Star Quilt

Sandie finished her Scraptastic Star Quilt yesterday at our July Brown Baggers Meeting. It is her own design. No scrap is too small! It is for her baby niece in Idaho.
Sandie was my first friend when I moved here in 1992. We met at a quilt retreat. I didn't know a soul and Sandie walked right up to me and asked me to go to lunch with her. That was the weekend I learned that you could buy fabric without any project in mind and you didn't have to wait until your current project was finished... the rest is history! (Or herstory!)

Sandie can be found at The Lone Quilter. Although we are happy to report that she has rejoined her Brown Bagger buddies, so she is alone no more.

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Showing Off Joannie's Latest T-shirt Quilt

Joannie has finished her latest t-shirt quilt commission! As usual, it is magnificent!

Below are some close-up shots of her work. Joannie doesn't settle for plain, old ordinary sashing. No, she uses tiny half square triangles, flying geese and pieced strips. We counted and think there are 38 t-shirts in this quilt. It is a gift for a recent graduate who has moved to Arizona. His Mom cried when Joannie gave her the quilt. Our friend Terri did the beautiful all over machine quilting on her long arm, using a free hand puzzle meander design with gold thread.
Hats off to Joannie! Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

Friday, July 7, 2017

If This Quilt Could Talk...Presenting Logan's Quilt

Sometimes it's not the pattern, but the fabrics that make the quilt. Last summer my friend Val hosted an I Spy fabric swap. I signed up for two spots and in the end I received 400 different four-inch squares. While I have plenty of novelty print fabrics in my own stash, it was so much fun to swap with other quilters and receive new-to-me fabrics, many of which I had never seen before.
Held by two of my favorite quilt holders, co-workers, Julie and Lauren.
Here are a few close-ups of some of the fabrics in the quilt. I used the I Spy squares to make the 4-patches plus added fabrics of my own as the large alternating squares. This quilt includes fabrics from my stash that are over 20 years old, to brand new fabrics that I bought on my trip to the Missouri Star Quilt Company, plus a few scraps from the dog bed pile (thank you Kim G. for the Minion donation).
I spy pigs, pie, pencils, ostriches, trains, mushrooms, popcorn and taxis.
More mushrooms, hockey skates, frogs, crayons and winter hats!
Every time I look at this quilt I see something new. There are fabrics in here from baby quilts and pillowcases that I made for my niece Rachel (turning 20 next month), and my nephew Ben (almost 6 feet tall at 15), as well as fabric from my Mom's 75th birthday quilt and some chicken fabric that my Mom brought me back from Pennsylvania Dutch Country more than 20 years ago (yes Mom, I finally used it).

Quilt Stats: This is just a simple 4-patch block alternating with a plain patch. There are 49 4-patches (196 fabrics) plus 50 plain patches which comes out to 246 different fabrics. I set it 9x11. It was meant to be twin size, but it's very large. I'll come back and add specific measurements because I know that someone is going to ask...

This quilt is for my darling Logan who will turn 4 this month. He is my friend Anna's little boy. He calls me "Aunt Fancy Nancy." Naturally I have lots of leftover charm squares and I plan to make one for Logan's little brother Cameron as well as one for Baby Nate.

In homage to my friend Marion, I also pieced the back and inadvertently made a reversible quilt.
There are 13 more fabrics on the back of the quilt, including some really old Debbie Mumm prints from when I learned to quilt back in the late 1980s.
This quilt owes a lot to my blogging friend Val who organized the fabric swap, quilted my quilt and also hosted the piggy bank challenge that I used to pay for her quilting services. Thanks Val!
Beautifully quilted with all types of transportation: cars, trucks, helicopters and airplanes.
Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, TGIFF, Needle and Thread Thursday and Crazy Mom Quilts. Linking up on Wednesday to Let's Bee Social.

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th!

I have a patriotic pedicure!

And a new pug flag for my garden! Elvis loves it, he think it looks just like him. LarryPug is not impressed...
Sadly, my wardrobe is lacking and I do not own a Pug-themed 4th of July t-shirt. Nor do I have any patriotic quilts, although I do have patriotic place mats made by my friend Joannie, aka the place mat queen.

Have a great 4th of July!

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

Monday, May 22, 2017

In the Garden of Beadin'

I haven't told you about my newest hobby yet... A few weeks ago during our annual Berkshires quilting retreat, Marion and I took a private bead weaving class at Yummy Treasures in Pittsfield. Last year we took a wire-wrapping class there and made pendants, so we were eager to try something new. Originally we were going to take a kumihimo braiding class, but ended up taking bead weaving instead.

We left the store with finished bracelets!
Marion's bracelet is lavender and mine is dark purple.
The bracelets are strung with a beading needle and made using nylon thread, seed beads, and crystals. It took us about three hours to make our first ones shown above. I thought it was great fun and bought some beads to make another.
This is my second bracelet in progress.
Although I love black and pink, I don't like this. It reminds me of a giant caterpillar and that's all I can see when I look at it. I'm going to take it apart and remake it in different beads. Right now I'm planning to make it royal blue and black.

Before we left the Berkshires, we made a second visit to Yummy Treasures and bought some more beads. On Saturday, Marion and I got together and worked on bracelets together with our beads from Yummy Treasures.
Here is Marion's second bracelet!
This time it only took us about two hours, now that we know the technique. Marion and I love all the same colors, so I definitely need to make a turquoise bracelet and a lavender bracelet too!

Sadly, I didn't have enough beads to finish my bracelet in progress, shown below.
Love, love, love this! The name of the beads is Water Lilies.
Of course, this necessitated a trip to find our local bead store! Who am I kidding, we were going to check it out anyways!
Happily for us, Bead Addiction is right down the road from one of favorite Chinese restaurants as well as one of our favorite quilt shops, All About Quilts. A Marion and Nancy trifecta (or perhaps a Bermuda Triangle for my VISA card).
Sadly, they didn't have the beads that I needed for my project. So Marion and I bought some new beads and signed up for a class.
Here is my newest bracelet in progress. I think it is going to be a gift for my youngest sister-in-law. I've sent her a photo to see if she likes it.
This morning I couldn't sleep so I got up at 5:30 a.m. I was hoping to work on my new beading project but our printer was out of ink and I couldn't print out my pattern. When Mike got up several hours later, he printed it out for me. We spent part of our day working in the yard and then we went to the garden center. Mike bought a variety of heirloom tomato plants and I got some perennials. When we got home, I was tired and I ended up taking a 3 hour nap, which resulted in me being wide awake at 9pm (normally I'm winding down and thinking about going to bed), so instead, I went over to my Studio and worked on my bracelet for two hours.

It's midnight so now I'm going to force myself to go to bed since I have to get up for work tomorrow!

Hope you like my bracelets. I've already promised to make some for my friends Kat, Colette and Mary Kate, so there will definitely be more for you to see.

Don't worry, I haven't stopped quilting!

Thanks for visiting.

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

P.S. My new friend Beth at Yummy Treasures was happy to mail me more beads to finish my bracelet.

P.P.S. My friend Kim G. has warned me that beading can be as addictive as quilting! I think it's too late...




Thursday, May 18, 2017

One Million Pillowcases

On Tuesday, as part of Voya's National Day of Service, my co-workers and I made 38 pillowcases that will be donated to Boston Children's Hospital as well as nine pet pillows that will be donated to a local animal shelter.
My friend Sue came to my office and helped me run the event! We had over 15 volunteers and used two conference rooms so there was a lot of running back and forth!
Here are some of my intrepid volunteers.
Showing off our finished work!
At the end of the day, Julia and I are tired but very proud of all of the finished pillowcases!
Before the big day, I had pre-cut 38 pillowcases and my friend Carol had cut another 20. This way, when people showed up, we could hand them something ready to sew. What surprised me the most was how many non-sewers wanted to participate in our event. We gave them some pinning and pressing lessons and they prepped as we sewed. Overall we had seven sewers and an army of pinners. I'm sorry I didn't get any photos of my pinning crew, they were really great!

Scenes from the workroom. From front, Jodi, Kathy, Julia and Lauren
From left (clockwise), Sue, Lauren, Lorraine, Carol, Jodi, Kathy and Julia
This is my sweet co-worker Lauren. We sit next to each other at the office. She is 26. We have a lot of fun together.
Here are our finished pet pillows. My Brown Bagger quilting buddies save all their fabric scraps for me and my garage was overflowing with their donations. My army of volunteers stuffed them in about half an hour and asked for more!
Everyone had a good time participating and they are already talking about signing up for next year! Guess I better start cutting some more fabric!

Linking up with:
Midweek Makers
Wednesday Weight Loss
Needle and Thread Thursday
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop
Finished or Not Friday
Quilting is more fun than housework hosting for TGIFF

Thanks for visiting!

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I took the Crayon Challenge

My friend Kim P. issued a Crayon Challenge to our quilt group. We each got to pull two crayons out of a paper bag and we were to make a quilt using those colors. Kim allowed us to add any other colors that we wanted, as long as the two colors we selected were dominant in our project.

We held our "reveal" last month and it was a great show!

The challenge pieces were presented anonymously by number and judged by a panel that included Caroline (Kim and Karen's Mom), our friend Jim, who works at the hotel where we meet and is a talented artist, and several of Caroline's fellow quilting friends in Florida. Jim even brought in additional hotel staffers and guests to see our show.

All photos provided by Kim P.
Kim P: I modified Karen's Pin Showcase pattern. I used the Accuquilt cutter for the circles and Karen's lesson on how to make two-color binding.
Karen created an original design, Tumbling Cats, and you can purchase it here.

Pat made this adorable Christmas pillow complete with pom pom trim!
Marion's table runner was awarded first prize by Caroline and her quilting friends.
Sally made these adorable coasters.
Sandie: My daughter Emma inspired these. She's an art major and I gave her this challenge. She "taught" me the Fibonacci sequence  and I made it. She designed the quilting design on the white one. I was on my own for the sea green, thus the straight lines. These were actually from 2 different challenges and I figure I'll just keep going Fibonacci for all challenges.
Debbie's wall hanging is the Bunny Bait pattern by Patchabilities. My Pug Boys also love carrots, so I could make one and call it Pug Bait!
Valerie went outside the box and made a fabric wrapped bowl and plate.
Nancy D. made this cute little mug rug.
PugMom Quilts: Of course I got orange and beige! So I made a funky orange place mat with a pug on it. The pug is faux suede and I quilted my place mat with a double needle. One day, I'll finish the companion place mat and add the binding to both.
Joannie made this beautiful quilted bag to carry her gym accessories. I assumed that she had purchased it at Vera Bradley until she told me that she had made it for the crayon challenge. Pattern is the Professional Tote.
Lori: I'm really into this hexagon trend. So I thought I'd do that for the challenge. I was just going to do three flower hexagons (the three "burnt sienna" ones and then make stems out of the "green yellow," but I got carried away and it became a flower pot of flowers.
Kim G: My goal was to make four panels: two with wisteria backgrounds, two with royal purple backgrounds. After making one tree, I knew it was time to move on and call it a day!
Thanks for visiting! Have you ever done a crayon challenge? Which one of our pieces is your favorite?

Linking up with:
Midweek Makers
Wednesday Weight Loss
Needle and Thread Thursday
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop
Finished or Not Friday
Quilting is more fun than housework hosting for TGIFF 

Pugs and kisses,
Nancy