December 15, 2006

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

I do know when I'll be back again...January 6!! Here are some of my little ornaments. I found the perfect wired trim to make life easier rather than beading them all! People seemed happy with them... I've got my pay it forward swap blocks mostly done, so look in your mailbox soon!

I have a feeling that I will be posting a few purchases from the States, so you might be hearing from me soon enough!

Have a Merry Christmas! (just in case I actually don't make it back to post by then!) Posted by Picasa

December 12, 2006

Moving Along...

I've been working on some Christmas project lately...scrappy strippy Christmas tree ornaments (I plan to add some bead garland to them to make them a bit more interesting) and my Dear Jane block ornaments for the pay it forward swap!
If you are on my pay it forward swap list and would prefer a tree ornament instead, let me know...

I managed to finish one of each ornament... my hand applique and quilting aren't perfect, but that just makes them have more character, right?? I hope my swappers and friends like them !

I also got some more blocks done on the ocean waves in my "spare time", lol.
And a hat for my dad for Christmas, got to love that knitting ring being able to do a hat in a few hours!!

We bought a "new" used car this week, a Citroen Xsara Picasso mini van...yup a proper momma shuttling car, lol! No more foggy window fiascos, cars that stop running in the rain (which we seem to get a lot here in Ireland, hehe). Might help with all the suitcases and boxes that I plan to return with from the States (we have4 full fares = 8 suitcases allowance, lol, not that we'll use all of that!)

Can't wait to get to Oregon, not looking forward to the long trip with 2 and 4 year olds and the 8 hour time difference adjustment, but can't wait for the visiting, shopping, food, lol!!

December 5, 2006

Productive Day!

When I woke up yesterday morning, I was thinking about Christmas presents. I hadn't thought about what to do for new friends I've made here... I decided I wanted to a little gift for the ladies in the patchwork and knitting groups, they've really helped me feel part of the community here so quickly! I will do some patchwork Christmas ornaments for them. I also decided to do a knitting needle roll for one friend who really helped include me in things here to get to know people. She just started knitting this year and loves knitting!!

I started this roll yesterday morning and got it done fairly quickly... It was based on one I saw in Stitch-n-Bitch book by Debbie Stoller, and I just used my knitting needles as a guide, very much done on the fly. I was happy to finish a Christmas project so quickly. I think I'll leave a few knitting needles in the roll as well!

I also got 8 ocean waves blocks done now. I will stop working on these till next year, as I want to focus on the Dear Jane blocks for the swap, and the patchwork ornaments, I think I'll focus on those today in between looking after a little sick girl and playing hide and seek with her crazy younger sister.

I also finished my mom's scarf for Christmas. Yesterday afternoon I pulled out a knitting ring I got in Sweden (Barbara has made a hat for her DH with one on her blog). I started late afternoon, and by the evening I had done this hat, so now mom has a hat and scarf and some slippers for Christmas this year. She is hard to buy for, and appreciates handmade gifts, so she is one of the few recipients of handmade gifts this year. My friends in Waterford, my old area, love my chocolate chip cookies, but we plan a January visit to bring those (life just flew by at the speed of light, no time for a road trip now!)

I've started reading a lot lately, finishing Round Robin and Cross Country Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini, will have to get some more in the States! I read the first one already, and find them quick fun reads, filled with interesting relationships... I also started on our January book club book, House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III. It isn't as light but is absorbing reading as well. I finished this month's book a while back: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, a book told from the view of a high functioning autistic teenage boy, very interesting to understand how an autistic person sees the world.

As well as crafting and reading I managed to get the house clean, play with kids and cook dinner, a rare day for me, non-stressful, productive day!!

November 29, 2006

Inch by Inch...

I've been making slow progress these days, but I have finished Barbara's Crazy Quilt round robin block I had been working has been posted off to the next recipient a day before the deadline, yeah!

I also started working on the Dear Jane blocks I want to hand quilt for my pay it forward swap. If they aren't done in time to be Christmas decorations, I figure they will make cute valentine ones, lol. The blue block is for Barbara's Dear Jane, I promised one a while back as a thank you for all the help she's given me since we met!

I've also started on a few ocean waves blocks for my scrappy ocean waves bed quilt. I will make this for our bed I think! I have a feeling my Dear Jane won't be on the bed for a while, lol, as hand quilting won't be speedy here with this newbie! I am using all my reproduction scraps and like the look so far.

We are really looking forward to our trip out to Oregon in a few weeks. Anyone in the Portland or Bend areas want to meet up? I am hoping to see Patti and Cher while I'm there (How is Saturday the 16th for you guys? I will be jetlagged, but that won't keep me from some quilt shops!). My parents have retired to a new house in Bend, out in the mountains, so we plan to stay in Portland at the start and end of the trip to keep mountain pass driving to a minimum...

I am starting to think about 2007 goals... I think 2 bed quilts for my own house, many wall hangings, and a focus on quilting for our family again. I still only have one of my own quilts in the house and it is in bits, fallen apart from abuse (my first quilt). I love giving quilts to friends, but they appreciate any thoughtful gift, and I want to quilt for my girls this year as well...and sew some clothes for them...make some dolls maybe... So maybe 2007 will be year of the family for sewing and knitting projects...hmmmm

November 22, 2006

Crazy Quilting Round Robin

This lovely patch is done by Barbara as part of a round robin we are doing. I am learning as I go about beading and silk ribbon embroidery. Spider webs and spiders are good luck images in crazy quilts, so lots of good luck for Barbara!! It is my first time beading and doing the silk flowers, but I am fairly happy with how they turned out. I will be putting a celtic knot motif in the white patch and doing a few more seam treatments before I call this one done. It is funny, I couldn't get into my crazy quilt class online, I just couldn't find the time, but since I can go crazy on this and not have to do things in a certain order, it was more "fun" to work on!! I plan to try to keep the spider and celtic knot motifs in each round robin I do, as a signature, if someone else hasn't done it before me.

Today is my patchwork group meeting. I will probably work on cutting out more reproduction fabrics for an apple core charm quilt I want to do, and a scrappy ocean waves quilt. Or I might bring my CQ work...hmmmm...

There is no Thanksgiving here tomorrow, but some of my American friends are hosting a Thanksgiving on Sunday. I am making American biscuits (biscuits here are cookies!) and we got together to make a few pies earlier (pecan, yummm!!! and pumpkin!!).

Hope everyone in the States has a great Thanksgiving! Posted by Picasa

November 15, 2006

Doing a Little Research

I found this manual with my "new" treadle. Singer Sewing Machine No. 99...booklet dated 1931. But when I looked up the serial number, I found the sewing machine was a No. 66K produced in Clydebank, Scotland July-December 1919. Cool bit of history. Will research on how to clean up the machine and to understand how it works... The decals are worn away in many places, but that just means it was well used right? They are faded where someone's hands would lift it out of the case. Some Irishwoman's hands before me...

I had intended to spend only an hour on this computer this afternoon. I've now spent two hours (between helping kids with various things and a few other housework breaks). Time to go play with kids, clean and get some dinner going. But I did have fun researching this... Posted by Picasa

November 14, 2006

Christmas Came Early for Me!

Aine had her birthday yesterday, and I got an early Christmas on Sunday night! I told DH I'd love a treadle sewing machine, purely as decoration, but also one that I could try my hand at at some point too, maybe try to make a small wall hanging on one.

We have an ad magazine called Buy and Sell here, which is great for getting secondhand stuff, so he typed in treadle sewing machine and found a working one not too far away. He said he better get it now, because if he let it sit, he'd forget it altogether, so he trekked out Sunday night and came home with this!

It needs a cleaning and some TLC but it works and looks well loved. I love the pincushion they fashioned around it! Any fellow treadle owners have some good tips on how to clean it up gently?

I did a bit more scrap organization and STILL have a mountain of unsorted scraps for pillow stuffing. I'm also trying to figure out what boxes baskets or drawers I want to use. I've got big baskets of neutral, brown, green and blue, good sized piles of orange/autumnal, yellow, pink, red, and purple, then I've got the troube ones which I'm just going to call "lights" and "darks". I also have my "Barbara" fabrics, lol, a stack of shabby chic soft florals which have really grown on me as I have admired the quilts she makes, lol. Of course I have my civil war repros, but they have their own 3 drawer plastic bin already!! Oh...and I have a separate novelty and brights stash for kids quilts, and some hand dyes! So many!!

If you can believe it, most of my scraps have been given to me ( I begged on Stashbuster 2 years ago and was rewarded with so many amazing envelopes of gorgeous scraps to my parents house on a trip home to the states, I've been using them ever since). I seem to only buy a fat quarter or two, and always a bolt of natural muslin when I run out...something I use a lot. I am getting better at buying more, there is such a thing as being too frugal! My entire stash of repros grew over the time I was making my Dear Jane by trading fabric and Irish goodies with fellow DJers!! For my "Frugal Jane" I think I bought the muslin and maybe 3 FQs for the entire quilt, the rest was traded. I love swapping and if anyone ever wants to do one, just let me know! Posted by Picasa

Happy Birthday Aine!

November 13, 2002, my bright beautiful Aine entered our lives. I can't believe my first born is 4 already. Time sure flies.

I'm going to try to embed a little video here of our family celebration last night for my parents and friends. Crazy kid party comes on Saturday, eek!

Quilting content will arrive later today. Please just skip over it, lol, if you don't want to hear really bad singing! Really I just wanted to see how to do this and if it works!!

November 11, 2006

Slippers and the Start of Fabric Reorganization Drive!

Here are the slippers I made along with Barbara in our cyber craft along yesterday! I bought the fabric in Sweden, I love it!

Here is most of my fabric stash, most of it is scraps! But even I can have too many scraps! I can't bring myself to throw away any reproduction scraps, but I think I will be turning my big pile of unsorted scraps into a few pillows soon! I figure that I haven't made any crumb or string quilts ever, even though I hope to in the future, so keeping a small amount will be enough to get some done in the future, as we all know they reproduce in the dark anyway! I am sorting my fabric scraps by color, thinking I might do some color coordinated scrap quilts in the future. I thought about it for a while, contemplating sorting by size or by color, but I think color will work for me... What works best for you? Posted by Picasa

November 9, 2006

New Look

Barbara asked if I could help do a new look for her blog yesterday, so we started working on a new clean look for the blog. I had been meaning to do the same with mine after admiring many crafting blogs with beautiful banners round the blogosphere... So...after working on her layout for a while, I got inspired to change my banner and layout is still a work in progress, but so far I am liking the change.

My husband returns tomorrow from his business trip, so I am hoping for some good quilting time this weekend, in between a kids party and an antique fair in Limerick. I hope to recharge my batteries this weekend and get back into the crafting groove!

Gonna go try to knit a few rows on my mom's scarf now!

P.S. Pam and Elizabeth, please email me your addresses so I can post out my little gifties to you, I hope before the end of the year! Any other takers on the swap? I am thinking of making a hand pieced Dear Jane block christmas ornament as my gift....still 2 places left on my swap!! Kate, you know I have your address, lol!

November 8, 2006

Pay it Forward "swap"

I am participating in a "swap" that Jo in New Zealand mentioned and that is making its rounds amidst the blogosphere. The first five people that say they are interested in a little handmade quilty gift from Ireland will receive one from me and the only stipulation is that they have to promise to do the same thing to other folks on their blog to spread the love, lol!! I am thinking a hand quilted patchwork ornament of some sort. Anyone interested in joining along?

November 4, 2006

Blogger and I are not getting along. I've done 2 v...

Blogger and I are not getting along. I've done 2 very long posts (I even thought I had copied the text into memory...and it was gone!) neither of them have shown.

I got home from a wonderful visit with Barbara on Tuesday and feel like I hit the ground running. We had friends visiting Thursday and Friday. Sandra, Conor and Holly our buddies from our old village came for a far too quick visit yesterday afternoon. Today Aine has a swimming lesson, so soon I'll be getting us all bundled up for a walk to the pool.

This is a picture of the town where Barbara lives, Vasteras. It is in one of the few older sections left of the town. I love the wooden architecture and the buildings right up on the river!

On Saturday we hit the town shopping. I was in crafting heaven! I went a little crazy, I'm sure Barbara was shaking her head, lol! This pile doesn't include my loot from her local quilt shop I got on Monday before I left! I got some great Japanese craft books, some cute decorations, a thimble and needle glider...well...just lots... DH took the camera this week on a business trip, but I will show more of my goodies next week when my camera is back!

Sandra and I were just talking yesterday about how much we miss having shops here in Ireland. She is from England and I'm from the States, so we are used to having easy access to crafting items. Here the only thing I find easy to locate with any selection is yarn... Most fabric shops will only have a dozen or so cottons, usually in hideous colors and about $18/yard. There is one quilt shop I know of, and rumors of a few more in the country...I think that brings the quilt shop tally in the country to one definite and 2 small home based quilt "shops" the country!! Needless to shopping is done for things I really need right away (peach fabric for my cousins quilt...) and the rest is scrappy stash quilting, enhanced by shopping trips once yearly when I'm home visiting family in the States.

I really wanted some help with my Dear Jane and was so grateful to my wonderful and generous host! It was really special to have a fellow "Dear Janer" help me layer and baste the quilt in preparation for hand quilting. I've never thread basted before, only just pin basted. I also never knew how to hand quilt. Barbara showed me the way she learned to hand quilt in all directions. It will take me ages to get the tiny consistent stitches she does, but I got the basic concept. And as if this help wasn't already generous enough, while I practiced hand quilting Sunday, Barbara whipped up a beautiful huge patchwork tote bag for me in no time at all to carry my DJ on the plane. THANK YOU SO MUCH for everything Barbara, and I only hope I can reciprocate when you and Hakan come for a visit in May.

I have been falling asleep every night so early I've gotten hardly any crafting done this week! I finished another name pillow for Sandra to take home with her yesterday. A gift for her godson... I am procrastinating with the crazy quilting, afraid to just dive in! My goal this weekend is to get caught up with the online class assignments and get some stitching done. I also need to organize my crafting stuff...since I have no table right now but the kitchen table, I've got fabric everywhere...feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the stuff so need to organize it again up in the future craft room, even if it is just into piles for a while.

Better get going. Aine has a swimming lesson today and since Daddy is away on and Aisling will walk her down for her lesson at the pool! Posted by Picasa

October 23, 2006

Crazy Quilt Class Block

I'm not overly happy with this block but I am going to use this as the block to learn with for my Crazy Quilting online class... I am hoping that I can balance it all out with the embellishments I use...

Hope to get to work on my machine tomorrow for that letter pillow for my friend. She is coming to visit a few days after I get back from Sweden! Posted by Picasa

October 20, 2006

A Day in the Life: A "Lazy" Friday

The girls and I have colds at various stages at the moment, and since today was Aisling's Friday playgroup and Aine and I couldn't have our regular date at the swimming pool with our colds, I decided to let Aisling play hookie from school, especially since she has been clingy lately.

I took a lovely bath this morning and got through quite a lot of my book club book, while the girls destroyed trying to keep them tidy, they are having too much fun, but I do make sure Aine helps me tidy them up before bedtime every evening. If she makes a mess she has to clean it up, or at least be trying while mommy probably does most of it played in their room next door. They love imagination games and Aine takes out her dresses for her teddies every day. I've given up for expedience! Aine has her thousands of teddies she plays with on her mattress there in the distance...she has been sleeping on her "Barbie" blow up bed as a special treat as Daddy is painting both beds PINK! I will dye their sheets pink to make the room even more horrible, lol...Eventually I will make quilts, etc, etc...

It is 11am and the girls are still not dressed. Aine is baking me a block birthday cake with lego flower decorations. I just blew out the candles and am eating the pink block with the letter K on it...

I think I will update this blog today as I go along...don't worry I won't do this again probably, but I thought it might be fun to try, there will be some quilting and crafting in the afternoon, I promise. And some cookie baking with kids, and some play-doh...and...

Okay, I'm back...we've made some Halloween sugar cookies, and Aine even fashioned her own "dad" cookie, LOL. The girls had fun, we made a mess...what's not to love...will clean up that mess when I start dinner... I have my priorities, I have been recently attending a teddy halloween party upstairs. Aine sang many songs for me while I peeled off the freezer paper from my Dear Jane...Aine finds it too boring apparently, so looks like the job falls to me!

October 18, 2006

DJ top to "flimsy" stage!!

Here she is, my Dear Jane top, done this afternoon!! The outside border will stay plain till the quilting is done and then will be cut into a scalloped border, yikes!

I've got to peel off all the freezer paper templates from the back of the quilt and fix a few frayed seams I've already spotted, but she is go to SWEDEN!!

Barbara and her DJ quilting friends in Vasteras (outside Stockholm) will be helping me to baste this quilt! And Barbara, who teaches hand quilting at her LQS, will get me started learning hand quilting on a few small pieces. The Dear Jane quilt won't be quilted until the new year, she will take a well deserved break for a while as I practice my hand quilting for a few months! I hope to say that this quilt is all hand sewn and quilted in the end.

Oh yeah...and I also finished my other mitten, now I have a pair! We have our knitting group tomorrow and I plan to work on the matching hat.

I've also got a crazy quilt class at to get started on, and... I'm also dying of a fluey cold thing...hmmm maybe I am doing a bit too much me thinks! Especially with Aisling's 5:45am wakeup call this morning... Off to bed now, I'm tired! Posted by Picasa

October 14, 2006

I Have "Knitten a Mitten" and other things...

This mitten knitted up so quick! I just started it Wednesday night... It is fun learning the new stitches again (increases, decreases, etc) and seeing something useful emerge from your needles...I was so darn excited to make that thumb, LOL! I plan on working on that and also getting my 4 inch strips for the edge of my DJ quilt cut out...

I will be starting a Crazy Quilt class next week and somehow feel that a trip to get some beads, some fabric and maybe some more wool might be formulating in my mind for today. I hate city center driving in Europe, I am no good a parking and parallel parking in Ireland is on the opposite side of the road that I learned on, to add to the complications, LOL! But I will brave the wilds of Limerick my local "big city" here in the name of my crafting!! I think. Aine has a cold, and while she is fine, I might just be all mommerly and hang around playing puzzles with her or something. She won't be able to go to her usual Saturday swim class, as her cough is pretty chesty...

I took my DJ quilt up to our bed yesterday to see how it will fit...pretty well, but I have to figure out how to make it look nice on our IKEA Leksvik sleigh type bed...the bottom corners will be a challenge.
Here is a still life I put together on top of our wardrobe. Two antique quilts and lots of baskets, one on the left was my grandma's, middle one was thrifted, and last one I bought in a French market. I love baskets...they are everywhere in my house, and I can even make my own willow ones, took a few classes, LOL! I liked the girl head statue and bought that a local garden centre. Posted by Picasa

October 13, 2006

My DJ top is done!!

Well. Almost...just have to add the scallop around the edges...but all the blocks are sewn up into the quilt! Just took a little over a year and a half to get to this stage...started early February 2005 and it is all done by hand! I have found it very relaxing to work on the blocks a little at a time, my evening therapy for stressful days chasing after two dynamos ages 2 and 3!

Aine wanted to pose this morning with her apple, LOL! She will help me peel all the freezer paper templates off the back, she's been a great fan the whole way through. Posted by Picasa

October 10, 2006

Knitting Progress!

Lots of us quilters seem to be starting up knitting again! I got started with Aine's scarf in August and finally got this hat done yesterday to match it. It was way to wide for her, despite having checked long the way for correct measurements etc, oh well! I fudged a better fit for her, and while not totally pleased with it, am happy enough.
While unpacking more boxes this week, I found a knitting project that should have been a sweater, but it stalled about 10 years ago and I eventually turned it into a pillow! It is a design with two trees intertwined, a sorta romantic symbol of our upcoming wedding at the time...boy did I learn a lot about cable stitches then!

I nearly finished sewing my last border together, I hope to start sewing it onto the quilt at my patchwork group tomorrow...

Need to start thinking about crazy quilting soon, I start my online class this weekend! Posted by Picasa