November 28, 2007

Simple Pleasures

Dear Jane Quilting

Had a really nice day today! I couldn't wait any longer to take my Dear Jane off the frame. Was dying to see how the quilting looked on the back. It is amazing to see all the squares from the back, I'm very proud of it! The ladies at my patchwork group are holding the quilt up for me, and made me feel very nice today, insisting that I show the quilt somewhere locally eventually.
Dear Jane Quilting

It was just one of those lovely days where I was able to work on crafting projects for a lot of the day, while still getting some housework done and hanging out with the girls. While the girls were at school, I quilted one of the triangle blocks and started another, and I also worked on mom's angel doll. I used my Singer treadle minus the treadle part to get some sewing done! I just turned the machine by hand and it worked just fine! Still no word on my Pfaff machine, sniff sniff.

I also got this lovely package from Nicky! We have traded fabric scraps for her Dear Jane. Look at these lovely repros I received!
CW Repro Swap with Nicky

Aine played at a friend's house till 5:30, and Aisling slept for a few hours today (she never naps anymore!), so I got more done than I expected and got to watch grown up TV during the day while stitching away!

To end the day, we had our monthly evening patchwork meeting tonight. Great end to a lovely day!

November 26, 2007


Happy Thanksgiving
We had a really lovely meal with two other American couples yesterday, our American Thanksgiving away from home. We all have two daughters each, so there were six girls running around here yesterday!
The Girls at Thanksgiving!
My mom came through with some jellied cranberry sauce posted from the States, and one friend brought the American standby of Green Bean Casserole, complete with imported crispy onion thingies on top, lol! Another did sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and I made American style biscuits...a little touch of home! We also taught them a game we love to play when we are back home: Mexican Train Dominoes!! I think we might have made a few converts??!! If I have space in the suitcase, I'll be bringing a few copies home!

I am thankful to have made some really good friends so quickly after moving here. These same ladies are in the book club and knitting group and really helped bring me into their community they had already developed here, as they were here a few years ahead of me! The kids get along great. We will really miss them when they head back next summer when their 3 year contracts are done. Maybe Sherry and I can take over the American tradition in Ireland in years to come? Now that Aine knows about Thanksgiving, I have a feeling we will be celebrating it yearly! Some years I actually haven't celebrated it here in Ireland, as I am not a huge turkey fan and a big meal for 2 people and 2 babies wasn't a strong priority!

Another thing I am thankful for this week is some finishes!! And here is the big one!!!


All Done the Squares!!!!!

I will keep the quilt on the frame for another week or so and quilt a few triangles. When I am done with the bottom row that I can reach, I think I will hand quilt the rest of the triangles on a hoop. The other triangle borders are impossible to quilt on the frame as the quilt is too wide! Am trying to decide whether to take it to Oregon or not, in my carryon of course!!

I've also got 7 bath scrubbies done and one more nearly there. I hope to give these to the girls' teachers, my mom, MIL, and a few friends for Christmas. I might make some more of these if I get any takers for the pay it forward swap! So far, no one that commented is available to join in!! Anyone out there want to join in?

My dad's Bend mountain quilt is now done with binding and hanging sleeve on. It is 60 inches wide, so can't get it all in this photo, but will look good over their big mantel.

Dad's Three Sisters and Brokentop Wallhanging

Girls are in school at the moment, so am going to take some time to start quilting on the triangles! Cleaning...that can wait till later!! My cold isn't gone but is much better. Thank you so much for all the get well soon messages!

November 24, 2007

Pay it Forward 2007

payitforward.jpgpayitforward.jpgI left a comment on Anne Ida's blog and have now joined in another round of Pay it Forward! It is nearly a year since my last one, so seems right!

 Here are the rules:

It’s the Pay It Forward Exchange. It’s based of the concept of the movie “Pay it Forward” where acts or deeds of kindness are done without expecting something in return, just passing it on, with hope that the recipients of the acts of kindness are passed on. You all know I’m already a PIF type of person. So here’s how it works. I will make and send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment to this post on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I do not know what that gift will be yet, and it won’t be sent this month, probably not next month, but it will be sent (within 6 months) and that’s a promise! What YOU have to do in return, then, is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

Does anyone want to receive something from me? It could be one of my handknit bath scrubbies, along with some Irish handmade soap, I'm thinking! The first three who comment and want to play will receive a gift from me within the next 6 months.

Tomorrow is our Irish-American Thanksgiving meal, as it isn't a holiday here we didn't have any days off on Thursday and Friday. I am absolutely smothered with a cold: coughing, sore throat, stuffed up nose...ugh typical! Poor Aisling is pretty bunged up too. I am willing myself to be well enough, as we are the hosts and I don't want to have to call it off!! We have a huge turkey we don't want to waste, lol!! I should be fine, just isn't much fun with a cough so deep it makes your lungs hurt!! Much sitting on the sofa is going to be done today, sewing up my bath scrubbies into their proper shape, nice and easy! The girls and I will try to do some Thanksgiving shaped sugar cookies (turkeys I guess, and a cornucopia...think I got those shapes in a big pack of cutters I got last year...) and I am making some American style biscuits (scones without the sugar). I'm leaving the rest to my husband tomorow.

He is leaving me today to go golfing while I hack up a lung. LOL, he might as well go though, as unless I am asleep, my kids will ask me to do everything anyway even if he did stay home. Mommies just don't get days off unless they are totally out for the count! If you are upright, you are still the go to girl!! Anybody else find it the same?

Anyway, I hope to have a post after our meal with a few more finishes to show, and our Irish Thanksgiving photos!

November 19, 2007

It was a Party Party Weekend!

Sorry I haven't been around for a while, but my machine is out of commission for another few weeks, it apparently needs a PART of some sort, eek!! Poor little machine.  Mom's doll will be done by hand and maybe a bit on the treadle??

With Aine's party on the weekend, I did a lot of errand running for supplies and not a lot else! I got a bit of my Dear Jane quilting done, a bit of dad's quilt binding sewn down, and some more bath scrubbies worked on, but not a very exciting crafting week. No finishes to report...

I did a small amount of craft like activities for Aine's party though:

Some Snoopy invitations.

Birthday Cake
A Snoopy cake.

Snoopy PInata
An ubersimple pinata like Snoopy Pinata.

Can you sense a Snoopy theme?

The kids also made some goodie bags from simple brown bags I got at our local Chinese takeaway! I bought foam letter stickers and we put their names on their bags and let them decorate them. They seem to have a good time. Here is a photo of Aine and a few of her friends at the candle blowing stage.
Blowing out the Candles!

Only 4 more squares to finish on my Dear Jane, then it is time for the triangle border, eek! Hand sewing projects for the next few weeks my machine is gone: binding for Dad's quilt, mom's angel doll, Dear Jane... bath scrubbie knitting (one of these days I will get a new knitting project going, I swear!!)

I leave for Oregon in 3 weeks. Anyone want to make the trek to Bend or Sisters for some quilt shopping ? I think I will bring some Dear Jane blocks to sew for my swap with Katy. And more bath scrubbies supplies, lol!! And I think I may bring my Dear Jane in my carry on if I can manage it... I am looking forward to meeting up with Kristin while in Bend!

November 13, 2007

Looks Like It Could Be Serious!

Free Motion Quilting foot
Thank you so much everyone for the great suggestions. I changed thread to match top and bottom, quilted slowly, changed needles, cleaned out the bobbin...cleaned everywhere I could! But it is still skipping intermittently. Plus when I looked at the free motion foot above, there is a groove from the needle on one of the sides. Definitely not a good sign. I will be bringing my little Pfaff in for a service tomorrow!
Binding on Dad's Quilt

The straight stitching is still working fine though, so I got the binding sewn on to my dad's quilt, along with a hanging sleeve. I also started on mom's present. If the machine is gone for a while, I'll at least be able to use my newly refurbished Singer treadle hopefully for straight stitching, after Dave helps me set it back into its desk and attach the cord for the treadle! Here it is at homme waiting to go back in its desk...with some sample sewing under the needle done by the repairman, woo hoo!!
Treadle Machine Fixed!

I got some wonderful fabrics yesterday from Colleen in South Africa! Between herself and Ruth, I think I can make a huge indigo fabric quilt! I sent her some Dear Jane things and she sent these in trade. I was expecting a few pieces, but Colleen this is above and beyond generous. Thank you so much!!
Indigos from Colleen!

I am on the last row of my Dear Jane! If I get into it, I might finish this week, but more likely with Aine's birthday party on Saturday, it might be next week! You can see the triangles I will quilt next on the edge of the frame :).
Last Row of Quilting!

I also have 2 Dear Jane blocks I did years ago at the wrong size for my quilt, but in the proper original size of 4.5 inches finished. I am offering them here to any Dear Janer that might like a few blocks for their own Dear Jane from a crazy American woman living in Ireland!! I hope that someone will take them, they've been hanging around here for a while!
DJ Blocks

I am running around this week like crazy: ordered Dave's 40th cake, made sure we could have party at his mom's place in Dublin (all the family is up there, and seemed easier to go there than make all them come here!), got makings for Aine's cake, and ordered turkey and organized dishes for Thanksgiving. Today I need to get plates, cutlery, tablecloths and goodies for Aine's requested pinata. I think I will make a simple one here at home, one that is easier for 5 year olds to break open, lol!! She wanted Snoopy invitations, so we designed those together, and I'll try to do up a simple Snoopy Pinata as well...will give a report on Saturday or Sunday after the party!

Best get the day started, have to pack up the sewing machine, make lunches, dress girls and get going!!

November 9, 2007

Help! I Need Somebody!

Tree Skirt Quilting
Help! Not just anybody...someone that can save my sanity and help me figure out what is wrong with my free motion quilting on my home machine!!! It is a Pfaff Hobby and I have a free motion foot for it... The stitches keep skipping, but the tension seems to be okay...the stitches look fine on both sides, when it is not skipping an inch or so before continuing on again... It is so frustrating! I have changed the needles, the bobbins, cleaned it, changed goes fine for a bit and then skips again. Will I have to bring it in for a service? When I do regular sewing/piecing it is just fine, it only skips when I use the free motion. I am trying to quilt my Christmas tree skirt and just don't know what to do. I am scaring our local patchwork ladies, lol. They consider me some what of a quilting expert and gadget guru, and don't like to see me stumped, lol!!

On a cheerier note, I got these lovely cards last week as a thank you for some of the patterns I gave away! Thanks very much blogless Kate, they are gorgeous!!
Notecards from Kate

My Dear Jane is coming along well...I am one block away from the last row!!! I should be done all the square blocks in the next few weeks and then have the triangles to start!! Here is a photo of my latest blocks quilted.
DJ Quilting Progress

I have my mom's present to sew and I have my dad's quilt waiting to be quilted too, I need to sort out this sewing machine and soon!!!

I am actually always knitting, believe it or not.  But at the moment, it is the bath scrubbies and striped funky tea cosy for Dave's mom... I am using that photo as a guide, as the instructions were is obviously stockinette stitch in the photo, yet the pattern has no purl rows... I am doing just stripes all the way up!
Tea Cozy

Not many photos of the girls taken this week, but here is a funny one I found when trying to climb the stairs with laundry one day. The girls were putting on a "Barbie Show" these were members of the audience, LOL!!

Dave has been away all week and I have a scary schedule till Christmas, so things have been hectic and not as much done as I'd like. I've got Aine's birthday in a little over a week, then our American Thanksgiving here with 2 other families the next Sunday, then DH's 40th birthday the next weekend, then a trip to Oregon the next week... That brings me to the week before Christmas. I am tired just thinking about it! HELP!!!

November 1, 2007


Sounds like something my kids might say: "That belongs to memememememememe, pay attention to memememememe", etc etc etc... But really it is all about ME! I have been tagged with two memes in the last week or two: one from Barbara, and one from Tracy.

 Sorry I have been gone for the week again, I really want to aim to post at least twice a week, but sometimes life gets in the way! More about that after the meme's if you can hang on till the end!!

Barbara's 4 Things Meme!

4 Jobs I had..

  1. Hancocks/Minnesota Fabrics shop employee: my love of fabric started early, was working in a fabric shop in high school and college breaks!

  2. Door to door militant Greenpeace fundraiser: those folks scared me, I lasted less than a day...I'm a horrible sales person and I was just a high school kid wanting to save the world!

  3. Secretary for an agency that had contracts with the US Agency for International Development: a very cool place to work, so diverse, so open, people were travelling the globe. I worked with a project that sent various consultants on public health, population and AIDS communications studies to all of Africa...I even got to travel as a conference coordinator to Entebbe and Kampala, Uganda. Being me, I took time off and did a tent safari in Tanzania, a wonderful experience!! 

  4. Freelance Graphic Designer: the job in number 3 above gave me educational benefits and I took a day course on Adobe Pagemaker, used it to design books and pamphlets for them and then used it to get a job in Ireland many years down the road. The job in Ireland turned into a freelance opportunity and I still do work each year with some US companies. Having received a bachelors degree in French and German language and literature, I find it amusing that I can charge a pretty good rate for doing graphic design from a day course I took as a secretary!!

4 films I can watch over and over…

  1. Persuasion (Jane Austen novel turned film with Ciaran Hinds, yummy!)

  2. Strictly Ballroom (love the comedy and sweet romance)

  3. BBC Miniseries (cheating is it?) of Pride and Prejudice...have worn out a VHS of it and wearing out a DVD currently, can you tell I like Austen?

  4. Anne of Green Gables (another miniseries, more for young girls, but I still love it!)

 4 Tv-shows I watch

  1. Bones (totally addicted...hated David Boreanaz as Angel -don't throw things at me please!! - but he is yummy in this one!)

  2. CSI .... love the Las Vegas one, laugh at the Miami one sometimes, though the stories are well written, the actors preening cracks me up

  3. Medium

  4. Ghost Whisperer (note my secret love of supernatural TV programs)

4  All the Places I have lived (I thought it would be more fun to list everywhere I spent more than a few months in!!

  1. College Park, Maryland (my parents lived there in the same house my whole life, till they moved last summer to Oregon!!)

  2. Quebec City, Quebec, Canada (ran out of French courses to take senior year of high school, so went off to the sister nuns of my high school up in Quebec for a few months!)

  3. St. Mary's City, MD (St. Mary's College of Maryland where I acquired above degree)

  4. Castillon-la-bataille, Doulezon, somewhere east of Bordeaux France (as an au pair in a 15th century chateau. I just looked it up for the first time ever on the internet...check out the wine room was second one from the right on the top floor!)

  5. Capitol Hill, Washington DC (rented a room while working as secretary job that sent me to Africa!)

  6. Fairfax, VA (lived in sin with DH before our wedding!)

  7. Atlanta, Georgia (Jonesboro) for DH's work

  8. Ireland: Dublin, Drogheda, Navan, Waterford and now Ballina/Killaloe!!

4 places I would love to be right now

  1. Here, hanging out with my own little family!

  2. Oregon, hanging with extended family and getting my yearly fix of American living!

  3. Macchu Picchu (a site I would love to see some day!)

  4. Australia (looking forward to seeing it next year!)

There were a few other thing on the meme, but I'm going to be naughty and leave some out and add a crafty one to bridge to my next meme! And I won't tag anyone as I've seen most folks have gotten this meme already!!

4 Crafty Projects you really want to finish!!

  1. My Dear Jane, of course!!

  2. A Baltimore Album wallhanging (don't think I could manage a bed size quilt!)

  3. The Great American Aran Afghan...looks lovely on knitting blogs I've seen it on...but will be a big project!

  4. A pair of socks for DH and the kids

Tracy's Why Do You Craft Meme

1. When did you start to create and make crafts?  I am sure it was very early in my life. I always remembering hand sewing Barbie clothes with my grandma on visits to her in St. Louis... I remember tons of art projects in Brownies and Girl Scouts, my mom taught me knit and I remember lots of attempts at scarves, not so many finishes though! My neighbor taught me how to sew on her machine when I was about 12 or so. I remember making a witches costume with her for halloween and winning a scariest costume prize with it!! A year or so later, a craft shop opened in my neighborhood and I remember taking candlewicking classes, soft sculpture (do you remember that, with panty hose and fiber fill to make dolls and other softies??)... I did cross stitch for a long while and clothes making throughout highschool. Wasn't till college I finally got into quilting and tempted my neighbor across the dorm hallway, Katy to come along with me, lol!!

 2. Why did you start creating?   I don't know? I have always loved it. My great grandmother did quilts, my grandmother sewed and knit, mom knit... I just always seemed to be drawn to it!

3. Why do you create?  I create now because I love to do it. If I didn't I think I would find the evenings awfully boring. I can't just sit and watch TV usually (especially if DH has control of the remote, which is usual till 11pm!!), unless I'm near sleep!! I usually have hand sewing or knitting on my lap! It is definitely engrained in my character... I just need to craft! I love to be thrifty, so find scrap quilting inspiring. I love to make things for family and friends, especially for mom and dad, as they have so much "stuff" that handmade is appreciated by them! I also love to craft to make useful things, socks, sweaters, bed quilts, lap quilts...I find wall quilts wonderful too...if I can appreciate and love something for its beauty when it is in my home, it is useful too!! Making things is just a part of who I am... I wonder if I have at least one who is following in my footsteps...this is what she is doing right now as I type: drawing away with her markers and books and paper around her!
Aine and her art

4. What do you create?  I create quilts by hand and by machine, I knit things: sweaters, hats, scarves, mittens, socks, dishcloths, even felted bowls... I've recently tried crazy quilting and am getting back into stitchery... I used to do willow basket making and plan to do that again soon, now that I've found nearby classes again! Soap making is something I've always thought I'd like to try, but am afraid of the lye and things with kids around!! Pottery is something I've done before, but am not great at! Would love to give it a go again someday!

5. Has this changed since you began crafting? My tastes have evolved since starting... I used to like brighter colors in quilts, but have been attracted to civil war repros and antique quilts in the last few years. I used to not be a fiber snob when knitting and now hate using acrylic!! I like cross stitch now, but mostly antique like samplers, not the cute picture type designs I used to buy in high school... I hope I always continue to evolve and change...keeps it all interesting!

6. What are your crafting goals for the future?  I hope to continue learning and improving my hand quilting, and hope to maybe do basket making and pottery next year!!

I haven't seen this meme go around as much, so I'll tag 5 people to do this: Tazzie, Andrea, Jenni, Kristen, and Ruth.

If you made it this far, I'd like to take this time to add some gratuitous photos of kids crafts and kids from Halloween yesterday. We printed out and Aine colored in this spooky garland to add to our decorations. We visited a friends house in the afternoon and she had a craft set up for the kids... I forgot the camera for action shots there, but here is Aine's finished pumpkin... Aisling isnt cooperating this afternoon for photo ops, so I'll add one from earlier in the week of her and a few bits of her favorite jewelry, lol!!
Halloween LootHalloween GarlandHalloween Garland CloseupAine's pumpkinAisling in a few "jewels"