February 22, 2008

Going to London to Visit...Katy!!!

It has been a very bad week here for me. I'm letting all the pressures of life around me get to me, and this trip away from home is just what the doctor ordered!!

I am going to do an Irish driving exam on March 4, after 20 years of bad habits on a US license I am back to making sure to check all three mirrors every 8 seconds in a pronounced way for the tester, checking mirrors before signalling (I always signal first and then check mirrors, so hard to break that habit!) and then just trying to remember all the little things and not getting flustered while doing them...eek!! I am a good driver, haven't claimed on insurance so far in my 20 years of driving (knocking on wood very loudly right now!!) but man, I am fairly sure I will be failing this driving test with sheer nervousness and inability to teach an old momma new tricks... I went for a driving lesson on Tuesday, the day mom went in for her mastectomy...we had dense fog with low visibility... I was a nervous wreck and had to pull over... Was explaining the day to my instructor and started crying, then he started crying as his dad is unwell at the moment...what a sight we must have been on the side of the road, LOL. DH's work was nearby and he came out right away and gave me a cuddle and calmed me down... I was really letting this test get to me, maybe to keep my mind off of being so far from home when mom is fighting a pretty scary and lonely battle, good prognosis or not, I hate being so far away!! But...she made it through her operation just fine and though she is in pain still, is getting better.

So...I cried again that same day when so many of the local momma's offered to take my girls home after school times so I could go to visit my parents during mom's chemo treatments...I may just be taking them up on it all! Dave would not have to take any time off, just miss a few hours in the morning...

I had a really monster cold up till yesterday which makes everything look worse and colors it all, so I am happy to say that is going away, and a friend of mine is driving me to the airport today, such luxury!! I'm even treating myself to a taxi ride home from the airport late Sunday, relaxing all the way!

I should have some goodies to show on Monday, hope to buy the binding for my Dear Jane and some more repros for a few swaps, plus we'll hit the charity shops tomorrow, always a fun hunt!

Last weekend at Waterford was great, aside from bringing home a hideous cold, lol. Got to visit 3 very good friends and their families and the kids had great plays with their friends. Aine got chased and kissed by her friend Conor, lol, it really freaked her out, but she looks pretty happy in this photo...or maybe that is fear!

Kissing Boy Ann and the kids

I'll end this post with an extremely generous gift I've received from Karol Ann from South Africa. Look at the beautiful indigos I've received. No excuses now, I have a wonderful collection of SA indigo fabrics, it is time to make a quilt this year!!

Gorgeous Indigos from Karol Ann

February 15, 2008

Minutiae of Life

Bird in our Willow Tree
Over the last few days I've done no knitting and just a bit of quilting, but have enjoyed the days with the girls and evenings with DH, and I've taken a few photos of our life which I hope you won't find too boring!!

We had Valentine's Day and today with the kids off from school. Got a nice card from DH but he is pretty atrocious with the gifts and being romantic, but he did forewarn me before marriage, so I guess I should know it is impossible to train someone as stubborn as him!! But he still likes just talking and hanging out with me, so there is something romantic about that after 13 years of marriage I guess!!

I planned an activity for the girls in the morning: making pink heart valentine's cookies! You see, we are going back to my old neighborhood in Waterford where we lived until Autumn 2006. We will visit friends, and Aine will see her best buddy Conor. Those that have followed my blog from its start as Crazed Quilter on blogspot will probably recall him as an weekly visitor to our house and often in our daily life photos! Aine is crazy with excitement about the trip and I must be too, as I couldn't go back to sleep after 5:30am wakeup!! Aine decorated some cookies to bring to her best buddy and his family! Aisling and I helped make them :)
Making our pink valentines cookies
Cookies decorated by Aine

I also managed to finish the third border on my Dear Jane.
three borders and center quilted

We had a lovely sunny day yesterday, so I managed to put out some washing and get it dried outside for the first time all winter! Here is that Aine she is everywhere, behind her is the washing line and the cute daffodil Aisling grew at playschool!
Smiling Aine

Because I arranged an activity for the morning, Aine decided we needed an afternoon activity and layed out dozens of sheets of paper with some post it note hearts I'd given the girls as a pressie in the morning and layed pencils or crayons beside each sheet!

Our neighbors are cutting down all their lovely trees, which is a shame, but we get a benefit for a while before new houses are built on the land: a lovely view from our back garden of the Clare hills across the River Shannon! No river view from our house, but had to capture this sunset photo. Looks better in real life though!
Sunset and a new view of the Clare hills

Well, time to get moving: have to pack some clothes and get some food organized. I have my applique work for a handbag and one of mom's chemo caps in my project bag to bring along, can't go without some handwork if I get the chance, but I have a feeling there will be lots of chatting with my 2 good friends tonight in Waterford, and just a little bit of drink??

Have a great weekend! We are starting ours early today!!

February 12, 2008

Keep on keeping on...

Thread Holder Pincushion

I don't feel as if I have a lot to show these weeks, as I continue along quilting my dear jane and a few inches of knitting on a cap...but I did manage to make this nice pincushion/thread holder this weekend with Barbara's help. I am finding it great getting a few small projects done while continuing on with the big job of hand quilting the DJ. I love having the quilting threads on the pincushion, it will be great for my handwork.

Nana's First Hat
I also finished mom's first chemo cap, Aine is sporting a serious look here and has the floppy brim flipped up, but I love the colors of this yarn. Hope mom likes it!! She is still waiting for her second operation. The mastectomy is scheduled for next week, then recovery, then chemo starts. Still wish I could be there for hugs.

Had my first parent teacher meeting last week and Aine seems to be in the popular clique in school, but is too "soft" as the teacher says, she gets upset if she can't be the one to be next to her two favorite girls in the clique. How do you explain to a happy affectionate girl that she has to tone down her clingyness or risk losing her favorite friends. I can already see how one of her friends stiffens when she hugs her all the time. Luckily this little girl is very kind and still loves Aine, but I can see her patience running out, girls can be unkind sometimes and Aine wears her heart on her sleeve.  Teacher says she is doing great with school work and sometimes wonders how she knows some of the facts she knows for such a young girl... her speech is improving as well (had her assessed for therapy and didn't need weekly meetings, but just to work on certain sounds together).

Life with 2 small kids is constantly busy, but often not hugely "blogworthy". I sometimes feel like I shouldn't post till I have a few projects to show, so I hope you'll forgive me if a weekly post is the most I manage for a while? I am nearly done my 3rd border on the DJ and just realized I have to go searching soon online for fabric for the blue fabric for the binding!! How the heck will I make such a huge amound of bias binding?

Oh...I do have some fun news to share! I am going to visit Katy for the weekend next week. Love the cheap airfares in Europe!! I will be seeing the Tutankhamun and Terra Cotta Warrior exhibits in London next Friday and then a day of quilt and thrift shopping Saturday, then home late to Ireland on Sunday, after a bit of a sewing bee!

February 4, 2008

Snowstorm of Activities

Snow Queen and the Girls!
We had some more snow here yesterday in Ireland, must be a record, two snow queens in one season! No climate change around here, no siree! Dave was sick with a stomach bug all yesterday, slept for about 30 hours straight . Aisling woke up this morning having thrown up at around 5am. I've had 6 hours sleep and had an insane schedule for today which will all have to change. I'm feeling shivery now, like Dave yesterday and mommy's just aren't allowed to do that!! I am willing myself to be fine and escape the tummy bug by doing this post I didn't manage to finish yesterday.

Plans for today involved my 60 length swim I worked up to in January, a driving lesson to pass the Irish driving license exam and unlearn all my bad habits, watching my friends kids while she had her parent teacher meeting, Aisling going home with a friend, Aine going home with a friend, picking up Aine and taking her to ballet, taking my friends daughter home to play with Aisling during ballet class...oh yeah...and then dinner. LOL.  Now I'll be keeping Aisling home in case the bug travels to more schoolmates, seeing if neighbor can walk Aine down to school, no swimming, no lesson, seeing if Aine's friend's mom can bring her back to me in time for ballet...and another friend will be taking Aine to ballet...that is if she doesn't fall victim to the dreaded bug!!

Anyway, I have been doing a bit of crafting over the last week...

I had a voucher for our local yarn shop since Christmas and couldn't figure out what I'd do with it. Until I realized mom will be going through chemo soon. Chemo caps. Mom says she wants some fun ones, but I am also going to do half of them as hats she can wear again if she wants. Here are the hats I plan to do and the yarns I bought for them:

Noro Silk Garden for a rolled brim chemo capNoro Silk Garden for the Roll Brimmed Chemo Capplainrolledbrim.jpg

Rowan Scottish Aran TweedRowan Scottish Aran Tweed for a Floppy Brim Hat floppybrimhat_side.jpg

Yarn for mom's funky chemo caps Stylecraft Gypsy colors for the The 'No-Hair-Day' Hairy Chemo Cap nohairdayhairychemocap_front.jpg

All these patterns are from Head Huggers, a great organization.

Mom got bad news last week, the cancer wasn't all removed with the lumpectomy, so she will have to have the full mastectomy and they can't schedule it for a few weeks. She is holding up well though, there is still a good prognosis as it hasn't spread to bones or any other areas as confirmed by MRI and bone scans. Please keep those thoughts and prayers coming though!!

I have been keeping very busy with the girls which is good, but also exhausting. Their social lives are getting complicated, I can't keep up with who is coming and who is going, lol! We have kept up the swimming once a week together which the girls love, and a movie night on a Friday which means simple cooking or no cooking for me and a sweet treat for the girls and a movie or two...they love the traditions.  We cut out paper dolls last weekend, and I'll always encourage craftyness with my girls!!

I did some crafting myself on Saturday before the bug descended on us! Barbara is a bag maker extraordinaire and walked me through making my first handbag, using some of the Japanese taupes I got in Birmingham, they are the Matsuda woven ones with textures and they are lovely!! I attempted to start a second bag on Sunday, but didn't really manage with Dave out for the count and the girls making whirlwind messes behind them all day, and of course we were out for most of the morning in our short lived winter wonderland building snowmen and having snowball fights with the neighbors. After a rainstorm overnight, the queen is no longer with us! Our snow is always short lived here.

Here are some photos of the handbag I finished. It is a pattern Barbara designed herself. She has set up a new blog and is going to be selling some of her handbags, go over and have a look and tell her I sent ya, lol!My first handbagDSCF2606

I even made a pocket with a slot for mobile, my shopping bag and a pen...lots of room in the main compartment too.

I am going to start on this gorgeous bag that Barbara adapted from a Japanese craft book.
Barbara's Purse These are the fabrics I chose for mine.
Fabrics for my purse

Hopefully the tummy bug will sneak past me, if I can shake the chills this morning. Maybe I can sleep sometime next year...or when they are 20?

Here are a few gratuitous girl photos for nanas and other interested parties: Aine's new party dress, Aisling in trousers, a rare sight, and another photo of the snow queen being built...
Aine in her new party dressAisling in Trousers and Aine dancingMaking Snow Queen