December 5, 2010

I Brought Another Friend to the "Dark Side"

Well actually there is nothing dark about quilting, except maybe the excessive fondling of fabric and desire to buy enough to run your own shop! This is my friend Kathy. She raided my stash earlier this year and started cutting out squares for her autumnal quilt she is making for her daughter...We took a break for the entire summer but we have gotten to the binding stage now and she has even done free motion meandering on the border...she is a natural...just look at the lovely quilt she has made! That makes two of my "normal" momma friends brought into the fold, lol!

I've also gotten back into a craft I was doing before the girls were born: basket making! Our local art gallery runs classes and had a daylong workshop last Saturday. Here are some photos from our class and my finished basket. My biggest project was the girls moses basket they slept in, I am so proud of that one, but was a bit rusty with the new basket...I hope to keep doing some more if they hold the classes locally again.

Last week we were invited last minute to the party of one of Aisling's friends brother...his first birthday! I whipped up this bib for him as a little present from what I had on hand!

Aine needed a costume for the Nativity play they are doing this year, something that looked like it would be appropriate in ancient Bethlehem...I used some nice woven fabric I bought in Sweden and made up this basic costume...she seems happy enough, and I didn't have to shop for anything new!

I need to get a move on for a few presents for this year: a hat for my mother in law, some ornaments, something hand made for the girls...hopefully I'll be showing those in the next few weeks here! I am still working slowly away on quilting my drunkard's path wallhanging, nothing much new to show on that front.

A package arrived recently from a new crafty friend, Tracy, who I met through her Google search for Nicholas Mosse pottery and somehow found my website. She found some of the gorgeous and expensive Irish pottery at a yard sale for a few quarters...lucky woman! She so generously filled a box with this treasure trove: quilting fabric and magazines, some lovely antiques, stuffed owl teddies for the many nice things! Thank you so much. Crafty folks are the best!

Unfortunately my weight loss hasn't started, I just keep caving in and eating poorly out of pure is a real struggle at the moment! I hope I can get some progress made despite the Christmas season...before I have to buy bigger size clothes again, I refuse to do that!

November 10, 2010

Fresh Start!

Welcome to my "NEW" blog!!

I have been a very bad blogger for a long time now and am amazed that I still have so many subscribers in Google Reader. For those of you who have stuck by me despite my horrible lack of posting, thank you very much. I am moving back to Blogspot now that it does some of the things I moved to Wordpress for (multiple pages mainly...) and can add some of the cool widgets that are coded in Javascript which Wordpress doesn't support (the LinkWithin thingie at the bottom of each post which I saw on many blogs and wanted to try out!)

I am fine! The MS gave me a scare in late July when I overheated and overdid it this summer, daily taking girls river rafting swimming and around town in 90 degree weather...for a week or so my right leg was weak and my walking very bad...dragging the affected foot behind me... I thought I would need a wheelchair to get me through the airport on my way home from the States! Luckily I rested and within a week or so I had improved and was able to get home no problem on my own! Had to learn the hard way that being supermama and overdoing in the heat (big enemy of MS) is not the way to go! Since then, have been running around like crazy for girls activities but at a more moderate pace and have been doing well. Unfortunately my eating hasn't been great, after a wonderful summer of weight loss and still enjoying my food, I came back here and started eating all the wrong foods...I put it down to being busy and lazy about healthy eating! I am hoping to make some changes, but will do them slowly!

I still quilt, stitch and knit near enough on a daily basis, even if it is just a row of knitting or a few stitches of hand sewing or quilting, I just have a lot of long term projects on the go, and not a lot to show even on a weekly basis, but I will try to pick up the pace. I do post very often on Facebook, though it is the whole rhythm of my life, crafty and kids and all else in between...befriend me there if you want, would love to connect there too...

Lets see, since our summer in Bend, I have finished a few things...
Mom's Monkey Socks

Drunkard's Path Wallhanging (and simple quilt for guest bed...)
Currently hand quilting the wallhanging...very slowly!!

Artist at work on her sock yarn painting, finished socks below!

I have finished Aisling's Kool Koolaid socks, hand painted and designed by the master herself . Since she painted a bunch of pink at one end and multicolored on the other end, she has one pink and one multicolor sock! I am doing these socks toe-up and two at a time on one needle, called the magic loop method. It is great since I get both socks done at the same time!

I have also taught a friend to quilt starting last June or so, she has just finished her quilting (taught her free motion quilting last week, she is a natural!) and we'll do binding soon! It is nice to suck bring friends into this lovely crafting obsession hobby. My little neighbor next door, Aine's good friend, and the girls have all been working on their own quilts as well... Just like my neighbor growing up helped me with my love of sewing, I am hopefully encouraging Aine and her friend (and someday Aisling if she wants!) to sew. Aine has even used the sewing machine on her own now (I thread but she lines up fabric and sews!), such a proud mama I am!! Next week I will get a photo of my friend and little neighbor and the girls handiwork but for now I want to get this post out!

July 22, 2010

Round in Bend...

Dave headed home after the 4th of July and we met up with friends Kristin and Sarah the next week, we really enjoy their company and their great kids.

Thursday we met up with Sarah and kids and did a Dye Along at a ranch outside of Bend. The host, Pam, used to have a shop in Sisters called Baarbaara's Wild and Wooly, now she has a shop in her ranch with many many tempting things! I bought some yarn from wool sheared from her own and her neighbor's sheeps!

We had great fun dying our sock yarn! I used chemical dyes, but the girls were able to do their own sock yarn (to be knitted by mommy later) using Koolaid dyes! Thanks Pam for hosting a wonderful morning!!

We went to the Picnic in the Park the Friday before the Sister's Quilt Show, Alex Anderson was the host and buddy Ricky Tims was there as well. We saw many gorgeous quilts while sitting out in the park with our knitting projects! The kids had a ball playing in the playground with Sarah and Kristin's kids too, might have fit a little visit in to the Stitching Post as well!

[caption id="attachment_628" align="alignnone" width="510" caption="Click to see more photos from Sisters Show..."][/caption]

The  Sister's Quilt Show was the next day, and of course that day was amazing with many gorgeous quilts!

I haven't visited some of my favorite shops here in Bend yet, BJ's and Sew Many Quilts, just pacing myself!! Could it be I have too much already, just don't need much more? NAAAAAH...

I have finished the first Monkey sock and am working down the leg of the second one, making progress...Here is a photo of the current one in progress, the other finished one is hiding somewhere!

But I am also learning a lot doing my newest project. Selbuvotter gloves, Annemor 18, they are progressing nicely, thanks to good advice and lots of questions to my friend Sarah...

I have also started piecing together my drunkard's path quilt, but showing you a row of 10 blocks doesn't sound too exciting to me, so I'll skip the photo!!

I have probably been doing too much in the heat and the sun and my MS is getting angry with me, so I have to learn to slow down in this heat. It is all a learning curve to me but I am still enjoying the activities and the girls are having fun, river floating trips, swimming pools, festivals, all makes for a memorable summer! Hope yours is going well!

July 3, 2010

On the Road...

We have had an amazing road trip in the last week through California into Oregon, visiting Disneyland, Hollywood, Big Sur, Monterey, San Francisco, Napa Valley and the Redwoods then into Oregon and a visit to Crater Lake...Here is a collage of some of our photos...

I threw in some sock progress photos from Venice Beach, Monterey, Alcatraz and the Redwoods, lol The first monkey sock is progressing nicely, not much more till it is done...

I also found several knitting and quilt shops along the way, of course!! The first one is in Cambria California just before we headed to Big Sur, Ball & Skein & More, where I bought a great crochet kit for a market bag, some cool crochet hooks, and a skein of super soft alpaca wool sheared locally from two alpacas called Polaris and Pablo!

The next day we were at Monterey where I visited the quilt shop Back Porch Fabrics and had a wonderful visit to Monarch Knitting, where I bought yarn, needles and a book to learn how to do patterned Scandinavian gloves, Selbuvotter.

My lovely husband spotted the Fat Quail Quilt Shop in Laytonville where I might have picked up a few Japanese taupe fat quarters... Here is the photo of fabrics I got at Back Porch Fabrics, Fat Quail, and also at the Purple Pincushion  quilt shop I spotted in our last road trip stop, Grants Pass Oregon!! Some taupes, and some sampler fabrics, and a few other bits...

I also happened to decide that I really needed a Jim Shore nativity set for Christmas when I was at Purple Pincushion! I didn't have one at home and had been meaning to get one and there really isn't a more perfect one for a quilter!!

I finished all my drunkards path quilt blocks while flying over to the States and have that top and the Dear Jane throw to hand piece together the next few weeks we are visiting, though I might look out for a yard sale sewing machine again this time... I doubt I'll have such luck as to find a three dollar Singer Featherweight again this time though.

Hope to show a finished sock and some quilting progress next week. I'll update after the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show!

June 20, 2010

I'm Going to Disneyland!

Where am I going? I am going to Disneyland!!  And then Dave and the girls and I are doing a road trip that will take us to Hollywood, Big Sur, Monterey, San Francisco, Yosemite, Napa and the Giant Redwoods, if we can fit that all in about 2 weeks! We'll end up in Bend Oregon where my parents live for the 4th of July.

So sorry that it has been over two months, so sorry that my blog hasn't been in my priorities for a while now...that needs to change again, I miss the community!! The girls are always keeping me busy, but I keep on with my projects and I am sure I can make the time once a week or every two weeks if I just do it!

Things are going pretty well...I had to postpone my foot operation because I would have had to cancel our US travel plans, the doctor didn't give me the full picture about the recovery time for it! I have orthotics to keep the pain away and will pace myself at Disney to be sure! I just had my MS six monthly appointment with the neurologist, and besides the bit of numbness in my right toes, and lack of graceful balance (not horrible, but not great either) the doctor thinks I am doing well, which is great! I have lost 32.5 lbs since February, and though I plan on gaining a few back in the next few weeks, I will be going to Weight Watchers with my mom in the 5 weeks we are staying with my parents in Oregon...

There has been some crafting going on:
Quilting on the Guest Room Quilt
Guest Room quilt finished!

I finished a simple squares quilt for our guest room. Eventually it will have matching roman blinds on the windows... I just did an allover meander and will NEVER put a big quilt through my machine again, ouch, my arm muscles hurt wrestling that through!
Knitted Scrubbies for Boher School

These are some knitted cotton scrubbies for a fundraiser for a local school...
Baby Vests for Ruby

Some baby vests for little Ruby...

I am also working away on my Dear Jane lap quilt with blocks that Kate and I have swapped...I have prepared all the setting triangles and muslin squares to make the quilt top and hope to hand piece that while in the States... I also have a small drunkards path wallhanging to piece together...only a few blocks left and then can piece the top which will be 30 inches square...

I've also started a knitting project for my travels, some Monkey socks for my mom!

I hope to update again soon with some highlights from our road trip, I hope to go to one or two quilting and knitting shops on the road, and get some car knitting sewing...not quite as easy, and often painful on twisty roads, lol!!

I hope to update next in two weeks, not two months, cross your fingers for me!!

April 19, 2010

Hello Strangers...

I have continued working on lots of projects since February, so this might get a bit picture heavy, as usual! I also had a lovely 2 nights away to Rome for my 40th birthday celebration (where I knit a sock at all the big sights to give my gimpy foot a rest and for fun!) and got some lovely gifts I'd love to show as well...

Here is a project I am so glad finally have finished, it is years in the making, my felted knitting bag! Here is the size prefelting:
Bag and Pocket pre-felting
Pattern: Constant Companion

Here is the finished product:
My Felted Bag

I have also been working a lot on some hand piecing projects: my usual, Dear Jane blocks, to finish up the blocks for a lap quilt;
Dear Jane Swap and the last few to do...

a drunkard's path, made from fabrics and template that Barbara gave me as a lovely present when mom was diagnosed with breast cancer; it is really starting to look nice now! This is from a beautiful quilt we both admired on Supergoof.
Drunkard's Path quilt...coming together nicely so far

and another block that Barbara gave me of an 8 pointed star pattern using Japanese taupes, on it's own the block isn't exciting, till you realize the lovely star pattern made when you put four blocks together!
Hand Pieced Star block
8 pointed Star Blocks

I have some of these all in my handbag along with my sewing tin so I can pull something out when I have a few minutes and stitch away. I also keep my sock knitting in the is amazing what this smallish bag can hold!
Handbag o' crafting!

I have started a pair of the very familiar by now Broadripple socks I have made several times for Katy. I used Cascade Fixation yarn, which is cotton and elastic as she is allergic to wool, poor girl! I am making this pair for myself, as I love the colors and I had to buy some spare yarn when making Katy's and had enough leftover for a pair for me. Here is the first sock...
Broadripple sock for me and second one just started!

Dave and I had a great trip to Rome for my 40th birthday celebration. It was amazing, we walked everywhere, and had great food as well! Like I said before I took along the sock and the hand piecing in my handbag. Wasn't as easy to hand piece around Rome, but the sock was dead handy to take out when we were resting in the sun!

Here is the progress at the Colosseum...
Sock at the Colosseum!
A little later in the afternoon at the Spanish Steps... (yes I am strange...I can't help myself!)
Sock at the Spanish Steps
Heading towards evening at the Trevi Fountain...
Knitting by the Trevi Fountain

A sock tour of Rome...

And here is a collage of a few photos around the city...
Rome 2010

My birthday celebrations lasted for weeks and included a little party with my patchwork group, who instead of giving me a voucher for more fabric (I might have a little more than I need, just a little...they mentioned something about "bringing coal to Newcastle?") they gave me this beautiful fabric art done by local artist Lynn Kenny.
Lynn Kenney - Washing Line

Katy gave me this lovely tree themed quilt, knowing my admiration of the tree as a graphic and as a symbol...she did it for an exhibit a few years back, but gifted it on to me, isn't it gorgeous?
Gorgeous Tree Quilt from Katy for my 40th

I also got some gorgeous perfumes and some jewelry from friends and a beautiful Nicholas Mosse pottery bowl...I was very much spoiled this year!

In mid-February, I finally rejoined Weight Watchers, and as of last week I have lost 22 lbs. I still have a lot left to lose, but I have made some good progress, and have been doing a lot of swimming that must be helping too...add to that the constant activities of two small girls and lack of energy for big quilting projects, and you have my excuse for not keep up very well with this blog. I will try to be better, but hope you don't delete me out of your blog list even if my posts are sporadic...

I am lucky that my MS has been very much in the background at the moment. Unrelated to the MS, my left foot is finally going to be seen too...the arch has fallen and it has been more and more painful to walk on it the last few years. I tried to lump it in with the MS, but the neurologist insists that this is a totally separate bit of bad luck, having to do with mechanical damage...wear and tear and bad genetics causing the arch to fall, blah! I will be having an operation to remove the damaged tendon in my left foot, replacing it with another tendon in my foot, ewwww! I'll be on crutches for six weeks.

So next week I will be bringing down some of my sewing room, as Dave and I are moving into the downstairs guest room to save me hopping up and down the stairs all the time (his idea, how thoughtful, kinda makes up for a few of those golf widow moments...maybe 2 of em...) My right foot won't be in a cast, I can still press the pedal on the machine, lol! I will also prepare a bunch of hand piecing work to keep me out of mischief!

Until next time!

February 28, 2010

Popping in for February

...just in the nick of time.

Here are those projects for the girls I had mentioned back in January...
Some headbands that I based off of one the girls received...
New Headbands

These are some very simple dolls I made out of the girls drawings, belated handmade presents for Christmas!!

Rereading my post last month, I have started making some of the changes I had hoped to: I joined Weight Watchers and so far so good, I am down 8.5 lbs and sticking to the plan. I am also swimming 30 lengths 4 times a week...I am drinking more water and adding veg and fruit to the diet... Here's hoping I can continue it. This week a year ago I was in hospital getting tests done that lead to my MS diagnosis. I have been very grateful to mostly have light symptoms, long may it continue and healthy eating and exercise should help it...

Again this month, I am mostly continuing projects already posted. I finished the red Christmas wholecloth quilt (photo later...), I started another set of the same socks, this time for me! I think I have done one or two more rows on that felted bag...and a few dozen more of the drunkard's path blocks!

Today I ended up being really productive with a few home projects that I had in my head for a while, using the gorgeous Rouenneries fabrics I bought when in DC in December... I covered the grotty seat cushion on a bench in the living room with a simple patchwork, and used scraps to make the tissue box cover...with a sensitivity to chlorine and a lot of swimming going on, I have a feeling I will be using lots of tissues!!
Tissue Box Cover

I am working on getting a dozen Dear Jane blocks prepared for hand piecing, I have decided to take the blocks from my swap with Kate and make a lap quilt, I always love to have hand piecing ready, so will enjoy finishing up those blocks.

Here hoping that it won't be another month before my next post, my 40th birthday is March 25th and Dave and I plan to go to Rome for two days (sans kids!) for my present this year, and no big party, not my scene, though I will have a meal or two out with friends and family!

January 16, 2010

Surfacing in 2010

Boy I have really let my blog slip on my priority list! It is coming up on 2 months since I posted last. Again, I have been steadily working on a few little projects, hence finally getting up off my heiney and updating!

We have had a lot of extra time off of school, lots of sub zero weather and ice and one nice day of snow. Here is a collage of our snow day, the girls had a blast!

I finally finished the pair of broadripple socks I was working on for Kate's November birthday :). Yup, you have seen this pattern before, as they are a pattern made for the cotton yarn that I use and they look nice, so have done Katy three pairs!! (One for her 40th bday, one for an exchange and one for this birthday...hope she hasn't gotten bored with the design time a new design I promise, though I might make a twin pair of these socks in this pattern for myself!)
Kate's Socks

I finished the hand quilting on my tree of life quilt and love it. I took it on my week-long visit in DC in early December and finished sewing down the binding on the plane.
Tree of Life Wallhanging

I also finished these two blocks which I am making for a Dear Jane themed quilt for President Obama with this Yahoo group. Took me ages to finally sit down and do them, but as of this week they are flying over to the coordinator of the group quilt in Tennessee.
My blocks for the Obama quilt

My lovely friend Barbara sent me a quilt kit she made up for me of a drunkards path quilt, perfect for hand piecing. Again, I brought these for hand work on my DC trip in December and worked on them on the plane, in airports, on trains, and the odd quiet minute on the rest of my trip. I rented a car (a red PT Cruiser is what I ended up with, cute!) and saw different friends for lunch and dinner, I kept moving all the time and had a great time! I was glad though, after all that driving (from Northern VA to North Baltimore) that we had a break coming up from school and we could have lots of lazy mornings!!

Drunkards Path Blocks

I saw two quilting friends, one of whom was my best friend in kindergarten who after receiving a very imperfect quilt from me for her daughter a few years back, took quilting classes and is now the Vice President of her Northern VA quilt guild!!!  Bonnie and I did a bit of shopping (including some really nice Donna Sharp handbags!)... I also got a chance to meet up with Toni in Mt. Airy and did a bit of damage in her quilt shop then went out for the yummiest barbeque I had in a long time!! Here is a pic of us at her shop, I am sporting my new patchwork handbag, lol.
Meeting Toni at Patches

Look at my haul!!
My haul!

I have finally put my ocean waves quilt on my big quilting frame and marked the celtic knot design I wanted in the open muslin spaces. I have put in my first thread and hope to start doing at least one thread a day on the quilt.  I am also working on a red wholecloth little quilt as well...
Ocean Waves on the Quilt Frame
Closeup of Celtic Knot pattern...
Christmas Wholecloth

I am slowly working on a knitted celtic knot designed pocket for my felted bag I have been working on for years now it seems...nearly done with that one...woo hoo!
Felted Bag, starting on two color pocket...

As far as resolutions for 2010 for me, I want to eat more healthily, swim more often, and continue knitting and quilting as often as I can. I am thinking of starting a Baltimore Album style quilt...but still a little scared!!

I was going to wait and post this after the weekend when I plan to finish a bunch of little projects for the girls, but this is getting way too long, so will possibly do another post on Sunday, imagine that!! I am not going to promise anymore about posting more often, I am just going to try!  I am very active on Facebook most days if you wanna see what we're up to round here, click on the link here and sign up or add me as a friend!