October 26, 2007

It's Beginning to Get a Bit Spooky Around Here!

Aine and Aisling went to Aine's school disco last night! Here are a few photos of Aine and her friends partying down (okay all the did was hold hands and walk in circles around the dance floor...they didn't want to dance!). It has been a while since I wrote how to pronounce their Irish names, they don't sound like they are written! Aine is "on-ya" and Aisling is "ash-ling", just in case you were curious!!
Aine and Sophie Aine and Aibheann
Aine the VampireReady for the Disco

It was a dance complete with a DJ and a bar for the parents, beer at a kid's disco...well when in Rome Ireland... It was really crowded and crazy but the kids had a great time seeing their friends late at night (well...7-9pm late...)! Very cute!!

Aside from Halloween happening, I've been doing a bit more little projects here and there. I finished the next set of swap blocks for my Dear Jane swap with Katy.
DJ Swap 2

 And here is the status of my Ocean Waves quilt on my design wall: I've got 49 of 80 done...getting there slowly, oh so slowly!!  But I love using all the little scraps from the DJ and my repro box!!
Ocean Waves blocks update

My friend Jane and I have decided to try to meet here at my house on a Wednesday night for a mini sewing bee. She is a fellow quilter, very artistic and always inspirational. She brought over this African quilt for her future nephew whose daddy is Zimbabwean. I'm not sure, but Ruth, I think she got her inspiration from a similar book that you did...those paw prints reminded me of your quilt! She used all kinds of sizes of scraps and it really reminded me of a Gwen Marston type free form quilt construction... I love it, despite being mainly a fan of antique looking quilts!!
Jane's African Quilt
Oh yeah, and she has succumbed to "Jane's Addiction" fitting, considering her name, lol!!
Jane's First Jane Project
She did this wallhanging for her sister but she is talking about doing the whole quilt for herself now!! Mwa ha ha!!!

October 23, 2007

Taking a Moment to Slow Down

I somehow let the week go by without a post.  The girls have had a busy social life!! Lots of running around and visiting friends. Mommy got a night out for quilting and for book club, so I didn't do too badly either!!

Aine loved the work I was doing on my dad's mountain quilt, and asked if we could make her a picture quilt. It somehow developed into a Christmas quilt. She drew this Christmas tree and we came up with this quilt over the weekend! Like Dad's quilt, I have to sew the edges of the pieces before we do any quilting.
Aine's Christmas Tree DrawingAine's Christmas QuiltStocking

Years ago I made our Christmas Stockings using 2.5 inch squares of homespun with our names embroidered on them. I've finally sewed together 144 4 patches of homespun and then cut it into a circle ( I am sure there was a more efficient way of doing it, but I hate math, and will use the cut-offs to make ornaments!) this will be our matching Christmas tree skirt this year... Took about 3 years of sporadic work, but finally can cross that project off my list, once it is layered and quilted!!
Christmas Tree Skirt

I had to slow down my pace on my Dear Jane last week, did one a day instead of the 2 a day I did for a few weeks. So I am down to 2.5 rows of squares left. I still find it enjoyable to sit down during the day and quilt a square, and hope I do for a long time! I really hope to have a quilt on the frame all the time.... But maybe my next quilt won't be mostly stab stitched!
More Dear Jane Quiltng

I have two people to thank for wonderful gifts! The first is Karol Ann. I won this gorgeous African bag and keychain from her, and it has big plans as our library book bag.Tote Bag

The girls are over the moon with a "just because" gift from a lovely woman who reads my blog and saw the girls pony lina last week. They love the My Little Pony fabric, which has been divided in half already so they could each have their own piece. Quilters are wonderful people.Pony Fabric Gift!

Just had to add: If you look behind Aine's fabric she has a Halloween sticker on her uniform. She apparently got that sticker from the other kindergarten teacher for being nice to a friend during recess. Aine was playing a game with some girls and they wouldn't let another girl play and Aine thought that was mean and went to play with the other girl. I guess the teacher saw her do this and gave Aine a sticker, a milchon (Irish for sweet/candy) and had the whole class give her a round of applause (some big Irish word I don't remember...that kid knows a ton already!!).  I guess they do this at the end of the day to reward different kids for good behavior... I'm just so proud of her!!

October 16, 2007

Can't. Stop. Now. Must. Keep. Going...

I kept meaning to do a blog post for days, but we've been busy, I've been lazy...it just gets away! But I can't wait any longer, I have photos piling up I want to share! Today is crazy...it consisted of the usual hectic morning rush and drop offs for school, coffee with some friends this morning (I know difficult, but someone has to do it right!!??), now a bit of a break, some blog writing and toilet cleaning (my personal favorite, not!), and then in an hour, I have volunteered to take 3 of Aine's friends home with me to play for a few hours! Am I nuts? Apparently so!! After the girls have their play, there is the usual dinner prep, then a lovely patchwork meeting tonight. Can't wait for that!!

Thank You Kristin!Aisling's New Necklace
First and foremost I have to say a huge THANK YOU to Kristen. I sent her a little package last month and she has unnecessarily and very kindly sent me a package back! Inside is some excellent Socks that Rock yarn and a local Oregon sock yarn (to add to my growing sock yarn collection below, up to 24 pairs there now, don't think I should get any more for a while!) some great blue and white nickel squares, and some cute holiday prints! Thank you very much Kristin for the generous package! Note that the Socks That Rock yarn has been ummm....tampered with by a certain 3 year old that loves the "rainbow yarn". Check out the necklace she is wearing here, Kristin, it is one of the tags you had on the gifties...now her golden medal apparently!

Lots of Sock Yarn!

I was going to do a blog about taking stock...of the insane amount of sock wool I have, yes, but also about how lucky I am to have two great imaginative little girls and such a beautiful place to live.

We did a nature walk this weekend to find autumn things for Aine's nature table at school. The girls had a lot of fun going through the woods finding mushrooms, leaves, rose hips, moss...
Nature WalkStone Bridge in Garykennedy Woods It is a beautiful wooded walk in Garykennedy just down the road.

And look at the view on the way to Garykennedy. This is also the view I have on my way to my big grocery store I use in Nenagh, a larger town nearby...tough huh? This is Lough Derg which is what the Shannon widens into just above Killaloe/Ballina, our town.
View on My Way to the Grocery Store!

Look at this cute little project Aine came up with on her own...using cut pieces of paper she made a castle with a tower and look who is in the tower...hint: she has really long hair!... Rapunzel, lol. I cut the cello tape for her, that was the extent of my help.
Aine's Castle Project

Here is another typical daily shot: PONIES!! They love their ponies... here the ponies are standing in a "lina", the Irish word for line. Aine has to get into her "lina" for her class in the school yard in the morning, so ponies are in their "lina" here!
Pony Lina

Anyway...I have 3 rows of square left now on my Dear Jane (lots of tris to do though!), and have been working on another project that I can't show yet. I am also slowly making progress on a Christmas tree skirt made with homespun 4 patches, might even be able to take some photos of progress next time! Just wanted to say hello again before the week got away from me.

 Well... I've passed the time pretty quickly...time for a quick tidy and I'm off to pick up 4 girls from school and walk 5 back up the hill...should try to get a photo of this, lol, but might get some strange looks from the other moms... "but I just needed to take it for my blog"...don't think they'd understand, lol!!

October 12, 2007

We Interrupt This Normally Quilty Blog with an Amazing Knitting Discovery!

Araucania

Look what I found today when I went to my local yarn shop with a friend! You should have seen the excitement on my face to see the first ever sock yarn sold in Limerick! It is Araucania Ranco Multy, with no colorways listed, but they are very yummy yarns hand dyed in Chile. Guess I better invest in a swift and ball winder now...

In other, quilty news, I have finished designing dad's Bend mountain quilt...everything is ironed down and awaiting me to finish the edges, layer then quilt it...
Bend Quilt

I also finished the bias binding on the applecore quilt. Looking at it now, I don't like the corners and realize it would have been more balanced to finish the 4 corners with the applecore patterns in the same orientation, but it is done now ... and quirky quilts have character, right? I hope to eventually have a wall of small quilts in our hallway, so this one needs some company! I followed this simple tutorial to make the binding.
Applecore with Binding

I realized that I never showed the super secret stitchery projects I worked on! I made a pillow for my local friend Kathleen, and a quilt for blogging buddy Barbara with the same friendship stitcheries. I was happy with how both turned out and the recipients liked them, woo hoo!
DSCF2189Barbara's quilt

My Dear Jane is coming along still, averaging 2 per day for a while, so up to 124/169 squares, 3.5 rows left of squares!

And just because I love to throw in gratuitous photos of the girls, here is a collage of Aine in her ballet costume for class, and one of Aisling, just because!
collage
DSCF2198

October 7, 2007

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Another long day here in our little town. Daddy left for a golf weekend with his buddies and wanted to walk Aine to school. My girls are a bit of mommy's girls and she was refusing to let her daddy walk her to school. Makes me feel loved, but I hate that poor daddy feels slightly put out!! In the end she went happily skipping off to school with her daddy so all was well!

Aisling was invited over to her little friend Sophie's house (I suppose I should call her her big friend Sophie, as she will always be called "Big Sophie" by Aisling, despite the fact that another girl she calls "Little Sophie" is a year older than Big Sophie and is one of Aine's good buddies... I remember listening to an argument one day in the car over which Sophie was which... life is never dull). Anyway... Sophie's mom very kindly gave us a ton of great clothes and toys for the kids. Aine is in the photo here putting together their new alphabet foam mat...she loves it!
Aine installing her new Alphabet Mat

It kind of got me to thinking about the many ways people these days are so much better about recycling and doing other thing more environmentally conscious. Don't get me wrong, we all have a long way to go, but there is definite improvement over the last few decades!

I love getting hand me downs from friends, clothes and toys get a new lease of life, and it lets us spend what money we have saved more frugally.  I never understand people who buy their children only new clothes of the best labels, they get dirty and stained from the normal life of kids the minute they put them on! That is not to say that I don't love and appreciate these gorgeous trendy clothes, lol, I just love to get them in charity shops instead of new! When the kids outgrow clothes, toys and even furniture (just gave friend Kathleen our changing table now that Aisling is potty trained!) it gives me a greater sense of satisfaction to pass these on to friends or charitable organizations than to add to landfills...

Aine's school is doing a great job with the kids teaching them to recycle. Aine was "on jobs" this week, she got to lead the class and got to bring the bread crusts out to the birds during lunch, the other girl on jobs with her did the compost with their apple cores and orange peels... It is great that they are learning so early! Both my girls help recycle at home, and help me take peelings out to our own compost bins.

All our lovely swaps we do through our internet and blogging connections help us all to reduce or recycle too! Our giveaways help us reduce, lol. (Thanks everyone for taking everything off my hands, all the patterns and magazines are gone now!) Swapping might not help us reduce, but it gives us variety without having to buy more stuff in and that has got to be good right? Look at this gorgeous fabric Karol Ann sent. I swapped her some rose fabrics for these gorgeous African ones!
Karol Ann's African Fabrics

As a scrap quilter, I find it hard to thrown anything but the smallest bits away...and come to think of it, I bet those cotton scraps would do fine on the compost heap instead of the bin! I even keep small pieces of batting, figuring I'll use them for either rag quilts, or other small projects eventually, or maybe even as pillow stuffing... I'm slowly trying to reduce my stash as well, and have very little yardage, mainly scraps for my projects... I love it!!  I also love that we crafters and quilters can take scraps of things and turn them into useful beautiful objects, repurposing old dresses, shirts...

Just a bunch of random thoughts I had this weekend, but somehow they all link together... It has been a long weekend alone with the girls, and not much quilting was done till today when daddy came back from his golfing weekend. I made a blitz to finish a whole row this week, and am now up to 116 blocks on the Dear Jane!! I only have 4 rows of squares left, then the quilt must come off the frame to quilt the triangles...should get to start on the triangles before Christmas at this rate! When I started my Dear Jane, I didn't have any reproduction fabrics, but through meeting wonderful people on the Dear Jane mailing list and online, I have been able to trade for most of the fabrics I used in the quilt...trading a few scraps I was generously given at the start of my journey and amassing a larger collection as I went along, I called her my Frugal Jane! I remember trading Irish thimbles and ornaments...trading siggies and scraps... Why buy more when you can share and trade? And I've continued to share what I've been given, passing scraps on to fellow and future Dear Jane quilters! Reducing and recycling some more...
Dear Jane Row (really column 1) quilted

I'm off to work on dad's Bend mountain quilt upstairs...if the kids ever quiet down and go off to sleep!!

October 4, 2007

A Day in the Life

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the comments on my last post. Last week was a very analytical and pensive, and I just felt all these thought weighing me down...it was nice to share them with fellow bloggers.

One of the nice things many said was that they enjoyed hearing about the girls and seeing our little slice of life in Ireland, so today I've been taking photographs along the way to show you a typical crazy day in our lives, a Wednesday...when mommy gets some time to go to patchwork group!

So our day begins at 8am. My girls used to be early risers, but now that we have to be at school for a certain time, I have to wake them usually. This is how I found them this morning...
Sleepy AineSleepy Aisling

After waking and getting them dressed for school, Aisling told me that she wants to be a My Little Pony when she grows up...a flutterpony called Royal Rose specifically. Might be a bit difficult, but I never prevent my kids from dreaming, lol! Aine decided she'd like to be Snoopy when she grows up...this is a change from her usual career: shopkeeper at Tesco (big supermarket chain!). Reach for the stars girls!!  This lead to them asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said a mommy, but Aine reminded me that I said I wanted to be a chef last night (after saying to Dave that I was having fun doing new recipes lately...).  She said, "a chef in a good restaurant", I asked for clarification and she said, "you know, like McDonalds", Aisling chimed in with Burger King, lol. Can you tell where my kids like to have their lunch treat the weeks we go into town for a bit of shopping!

I usually walk Aine down to the bottom of our hill where the school is, a few minutes walk away. The heavens decided to open up on us by the time we got to school, but Aisling and I eventually made it back home, a little soaked but not too bad!

After getting home Aisling and I got into the car and I dropped her at her montessori. She loves it this year, usually running into the class to start the day...a nice change from last year when she used to cling to my leg! Amazing how much difference a few months make.

Our patchwork group meets every Wednesday morning. It is a great group of people a good mix of ages and abilities, and we help each other with basting, with ideas, today we helped with color placement for a bear paw quilt. I was really lucky to find this group!
Quilting Group

I took my applecore quilt to work on today but I head to head off early to send some packages to some friends!! I hope they like them when they arrive.

I was also able to pick up a package from Beth. Look at all this gorgeous sock yarn she generously sent me!! I had to make her let me send a few quilting magazines in return. Thank you so much!! I promised her I would knit pink socks for the girls with the gorgeous pink cotton yarn she sent!

Great Package from Beth

After the post office it was time to pick up Aisling from school and headed home for a bit, got some boring housework done and started on a Dear Jane block.

We were invited up at 2:30 to a friends house, so headed up there. I was able to chat away and knit on some Tribbles. I got quite a bit done. I will be making these bath scrubbies for gifts at Christmas this year, along with some handmade soap.
Tribbles

Aine went home with a friend for a bit and then she was dropped off at the house Aisling and I were visiting, as that mommy is a friend as well... All the girls played together well. Notice that the torrential downpour gave way to glaring sun later in the day!! Not an untypical Irish day...
Playing with friends

Headed home to get dinner started around 5, fajitas tonight! I am finally getting a decent routine for eating...my girls are so picky, so anything they like becomes part of the weekly menu plan. Fajitas aren't their favorites, but on a Monday I do spaghetti, Tuesday roast chicken, so Wednesday is spicy fajitas for the parents, and leftover chicken and plain pasta for the girls...

Our little neighbor came over after dinner for a while and the girls had a great time playing on the trampoline...
Trampoline Time

Then finally it was time for bed: Barbie and Swan Lake was tonight's story.

I got my 2 Dear Jane blocks quilted for today (seeing if I can do 2 blocks a day this week), and even managed to finish quilting my applecore quilt, what a great feeling! And I love love love the baptist fan quilting pattern...will have to do that again.
2 more DJ quilts
Applecore is Finished!Baptist Fan Quilting...love it

Now it is way too late at night, so I better turn in. Tomorrow is knitting group and it starts all over again. Was a good day for the kids and for mommy today! If you made it down here, thanks for reading!

October 1, 2007

On Blogging...and Reaching 100!!!

It has been an interesting week for me that has made me learn a lot about myself... My daughter Aine is adjusting to school, telling me sadly of little girls who are no longer her friends. "So and so isn't my friend anymore, she is so and so's friend."  She somehow makes it through each day though, lol, and finds new friends. ...And she's made it successfully though her first marathon party weekend as well...  I think I feel it more than she does. I want her to "belong" have a group of friends, but it will have to come in time and she is obviously doing just fine...

But it got me to thinking about my own life, both in real life and blogging...and how much I struggle between just being my quirky crafty slightly hippy self and wanting to fit in with all the other mothers in the school yard, and here, how I love to have people subscribe to my blog, visit my blog and comment! I want to fit in and belong, be one of these people that can naturally chat away and be always interesting... But no one is interesting all the time!

With my blog, I feel that I have bigger projects and can't really blog all the time about them without boring any readers that stop by: "Hey, here is one more DJ block quilted or ocean waves block pieced" in between playing My Little Ponies and helping Aine write her alphabet (things we did today!). I started thinking, maybe I should be doing giveaways (which I plan on doing in a minute, lol, so stay tuned!!) or other things to get people to stop by and say hello... I love getting comments and had a quiet week last week, and started to be silly about it, worrying why people weren't commenting. But I finally reminded myself that I started this blog to share my projects and I have met some wonderful people many who I consider great friends now, done some wonderful swaps, sent out and received nice packages "just because"... So I have decided to just keep my conversation going and hope that people continue to stop by and say hello. I really need to do a 12 step program on stopping checking my stats, I find it so addicting to look at where people are coming from and how many folks are stopping by! Anybody else find it too addictive??

But maybe I can get more people to comment in a totally blatant fashion: a giveaway!! Sadly, I got little interest in my patterns or magazines for swapping, but how about a giveaway?? There are lots of things on the post below, knitting, quilting magazines from the UK/Europe, a number of patterns (the Father Christmas one is claimed for Katy!) How about if you name it, you claim it? First come first serve...if you want a few patterns or magazines, just let me know...I hope they go to a good home!!

On a totally different note, I made it to 100!! Not posts, but Dear Jane blocks quilted!! I am moving along, hoping to get the quilt finished for next year's Birmingham Festival of Quilts, since I won't be going to Oregon next summer for the Sisters Outdoor show like I had originally planned....Australia bound now instead, woo hoo!!
Dear Jane quilting...again!

I have also started on my dad's quilt. Bend Oregonian folk might recognize these mountains on their skyline! I will add some trees and land in the foreground to make this a quilt for my folks to put over their fireplace.  It is way out of my style, I don't do much machine applique or use batiks, but it is a great learning experience so far... the mountains are padded with batting and hand appliqued, but the rest will be machine done with fusible web. This quilt is about 60 inches wide, 20 inches tall!
Start of the Bend Quilt!

If you made it this far, thank you so much for sticking with me and reading, and please come back again soon!!