January 31, 2006

Simple Pleasures

I did up these little bed quilts for dollshouse beds yesterday. They are for my dear friend that looked after my girls on Friday...they were already planned, but wanted to get them done sooner so that I could give them to her this week as part of my thank you (I believe I promised 6 months of babysitting services to her husband in my comatose state as well, LOL). She has a dollshouse with some antique looking beds so I hope these will fit in nicely.
They are tiny...that 4 patch above my two little quilts is 4.5"!!

I wish I could say that I am adjusting to life on my own during the week, but looking after and running around with an 18 month old and a three year old just ain't easy! I wish I could be supermom and superwife, but I just can't so maybe I should go with the flow, and quilt some more!! Hand piecing is especially relaxing to me, so I think I may have to pick up my DJ again and start putting together the rows! Posted by Picasa

January 29, 2006

Had a bad week...

To start off with something quilty, here is a baby quilt for a friends new son...it is one of my first meandering quilted quilts...not really appropriate for sampler blocks, but I wanted to learn and I needed to make a baby quilt...one of these days I'll learn some of the rules but not all, I'm sure...I kinda rebel a bit against total authority, LOL!

Now for my week...started off with a speeding ticket in the mail, my first ever, for going 45mph in a 30mph zone in our village taking the girls to their playgroup...on a day I didn't feel like leaving the house, I should have known! I get two points on my license which has expired by the way (my Irish one...still have my full US license which they don't accept here). I have to run around and reinstate my license and then pay $100 worth of a fine and get 2 points on my license for going a speed that everyone else does, but doesn't get caught doing....that was Tuesday.

Thursday, feeling sorry for myself, as my husband is away at work for the next few months and I am on my own Monday - Friday, I got a lovely Indian takeaway...lovely until it kept me awake all night with food poisoning...had a quilt and pillow on the bathroom floor as I was not well!!! Some beautiful wonderful friends of mine took the kids for me in the morning, and aside from phone calls I woke up for, and a brief chat when my husband arrived home late with the kids at 8pm, I slept for nearly 24 hours... It has been a bad week.

I figure things have got to get better this week. My 3 yo Aine (onya) starts montessori here locally (she's been going to a preschool, but she loves learning and we've been waiting for this to open!), and I've gotta get my license sorted, so I've got my work cut out for me this week! One thing for sure, no more indian takeaways this week!! Posted by Picasa

January 25, 2006

Learning Machine Quilting

Learning to machine quilt... I finally got a machine that could do free motion quilting for my birthday last year. But I am still unfamiliar with drawing quilting patterns on a quilt to do something beside stitch in the ditch or an allover meander like I've been doing here on this quilt...I did meander in some leaf shapes in this one, and hearts, stars etc in a few baby quilts, but I'd love to learn other patterns traditionally used...and I would like to try the baptist fans someday too on a hand quilted project...

Is Harriet Hargrave's book about Heirloom Machine Quilting the best book to learn from. Just looking at other peoples quilts inspires me, but would love to learn HOW to do it as well as get ideas for designing. Can any folk out there point me in the right direction to "bring my quilting up a notch" LOL??? Posted by Picasa

January 22, 2006

Dear Jane Blocks are Done!

This guy has 73 pieces, 73!!! No wonder it took most of the week to get it done.

I am exhausted. I am feeling overweight and under-exercised. Gonna put aside the Dear Jane for a while and get my personal life organized a bit!

Will still work on some projects when I find the time, but won't start prepping for putting the DJ top together for a little while.

I think having my DH working away from home and also working myself in the evenings and a few hours during the week when the kids are with a sitter is stressing me at the moment...food is always my crutch...but unless I want to go back to my heaviest weight again, I've got to concentrate...so if you don't hear from me for a while...hopefully I'm out walking with my girls! Posted by Picasa

January 21, 2006

Quick Quilt...my first using letters!

I woke up this morning and decided I needed to work on some quilting. I've been bogged down with work, and just being on my own with the kids all week (this is an arrangement to continue for the future till we sell this house and buy one near my husband's new job...) and so...a little me time this morning and got this quick and dirty, no preconceived pattern quilt for my friends little boy done... He loves going through my fabric, just like the girls do, and picked out lots of boy type novelty prints and asked if I'd make him a quilt...last summer... so I've finally gotten around to it!! It ain't gonna win no beauty contest, but it is kinda cute...plan to freemotion quilt in words in the blue fabric areas that have to do with the novelty fabrics...I Spy ish...

Anyway...I have a lot to learn about free piecing, but I'm happy with my first try...will use nicer fabrics and contrasts next time... Posted by Picasa

January 16, 2006

Quilts and Cats

This is one of my cats, Stripey...she was sleeping on my antique quilt and was none too happy to be woken up and shooed away... She wouldn't budge and had such an indignant look that I had to grab the camera. That quilt is from the 1800s and I didn't want her damaging it any further. I have to find a good way to display it though!!

Why do all cats seem to love quilts?? Posted by Picasa

My Stash

Lots of Ikea boxes, most empty, but eventually to be filled with organized scraps by width...my collection of FQs, my tops waiting to be sandwiched...and on the bottom, a bolt of 90" wide muslin and a few bits of bigger pieces of fabric...the big willow trunk is FULL to the brim with scraps...so while I may not have a huge stash of yardage, my scraps are pretty numerous!! Posted by Picasa

Today's View from the sewing room...


With my favorite sculpture I found in a garden center...just find it very calm and mystical... Posted by Picasa

January 15, 2006

One more block to do and my DJ is done...well except constructing top, scallops, quilting and binding, LOL...

 
TR7 - Norway's Fiord..my last triangle...now I have one corner "kite" left and the 225 blocks are done!!! I can see the finish line, but I'm getting kinda sad about the end of this part of my journey! Posted by Picasa

Future Quilting Studio?

 
The whole family and I got in the car at an inhuman 8am (after a night out with the "girls" from my kids playgroup where many Bacardis were drank...who...not me!!! well okay...but only 5!!!eek!!!) and drove down to take a look at a house in the town where hubby will be starting job on Monday. This is the entire second floor...unfinished (didn't get planning permission for it, so had to stop...so all we have to do is put in stairs ourself and add some walls and we have a big master suite area...but I personally think the 60 foot room should be devoted to quilting...though I'd have to increase my stash to fill it...I don't even have one bookcase full of fabric at the moment!!! Posted by Picasa

January 13, 2006

Need to lose some "fat quarters", anyone wanna join?

 
Well...it is quiet out here in blog land but I will put up this offer anyway... Over the last year I have seen my weight go up and down 30 lbs...unfortunately it is on an upward point now at 153. I would like to get down to 120/125 by the summertime with a goal of losing 5 lbs a month... My heaviest here was 190 and my weight I don't like to go much below is 120... With 2 small kids I am using food for stress relief way too often. I am vowing to myself now...no more reaching for food...instead...I'll work on something quilty...a Dear Jane block, cutting for another project...something I can do in a small amount with kids not killing each other!

I need to get serious now or the weight will just keep going up. I'm almost out of all my jeans...time to get serious or else I'll have to buy larger sizes...eek!!!

Anyone wanna join in and lose some FQs this year? Posted by Picasa

View from my sewing room

 
This is the beautiful view I have from my sewing room of the Irish countryside. Granted torrents of rain are falling at the minute, so this is a sunny summer photo! We will be moving to another part of Ireland soon for my husband's new job, so I will miss this place and our lovely views!! But we have found a beautiful new house we will try to buy...have to put an offer in first though! Posted by Picasa

January 12, 2006

How to Quilt This??

 
I've been reading Bonnies blog entries about how she decides to quilt things... I have always done in the ditch straight lines till I got my Pfaff last year for my birthday which can do free motion. Now I have done a bunch of meanders, but you can ruin a quilt with an all-over pattern like that if it doesn't need it...

How do you decide which way to quilt something? I still have so much to learn!! How would you quilt this scrappy flannel quilt? I plan on piecing the back with flannel scraps from some lovely Stasbusters!! Posted by Picasa

Something a Little Different

 
My mom doesn't need STUFF for Christmas, but she adores her grandgirls, so I made a little wallhanging for her this year. I strung these three quiltlets together with beads and she loved it. Simple but sweet...and hand made rather than store bought... I might do another few like this, but maybe with vacation memories or something like that...

I have quite a lot of paying work on at the moment, and of course my real full-time job of looking after those girls, so no real quilting today...still hoping to get my last few blocks done for the Dear Jane so I can start putting it together! Tomorrow maybe? As I'll be babysitting for some dear friends so they can have a romantic meal out together...if I can get their kids to bed...I hear the baby is sleep averse LOL!! Posted by Picasa

January 11, 2006

May I introduce my kids, two future quilters maybe?

 
They love to play in my scrap box there...a huge basket full of scraps. I actually have two baskets of scraps...and barely a shelf of yardage/fqs...me thinks a dent in this scrap stash this year is in order.

I've decided with some good feedback from Tonya that I will use a different color than muslin to do the background of my alphabet sampler...then got the great idea of using the many hand dye scraps I have to back each alphabet letter in different colorful backgrounds that tye in with whatever novelty I'm using for the letters...should turn out bright and colorful blocks with the alphabets inside...but hopefully not too busy...maybe I'll pick 6 or so background colors (depending on scrap stash!) and alternate them for balance.

I am up at 3am with a bad case of heartburn...but had fallen asleep at 9pm after a long day of cranky kids (oldest DD Aine "onya" has bad cold...youngest cutie there Aisling is a momma's girl who is just cranky in general and who would liked to be sewn permanently onto my hip!!). I hate those times when you are so wiped out you go to bed early but then wake up like I did tonight at 2am and can't get back to sleep for whatever reason...luckily it isn't happening all the time, but with all the colds/viruses/dreaded ick that we've all had since December...it has happened too often form me, LOL!!

Worked on a Dear Jane triangle again today...not too much else I was able to work on except ideas!! Posted by Picasa

January 10, 2006

Finished is better than perfect!!!

 
Wow this one was a doozy!!! I am nearing completion of my Dear Jane quilt (click on link to see a virtual layout of my quilt blocks...) and am I glad I did this one near the end...I might have given up if this was an early one on my weekly challenge. I finished this a day late for the challenge this week...but it is done!! There is a great group of women on the Dear Jane mailing list who have given me tips, hints, tricks and support over the last year, as well as another great group of ladies on the MSN group Quilters Around the World doing the Dear Jane quilt along. I have done block of the week challenges and triangle of the week challenges with both groups and learned so much along the way. Not many of my blocks are perfect, but I think I like the wonky blocks best of all...makes the quilt have loads of personality.

Sniff...I can't believe the blocks will be done soon, only 3 triangles and one corner left...then top needs to be put together, basted, quilted...yada yada yada. I LOVE hand piecing, but I think will try my hand at another handwork project: reproduction antique samplers. I love the real ones, just can't afford them!! Anyone else do these samplers as well? I plan on starting off with cross stitch fabric, then trying linens etc (I am in Ireland...I should work with linen...but have some cross stitch stuff leftover from my teen years when I was into it)

I really am crazed...this post is rambling everywhere...long day with crazy kiddos, and a part time work at home job doing graphic design is to blame...or that is my story anyway!! Posted by Picasa

January 8, 2006

I Spy Quilt

 
This is a quilt I made for my oldest DD Aine's 2nd birthday. I have been given baby quilts for both girls by a good friend who also quilts (Hi Kate!) so I gave Aine a quilt for birthday 2 and intend to do the same for DD2 Aisling. I hope to do an alphabet sampler for Aisling's quilt using novelty prints I have and probably unbleached muslin. Do you think this would work? Will be using Tonya's free-pieced letters I think... Maybe I should write myself a list of projects! Posted by Picasa

New Challenge for 2006


I am going to make myself a wallhanging for my sewing space this year...an arty quilt, along with my scrap quilts. I bought this book off of ebay for a good price and it has inspired me to make my own inspiration angel. I want to make a quilt that shows some of my favorite things and represents me...I have some gorgeous scraps of Da Gama indigos a friend gave me that I might piece a background with...try my hand at some celtic knot quilting with bias tape, throw in my favorite CW repros, something to represent my wanderlust and travels, something about books...yoga...etc etc...an inspiration piece. I expect the planning stages will take a while. I also hope to embellish it with fiber for hair, etc and some buttons...it is all just in dream stage, but I really like the quilts in the book!

January 7, 2006

Finally Getting Started!

I have had this blog set up since September, but I am finally actually going to start posting!! I hope that one day I can join some of the cool blog rings that I've been reading for the last few months, but for now I'll just get started!

I'm an American, 35, living in Ireland with my Irish DH Dave and our two little girls, Aine (onya) age 3, and Aisling (ashling) age 18 months. Those kiddies of mine keep me busy, so I find I quilt mostly in the evening and a few chunks of stolen time while baby naps. My machine quilting has taken a back burner to the hand pieced Dear Jane blocks...they seem to be easier to tackle, as I can generally get one or two done in a night...and each is different so not boring. Plus each is a lovely new Civil War repro fabric to fondle, LOL!!

Here are a few quilts I did finish last year for other folks:


In my heart I am a scrap quilter, but I always seem to be quilting for other people, never for myself, so some of my scrap quilts aren't as truly scrappy as I hope my future ones will be! I plan to start doing more quilts for myself. Someday, when I grow up, I'd like to be Bonnie Hunter, LOL!! She is my hero for scrappy antique looking quilts that I love to look at. OK, so I'd like to be as productive as her as well...but with two small kids, I may have to wait!

My biggest quilt I'm working on happens to be for me: my Dear Jane quilt. I started it last February and hope to have all 225 hand pieced blocks done in the next few weeks!! I've only got 4 tris and one kite left on this quilt, though I have to catch up on my website, as many triangle blocks are still missing. I have done this quilt totally by hand with scraps of Civil War repro fabric that I've traded with around the world. I hope to get wool batting and baste the heck out of this and quilt it myself by hand, a new learning process! I'd say the binding will be the most tedious thing to put on by hand!!

This year I plan on doing scrap quilts only, and all from my huge scrap stash...does anyone have some favorite scrap blocks that go together easily? I don't have a lot of strips, mostly 6 inch squares or less...so a bit more challenging sometimes. I do plan on doing some string squares as well to eventually become a quilt...

Will keep adding more to this as I go along. I hope this will become my quilt journal, as I've never managed to do one on paper yet!