November 25, 2009

No Excuse...

Except just a busy life. The  MS has been fairly minor symptoms, and even my worse symptoms I have had since February didn't compare to what got me diagnosed back in the hospital. I consider myself lucky. I have to learn to pace myself and I do get tired more easily if I push myself, but in the scheme of things I am grateful. I am still swimming but have struggled with my eating and am disappointed in myself because of that, I will be realistic and won't try to lose weight over the holiday, but just keep maintaining...The new year and my 40th birthday approaching in  March I hope will spur me on to get fit again, it has been years now since I was slim and trim and I miss it!

Why haven't I posted in the last few months? The busy social lives of my kids, lack of energy when they are in bed... I have gotten quite a few projects moved forward and one very important one conceived and finished and loved since my last post...

My most special project I did was when I learned that my aunt's partner Ann lost her son in Afghanistan October 3. I felt the need to make a comfort quilt for her in memory of her son Aaron but wanted one I could reasonably finish before she and my aunt arrived for a two week visit in November. I remembered a heart block I had done using 1 inch blocks and translated the 1 inch blocks into 5 inch blocks, asked her favorite colors, and came up with this:

Ann's Memory quilt for Aaron

I did a meander pattern for the quilting and quilted in words that my aunt sent me that described Aaron along with the meandering. I think she liked the surprise of finding the words about her son in the quilt.

Here is a photo of the label I but on the back.
Label for Ann's Memory Quilt

I have also been working on a pair of socks for a certain friend who has already received 2 similar pairs (I am afraid to change the pattern since they fit her well!) This is her second pair of birthday socks, though these ones will be late, I am aiming for Christmas!

More Sock Knitting...

This final project is one I finished piecing years ago it seems now, and pick up from time to time. I am doing freehand baptist fans on it and like the way it is looking. Not too much longer for this one, I hope!
Freehand Baptist Fans Tree of Life Wallhanging

I have finally put up my quilting frame again and have my ocean wave quilt on it. I will show some photos of that one soon, as well as the start of machine quilting on a simple quilt I did for our guest room... I really  hope to get back into a rhythm of posting more often again.

For all my fellow Americans, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! I plan on roasting a chicken and making a mini Thanksgiving for the girls and me tomorrow while DH is away on travel for work. A boy in Aine's class has an American dad and he has generously offered me a can of imported jellied cranberry sauce for the meal since I didn't get some for this year, woo hoo!!

More soon...or sooner than this time anyway!!

September 22, 2009

Still Here...Just Busy!!

Ponies for the Twins
Making a stable of ponies!!!

September is always a crazy month for birthdays here...the last two weekends have seen the girls at 2 parties each weekend. Nuts!! Moms and dads are asking for less expensive presents as Ireland like everywhere else is in recession and presents can get crazy expensive, both girls have received some amazing things for presents, way above and beyond the call. This year I decided to spend time and not money on many of the gifts, speared off by one mom's search for a unicorn stuffed animal for her daughter.

I started off with a complicated pattern which I mangled, ripped and threw across the room, it wasn't pretty! Then I remembered lovely Tone Finnanger (aka Tilda) had a lovely horse pattern in her book, Sew Pretty Homestyle. Here is the first of the horse/unicorns with the Tilda pattern behind it...I changed it to a unicorn, and made it stand up (sort of!) what a lovely simple design!!
Unicorn

I forgot to take photos of all the softies, but I made one gecko, two ponies and two unicorns for all the girlies (one party was for twins in case you noticed 5 softies made for 4 parties...lol). Kids seem to love them, the girls made cards for them, so frugal gifts and cards, made with love by me and the girls together, rather than just buying cards and presents. I know there will be times when I am frazzled and just don't have the time and will buy cards and pressies, but I think I will try to keep up the handmade presents for a while.

The girls school, activities and playdate/parties, always keep this mom on the move (my Mondays are a nightmare, lol, with 2 ballet classes and a fiddle class, extra friends to remember to bring, and lots of killing time in 20 minute increments (not efficient for getting much done!) My crafting (except for party gifts!) has suffered for it. I really have nothing else to show for the moment...just a bit of knitting on my felted bag here and there, and a bit of hand sewing on my drunkard path blocks...

I do still work one day a week now at our local quilt shop. While cutting out fabrics for kits last week I had to take some yummy repros home with me...aren't these nice?
Fabrics from Maeve's

I am still swimming three kilometers a week, and still slowly making better food choices...hopefully this will continue. For all those friends that still keep reading my blog, despite the sporadic postings, thank you! I am so behind answering emails, but promise to get caught up again soon.

Edited to add: I survived Aisling's first day of school, she is liking it so far. Here are pics of the girls on the first day of school!
Fearless Aisling
Home from School!

August 26, 2009

Lazy Days of Summer...

I have been making some progress over the summer in fits and starts, but have found the lack of structure to the days to help me be very very lazy!! We set up play dates and swimming for afternoons and can often still been seen in our jammies here near noon! Nice for a little while but when you are mostly surfing the computer and moving slow, the guilt catches up with and so does the housework...

I have a few things to show though...
Drop Stitch Scarf and Fetching Mitts from yummy Manos Silk Blend
This is the drop stitch scarf and fetching mitts that I finished while on holidays in Portugal.

I found the patchwork scraps from the handbag I made and made some little accessories (no pattern): a keychain, zip bag and sunglasses holder.
Some matching accessories for my handbag I made...using leftover scraps

I couldn't wait to make 50 gazillion double-sided blocks to see if I could piece them together the way I wanted, and felt my chest of drawers needed a runner, so I did a test drive on doing the sashing for the double sided quilt. I finished it all by machine, not quite the proper quilt as you go method for the last seam, and machined down the binding as well, which I never do...but all in all I like it. It isn't perfect but I like the wavy line quilting (great for imperfect quilters!) and like the way the runner turned out...here are some pics of both sides of the runner...
Double Sided Table Runner for my Chest of Drawers
Neutrals side of runner..Civil War Repro side of runner....

My friend Anne Marie is going to open up her own little shop over in Wexford and while I was up visiting her earlier this month I got these yummy fabrics and two patterns...
Purchases from Anne Marie

When my brother arrived last week from the States he brought me these...note the Fig Tree Quilt theme: 2 patterns from Anne Marie and now an FQ stack of Fig and Plum fabrics by Fig Tree Quilts (thanks Anne for selling these to me and throwing in the lovely Terry Thompson fabrics!)
Fig and Plum FQ Stack and some extra goodies from Anne

My brother arrived last week and we have had great fun visiting with him. The lovely guy brought me my newest toy, a waterproof case for an Ipod shuffle. I have finally bought an Ipod and now listen to my music and podcasts while swimming my 60 lengths (1 kilometer!). I have a hard time walking for exercise these days, though thankfully it isn't an MS issue but a fallen arch in my left foot and the doc seems to think some orthotics fitted into my shoes will make a big difference. Swimming is something I've always loved and can do well, so for the last three weeks I've swam three times a week. I haven't started changing my eating habits yet (bro brought too much yummy food and margarita mixes!!) but plan to start when school starts next week. Watch this space for a hopefully shrinking Cathi as I swim and get my eating habits in order. It will all help with MS symptoms too...the healthier the diet the better they say.

I have started a new hand piecing project, a drunkards path that Barbara sent me the fabric and templates for back when I got the bad news about my mother's cancer (she is cancer-free for a year now, woo hoo!!). I hope to be able to show you the progress on that quilt as it grows slowly. I love to have a hand piecing project and aside from my sporadic Dear Jane blocks I am doing for my swap with Katy (latest block received from Katy below...)
DJ Swap with Katy

I definitely like the look of the dresser runner I did, so will work on the full double-sided bed quilt this fall...But have an itch to start some new projects, hmmm...what will I do next? Something with that yummy stack of FQs?

My youngest, Aisling, starts big school next Tuesday. How does time fly by so fast!??

August 4, 2009

My First Ribbon!!

Tinahely Open Quilt Competition 2009
Woo hoo!! I don't think I will enter tons of competitions, so this may be the only actual official ribbon I ever win and I am very excited!! My Dear Jane got Very Highly Commended (Bed Quilt category) at the National Open Quilt Competition at Tinahely.
Here are some photos of some of my friends quilts. All the quilts in Tinahealey were gorgeous and some amazing colors, designs and quilting were to be seen.

Tinahely Open Quit Competition 2009

Tinahely Open Quilt Competition 2009

Before the quilt show I went up for a visit to my friend Sherry for a quilting retreat and I finished a quilt top, a very simple one!! Here it is on the guest bed, I will be making roman blinds and doing a backing for the quilt with the fabric on the border. I am thinking of doing free motion quilting myself on it though I am tempted to have it long armed...
Tinahely Open Quit Competition 2009

I decided I needed 2 big quilts since I have two daughters, so I am thinking that I will learn how to do Baltimore Album quilt as my next big project and will start working on my double sided quilt again too... always lots on the go...so many quilts so little time!!

July 9, 2009

Heading off in a few hours...

We are going on holiday to Portugal for 10 days but wanted to show you the quilt I did for the wedding we are going to there...I still need to sew the binding on, but the wedding is a week and a bit away so should be fine!
Wedding Quilt...piecing and quilting done...binding and label to go...

I also got this beautiful pinkeep in time for the 4th of July holidays. Thank you so much Barbara for thinking of me.
Gorgeous Pinkeep from Barbara

We had a display at the local Brian Boru festival of all our quilts... My quilt has been going on tour!
Killaloe Brian Boru Festival Art Trail Window - Quilts!

And here is my latest knitting...some Fetching gloves and a Drop Stitch Scarf started with the beautiful Manos de Uruguay Silk Blend yarn that Weronica sent me. Thank you so much again, I love the color and the feel of this yarn!!
Fetching Gloves and Drop Stitch scarf

I've got the binding on the quilt, a freehand fan quilting project (my tree quilt wallhanging from last year!) and two knitting project for 10 days, think I won't have any chance of running out of projects, especially since one is my second try at lace knitting a shawl...that will take ages!!

June 27, 2009

Has it really been a month?

I am fine. Just in case you might have wondered, the MS is still there, and the injections are going fine. I still have numbness and tingling in my feet and sometimes my hands...but really in the scheme of things, if it remains this way for a while to come, I would be grateful!

I have managed to get a few projects done, but haven't taken photos of all of them...the latest news is that my Dear Jane won another Viewer's Choice!! This time at our local Limerick Quilt Show! I won a hundred euro voucher to the quilt shop I work a few hours at weekly!
DJ at Limerick Quilt Show

Here are the girls and I in front of the quilt...
DJ and the Girls at Limerick Quilt Show

Here is my friend Riikka's great applique quilt for her son. She just started quilting. Last October. She started this quilt in March, had the applique and top and hand quilting done by May...wow. Hope you keep in touch when you move back to Finland, Riikka! She has started a Dear Jane, I expect she will be done next week sometime, lol!! Okay, maybe next month...
Riikka's Maritime Quilt

We had a nice display of quilts in the Limerick City Hall...
Limerick Quilt Show 2009

My friend Nicola and I made more of these scrubbies for a friend's school fete. I added the soaps to help them sell better, lol!!
Scrubbies for Sale!

I should have blogged much earlier, but the days are so busy with kids activities (Aisling turned 5 last week, where did the time go!) and I just let it get away from me. Here is a photo from today's activities, the kids made a mummy, vampire and various other scary creatures with my fabrics...love that they love playing with the Tilda kitties I made them!
Mummy and Vampire kitties!

I have been working on some fingerless gloves and on my felted bag on the knitting front, can show one finished glove next time. The bag still looks like a big green blob of knitting, so not really exciting. I have finished the wedding quilt for Dave's brother and his partner...well the top anyway...but never took a photo. When I start the quilting on it will try to take a photo and maybe update the blog a little sooner? Maybe??

May 27, 2009

A Long Time Coming...

This post was a long time coming!! And so was this...

Redwork Cushion Swap Cushion on the sofa
This gorgeous redwork cushion was for a swap whose receive by date was May 5th. I sent mine out a few days late, but the girl that was SUPPOSED to send to me dropped off the face of the earth and sent nothing. Luckily our intrepid leader Maree was able to organize that the girl that was supposed to send to this girl who dropped out without a word would send to me instead, otherwise I would have gotten nothing at all. Thank you so much Rebecca for the beautiful poppy cushion with the Keats quote and yummy chocolates, and thanks Maree for helping me out. I am very pleased with my new cushion and think it looks right at home on my red sofa with my patchwork cushions!!
Great Package from Rebecca
This is the cushion I sent out to Paula at Coffee Time Stitches.
Redwork Cushion Swap

I am sorry it has taken me so long to do a post, I have actually been fine, MS wise, nearly a month now of injections with no issues really, just the odd sore area but no side effects really! I am hoping that with better eating and the injections I can keep the big symptoms of MS at bay for as long as possible. If I can shake my Diet Coke addiction, I know that will help too...I went cold turkey for a few days, but am back to one a day, an improvement from my usual routine of several cans a day...

The main reason I haven't posted has just been the crazy pace of life with 2 busy kids and their friends, and a few fun nights myself, including dancing to 1am last Friday with some friends at a local fashion show event that had dancing afterwards...

I have not had a lot of finishes, but I did get my bunny quilt finished. I did a crosshatch grid and like the look of it, will do it again for applique...now if I can only master the rocking stitch with my hand quilting!
Hand Quilting on Easter Quilt

I have had some great mail lately, but let me start with the ones I am several weeks late in acknowledging.

Paula sent me this great stack of Civil War repros, just because... Thank you so much!!!!
Lovely Scrappy Goodies from Paula

Lise also sent a great package from Oz. Thank you for the great magazine and other goodies. The girls took most of the chocolate!! It really made my day to get these packages just because!
Lovely Pressies

Vicki and I did a little swap. I sent over some shwe shwe from my collection that she admired, and she sent back these gorgeous hand dyes and cute potholders (which I use all the time by the way!).
Cool Goodies from Vicki

Weronica sent another just because gift, so kind! Look at the great pattern and gorgeous yarn she sent. I already have plans for this yarn, I've started on some Fetching fingerless mitts with this gorgeous merino and silk blend yarn. Thank you again everyone!!
Lovely Package from Weronica!!

My friend here in Limerick, Nicola, who I met while I worked my few hours at the local quilt shop made me this amazing birthday present! It is a needlecase with an Angel Story(Hatched and Patched-Anni Downs) stitchery on it and some great cross-stitch. She did it all by hand and used Japanese taupes, my favorites!! I really have been spoiled by generous friends!
Needle Book from Nicola
Inside of Needle Book

I have been working on a felted bag called Constant Companion for a while, not hugely exciting knitting, but I am making progress. I would like to do a celtic knot on the pocket but have to figure out how to get a chart I can figure out how to knit! It is huge now but should felt up nicely.
Progress on my Constant Companion Felted Bag - Prefelting!

I am also working on a wedding quilt for my BIL and SIL who are officially tying the knot in July. I have all the centers done now and am working on the insane amount of HSTs needed for the blocks, snore! Here is a little sample of the blocks... I am hoping to make more progress on this soon.
Wedding Quilt Progress

Now if you have made it to another of my long posts, here are a few pics of the girls. Aisling is always hard to get photos of with a smile, she hates getting them taken! But here are two good ones!
Ballerina Aine
Cute Smile

I need to get better about posting more often...my posts will be much shorter!!

May 1, 2009

The Trip was "Wicked"!

I had an amazing time on my whirlwind trip to Sweden and London!

On the way over to Sweden I met up with my friend Celine, a fellow quilter. She fed me a very yummy lunch and let me play with her very cute kids! I also went bearing a few gifts, some batiks for Celine, a few little baby vests/onesies for her little girl and a little sheep stuffie for her little boy. Thanks Celine for the lovely afternoon!
Celine and Family and me
Gifties for Baby Charlotte
Barbara and her DH were great hosts. Barbara and I did lots of shopping at craft/quilt
and knitting shops! Look at my loot :)
Lots o Goodies from Sweden
Some great Japanese taupes
I love the wooden spools with the ribbons, I bought them just to look at, lol, but can put the ribbon to use eventually too, with cards or sewing... I found some gorgeous Japanese taupe fabrics and clever zippers by the yard with different cute zipper pulls. Barbara swears by zippers sold this way, you can make them whatever length you need and are much less daunting than the standard zippers to work with. I did that zipper pencil case in the picture in about 10 minutes, so easy! The little plastic bird is part of a set of clothespins I bought for my laundry line! They will make me smile each time I hang out the laundry...
Swedish Yarns for some Fingerless Mitts
gloves
Look at this gorgeous Swedish yarn I bought to make some fingerless gloves from a pattern the shop did...here are my yarns and her is the photo of the gloves...Barbara will help me translate the Swedish instructions, lol!
Goodies from Sweden Part 2
Barbara decided I needed to learn how to do some lace knitting, so I have succumbed, and bought a beautiful skein of Swedish/Estonian yarn to make the Japanese Feather and Fan shawl. You can see the yarn there in the pic above but it is hard to see...I should have taken a photo before I prepped it for knitting. In the pic is also some cute linen/cotton material with deer and Viking runes to remind me of Sweden, more ribbons and other cute stuff I got, including my standard tea towel I always bring home!

Barbara's husband let me borrow his car and I got to drive around Sweden with Barbara, looking at a beautiful old village called Sigtuna and a lovely bigger town called Uppsala. We also went into Stockholm for the day. Here are a few photos of the sights we saw...
april-2009

After a great week at Barbara's, I headed for the weekend to stay with Katy. As always, I had a great relaxing time, crafting, computering and watching movies...there may have been a little bacardi sipping of an evening as well... I managed to finish up a lot of my crafting projects I had been working on at Barbara's. Here are some  photos of the Dear Jane blocks I left for Katy.
Dear Jane Block for Katy - Papa's Star

This is the progress I made on a felted bag I am knitting.
Progress on Constant Companion felted bag

We went to see Wicked on the Saturday night before I headed home again. FANTASTIC!!! I loved the music and the story was great. We had the standby/understudy doing the role and she was amazing, so good! Can only imagine how great the star must be if the understudy is so excellent. Here is Miss Katy posing in front of the theater :).
Wicked!

I started my injections yesterday for the MS, so far no issues, yay! I was sad the day before I started, as I don't take any medicine at all barely pop pills unless I have a very bad cold/flu and now I will always be on medication, end of an era...but so far things are going fine.

I have gotten great packages in the mail from Paula and from Vicki, and a gorgeous handmade needle book from a friend here in Ireland, but they deserve another post, so hope to do that tomorrow!

If you made it to the end of this post, you have great stamina, and thanks for visiting!