musings


I have been doing some bits of sewing and knitting since my last post, I am working the free motion quilting on my quilt for my cousin, and some blocks for my brother and sister in law’s wedding quilt (making it official this year!!) I am starting on the heel of the second sock for Katy…so progress is being made, but not much to photograph. One thing I can show is the Paddy’s Day quilt hanging up on the entryway quilt shelf!
St. Paddy's Day Quilt 

What I do have to photograph are some wonderful pieces of mail I’ve received in the last week or so…
More Gorgeous Fabrics from Elise
These gorgeous fabrics arrived from South Africa from Elise, whose daughter lives here in Ballina/Killaloe. I gave her some fabric and freezer paper, I think I won out on this trade!!
Cool Postcard from Zizzy
This gorgeous postcard came to cheer me up from Zizzy in Florida. I love it!! Thank you so much!!
Goody Bag from Katy
Katy sent over lots of goodies: two of our DJ blocks for our exchange…the sampler we are doing for our sock for a sampler swap…a gorgeous card and some yummy japanese taupe fabrics!!
Lovely Package from Jane!
Jane sent over a lovely card, this covered journal, Mary Engelbreit card making bits, and 3 gorgeous FQs. So thoughtful, and much appreciated. Thank you!!
DSCN3061
Ann sent these gorgeous cards from Brittany to cheer me up and wish me Happy Birthday (next Wed the 25th, lol!!)
Lovely Package from Andrea!
Andrea sent another lovely package today. Craft projects and chocolate for the girls (long gone before I took photo!!), some gorgeous sock yarn and civil war FQs and a great little bits and bobs bag with ribbons bows lace and zips. Thank you so much!!

I really appreciate all the cards and presents people have sent to cheer me up, totally unnecessary, but very much appreciated. The blogosphere is a great place, thank you so much for your constant encouragement and support, even before all this happened!

I did a lot of waiting in the hospital for tests and was mostly feeling well, except for the numb foot thing! So..when taken out of my normal fast moving routines with the kids, I got a lot done!!

I finished 3 books: Eat. Pray. Love. by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer  and The Visible World by Mark Slouka. Once the MRI results were nearing, I couldn’t concentrate on reading and moved on to knitting. In the meantime, I had also hand pieced two Dear Jane blocks for my swap with Katy.
March crafting

Once I received word that it looked like the MRI showed evidence of MS and that I would be doing a lumbar puncture next, I was a bit of an emotional mess and alone in a hospital, so picked up the knitting and went to town… Here is the sock I finished in the hospital. This is also going to Katy! I am a few inches into the second sock and plan to bring it for car knitting when I head off on Thursday with our patchwork group for a quilting exhibition in Dublin. Will take photos for a new post.
March crafting

Here is a quilt I did on Sunday and have been doing the stitchery for the last few days…it will be my Paddy’s Day seasonal quilt for my entryway quilt shelf, just need to sew down the binding at our patchwork group meeting tomorrow.Paddy's Day quilt...nearly done

I am slowly getting my head around it all, and the numbness is getting a bit better now. I will start medication in a few weeks and hope it will help further attacks from happening or happening as often. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the huge outpouring of support. Nearly everyone seems to know someone who has MS and who is getting on great in life. It is all very inspiring! I hope to reply to everyone, but haven’t gotten a start yet… Just know that it means so much to me to be supported by my blogging friends.

I love to make resolutions each year. I don’t guilt myself if I can’t manage to keep them, but it is always great to have a fresh slate to accomplish goals again.

I didn’t do so well last year at all with the resolution to lose weight and exercise more. This year I am determined. I have been overweight for over 3 years now, last seeing 120 around Aisling’s first birthday. I don’t need to reach that goal again, even at 140 on my tiny 5’1″ frame I look pretty healthy. 130 is a more realistic goal now nearing 40 than my 120 standard I had in my 20s. I eat poorly and don’t exercise enough. Time to eat healthier meals, drink more water, walk and swim more, and maybe even take up Irish set dancing again like I did in my teens and 20s. I will be setting up a tab on my blog to keep track of my exercise and weight loss progress. I will posting my scary start weight and my goal I figure I have about 60 lbs to lose at least, not good. But I am energetic about it.

I did like last year and started 2009 as I mean to continue. So planned activities for were:

1. I will be having a crafting retreat today, sewing and knitting throughout the day interspersed with other things on my list. I hope to restart the pink sock finally, today is the day to rip rip rip back. I also hope to start on a felted bag project today and some more knitted potscrubbers for my arsenal. On the sewing front I will be trying a patchwork star tree topper, inspired by Patchwork Pottery. I might also work on one of my 2 sided wonky log cabin blocks!

(Never actually posted to blog yesterday, but decided to do no ripping, as I didn’t mean to continue making mistakes and ripping them back, lol, too superstitious I guess! I managed to make the funky patchwork star, so got some sewing in!! I also started on a new knitted bag for me, called the Constant Companion.)
Star Tree Topper

2. I plan to drink lots of water, walk, and eat well. My first day of weight loss program and I intend to do well!! A friend and I will have a meal out on Saturday so that will be my first test to see how my willpower is working out!!

(Did pretty well, but will aim to be religiously counting Weight Watcher points by Sunday)

3. I plan to do a digital scrapbooking layout. Another thing I want to do this year is learn digital scrapbooking. I have liked Mary‘s layouts she has shown and think it would be a great way to document a week in the kids life and have great fodder for a book for my mom and dad each year. I will be putting a tab on my blog for showing those each week as well if you are interested in seeing them. My first few will be simple ones as I get to know what I am doing I am sure, but hope to add a bit of journaling to each page as well…
family
(Didn’t manage this yesterday, but got a little start on scrapblog here… the day before)

4. I will use my knitted potscrubbers instead of sponges for washing up today. I hope to continue to be more green and also more frugal. I am buying no more birthday cards or wrapping paper. I have enough plain sheets to last for years after the rolls run out, and have a ton of card making supplies. I have a box of gifts for girl birthday parties, and will make items from stash after that runs out, no more taking out a second mortgage each year for crazy gifts… I also plan on buying no more yarn or big amounts of fabric (the odd FQ I’ll allow myself!!) I bought a line for hanging up laundry in the utility room during the winter instead of using the dryer. Will see if DH will help me hang it.

(Ended up doing a big reorganization in the kitchen so pulled out the big scrubbers for wiping cabinets down, but used the knitted scrubbies for dishes)

I am contemplating joining the group May Britt is starting to get one crafty project done each month. Love the idea of getting one thing done each month as a focus, and it doesn’t have to be a full big quilt, but can be smaller projects. The prizes and giveaways are a good incentive too!! Check out May Britt’s blog if you are interested in joining the group!

Over the Christmas holidays I did a bit of knitting up at Dave’s mom’s house…more scrubbies for my arsenal…
December 2008

I also decided I hated my table runner as it wouldn’t lay flat, so I sliced that offending runner in half and made two gift bags out of it. I guess I should have taken better care making it so it wouldn’t have had so many waves around the edge, but I like it better in this guise, really, as I don’t use them ever!
December 2008

I will leave you with photos of Aine and the new cupcake maker Santa sent her.
December 2008 December 2008

You are strong and beautiful and loved! Look at all that support behind you. Remember, bald is beautiful!!

Mom has found out she has shingles on top of the chemo this week, but her spirits still seem strong, please keep her in your prayers and thoughts!

We don’t celebrate Mother’s Day here in May, in the UK and Ireland it is tied in with Lent and celebrated in March, so no breakfast in bed for me, lol.

I have been feeling the need to get healthier as I watch my mom going through her battle. I have been overweight again for nearly 3 years now and as I am getting older I can feel it in my joints more than I used to. I will be starting my weight battle today again, despite a First Communion party we are attending this afternoon, wish me luck :) On this Mother’s Day, I plan on making some changes for this particular momma right here!

Thank you so much everyone for the amazing amount of comments on my Dear Jane. I haven’t responded to any yet, but plan to respond to all…took a few days off, lol, though of course I couldn’t help but keep crafting from time to time!

The secret socks are done and I have started on some felted ballet slippers for the girls…as I am knitting them now, they look like they’d fit me, but they shrink amazingly into that lovely felted fabric! Will have  a photo to show next time.

I’ve also been working on a few projects for local friends kids, lots of tshirts and onesies. I may sell these at the local Sunday market in the fall…if I get myself organized enough :)
DSCF2791 Shirt for Aine Short Sets for Hannah Vests/Onesies for Baby Lucy

I have started on a wall hanging for Katy’s Another Little Quilt Swap. I am actually making two of these at the same time. I have always wanted to do a tree block wallhanging. I hope my swap partner will like it! I am thinking of adding a brown border, it is already 20 inches so only a small border, or should I just add a binding, and forget the border? I plan to hand quilt it. (I will press it out a bit better and get it squared I promise!!)
Tree of Paradise Block

Many have asked what I am going to do next? Nothing so big for a while, lol. Katy and I still have our Dear Jane swap going on, so I’ll still be hand piecing some DJ blocks, I’ll probably continue to do a lot of hand quilting as I’ve discovered I love it! But…since we will be spending a lot of time in the States this summer… I don’t plan on starting any major projects…right now. I hope to finish my scrappy ocean waves blocks over the summer on a borrowed machine, and to continue knitting. I will work on my cross stitch sampler…lots of little things!

Now, if you made it this far, here is a gratuitous cute picture. Aine’s class did an Irish dancing display on Friday, here she is with her partner in the “old time waltz” display, too cute :)
)

A few days ago I commented on Thimbleanna’s blog about the lovely gifts she’d recently got “just because”. I said, isn’t wonderful our community where we reach out across the globe to make these friendships and give of ourselves “just because” we feel a need to, “just because” we see something that we just know this person on this blog would just love. LOL, I recently suggested a swap with Jessi at Alabama Fiber Dreams when I read of her love for salt and vinegar chips/crisps. I offered to send her some Irish ones and then we decided to add in some yarn and other crafty goodness. I sent her husband some yummy Irish tea and some bread mixes… This is what she sent me, how spoiled am I!! Her own beautiful handspun yarn and stitch markers, some lovely Sophies Toes sock yarn, beautiful knitting needles (how did she know that I’d love to get bunches of these decorative needles just for the beauty of putting them in a jar in my studio!!), a knitting journal, some cheetos hee hee, sweets for the kids, an amazing huge quilt kit, and a scrap quilting book! Jessi, I owe you big, I don’t feel we made a fair trade, I got so much more than I sent out!!
Great Trade with Jessi

And if I wasn’t already lucky enough with this swap, this week I have been surprised by two packages I received “just because”!!

A few weeks ago I was reading Gail Pan’s blog and admired her sampler that has just been published in the latest Australian Homespun magazine. I commented on her blog about how I loved it and had to figure out how to get the magazine over to me here in Ireland. Dawn Hay read my comment and followed the link to my blog and generously offered to send me the magazine as a congratulations for getting that pesky Irish version of a full driving license. How wonderful are quilters?? I received her package today, and there was a lot more than a magazine in it! She sent some squares for Aine’s quilt, some 3 Sisters Simplicity charms, 3 gorgeous Australian design fat quarters, some gorgeous multicolor DMC floss, a cute vintage sewing machine button, some beads and cute notepads for the girls, and some Debbie Mumm panels! Above and beyond again. How lucky am I!!
Wonderful Package from Dawn

Then arrived a package today that I didn’t even realize was making its way to me from England. Anne Bebbington made these amazing and sweet heart stitcheries for the girls (they have them hanging in their room now!) and this gorgeous heart quilt for me, for my birthday, and for everything else that has been happening this year, “just because”. What a surprise these beautiful handmade gifts were. They brought tears to my eyes. 
Wonderful Surprise from Anne

I am grateful beyond words to all of you. And very spoiled.

When I come back from spending time with my parents, I want to send back some goodness into the world. I’m sensing some sort of a giveaway….stay tuned in a few weeks!!

On another note, I did send out a few little packages today, my Pay it Forward gift is in the mail, as is my bag swap packet, a very small gift for Dawn ( I need to get you more!!), and a few goodies for Barbara.

I am pretty much packed for the trip, just need to get my cross stitch organized in my carryon bag and then my toiletries in the morning. The house is presentable, and the 12 generous mommas all have Dave’s work and mobile numbers, and he has a cheat sheet full of numbers and info about where the kids will be on any given day. I hope everything works out okay!! I know I’ve said it before, but I feel very lucky to have such support in real life and in our blogging community.

Thank you.

Surfing around blogs today I saw that Pam made a list of things that she planned to be doing tomorrow, to keep with the tradition that what you do on New Years Day, you will do for the rest of the year! So…. I thought I might do something similar to start off all those resolutions I am making.

  1. Eat healthy throughout the day, and drink 1 1/2-2 liters of water!! I will be starting Weight Watchers again to get my weight under control again. I was down to 120 after DD2 Aisling was born, but have just gained and maintained at about 175 for the last 2 years…not good enough anymore, I want to get healthy, and anyone that wants to join in with me, come along!! I think I will start a new page here for Weight Watchers stats etc…
  2. Quilt a Dear Jane Triangle. I hope to get this quilt done in time for the August Festival of Quilts in Birmingham.
  3. Sew a gift for a friend. I hope to sew or quilt a little each day that I can, nothing new about this though, lol, it is in the blood. I will be working on a few gifts (head cold permitting, I am the queen of laziness right now!) for friends babies, and a very special bear using the chenille robe of a dear friend’s mom who passed away, kind of a memory gift for her, she didn’t have too much cotton for a memory quilt.
  4. Knit Dave’s felted slippers. I hope to knit a bit each evening as well! I find it so relaxing!!
  5. Going to pull out the rag rug that I bought 10 or more years ago!! Would love to get back into this again!!
  6. Go for a walk. Even if it is just a small one with the girls and Dave to get started! Hope to get the energy to walk as often as possible to get girls to school, etc!
  7. Use my dishcloths and scrubbies instead of sponges and paper towels. I hope to get more “green” and environmentally conscious this year, using less paper, less water, less electricity, less petrol… I hope to make these part of the daily routine, like recycling has become.
  8. Read a book in bed by 11pm. No more staying up late…will read in bed at a reasonable time!!

DSCF2512Have been working on some felted slippers for Dave since last night…they are so huge before felting it is funny! Have a peek… This went pretty fast, but have lost concentration this afternoon! Trying to get my head around the goals I have for the New Year. I really want this to be a year for positive changes.

Sounds like something my kids might say: “That belongs to memememememememe, pay attention to memememememe”, etc etc etc… But really it is all about ME! I have been tagged with two memes in the last week or two: one from Barbara, and one from Tracy.

 Sorry I have been gone for the week again, I really want to aim to post at least twice a week, but sometimes life gets in the way! More about that after the meme’s if you can hang on till the end!!

Barbara’s 4 Things Meme!

4 Jobs I had..

  1. Hancocks/Minnesota Fabrics shop employee: my love of fabric started early, was working in a fabric shop in high school and college breaks!
  2. Door to door militant Greenpeace fundraiser: those folks scared me, I lasted less than a day…I’m a horrible sales person and I was just a high school kid wanting to save the world!
  3. Secretary for an agency that had contracts with the US Agency for International Development: a very cool place to work, so diverse, so open, people were travelling the globe. I worked with a project that sent various consultants on public health, population and AIDS communications studies to all of Africa…I even got to travel as a conference coordinator to Entebbe and Kampala, Uganda. Being me, I took time off and did a tent safari in Tanzania, a wonderful experience!! 
  4. Freelance Graphic Designer: the job in number 3 above gave me educational benefits and I took a day course on Adobe Pagemaker, used it to design books and pamphlets for them and then used it to get a job in Ireland many years down the road. The job in Ireland turned into a freelance opportunity and I still do work each year with some US companies. Having received a bachelors degree in French and German language and literature, I find it amusing that I can charge a pretty good rate for doing graphic design from a day course I took as a secretary!!

4 films I can watch over and over…

  1. Persuasion (Jane Austen novel turned film with Ciaran Hinds, yummy!)
  2. Strictly Ballroom (love the comedy and sweet romance)
  3. BBC Miniseries (cheating is it?) of Pride and Prejudice…have worn out a VHS of it and wearing out a DVD currently, can you tell I like Austen?
  4. Anne of Green Gables (another miniseries, more for young girls, but I still love it!)

 4 Tv-shows I watch

  1. Bones (totally addicted…hated David Boreanaz as Angel -don’t throw things at me please!! – but he is yummy in this one!)
  2. CSI …. love the Las Vegas one, laugh at the Miami one sometimes, though the stories are well written, the actors preening cracks me up
  3. Medium
  4. Ghost Whisperer (note my secret love of supernatural TV programs)

4  All the Places I have lived (I thought it would be more fun to list everywhere I spent more than a few months in!!

  1. College Park, Maryland (my parents lived there in the same house my whole life, till they moved last summer to Oregon!!)
  2. Quebec City, Quebec, Canada (ran out of French courses to take senior year of high school, so went off to the sister nuns of my high school up in Quebec for a few months!)
  3. St. Mary’s City, MD (St. Mary’s College of Maryland where I acquired above degree)
  4. Castillon-la-bataille, Doulezon, somewhere east of Bordeaux France (as an au pair in a 15th century chateau. I just looked it up for the first time ever on the internet…check out the wine bottle…my room was second one from the right on the top floor!)
  5. Capitol Hill, Washington DC (rented a room while working as secretary job that sent me to Africa!)
  6. Fairfax, VA (lived in sin with DH before our wedding!)
  7. Atlanta, Georgia (Jonesboro) for DH’s work
  8. Ireland: Dublin, Drogheda, Navan, Waterford and now Ballina/Killaloe!!

4 places I would love to be right now

  1. Here, hanging out with my own little family!
  2. Oregon, hanging with extended family and getting my yearly fix of American living!
  3. Macchu Picchu (a site I would love to see some day!)
  4. Australia (looking forward to seeing it next year!)

There were a few other thing on the meme, but I’m going to be naughty and leave some out and add a crafty one to bridge to my next meme! And I won’t tag anyone as I’ve seen most folks have gotten this meme already!!

4 Crafty Projects you really want to finish!!

  1. My Dear Jane, of course!!
  2. A Baltimore Album wallhanging (don’t think I could manage a bed size quilt!)
  3. The Great American Aran Afghan…looks lovely on knitting blogs I’ve seen it on…but will be a big project!
  4. A pair of socks for DH and the kids

Tracy’s Why Do You Craft Meme

1. When did you start to create and make crafts?  I am sure it was very early in my life. I always remembering hand sewing Barbie clothes with my grandma on visits to her in St. Louis… I remember tons of art projects in Brownies and Girl Scouts, my mom taught me knit and I remember lots of attempts at scarves, not so many finishes though! My neighbor taught me how to sew on her machine when I was about 12 or so. I remember making a witches costume with her for halloween and winning a scariest costume prize with it!! A year or so later, a craft shop opened in my neighborhood and I remember taking candlewicking classes, soft sculpture (do you remember that, with panty hose and fiber fill to make dolls and other softies??)… I did cross stitch for a long while and clothes making throughout highschool. Wasn’t till college I finally got into quilting and tempted my neighbor across the dorm hallway, Katy to come along with me, lol!!

 2. Why did you start creating?   I don’t know? I have always loved it. My great grandmother did quilts, my grandmother sewed and knit, mom knit… I just always seemed to be drawn to it!

3. Why do you create?  I create now because I love to do it. If I didn’t I think I would find the evenings awfully boring. I can’t just sit and watch TV usually (especially if DH has control of the remote, which is usual till 11pm!!), unless I’m near sleep!! I usually have hand sewing or knitting on my lap! It is definitely engrained in my character… I just need to craft! I love to be thrifty, so find scrap quilting inspiring. I love to make things for family and friends, especially for mom and dad, as they have so much “stuff” that handmade is appreciated by them! I also love to craft to make useful things, socks, sweaters, bed quilts, lap quilts…I find wall quilts wonderful too…if I can appreciate and love something for its beauty when it is in my home, it is useful too!! Making things is just a part of who I am… I wonder if I have at least one who is following in my footsteps…this is what she is doing right now as I type: drawing away with her markers and books and paper around her!
Aine and her art

4. What do you create?  I create quilts by hand and by machine, I knit things: sweaters, hats, scarves, mittens, socks, dishcloths, even felted bowls… I’ve recently tried crazy quilting and am getting back into stitchery… I used to do willow basket making and plan to do that again soon, now that I’ve found nearby classes again! Soap making is something I’ve always thought I’d like to try, but am afraid of the lye and things with kids around!! Pottery is something I’ve done before, but am not great at! Would love to give it a go again someday!

5. Has this changed since you began crafting? My tastes have evolved since starting… I used to like brighter colors in quilts, but have been attracted to civil war repros and antique quilts in the last few years. I used to not be a fiber snob when knitting and now hate using acrylic!! I like cross stitch now, but mostly antique like samplers, not the cute picture type designs I used to buy in high school… I hope I always continue to evolve and change…keeps it all interesting!

6. What are your crafting goals for the future?  I hope to continue learning and improving my hand quilting, and hope to maybe do basket making and pottery next year!!

I haven’t seen this meme go around as much, so I’ll tag 5 people to do this: Tazzie, Andrea, Jenni, Kristen, and Ruth.

If you made it this far, I’d like to take this time to add some gratuitous photos of kids crafts and kids from Halloween yesterday. We printed out and Aine colored in this spooky garland to add to our decorations. We visited a friends house in the afternoon and she had a craft set up for the kids… I forgot the camera for action shots there, but here is Aine’s finished pumpkin… Aisling isnt cooperating this afternoon for photo ops, so I’ll add one from earlier in the week of her and a few bits of her favorite jewelry, lol!!
Halloween LootHalloween GarlandHalloween Garland CloseupAine's pumpkinAisling in a few "jewels"

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!!

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!!

UPDATE: The court overturned earlier custody rulings in Heather’s favor and gave her husband full custody of the children. They denied her right to an appeal of the decision. There is nothing left for her to do right now, and her deportation hearing is coming up soon. She won’t be able to see her children until they can travel when they turn 18. I am beside myself with sadness for her. If the U.S. government can’t intervene on her behalf, I don’t know that she has any hope of changing this outcome.

Heather and the kids in OmanThis is my cousin Heather Jones. Her story was picked up by Associated Press in the States, so I think it has gotten some nationwide exposure there, but we don’t hear about it here in Ireland. You can read an article about it here.

 I don’t know my cousin really well, I grew up on the east coast in DC area, and she and most of my mom’s family live in St. Louis, Missouri in the midwest. I remember her as the pretty cousin who was tanned and worked as a lifeguard during school vacations. When she went to college she converted to Islam and met and married her Omani husband. She has lived happily there up until a few years ago when he divorced her. She has fought and won custody of her gorgeous children, but her work visa will soon be ended, and her husband has cancelled the childrens US passports. She will be deported without the children, and I think will have very little chance of getting to see them again if that happens.

I’m not sure if anything political can be done at this point. Her plight has been sent to many politicians, but nothing really seems to be happening. If you can just say a little prayer or send a bit of good karma her way in Oman. This month a lot of her legal battles are being fought and we are still holding out some hope that she won’t be separated from the kids.

 Thanks for listening!

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