days of our lives

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drunkards Path Blocks

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

Look at my haul!!
My haul!

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

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

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

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


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!??

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!!

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
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…

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 :).

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!

Folk Art Easter quilt top
It is a day late for Easter and it is only a top, but heck, I am working at a slower pace these days, trying to enjoy my crafts and not guilting myself if I don’t finish thing by a self-assigned deadline!  It is very naive/imperfect/primitive and drawn by hand from motifs I have liked from other quilts and folk art… I like it, but how should I quilt it?

Katy's Socks DONE!
And look, Katy‘s socks are finally done!! We did a little swap and she finished 2 cross stitch samplers for me before I got her socks done. Here is a package I got from her that shows the latest cute sampler she sent me, another part of the inspiration for my quilt! She also added some cool cut-outs in pretty papers for me to use in card making, so nice!
I also did a few quick baby onesies for a friend who we visited last week…forgot to take a photo of the onesies before I packed them up in their cute little gift basket…
Baby Vests for Fionn
When I got out of hospital I was surfing blogs as I always do, and came across a link to The Vintage Pearl. She hand stamps these lovely necklaces, and Dave got this for me as a mother’s day pressie. Isn’t it lovely?
New Necklace

I also finally finished the quilting on my cousins quilt, it is designed for a specific room to match the colors in there and fit an area behind her sofa. I did a Missouri Star for her since she lives in St. Louis, the blue border is great, has the words family, friendship, love…very appropriate… and I even quilted some shamrocks into it, lol! The colors are based on a Navajo blanket she had in her room. Hope you like it Col!!
Col's Quilt DONE!

LOSER UPDATE: I am up to 181.2, which means I am still down 10 lbs despite my side track with my hospital stay and MS diagnosis. I hope you fellow losers can be patient with me, as I still plan on really joining back in the next few weeks, but am not quite  ready yet.

I am going on a trip next week to visit Barbara and Katy, I can’t wait!! A week without the girls with crafting, shopping, sightseeing in Stockholm and a show (Wicked!) in London’s West End. A bit of mommy recharging time, just what the doctor ordered. And the doc told me to wait till returning from the trip to start my injections…something I am not looking forward to, but will use it as a line in the sand for starting my healthier eating regime, trying to cut out as much processed food as I can, i.e. junk food, my favorite stuff!!

And just because I don’t have enough photos in this post, here are several more of the girls.  Mommy did a bit of bunny crafting with the girls and our little neighbor one day, I find these masks slightly disturbing, but the girls had a great time making me make lots of stuff for them, lol!
Here is the one decent photo I got of the girls doing their easter egg hunt Easter morning.
Easter Morning Egg Hunt
And finally, my big girl Aine learned how to swim and ride her bike last week, all within days of each other…here is the biker girl!

I have MS. The MRI results I was waiting for didn’t have great news. My symptoms are mild, but will start meds in a few weeks. Have to decide what kind of medicine I want to inject myself with daily. My emotions have been all over the place ranging from tears to bravery to terror… but I think I will be able to be brave about this soon. Just need to get my head around the whole thing.

Believe it or not while in hospital I finished three books, 2 Dear Jane blocks and a SOCK, lol! Will do a post about my hospital finishes soon.

I plan on keeping doing as much as I can that I have always done, maybe just not the salsa dancing for a while, lol!!

Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers!

Say  that 5 times fast!!

I have been so busy lately, I barely know how to start… I have managed to do a few quick quilts since my last crafty update. Here is little quilt I did for Katy‘s birthday boy, I hear it came in a distant second to Karol Ann’s  totally cool dinosaur tshirt he got, but hey, who could compete with such cool shirts!  I have been trying to improve my freemotion quilting with my small wallhangings and so I have done small stippling on this and quilted some bamboo in the pandas hand 🙂 and Alex’s name…
February 2009

I also decided to whip up a quick strippy scrappy valentines day quiltlet for my little quilt shelf…I am working on making my meandering much smaller when I do free motion, and I just love to quilt wavy lines, love the texture they give.
Heart Quilt
Heart Quilt

I also finished the quilt top for my cousin in St. Louis Missouri. The center block is a Missouri Puzzle chose for obvious reasons!! I used a photo she sent of the room she wants a quilt for and hope she likes it. Next time we get together I need to get her started quilting. She is a doctor and it might be a relaxing hobby after a long day?? Can anyone suggest a good St. Louis patchwork shop with beginning quilting classes, in case she is interested?
Col's Quilt

Aine has her first two loose teeth and so last weekend we made a Tooth Fairy Tin together. She designed the top and I used my Xyron 900 to turn it into a magnet to put on the tin!! We made a little pillow to put the tooth on, so now she is all ready for when the tooth fairy comes avisiting!
February 2009
February 2009
February 2009

I have started on a pair of socks for a trade with Katy. I am making her another pair of cotton hand knit socks and she is doing a cute cross stitch sampler for me!
Katy's sock!

Happy Valentine’s Day
from us to you!!

 Valentines Day 2009

Homemade Valentines

Valentines Day 2009

Valentines Day 2009

Valentines Day 2009




Aine's Angel
Sounds like a lot of America is under a blanket of white. I am hoping my brother, who has to work in Portland till 5pm today (bah humbug boss!) can get to Bend tonight on the bus that runs between them. I’d hate both my brother and my folks to have Christmas on their own.

Ill fated Coffee Press Cozies
My last few gifts are finished, though the coffee press cozies I made for my friend here in Ballina, while looking very cute, do not fit!! In the picture here the xtra large sized cozy only barely fits on the standard size press…and I forgot to make a little notch for the spout, so I tucked it under it and folded the bottom up, eek! I took measurements for her two coffee presses and made the cozies to fit perfectly. Of course I forgot to take in the measurements of the thickness of the battings I used and they fell short by about an inch and a half…so I am giving them to her with some big safety pins till I can take them back and pretty them up with an extra fabric sleeve and velcro to bridge the gap after Christmas. I used up the very last of my insulbrite making them so will have to replenish my stock on my next trip done. Got 6 potholders and 2 cozies with a yard, not bad!

Cushion Covers for MIL
I made lots of red things for Christmas this year, per request of recipients! Dave’s mom requested some cushion covers this year, and she is an appreciative recipient of my handmade attempts, so I made these for her with pleasure. They look great on my red sofas with my thrifted Christmas quilt. A few years ago, after Christmas, my dad and I went to a Bend thrift shop that let us take any Christmas items we could stuff in a big brown paper sack for $5. I scored the quilt, a cute mug, some ornaments, some lit christmas villages for mom, and a ton of unused Christmas cards that I am still using!! Gotta love being able to get things at great prices while feeling like you are helping environment by recycling unwanted goods, and helping a charity by buying them. Only wish the charity shops were so numerous and huge here!!

Of course while I was pulling out batting scraps to use on the back of my cushion covers which I free motion quilted for a bit of thickness and texture, my girls had to get in on the action. If they are in the house, even if daddy is with them, I have given up on alone time…I just get on with what I need to do and let them hang out with me. I used to always want time alone at weekends to get stuff done, and to have a little mommy recharging time…I recharge while they are at school now (don’t clean during my alone time, just visit, craft or run errands sans kids, cleaning is done in afternoons with kids helping and Aine is actually a great helper, Aisling, not quite there yet, lol!). Here are the designer and model of the newest fashions: batting dresses!! T
The Designer and Her Model Aisling and Her Batting Fashions!

I finished the kitties for the girls, no secrets for their handmade gifts this year. Aine wanted to paint the face of her kitty, and how could I resist? It was very hard to restrain myself from trying to make her do the perfect placements for eyes and whiskers. I did Aislings (on the right) for her, but Aine’s has more character and she will be proud she did the face herself.
Girls Kitties

Our Christmas tradition is to bake cookies on Christmas Eve, so we are going to be starting that soon. We do sugar cookies, chocolate chips (have to have these for my Irish family or not allowed in door for Christmas!), pecan tassies and will try homemade marshmallows this year. Daddy will be doing his annual tiramisu tonight, yummmm! Might add some pics later, but the day hasn’t started yet!!

Added later:
Here is our cooking so far today. Homemade marshmallows are YUMMMMMMMMMMMM. The pecan tarts turned out well too! On to the chocolate chips and sugar cookies.
Star Marshmallows and Pecan Tassies Leftover bits from star marshmallows...mmmmmm

Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas! See next week with some resolution thoughts and maybe a project or two??

December 2008
Once again I let time fly by without posting. We had an impromptu Thanksgiving meal with roast chicken instead of turkey, mashed potatoes, roast potatoes and carrots and green beans, a bit of stuffing and American style biscuits (i.e. bread not cookies, lol!!) and of course some yummy desserts (pecan tassies from a recipe from Kristin, a bought apple tart, and some kid and mommy-made Thanksgiving day sugar cookies). The kids had school and I went to our knitting stitch and bitch Thursday meetup, but after school and in between Aine’s Irish dancing class I whipped up dinner (mind you I put the chicken in without starting the oven and lost 45 minutes of roasting time pushing dinner back!!). The kids loved making the cookies while watching the earthcam coverage of the Macy Parade!! We watched lots of balloons go by, but I missed the NBC commentary, lol, from my childhood. I had planned on skipping Thanksgiving, as it is just a regular day here, but an Irish acquaintance who had lived in the States was doing a big meal for friends and family and I felt guilty for not doing it myself and skipping a tradition the girls really love.  We have celebrated it the Saturday after the last few years with other American friends, but they have since move back to the States, and I like the idea of a toned down but still  special meal on the day, with one set of friends over maybe… I would like to keep the celebration alive for the girls!!

I have been working on a bunch of little projects for Christmas since last I updated. I finally got the binding on the tree skirt I started years ago. I also did a table runner for Christmas…
December 2008
I am also starting a tradition of one handmade gift each year for the girls, I am making another Tilda pattern from one of my books, this kitty needs eyes and a dress and her sister is now done, but unphotographed… They are made from tea-dyed muslin.
December 2008
I also have made some soft trees from this pattern and made one into an ornament for my patchwork group exchange, complete with little lights for the tree. The rest will just go on shelves around the house for decoration.
December 2008
We’ve got our tree up this weekend and the tree skirt finally in place!! I am hoping to get more Christmas decorations…I have been pretty Spartan with my decorations in years past, but would love to add some garland around the house, more quilts…I have a Jim Shore Santa I love, just wish they were easier to find here!!
December 2008
I love this quilt I found last Christmas in Sisters Oregon in an antique shop, nice hand quilting and I love that it is hanging off an old wooden spoon, it isn’t antique but it is sweet.
December 2008
Aisling is afraid of Santa, but managed to get Aine and the big guy…December 2008

Another tradition I want to follow is the 200th Post Giveaway!!! I finally, after 3 years, got to my 200th post…not a prolific poster as you know!! I want to give away this gorgeous kit I got at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham UK. December 2008
It has all the fabrics and goodies for making a Quilter’s Friend, a lovely organizer for threads, needles, pins, and projects!! Just leave a comment and I will draw a name out on Sunday December 14th. I just don’t know when I will ever put this on my list to make and would rather someone else enjoy it!!

I have more crafty news but I will save it for another post…a very cool new quilt I am working on, and a knitting disaster…more on that later!

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