Monday, March 24, 2008

Finally Something Quilty!!!

Finally, I have something quilty to show off. I have been cleaning up a number of projects that I have actually shown before but I thought I would show you one of them. First of all, my lovely assistants are holding up my Thimbleberries quarterly kit. I enjoyed this quilt but I am astonished at the finished size and the fact that this is supposed to be a wall hanging. Farmer Boy and I were laughing at the size of the wall you would need to hang this!!! It is quite large. The children are standing on the sofa and they even commented on how big it was!!

The last time you saw this the borders were missing and it had not been quilted. Here it is all finished and the binding sewn down by hand! Yee Haw!!!

They insisted on a closeup, when the flash goes off they drop the quilt on the floor and race over to see themselves on the camera. Talk about vain!!! LOL And they have been eating chocolate eggs so I am sure there is chocolate on my quilt!!

I used this quilt to try to expand on my machine quilting skills which desperately need some expanding. I am tired of the meandering stitch and spent some time trying other designs - the kind you make up in your head while you are doing it!!!!!!
I started this the other day and had to put it on hold, full up with paying guests for two nights, it is a kit that Farmer Boy bought me for Christmas. It is the Roman Holiday print by Moda, Charm squares. Very easy to do and goes together very fast. I have a couple of complaints regarding this quilt and my dear friends I would like you to bear with me.

My first complaint is that if you were a beginner and had purchased this quilt you would have been up the proverbial creek without a paddle half way through this kit. The directions were fairly non-existant when it came to putting the rows together. The yellow half-square triangles were the first thing I noticed, they didn't give you proper directions to cut enough. I had to go back and cut more when I realized the mistake and of course I cursed myself first and then reread the cutting instructions and low and behold it was not my error!!! Also, piecing the blocks together for this style of quilt is tricky for a beginner because you are sewing the rows together on the diagonal and if I hadn't done something similar to this before then I would have been really confused.

The next complaint is the finished size. The width on one side is a half an inch wider than the opposite side. The whole thing is wonky, I have tried to square it up as best I could but it still looks alittle screwey LOL!!!! And that brings me to my next complaint which is more of an observation and question. I don't think I really like working with Charm squares, sometimes things don't seem to measure properly when I am using them. Answer me this, Do you square up your charm squares before you begin a project. Does anyone else have problems with charm squares or is it just me? My problems with the squares are not major and they are great for quick projects but I am not sure whether this is user error or design error!!! Oh well, it is a really cute lap quilt and will look great at Christmas. I will hide the wonky uneven shape, I am quite experienced at hiding mistakes LOL!!!! Now I have to finish the borders and get it quilted.

All the best and keep smiling!!!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Bunny is Out of the Bag!!

A very sad day in our house! Another milestone has been hit and passed, the Easter Bunny is dead.... So is the toothfairy! According to my three little darlings, a discussion has taken place in their bedrooms and they have come to the conclusion that I am the toothfairy as well as the Easter Bunny. However, there is no way that I am Santa Claus. According to DS #1 I am too cheap to be Santa, I would never in a million years give them all the wonderful gifts that they receive on Christmas. Should I be slightly insulted by this, I'm not sure, LOL!!!! The gig is up and I have been found out. So this year the little darlings put in requests for Easter. They wanted the giant Cadbury Eggs and if I could throw in some Cadbury creme eggs they would be very appreciative. Quite matter of fact.

I gave them a right lecture about not telling other children, particularly small children that I am the Easter Bunny. Especially since we are going to an Easter egg hunt on Saturday over at VerrySherry's. How annoyed would those parents be I asked them? Can you imagine the embarrassment, LOL!!!!

I would like you all to take a good look at the bicycle that FarmerBoy fixed up for me and very proudly presented it when all was done!! First of all, it is 50 years old and the tires wobble. Secondly, it is too small (I am 5'11 and this bike is for someone 5'4). There are no brakes and it squeaks something fierce.

When we made our annual camping trip to Co. Kerry this past summer, I refused to ride it. A protest of sorts, my family went off on their bikes (FarmerBoy used the one he fixed up for me) and I walked. We were staying at the caravan/campgrounds on the Muckross Road in Killarney for 8 days and the entrance to Muckross House and the Killarney National Park was just across the road. It was heaven on earth. We were also quite lucky that the weather that week was the best weather of the summer. Just outside the caravan park was a bicycle rental hut and my parents offered to rent the children bikes for the day because their bikes were in pretty bad shape (no brakes, too small - frankly dangerous). Well FarmerBoy was standing firm in his conviction that he had a wonderful bike and that there was nothing wrong with it... While standing at the hut the children were picking out NICE bikes, FarmerBoy was standing there with his 50 year old Raleigh and a group of Americans came up behind us and one of them kept staring at FarmerBoy and his pride and joy! The American said to someone in his group, "Is that what they are renting out" in a tone of absolute disbelief!!!!! We were hysterical, no that is just my husband on his precious antique! You have to see it in person to really appreciate it. There is a wire clothes hanger holding the rear fender on and the front fender rubs against the tire. Feel my pain, please!!!

I have been a very busy gal on the quilting front, but it has been mostly finishing up all of my projects. You know; adding borders, machine quilting and sewing on the bindings. I am half way through a Christmas quilt that FarmerBoy bought for me this Christmas (I bought it with his credit card and wrapped it beautifully I might add - then placed it under the Tree). I have all the blocks done and need to put it all together. Hopefully I will have something to share with you soon.

Take care and keep smiling!!!!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Monkey in the Middle

I am a very lucky woman! I live with three great men, one is my husband and the other two are my sons. A big celebration is happening in our house because of one of these fellas. Over there on the left is Farmer Boy and my very special monkey in the middle, DS#2.

DS#2 is the typical middle child, he is between the prince (first born son) and the princess (the only girl who is also the baby). Unlike his siblings he is not an athlete and has always been the slowest at running and could never quite get his coordination together enough to throw a ball let alone catch one. His talents lay in the muscle that resides between the two ears, yes his brain. This little 9 yo will tell you that he wants to be a barrister, he thinks that the wig and black gowns that the men and women wear into court over here are just the coolest. I hope he becomes one, or anything else his heart desires because he is without a doubt smart enough. This little boy has spent many hours watching his brother and sister, watching as they won medals and were honored for their athletic achievements and in the sister's case as an Irish dancer. There have been many tears over his inability to win a medal.

Farmer Boy and I have spent many an hour explaining to him that one day his day will come. DS#2 plays the piano by ear, his piano teacher tells him that he is by far her most talented student. He taught himself to read when he was 4, school comes so easily for this little guy. But what he really wants is to be recognised for being him and he wants a damn medal to show everyone that he is talented too!!!! Well, we got a phone call today, the most exciting phone call ever!!! My little monkey in the middle has won the GOLD MEDAL for the County Wexford Boys Under 10's Art Competition!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is going to the National Competition in May!!!!!!!!!!!!! I almost cried when I heard the news. It could not have happened to a more worthy child and he is on cloud 9. There will be 2 medal presentations, one from the local community and one big one for the County. My little baby is bursting with excitement, and we couldn't be any prouder!!!!! And what makes us really proud is that his siblings came out to the car after school and they were just as excited for their brother as if they had won themselves... Quick get me a tissue......
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 8, 2008

When the Cat is away the Mouse does alot of Damage!

Well, I don't even know where to begin!! This morning I awoke at 6:30 to serve breakfast to a lovely Danish couple at 8:00 am, then I had to depart at 9:15 to deliver DS#2 to the County Wexford Art Competition. The location of the competition was southwest of Wexford town so I knew I was going to just hang out and wait for him, what I didn't know was that the children had three hours to complete their drawing!! Yikes, that is alot of time to kill especially when you know that your child is the pokiest child in the world and will use every 180 minutes!!!! Soooooo, at 1:00 pm I am headed home at last. I have an hour and a half to make us lunch and clean the kitchen and then head back out the door. DS#2 has a karate belt test at 3:00 and that is another 2 hours of sitting around watching his nibbs hi-ya the tester, over and over and over. This day is going to be horrendous and on top of it all I don't feel well (stuffy nose, achy, cough and other yucks).

Back up to the coming home at 1:00, are you ready for this???!!!! Farmer Boy, oh brother I want to smack him, is mowing the grass with DS#1 and is giving him lots of instructions. You know, Do as I say not as I do!!!! Farmer Boy came to the steep embankment behind our house and stopped his brand new toy and said to DS#1, "never try to drive down the embankment, you could overturn the mower and get seriously hurt". The ding bat then proceeded to put the mower into drive and went down the embankment, he slammed into our caravan (camper trailer/RV) the hood of the mower is damaged and the fenders on the left side of mower are cracked and hanging off!!!! He is telling me this story will trying not to laugh and waiting sheepishly for me to hit him, which I would like to. Honestly, I think its time for a trade-in!!!! LOL

P.S. DS#1 gives a very funny blow by blow account of the whole incident, I think he may actually have more sense than his father!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Christmas at the OK Corral!

This is our home last night at 6 pm. Notice that it is getting dark, and the boys are still in their school uniform. Everyone had to have a turn on the new riding mower, that is except me. Remember my motto, try not to learn too many things because before long it will be your job!!!! I believe that the more demure I am, the less likely I will have to cut the grass, use the chainsaw, chop wood, and so on! Farmer Boy as usual almost killed himself, he accidently threw the gear into forward and the machine lurched forward in the trailer and the entire horse box and car banged forward. Yikes!!! Farmer Boy asked sidekick to go get him a hat (the temperature was plunging) and she returned with her grandfather's hat which of course made this picture all the more irresistable. Now the true test will be, how much nagging do you think I will have to do to get the grass cut???? Our oldest son has been assigned the job for the summer, no more free rides sonny boy. I'm sure the novelty will wear off in a matter of weeks!!!! FYI - in Ireland the grass mowing season is essentially all year round. Once or twice between November and March, then every week or 10 ten days the rest of the year.

On the quilting front, there is of course nothing new! I have made plans for an ex-pat quilty/craft day for the end of March. Quilting is not much of a hobby here or at least not like at home in the US. As a matter of fact I was poorly disappointed when I moved here over 6 years ago that there was no where to buy fabrics or yarn or anything. If you love doing crafts, Ireland is rather barren and you need to bring your stuff from somewhere else!! Another problem with this gorgeous country is that if you are an "outsider" life can be very lonely at times, I think clannish is the appropriate term LOL!!! Don't get me wrong, I love living here, but I don't have an American Club in the village where I can go visit all the other ex-pats like Farmer Boy had in the US. Our entire social circle was Irish, my beloved hubbie had no American friends in the US unless they were mine!!! Hence the ex-pat quilty/craft day!!! I have made it my mission in life to meet and find as many ex-pats as I can and form a nice supportive circle of people. My two dearest friends here in Ireland are yanks and I am so grateful that I have met them, sometimes they are the sunshine on some very dark and dreary winter days! I realize now how important it is to have that oasis. My Irish friends are wonderful, I know if I needed them they would be there in a heartbeat. But the girls from home really have walked in my shoes and I in theirs. So it is only natural that I combine the two. Now the point of this long winded paragraph is, if you are a lurker (and I know you're there I can hear you breathing - my kids say that when playing hide n' seek) and you just happen to be an ex-pat from any country and living in Ireland and you might be interested in joining us, PLEASE CONTACT ME !!!!

Take care and keep smiling!!! I'm going to go play with the lawn mower while no one is home!!!!!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Another Day, Another Potato

Hi Everyone! I'm afraid not much going on in the quilting department, I have too many things going on here and not enough hours in the day. I would like to share with you a picture of the bag of potatoes that I buy at my local shop!! There are a few generalizations that are in fact true. The Irish do eat alot of potatoes, however that trend is changing and potato farmers are slightly nervous about their market disappearing. Some of the best potatoes I have ever eaten have been grown local to our home here in Wexford. Pasta and rice are starting to make trouble for our poor potato, not with Farmer Boy. He loves my pasta dishes and will only eat rice with chicken curry, other than that he is a potato boy. We go through this sack in about 5 days!!! This is a 10KG or 20 lb sack of spuds.

Here are a few of the locals, very curious locals. They are soooo cute and a pleasure to have around, sometimes. These are the lambs that were born in January, they are coming on well and must be enjoying the sunny weather we had yesterday. We often have visitors (B&B guests) with children around Easter time and this is a huge attraction! Because we are small timers (hobby farmers to be exact) we spend alot of time amongst our flock and the lambs will approach us to see what we are all about. Children love this, even the local children that come over for playdates love going out into the field to feed the lambs. I know my three children appreciate this, in fact they are quite proud of their abilities to handle and feed the lambs on their own. Memories that will last a lifetime.

Farmerboy and I very fortunate and we are grateful for all that we have been blessed with.

Beautiful Day until Farmer Boy revved up the chainsaw and ruined it for me LOL!!!! I was sitting in the field having a Cafe Ole moment, taking pictures and soaking up some rays when he destroyed it LOL!!!!! Honestly I wish I had a video camera, and do you think he could pick the furtherest point away? No, he decides to start on the fallen tree right near me. Now you know why I hide from him, he has been sent out today to look at riding mowers. Another toy for him play with, you'd never catch him buying a food processor though. Now that is something we could really use!!

Have a great day and keep smiling!!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 3, 2008

Blessed are the Multi-taskers!

Welcome to March, how does the saying go, in like a lion and out like a lamb!? It is very cold and windy here in my corner of Ireland. This morning my children were up and dressed and up the fields to get their chores done so fast. Why you ask? Because it was snowing!!! The first snow we have seen this year, something that my children say they miss most about not living in America is the snow. Truth be told, only the oldest remembers snow and I think his memory is starting to fade abit. I have been very negligent with my blogging lately, many apologies. Farmer Boy has me running in circles, couple that with guests (the paying kind) and the kids and all of their activities and you have a recipe for disaster. We are getting ready for construction to begin, we are adding 4 dormered windows to the front of our house. I can't believe they are going to strip back the roof in March, I just want to be sick I'm so nervous. Here is the table runner I finished last week, there are a couple of wonky blocks but I don't care. This is so cheerful to look at, it is the January project of the Darlene Zimmerman Clothesline Club.
It is not quite complete yet, we need someone to spill ketchup on it. One child who shall not be mentioned is addicted to ketchup and somehow manages to get it on everything. Because of the impending construction, I have had to move all my quilting supplies and fabrics downstairs into the conservatory or sun room off the kitchen. I want to start a new project but I haven't made much of an effort to do any cutting instead I watched movies all weekend during my so called free time LOL!!! I don't really watch tv, nothing on and I have to compete with the children for the television - they always win. After watching the Oscars I went out and purchased the following movies, Elizabeth the Golden Age, La Vie en Rose, and Michael Clayton. All were fantastic and highly recommend. The movie, La Vie en Rose, was particularly good.

Here is my next project, Prairie Paisley by Minick & Simpson. This is the Moda University Club quilt which I decided to purchase on the spur of the moment. The fabrics are beautiful, I am going to have to force myself to start cutting this up so I can get cracking. I am off to the Agri store right now to pick up six bags of Sheep meal and then off to the school for a craft hour with DS#2. I received an invite on Friday, no idea what they are doing. DS#2 is my artistic child, he is competing this Saturday in The Wexford County Finals Art Competition. He is so excited, I hope he does well! Well off I go again, have a good one everyone!!
Posted by Picasa