Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Tonight, New Year's Eve finds us at home having a wonderful chicken curry dinner and playing games with the 3 musketeers! I have just completed a few little projects.

First, over there on the left is Block 7 on the Designer Mystery Block of the Month from the FatQuarter Shop . It arrived this morning and I took a break this afternoon from cleaning and cut all the fabric up!!! This evening I sat down and put it all together, I can't wait to see this completed which reminds me that I need to start cutting up the finishing kit.

Now for my second project, I have a flimsy that has been sitting in the pile for 2 1/2 years just waiting patiently to be completed. It is all 1930's reproduction fabrics, very easy pattern as you can see. I grew disinterested in it and put it away hoping that I would one day feel inspired to finish. Well, I have been practicing my machine quilting for the past two weeks. First I did some searching online and watched a number of very good instruction videos and then started practicing on paper like the instructors tell you do!!
I have now graduated to working with fabric. On one of the videos by Pat Sloan, she recommends using a small project and quilt several patterns on it, one in each block...

What a perfect use for this little quilt, I am going to put some borders on it and then prep it for quilting. In each block I am going to machine quilt all the little patterns that I have been practicing!! After it is finished I am going to hang it in my sewing area and use it as a reference (this will be interesting, if you knew me you would be laughing by now...) Wish me luck!! LOL This is the one area of quilting that I fear the most and need serious help in!!!

Wishing all of you a Happy New Year and many blessings for 2009!!!
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Intro to South Wexford Tour

I wanted to share the following slideshow with you. This will probably be the last one that I share since it is not quilt related and you are all probably finding this boring. I have a few quilt projects that I am going to start working on as well as finishing up some old ones. So God willing I will have a few quilty posts coming up over the next few days!!

Yesterday was a gorgeous day here in Wexford, my little sidekick and I decided to go and map out the last of our cycling routes (this just happens to be the longest one!!) and get some photos for our new website that hopefully will be launched by mid January. This is my favorite area of Wexford, maybe because it reminds me of Cape Cod. The Thatched houses that you see are in the village of Kilmore Quay, a small fishing village in South Wexford. It is the only remaining village in Ireland with a high proportion of thatched houses. I photographed a few for you but trust me there are lots!!! You start getting a little embarrassed taking photos of people's houses when you know that they can see you out the windows. I know that they are used to it but still!!!!

Wexford has a very rich history that stretches back to the Gaelic Kings and yet is the least promoted County in tourism terms. Wexford's rich agricultural heritage meant that it didn't need tourism dollars and therefore the historical sites are very quiet with few tourists. There is more history here than any other area of Ireland yet you would never know it!!! This has been a fun adventure for me having read a number of history books on Ireland and in particular Wexford.

Tour of South Wexford

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Intro - Wexford Coastal Route!!!

We have spent the past two days roaming the back roads along the coast of Wexford. We are in the process of mapping out bike routes for our guests. Making every effort to balance routes with great views and places to visit as well as keeping to the safest roads. Usually FarmerBoy and I do this on our own when the children are in school, bringing them along reminded me why we do this!!!! We had a huge Breakfast; Blueberry pancakes, rashers(bacon) and sausages. Within the hour the voices in the back seat started to rumble about hunger, I thought I was going to blow a gasket!!!!!! Funny, the smallest was the biggest complainer and yet when we got home she ate like a bird....I think I'm going to go hide in a corner for the rest of the evening!!!!

Wexford Coastal Tour!!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I came across this on Jan's blog and thought it would be a fun post to do before Christmas. FarmerBoy and I discussed some of these questions and the children started asking us about what Christmas was like when we were children. My husband's answers were very different from mine especially since we grew up in two different cultures in different countries.

Wishing all of you and your families a very Merry Christmas from all of us here on the Farm!!

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate, haven’t had egg nog in years in fact if I did want some I would have to make it myself. No egg nog in the dairy section here in Ireland!

Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree? Well this is a tricky one!! Sometimes Santa wraps and sometimes he doesn’t!!! Depends on the gift!!!

Colored lights on tree or white? I love white lights but have been overruled by FarmerBoy and the children who all prefer colored lights. I have garland swags over the fireplace and those have white lights!!

When do you put your decorations up? December 8 is the big day in this house and they come down on January 6!!

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? I love stuffing and cranberries, it was a tie between the two.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? In third or fourth grade, the girl who lived across the street from us told me and when I disagreed with her she confirmed it with her mother while I was standing there. I never forgot that.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Most definitely Christmas morning, even if we are awakened at 5:00 am!!!!

How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I have ornaments that I have been collecting for 20 years and there are a few that were given to me by my mother that have been in the family for many years. I have a nice collection of handblown glass ornaments as well as ornaments collected from my travels.

Snow! Love it or Dread it? I love snow but we don’t get any in Ireland, or at least where we live in Ireland. I grew up ice skating on frozen ponds and downhill skiing, I miss the white stuff!!!!

Can you ice skate? Yes indeed I can, I taught my own children last year!!!

Do you remember your favorite gift? A Barbie Town house with an elevator. God I loved that house and played with it for hours!!

What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Family and time spent together.

What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Pecan Pie with whipped cream, real whipped cream!

What is your favorite tradition? Baking Christmas cookies which we did on Sunday. Also having a really nice dinner on Christmas Eve and then we go to the 7:30 Mass at a little church in our parish that is out in the middle of nowhere. We usually do alot of hillwalking during Christmas and it is becoming more and more of a tradition.

Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving? Now honestly, what self respecting adult would say receiving LOL!!!! Giving of course, Christmas is all about children. When we lived in the United States we bought more gifts for the Toys for Tots Campaign and families that were on the Giving Tree at our church and office but they don't do that here -- I really miss that type of community spirit.

What is your favorite Christmas Song? Silent Night. There are sooo many, Silent Night was the first song that entered my mind when I read this question.

Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? I used to love candy canes but they don’t have them over here or at least where I shop they don’t carry them. I like them but have learned to live without as usual!

Ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, several years ago we received an over abundance of Christmas tins of chocolates and when people would stop by we simply gave them the tin that was left by the previous guest!!!! It was embarrassing to have people show up and they would give you a bottle of wine or chocolates -- so I was forced to improvise!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Quilt update No. 3

Moving quite quickly on this gem of a quilt!! First let me just say that this has been very quick and not exactly the most interesting quilt. I am more of a traditionalist when it comes to my work, I love working on quilts that are challenging and intricate -- this one does not fall into that category.

I like it for its practical purpose but it is not a beauty!!!!

I was thinking about Christmases from my childhood and I realized that some of the little knick knacks that I remember as a child were just that, little knick knacks that were probably purchased at the five and dime yet they were so special and when you see them now you grow all sentimental because they remind you of your childhood and the excitement of Christmas. I have spent years collecting beautiful and expensive tree ornaments, yet it is the old beat up ones that I love the most. Although this quilt was not very difficult and lacks visual appeal, I can guarantee you that in 40 years time my children will be fighting over who inherits it LOL!!!!!

Today I am going to finish up the back, most of it was done last night, and then add some borders. Hopefully tomorrow I can put the layers together and pin it. This will most certainly be done by Christmas. I figured out the final cost of this quilt will be around $60 or less since I won't be using all of the 3 yards of fabric for the borders. And I am happy to report that there was little to no scraps left over, the entire Jelly roll and Layer cake were used. Waste not, Want not.....!!!!

Oh and before I forget, my DD was out in the field visiting Baby and her twins several times yesterday afternoon!!!! She is over the moon, I hope she doesn't get to attached to them. Knowing her she will convince FarmerBoy to change out the Rams and keep Baby's little ones for breeding as well. Before you know it we will have a pet farm!!!!!

Bye and keep smiling!!!!
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Baby has two Babies!!!!!

You must be thinking, this woman has way too much time on her hands???!!!

I have the pleasure of announcing that the first of our lambs arrived this morning!!! And to make the moment even more special, the twin lambs are the offspring of my daughter's pet ewe! Her name is Baby, she was orphaned at birth and we hand reared her. The year baby was born we had 7 pet lambs and she was the only girl lamb or for you farm gals out there a ewe lamb. Our children were allowed to pick a lamb and they would receive the financial benefits when the lamb was sold but only if the bottle fed and cared for them. My little girl of course picked the only girl lamb and the boys picked ram lambs or for you city girls - boy lambs!!

When the lambs were sold there were alot of tears, hysteria and mayhem. FarmerBoy had to actually bring one of the boy lambs back from the factory because one son was so upset. All the farmers were having a good chuckle about the pickle he was in, probably were there once themselves. The hardest lesson to teach children on a farm is that the animals are raised for a purpose. That is why we take such good care of them, they are part of our livelihood.

Our daughter is the smart one in the group, she kept baby for breeding. She received no financial reward that summer but FarmerBoy promised that one day she will reap many rewards. Last year Baby lost her lamb at birth, FarmerBoy and I were on the verge of tears that night. We had to do surgery on her out in the field at night with lamps. It was soo sad.... Now look, here they are!!!!!

DD will be home from school soon and once she hears that Baby had twins you can bet she will be out there chatting away to them before sundown.
They are soooo cute, not the smartest animals but cute.
You can tell that Baby was a pet, she let me get so close to her and her children and never once got anxious.

Bye and keep smiling!!!!!
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Christmas quilt update!!!

This has been my challenge! I am making a quickie Christmas quilt, not an heirloom and knowing my children there will be food stains, something that will be cute but very utilitarian!!!

I bought a jelly roll and layer cake of Mary Engelbreit's Isn't Christmas Jolly? fabric while in the states. I tossed in a coordinated panel and three yards of fabric, all on sale making this even more enjoyable!!!!! I have been struggling with what to do with it, tick tock Christmas is coming and another project is sitting left undone. As my daughter says easy peasy lemon squeezey, keep it simple. I cut the layer cake up into 4 1/2" squares, the jelly roll was cut up into 8 1/2" strips and 4 1/2" strips. Split the squares into two separate piles. Take one pile of squares and coordinate with 2 41/2" strips to each square and sew to opposite sides of said square!! Next pile do the same and then add the 8 1/2" strips to the 2 remaining opposite sides of the square. Lay them out and aim for a 52 1/2" strip.

Now I have to figure out the placement of the panel. I am making this quilt reversible, not using backing. I have enough blocks to do the front and back because I am using the panel in the middle of the front. I should have enough yardage to do a border on both sides and a bias binding. I am flying by the seat of my pants on this project so hopefully it will turn out alright!!!!

It is cold and wet here in my part of Ireland right now, a perfect day for quilting. I want to light a fire before the children get home from school but I am too lazy to go out side and fill my coal bucket.... I wonder where FarmerBoy is?????? Funny how he shows up whenever I'm cooking lunch and then very quietly disappears again, hmmm!!!! Maybe if I burn my cinnamon candle he will reappear looking for dessert -- then beg and plead with him to go outside and get my coal!!! Or maybe I should appeal to his male ego and play the meek and mild damsel in distress, throw in a few whimpers (what???? my daughter does it all the time and she has him wrapped around her little finger!!!!), maybe that will work!!!!

Oh and by the way, those are FarmerBoy's shoes in the window in the last picture. We really do run a first class operation here contrary to what you might see in some of these pictures!!!!!

Bye and keep smiling!!!
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Back in the Saddle!!!

Good Morning!!!! After taking 3 prescription medications over the past several days, I am glad to say that I am almost back in the saddle!

On this bitter cold December morning I am working on a Christmas quilt, my friend Rosie is warming up the fabric for me!! I picked up this Mary Engelbreit Christmas Fabric while in the States in October. Jelly Roll and Layer Cake.

I am doing something very quick and requires very little thinking. Last night I cut it all up and started chain piecing at lightening speed. I want something so simple that I can get it pieced, quilted and bound before the end of the week so that it can be enjoyed during Christmas.

Over here in Ireland everything shuts down during the week between Christmas and New Years, with of course the exception of most stores. Starting on Christmas eve and running until New Years there are nonstop movies on the telly and we tend to just hang out for the week watching movies going for walks either up in the mountains or along the coastline (lucky us we have the best of everything!!)

Food also plays a huge role!!! Lots of Turkey and ham, Christmas cake which is a really heavy fruit cake with marzipan icing, Christmas pudding with custard and candy... lots of cadbury chocolate!

My children and I are going to start making our traditional Christmas cookies later this week. I am becoming quite well known for my cookies, it is not a tradition here which is nice because giving them as gifts makes it all the more special.

I hope you are all getting on well with your Christmas preparations and don't get too stressed -- we certainly don't in this house!!!!

All the best and keep smiling!
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sick Note

I am really trying to make an effort at being a good blogger!!! However, I am so sick right now that I am filled with meds and have been ordered to stay in bed. That is not a problem since the medications are making me sleepy! FarmerBoy insisted that I go to the doctor this morning since I now have a bad fever and was up coughing all night. According to the Doc I am one step away from being hospitalized. Oh dear!!!!!

I am leaving you with this picture of our sheep and the fields behind our home, lovely isn't it.....

Hopefully I will be back soon with some more quilty projects that are sitting on my desk!

Bye and keep smiling!!!!
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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Intro to My Neighborhood!!!

Please note that I tried for hours to get the slide show imbedded in this message and I just could not get it to do what I wanted it to do!!!!!! Soooo, the slide show that accompanies this posting is below in the previous post!!!!

FarmerBoy and I have been going back and forth for about 2 years on how we should proceed with our Bed & Breakfast. Should I give it up and get a job? Should we expand it in a different direction offering something more than just B&B??? What to do, What to do????

Well, these past few months the questions seem to be answering themselves. We are outdoors type people, we love walking the beaches and mountains that surround us. Our farm provides us with ample outdoor time and all of us enjoy spending time together either working or simply cycling/hill walking. When FarmerBoy lost his job in October and the downturn in the economy was going to prove difficult for me to get work we decided that it was either now or never to change our lives for the better. We have met with a few people and have spent time talking to people in the know and we are going to take a leap of faith and just do it!!!!!

We are in the process of starting up a Cycling and Hill Walking Holiday here in the Sunny Southeast of Ireland. We have a gorgeous home and we enjoy entertaining guests so why not combine our love of the outdoors and our hospitality business!!!! Sounds good in theory, but will it work???? Today I took my camera along as we rambled about up in the Blackstairs Mountains, we chose the car since I have a fabulous cold that won't give up!!

Here are some photographs of one of our cycling routes, you can see from the photos how quickly the weather can change. I am working with someone on developing a new website, one with lots of bells and whistles!!!!! My mission is to get loads and loads of photos of where we walk and cycle so that our future guests can be wowed by the spectacular beauty of the Wexford, Wicklow and Carlow areas. Wexford and Carlow are seriously overlooked by tourists since they are heavy agricultural areas, but the plus side to that is there are no tourist traps and you see the real Ireland!!!!! I should have to finished quilts to show you tomorrow or Sunday! Bye and keep smiling!!!!

Welcome to My Neighborhood

Baby Quilt Finished!

This little quilt has been sitting on my desk for months waiting for one simple thing!!! The binding!! I wasn't terribly pressed to get it done because I hadn't seen the mom for a while although I knew that I would see her soon. You know the kind of friendship that just pops up here and there, no pressure, just a happy go lucky type of friendship.

I was under severe pressure tonight to get this done (seeing the friend tomorrow), I sewed that little binding on so fast and then instead of hand stitching it down the back I flipped it over and did it by machine.....and boy did I botch it up!!!! Oh well, there is no turning back now. I know that she is going to love it and I know it will be well loved.

The fabric is a collection of Lakehouse Fabric and the pattern was from a McCall's Quilting Magazine and I don't have it in front of me so I'm not sure what issue.

I have sewed the binding on the last quilt that I showed you and I will be hand stitching that Sunday evening.

It is very late and I must get my beauty sleep, much to do tomorrow and hopefully I will have some more to share!!

Bye and keep smiling!!!!
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

At last a Binding!

My favorite stage in making a quilt is the binding. I have just received this quilt back from being longarm quilted and now I am cutting strips for the binding. I am using the red that you see in the quilt blocks for the binding. I love this fabric and I have made two quilts and a wall hanging from all the fat quarters and yardage that I collected.

I must say that I am particularly proud of this quilt. I designed it myself and spent a great deal of time coming up with the final fabric choices. It will be appearing in the next issue of Irish Quilting Magazine, the February issue, with the pattern and I 'm sure that the picture will be much better than this!!

I have been very sick the past week, in fact FarmerBoy is worried that I might end up with pneumonia. Hopefully it will pass within the next couple of days. Anywho, my little quilt over there might just be entered into a quilt contest at the local agricultural show this summer - I'm not really into competition but it might be fun to enter the local show.

Lots going on here at the farm. We will be lambing pretty soon and since FarmerBoy no longer has a job, it looks like it will be a bit easier for me this winter. We are very busy writing a business plan which involves our B&B and cycling and hill walking. Since we are dependent on tourism and that is going to take a huge hit this coming summer I pray that we manage to get enough business to help get us through next winter. FarmerBoy and I are doing what we do best and that is keeping our heads down and plowing ahead, thankfully we have each other to lean on and that makes all the difference.

Bye and keep smiling!!!!
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