Monday, 24 December 2007

Verry Merry Sherry's

Christmas Tour of Homes
As promised, here is a tour of Christmastime decor at the VerrySherry home. We have the usual cast of characters:

Santa and his train of jubulee

Frosty I and Frosty II

Both snowmen play lively music and have the house in tune. My sweet friend Rhonda gave us Frosty I, dressed in blue, when we lived in SF. Babydoll has grown up with his jiggly musical moves. In 2005, Twirly godmother performed open-battery surgery after Frosty suffered an apparent froststroke. With a little tinfoil and a twinkle, Frosty I was back in action.

Frosty II was a lovely gift sent from Rhonda and her family in 2005. We love to hear and watch him play his piano.

The NutCracker

He's never in the same place I last left him, thanks to the girls. hmf!

The *cough*Fake*cough Tree decorated CutiePie and Babydoll style

DH Favorite

Santa lights up optic-whatever-you call those fiber lights. Pretty cool in the dark of the night.

Babydoll Favorite

Her newest Irish dancer.

Cutiepie Favorite

This snowglobe is a call out to all those Texans--BigMama are you listening? Can you hear sleighbells?

VerrySherry Favorite

This is my crystal bowl I love so much. Seaneen gave it to us for our wedding and on most days it holds melody of bananas and apples, but don't these shiny balls seem so much more appropriate?
Also, notice the runner and it's matching tea cozy. A gift made by myself, given to myself. The runner is another great AnnaBanana pattern from Pink Chalk Studio--I can never get enough!

Organically Grown

Artist: Cutiepie and help

Deal of the Year

Bought these trees at an estate sale, three for one Euro. I think they could have some serious design potential, but I've yet to unleash it. For now, I favor the red berries.

Merry Christmas, and to all a Good Night!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Santa's Not The Only One Who's Busy

It is exactly a month and a day since I stopped working.

It is the eve of Christmas Eve.

The Christmas spirit has arrived, finally.

It has been a long time coming; a month of sick and ailing bodies, one car under costly repair, four commissioned quilts to complete and a house in complete disarray.
Today, there are few coughs and even less runny noses, the car is running to and fro, all quilts are sewn and tucked into new homes, and the house is decked with boughs of holly. 'Tis the season to be jolly.

The Christmas tour of homes took place on Dec 17, and we’ve yet to take stage—online. I’ll blame the delay on our overseas location and post my tour for all to see on festive Christmas Eve.

Until then I’ll leave you all with a mixture of my happiest achievements: my girls and my quilts!

Cutiepie, overhearing DH and myself discussing money [to be] spent on Christmas presents:

“Yeah, but, actshully [sic], Mommy, you don’t need money, 'cause Santa is bringing all the presents!”

♪ fa la la la la ♪

My schedule was one quilt a week leading to Christmas and despite the many setbacks, I’m thrilled I stayed on track; below you’ll find all four finished. There are three pending orders for January so I’ll give myself some holiday cheer and rest and start back after the new year.

Quilt #1: for Baby Iona This was commissioned by a grandmother and is now delivered and lives in Australia. The colors were requested, though, I’m not pleased with the dark purple. The name, however, was a success.

Quilts #2. #3. #4. These quilts were commissioned by a mother who wants to surprise her grown daughters with Christmas gifts. Two months ago, the mom arrived with past school uniforms, souvenir t-shirts, school athletic gear, baseball caps. The challenge was making all these mementos quilt worthy. Her one request was to spare nothing. Oh no. Well I’m happy to say I survived and I don’t think the quilts are too bad.

Using basic scrap strip quilting as centerpieces on each quilt—there is a unique likeness (pardon the complete oxymoron) that the strips illustrate across the three, while the large borders contain all the memorabilia. Each center is a strip pattern found at Bonnie’s. I used the daughter’s favorite colors as focus and binding and held my breath.

Today the quilts were received by one very happy customer. It feels great to know that that person is giving such sentimental gifts to loved ones and I helped make that happen!!

♪ fa la la la la ♪

Babydoll telling me that this Santa is not the ‘real’ Santa…

"Yep, he’s only Santa’s Teller."

What is a Santa Teller, honey?

"You know, he goes and tells Santa what the kids want for Christmas."

Friday, 14 December 2007

Christmas Trimmings

Christmas table runners and tea cozys. Click on picture to see bigger image.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Project MyWay for Christmas

Thanks to a hidden sneaky strep throat, an itchy mysterious rash speckled and spotted me in bright red spots just in time for the festive season to really take form. If that wasn't bad enough, Babydoll has been sick with a violent cough propelling her to vomit every 32 minutes.

But I'm happy to report we are all on the road to recovery.

And since I have finished all my Christmas shopping (yes, I'm boasting) I refuse to enter any retail establishment for no more than milk or bread. I just can't muster the courage to even shop for the girls' holiday attire, so I improvised. And they love their new Christmas skirts. *cough*Yes, they're recycled pants with a bit of my patchwork*cough*. There's enough color in there, we've bound to have a turtleneck or two around to match.

I figure if I can get away with it with they're little, why not? Cause you know no 13 year old girl is going to wear homemade skirts.

And certainly not ones that sport Santa and his reindeer!

How Green is Your Christmas Tree?

When we moved to DH’s native homeland four years ago, my husband told me everyone in Ireland uses fake Christmas trees. What he should have said was everyone in his family uses fake Christmas trees. And I’m not even sure that that is correct, either!

And so the argument began and lives on.

The first year, I was green to Ireland and knew no better. Thus the birth of our €69.99 evergreen tree, who resides 11 months of the year in our attic. In the one festive month it’s adorned with colorful lights and delicate ornaments insisting it’s an intimate member of our yuletide cheer. Not mine, I admit it. And because it is the season of sharing, I'll spare you my criticism, but I insist to dispel the myth, these imposters do shed needles, and the plastic kind, not even fragrant pine.

The second year was ‘The Accident” on Dec 11th. Our fake tree had been in place in the living room already, and I was in the midst of haggling DH for a real tree for the dining room window. Christmas was quickly postponed that year. We tried to enjoy the real tree lit in the Temple St. Children’s Hospital.

The third season was spent enjoying life back to normal, we had surpassed the anniversary of ‘The Accident’ and as such there was very little squabble about our have nots. While I doubt I’m guilt-free of wishing upon a live fresh sprig of a Christmas tree, that year I parked that argument in lieu of health and recovery.

This brings us to this year. I’ll pause for a minute while you readers recollect or read my recent status change that basically took half our income and tossed it to the wind in favor of quality life. Apparently, a quality of life that does not necessarily start with live cut Christmas trees. So you see, I have set aside my long forlorn love of a real live tree...for now. But clearly my desire lives on in someone...

On Wednesday last week, as my body suffered aches and pains, my mind seriously doubted my capability to deal with a live wire 3 yo and a pale sickly 4 yo. In the early morning DH volunteered to stay home as our nurse warden.

In an effort to keep us all entertained and in line, DH began the descend of Christmas boxes from the attic. At this Babydoll began her Christmas excitement:

Yippee! Christmas decorations!

Daddy, are you going to bring down the fake Christmas tree?

Daddy, can we decorate the fake Christmas tree?

When are we going to put up the fake Christmas tree?

Where are we going to put up the fake Christmas tree?

Daddy, when can we decorate the fake Christmas tree?

Assembly begins. Babydoll doesn’t miss a beat…

Daddy is the fake Christmas tree ready yet?

Quickly, yet focused, DH emerges from his task of screwing metal branches at the solid base of the tree to get up close and personal with Babydoll. With a sudden silence and girls’ eyes as big as saucers, DH had their full attention. He spoke sternly.

Listen to me closely. This is a Christmas tree. This is our Christmas tree. We do not call it a fake Christmas tree! It is a Christmas tree. It is our Christmas tree. Got it?

Just as well he got her before she started singing, “O Fake Christmas Tree, O Fake Christmas Tree”.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Coming Up for Air

Where does the time go?

I'll tell ya.

I have officially been un-contracted, or unemployed, for three days now! Technically, it is five days, but I'm not counting Thursday or Friday. Those were turkey days. Each daughter invited a friend over and it was a great Thanksgiving!

Hmm, next year, we might stretch a little and invite adults! I'm all for new traditions!

So my three days of bliss...really I do feel pampered and luxurous, even though I've not wasted a minute of my time. No boob tube nor naps, yet. The fact that all my attention is devoted to this household and my family is a wonderful feeling. (I know, I know, it WILL get old!)

The other incident that has led to me feeling so completely at home is the fact that my car broke down on Friday morning. So, literally, I have been so completely at home, with no means of escape! And you know, it's not entirely a bad thing.

I'm proud to say my last three days have been structured and very productive. Keeping my morning routine from my working days, I still prepare breakfasts, lunches and dinner in one go. Everything, that can be, is done in advance. I even went walking at dark o'clock on two of the days.

Since my car was out of commission, Babydoll thumbed a ride to school with Neighborboy. Brillant. Even more morning time. Mornings I do half deep cleaning and half paperwork and computer maintanience. Yesterday Cutiepie and I browsed all our photos, deleting thumbs and blurs, and burning back up CDs. Yep, thank you Megan for your great reminder--back up you internets! This sort of paper/computer work should ease up as I'm catching up on all 2007 details and will become mere weekly maintanience. Ditto for the deep cleaning.

Boy, do I love a clean house. Now I can go pee without closing my eyes...cause, you know, if you don't see the mess and grime, it aint there!

The latter half of my day is spent sewing and with a sprinkling of mommy/daughter(s) time. I have enough quilt orders to last til 2008, averaging one a week.
Below Babydoll helps decide where the blocks lay best.
Tommorrow, I package up this week's completed one. The girls help me, but we still take time for some painting, baking and nature walks.
Cutiepie, below, has an addiction to painting once a day, at least.

Can I tell you, I love my life?

There is a very calm and happy vibe in the house. Which is interesting, since it sorta points to me as the tide that turns. Without verbalizing it, DH appears happier now that I'm happier. We will have to wait out the first month's effects and see what the numbers say. Half the income could be something with which to reckon.

I'll leave you with that quandry and hope for the best.

What's For Dinner?


Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Update My Basket

Just in case any of you are quilters and you're following my numbers:
There's been an update on the purchase of cotton batting.

The shipping charge is not the standard $50, but $200.

However, I've converted all to Euros for comparison and since that is the denomination we work and live by over here. ;) I also broke it down to actual inches, the lowest common denominator.

100% Cotton batting *UPDATED* 45inch width
This is the purchase.
1440 inches = 40 yards = 36.5 meters

(IE costs € .23/inch; UK costs € .17/inch; US costs € .07/inch)

So once again, let's review:

From the US €233(product & shipping) ($342)
From the UK €378 (product & shipping) ($554)
In Ireland €392 (product only) ($574)

Folks, the numbers do not lie!!!

Consider this: tax in UK is 13.5% of sale; Ireland is a whopping 21% of sale; and also, the Euro is much stronger than the Dollar.

Once this order proves true, the better sale yet, would be to order the 90inch next move!

Monday, 19 November 2007

An Earful of Pain

The night went by with howls and screams. I spent a restless six hours moving from bed to bed, cradling and calming, while Babydoll suffering a painful earache, did her best version of the The Scream .

We awoke groggy and tired. Half dressed in her school uniform, Babydoll pleaded to stay home from school. With her hand over her ear, she explained pathetically,

“I don’t think any of the other kids will be able to hear me.”

Her ear was kaput and so was she, I reckoned.

She has only me to blame. Me and genetics.

Most women covet sweet blowing in the ear. Me? The result is a throbbing ringing in my ear for days. As a child, I had to wear makeshift bandanna hats so to keep the cold breeze from puffing pain into my inner ear. As a result, I’m never far from my beloved hats and scarfs, regardless of season.

A few months back, a neighbor said she and her husband were driving one morning when they thought they saw me on my walk.

“I said to him, ‘Look at that woman! She so bundled up, she’s ready for a storm!” Looking back at me she says, “And that was in August!”

Friday, 16 November 2007

Made to Order

On Wednesday a lady from our village asked me if I had a baby boy quilt completed and available for sale? And could it be personalized with the baby’s name? After more chatting, I arranged to have one done by the weekend. Today I finish it!

The theme/colors are soft creme, brown, blue, red, crème, green in a cowboy motiff. I call it my Pioneer Boy in likeness of a fav'd blog. Love the six four-pointed friendship blocks. They make me think of the sheriff’s badge in this genre. Not really sure of the Irish impression of cowboys, but since seeing this motif in the trendy boutiques in town, I think it will be ok. These pictures are before binding. Note the cute clips—they are wonderful, in lieu of pins that stab!!

Miraculously, with my quilting Wednesday group time and a surprisingly uneventful last night, my work on this quilt is nearly finished. I am so pleased to think I met this tight deadline with room to spare. When I called my friend to ask the name with which to stitch, she informed me they haven’t even named the baby yet!!

Most my baby quilts include a pocket and pocket friend, like the bunny in the upper right block above. This allows me to go back afterward and stitch a personal touch, like the baby’s name, on the pocket even after the quilt is entirely finished.

Hey! Those who know me and my quilting, did you notice I did an overall simple grid stitch in the ditch? My usual choice of quilting is meandering, but I wanted a real soft and simple look to this particular one. I’m quite pleased. Meandering quilting can be forgiving and easy to hide flaws, whereas simple stitch can be all revealing. Oh! I’m so daring!!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Christmas is Calling

Earlier this week, Cathi was so kind to help me locate this toy—so we could correctly identify it for Santa, ya know? Afterward, I rattled around to see if Babydoll really truly did want this particular item.

We were driving with the usual girl chatter spilling from the backseats.


“Yeah, Mommy” they replied in unison.

“Um, today I got a call at work. Santa was calling me at work.”

Audible gasps could be heard and I pictured their eyes as large as half dollars.

Cutiepie was the first to cut in.

“Mom? Did he say…” taking a big breath, she beefs up her voice, “Ho Ho Ho?”

“Well, yes. Yes, he did say ho, ho, ho.”

Giggles burst from both girls. I peek in the rearview mirror just in time to see them giving each other reassuring glances.

“Babydoll, Santa said he saw you writing—“

“Oh, that’s right! He watches us. Is he looking at us right now?”

“Well. Yes, he probably is.”

Another rupture of giggles is heard.

“Anyway, Santa said he saw you writing a letter, but it hasn’t arrived in the North Pole mail yet. Is there a chance you lost the letter?”

“ No momma, it’s in your bedroom waiting to be mailed.”


“But that’s ok, mommy. ‘Cause I have to write all new one. I have to ask for my scooter with the place for my lipslick.”

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Do The Numbers

Six months before we moved to Ireland I was bitten by the quilting bug.

The days flew in and soon we were filling a 40 foot container with all our belongings and some favorite items sure to be missed in Ireland. Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chips topping the list and the ‘real’ Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, a close second.

Having been warned of the high cost of living, we also included 27 boxes of Huggies, 62 rolls of aluminium foil and wrap, and 101 Reese’s cups and much more, all bought at CostCo bargain prices.

My thoughts never crossed to stock up on quilting notions, or any quilting items for that matter. Something about the country-esque hobby led me to assume I would find fabric and notions aplenty on the Emerald Island. Um, not likely!

Fabric stores here are tiny nooks selling houseware fabric and shiny satin for making boring curtains and gaudy debutante ball gowns. Don’t get me wrong, you might find cotton fabrics but first you’d have to sell a kidney. The token ten bolts of 100% cotton fabric found in most shops sell for an alarming 9€, 12€, 18 € and up per meter. (This is $13, $17, $26) respectively.)

Needless to say, I’ve become a scrap quilter. My favorite haunts are second hand shops, and even there, the worst dressed hanger of men shirts still sells for a hideous 6€ ($8). I turn green with envy when Bonnie buys goodwill shirts by the pound.

As with small towns, word spreads fast and due to my perseverance and my uncommon hobby, friends and family quickly began saving bags of outgrown clothing and bedding, much to my delight. I find scrapping a cheap and fun alternative, and it keeps DH on his toes—he worries pieces may go missing from his shirts one day!

However, I am still held hostage when it comes to threads and cotton batting. Until now… Ladies sewing and quilting in the UK and IE, behold, I have very good news.

After days of googling, days of phone calls, days and days of doing the math, this is the good news:

I’ve located a lovely shop in Washington who will ship to Ireland. Trust me folks, that is the first key ingredient here. Ability to ship goods! And double whammy—they have prices lower than ever seen for my favorite cotton batting! Let’s break it down, shall we?

For approximately $305 or 209€, your money buys you:

From US: 40 yards (or 36 meters) & shipping costs
From UK: 17½ yards (16 meters) shipping not included
From IRE: 12½ yards (11 meters) shipping not included

My order is placed and I await the results. A duty/tax stamp might await the actually delivery to my home, but at most, that will add 21% to the tab.

Not bad, eh?

Monday, 12 November 2007

Keeping It Real

As you do in life, we sometimes rob Peter to pay Paul. Lessons learned. All I gotta say is, be prepared. On all accounts.

In our home, we have segregated bathrooms: one for the girls and one for the boy. It works. Occasionally I find myself in DH’s bathroom, but it’s still called Daddy’s bathroom—or rather Daddy’s toilet as they say in Ireland.

Oh, but, lest we forget, though I use only one, I still get to clean both bathrooms, equal opportunity or some cock*a*manie like that.

Anyhoo, three weeks ago we ran low on toilet paper. That sort of thing happens when you have a three- and a four-year-old learning the finer things in life, like taking care of business, thoroughly and hygienically.

The girls outnumber the boy, and add to that, the fact that the girls are in the house a greater percentage of the day, well, we took Daddy’s last roll of toilet paper. Just a small pilfering to tide us over until shopping day.

When DH came home, he quickly set off to the store for more TP—cause you know there’s very little that comes between his ‘business’ and the end of a long day.

Fast forward to this Friday. Groundhog day: ran out of TP, steal Daddy’s TP; restock later. Only ‘later’ came after DH came home, again. My plan had been to grocery shop after work, but I was needed to collect Babydoll from a friend’s house. DH had been asked to collect her, but something came up. I don’t ask questions…until now.

The girls had gone to bed and I began my rounds, tidying room to room, when I entered the living room. Looking up from his comfy recliner, DH paused quickly enough for his commercial break, but long enough to gruffly speak to me,

“What is with the shortage on toilet paper? Have I now inherited another responsibility?”

I said, “Excuse me?”

“Am I in charge of toilet paper now? Mine’s always being swiped.”

I was still reeling in his earlier question, “Another responsibility?”

“Um, like making your bed? No, I did that this morning before I went to work.”

“Like washing your clothes? No I’m pretty sure I did that too, this weekend.”

“I make your lunch. I make your dinner, both before I go to work. Ummmm…your responsibilities…?”

Taken aback, he sputters, “Honey, what I—”

No way. I was going to take neither prisoners nor excuses 'til I was finished.

“What responsibilities, exactly, are you we adding to?”

"Clean house? Um, no, I do that."

“Oh, right, you’re responsible to see if the television works. Responsible for checking the springs on your recliner?"


Another futile attempt to stop me.

“Granted you put the girls to bed, but when else would you see them?”

“You don’t even call ahead when you’re going to miss dinner, so WHAT exactly are you responsible for?"

"Just so we know, then we can add ‘Buy TP’ to that list!”

“I, um, uh, I was only joking?”

My Table Runneth Over

So what do you think?

Three hours this weekend and viola! Count 'em! 1-2-3 hours. Love a project like this. This table runner is Anna Banana from the wonderful Pink Chalk Studio. I ordered the pattern and it arrived on Wednesday.

The best part was the quilting guideline. You know when you're driving, and you're unsure of your whereabouts, unsure of the direction needed? You can lose time and patience. Well, this is what is was NOT like. It was great: directions and guidelines made it an enjoyable and quick process.

And might I say, lovely?

This runner was done in colors to suit my dining room, but I intend to do several Christmas motiffs. The size here is 17x53. There is also a smaller size, I know cause several times I goofed. I would look at one set of ingredients, cut to that, only to realize I skipped over to the list of small size, when I was doing the larger size! This of course was all down to user malfunction!

Does anyone notice the patriotic coloring scheme? Not planned. Though afterward I immediately noticed the blue corners and red strips made me think of good ol' USA. Very appropriate in my Irish dining room.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Can You Name That Toy?

Dear Santa,

Hope you're jolly and prepared for the coming season.

I am writing about Babydoll. You remember her? She left the half-eaten iced blue cookie for you last Christmas Eve. I'll do my best to keep her from your goodies plate this year!

Well, Babydoll, she's been nice and just the tiny weeny bit naughty this year. Her big item that she wants this year is a scooter that has a place to keep her make-up, so then she could stop and put on her 'lipslick'. Next time your flying over Ireland, peek in and you'll like see her describe in true-commercial fashion, this scooter and all the marvelous merits it brings.

Commercialism has caught her too: she bought the kiddie-advertisment concept hook, line, and sinker.

Just call her a focus group, all to her own.

However, her actual consumerism needs work, or maybe she is counting on you? She is unaware of the details of where and who supplies this fashion forward vehicle. Can you tell me if this scooter is in your workshop, or where I might find it?

Sign Me,

Your Puzzled Helper

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

The Before and After

This weekend while Girle designed and sewed a quilt, Babydoll was not gonna miss out on all the fun. Amid the fabric picking frenzy and the pressing/cutting assembly line, she chose to do a doll quilt and let me tell you, did she impress me!

Below you can see where she used practical measures when determining how many squares she needed for her doll quilt. Seriously, people! I was floored. Ain’t she the smartest?

When was the last time you covered yourself in pieces to determine the number of squares your quilt needed?

Guess what? It worked.

Monday, 5 November 2007

A Family Affair

This weekend we had a surprise visit from Girle, my stepdaughter. Babydoll and Cutiepie absolutely love seeing their older sister and we always welcome her.

Many of you in real life know that nearly two years ago my family was involved in a very serious car accident. Happy to report, most all wounds are healed. Girle was impacted the most as her injury was spine related. She suffered temporary paralysis for nearly 9 months and has spent the last 12 months learning to re-walk and support herself. Unfortunately as anyone who has been injured knows, the time spent off your feet, creates extra weight. These challenges are ever present in her daily road to recovery, but do you think that gets her down? No siree. Girle has more wit and charm than most people I know. (Starting to see why I married her father?)

Anyway, we try to spend most of our time on activities where the focus is on motor skills. It helps that she is a great artist and she loved her present I made for her hobby. This weekend we might have fell upon a new hobby for the young ones. Accidently. I swear! It was by accident.

Does the picture give it away? Quilting and sewing!! Girle had such a ball; she actually said “Why didn’t we start this on Saturday, then we’d have two days to sew this quilt!”

Both Babydoll and Girle had been asking about their respective quilts; Babydoll’s is not quite finished and Girle’s had no definitive color or design though it was on my ToDo list. My day had now become un-planned; the market and other obligations cancelled so we could spend the day with Girle. So I thought, hey, why not?

With both older girls tripping at my heels, we schlepped out three different boxes of fabrics into the dining room. In a completely unmotivated decision, I let the girls pick fabric from just three boxes—red, pink, and blue. In the end, a few add’l colored fabrics slipped in here and there, but overall, I remember thinking how smart it was to keep it simple. Soon enough we were onto pressing the fabric and cutting it.

I was the cutter, Girle was the presser and Babydoll was the placer/mover.
Note, at this point in the morning, the girls are still bed headed and in pyjamas—I’m a kinda cool mother like that. You should have seen the state of me! If you look closely you can see chocolate dribble on Girle’s shirt. We devoured a stack of homemade pancakes doused in maple and chocolate syrup for breakfast. Hmmmm! Yummy. Course none of this explains why Babydoll is picking her nose...

The girls worked together to layout the design. Again, we kept it simple. A 10x8 top of 5.5” squares. At this point you can see we moved on to our day clothes, although Babydoll insists Snow White learn to sew too. Again, I’m a kinda cool mother like that.

We made very good progress. Girle’s quilt top is nearly finished.
When the actual piecing took place, I quickly got Girle ready to take the driver’s seat at the sewing machine.

I said, “would you like to sew it yourself?”
In true Girle fashion, she responds, “ Aw, sure. How often do you get a go at a sewing machine?”

Quilt Enroute

This baby quilt featuring cars is now enroute to newborn Aidan's grandmother in the West of Ireland. Very colorful, don't you think?

The back has a colorful meaning: requested with color choice were several county and football team colors . The three combos I worked in were black/white, blue/yellow, and green/white. Hope that cheers the team on!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Trick, Treat, Stop, Drop and Roll!

Babydoll and Cutiepie, aka Snow White and Ariel the Mermaid, were in full bloom trick and treating.

In this picture, no, they are not in Southern California, yet they are in Ireland in their cousin’s neighborhood.

Perhaps DH can give the full tale behind this tradition, but, frankly, I’m not a fan so I won’t be painting a rosey picture. This particular neighbourhood burning was set alight by three, allegedly drunk—or perhaps just incredibly stupid—male adults, haphazardly dousing a pile of trash with gasoline. I was bothered by the situation, but as so many onlookers included mothers and children of the neighbourhood with backgrounds fully entranced in this culture, I took it all in silently and am only now dispelling my criticism upon you all. Forgive me!

I will go no farther except to say, thankfully I've heard no subsequent reporting of injury or worse outcome beyond what toxins we might have breathed in or the dangerous manoeuvres shown by the festive revellers. Bonfires and fireworks are set alight throughout the various neighborhoods in tradition for Halloween night.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Happy Halloween!

And the Winner is…

First I’d like to thank everyone who attended the Verry Sherry launch party. In fact, some of you didn’t even know you were there but, you were! That rings true for the parties of yesteryear—remember when we didn’t remember? Now THAT's a party! and then there are those parties we wish we didn’t remember…

Hope you enjoyed it and you’re welcome back anytime. And bring friends, cause we all like a newbie…

Anyone still thinking slogans? Time’s up! Many thanks to all those clever thinkers who participated.

The runners up are worth honorable mention:

Sew What? from Cathi at Celtic Knots—love the double meaning. Could go far.

Solar Powered from Megan over at Fried Okra—never considered this, but you know what? It fits.

Finally, the Winner is …

Mom, Wipe My Bum!! From Bonnie at Quiltville. Bonnie, drop me an email with your mailing address and I’ll get this package right out to you! May you and your family enjoy the sweet victories of Trival Pursuit Chocolate Edition!

Not until I saw this plea resonate with so many friends with children--young and old, present and past-- did I get it. Until this point, it was just another symptom of CHAOS (helpfully identified by Bonnie as ‘Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome’) in my life. Such is a part of my life I can not escape. Cooking dinner…mom, wipe my bum!…running out to work…mom, wipe my bum!...showering….mom, wipe my bum!

It keeps us all laughing, and that, my friends, is worth printing on a t shirt. If. It wasn’t a virtual party with virtual contest, and a virtual t shirt.

So sorry, to friends who are more fortunate to not have to deal with such loose ends…aw, yuck...this winner is score one for motherhood.

Who’s Afraid of UFOs?

Not Babydoll, apparently. Here she is, fast asleep under UFO* Babydoll’s Quilt; I began this two years ago, in my first quilting group. It is an unfinished sample quilt (sample quilts are quilts with a variety of block patterns; a great way for newbies to learn the different designs, *also UFO means UnFinished Object.). Look closely, Babydoll didn’t even mind a few pins here and there.

This quilt was pieced using all of Babydoll’s infant cotton dresses, many of which were sundresses, ‘cause she was a San Francisco babe born in March thus giving her the summer and Indian summer-fall to parade her girly outfits. Babydoll would wear whatever was put on her. She still will.

Cutiepie, on the other hanger, is a stylist all her own. Though I held back when she was smaller, she insists on wearing spaghetti-strap dresses in the dead cold of an Irish winter. She definitely dresses for success of the pink twinkly kind even in our wet cold climate. I look forward to making her quilt that she, too, is already inquiring about. Hmm, that might take me into 2011?

Anyway, when I went to do my nightly check I found Babydoll fast asleep under her unfinished blanket. She must have pilfered it from beneath my growing mound of sewing projects. My heart slowed in beat. Earlier we had had the usual conversation that ensues when I’m steadfast on finishing a quilt, this time the baby blue cars quilt.

“Mommy, when will my quilt be finished?”

“Soon, Babydoll, soon. I’ll try to finish it next.”

Can you guess what I’m going to do this weekend?

Friday, 26 October 2007

Once a Baby, Always a Baby

Every few days or so I like to stop my husband’s heart—for just a sec, you know, to see if he is listening. And all it takes are select few words, usually spewed out casually in a dinnertime conversation.

"Honey, do you think we should have another baby?”

Poor guy. At first a half smile appears.

“You’re joking, right?”

He thinks this must be it, this is the time I’ve got him by his jingle bells…thinking, oh god, could she actually be serious?

“No, I’m not joking. How ‘bout we have another baby?”

“Honnneeey, really???” The smile disappears.

In an effort to get blood back to his head, I dart a cheeky grin in his direction.

“I’m just kidding honey!” He begins to breath again, slowly. “Really?”

I say, “ Yeah. I’m too old to have a baby!”

Now, ladies, I know this is not true. Some of the best ladies of the fab fortys, Antique Mommy, It Could’ve Been Worse and Rhonda, are quick to prove otherwise. In fact, I think I’m well, bodily and otherwise, able to produce another one of life’s joys, it is just that I’m too selfish.

And doesn’t it always sounds better when a decision appears out of your control like with age versus a simple preference for sleep and the ability to get up and go at a moment’s notice without nappies, bottles, whining, and car seats? You know, minus the whole dependency gig that comes with infants.

However, if such exaggeration provides DH with a little assurance that I’m serious, all is good. Even if it is a pile of malarkey.

The morning after my usual trickery at the dinner table, Cutiepie woke up in a crankier mood than usual. She whined and sobbed and clung to me.

Assuming she just had wake-up blues, I pulled her closer for a snuggle. “Come here, my little baby!”

Louder cries erupted. I hugged her closer to baby her and soothe her misery. “What’s wrong baby? Mommy’s has her little baby…What’s wrong?”

More sobs and inaudible words told me she had something to say. I settled her by asking her what she wanted to say and what was bothering her.

“But I’m NOT your baby!” she wailed.

“Course you are. You ARE my baby!”

Cutiepie looked me straight in the eye and said, “But mommy, you’re too old to have a baby!”


It’s time I work on a new tactic to get DH’s attention.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

A Sneak Preview my weekend project. Another baby boy quilt. Stay tuned!

Goodbye and Good Riddance

At my company, my team is made up of contractors/vendors/non employees-call us what you will, our team is the red-headed step child. No offence to red-headed stepchildren, as I know first hand. I have a red headed brother who was a stepchild, and yes, sometimes they are treated differently, and, often unfairly.
So we stick together. The Team and I.

Anyhoo, as I’m one of three team leaders in the group, when Linda’s quitting day arrived, I rallied the team to sign a nice goodbye card. Linda and her boyfriend were trading in 9-5 jobs for a travelling schedule that was due to begin in London the next week.

We had arranged a lunch out in her honor. It was a nice gesture.

By mid day, the card I had circulated earlier that morning in a plain folder had found its way back round to my desk, only this time in a large envelope. When I opened the envelope out fell 11 Euro (about 15 bucks). Something told me this wasn’t compensation to me for organizing the card.

Back in June the larger department said goodbye to a senior manager who was leaving after working with us for six months. Then, too, someone, somewhere, decided to take up a collection for his leaving card.

I have so many fundamental problems with this, I don’t know where to start.

1. This man probably earned 2x to 3x more than the average well wisher of the card. He was given what we call “garden retirement”. He was leaving to work for a competitor, and as such, he was immediately relieved of his duties and paid out a lavish severance amount, in jest coined ‘garden retirement’.

2. This man decided to leave the company of his own accord, and thus the decision being his to walk away from a paying job.

3. This money collection was just this. A. Money. Collection. No one was going to take it a step farther and buy him a gold watch or mantle clock. It was cold cash that was to be given with the bon voyage card. Except that the sum collected was mere 6 Euro($4.20).

Are you beginning to see my point?

Am I just a stingy penny-pincher, or is it ridiculous to throw cold cash at someone who has the wherewithal, the courage, and/or the luxury to walk away from a paying job? Not to mention the measly amount scavenged…how do you gift too little money to someone?

So when Linda’s coin-jangling card fell upon me, I discreetly sent an email to the gang sans Linda, and asked that the person who kindly started the contributions, to please be welcome in presenting Linda with the money, since I was unsure of the intent.

In the end, a few additionally embarrassed people tossed in some cash and she was presented with 50Euro. Yeesh! You would've thought it was a collection for the needy...these folks would go poor walking along the homeless in San Francisco the way they are easily shamed into handing over money!

Oh, have I told you? I’ve given my 30–day notice to resign! Yep.

Now that little group of red-haired kiddies have 28 days to rattle their piggybanks before my goodbye card begins its circulation!

Monday, 22 October 2007

Welcome to the Launch Party

No, you did not miss the party. Let’s put it this way, if you, indeed, were to arrive at my house when I said the party would start, this is what you would’ve seen: Me in rollers and my bathrobe with Cutiepie whining and clutching my thigh and a shrieking, “Mom! Wipe my bum!!!” coming from Babydoll in the bathroom. Oh, and a hungry husband. Let’s just say my house was a bit haywire this weekend and the blog party, well it never launched…til now! I’m learning, internets, I’m learning.

*Cue balloons and streamers*

The Party

Welcome to VerrySherry! Marking my 50th post, let's celebrate! Graphics have been previewed, but today we formally unveil this launch party. So sit back, put your feet up and grab your drink, your mouse, whatever you fancy…just keep it clean!

Mingle Time

As with all my parties, it's necessary for the who's who of who: introductions. This party mixes still life with cyber life. Am I the only one who imagines what would happen if one friend met another, one internet met real life? Don’t some internets strike a similar familiarity to someone you know in real life?

Scroll the internet highway to VerrySherry and click at the door. Inside is, at random, 50 of my guests:

My friend from long ago Maureen would mix with BigMama cause both are girls’ mother and wholesome and heartfelt, yet funny and very silly when warranted. Cami would find herself there as she is, like BigMama, another fashion guru with the love for Seven jeans.

Deanna ‘Banana’ would undoubtly rock the house with Attack of the Redneck Mommy. Watch them dancing on the bar at the stroke-of-6-martinis-to-midnight. Miriam and Carlina would laugh and cheer them on, for sure!

It Could'a Been Worse, Antique Mommy and Rhonda are so similar in my eyes, surely they would be huddled in serial discussions and intermittant giggles on the throes of motherhood. Jenny from Chased by Children is here too—after all, I did steal her contest idea!

The ultimate cyber entertainer Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer would definitely hold center court for moms and gals ‘in the know’. I would reckon this would be the loudest laughing crowd with the fun likes of Chillihead Joan, Kim, Carrie, Nicole, Francesca and Andrea. Especially when you add the great Confessions of a Pioneer Woman.

Likely to find Colleen paired with Blogs are Stupid for namesake only. Yet, Dana would most likely be enthralled by BlogsAreStupid for her refreshing candor and straight talking.

Laura ‘Twirly Godmother’ and Sue would rally as the English ex pats. And Kate would mix as a London transplant, but she’s surely to capture their interest with her artistic and creative flair.

My sister Angela is certain to enjoy Jules and would have loved the blogging at Everyday Design, committed and solid in family and faith.

Pink Chalk Studio and Pink and Barbara—how could I not introduce the two? Barbara who likes all things pink and Kathy whose crafts redefine crafts as we know them! Soon Kate would soon ‘inch’ over to chat with Kathy.

In another corner there is Erin and Cathi. For some reason, these two just go together in my head. They’re devoted moms who are so creative and fun.

When I read the tales of hip Cheeky Lotus, I always envision my sister Karri. They are very similar and her stories of raising her five year old daughter take me back to when Karri’s daughter was five.

Hovering over the appetizers and yummy foods’ tables would be Pioneer Woman Cooks and Tanya and Eimear, gourmet gals in more ways than one! The usual suspects of hungry men would be luring nearby waiting for a mouthful include DH, Steve, Rob, Seaneen and Mattias.

Bonnie is the quilting goddess and those who quilt will follow. I would expect conversations among my new friend Rebecca, fellow Ozzies Tazzie and Aubirdwoman, and others like Alica and Wooden porch. Those newly infested with the quilting bug would be sure to be present: Pauline from Ireland and my niece Bethany.

And all the way from Sonoma would be Ms. Jan Quilts sharing the life of wine and luxury with Ginny who knows Napa Valley so well.

And finally, before catching up with old friends like Christy and AnneMarie, I might find myself mesmerized by Megan at Fried Okra…does she talk as Southern as she writes?

Now that everyone has met, here’s 50 somethings about me. (See a theme? Parties always need a theme!)

Fifty Things

1. In ten years, I will be 50 years old. Yikes!

2. Ten years ago, I returned to college full time.

3. I bartended at the Blarney Stone Pub in San Francisco, selling buckets of drink.

4. I swore I would never date an Irishman.

5. I married an Irishman. Go figure.

6. I have two daughters, born eighteen months apart in 2003 and 2004.

7. My home and family are in Ireland; my heart is in San Francisco.

8. I lived in San Francisco for 15 years.

9. I love to golf.

10. I love to quilt.

11. My greatest fear with pregnancy, beyond the usual worries, was weight gain.

12. My lightest weight was after each pregnancy.

13. I hold a bachelors’ degree in technical writing.

14. My favorite vacation was my honeymoon.

15. Walking is my exercise of choice.

16. I’m a member of the Redwood Market Home Produce Association.

17. I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.

18. I grew up in Eureka, California.

19. I was engaged at 21 and married at 34.

20. I should clarify: to two different men.

21. During college I held many jobs at once to make tuition.

22. I bartended and waited tables.

23. I did freelance writing.

24. I worked as a temp in offices.

25. I once bartended (clothed) in a strip club…for one day before quitting.

26. My favorite bartending job was at 365 Bimbo’s Music Hall in San Francisco.

27. I loved waiting tables. Teaches you customer service!

28. I love to cook.

29. I have two sisters and two brothers.

30. I have an 11 year old step daughter.

31. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.

32. I wanted a son to see my DH’s genes reincarnated.

33. My daughter Babydoll is exactly like DH.

34. I no longer want a son.

35. My daughter Cutiepie is exactly like stepdaughter GirlE.

36. I would rather be in a cold climate than a hot climate.

37. My girlfriends are the world to me.

38. I didn’t believe in TV until along came digital cable and TIVO.

39. I love Karen Carpenter Songs. Yes. I . do.

40. I never drank tea before living in Ireland.

41. I hate giftbags; always prefer a box and pretty bow.

42. My weight is easier to manage at an older age.

43. Maybe, I’m easier to please at an older age.

44. I worry for my daughters’ happiness.

45. I hope to instil peace in them always.

46. I want my daughters to travel.

47. I will miss them painfully.

48. I’m an early riser.

49. I am an early-to-bed gal.

50. I love my sleep.

Party Game!

Finally, what’s a party, without a favour? So in light of Halloween, give me your trick and I’ll give you a treat.

Nicked from Jenny at Chased by Children, here is the contest to be entered by comment. No curse words or naughty comments or you will be disqualified; remember this is a family friendly blog.
The entries will be judged on creativity, knowledge of VerrySherry and cleverness of slogan.

To win, give us a snappy one-liner that finishes this sentence:

If VerrySherry wore a slogan t-shirt it would say...

The winner will receive family-fun entertainment: a Trival Pursuit Chocolate Edition game.

Just when you think you finished with trivia facts. Will ship globally!

The entries/comments are open for one week. Contest ends October 29th .

Goodbye, Come Again!

Thanks everyone. Glad you came to this launch party. Hope you enjoyed yourself. Hope you've met friends; when there's no one up at 2am and you need a pal, they're one click away!

*Cue Sinatra' New York, New York*

Friday, 19 October 2007

See? I Have Been Crafty!!

One day my phone rang and a lady asked me if I made quilts. I said yep! She said she saw one of my quilts and the owner explained how I made the quilt from her daughter's outgrown clothes...

Yep, that's my gig. I try to buy only seasonal fabric. Even with Christmas I can get away with general red and green fabrics. Call it my way of giving back to this beautiful green world. I encourage people to recycle clothes and materials into a loving heirloom quilt...and pay me to do it!
That, and add the fact that Ireland has so few fabric stores and the fabrics that are found, cost an arm and a leg.

Sally said she had been saving all her son's clothes. And would I please make her a quilt? Of course. Assuming she had armloads of nice cotton shirts just waiting for my rotary cutter, and wondering whether it would be a child-size quilt or larger, I asked her, how old is your son?

She said excitedly, "Jack, he is two months old."


I'll take a moment here to explain to the non-quilters out there the problem this presents. Firstly Jack may very well be unlike most others, but most newborns' clothes are of the stretchy, soft, expanding fabric best suit for squirming, growing, newly made babes. Not the kind suited for patchwork. Patchwork requires cloth that is stable and holds a set shape and can be pieced without pulling or bunching.

It was clear I had my work cut out for me. Literally.

Luckily Samatha was a smart girl. She quickly caught onto this quilty quandry and we agreed on a solution. From each, I cut the cute soft patch of fabric, mostly animals, lettering, toys that adorned the outfits, appliqued them to cotton squares, and made them the center of my nine patch star.

This was the result. I liked it and she loved it.

Question is, does Jack likes it?