Monday, 31 March 2008

I Hope, I Hope, I Hope

Read a great post this morning over at According to Kelly and I couldn't agree more...

What about you?

Sunday, 30 March 2008

In Stitches, From Laughter

O.K. Can I just say how much fun yesterday was?

A huge thank you to AnneMarie for organizing and having all six of us expats into her home for the whole day. Not to mention taking on board my babes and MaryPoppins. A big shout out to AnneMarie's DH, FarmerBoy, for all his hospitality!!

Thank you!!

We met at AnneMarie's house for a day of mingling and sewing.

Mingling: What a good group of gals. We had some serious laughs.

Sewing: Where's the seam ripper? That was heard 27 times every hour. Don't be surprised when we report not a single finished sewing project much to chagrin of Head Mistress Anne Marie despite her many threats and finger waggles.

But we did have fun in the process.

We really did not account for all the chatting that would distract us from sewing. Or the need to redo 112 wonky nine-patches.

Topics of conversation included:

How I met my husband. No variety there. With all having Irish husbands, 'pub' was the top surveyed answer.

How much we love Irish women. Right up there with wonky nine patches.
American foods. Gotta love that Mac'n Cheese at 6 Euros a pop; Betty Crocker for a fiver; to passed by the 7 Euro boxes of Lucky Charms.
US Postal Service. Puh-lease bring back the cheap boat service. The stoppage of economy post has created serious cutbacks on our care packages.

Key notes arising from the occasion include:

Do keep a bowl of Palmolive on hand for AnneMarie's inpromptu manicures.
Do educate Sherry on the merits of accurate seam allowances.
Do tell Alanna (below pic) to stop listening to Sherry as her project was a full half inch shorter than all the rest. She'd learn nothin' good from that one.
Do start Women-Over-Thirty Sorority Club for expats in Ireland.
Do nominate Jessica to initate/rush on all prospective members.

Unfortunately I did not live up the to the image of a stellar quilter as AnneMarie had painted. She could be heard several times shrieking, "I told these girls you knew what you were doing!"
Note the hand gesturing below.
(I've 16 more photos of similar hand wringing, but figure, in one day alone, Anne Marie has suffered enough of my shortcomings that I don't need to plaster blogville with the visuals.)

After botching the cutting instructions and ironing guidelines within two hours of arriving, I appointed myself the "What-Not-To-Do Example Gal'. This did not amuse our hostess.
I think I was even accused of theivery at some point. It's not my fault someone's perfect nine patch fell into my stack of wonky squares.

You know, I would've gotten away with it, had the Head Mistress known where to look for my quarter inch sewing foot earlier. Then I would have definitely had perfect seams.

Thank goodness my olive cheese bread was a hit. I was saved from unthinkable abuse (no doubt well deserved); I'm pretty sure I heard her breathe the words 'stick' 'torture' and 'get it right' shortly before distracting her with a slice of heaven.
There is 99% certainity that AnneMarie will replace our friendship with that of our latest protégé , Kim. Man, that girl was focused on her project. (See above) Teacher's pet, no doubt.
She very nearly gave us other silly quilters a bad name. For a fleeting second I thought twice about giving her her lift home.

Instead I think she might rub off on me. She's coming over to my place on Wednesday and we hope to finish our projects.

I'm serving my olive cheese bread for lunch. Just in case.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

For Friends' Sake


I'm sorry.


I'm sorry.

I solemnly apologize for my last post poking fun at the inhabitants of the great loving green island of Ireland.

You see, this post was in honor of a few special friends. We're all ex-pats and we're meeting up over at AnneMarie's place to do a sew-in. Kim and gang and I are heading down this morning.
I'm so excited! Cue the Pointer Sisters.

And you see, I was so giddy with excitement that I forgot my manners. We like to laugh too, you know? Sorry paddies.

Though there is one Paddy who should be very sorry. And that is DH.

'Cause if I set out one more special bread to make special yummy on Friday night for Saturday's serving and IF I find someone's gotten the munchies after his Friday night pint again, I'm gonna clock you buddy!!!

Oh, and we all know that pint cost way more than 2.39!

You Know You're in Ireland When...

I ran into my new friend the other day....I was late from work, screaming hungry and needed to get a few ingredients for dinner. As I approached the checkout stands I'd thought I'd grab a sugar high snack for the road when I was reminded that I was in Ireland.

Where, Irish marketers, well, they haven't yet met the average consumer. 'Cause the checkout stands, them there are virtually void of any last minute purchase. A marketing mishap. Euros just waiting to be gobbled and yet remain a missed opportunity.

The checkout stands are barren, unwelcoming, kiosks ready for nothing but a clerk's scrutinizing glance wondering how and why I would buy something so oddly shaped and purple. It would mean they have to look up its species on the scanner. It would undoubtly cause them to gasp at the 2.39 that lit up the screen. I know, cause it's happened time and time again.

"Oh, dat's so dear! And t'was it?"

"Eggplant. Aubergine. It's a vegetable." I'd say proudly.

"It's good for you." Trying to convince the cashier it's hip to be healthy.

"Well, I should hope so at dat price." Still shaking her head at the price.

"Actually, it's less than a pint of beer and feeds the whole family." Take dat, Mrs. Ireland.

But before seeking out my free abuse criticizing clerk, I quickly turned on my heels in search of the candy snacks aisle.

And there I saw and took in my biteful of savory irony that would fill me with laughter for the whole drive home.

Only in Ireland.

A taster's stand with Grandma Shamrock handing out the 5.99 wine-bottle-of-the-day samples of wine in plastic dixie cups.
In a mall, in a business park, where presumably all the shoppers are drivers.
In a country in the midst of a national debate on how to curb drivers from drinking.
Free wine tasting at the grocery store.
Go figure.

I reached into my bag to see if I had my camera. Frowning when I realized I didn't, Grandma Shamrock caught my eye and offered up a free sampling.

"No, no. No thank you."

I'll just take my 2.39 euros worth of mystery goodness and be gone.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

In Case You're Wondering

The Makeover was revealed in time for Saturday's big shindig.

I managed. There are still a few items to put in place (a new TV, radiator cover...). But overall we are really pleased with the results.

Even DH endured and hung my shelves at the 11th hour. Those shelves are my babies on which I like to place precious things out of reach of children, display my cherished goodies--they haven't embraced a wall since San Francisco, so it's been happy days around here.

Check out the Before

And After...

Below my baby shelves are Babydoll, Cutiepie and Mary Poppins. Note Cutiepie's Michael Jackson glove--it's protecting the lone last Dora band-aid which in turn is protecting some scrubbed skin. God forbid Dora become unattached in a time of need for this little Ariel.

Anyway back to me.

Thirteen coats of primer paint and five coats of green and oatmeal-colored tone on the walls and chimney breast and we boast a new cozy sitting room.

Oh, we're not counting the two coats of green that had to be redone because I didn't clean the oatmeal (color, internets, not oats!) out of the rollers before rolling on the green.

At least, that was DH's theory. I'm ok with that accusation.

But only after my accusation that he used the wrong roller failed to win.

And since he did a bit of painting for me, I'm gonna allow his theory.

And so the unveiling at the Saturday party.

Too bad the Easter Bunny upstaged me with a gazillion (127, but who's counting?) hidden eggs.

I'm ok with that too.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Loose Ends

Planning for something big can put my mind in a thousand places. You know? And once that enormity has come and gone, it's then necessary to seek out all my scattered thoughts cause, let me tell you, my mind is like a sieve.

Yep, that's me, basket in hand, handpicking my sanity, one by one, until all is back in place.

Is it ever?

First thing first. The BirthdayslashEggHunt Party was a success. Mind you it will take me a day or two to organize the memories and decide which to report on first: the fun, the food, the friends, and the fumbles not to be relived...

Um, like blowing up the coffee maker. The clean up was nearly as fun as being stampeded upon by 29 youngsters high on chocolate hell bent on finding the first egg. It's a close second.

On Easter I decided to unwind with a little piecing for a commissioned order placed for one 'Baby Daisy'. Though the fabric is in her namesake, the additon of the lambs were fitting for the occasion.

This design was spotted of late on my favorite Pink Chalk Studio. Kathy over there gives credit to the original Bento Box creator Tracey Brookshier and so please consider same here. This is just the filmsy; more daisy applique and quilting to come.

It was really easy, I'm all about stripping. At present I'm preparing a boy's quilt with the same, but I'm taking the dimension down half an inch on all strips...I often think smaller pieces make the design even more delicate. And it's a cowboy motiff. Yeehaw, one of my favorites.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Is It Party Time Yet?

Asks the hostess of a super party.

Not quite. It's only 7:00 a.m.

Hang on to your boombox, Babydoll.

Rock on, soon enough.

Friday, 21 March 2008

It's All In The Bag!

What to do.

You have 42 children arriving in 24 hours to squeal and lunge for Pinata treats and hunt and collect Easter Eggs.

You live in Ireland where tradition is square Easter egg boxes in place of bouyant Easter baskets. Oh, how I miss me a lovely goodie-filled spring basket.

You live in an economy where there is no obvious retailer for bulk packaging, baskets, bags.

What to do?

You make do.

I mean, you make.

And I did.

I made our own white Easter bags. My bulk roll of quilt batting comes wrapped in a long roll of white paper...and !viola!...armfuls of little Easter bags now await...the little rascals to come to color, and fill with eggs and candy.

As it is Spring Break and our very own Mary Poppins (aka au pair) is doing her best to keep the munchkins busy, we decided to use a focus group to sample the first batch of bags.

The bag below capturing Easter so perfect is made by " AA ", the 7yo son of a close friend, I affectionately refer to him as the Academic Artist of the gang. He is brillant.

Course, Cutiepie, well, she knows a fashionable new trend when she sees one. This new purse with pink handles should match her Easter dress perfectly.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

When It All Sounds the Same

One Sunday we took a lovely family drive through Glendalough on our way to dinner in the scenic Glenmalure. DH and I were discussing an upcoming golf round at Glen of the Downs, not to be confused with Glenealy's golf course, where we'd be joined by our friend from Glencree village.

Clearly overwhelmed by the similarity of it all, Cutipie called out from the backseat:

"Are we nearly at, em, em...Glenda who's?"

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Making New Friends

Did I ever tell you that my job at WTD is a gazillion miles, or 46 miles in bad traffic, away from my hood?

But lucky for me, the office is adjacent to the Northside Shopping Mall, the largest shopping mall in Ireland. If, it was 1988. It has more than 70 shops to serve me. Excuse me, I mean, more than 70 shops for me to shop. Cause we all know 'service' or any form thereof, does not exist in Ireland.

Anyway, it has the essentials: post office, bank, grocery store, hardware shop. (Funny, they’re not the usual places when thinking of an American shopping mall?)
And there is the best big pound (dollar) shop in Ireland.

You know those household gadgets that never get updated until literally disintegrated into thin air? Everything for a quid, people! Like that grungy ill-fitted shower mat? Gone! Now we have pretty colored flowers for non-slippage. A buck!

And my aging laundry basket? Otherwise know as the oversized plate with handles, whose plastic netting sides long gone missing. Now replaced by two newer prettier baskets.

The best two bucks spent since happy hour taco tuesdays at SF Golden Gate Bar and Grill.

Despite its void of customer help and lackluster shine, this mall is my lunchtime pal. Even if it is caught in a time warp waiting for Tiffany's return.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Quality Control at Makeover Central

Fluffable New-Pillow Inspectors


Labor Done Cheap


Benefactors of My Handiwork


Dead...if you get those dirty before showtime!

Now, THAT's Something Worth Hopping Over

Anyone who's been to a Verry Sherry party, knows we like to put on a do. This year we host our 4th Annual Easter Egg Hunt. If ya are all in the vicinity, grab a basket and hop over.

AS IF, we don't have enough to celebrate, Babydoll's birthday falls the day before Easter. So with minimal thought--obviously-- we approached her with the idea of the Egg Hunt as the grand finale to her birthday party.

Well you'd think Elvis appeared in her dreams and annointed her Queen of Graceland. The girl can dance. Just check out her in this invite (big shout out to Twirly, we love you and your Mac talents) -- This poser is hopping silly over the moon about the coming festivities.

That, or she's got a puddle of syrup on her pancakes in the likeness of Virgin Mary. For there's 3,209 Irish and more making the pilgrimage to Casa la Verry Sherry in just 10 days.

Internets, this child is so much the mold of her mother, I should've named her. not this blog, VerrySherry. Can you believe? I am under marching orders from the little hostess "to finish doing that stuff in the living room before my party. I want it to look so cool."

Excuse me? Like, totally, da.

So 'scuse me if I'm busier than a bush on fire, I've a million and one things to get ready--just too busy to be worrying myself and you.

That's cool.

We've got candy eggs.

We've got boiled eggs.

We've got plastic party eggs all the way from almighty Commercial America. (Again, thanks Twirly!)

We've got hunting grounds.

We've got food and drink. And let's not forget the festive runner.

We've got balloons and a pinata.

We've got sun. Please? Maybe? Ok, how about, just NO rain?
Any chance our sticky Virgin Mary's got our back?

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Here Comes Peter Cottontail...

Hopping down the bunny trail...
or somethin' like that.

Check out what I did licketysplit! Table runners for Easter. I know, I know it's a bit PINK...but I happen to know a real girly mom, sweet as cotton candy who might like it. I made two: one for me and one for her.
I'm really excited about the quilting--very quick and might I add, kinda creative. Freehand and all, who would've guessed?

We have big plans hiding out at our place over the holiday, stay tuned for colorful details soon!

Makeover Time

Well, if you're wondering what we're up to at the casa la VerrySherry, wonder no more.

We're doing a makeover...It's about time we turn this house into a home!

One room at a time.

You know, I was off work for one month and the Oprah show does have its influences.
Somehow, it was Knock Knock Nate and not Dr. Oz or Suze Orman who grabbed my attention. Though power chick Suze can really rock your pocketbook in a good way!

So work begins in the living room, or sitting room depending on if you're talking to the yank or the paddy in the house. This name of the room causes a stir among some. One opinionated play friend was quite affected to learn we have a "living" room whereas they have a "sitting room". Oh, discovering the differences early in, even when there is no difference between a living room, sitting room, or even front room.

Be you live or sit in my front room, I'm determined to make it a sanctuary. The home is a breathing extension of you! Make it what you will.

Babydoll and Cutiepie are loving the work. When we first discussed the comestic work to come, Cutiepie wanted in on the action.

"Who's going to paint the room?"

"Well, Cutiepie, it's going to be a big effort and we are all going to work together."

She promptly went to DH in the sitting room, who coincidently best describes the room. He sits.

She said, "Daddy, this is an effort and you have to help, cause we are going to work together."
hmf ! You tell him! And help he has.

You can watch the transformation as it happens. Oh joy, I know. I figure this transparency on the blog will motivate me and drive the diligence to make it the best we can. This is what we have planned:

Walls--the biggest change. Out with the peeling dirty white wallpaper. Underneath lies cobalt blue with dark lemon yellow trim. We plan to strip, clean, primer and paint. The room's largest feature is a rock fireplace so we will be using the chimney wall for accent color. After much consideration, I'm going with my gut and using my favorite color. DH is wonderful! Though it would not be his first, second, or ever choice, he is supporting my color picks. The room is small, and colors hinder the illusion of a larger room. But I'm thinking warm cozy living room, and going with my gut. The walls are now primed and the money spent thus far: 51 Euros

Decor--Wall treatment includes artwork and framed photography, new and old to be incorporated. Challenge area: a thru-way window into the adjacent dining room. This is long been painted over, but remains an eyesore. Maybe a wall hanging--anyone have a good design/pattern? Maybe a mirror? Problem is, it sits low over a shelf/counter so the area should be multipurpose, thus discouraging artwork.
At present, our family monster, the TV sits in front of the eyesore. Two strikes.

Entertainment--This TV is dying. Thank goodness. We are shopping and have our sights set on a flat panel and hanging it on the wall. (little concerned for wires, in recent I gave up, but I'm going go back to hiding those ugly wires!) Also we have a lovely armoire that is not being used correctly, I hope to move it into the room's corner for housing the playthings and games. Leaving the shelves for better eye candy.

Radiator is an eyesore and rarely used as the fireplace is in regular use. I plan on getting a classical radiator cover giving us more shelf room.

Lighting--At present two sources: the florescent tube at the ceiling, Just sets your mojo in motion, eh? Additional light from wall fixures on chimney wall, but in a pastlife's decor. We plan to replace wall attachments with modern fixtures and add some lovely lamps to the room. Banish that florescent tube!

Floors--DH believe or not is ahead of this game. Last August he laid beautiful dark wood floor. This weekend, I scrubbed clean my large floor rug. (Cream colored, not very practical but it's my favorite). And here is your makeover tip: I scoured the rug with ordinary strawberry shampoo--gives good clean with great smelling looks!

Warm & fuzzy--After contemplating colors back and forth, it turns out I made the right choice. Paint purchased and all, in afterthought I scrounged into my fabric stash--the nonquilting stash filled with silky, fuzzy, variety of textures and find exact matching colors for redoing my throw pillows. This tickled me pink green, my color of choice.
Stay tuned for some interesting window treatment!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

A Mother's Proud Moments

How are rainbows made?
How do you make a car?
How is a battery made?
How does Daddy make a house?
How do you make a camera?

She asks.

In today's world, where cash is king, plastic is endless, and credit is for granted, I am proud to have my daughter question 'how are things made?' rather than 'where do they come from?'
She begins her days with the belief that not only are these things--big and small--there for her to make, but that she believes a simple recipe will guide her success.

So naturally, there was no surprise when she put Legos and a sewing machine atop her 5th birthday wish list.

Build it. Make it. Create it.

Go, Babydoll, go!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Surprises Still at Seventy Years Young

Finally, I presented my mother-in-law with her memory quilt. It was a joy to watch everyone pick themselves out of the mirage of photographic peicework.

(adorning the label)

this is the quilt that love built

with memorable pictures just right

pieced by family long into the night

for Nodie who's going 70 years bright

quilted by sherry in hopes it might

wrap 'round Nanny with warmth just right

this is the quilt that love built

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

In Memory

My Sad Eyes

My sad eyes
blurred by tears
heart broken
by the world they now see

My sad eyes
now look down
afraid to look upon
all thats black

My sad eyes
full of aqua blue
the whitest of white
so wonderess
yet so pained

My sad eyes
the all seeing
the all feeling
the all knowing

My sad eyes
one tear holds
a hundred different reasons for their saddness

My sad eyes
please someone wipe away the hurt

Vincent Armone

I'd like to dedicate this post to a co-worker and his family, who suffered great tradegy on Friday. There was a car accident and he lost the lives of his two children, ages 7 and 8.
His wife and an 8 year old twin survived.
It is unimaginable the horrendous heartache put upon that family.

Please remember him and his family in your prayers.

Thank you.

Whoever Said Garanimals Are Luffly?

It only takes one photo of my girls to make my heart sing. Recently while marveling at a snapshot, the music stopped abruptly. There was Cutiepie. In Cutiepie's attire. You see, she's at the age, (we're hoping it’s a phase) where she insists on dressing herself.

Just when I think I’ve stashed away all the distasteful, ill-fitted, mis-matched, wrong-season clothes, she conjures up a new hideous colorful outfit.

It doesn’t help that she will wear only pink clothes adorned with Dora the Explorer. In this particular picture, she proudly wears worn sparkly pink ballet shoes paired with ill-fitting stretch pants topped by a stained Dora t-shirt tied off with a fashionable mid-rif pink sleeves thingy. All are mismatched singles who she insists on coordinating. Marriages that weren’t meant to happen, not in my wardrobe anyway.
It begins like this:

“Cutiepie, let’s get dressed,” I say holding a lovely matching ensemble.

“But I want to wear, em, em, …” and off she trotts to upend the dirty clothes hamper. Oh dear, here we go.

“Cutiepie, I have your clothes ready already.”

“I don’t want to wear that!” Over and over she cries.

Be strong, you’re the mother, she’s the child. I remind myself.

Then the crocodile tears. One look at her and it could be over.

You see, silent crocodile tears translate to: “But this is ME. I want to express myself. I want to be responsible for myself. I want to be creative. I want to be ME.”

Pray tell, how do you ignore that?

I do. Until…

Wrangling and breathless, I think I’ve won. She stands, her tear-stained defeated face sad and her fingers pulling at her clothes.

“But, mommy…but mommy…I don’t look luffly.”

And so it ends like this:

My battle lost and forgotten…until the light of day shines bright and we are out among the real world, where real mommies rule with terms of steel and say no to ridiculous clothes. I flinch feebly at all the cutsie girls in their bow adorned garanimal outfits. And then there's my rag-a-muffin Cutiepie. Yes. I am weak.

So marching on, the camera snaps and the moments are captured and so is the battle. So is the heart and mind of a determined 3yo. There in her mismatched, ragged kit is her personality, her drive, her creativity.

All of it, in its own kind of luffliness.