Friday, 27 June 2008

Are you as excited as I am?

** Post Updated for Artist, Photographer, Book Publisher Credit. Apologies for Prior Exclusion.

I've been offline for some time as I'm trying to put this business pursuit online! (LOOK here above!)

Things are really moving now. Designs are in and, people, take a vote! Please leave a comment and let us know which title (font text) jumps out at you and says "Buy Me".

For ease sake, let's number them 1-2-3-4 starting at top left and going clockwise, or state color font just in case. And if makes you want to comment any more, I'll draw a random name and send him or her a bonafide Irish Beans Chocolate Bar...yummy!

The inset picture is just filler. (Though we do intend to bring the quilting stereotype down in age!) The plan is not to use people/faces in the cover features, but to use Irish landmarks as the magazine is really meant to scream, "Buy Me, I'm Irish!"
**These are examples we found: photographs (taken by Cheryl Johnson) and appear in Pat Sloan's book, Tour of Ireland published by Leisure Arts.

'Top of the morning to y'all.

Friday, 20 June 2008

One For One

That's what it's all about, right? These swaps? One for one. I love it when all works perfectly. For the AQLS I received yesterday a lovely quilt from Jen in Finland and tomorrow I post off my quilt for ? in the land of ?

I publishing it now as I hope the owner will take possession sometime next week. There is no knowing if my partner reads my blog, so it's surely safe here until it arrives to its destination.

First, I show you my lovely arrival of yesterday. Fabulous blocks by Kate, stunning quilting by Jen created a lively floral masterpiece.

Modeling by Cutipie and Babydoll enroute to school this morning.

I absolutely love this quilt. The colors are a variety of greens with pink and wine blooming within. It is amazing and conflicting in that these colors match perfectly both my living room and my dining room. Oh, but, where to go?

Even DH commented on the color combination being perfect, and folks, THAT is saying alot. Most days he dresses the girls and you'd swear we live in a house inhabited by only the color blind. Not that life can't be a fun and quirky spectrum, but I'd like a little harmony to feast my eyes...and it never hurts to blend in.

So I love, love my harmonic doll quilt. And check out Jen's clever hanging sleeve--there's probably a proper name for these nifty triangles. And the back fabric--devine!!

A day earlier and I would so totally copied the hanging triangles for my quilt. Like, of course. Next time. Here is what I am sending off.

There was a little playfulness going on when I quilted it. I like to call this diddy my Tic Tac Toe quilt as there is either an O or X the box.
Either that or Hollywood Squares. I just hope the recipient has fun with it. The colors are picked to fit that person so at the very least it might be enjoyed for that.

Unless, of course, he/she is colorblind.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

The REAL Buried Treasure

We've only just returned from a lovely holiday in Doohoma, Co. Mayo in the west of Ireland. Babydoll and Cutiepie, buried and burying, respectively.
What a great time! More pics to come soon.

Buried Treasure

The last time I wrote about burying my threads in a quilt, a few of you emailed me wondering what I meant. So this time, I decided to illustrate using pictures.

Lately, I'm trying to take my quilting to the next level. One way is to finish off the threads securely and neatly. In the past I've always taken a snip to them with a prayer that the quilting does not unravel. This burying process is new to me and since I'm trying keep good habits, if any of you can improve upon the process, please do and let me know how!

Burying the threads is when the quilter takes the end of the thread from quilting and burys it neatly within the quilt's layers. In the picture below you see the tangled web of thread trails from a portion of quilt work on my AQLS doll quilt.

Take each thread, and tie a knot at the very base of where the thread exits the fabric. Thread the needle and sew inward near where it exited. With this stitch it is not brought through to the back, rather, having gone into the batting layer, the needle and thread returns up to an exit point away from the actual quilting. There is a little tug needed, cause remember, as the thread is knotted at the base; this knot should pop through the first fabric layer and remain anchored in the fabric--thus, making the thread trail secure within layers. The picture below shows all the threads knotted and threaded, and drawn out away from the quilting.

All that's needed now is to snip the threads.

Then I'm off to do the label so this baby can be shipped out this week!


Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Can You See Me Now?

Two days a week I work from home. I write for a technical company and the subject matter is mostly readily available on my remote laptop. My typical 'home' day is up at 7am, turn on and log in to computer.

My company, with several global offices, communicates via Skype, a tele/video/chat messenger service. It can be a great thing.
That is, if, one remembers to disengage the laptop camera shortly after signing on, bedhead and all, at 7:05 a.m.

My previous careers involved cell phones as well as the computer. So much so, as manager of a team of 15 print artists, I, and DH, slept safely without an alarm clock, for on any given weekday there was a 7am !beep! announcing someone texting in sick.

At the time, I thought, is there anything worse than these early morning signs of work to come? That was before skyping. Though, skyping? I so highly recommend it. My specific advice would be to limit your skype contacts to friends and family...leave the bosses offline.

And yet, this week my Skype's icon light has been dim at most.

The changing of the guard is underway but not in place for childcare on Monday. That day with Cutiepie flickered my skype icon continuously on and off, leaving me too dizzy to actually do the work, nevermind stay signed in.

Tuesday was Babydoll's first ever school field trip. Let's just say crying buckets is better left for a time when not applying sunscreen. I managed to stop my tears after she assured me for the sixth time, that she would be fine.

Then, lights out with more work neglected as Mary Poppins the Fifth (MPV) landed in Dublin Airport. That afternoon. An hour late. But, thanks heavens to Betsy, help is now here!

Still, today, Wednesday, nearly swallowed me and my icon whole between a wasted car repair appointment and pangs of guilt and bundles of worry for leaving MPV alone on her first day.

Tomorrow, I resurrect the early morning car repair before hitting the office. You might wonder what is up with the car...fret no more, it has the makings of a post. For now, just know the dealership, the testing tech, four hours of waiting and many tears more, and the car will be deemed safe to drive. Mark my words. The last thing that techie wants to see is the stressed-out teary-eyed, goal-driven mama again!

Back at home, MPV will be left to mind the girls alone again, this time while routine maintence shuts off all power for six hours. Thanks Mr. Electric Company. Cause, like, we really needed that added challenge. NOT.

Friday, I'll be at a holiday home on the coast of County Mayo, where I know already internet connection is nonexistent.

There is sure to be no glow coming from my Skype icon.

With any luck, we will find a better glow elsewhere!

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Pop Art For Me

It was my birthday earlier this week. I forgot. I'm just that old.

No. I'm kidding. I didn't forget. And neither did my friends and family. *gush*

In fact, one gift comes with memory to hold forever. For it is one of those 'I'll run into a burning house for.' Not that I ever plan to prove that statement.

But really, it's that close to my heart. And this makes complete sense, cause this gift giver is really close to my heart.

A few years back Twirly and I were admiring a canvas portrait of a friend's son. Done in a two tone technique, it literally pops off the wall. (What is it with me describing artwork I would know?)

Anyhoo, as with most things that grab at me, I exclaimed, I must get that done for my girls!

Fast forward to late last year when I took what I thought was a really cool photo of the girls sleeping. Their heads turned in formed a perfect heart. And they were peacefully sleeping. My angels. See below?
Somewhere, somehow, millions of miles away, Twirly knew just what to do. And this is the canvas artwork I recieved in the post today. (It is 100x more gorgeous in person. Remember, it pops!)

I love love love it. Thank you Twirly!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Cranberry and Tangerine Forever

With all this talk of babies, some quilting must be done.

And really, my first priority is the small quilt for ALQS; I'm never late in swaps, and the thought of that happening horrifies me. Unfortunately, the machine needed for quilting has been in the shop, so I'm limited with what sewing I can do. Then the other night I remembered I had a second hand machine tucked away. So I pulled it out...

And viola! the quilt below, nicknamed Cranberry and Tangerine Forever due to its colors, is for Baby Eve. Eve is a Spring chicken and her Christening is due soon. I designed the blocks specifically for playful quilting--thinking about doing feathered flowers in the full piece blocks. Soon to come are two borders, solid cranberry and solid tangerine, of which I hope to use cranberry and tangerine varigated thread to quilt rows of hearts on the seams. That's the plan, anyway. Just don't hold me to it.

Although the colors are pretty intense, I think I'm on the right track. Two years earlier I made the quilt below for her older sister Clodagh. Her mom was over the moon with it, so I can't go wrong now...can I?
Little like sugar and spice, isn't it?

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Beauty, Not Babies

Foggie Night Callas By Carrie Bourdeau

I realize those who have read my latest posts… Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?

Is that an echo I hear?

Yes, you. YOU MIGHT think I have baby on the brain what with my baby this, baby that blogging.

Well, better to be baby on the brain than baby in the belly. For me, anyway.

I love all that is baby, and oh, I big heart my two baabaas, but I don’t need more, thankyouverymuch.

Not long ago BA posted this hysterical—but real—remedy addressing the source of this baby business. And in between chuckles, I was thanking PMS gods (goddesses?) everywhere that my chosen contraceptive leaves me with no need for such diva devices. I suffer no monthly physical ailments.

Unless, of course, you count the self-inflicted physical battering brought on emotionally during Aunt Flow’s visit. It’s not my fault DH would rather run into oncoming cars than mop up my hysterical sobbing.

Ok, I’m way off target here. The point of the post is to post something non baby. Or rather, the point of the post is my Someone Spectacular.

I’m just sayin’ this post ain't about babies. Though, I will say, this someone was my dependable, endearing pregnancy pen pal whilist we were both expecting our first child in 2002/3. Ok. Done. No more talk about babies or pregnancies. I promise.

Carrie is one of my oldest longest longstanding friends. We schooled together. We worked together. And, briefly, we did the San Francisco thing together.

She’s a devoted mom and wife. She’s a hardworking lawyer. Oh yes, she is smart. And not least of all, she is a talented artist. Last year I visited her at home in Nevada. One step into her abode and you can feel her creativity flowing throughout. It is alive and well.

I love me some colorwash techniques. It was no wonder that I was in awe when I walked into her studio and saw a wall hanging comprising a gazillion post-it sized color pieces, the sum of which was a gorgeous colorwash artwork.

I’m fairly certain I just short-changed the correct description of this artwork. But do you get it that she is talented and and her artwork stunning?

It may not be a colorwash, but isn’t the picture above a real beauty?

Now featuring in the City of the World Art Gallery is Carrie Bourdeau, my friend. You must check her out!

Meanwhile, I’m gonna ask when and where we can see her colorwash art….

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

An Unimaginable Pain

Since the blessing of my firstborn more than five years ago, I hold total respect and appreciation for pregnancy. While this is a given for most mothers, I go so far as feeling a surge of thrill whenever I see a first-time mom-to-be. Oh, what an exciting time! My first pregnancy came with luscious shiny hair and very little weight gain; what with a doting husband as father-to-be, nearly all the nine months I spent in wish for every mom-to-be.

Several of my friends are due to give birth in these summer months, and yet, my thoughts are with one expectant mother in particular. I think of her every day. And with each day, my heart breaks for her a little more.

Beth’s husband left her, and everyone in this world, two months ago. Of his own accord.

He committed suicide, 35 years young.

In less than 60 days a miracle was due to reveal his/herself to this young couple, and yet, the pull was just too strong. Beth’s husband was a long time sufferer of depression.

Beth married my husband’s cousin not even two years ago. Financial difficulty was closing in and despair deeply rooted. Still, the questions linger. Why? How? Some with fury call him a coward for exiting eternally. They think they could accept abandonment over death. Others believe, sadly an illness took him beyond knowing and seeing the world as it exists for you and me. And for Beth.

Though they attended our wedding and dined at our home one night two years ago, our connection is remote at best. This distance leaves me no outlet (inlet?) for the kindness and peace I want so badly for Beth.

I am compelled to think of her, pray for her and weep for her.

How will she celebrate the joy without the pain?

Who will hold her hand during delivery?

Who will feed the baby when she's just too exhausted to wake another minute?

What will she tell her baby when asked about Daddy?

For how long will her heart ache?

And finally, does she ever forgive him?

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Look at This and You Might Ovulate

Hosting a baby shower in Ireland is like embarking upon a new frontier. So new, there's not a single baby shower invitation pack to be found. Not even in the Hallmark stores. I know 'cause I shopped and shopped.

Which is why when Anna Maria posted this beauty, I was all over it. Anna Maria Horner is my lastest greatest find in blogland. A brillant designer whose wonderful ideas colorize her blog. Check her out!
So do you like it?

Has your milk come in?

Isn't it so baby-licious?

Invitations done, I'm that much closer to hosting a June baby shower. In Ireland. It's a world of willing and fun party participants who have yet to experience the cross-your-legs-and-lose-your-safety-pin game and several silly others. As hostess, I' m looking forward to getting back to my roots, embracing the gaa gaa antics and telling grown women to measure using toilet paper squares.

What's your favorite baby shower game?