Saturday, 31 January 2009

In the Nick of Time

My finished project for January

Sunday, 25 January 2009

He's Belly Up

This weekend DH went to a football game in England and I killed his goldfish.
In case you're wondering, the incidents are not related. It's not like I said, YOU GO AWAY BUDDY AND YOUR FISH GETS IT. I've made a lot of marital threats, but none that include murder.

Anyway Mr. Fish died and he didn't go quietly. There was lots of crying. From Cutiepie, not Mr. Fish. The first morning DH was away I warned Cutiepie that feeding the fish too much could kill him. Now she thinks she killed the fish.

It is sad. Both DH and our last au pair were quite fond of Mr. Fish. (My condolences, Natalie.) DH took complete care of him. He fed him. He... He... Well he wasn't hard to keep anyway. He never cleaned his fish bowl, and this is where I come in. I thought I would surprise DH with a nice clean bowl for his fish. SURPRISE. The fishbowl is clean. And empty.

This weekend has been a catch-up-on-my-life-as-a-mom-and-housewife. So I've done a few cleaning chores. My mind has been whistling clean.

And I ask you, what is it with whole European one sheeted bed? We've hosted a few European au pairs and despite my best arrangement of matching flat and bottom sheets in the cupboard, it never fails, only one sheet makes it to the girls' beds. One sheet and the duvet. In fact, you can usually tell when DH makes our bed from fresh. You got it: one sheet only.
Conundrum prevailed as my less-American-everyday-5yo insisted on no top sheet in her bed making this morning. So she did.

Is using both sheets only an American thing? If so, then why buy into the whole flat and fitted proganda, if you're only going to use one? Why do European stores bother selling top sheets? I'd like to blame it on the hot weather making you want to sleep with less layers--but ahem, we are in Ireland, a pretty wet and cold climate.

Are you a two sheeter? Or are sheets an either/or for you? Soup or Salad? Fitted or flat?

Now that I've convinced my 4yo she is not a murderer, I still have to fess up to DH.
Bad news: I killed your fish. Good news: your daughters are still alive."
Believe it or not, somedays even that's a miracle.

Friday, 23 January 2009

My Daughter is a Writer, So She Is

Overheard at bedtime:

Babydoll: Daddy, I have homework! I can't go to bed now.

I ask: What? Why did you tell Daddy you have homework? You DID your homework earlier!

Babydoll: I know. BUT, at bedtime my fingers feel like writing! So they do.

(That explains the morning bed filled with pens and paper every day. No joke, people.)

Note: "So they do." I'm told this is part of the County Wicklow Irish dialog. I fight the urge to giggle--it is so foreign to me and yet it flows naturally from my daughter's tongue.

"Mommy, I'm hungry. So I am."
"The movie is just about over. So it is."
"Her mother is a teacher. So she is."

Babydoll must pick it up from school. So she does.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Finally, I Can Breathe

I’ve held the peace long enough.

The gag order is officially removed.

On the eve of Issue No. 2, I’m outing myself: we publish Irish Quilting and I’m proud of this accomplishment.

You see, nine months ago, it was an idea. And then it grew. And grew and grew. Unfortunately, I was knee deep with a newish job. Quickly, I developed a second persona. With one, I was bubbly and exuberant with a new prospect. With the other, I was dredging along in a boring, but secure, job--all while struggling to conceal the other.

In November, we launched Irish Quilting, the magazine.

Behind the chaos of life, children, work (count 'em-2) and no play, I was miserable keeping secrets and my absences and inattention at work became noticeable and unacceptable. As my persona fought to hide so much, the charade continued with my resignation, clouded with shame, secrecy and unexplainable circumstances. Paranoia set in. Worried this blog might reveal all to a curious co-worker or worse, my boss, I envoked a gag order even after I quit my job.

I still worry my former boss or co workers might stumble upon my new life. The very same life that once interrupted my old life with them, but I move forward and I hope they would too.
Besides I can’t contain myself any longer!

I begin this saga by announcing a fully equipped website to go live in February for Irish Quilting. This post is simply to get you up to speed. Beginning next week, you can find more IQ tales on the IQ blog. Watch for its link on this blog!

So it began with a bunch of us gals wrangling over imported quilting magazines. We thought, what if we had a quilting magazine for Ireland? What if?

So we headed to the local Enterprise Board. Because we target the American market alongside our Irish quilters, Irish Quilting was deemed an innovative biz idea. We went on to win a feasibility grant. Money. Real, live money.

We went on to convince our bank manager to gamble on us. Of course, this was before the big R. We were approved. Money. Real, live money.

We went on from there. But not without a lot of help. Help from designers, quilters, friends, and family members. Folks, the real, live money only lasts so long and publication sales are very slow to trickle in. And advertising revenue? Well, say a prayer for us. Until then, bless everyone’s generous hearts and souls!!

We are appreciative as we are now a case study for our local enterprise board. Our sales increased 70% from Issue 1 to Issue 2. Our direct sales with Stonehouse Publications, our US/Canadian distributor grew by 50% and we just signed on with Honeysuckle Cottage for distributing in Australia and New Zealand. Tomorrow I hope to finalize details for Irish Quilting to appear in Eason stores all over Ireland.

For exciting content news:

Terri McNeill is an Irish designer who, without her, this magazine would not be what it is. She is unbelievable! I remember the day I met her, she was so humble as she mentioned she MIGHT have a quilt design suitable for the magazine. (ah-hem, pls see below and on pg 33 Vol1, Issue1, nothing short of spectacularly stunning!) Her talents and her heart stretch beyond imagination. She has given her personal (endless!) time for proofing patterns and advising. Watch for more of her fabulous creations. (On a personal note, my new persona now finds time and place for learning patchwork techniques and tomorrow I start a class, taught the very one and only Terri McNeill. I can’t wait!)

We are also blessed to host Pat Sloan each and every month. She is a very impressive quilter who quilts, speaks, visits among us like a close friend. If you get a chance to follow her blog, do. She’s great! And turn to our pages to converse with her—send us comments/questions for Pat.

We also signed on Janet Rowe of Wildcraft Farm (an Irish gal living Down Under), so we can all take part in her adorable stitchery projects. She’ll be with us every issue and sure to win our hearts with her finished projects. Watch for her in Issue No. 3.

For news of here, there, and everywhere:
Cover project for Issue No. 2 goes on the road with the Cotton-By-Post Quilt Shoppe, for promoting their The Third Annual Quilt Exhibition, featuring Ireland. Designed and made by Terri McNeill for our Quilting Getaway feature in Issue No. 2 we are excited to see it travel the globe. (FYI for you subscribers--if you're in Europe, we are a week ahead, issue 2 should be in your post boxes next week!)
We’ve been selected as one of ten Irish businesses nationally to meet with the representatives of the US and Canadian Enterprise committee. In this meeting we hope to discuss innovative business and commerce on a global level. What this means for Irish Quilting, is how can we deliver globally in a more timely manner—my number one concern at the moment!

So there you go, a taste of my once-hidden life and the sweetness to come!
Have a great day!

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Good News, Bad News

The good news is I made time for sewing.
The bad news is I forgot I wanted to wash this floor this morning.
Yesterday we put IQ issue 2 to bed at the printers. Hooray! And life returns, a little, to normal. But the beat goes on, and we want to keep ahead so each issue is not a frenzy to the finish line. It will get easier with some hard days interpersed so to keep real.

This quilt is traditional. I've gone back to my roots: scrapping. A little boy was born in September and I'm aching to do a quilt for him--and then I heard his Christianing is happening on Sunday. Here we go again.

In case you can't tell, this is a color wash--I'm hoping it turns out that way. The center is very light blue, in fact blue shirting (bits of blue on white) the next section is darker light blue, and the outside rows are dark blue. The border or binding will take a nearly black blue.

Love the look of color wash. Let's hope it comes out that way.

Last night I went to my sewing group, another, hooray! I missed them all last fall. But before that I did my WW weigh in--I'm chumming along with Cathi on our weight loss program. I lost 2 lbs, thankfully.

I hope you all saw in my last post that we did not forget you at Christmas. The cards never did appear; but Vistaprint did give me a refund. Now I have to mail the dozen or so gifts who were waiting for the cards. Party happened, but their date never showed for them!

Oh, the best news in this sewing post is AM over here is doing a sewing retreat. Big hooray for her. I cannot wait. No, I, CANNOT, wait! One of my friends from sewing group last night is going, and she said bought new pjs for that weekend. Of course! I can't remember when I last had new pjs, so I'm off to snag me a pair.
Hope you all have a great day!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

There Is Such A Thing As Too Late

This was our family Christmas 2008 greeting. But it never arrived.


Granted, I ordered my cards Dec 12, knowing full well that once I recieved, addressed and mailed them, our family and friends would receive theirs, ah, meaning the week after Christmas. What I didn't bank on was receiving it so late myself. Or , um, ah never receiving it!

Last week, VistaPrint said they had issues with delivery and that the order would arrive in two days. Today I threw in the towel and cancelled the order. What I'd really like to do now is reorder new cards with with this greeting:

We wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas, but VistaPrint thought otherwise.
Now, we wish you a Happy Valentine's Day.

So if you think I forgot you on our Christmas list, I didn't.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Lost Already

For three years now, DH has wanted to join the nearby leisure centre (hotel with gym). I, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about the gym.

Sure, when I was in my twenties with work hours stretching into midnight, I held a membership with 24 Hour Fitness. It seemed to come automatic with living in San Francisco amid four roommates and eating Top Ramen soup in between happy hours and frivolous dates.

Now living in Ireland with a growing and restless brood, dishing up meals between school runs and bathtime, the only thing I stand to earn from a gym membership are lots more towels and kit to wash.

But alas, Santa was generous this year. Each girl received a dolly, one teething and the other crying. We are just thankful neither include, fake but still gross, poop or pee.

We took a chance with the crying baby, as all parents do with toys and sound. Its whimper is as realistic as a newborn, pleasantly reminding us why we chose against a baby #3. This doll cries and our [Dr.] Babydoll, inserts plastic medicine needle, and per the instructions, baby feels better in two minutes and stops crying. Ah, just like in real life. If you believe that, allow me to give you loan of my husband, he does all the dishes and the housecleaning. Ha.

Under the tree was a Wii, coincidently, also atop DH’s wishlist. So while I’ve been dreaming of piecing nine patches and machine mastering quilting swirls, really I’m finessing my hip action with hula hoops and other self humiliating movements all for the sake of fitness. Not only do I now have more laundry, I have more remotes to tidy and consoles to dust.

And what Santa doesn’t give, godmutters make up for. Both Twirly and Colleen sent me my beloved Reese’s Cups. I used to find them at a petrol station near our Wexford house, but since we’ve moved, they’ve stopped stocking them. Could it be I was the only one buying them?

Twirly’s candies arrived a few days before Christmas. A few careless moves among the Christmas wrapping and Babydoll spied the bag. Gone. Long. Before. Christmas.

Colleen’s package came the day after Christmas. I quickly detected RCs, gift wrapped and all.
Keeping them wrapped, I gently opened one end only to sparingly, and secretly, help myself to chocolately peanut butter goodness. Until.

New Year’s Eve.
Last I saw them: DH with the still-conspicuously wrapped xmas love cups and other goodies in one arm and two wine bottles in the other arm. We proceeded to count down the last 102 minutes of 2008 with wine sips and TV remote clicks.

I remember thinking I can’t waste these RCs on a drunken anti-climactic NYE, pushing them to one side. What side? I don’t remember. And now, they’re gone. I’ve looked everywhere. In a fright, I think, someone’s mistaken them for trash, and they’ve been thrown out! Then I remember I’m the only one who cleans in this house.

There is nothing worse than losing something you care dearly for, so much so, life becomes uncertain. Once, after a party in our apartment, Colleen lost her sunglasses. The two of us looked high and low, but they were nowhere. Our parties were the type that required sunglasses the day after. That, or you didn’t bother to leave the comfort or darkness of your bedcovers. Oh yes, they were great parties, but even bigger clean-up sessions followed; and this time it was at the demise of the shades.

Several days—or weeks—later we were headed to the gym. (Just because we had memberships didn’t mean we exercised regularly.) As Colleen went to pull on her gym shoes, she found her sunglasses tucked deep within. Dumbfounded we quickly learned Roommate#3, during a silly party moment, or in a cleaning-up stupor, stashed the sunglasses in Colleen’s shoes. So when something goes missing, check the shoes. I do.

You can imagine how hard it is to ask a 5yo if she’s seen candy that she is not allowed to know exists, and worse, have, if she finds.

I’ve backtracked the last 48 hours. Before DH’s grand appearance on NYE, I gleefully was cutting pieces from my stash to make my new year project. So I checked my stash, thinking I stashed my goods with my stash. Sounds smart to me.

No such luck. Meanwhile, the girls think Mommy’s gone bonkers.

Especially, after I insisted on inspecting everyone’s shoes.

PS. Before you start blaming the DH, know he hates RCs. Many Irish aren’t hip on peanut butter; I blame a childhood without President Jimmy Carter.