Friday, 31 December 2010

Skirting Around Christmas

When you sew into Christmas eve, wrap expeditiously and proceed to konk out, you risk forgetfulness. And, forgotten are the photographs of cute Christmas skirts.

Lucky for me, yet again this Yuletide season, money was tight :)...forcing me to once again sew the girls' Christmas outfit. It's ok. There'll come a year when my daughters refuse homemade clothes, and well, we'll have cash flowing for department-store fashions. Positive thinking.

About three weeks before Christmas, my neighbor dropped off fabric remnants. Included was a fabulous red tartan plaid with teddy bears. This first set of skirts actually materialised a week before Christmas--and I did take photos--but can't locate them!

Using a simple elastic waist, I added a front panel for extra Scottish flair. The girls wore them on Christmas Eve. I'll take another photo for posting.

Ever more festive, the Christmas Eve sewing resulted in two Christmas patchwork-tiered skirts, made from my Christmas fabric and matching stash. You can just about see them here.

The girls like them as much as I do. Thankfully. Babydoll, hers in aqua blue and red, has been recycling her look by swapping out coloured leggings below the skirt. She is our fashion diva making the gypsy-ish skirt ubercool.

Since my last post I conquered the post-Christmas kitchen, dishes, and floor. Next the dirty laundry. With any luck I can press the skirts just right and redo for post-perfect photography!

Hey, happy new year!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The Christmas Myth

Discussion of whether Santa is real...overheard on Christmas day:

Cutiepie, 6yo: Do you think Santa is real?

Babydoll, 7yo: Of course! There's no way Daddy or Mommy would do all this!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Two days after Christmas, and who's still merry? Me!

Santa brought lots of goodies to the good girls here and I am no exception.
He and DH must be talking. Under the tree was a DVD of The Secret for me. Now, I have the CDs and listen every chance I get.
For those unfamilar, they are "good feel" inspirational tapings. I don't care what religious or nonreligious stance you take, remembering to be grateful and happy can change your whole day, year and life. These CDs help do that.
My DH is a second-hand smoker to my first-hand smoking--only subsitute the fags for inspirational tapings (ie., good vibes). You will never find him turning on the CD player, but believe me, he knows he is a direct benefacturer.
Exhibit A: DVD of The Secret. That amazed me--I personally would not buy the DVD, a refresher of the CDS, but not the DVD.
This is not to be intrepreted as a complaint, just driving home the point. Good vibes are contagious.

As if I needed more motivation--and who doesn't? Days before Christmas I was given the gift every entrepreneur dreams of--a meeting face to face with a very influential person. The timing was whirlwind and because of this short timing, I did little research. Who unfolded before me was and is incredible. To have an hour of his time three days before Christmas was Santa-like. Before we concluded our meeting, he said Happy Christmas and handed me his book, The Unsinkable Entrepreneur.
Four days later. Incredible reading. My inlaws are probably still scorning me, as I buried my head in the book throughout the holiday. What normal entrpreneural mom, wouldn't? Christmas-hyped kids and leftover Christmas dinner and my time was all mine. A real treat.

I hope you all had a great Christmas adventure whether that be head buried in a book or singing Christmas carols for neighbors!

Right now I've got so much get-up-and-go from my two inspired Christmas treats, I'm contemplating where to put that energy to best use? The year holds so much for our family and for the magazine. I could get a head on in the office. I'm a mom--who am I kidding?

Two days and the dishes won't wash themselves!

Peace to all,

Monday, 20 September 2010

Birthday Time Again!

Cutiepie and her pals prepare for a party!

Friday, 10 September 2010

I'd Rather Be Quilting than Cruel

I know most are wondering, when is she going to quilt again?

Well I am quilting here and there.

We had a BYOB party a few Saturdays back. Funny I enjoyed it just as much as when BYOB used to be Bring Your Own Booze. On this day it was Bring Your Own Binding. The best was no hangover!

It was a great day, I had several American-living-Ireland friends visiting; it was a good mixture of quilters and nonquilters, always making the chit chat interesting. Not the same as playing quarters in beer pints, but we aren't fuddie-duddies either! Stitching and bitching. In the end, there was even a few nonquilters fondling fabric and asking about patchwork classes.

Myself, I have a variety of quilts in progress. Let's see, I have a thankyou quilt postcard for a lovely friend who made me lunch, oh, two months ago?? That goes to the top of the list. I have a baby quilt simply needing binding. Three charity quilts needing binding. One twin baby top needing quilting and needing a matching top for twin brother. Still enjoying the Country Club installments from the magazine. And alas, I have started two Christmas wall hangings for family gifts. With any luck this weekend, I'll combine the camera and my projects for a little show and tell.

Summer is over and fall is here. Work has been demanding to say the least. Family life too. But I feel a resurgence. We struggled with a car malfunction, bid farewell to our aupair and produced our best issue yet. Many restless nights. But with the return of the school routine, I feel rejuvinated. Two weeks in and the laundry pile queue is manageable, morning walks awaken me and a reasonable cycle of work is taking shape.

With this newfound peace, my anxiety-driven nocturnal activity is diminishing. I wish I could say the same for Babydoll. Her anxiety and excitement for school reminds me of my early school days; she inherited my sleepwalking. The other night I heard her in the hall. I thought she was going to DH downstairs and he thought she was going to me upstairs. An hour later we found her here:

She generally denies sleepwalking, so this time I captured proof. DH thought it was cruel taking a picture. Was it?

After sharing some of my infamous sleepwalking excursions, I thought she might come to accept her own slumbering ways. As we sat telling sleep stories on the sofa, I noticed fingerprints, that could only come from ninja turtles or my acrobatic daughters, smudged on the very large mirror hanging above us. The mirror is large enough that, if toppled, it could fatally wound one or both of the girls. This offence of theirs is very rare and they know that the fear of it turns me red with rage.

Babydoll spied my face about to erupt and she thought quickly.

"Mom, I'm thinking that might have been done while sleepwalking."

Nah, cruel is actually posting the photograph.

The Facts and Fixes of Life

Lately our Cutiepie has been preoccupied with acquiring a baby sibling.

Oh, but it ain’t happening.

There are a few of media culprits, but I blame Katie Perry and Charlie of Two and a Half Men. Thanks to them, 6yo Cutiepie knows Mommy and Daddy must “do it” in order to add a baby to our brood.

Oh, but it ain’t happening.

Her campaign for a baby sibling is strong, and while I am astonished—and scared—by her level of knowledge, I am amused at her persistence.

“Please mommy! Can you and Daddy do it? Please!”

We’re too old.

“No you’re not! Please, just go lay down with him and say you want a baby! I think that is all you have to do! I want a baby .”

For heaven’s sake, if only she were asking me to jump on the trampoline or run the Dublin Marathon naked, she’d win a puppy. Seriously, I love her with every ounce of my being, I’d do it. I would. She is so passionate, I so want to give her that baby.

Oh, but it ain’t happening.

“I promise! Babydoll and I will mind the baby! We will! And you know that pain? Like that woman screaming on the TV when she was given her baby?
Well, that will go away. I promise!”

Thanks for the concern, but it’s not the pain that scares me. It’s the added 12-year sentence labour of love. Something that can’t be easily explained to Cutiepie.

While I want to bottle her endless love, bubbling enthusiasm and innocent naiveté, I can’t honestly say I’d want to repeat it all with another babe. Which is why I’m writing this from my hospital bed in Dublin. How is it that kids have that magical ability of timing and intuitiveness that is hidden even from them? While Cutiepie has been marching for maternity, I’ve been fearing the very same nature of process. Our means of contraception—a surgically- planted cervix coil—is overdue for replacement. Despite my darling 6yo, the procedure was scheduled so she could not possibly have her way. Or rather, so I can count on golden years, not tough years ahead.

On the way to the hospital this morning, at 6 o’dark in the morning, my heart broke as Cutiepie asked why does Mommy have to go to the hospital? (We are winging it without an au pair. Be kind to your supporting family who may serve as minders.)

Only time will heal my broken heart and her denied request. She remains on my mind in this maternity ward, where ironically, I recover from the surgery that will ensure that I not return to this very same place, in which, I’d be ‘given’ a baby.

Cause, oh, that ain’t happening.

As I prepare to be discharged, Kevin and I plan our dinner with the girls. For a treat we are headed to Cortina, the latest, greatest Irish find of ours: a Mexican restaurant not too far from home. As I wonder if the tacos and burritos will be enough to preoccupy Cutiepie’s inquisitive nature and her adoring pleas, the nurse comes to sign me out.

“Will you be needing a doctor’s note to excuse you?” The nurse asks.

Yes, please! And be sure to address it to ‘Cutiepie’.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Why We Call Her Cutiepie

On Babies:

Mommy, I want a baby. Can you go make one with Daddy?
Can you do it with Daddy, so we can have a baby?
Do what?
I think you have to go lay down with him.

Next morning, Cutiepie jumps in bed with us, and asks, "So, did you do it?"

On Food:

Mommy, where did you put my donut? Did you eat it??
It's in the boot with the groceries.
Mom!!! Did you eat it?
No, I promise, it's in with the groceries.
Mom, please don't kid about my food.

Mommy, how many days old was I when we left the hospital?
Four days old.
Mommy, did we leave after lunchtime?

On Music:

Mommy, please can we listen to our CD?
You know the one with Dancing on the Queen and Mommy Mommy?

Any Abba fans out there?

Monday, 23 August 2010

You Gotta See This, But Can't

You know the moment, when you say: Oh, I have to take a picture of this!?

Well, what if you can't? Take the photo?
Like when you've been traveling for four hours on a journey that was scheduled for one hour in a foreign land, in the remote countryside at dusk, and you're hungry, tired and lost because the GPS directed you to go the way the crow flies and not the way the smart one drives?

Picture that.
Throw in a grouchy husband whose back has gone out while schlepping boxes of magazines and manning a booth for four days amid 40,000 quilters. Throw it in for good measure or simply for my reality.

As we drove, I shriek, "Oh! I have to get a picture of that!"

All it took was one look. The camera was packed in the back of the jeep. There was no way in this lifetime, that this tired, hungry, broken lost man was going to pull over and dig out a camera for a mere laugh.

One look. Some marriages take decades for telepathy. Not ours.

The nonexistent picture? In North Wales, in the middle of don't-ask-us-where is a house on a roundabout. Seriously, a house on a roundabout in thoroughfare traffic, a real roundabout with four exits. Five if you count the driveway leading to the house.
The family in the house refused to move.
So said the locals, when we finally stopped to ask for directions.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

The Car

"Hey, Babydoll, take a few pictures of the car for the blog."

That's what you get when you ask a 7yo to photograph the new car.


Summer's in Swing

Cutiepie on the beach in Cork. Summer fun.
And Babydoll below. Did you know she is Hannah Montana's twin? So she thinks.

I actually managed to get out some quilts out this summer for friends' babies. In my frenzie, I never took photos. Frenzie? ah! these quilts --baby size, I admit--took two years. More like, in my comatosed handling of finishing the quilts.

Lucky for me, my friends take pictures. Besides it's always nicer to see baby quilts WITH the babies!

This one quilt lives in San Francisco. Where my heart is, btw.

And in Florida, this is Natalie with her doll quilt (above).
The idea of doll quilts delayed the first gift for Katherine, her sister here (above) clearly enjoying her quilt! Score!

The final one is baby Ryan, he's also in San Francisco. Home of four Hughes boys and four baby quilts from Ireland!
His oldest brother Harry received my first quilt ever, ever nearly six years ago. Polyester loft wadding and quilt tied. I promised his mommy a new one to better match the other boys' quilts. The last two, incidently, I did two versions of Bento Box patterning, and it was completely by accident!
I'm so glad they enjoy them. Katherine and Natalie's mommy, my good friend Erin was so kind with her compliments as she shared on her blog.
Sniff! Sniff! Makes me homesick for my friends.

Also makes me wish I could go sit and sew and get further on my baby list of quilts!! Today I'm still working --we have a print deadline to make!--but tomorrow, I'm all stitches!
I hope your summer is going great!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Miley, What have you done with my daughter?

Doting mommy: "Babydoll, I'd like you to brush your teeth now."
Babydoll: "Good luck with that."

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Stitching after Gardening? Not So Much

The weather here in Ireland has been incredible. It's pretty hard to stay indoors --even though I'd be perfectly fine crouched in my sewing corner.

And yet, there is a very large flower bed just out my window that has become a weed and grass haven. It's been sending SOSs to me all spring. So this week, for one hour an evening I've been breaking my back pulling weed and wrestling free the occasional plant uncovered.

I'm making good progress and hope to have the full bed cleared this week. Once I accomplish that goal, I'll share before and after photos. I'm smart like that--not gonna set myself up for a before shot without knowing the after is a reality!

Today I went crazy and made it halfway across the bed, which is at least 18 feet long in total. Now, I'm very motivated to get it finished. Even DH appreciated the progress, he managed dinner for all so I could keep gardening.

Now this evening I'm comfy on the couch ready to do some hand stitching. Wah! Wah! Oh, my aching hands. Is this old age? I've never had a green thumb, and though I admire the results, this dirty weeding biz is not my cup of tea.

Oh, I plow onward. (no pun intended)

Here I share some machine work I did earlier. Both my nieces are celebrating. One is graduating from high school and one is entering beauty school. These are my celebration post (quiltart) cards for them.

Can you guess which is for whom?

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Bless You

Bless those who still believe in me. From my comments on my last post, I see there is life after blogger abductions.

Abductions sound alarming, almost criminal. Again, it's that life keeps getting in the way. I've complained before, I know. My thoughts go dark for a minute, but it doesn't take long to remember, oh, you don't have it that bad. Wimp.

Berrynice the AuPair has gone home for a visit so I've been winging it for the week. Hoping to high goodness I'm not graded or sanctioned for my abilities, or rather, inabilities in her absense. If you want to know how much someone makes a difference in your life, send them away for a week. Me? I knew in the first 24 hours.

Unfortunately, so did Cutiepie.

"Mom, Berrynice does this." "Berrynice does it this way." "But MOM, Berrynice does it like this."

BTW, this was a photo taken before Berrynice ran away left, so catastrophes like leapard print and hot pink does still happen.

I think she finally flipped her 5yo lid on the third morning when, yet again, I asked who wears their gym clothes that day and who does not.

"MOM! We get dressed EVERY single day for EVERY week; don'tcha know by now?"

I would have skyped Berrynice right there and then if I had a minute to spare. At this point I was negative 4 minutes.

And four minutes--well, that's enough to miss the school bus. Since the car is in repair and our family of four is left with a jeep for two, missing the school bus is not an option.

It is funny how in moments of disarray and panic, in a frantic powerstruggle a parent can easily set themselves up.

(DH--bless him too. I must say he makes a better second for Berrynice than I do.) He walks the girls to the bus. ('Cause you sure the heck know I ain't dressed yet.) Today, he had a near miss in saying, "Hurry up or you'll miss the bus. And we have no way of getting you to school!"

Yeah, he might as well have announced there's no school and you can have ice cream for breakfast! Trust me, those girls know when to put on the brakes for the ice cream man!

Luckily I thought quick enough to start crazy screaming over him about some nonsense of homework, shoes and whether Babydoll has knickers on. Thank gawd no one heard his threats.

And me, well at least my crazy-scream nonsense fooled them into thinking I had it all under control.

If only I knew who has gym on Thursdays.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Snow Delayed Sewing

Over Christmas, my MIL and I conspired. She's a recent convert to quilting. I taught her to make a couple quilted pillow covers a while back, and well, this 70yo lady now sews like she's adding years to her life with every stitch. Bless her soul.

DH answered a phone call earlier today amid the snow blizzard that's keeping us in lockdown. I overheard the start...How's the girls? climbing the walls When's school open? not soon enough How much snow do you have? more than enough. When he hung up, he turned to fill me in.

"You know, the usual. My ma, checking on us all." Then he chuckled, "Actually," he said, "I think she's looking for a fix. She said she's done with her sewing. She's looking for more fabric. She said maybe, when the weather lifts you could bring her what she needs."

MIL had asked me to make some table runners for the other ladies in the family and so I did. They can be seen below. For her, I stripped some William Morris Workshop layer cakes and she's been busy sewing them together for a unique table runner of her own. She's sewing by hand, so it's quite a feat. I'm verry proud of her.

The bad news here is school's been closed. The good news is our au pair is due to arrive today from France. The airport was closed yesterday afternoon, so my fingers are crossed for her safe arrival.
We have so many errands and appointments delayed by the freezing weather, it will be a blizzard of it's own getting busy once we're able to leave this mountain. And, certainly, no one likes to keep a fabric junkie waiting!