Showing posts from July, 2012

Fabric Finds

I think I might've mentioned a trip with my mom to the local Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft store. While Mom headed over to the yarn section for a little look, I made a beeline for the quilting cottons. Imagine my delight when I discovered nearly a whole wall of Kona Solids. I was like a little kid in a candy shop! I hadn't gone in with a project in mind, but about 45 minutes later I left with a stack of Kona solids as well as two coordinating prints, my mind racing with the possibilities! 

I still haven't decided exactly what I'll do with these fabrics, but they'll definitely be devoted to another baby quilt, possibly involving various sized inset squares like this quilt from Fresh Lemons. I'm still mulling the possibilities though, searching for the absolutely perfect pattern because this wee quilt is destined for a special little Christmas gift of my own! (I know - crazy, huh?! Hubby and I are super excited!)

While I was busy choosing and matching my fabrics, my mom …

And it's finished!

Appearances may suggest that I've completely neglected all patchworking during my holiday, but such is not the case. In fact, I finished binding my Double Irish Chains quilt early last week and have been waiting for the perfect conditions in which to take the photos of the finished product, all lovely and crinkly after being washed. Of course, despite the weather here being only gorgeous (as I may have mentioned!), the lighting still hasn't cooperated and, typically, today it started raining! So, that nixed the outside photo options. You get the idea though...
The quilt is now all packed away in its gift bag ready for leaving with the bride and groom on Saturday. Had I been organized enough, I would've snapped a few outside shots of the quilt in all the sunny weather we had this weekend and the early part of this week, but there were loads of things happening that kind of preoccupied me, including a road trip to Saratoga Springs, New York with friends these past couple of d…

Lake Time

Yesterday, Mom, Dad, my brother, and I spent a fantastic afternoon visiting with family friends at their camp on Northwood Lake. It was the perfect day for such an outing, by which I mean, there was MORE hot, sunny weather. I could definitely get used to this!

I spent the better part of the afternoon lying on one of the cushions in the pontoon boat, reading The Omnivore's Dilemma and soaking up the sun. *Bliss* 

Naturally, given the weather and the location, dinner involved a barbecue and lots of lovely salads, followed by these homemade treats...

Red velvet cupcakes! I can't help but wonder who first thought of dumping a load of red food colouring into their cake batter to inaugurate a baking tradition, but it definitely works! I used this recipe from the mighty Bakerella, and they were really amazing - super moist, a tad bit chocolate-y, and completely more-ish, especially with the decadent cream cheese frosting! So good were they that another batch is on the cards for a get to…

Highlights of my week

I've been remiss in posting this week but only because it's been an action-packed one! Here are a few highlights...

Dad and I had some quality father-daughter time on Tuesday when we drove up to one of my favourite restaurants - Parker's Maple Barn - for pancakes. I was a bit over-ambitious and ordered a towering stack of three fluffy pancakes topped with Parker's own maple syrup. Delicious!  

I managed to eat about three-quarters of my plate before admitting defeat and letting Dad finish them off for me. I left a very happy camper! Later that day, my mom and I visited one of the local farm stands to pick up some fresh produce and marvel at the gorgeous display of flowers. 

Beautiful, huh? While we were there, we noticed that you could pick your own blueberries and figured we'd come back early one morning to do that. At the rate I'm eating them, it was pretty much a necessity! I'm turning slightly blue, but I don't mind. :)

Together, Mom and I managed to pi…

Summer's here!

So, I don't want to make all of you back in Ireland and the UK feel bad, but the weather here in New Hampshire is only GORGEOUS! I'm writing this (Sunday evening) after having taken a leisurely swim in a friend's backyard pool and eating my way through the best part of a quart of blueberries picked up at the local farmer's market yesterday. Tonight, there's fresh summer squash on the menu, and the weather forecasts say it's going to be blissfully blistering for at least another week. *Grin*

There's only one thing that could make this holiday more perfect, and that's having hubby here to enjoy it all with me. I'm struggling on without him though. Saturday, my parents and I visited what I like to call 'the Mecca of bread' - the When Pigs Fly bakery and restaurant in Kittery, Maine. After sampling our way through most of the dozens of bread on offer and buying an obscene number of loaves for the freezer at home, we managed to fit in a bit of lun…

Can't add much more

This is exactly how I feel right about now! It's been an exhausting couple of months with work, and I'm feeling pretty worn out. Luckily, I've got a couple of weeks of recuperation planned back home in New Hampshire, where I plan to sleep solidly for a day or two before re-emerging into the world a new, revived woman! I'm also hoping to finish my Double Irish Chains quilt, make amazing progress on my hexies, and, in a related activity, trawl the local craft stores for interesting fabric, quirky haberdashery, and other fun goodies. I'll let you know how I get on!

xx Tina

Almost there!

Well, after devoting much of my weekend to it, my Double Irish Chains quilt is all but finished. Phew! All I have to do, as you can see from the pic below, is hand sew the binding - the perfect project for those lazy days of my New Hampshire holiday next week.
There were a few miscalculations along the way, as well as a couple of unfortunate fabric mis-cuts due to sheer exhaustion, but eventually, I got there. I briefly contemplated free machine quilting when I'd gotten the quilt sandwich put together, but I quickly ruled that out in respect for my sanity. Instead, I followed the chains themselves, quilting diagonal lines in an unobtrusive cream thread. The effect, I think, is perfect, as the diagonals emphasise and draw attention to the chains while still giving the eye a little something to work with in the large cream-coloured patches of fabric.
For the backing, I used an extra-wide cotton in a light tan print that perfectly matches the small flowers in the dark blue squares and …

A Humble Crumble

Although we only have a tiny front garden about the size of our couch, my hubby has managed to cultivate a veritable green grocer's selection of fruit, veg, herbs and flowers. Beware if you ever come to visit .... despite the postage-stamp size (and shape) of the 'garden' - really just a collection of assorted tubs, buckets, pots, and troughs in which nestle, among other things, carrots, leeks, and courgettes - hubby will insist on giving you a full tour. Ooh-ing and aah-ing will be expected, and uninterested parties will be treated with distinct disdain. Even I, more familiar than most with the wonderful fecundity that is our front garden, am treated to  near daily updates of what's going on with the leeks, or the peas, or the strawberries, or.... well, you get the point.

Not having a green thumb myself, I'm far more interested in harvesting and eating the fruits of hubby's labours (literally). This year, there was a bumper crop of rhubarb, so I've been goi…

An Update on my Double Irish Chains

Well, the Double Irish Chains quilt is still a *long* way from finished, but all of the 'B' blocks are done, and the rows of alternating 'A' and 'B' blocks are coming together. Yippee! If I spend all weekend doing nothing but patchworking, I may just finish this thing in time for the wedding in a few weeks. (3 weeks and 1 day, to be exact, but who's counting?!) Wish me luck!

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July everyone! It's just a normal work day here in Belfast, but I can't help but think of everyone back home with their lovely sunny day off, a long, lazy barbeque to look forward to, and a fantastic fireworks display to top it all off. *Sigh*

Feeling slightly sorry for myself for missing out on everything yesterday, I decided I'd bake something to celebrate the 4th from afar. It was kind of a last minute decision, though, so ingredients were sparse. Although they're not exactly what I'd associate with a 4th of July shindig, oatmeal raisin cookies were the end result. I used to make these a lot when I lived in the States, but I haven't made them once since moving to the island of Ireland (so, for almost 10 years!) It's not because I don't still really like them, but they've always seemed a bit like pumpkin pie over here - in other words, something rather odd that Americans like to eat. I brought some of these along to a small gathering o…

An afternoon of hexies

After a particularly hectic couple of weeks of work, I decided I deserved a little decompression time last week. So, I took a whole afternoon off, plonked myself on the couch and spent a blissful few hours watching daytime tv and working on some long neglected English paper piecing. Several months ago a friend had introduced me to the humble hexagon, and I was hooked, especially as they're so easy to make and so portable. Don't get me wrong, I love my Pfaff, but sometimes I like not having to faff around - excuse the pun - getting it down from the spare room and setting it up to sew. Sometimes I want something I can just whip out of my sewing bag at a moment's notice and work away at to my heart's content with nothing more than a needle, thread, and paper hexagons. Obviously, the urge comes and goes.... in my initial English paper piecing frenzy, I made up ten hexagon 'flowers' with the intention of (eventually) turning them into a quilt for an as-then-unknown …