Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kitchen jewels.....

My friend Mieke's (no blog) birthday was this week. She recently got a new kitchen so I wanted to make her dishclothes as part of her birthday gift. 

They were crocheted with Drops Paris cotton and a 5mm crochet hook so worked up very easily. Each a different design and one using all the colors together. They were fun to make.

Happy birthday Mieke!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

A fast paced start to 2015.....

Yikes! I have neglected this blog and see this is the first post of the new year while January is already 3 weeks past. But I have not been sitting around....well once in a while with a good I have many goals set for 2015. 

First I decided to set two goals for this year with one being in our home and another with my hobbies. I am striving to finish 15 UFOs this year. I need to make a dent in the quilt tops I have laying around! There is an entire closet with them (I kid you not!) hanging there crying out for some love and attention. This month I want to finish a doll quilt (right photo) from Humble Quilts quiltalong called Faithful. I had to sew on the already made up last two sawtooth borders and then add a last border. It took no time at all and I could sandwich it ready to start quilting this weekend. Why did I put it aside??? I love how it came out! 

I am also putting the border on my 50 Hearts Jubilee quilt. I want to be ready to sew a quilt label on it on the last day of my 50th year. I am sewing the quilt binding on by hand and then need to make the tunnel before I start to design a label. 

Our quilt group theme starts each year in January. This year we are making crazy quilts. I bought each person a cute Dutch gabled house (from Action) and they used them to practice drawing out their crazy quilt design on muslin and then sewing the block with ribbons or laces of their choice. Here is the sample block. Next month we practice stitches and then they can get started on their quilts. 

Jannie (no blog) and I have started a new project for our monthly lacemaking afternoons. We are working on Kantje Per Maand (Lace per month) which is a 40 month project to celebrate the upcoming 40th anniversary of the LOKK which is the Dutch lace organization. We are on the second lace piece now. When completed, we are sewing the laces onto a piece of linen and then to a wooden bobbin as a lace sampler. 

I am using my roll lace pillow for this project which is very dear to me. I bought this pillow at a lace market second hand. It was unique in that it had the roll pillow and a small square to use for most kinds of lace. However, it was looking very much the worse for wear. But I recovered the tatty fabric and then put a pretty old Dutch band around the edges. It looks like new again and is pretty just sitting in the living room.

Last but not least, my friend Mieke (no blog) and I are still working on the Scheepjes CAL 2014. We decided to give it our own twist. We are making two of each of the blocks posted then adding various other blocks to give us a sampler afghan when it is done. We get together once a week to work in it and enjoy a long lunch together. 


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Advent mystery solved.....

The mystery of my advent quilt is revealed today...Christmas Day. Here are the 25 little quilt blocks on the reverse sides. I really enjoyed stitching them all. You can see the other side on this previous post.

There are references to the patterns my quilt group members turned in along with some things dear to my husband and I. A few examples are in the photo below but enlarge the first photo to see all the blocks. The "Joyeux Noel" as my way of saying thank you to the various French sites where I found some designs, a candle in a lantern on the 13th for Santa Lucia as Jos and I lived in Sweden when we were first married, the nativity for the 25th, a pretzel which reminds of the German Weihnachtsmarkts which we love so much and my kitty Dagi and Miss Pickles the Elf. These are just a few of the motiefs I used. 

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas wherever you are celebrating and may 2015 bring you happiness and many creative moments!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Quilted Christmas 2014.....

Last week was our annual Christmas party for my quilt group. Each year, we have a 3-course dinner which is planned by half of the group members. This year our theme was "Nederlandse Nostalgie" or "Nostalgic Dutch style". We started with old fashioned Dutch vegetable soup with bread and herb butter. Our main course was kale stamppot, hachee (goulash style) meat and a sauerkraut casserole. Dessert followed with ice cream tarts and homemade orange bavarois. We topped our dinner off with coffee or tea served with assorted Christmas chocolates. It was all delicious!

It is quite something to see the tables all set up for 16 people. The feeling of belonging together among this group was very obvious around the table. Christmas cheer was in great attendance and we all had a fun evening.

This year, there were two challenges. The first challenge was for everyone is the group. I gave them each four small squares of various Christmas fabrics from my stash. They all started with those same four fabrics and were asked to make an ornament to be swapped during the dinner. They were allowed to add their own fabrics as long as the original four were in the ornament. Above shows the results of everyone's labor. It was fun to see what they all made. 

This is the one I made. A wooden spool tree with my fabrics glued to the spools. 

We also had a mug rug swap for those who wanted to do something extra. Names were drawn and you made a mug rug for a specific person. Eleven of us participated and here are the results of everyone's creativity. They all turned out beautifully!

I had drawn Bep's name. She loves going on vacation in her caravan so I made her and her husband each a mug rug to use while out travelling in their caravan. 

It is hard to believe that a another quilt year has passed so quickly. As the year draws to a close, I am working away now on the quilt theme for 2015 for our group. It promises to be a fun year to come.....


Thursday, December 11, 2014

A quilt season comes to an end.....

Each year, I choose a theme for my quilt group. In December, we have completed our theme ready for a new year. 2014 was the year of a season of trees in rag appliqué technique. For each season, the group used the same background and tree shape but created the season around it. My trees were then sewn into a patchwork window frame to reflect a season in each pane. 

Here are a few peeks at some of the quilts from a few members in the group...

"He who plants a tree
Plants a hope."   - Lucy Larcom

Next week, our group will celebrate Christmas with a large dinner party and admire our gifts being made for each other. 2014 went by so quickly and we are now looking forward into 2015. 


Monday, December 1, 2014

The advent of peace and happiness.....

It seems impossible that December has arrived. I spent the last few months redoing my advent quilt. This quilt had been a project I designed for my quilt group's theme in 2012. Throughout the year, the ladies were allowed to submit pattern ideas for each other to use on the figure side of the little quilts hanging on the large quilt. This quilt became something I could not appreciate any longer after a rift some members of the group caused. I needed to do something to give myself the gift of this quilt back again. 

So I went about carefully taking my blocks apart and redoing them all in red French inspired stitching. I did use the ideas of most of the patterns from the group but in my own way. I am really happy with how it has turned out and it has become a symbol for me of the peace and happiness that Christmas is all about! 

For today, I am sharing the number side of the quilt blocks and the first block of December's figure...a house in a winter mountain setting. 

So as the holiday season begins and we await the arrival of Christmas, I am inspired by the council of many of the quilt group members who have given me wisdom over the past year...

May your December be a time of special blessings in your own life.....


Note: More blocks on my advent quilt will be revealed as December progresses.....

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Catching up a little.....

Having lost our new kitten Elwin really threw me off kilter over the summer. Click here for the story if you have not already read it. I have been so sad about it and although I throw myself into my handwork I have not been sharing much lately. So I thought I would post a couple of finishes from over the summer. 

First, the crazy quilt heart is something I made when my cousin Shari and her husband Matt came over to visit. I wanted to make her something she could keep that would also remind her of her visit. 

I made a sampler pillow using various red and linen fabrics combined with a fabric with a sampler print, zigzag trim, laces and buttons. Originally I wanted to make this to use out in the garden but when Jos saw it he said I could not use it outside. He thought it was too nice. I put it on our bed instead. 

Finally, I finished a shawl that I was inspired to make after seeing this one found via Pinterest. I have been searching for a nice pattern and this was just right for a new kind of yarn at a shop called Zeeman here in Holland. This yarn is so pretty and this vintage pattern was just the thing to show the yarn off. Now all I need it for autumn weather to arrive. *grins*

So even though a sad heart has kept me quiet in the blogland, I have had busy hands as you can see.....