Monday, April 30, 2007

Revealing the special project.....

The reason I am behind on my Beatrix Potter Quaker sampler can finally be revealed. While everyone was beavering away with their BP sampler and the PS Winter Winds SAL, I was working on the hand quilting for a baby quilt we made in our ForTheLoveOfStitching group for our list mom, Tanya. She had an adorable little boy named Zack back in February. She now has received the quilt so I can share a photo of it with all of you.

Joni came up with the idea of making a quilt with stitched blocks. She purchased the fabrics and called me up so we could brainstorm over the design. She then created a list of DMC colors that worked with the fabrics she bought. Anyone wanting to participate could sign up for a color on the list and the size of the block was listed but any Quaker motif was okay to use. I started putting the patchwork blocks together and sewed in the stitched block to each as they arrived. It was great fun to watch the blocks coming together.

I knew from talking with Tanya about quilts that she loved the 'churn dash' block which is what Joni and I decided to use for the quilt. It was the perfect choice to make sure all the stitched centers were showcased in this quilt.

The granny square craze

If you read lots of blogs, you will have noticed there is a craze going on right now with making granny squares. I don't crochet and told me mother I would love another new granny square afghan. I have the one my grandmother made of all my mother's scrap yarn which is the typical black with bright colors. My mother is making these granny squares for me with lighter colors to go with my quilt I am making for our bed. It is all floral fabrics in creams, yellows, pinks, beige and sage green. We were chatting to each other last night online while she was crocheting and I asked her to take a photo of the squares so I could see them. I can't wait to have them to sew together into a new afghan.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Beatrix Potter SAL progress

It is hard to believe that it is Friday already! Time to show you the little bit of progress I made on my Beatrix Potter Quaker sampler. I have the small bird motif done and am working on the leaf border of the passion flower.
I displayed the sampler with a set of Peter Rabbit games I bought many years ago. They include draughts (checkers), Ludo (Parcheesi) and Paths and Burrows (Chutes and Ladders). The fun part of these games is the illustrations on the game boards and the playing pieces. The dice has rabbits all over it and is throw from a terracotta pot. The checkers are tiny red and green cabbages in tiny baskets from Mr. MrGregor's garden. The pieces for Paths and Burrows are Peter, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton~tail. Lastly, the Ludo pieces are colored round tiles with Peter Rabbit on them. This is such a fun set of games that becomes an instant decoration when you set them out.

"ONCE upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter.

They lived with their Mother in a sand-bank, underneath the root of a very big fir-tree.

'Now, my dears,' said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, 'you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.' "

'Now run along, and don't get into mischief. I am going out.'

~~ from "The Tale of Peter Rabbit"

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Progress on WIP roll

Just a quick peek at the quilted WIP roll I am sewing. I am not a fan of machine quilting but am doing this since I think it will hold up better being constantly rolled and unrolled. My friend Diane saw this on another blog and we both loved it so I am making this one for her and then will put one together for myself later. Hope you like it so far Diane. I must say the photo does not do the fall colors justice. I will finish the quilting tomorrow and then cut fabric to make some bias binding for finishing it off.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

How many eggs fit in one basket?

Perhaps like stash, as many as you can fit in!

I thought I would share a photo of something I stitched up a long time ago. I love eggs. This design was part of a sign. I left off parts of the design to make it smaller so I could use it on a table.

We buy them farm fresh in a small village called 'Fochterloo'. They taste so much better when you buy them directly from the farm. I think it must have to do with the fact that they have not been sitting around in delivery trucks and supermarket warehouses. I use this as a decoration for Easter time but leave it out through May since that is the time all the birds are laying eggs. I just love using eggs and nests to decorate! They are eggs made of concrete but made in a way that is so real. Until you pick them up and feel how heavy they are, you would not guess they are fake. Placed in a glass vase with a wreath on the top of the glass gives a nice simple accent to the framed stitching.

And then there is the stash.....I got an order in from Craft Corner over the weekend. Their charts as so fun as they use specialty stitches in their designs that make it a combination of cross stitching and crewel. I never really liked doing crewel but decided that I love these charts. Laura's Embroideries is all cross stitched and such a fun little stitcher's design. You can see these and many more on their webshop site: . To find the charts click on 'Les Nouveautes' and look through the three pages of charts.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Beatrix Potter SAL progress and her Peter Rabbit letter

I thought I would share my progress again on my Beatrix Potter Quaker sampler. I decided to stitch the assignment we were given for this week before going back to catch up some more on the previous assignments. Since I took this photo outside, the colors came out better. My friend Nancy asked what color I was using. It is DMC 919 which is a pretty mahogany orange color. Very fall which is my favorite season as many of you know!

Laying on the sampler is a reproduction of the letter that Beatrix wrote to Noel containing the story of Peter Rabbit. I bought a game set years ago and this was in the set. I will share the adorable game set with you on Monday.

This letter shows what an amazing person Beatrix Potter really was. To simply come up with this as amusment for a sick child. What better medicine can you have than this?!

Englarge the photos by clicking on them so you can see this letter very close up.

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend full of creativity!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

More Beatrix Potter tales.....

Again this text is taken from the biography "The Tale of Beatrix Potter" by Margaret Lane.

"The Tale of Two Bad Mice was planned out between them (Beatrix and Norman Warne) in the highest spirits; a flaxen-haired doll and 'a doll dressed like a policeman' were borrowed from the Warne children, and Norman Warne undertook to find a Dutch doll for hte cook, and doll's house food, and other useful properties. 'Thank you so much for the queer little dollies,' Miss Potter wrote from Bolton Gardens, 'they are just exactly what I wanted, and a curiosity, coming from Seven Dials...I will provide a print dress and a smile for Jane; her little stumpy feet are so funny. I think I shall make a dear little book of it, I shall be glad to get done with rabbits...I shall be very glad of the little stove and ham; the work is always a very great pleasure anyhow.' "

"In a few days' time a box of doll's-house food had arrived from Hamleys. 'I received the parcel from Hamleys' this morning; the things will all do beautifully; the ham's appearance is enough to cause indigestion. I am getting almost more treasures thank I can squeeze into one small book.' "

"But the charm of the doll's-house food and furniture was irresistable. 'The little dishes are so pretty I am wondering if I have made enough of them? Shall I squeeze in another dish? Iregret the roast dick being left out!...I have bought a gilt bookcase for 8 1/2 d.; I wonder what is the colour of the Enc. Britannica, the advertisements don't say; it might be one of the things that would not go into the mousehole.' (And indeed, it is , as you will see if you look in the picture.)"

As promised, Beatrix Potter Quaker sampler

As I mentioned last week, I am not very far with my stitching on my Beatrix Potter Quaker sampler. I have a great deal of catching up to do with everyone else on this SAL. I decided to skip to the current assignment and last night started it after taking this photo. It is the swan motif and I have the outer edge more than half done so that was very good. I want to work on the current assignments when I can. That will depend on where they fall as I won't jump too far from the other motifs. I will go back to the old assignments as soon as I complete the swan. I will be going to a friend's house to sit and chat while we stitch so I should be able to get more accomplished today. I will start posting a weekly update on my progress of this pretty sampler.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Using your stash challenge

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

~~ William Morris ~~

I love this quote and so admire the work of William Morris. His fabrics are still being produced by Rose and Hubble and are very beautiful still to this day. I decided to make a stash challenge for myself lately and use up some of the many beautiful fabrics sitting in my stash cupboard. I have a tendancy to never use fabrics that I find are too beautiful to cut up. This fabric above was one of them. It is one of the William Morris fabrics from my collection. I made a quilt using many of his fabrics. Now I think it is time to use more of them and creating this plastic bag holder was a quick and easy thing to use up a half yard cut of fabric. What prettier way to store something that is an eye sore than in this. I have seen these in shops but they are rather small and not in fabric I liked. It is so easy to make one yourself, that I hope you too will take on the challenge with fabric you may have sitting around. Use it up and have a useful object in the process.....

Cut a piece of fabric 18 inch x 27 inch. I cut two as I decided to line this bag and then it also becomes reversible. Lining the holder is optional.

Note that this bag can be any length you choose. I liked the idea of it being long as we use plastic bags for our kitty litter. Adjust the length if you would like.

Sew the long side(s) shut using a wide 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Now press the seams open. Pressing seams as we go will give you a much neater result in the finished project.

Place the fabric tunnels inside each other right sides together if you are lining the holder. Line up the seams and sew the two tunnels together. If you choose not to line the holder, simply roll down the end twice to create a hem for the top of the bag. Do use a wide hem in order to create a strong base to hang the handle from later.

Now the holder will look like the photo above. Fold the lining side into the outer fabric of the bag and press this seam nicely flat.

Stitch this seam using a wider stitch length twice ~ along the edge and once again at a presser foot's width. This will give the holder a well finished look.

Pin the bottom sides of the tunnels together turning in a seam as you go. You will now need to sew two seams to create a tunnel for the elastic. Sew the first seam along the edge of the fabric not forgetting to leave a one inch opening to insert the elastic.

Sew the second seam at 5/8 inch distance from the edge or whatever distance works for your size elastic. I used 1/4 inch elastic which is what I had leftover here at home. Any size will do. Part of the fun is using what you have!

Feed the elastic through the tunnel and sew shut.

The sleeve for the plastic bags is now finished.

Cut two 2 inch x 12 1/2 inch lengths of fabrics to make the handle. Sew them together starting on a long edge and leaving an opening of an inch to allow for turning the tunnel.

Clip the four corners and turn the tunnel right side out, press and sew along the edge once again for a finished look.

For fun, I attached the handle with buttons which I also already had. This also gives it a more old~fashioned look. Now fill with your plastic bags and enjoy!
If you too take the half yard challenge and create this plastic bag holder, please let us see your photos of the finished project.

Friday, April 13, 2007

May pinkeep is finished

The May pinkeep is finished. I love this. It is lots of fun and Angela's description on my comments of the colors being like a bag full of jelly beans is spot on.
I used a pink fabric with flowers for the back and bright pink ric rac trim which is attached with a mix of pink and purple glass headed pins. The pink and lilac bow is stuck in with a florist flower pin for a fun addition along with the adorable little dragonfly charm. I bought this charm to use for my crazy quilting one day and it is the perfect touch on this pinkeep.

I love dragonflies! I just saw the first one of the season here in our garden yesterday. Now that the weather is warmer, I see them here more often. They are very plentiful up north in the Drents-Friese Wold where our weekend cottage is. I was so very lucky last year in July. I was trying to take a photo of a beautiful large bumble bee and he flew off as I was about to snap the photo while this pretty, blue dragonfly came and rested right where the bumble bee had been. I had been trying for some time to get a good photo of the dragonflies and was really pleased with this one.

"The Tailor of Gloucester"

"In the time of swords and peri wigs and full-skirted coats with flowered lappets--when gentlemen wore ruffles, and gold-laced waistcoats of paduasoy and taffeta--there lived a tailor in Gloucester. He sat in the window of a little shop in Westgate Street, cross-legged on a table from morning till dark."

So begins my very favorite of the Beatrix Potter tales! Perhaps because I sew, stitch and quilt ~ this story has always really touched my heart. I love the mice who come to the aid of this charming little old man who falls ill. I love that it is set on Christmas eve. I love the total enchantment of the mice and Simpkin, the cat's frustration at trying to catch them.
Margaret Lane tells of the origins of this story in her book, "The Tale of Beatrix Potter". Beatrix heard of this tale while visiting her cousin at Harescombe Grange. There is a charming account of Beatrix 'finding' her tailor for her own book in Chelsea.

"...she saw through a window exactly what she wanted - an old man in spectacles sitting cross-legged on a low counter, stitching at a garment and surrounded with pieces of stuff. She walked past, pulled a button off her coat, returned and went into the shop. While the tailor worked at this small repair she was able to have a long look at him; the tape-measure, the tailor's 'goose', teh brass bowl of water; and carried away more details for her story."

The story was written for Freda who was Noel Moore's sister. She had written "Peter Rabbit" for Noel while he was ill. Here is an excerpt of the letter:

"My dear Freda,

Because you are fond of fairy tales, and have been ill, I have made you a story all for yourself - a new one that nobody had read before.

And the queerest thing about it is - that I heard it in Gloucestershire, and that it is true - at least about the tailor, the waistcoat, and the 'No more twist!' "

Margaret Lane goes on to talk about Beatrix's fears of the new books failure.

"A week before Christmas 1902 she ws able to send him a copy from Bolton Gardens. 'I send the little book. I hope that all events you will not think the story very silly...I undertook the book with very cheerful courage, but I have not the least judgment whether it is satisfactory now that it is done.'

Thankfully, her 'mouse book' as Beatrix called it, had been accepted by Norman Warne and we have the continued enjoyment of reading this wonderful Christmas tale that entertains children of all ages, like myself.

I will share a progress photo of my Beatrix Potter Quaker sampler on Monday.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sneak peak

I wanted to give you are preview of two things I am working on this week. Firstly, to the left is a preview of fabric picked out to make quilted WIP rolls. Diane sent me a link to see one she found and I am making one for each of us. Fall galore, huh Diane?

The second project is my May pinkeep. The stitching is finished so now I am adding a charm and will start on putting the pinkeep together. This was a fun one to stitch!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My rainbow jar

How fun is this? A jar full of thread all the colors of the rainbow. When I first joined my stitching list For The Love Of Stitching,
I had not used any of the various overdyed or varigated threads out there on the market. It was simply a fear of trying them out in a design. What started this was the free Quaker sampler you can see behind the jar. It was my very first SAL I had participated in which I stitched in DMC thread as I always did. Diane (who has since become a dear friend to me ~ waving hi Diane!) was using Carrie's threads for her sampler. As we shared photos of our developing samplers, hers was turning out more beautifully as she went along. The more she stitched, the better the colors of her thread were coming out. She told me about using the thread and I finally conquered my fear and ordered a skein after I found out there was a supplier here in Holland. They are great to stitch with and the colors are real fun. I still use my trusty DMC for many things but am also experimenting with designs that work for these overdyed threads too.

You can see and read about Carrie's Threads at:

if you don't know these threads.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Starting another pinkeep

This is the start to the May pinkeep. April was 'April showers...' so May is '...brings May flowers'. This cute little free chart is from Lizzie Kate and I thought would be appropriate for May. I choose a series of Carrie's Threads (monarch, sunflower, verde, violet, amethyst, ultra-violet and bubble gum) for this one. I am becoming hooked on these threads now thanks to my good friend Diane. I will share a photo of my jar full of the threads this week. They look just 'delicious' with them in it.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter wishes to all!

Wishing all my friends who read my blog a very Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A new pinkeep finish

I finished the Easter/spring pinkeep I had been stitching up today. It was a free design from a blog: . Catherine has a number of beautiful free charts on her blog.
I choose a green vine fabric for the backing and a cheerful trim with light green pins.

Bunny garland

Finally! My bunny garland is finished and hanging on the tulip quilt. I love them. They really came out nicely when I aged them in coffee. I cut part of a wide, wired ribbon and twisted it while sewing the bunnies on in intervals.
Sorry this photo is blurred. Our camera is not taking very nice indoors shots and especially closeups. Outdoors it is the best of cameras but indoors..... I placed this photo here so you can see the aging and whiskers. I got this effect by using YLI quilt thread which is nice and stiff. I double knotted the thread and simply pulled it carefully through the fabric right under the bunny's nose. I added two or three threads to get the whiskers effect which I think worked rather well.