Friday, June 29, 2007

Lace collage

Yesterday there were a number of questions about the picture with lace behind our bed. Here is a photo of the framed collage. Click the photo to see the details.

These are the lace practice pieces I did for my first year of bobbin lacemaking. I thought it was a shame to make these practice pieces and never see them as they are then placed in your workbook.

I had seen a photo of a pillow in Victoria magazine which was made from old pieces of tattered lace and vintage buttons. I adapted this idea to this framed piece. I used my practice pieces with a dried rose, a photo postcard of an old lady, pearl buttons, mini bobbins and I calligraphied the word lace in four languages. I attached all this to a fabric background and framed it. These are extremely simple pieces of lace to see on their own but having them grouped together makes them more special.

I hung this temporarily in the bedroom until I have a watercolor framed that a friend painted for me. With everyone remarking on it, my appreciation of this piece has been renewed. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to comment on my blogs. I really do love reading each and every one!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A very BIG finish

I finally put the last stitches in this king~size quilt this morning. It had been too hot to sit with the quilt on my lap lately and I had to put sewing the bias binding off. The temperatures dropped drastically over the weekend and I was able to pick it back up again on Monday. It really gives a summer garden look to our bedroom. I am now going to concentrate on making some pretty stitched accent pillows to reflect the colors of the quilt. I started one over our vacation week and need to get back to it now that one more thing is crossed off my WIP list.

Monday, June 25, 2007

June Christmas preparations

Each month on the 25th, I will tell you about things I am working on for Christmas. This month it is a stocking from Margaret & Margaret. There are two series of stockings made by this designer. I had to pick which to make and I decided on "The Night Before Christmas" series since it is very American. There are six stockings in this series. I made stocking number one about two Christmas' ago. I started on the second one now. I want to hang this series on the plate rack which is on both sides of our wood stove in the living room. For any of you who may not know this wonderful poem and for those of you who, like me, just love reading it over and over.....

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

July pinkeep finish

This past weekend was one of those perfect weekends with rain. Why is that perfect you ask? Well, I am not a fan of hot weather but also I think there is no better excuse to sit indoors on a summer's day and work on your needlework than a rainy day! This weekend, I took a small free chart by Glory Bee to stitch at our weekend cottage for a 4th of July pinkeep. This really is a quick stitch! You can find this and more great freebies at

I used a plain blue satin ribbon around the sides attaching it with a series of red, white and blue glass pins. Don't forget to click on the photos to view larger. I then combined red, white and blue satin ribbon for the bow. I am really pleased with this pinkeep which I have placed in a tray with some of my lace, a blue candle and cherries. This completed the festive look!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Domestic bliss and Beatrix Potter

Here is a photo of my very poor progress on the Beatrix Potter Quaker Sampler. I have been using my time to sew samples for my 'Christmas in July' project for the quilt group and then working on my Marquoir Marie~Rose. This poor sampler was very neglected. I have decided that it will be the project I am taking along this weekend to the cottage. I have a July pinkeep to stitch on but that will be done very quickly so then I can devote the time to this sampler once again.

Is it not the depicting of 'domestic bliss' one of the things that unknowingly draw us to Beatrix Potter's stories and illustrations? The books contain drawings with the most beautiful scenes of home life.

From Margaret Lane's "The Tale of Beatrix Potter":

"The domestic details of north~country farmhouse life are among the things to which Beatrix Potter herself most completely, and, considering Bolton Gardens, most surprisingly responded. A well~scrubbed flag floor, a rag rug of many colors, a saucepan on the hob and a flat~iron heating again the bars of the range, were not objects to evoke any pleasure, one would suppose, in the minds of Mr. or Mrs. Potter; but Beatrix was in love with every circumstance."

"...She dwelt on the household arrangements of Tiggy~Winkle and Tabitha Twitchet as lovingly as a connoisseur of the details of Van Eyck."

"...they are perfect records, in their way, of a simple life which still exists on the fells, and which had gone on undisturbed for generations when Beatrix Potter discovered it as a child."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A afternoon out in Bunschoten~Spakenburg

Yesterday, I went with a friend to a village north of here called Bunschoten~Spakenburg. We went to see a museum called 't Vurhuus. It contains a street scene and various "rooms" depicting typical interiors of this area of Holland.

There is still the Dutch folk costume from this village still being worn, mostly by the older generation. Above is a photo of a little boy on a rocking horse. Boys wore these 'dresses' until their fourth birthday.

This is a baby's shirt which has been hand~sewn by a woman of the village. It is beautifully made and has satin edging and pretty lace on the cuffs. I will be hanging this precious item in my quilt studio.

The inside is fully lined and the entire shirt has been crisply starched. Don't forget to click on the photos to really see the detail.

Women of the village volunteer in the museum and many wear the costume. They were very friendly and full of enthusiasm for their local culture. A starched garment worn over the shoulders is called a 'kraplap'. This type is found only here and varies in color according to whether the woman is in mourning or not. If not in mourning, it is normally light and contains a colorful floral pattern. When in mourning, blacks and purples are worn.

I was also able to purchase a couple of the fabrics used to make mourning 'kraplappen'. They begin the mourning period with a black fabric and then reduce it in varying shades of purple in later stages.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Marquoir Marie~rose part three

Here is a photo of my Marquior as of today. I finished stitching part three and emailed a photo to be included in the gallery that Anne~Valerie has set up on her blog I really like how this is looking as more parts are stitched. When this is finished, I will include this one with my samplers hanging in my bedroom I think.

There are the most amazing free charts online through the generosity of stitchers around the world. I think having read the story about how Anne~Valerie came to make a chart of this sampler makes it even more special. If you go to her blog, you can see the original sampler.

Monday, June 18, 2007

My June pinkeep

I can finally show you my June pinkeep. I am making a pinkeep for each month and holiday this month. For a long time now, I have been looking for what I wanted to use for my June pinkeep. Nothing had really caught my fancy yet and I just thought to give it some time as I had made so many this year already and maybe I just needed a break. Then Tanya, The Sampler Girl, brought out her latest freebie on her website and I knew it would have to become my June pinkeep. This design is called "Summer in Tuscany" and is still available on her website. **Click on the photo to see more detail.**

Tanya is a wonderful designer and I can highly recommend you brouwsing around her site ( at her wonderful designs. They are available at many stitching sites but you can also order them directly from her site. I have no commercial connection with her other than to call her friend and to admire her great work.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My next fun quilt studio project completed!

I mentioned that I was working on a fun project in my quilt studio in yesterday's blog entry. Here is the completed project. I feel much more like this space I moved into is becoming MY space! I went back to 'my roots' of beginning my quilting with this project. I have had these drawers now for some years and only had a simple stain on them so they were always very plain as you see in the photo above. I decided to use quilt fabric on the drawer fronts. This is a collection from my stash which is all reproduction fabrics from the Windham Fabrics "Nuts and Berries" and "Lewis and Clark" collections. They remind me of my very first quilt I ever made which was all browns and creams ~ very sepia. I loved it and decorated my bedroom around it with the help of my parents and brother. My mother made me muslin lace lined curtains and my parents and brother suprised me one day with a beautifully wallpapered room. It was such a pretty wallpaper in sepia with a small flower motif and looked so old~fashioned. I think back on that room very fondly and this has brought me back to that feeling. It also gives me the chance, as a quilter, to have that fabric collection which I have saved for some years right there in front of me as I work. I wanted these drawers to end up being very tactile and they are. I will now start working out my next idea for the quilt studio so watch for more news of that in the coming weeks.....

Results of a handworking evening

I get together once a month with two friends that I met while taking bobbin lace lessons. We started out doing our bobbin lace together and have branched out to also doing some other hobbies now and then. Last night, I taught them how to put together a pinkeep. Here are the results of their very first pinkeeps! This one was made by Jannie and is done in lavender and purple all over design.

Jannie's pinkeep back...

Sonja choose to stitch up an American saying from a book I had bought her a couple of years ago and here is her pinkeep front...

And Sonja's pinkeep back.....
I had fun teaching them how to make these and I think they enjoyed the fact that they both went home with a finished project.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Marquior Marie~Rose part two

With having been on vacation, I was behind on my reproduction sampler. I will be sending off my photo to Anne~Valerie this afternoon too. I will also be starting on part three this afternoon.

I am working on a fun project now today in my quilt studio. Having found the wall cupboard has given me the incentive now to work on creating a better space there for myself. I will show you this project tomorrow..... the meantime, I hope are all having a great start to what will become a very creative week ahead!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Beatrix Potter SAL progress and Mrs. William Heelis

Beatrix Potter SAL progress.....or lack of it! I am not posting a progress photo as there is little to show with the very few added stitches. I will however continue with my Friday stories of Beatrix's life.

Beatrix became engaged to the country soliciter, William Heelis in 1912. The photo above shows them at their engagement.

From Margaret Lane's book"The Tale of Beatrix Potter":

".....on the fourteenth of October, in the parish church of St. Mary Abbot's, Kensington, Beatrix Potter became Mrs. William Heelis.

The honeymoon was spent at Sawrey, in a furnished bungalow above Castle Farm, where the cottage -- bigger than Hill Top and more convenient -- was being got ready for them. Hill Top had given Beatrix Potter all thet freedom and most of the happiness she had known, but she felt that it was too small and primitive for her husband, and was unwilling to alter it. The rooms at Hill Top were tiny; the Cannons, at their end of the house, lived at close quarters -- one could hear their voices through the communicating door and the ring of pails in the dairy -- and the only water supply was a pump in the yard. All this, of course, could have been altered, but she loved it too much to change. So Hill Top was kept as it was, the beds aired and the rooms swept and the windows open, while Beatrix Potter made a second home for herself, only the breadth of a narrow field away."

"And immediately the atmosphere of her life changes. Calm, and the certainty of sympathy and happiness succeed the divisions and disappointments and enforced patience of her single life. She was by temperament eminently suited to a useful and unpretentious married life, and she knew it. She settled into her new position with touching pride."

"In those few months her life had undergone a profound change. She was approaching fifty, and all the best of her creative work was done. As Beatrix Potter she already enjoyed a little measure of fame, and was financially independent' but the change from Miss Potter to Mrs. Heelis went far deeper than the name. It was as if, disliking so much about her earlier life that she could hardly bear to be reminded of it, she deliberatlely buried Miss Potter of Bolton Gardens, and became another person. Mrs. Heelis of Sawrey, who for hte next thirty years awas to be known as a dominent, shrewd, good~humored and salty charachter of the Lake Country, was absorbed in the life which Beatrix Potter had always wanted, and had achieved only by snatches of her possession of Hill Top, and expressed with love and poetic thruth in her art."

Photos of Hill Top Farm and Mr. and Mrs. William Heelis on their wedding day ~ 14 October 1913.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A room that makes me smile!

Many of my online friends know that I have not been pleased with my quilt studio for some time. It just is not 'my space' yet. I changed rooms about a year ago and since then have spent less time in it than before. It just doesn't feel like right to me. One item I had been hunting had been a small cupboard to hang and place my vintage and antique sewing accessories in.

This Tuesday evening, we had finished dinner and it was still early evening so I suggested to my husband that we go to IKEA (just a couple of minutes from our home) and walk around just for fun. They have started building up the items in the new collection for 2008. My eyes fell on this hanging cupboard that was part of the new collection that matches my desk. I did not think twice about it and we bought it. Yesterday, I decided I would put it together (for those who are not familiar with IKEA ~ the furniture comes in flatpacks) as far as I could myself. I laid it out on the guest bed and got started. I got to the point where it needed to be hung and had to wait for Jos to come home.

He hung the cupboard above my desk and then attached the hinges and doors. There are four glass shelves in the cupboard which is great as you can see all the items well, even on the higher shelves, while sitting at the desk.

This morning, I cleaned the shelves and started placing my sewing accesssories in the cupboard. I don't have a large collection but what I had always sat in a drawer waiting for somewhere to display them. I have won 3 vintage child's sewing machines on eBay and have room for one more. I have been trying to win a particular German child's machine and it will fit perfectly on the fourth shelf when I do finally succeed.

Here is a view of the cupboard with the doors open. I am so happy with what a major difference displaying my collection has made me feel. I now have a quilt studio that makes me smile. It has inspired me to go on to the next project in the room which I have been wanting to do and is really making the room feel more like the creative place I want it to be.

Do you have a room that makes you smile? Or a collection that you feel passionate about? I would love to hear about it!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Vintage and new needlework collections

If you have not done so, go to my other blog ( to read about the B&B we stayed at in France. I wanted to show you the beautiful items of new and vintage needlework which Pierrette has collected and uses to add charm to her B&B. I felt NeedleNecessitites was the perfect place to do that. I know many of those who read this blog share my love of needlework of all kinds. Don't forget to click on the photos to be sure and see all the detail!

She has redwork hanging in the hallway...

Wonderful samplers...

More redwork in the kitchen...

A quilt made by a friend of hers to celebrate her collection of watering cans...

New garden themed cross stitching...

A wonderfully stitched letter holder...

Lace panels in the windows and adorable little christening dresses...

Teaching samplers like this one containing some darning stitches...

Even a quilt laid over her couch in the guests sitting area...
It was so fun to see all of these items. Pierrette even showed me her private pieces in her home. She has been so fortunate to have found so many wonderful and treasured items.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Meeting up with a French blogger...

It is such a special feeling when things come full circle in life. We had things ready to go on vacation and I had posted on my blogs that I would be taking a week's break. I happened to look at the comments later on Friday evening and there was a message there from Doris, one of the French bloggers. She lives in the Alsace and asked us to contact her hoping we could meet while we were there. We exchanged our cell phone numbers and called her as soon as we arrived in France. A meeting was arranged in Colmar on Wednesday. We really enjoyed spending the afternoon with Doris. She showed us a bit of Colmar and then we had tea and some wonderful pastries in a little shop. She then took me to visit two of her local stitching shops. I did buy some stash which I will share with you at another time.
Doris surprised me with a wonderful gift. She gave me three tins to use for needlecases and also this wonderful needlecase that she stitched. It is so pretty and lined with blue silk. I wanted to share some photos of it with you. Her blog is located at . I got to see her Beatrix Potter Quaker sampler finished and back from the framers. It was stitched over one and very pretty.

Greetings to you Doris from Holland and I hope you are enjoying your Mother's Day in France!