Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A fun day making pinkeeps

It is late for me and I decided to place one last blog entry for July. Can you believe this month is already over? I spent the afternoon with my friend Sonja making pinkeeps. We had fun putting them together and at the same time holding a conference call with my mother and both nieces in the US. The results of our afternoon and evening are here. Our evening turned into us eating Chinese take away with both DHs. I then made a warm blueberry sauce for over vanilla ice cream for dessert.

My newest pinkeep is another of the LHN thread packs 'Plums'. Sonja happened to find a cute ribbon when she stopped to pick up some DMC for me at a shop in her village. She gave me a piece for this pinkeep. Click on all the photos to enlarge for more detail.

My backing fabric was the fabric I used to show you my finished stitching yesterday. I also used a purple and lilac color pins to reflect the overdyed thread used. This is a piece of handmade bobbin lace I bought last year in Brugge, Belgium during the lace days in August. Can you believe I only had to pay 2 euro for it? If I wanted to make this doily myself, it would cost me more to buy the thread than I paid for the made doily.

Here is Sonja's second pinkeep ever! She is making all four of the LHN's 'Season of...'. We got her items all kitted up for her to make the next three at home. She picked out fabrics from my quilt stash and we got her mating board and batting ready. I also shared some of my trim with her as we found some perfect matches for the next three pinkeeps in this series. I am looking forward to seeing them finished.

For the backing, she picked a sweet lilac calico with a small motif that brought out the colors used in the design. Her pins are a mix of corn yellow and purple and the trim is a lilac satin ribbon.

PS 12 Days Wreath SAL

On the first day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me......................

I am starting a new SAL this week with my stitching list. We are working on the PS 12 Days of Christmas chart. They will be stitched individually and sewed into ornaments to hang on a grapevine wreath. I may have trouble getting a grapevine wreath here but I will come up with something. In the meantime, I wanted to share my fabric choice. I am using 28~count evenweave Khaki for the ornaments. I really want the white to stand out on these. I did not change any of the colors and a couple are missing on this photo. I will get them this afternoon. What a fun way to get us all in the Christmas mood! Check out the blog if you would like to see more of what others are doing: http://pswreathsal.blogspot.com/ .

Monday, July 30, 2007

The 'fruits' of my labor this past weekend...

...is the next of the LHN thread packs 'Plums'. This was appropriate as we again went berry picking on Saturday and were given a small container of plums by the farmer. His plums are ripe three weeks earlier than normal and he has too many. He told me I could take them as a treat. Funny, I was already nearing the end of stitching this design too. I will once again be finishing this design as a pinkeep which I hope to share with you in the coming days.

The pretty scissors were a find while I was in the Alsace in France this last May on vacation. I really love this pair and was happy to add it to my collection.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

An ode to fathers and friends

I wanted to reflect for a moment on fathers. Today I spoke to my friend Sonja, who's father just passed away last week and I am glad to hear she is doing okay. She only just lost her mother at the end of May. I know from losing my own father that it is a sad time. The first important man in our lives is no longer there. A bit of strength disappears with them when they pass on. Remember you father each day in your heart Sonja and he will live there with you forever!

"He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it." ~~ Clarence Budington Kelland

A busy day

Today has been a busy day. I am trying to work through my ironing, declutter some drawers, and sew more notebook covers. I finished two more covers today. My ironing is down to the last couple of shirts and the junk drawer is still being sorted through. In between, I have been sitting to rest while doing some stitching. I talked to my nieces today. They are both beautiful and talented women. One is discovering she has a great talent for redwork as she does her blocks for a redwork memory quilt for my mother (her grandmother). My other niece just set up her new blog today and I thought I would share this link with you. She is a fanatic scrapbooker and does custom layouts. The photo above is one of her layouts and you can read more about it and its background and inspiration on her blog http://christiancrafter.blogspot.com/.

I was talking to my good friend Nancy online about our pinkeep baskets a while back. I took a photo of mine which is overflowing now. Two are not even in the basket as they are on display downstairs. I think it is really time I go out and find a new basket for them, don't you think? I am planning my next pinkeep now so I can take it along this weekend. This is definately the year of the pinkeep for me!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

July pinkeep ~ blueberries

I showed this stitching on my 'Celebrate' blog and today can reveal the finish. The fruit thread packs from Little House Needleworks are exactly the right size for pinkeeps so I will making all 12 to sit together in a basket. They will become part of my monthly pinkeeps now. I choose to make blueberries for July since this is the month we pick blueberries at a farm on the weekends.

For this pinkeep, I used a scrap of sage green and beige gingham for the back. The satin ribbon on the side is dark blue with both dark blue and light blue bows. I choose to combine blue and green glass head pins to reflect the colors in the stitching. This has turned out to be a very cheerful pinkeep!

'Christmas in July' tutorial

For those who regularly read my blog, you may recall I showed you the soft trees I used for my quilt group's 'Christmas in July' project at the beginning of this month. I belong to a homekeeping list and we are having a 'Christmas in July' week that I am hosting. We are discussing things about Christmas with the hopes that we will be more organized for the upcoming holidays. They are not as far off as you may think! I have placed a tutorial on the list's blog which I will paste the link to here: http://creativehomelife.blogspot.com/ . Please feel free to go over to this blog and see the step~by~step photo tutorial I have put there. I hope this will inspire you to try making these fun soft trees and be helpful. If you do have any questions, I would be glad to help you in any way I can ~ just ask.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

First of this week's finishes...

I want to make a few decorative pillows to use on the bed with our new quilt. As I mentioned yesterday, Geranium House is the first of these. I was able to sew this pillow together today.
The bed still looks very empty but hopefully it will not take too long to have a few more pillows completed.

I used some of the leftovers scraps of fabric from the quilt to sew the pillow. First I sewed an edge of lace in place and then added one of the green fabrics with little pink roses. This really brings out the colors nicely in the design.

For the back of the cushion, I decided to make a nine~patch patchwork of other fabrics from the quilt. I will continue to use scraps for the other pillows until I run out of the fabrics. The pillows will be coordinated but still look very shabby chic at the same time.

Tomorrow, I plan to share my second finish with you so I will see you then...

Monday, July 23, 2007

'Geranium House' finish

I was able to finish two projects this weekend as we stayed away for 4 days up at our cottage. Here is the first project which I showed progress on a short while ago. This is Little House Needlework's 'Geranium House'. I loved how this turned out on the Pink Dahlia Jobelan fabric. The photo does not seem to do this fabric the justice but try to enlarge it to see how pretty the distressing is on it. This is a very soft and pretty pink. I changed a couple of the thread colors as I wanted to use some of the overdyed threads in my stash.

If you check back with me later this week, I will have this piece finished into a pillow along with my second finish completed also. To see the second thing I stitched this weekend, please check out my other blog: http://celebratetheseasons.blogspot.com/ .

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Making fabric notebook covers simplified...

Once again, I am using up my half yard fabrics from my stash. These are the same fabrics that were used to cover the front of my storage drawers that I showed you back on June 12th. By using various fabrics over the plain black notebooks, I can create a pretty interest on my bookshelves and reflect the fabrics used on the desk with the drawers. Here are the first 6 of mine completed.

I first measured the size of my notebooks. They are varying widths but this one for the example is 12 1/2 inches X 24 1/2 inches. I cut my fabric to 17 12 inches X 38 1/2 inches.

Fold back a spacious 1/4 inch of fabric and pin in place. Sew first the short ends.

Fold the long sides in the same way and sew. There is no need to roll hem this as it will only create bulk which would be visible with the finished cover and these seams are protected within the notebook cover.

I checked the fabric at this point by folding it in half and measuring it from the binding to the end for the size of the flap. Fold back the flap at 6 inches and sew each side 1 7/8 inches from the edge.

You must be sure to allow a little extra in the width for the cover to slide onto the notebook. My notebook is 12 1/2 inches but I sewed the width of 13 inches for ease.

Now slip the cover on the notebook and mark with a straight pin where the second flap will begin. Pin and sew the second flap as shown in the previous step.

Iron the cover so that the edges are nice and crisp giving a better result.

Now simply insert your notebook into the cover.

This cover is a cheerful way to put your own 'stamp' on store bought notebooks. You can also decorate these covers in any way you would like with embroidery or applique. If you would like to mark the contents, sew a muslin strip to the side with the contents written in permanent ink pen.

I hope I have been able to give you yet another fun idea to use up some of your fabrics and create something personal for your craft room/area.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The contentment of good food and handwork...

We spent an extra day up at the cottage this past weekend. We were out looking around a couple of villages on Friday with our friends and then came back home to have dinner at the cottage. On Saturday, we drove to their campsite and had dinner with them there. This area of the provinces of Friesland and Drenthe are known for the waterways and many times you wait by the open bridges for the boats to pass by. This bridge we stopped at is actually operated by hand. There is a crank that raises and lowers the bridge.

My friend Sonja and I drove to a really fun shop in the village of Staphorst while our husbands took a bicycle ride in the area. We came back and had a BBQ meal. This is her slicing the bread.

More company! This chicken came by to try out the bread.

The meal was various kinds of meat on the BBQ and a couple of different salads with bread.

We then worked on our stitching. Sonja is stitching LHNs 'Season of...' and I worked further on 'Geranium House'. How fun to see how much further I am this morning. I now have the flower pot next to the fence also stitched and the right border also complete.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Organizing a rainbow of color

I pride myself on staying organized in my home. For example, my herbs and spices are all in alphabetical order. I always use my organization to keep things new and know where things are. I hate wasting energy on hunting for things. Lately, I have really let my quilt studio go. I moved to the bedroom at the back of our home and just literally put my stuff in there and said okay done. I did not put things in order like I normally do and make this space my own.

I am running out of a color I am using on my Marquoir and decided to get out the bag of my extra thread to see if I maybe already had it. I was thinking while going through this bag once again how rediculous it was. I knew there were colors in there I still needed to add to my thread boxes even. I am now going through them all this week and placing thread on cards that are almost empty or new colors I needed to add to the boxes. I am also going to search for a list of the DMC threads so I can mark down what I have and how many extras I now have to avoid having to search for them. I think I will seperate the extras into small ziploc bags according to numbers to make it easier to locate one when needed.

I am spending long weekends with a good stitching friend who is on vacation with her husband up near our cottage. We always talk about how good it feels just to look in our thread boxes at all these luscious colors. When you get home at the end of the month and read this Sonja, you will know I was thinking of you while organizing!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Of samplers and buttons...

I finished part 5 of my Marquoir Marie~Rose. This part was stitched up rather quickly over the weekend. We are over the half way mark now on this sampler which is in 9 parts.

When I arrived home on Monday from the cottage, there was an envelope waiting for me on the doormat. It was a "just because" present from my mother. Look at the wonderful buttons. I have some ideas to use them already.

She also sent along some pins and the fabric and DMC thread to make her redwork squares for her quilt. She asked me to make her a quilt using redwork between squares of red fabric. The redwork is being done by family members and a few special friends she has asked to participate. Everyone will draw something special to remind her of them. I know what I am doing but have to sit and work on the drawing now. I will be making a square in memory of a few people who are very dear to my mother but no longer with us ~ my father, sister, grandmother and one of my aunts.

Friday, July 06, 2007

'Geranium House' and being creative

This is the project that got the most attention this past week. I started LHN's 'Geranium House'. A few of the colors were changed since I wanted to use the overdyed threads I already have. I am stitching this one on a piece of 28 ct. Pink Dahlia Jobelan and boy do I love this fabric. It makes all the colors look great and even the white is really jumping out at you. It will be fun to see how the house will stitch up.

I will not be taking this along to our weekend cottage as I want to stitch part five of the Marquoir Marie~Rose and also make a second pinkeep for July. I will hopefully be able to get both finished while I am up there this weekend.

What kind of creative things are you doing lately? Are you stitching, sewing, quilting, knitting or gardening perhaps? Taking a little time each day to work on something you love really is a great thing. It makes you feel so good inside that you have more to give out to others. I would love to hear about what you are working on!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

New treasure and new stash

Last night, I received a wonderful gift from one of the ladies in the quilt group and her husband. They brought me a vintage needlework they found in an old suitcase. Isn't this adorable?! It rhymes in the Dutch langauge and the verse is:

Kom...in de morgen,
Kom...in de nacht.

Which is translated:
Come...in the morning,
Come...in the night.

I think this is such a sweet greeting to hang in my entrance hall. Thanks so much Jacomina and Oomke!
I received a bit of new stash on my doormat this morning. I got two new charts that I had ordered ~ "Necessities Sampler" by Little House Needleworks and "Silent Sampler" by Rosewood Manor.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Christmas in July

It is Christmas at my home. Christmas in July, that is! Tomorrow evening is the quilt group's annual Christmas in July celebration. Each summer, I do this evening to get everyone enthusiastic about starting their Christmas projects. If you wait until October or November, you are feeling stressed. It is so nice to do holiday projects at this time of year when there seems to be so much more time. I have set up our small tree with my bobbin lace ornaments on the sideboard along with samples of the evenings project.

Each year, I pick a project for the group that is fun and easy to make for themselves and as gifts. This year it is soft trees. I made two sets of samples. This set is made of olive green felt with a yellow trim and gold beads.

The second sample set is made of cream felt with vintage lace and pearl heart buttons.

I hope these might inspire you to celebrate 'Christmas in July' and think about making some homemade gifts for those you care about.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Marquoir Marie~Rose part 4

Over the weekend, we had a number of projects to finish up at our weekend cottage. Between the work we did in the garden and changing the hem line in some curtains, I was able to get a start on LHN's Geranium House which I will show you later this week and finish up part four of the Marquoir Marie~Rose. The more I stitch on this one, the more I like it. All the colors are starting to really balance out and compliment each other well. I was concerned after completing part two that I would not be happy with my color choices. Part five is now on Anne~Valerie's blog and I will start it this week but if you would like to use the chart or see the gallery with photos of others also participating, take a look at her blog: www.avmitten.over-blog.com.