Sunday, September 30, 2007

A new pincushion theme starting today

I have decided that these 5 Halloween pincushions look good under my Halloween tree. Here they are all together. I won't be making any more of these for now as I am switching my theme to.....

.....autumn pincushions. The first of this series is a red apple. This came out more red on the photo that it really is.

I am going to do another give~away. I have a list of 7 pincushions I will be making with the fall theme. You know what the first is ~ an apple. The first person to name the complete list will win a pincushion. If many can name them, I will hold a drawing. Good luck to everyone!

Cherries pinkeep

Last night, I decided that adding more Halloween pincushions would not be needed. The five I have sewn look complete. I am going to start working on autumn pincushions now today. I decided to finish off my latest pinkeep instead yesterday evening and here in the results. This is once again a Little House Needlework's thread pack ~ Cherries.

The colors of this overdyed thread is very subtle and I found just the right backing fabric for it. My trim is cranberry and beige ribbon which has been twisted as I attached it with cranberry glass head pins.

I am using the seagrass bowl now for the LHN thread pack pinkeeps as I now have the tray for all of my other pinkeeps. It will be fun to have them together in this bowl when I complete all 12 designs.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Halloween pincushion # 5 and the give~away winners are.....

.....Nancy and Kristy! I knew this would be a tough choice and most guessed the bat. The next pincushion is a witch's broom. I simply made the broom part out of the felt and use a twig for the handle. This one will really look cute with the witch's hat.

I decided since only two people guessed right that I will make a Halloween pincushion for them both. Congratulations to Nancy and Kristy.

A New Broom
~~ Witt Wittmann ~~

I bought a new broom today
and swept the cobwebs down,
A thick accumulation of dregs,
a mass of tangles and smut.
I whisked a conglomeration of dust
that forever stuck—inaccessible.
Lifted the rug under which was hidden
years of grime that
Made traversing treacherous
with things that trip you up.
I rolled that rug and cast it off
and pitched the whole mess out.
I bought a new broom today
and mucked about the house.
Gone are the indignities that cannot be untwined
from the unfulfilled goals and dreams,
Cleared the place of bitter resentments
secured with insecurities.
Shackling phobias, permanently pitched
with a flick of bristles strawy,
Dismal doubts and grubby grudges
all brushed not so effortlessly away.
I bought a new broom today
and swept the corners of my brain.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Halloween pincushion # 4

Here is my fourth in my Halloween pincushions. Isn't this Jack o' Lantern a fun place to put your pins during the holiday?

I am going to have a Halloween pincushion give~away. If you can choose the correct symbol for my next Halloween pincushion, your name will be entered for the drawing. The winner will receive one of my Halloween pincushions. Just leave a comment and tell me which of the following is your guess as to my next pincushion:

1. Bat
2. Witch's broom
3. Owl

The Jack-o'-lantern
by Florence Lind

Billy brought a pumpkin in
And Mother scraped it out.
Daddy carved a little mouth
With such a funny pout.

Sally cut some crooked eyes
And trimmed the thing with beads,
While everybody laughed at me
Because I saved the seeds.

But I will plant them in the spring
And wait till fall, and then -
I'll have at least a hundred
Jack-o'-lantern men!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Halloween pincushion #3

Here is my third Halloween pincushion. I have now started placing them by my Halloween tree which you can see on my CelebrateTheSeasons blog. It is fun to add to them. Here is my little ghost and while looking for a poem to add to him, I discovered that Louisa May Alcott wrote a poem called "Our Little Ghost". I never read it before and perhaps you may not have either so here is one stanza for you to read which I thought described my little friendly ghost:

"A merry little ghost it is,
Dancing gayly by itself,
On the flowery counterpane,
Like a tricksy household elf;
Nodding to the fitful shadows,
As they flicker on the wall;
Talking to familiar pictures,
Mimicking the owl's shrill call."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Another Halloween pincushion

Here is the second Halloween pincushion. I kept this one very simple and appliqued a black cat to a stuffed full moon. I sat it with the Witch's hat from yesterday and they look really cute together. These are going to be fun to use together as decorations. I hope to make a third pincushion in the next day or so. Come back again and see what is next.....

"Three black cats, three black cats,
In black hats, in black hats,
They all jumped into the Halloween brew.
They teased the ghosts & the goblins too!
Have you ever seen such a Hullabaloo??
On Halloween, On Halloween!"

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My newest wool felt pincushion

I am taking an elfen break right now tonight to play with some ideas I had for wool felt pincushions. I got this idea while I was talking with my mother this afternoon. I thought it would be fun to try and design a witch's hat as a pincushion. And luckily, I had the spider web and spider button already.

What do you think? It is my first try at designing my own pincushion.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I am one happy elf!

Okay, I know I am always behind the times but look at this! . Have you seen this movie already? The music alone is worth looking at the site. They are playing my song ~ LOL! I am thinking I have to find out if this is for sale at Amazon so I can order it. I may need to watch this movie which is coming out on DVD in December.

And speaking of elves.....Santa's workshop is in full swing. Miss Pickles the elf has time, while baking fresh pumpkin to use to bake some seasonal goodies, to work on a couple of items for the next on Santa's good list ~ Haali. Remember Haali, Santa is watching you!

The life of an elf is frustrating as I am going to have an empty blog off and on because I cannot share the gifts being made for now. I am very busy but won't have much to show for it right now. I do have a little item I just finished stitching for a pinkeep which I hope to share this week along with how to adapt the pinkeep to use for patchwork. More on all of that later.....

Friday, September 21, 2007

Moda does it again!

Look at what the postman just brought to my door! I had ordered these fabrics last week from and had forgotten how sweet it is to open the envelope from them. They always wrap a ribbon around your order. It is such a nice way to see the fabrics. I used the ribbon from a previous order on one of my pinkeeps.

This is a new collection from Blackbird Designs and once again they have included some beautiful fabrics with sampler designs on them. You can get a good look at these and the remainder of this collection at I am looking forward to using these fabrics in some of my projects both for quilting and stitching.

Have a wonderful and 'crafty' weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Some days are full of gifts

Today has been a bit of time off for this elf but before I get back to the workshop.....

I called a friend this morning and we went to a really neat garden center near us that has so many wonderful items to decorate the home as well as plants and flowers. We had lunch there and spent tons of time just chatting away. The day went so fast. I got a gift from her before we left this morning. Isn't this jar so neat! She knows I am buying them now to hold all my notions in my quilt studio. I love it. I had a piece of lace from Bruges for her as a gift to use in a tray with her sewing accessories we are making this year in the quilt group.

I was home and decided to make a cup of tea and work on one of the Christmas gifts when the postman came to the door and a small package fell on my doormat. I saw it was from my friend Hazel in England. Here is the package waiting to be opened.....

And what a present it was. She sent me some pretty vintage lace from India (laying behind the pinkeep) which I cannot wait to display. But look at this beautiful pinkeep! I get very emotional when someone makes me a gift as I know how much effort we put into things. It is also full of my very favorite things about my favorite season. Isn't this so nice?

The backing fabrcis is so pretty with all the 'fallen leaves'. Thank you so much Hazel from the bottom of my heart and soul! You are a dear friend!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Projects in progress and a Santa's Workshoppe week

I am going to be unable to show or tell you much about the projects going on this week. It is a very busy week with "Santa's Workshoppe" officially open for business. I am making many Christmas gifts this week but, as my family reads my blog, I am not able to reveal much about any of them. I was able to complete one project yesterday. Today I started on a second project which I should finish up tomorrow.

I am trying to take time in between to still work on my SALs and here is a progress photo of my Silent Sampler. I am stitching this in the DMC colors which were called for on the original chart. It is being stitched over one and I like the results of it so far. I wanted this one to be small and will make a little pillow to add to the collection on my bed. Since I took this photo, I have been able to stitch a bit more on it.

The other photo is of the two bobbin lace ornaments which I also finished up today. The pin holes of these ornaments are still visible on the lace cushion where I laid them to take the photo. They are now both starched and ready to hang in the Christmas tree.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Birthday bunting

I wanted to show you the two sets of birthday bunting (or penants) I made for my two nieces children this summer. I had to wait until they showed up as both ended up very long in the mailman's hands. The second set took forever to arrive. In both cases, it missed the birthdays they were intended for but there is always next year.

These are easy to make and fun to use for any occassion. Even a garden party would be a perfect reason to hang them. I made one with bright colors for Haali and Mitchell and pink for little Zoe. You simply cut the triangles with pinking shears (I have a special blade for my rotary cutter) and then sew them into a piece of bias binding. The nice thing is you fold them up and put them away when not in use and iron them to hang well when you need them again. It is a Dutch tradition to hang plastic or paper bunting criss~cross over the living room at any birthday but I think fabric ones are much nicer.

The first photo was taken at our little cottage up north which is where I am off to right now. We are going to work this weekend on the fencing which hopefully will be finished. You can see the work on my other blog if you are interested. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Birthday blog give~away revealed

I just got an email from Hazel that her package arrived with her stash win from my blog give~away. I wanted to keep it a secret until she opened the package so it would be a surprise for her. I sent her items that represent some of my passions in handwork:

Stitching ~ a historical chart from the Dutch open air museum of a bell pull.

Pinkeeps ~ Five ribbons and two packs of colored glass head pins for making her own pinkeeps.

Quilting ~ Two seasonal fabric fat quarters.

Bobbin lace ~ A doily that I purchased during my last visit at Brugge in August.

Congratulations Hazel and enjoy your new stash! I know I enjoyed putting the package together for you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Oh no! A new fun hobby, lace and a quilt

I went shopping yesterday with my friend Sonja. We went to a really nice village called Elburg to buy her some linen she needs for a stitching project. The needlework shop was closed as they are away on vacation. I took her to a bead shop to look for some fun charms to use on pinkeeps not suspecting the danger. We bought a bag full each and decided to try making a fob. I do love the one Mary Kathryn made for me! Well, I do not need another hobby but this is so much fun. I helped Sonja make some for gifts as I was invited to go have dinner with her. They work up so quickly and the man in the shop said we already had lots of fun while picking them out which was so true. You can see the shop at this link: .

Here is the progress on my newest lace ornament. I have not done my bobbin lace as much lately and I can really feel it. My fingertips are sore from pushing the pins in the prikking. I am using an off white linen thread with a gold metallic gimp running around the outside edge of the star.

This picture is a bit blurred but I wanted to show you a close~up. Diane asked me if the colored pins were beads. They are not beads although you can add to bobbin lace. These are colored head pins which are placed in certain spots as you need to remove them earlier or to create a little bit bigger hole for example when making picots.

This is a piece of lace I made a number of years ago with Sonja. We decided to make something very seasonal for the autumn.

Finally, here is a photo of my sideboard at my front door. I am using this quilt combined with the plumpkins we made many autumns ago with my quilt group. This is a free online project from Debbie Mumm. They are so much fun to make and you don't have to be a quilter to try it out. See this link for the instructions:

Monday, September 10, 2007

Just one of those days..... know.....a day when I just cannot seem to get things going and what I do just isn't right. I am trying to finish this nativity ornament off this afternoon so I can put my starch on it and remove it from my cushion. It just is not working out like I want and, with regrets, I am still plugging ahead on it. I wish now I had done a braid down both sides of Joseph and added more pairs that it called for to make it fuller. I don't have the time to take it all out and redo it so I will finish it and get this cushion ready for tonight.

Tonight my lace friends, Sonja and Jannie and I are going to start on this star ornament. I am looking forward to this one and I really want more bobbin lace ornaments for my Christmas tree. This will go much easier. For now, here is a picture of the pattern as I prick the holes in the pattern. I will show you the progress we made tomorrow.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Dutch samplers ~ part three ~ Various samplers

These first two photos are not a part of the temporary exhibit from Joke Visser's collection. These are part of the museum in Goes. I wanted to include them both as they are so beautiful.

A sewing sampler which was used to practice various weaving and sewing stitches.

I thought the copper plates were so pretty to see. They have monograms which were then transferred to the fabric.

This letter sampler was made back in the late 1700s and yet it is a popular sampler to create for stitchers today.

A sampler done in wool (Berlin work).

A sewing sampler which can be viewed from the front.....

.....and from the back. Click any of the photos to enlarge and see in detail.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing these samplers as much as I have enjoyed being able to share them with you. I only wish I could have taken you all with me to see it in person.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Dutch samplers ~ part two ~ Darning samplers

Darning samplers, also sometimes referred to as mending samplers, are very typical to Holland. Young girls were expected to have a good knowledge of sewing and mending. The second kind of sampler a girl would make is a darning sampler. This was usually done by the girls over 12 years of age. These were sewn at a (sewing) school but also in orphanages for the girls to learn to master the techniques.

A hole is cut in the fabric and a contratsting thread is used so the type of mending stitch could be well seen. Various weaving stitches are used on one piece of linen thus creating a darning sampler. Enlarge the photos to see the various stitches.

This sampler was suspended from the ceiling and glass on both sides of the frame to view the front (above).....

.....and the back of the sampler to see the mending well.
A couple of these photos are glared because of the glass in the frames. Depending on where they hung in the church, I sometimes was unable to take a really good photo.
I will share the last set of samplers with you on Sunday. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dutch samplers ~ part one ~ Red and White

While I was in Goes, I was so lucky to be able to go see the samplers exhibit on loan from Joke Visser. I was allowed to photograph them and tried to take a good amount to share with all my stitching friends online. I will break them up into three parts so you won't be in 'picture overload'. Part one is the Red and White samplers which were the school samplers here in Holland. They were stitched by girls in elementary school, often no older than nine or ten years of age. These samplers were used to teach the girls the skills of sewing as well as learning the alphabet and counting. Don't forget you can click on these photos to enlarge them for detail. In many of the samplers, you can see the name and date. Enjoy them!