Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wishing you a Happpy Halloween!!!

This is the Tic~tac~toe quilt I made with matching fabrics for Matilda the Witch (see previous post). My mother took a photo of the quilt to show you. It was a quick and simple quilt to make and just good fun to sit out at this time of year. The little fabric pumpkins are the O's and the crossed cinnamon sticks are the X's. I have always intended to make one for myself but "the best laid plans....."

I want to take this moment to wish you all a very Happy Halloween! Whether you celebrate it by dressing up or simply light a Jack o' Lantern, enjoy today and celebrate the rich and wonderful colors of the season!

Walk Into My Parlor
~~ Mary Howitt ~~

"Will you walk into my parlor?"
said the spider to the fly;
"Tis the prettiest little parlor that you ever did spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you are there."
"Oh no, no!" said the little fly,
"to ask me is in vain;
For who goes up your winding stair
can never come down again."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I've been tagged.....

Nancy over at Lovely in Chocolate has tagged me for 7 interesting facts about myself. I think it becomes more difficult after you have done tags like this in the past to come up with things you may not have already mentioned. I will give it a try:

1. I am addicted to a needle and thread. I really do have to spend even just a little time each day working either on some stitching or quilting. It affects my mood. I feel a day is not complete when I have not had that needle and thread to hand.

2. I have so many ideas in my head of things I want to make that I would have to live to be at least 300 years old to try them all out.

3. I love chocolate. I confess that I have a little dark chocolate just about each and every day.

4. I love being alone. Being sociable is fun but I need time to myself. I have always been a bit of a hermit and dream of living on the Shetland Islands being shut off to the world for periods of time. That doesn't mean I don't want any contact. I will take my computer and all my online friends with me!

5. I rarely just sit still with nothing in my hands. I always have some needlework on hand as I find it hard to sit and talk on the phone or watch a film or even talk on the computer with family. I have needlework in various places and I pick it up whenever I can.

6. I dream of one day owning chickens. I just think they are so cute and would love to open my door and see them running to greet me.

7. Finally, one that reflects on one of Nancy's facts. While I am not afraid to drive on the highway, I will avoid it whenever possible. I love taking longer and driving on country roads. I love driving through pretty villages and countryside for the atmosphere which means I will gladly take twice as long to get somewhere.

I am not going to tag anyone as so many of you have already been tagged. If you want to do this, then please consider yourself tagged by me.

The photo above is a quilt I made for my mother back in 2002. I called her Matilda after the nickname my nieces call me. I made her a patchwork Tic~tac~toe game to match it but unfortunately don't have a photo of it. I thought it would be nice to share another Halloween quilt I made with you.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Progressing along.....

I have been really busy these last few weeks but am unable to share any of the finishes since they are Christmas gifts and exchange gifts. I will share photos later in the year after the items have been received. It is no fun to have to keep these things a secret as I love sharing the photos. I did want to show a few things I am working on.

Here is the most adorable stanley knife I have ever seen. Not the boring old ones in your DHs toolbox. Up to now I have used a cheap orange plastic hobby knife to cut my board for things like pinkeeps. When I was out on Tuesday, I found this one. Sorry the photo is blurred. Can you believe I took around 10 photos of which all were blurred! This is just a good bit of fun for my quilt studio.

I do have to confess that I spent far too much time behind the computer this week. I talked online with my family and Jos who is in England at the moment. That meant more time here than normal and I decided to leave this stitching project beside the computer. When I am talking with them, I work on it. It is not a fast moving project though and I need to devote more time to it. This will become a little pillow for the bed. It will go really well with the quilt I made.

Here are a few new fobs I made with the charms and beads I bought this week. My mother and both nieces want one so I am working on them. Since they are a 'just because' gift and not really a surprise, I am showing them. One of these is for Mandie and the other for Kristy. I have to put my mother's together differently and have not started it yet. I also made a fob to give away for my other birthday's blog in November. It is great to have it done ahead of time. This way, I can drop it in the mail as soon as the winning name is drawn.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A day out.....

I seem to be absent on my blog right now. I am stitching away and will share a progress photo tomorrow but today I was really absent. I went to Elburg with my friend Sonja again. Here is a photo of one of the houses in this fortressed village. It is such a pretty village to walk around and there are a number of wonderful shops along with some great cafes to stop for lunch or coffee and tea.

We first went to the shop that carries only beads which I have told you about before on the blog. We decided we needed to dress more of our scissors. We get carried away and spent about 2 hours searching for the right combinations. Then on the way back to the car, we stopped in once more for me to pick up a few more for an idea I had. It will be announced for my other blog CelebrateTheSeasons' birthday in November.

Yes, mother, I did it again! I have a real thing for pretty shawls! I can't pass a shop selling shawls without stoppng to have a look. Funny but Sonja says I stop in mid~sentence if someone walks by me wearing a pretty shawl. This pretty one in my hands is cashmere and silk and was a bargain at only 10 euro.

We had a delicious bowl of Dutch split pea soup for lunch but with all this shopping, we had to do the Dutch thing and go have a cup of tea and apple pie to refresh us from our retail therapy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Strawberry pincushions pattern

After reading Angela's comment, I thought I would give you all the link for this pincushion. It is online and if you paste this site you will be able to print out the templates:

I did change the way I attached the top. I gathered the top of the strawberry with a large enough opening to insert the knot of a piece of cord for the stem. I filled mine with batting not sand but you could use anything including potpourri or lavender. Then I simply tacked it down on the inside of each of the curves. This leaves the green slightly bowed which I thought was a cute effect.

Clearing up old projects.....

I am in the midst of clearing up old projects be it stitching, quilting or sewing. I have so many things I want to do that I start 1001 things at once. I am not allowing myself to start anything new until I have worked through a number of the projects that have been sitting around.

Yesterday, I decided to grab a tote where I have thrown a number of my stitching projects in unfinished. I sorted through things and got out an adorable French freebie I started while I was on vacation last May in the Alsace. I really want to finish this sweet little design as it is going to be my next pillow on our bed. I took it with my for my lacemaking evening as I had already finished the lace ornament we were working on.

In the bottom of that tote, I found this little strawberry. I had sewn it over a year ago but never put the green top on it. I promptly took a short break to sew the green on. How silly! It only took me about 10 minutes to finish and it sat in that tote forever waiting to be done. It feels great to get a few of these projects finished. I know I am not alone in wanting to start far too many things at once. It seems to be an 'illness' all stitchers/quilters suffer from.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Things I do while I chat to my mother.....

Each day, my mother and I talk online at a deligated time. Even though we are an ocean apart, we are very close by using this method. It is a great way to feel like you are not so far away. You also have time daily to catch up on each other's news. Last night, we got online twice to talk as my niece and her daughter were going to come online too. I decided to work on a scissor fob while we talked. I had bought these beads and charms a while back now and finally purchased the pliers needed to make the fob. I had borrowed a friend's when I made my first fob. This one is for Christmas. I love the Christmas tree charm and found the prettiest and glittery silver round beads that really add sparkle to this fob. If you click on the photo, you can really see them well.

I have loved the suggestions for my doll's quilt name! Thanks for them all. If you still think of one, let me know. I will try and put a label on the little quilt this week.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Doll's quilt finish

A quilter's life is never easy! Look what I have to contend with ~ LOL! Dagi, my quilt tester, will test any quilt no matter the size. He jumped onto this doll's quilt when I stood up and put it on my footstool. When I came back, he was giving me his Clint Eastwood impression ~ "Go ahead, make my day". I did get it away from him so that I could finish quilting it.

Here is the finished doll's quilt. This quilt is done with scraps from my scrapbox including purples, reds, black and I choose a mustard for the wide border. I wanted this quilt to have a vintage look to it. Many of the fabrics are reproduction fabrics. I have not decided on a name for it yet so it doesn't have a label yet. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Some spring cleaning and a couple of finishes!

As I mentioned before, the results of me being an elf in Santa's workshop is one very messy quilt studio. It is so bad that I would have been totally embarrassed to show you photos of it. I am really not kidding! I decided I needed to make some space to be able to walk after almost falling over piles and mess. I must admit that I have cheated a bit and much of the mess is transferred to the guest room to be sorted. Good thing my mother is not on her way to visit. LOL! I am making progress.

I did cheat a bit and did two quick finishes. Firstly, I found this small piece of stitching that I did about 16 years ago. I figured this little primitive angel needed to become a pinkeep so I put her together earlier this week. She still did not have any ribbon or pins so I took a 'break' from the work for some fun and finished her off.

The backing fabric is a simple blue polkadot with a soft blue ribbon and blue and white pins. I topped it off with a bow of white and blue ribbon.

This is a piece of a bread cloth I had also sewn about 16 or more years ago. The cloth had become just too stained and I cut the little design off and have turned this little ghost into an ornament for my Halloween tree. If you click on the photos you can see the details. I fringed him and then sewed it to a square of black felt.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Acorn pincushion

It has been a few days since I posted another pincushion. Here is the newest one which I made today. It is an acorn. I first made the 'body' of the acorn and gathered and stuffed a piece of wool tweed for the cap. I am really pleased with how it has turned out. I hope to pick the pace back up on making these little pincushion creations but have to sew the ones which were won on my give~aways. I have one almost finished and should be able to send it out tomorrow. I will let the winners know when their pincushions are on the way.

"Lady Autumn, Queen of the Harvest,
I have seen You in the setting Sun
with Your long auburn tresses
blowing in the cool air that surrounds You.
Your crown of golden leaves is jeweled
with amber, amethyst, and rubies.
Your long, flowing purple robe stretches across the horizon.
In Your hands You hold the ripened fruits.
At Your feet the squirrels gather acorns.
Black crows perch on Your outstretched arms.
All around You the leaves are falling.
You sit upon Your throne and watch
the dying fires of the setting Sun
shine forth its final colors in the sky.
The purple and orange lingers
and glows like burning embers.
Then all colors fade into the twilight.
Lady Autumn, You are here at last.
We thank You for Your rewards.
We have worked hard for these gifts.
Lady Autumn, now grant us peace and rest."
~~ Deirdre Akins ~~

Note to Angela ~ The stuffed bear is a black cat and the sweater is one he came in. It was a gift from my sister years ago. She wrote on the tag which you can still see attached to its paw. I left it on there and am now so very glad I did!

Note to Carolien van Boven ~ Wat leuk dat je zo mijn blog hebt gevonden! Toevallig dat je ook uit Amersfoort komt. Ik hoop dat je nog vaker een 'comment' achter zou willen laten want ik waardeer alle commentaar. Bedankt!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Toadstool pincushion tutorial

This is an Amanita muscaria or more commonly called fly agaric or in Dutch “Vliegenzwam”. I took this photo near our cottage last year in October. These are the most unique toadstools that almost don't look real.

Here is my pincushion version of this toadstool. In this pincushion, the white glass headed pins create the white spots of the real toadstool. I have created a step~by~step photo tutorial for you to try making this pincushion yourself:

Using a saucer from a coffee or tea cup measuring 5 inches, trace and cut out a circle of red felt.

With red thread, baste a line about 1/4 inch from the edge of the circle. This is not rocket science so we don't have to be exact. Just stay as even as possible and be sure to not make your stitches too large so they will gather easily. Don't forget to leave a tail at the start and finish of the stitching to be able to pull the thread. I make a rather large knot to start so I can pull it back easily when it comes time to gather. These stitches will not be seen in the finished pincushion.

Gather the seam forming a flat ball by pulling carefully on both ends of the thread.

When the ball is formed to the desired size, knot the ends and stuff with your filling. Your cap should be well stuffed as this is where the pins will go in. Since I am using what I have on hand for these pincushions, I am cutting up an inexpensive quilt batting to fill my pincushion.

Measure the bottom of your stuffed mushroom cap. Mine measured 2 inches.

Cut a square of white felt to that measurment.

Fold this square in half and then again in half and cut a quarter circle. This is a bit like the paper snowflakes you maybe made as a child.

Pin this circle in place over the red mushroom cap and sew in place.

Be sure to take a deep enough stitch that the felt is secure. By clicking on this and all the photos, you should be able to see the detail.

The white is now sewn to the top.

Cut a piece of white felt 2-½ x 3 inches. Fold this piece in half so that it measures 2-1/2 X 1-1/5 inches. Sew a seam down the long edge and around the bottom edge forming an L shape. Be careful to backstitch the beginning and end to make sure it is secure.

Now press the bottom seam flat and take a couple of stitches diaginally. Do this on both sides of this bottom seam. This will give the stem some extra depth.

Turn the stem right side out using a unsharpened pencil to push out the corners.

Stuff the stem with your filling but not totally up to the top. You leave just a bit unstuffed. As you place the stem on the cap and push it slightly, the felt will give you a slight edge to stitch it to the cap.

Now place white glass headed pins into the cap to create your spots and there you have it! Your very own fall toadstool. I hope you have as much fun creating this as I did designing it. Please let me know if you make one as I would love to see it!

*** This is dedicated to Andrea, my CHL list sister, who's questions about how to find these patterns gave the idea of doing one of the pincushions as a tutorial. I am so flattered that people like these enough to want to make them too. ***

Monday, October 01, 2007

And the winner is.....

Angela who guessed 6 out of 7. Congratulations Angela!
Here is the second pincushion which is a fall leaf. Just about everyone guessed a leaf. Here are the ones I have picked for my seven pincushions:


I was surprised that only one person came up with a squirrel. This made the deciding factor for you Angela.

I have decided to do one of the pincushions as a tutorial this week. I got the idea from Andrea on my homekeeping list who asked about where she could buy these patterns to make them herself. I am making them up literally as I go along. I am going to use the toadstool pincushion for the turtorial as I think my idea of how to put this one together will be simple and there will be no need for you to have a drawn pattern to follow. You will need red and white felt, white glass headed pins and filling. Join me later this week for this tutorial.

In the meantime, check back with me tomorrow for the next pincushion revealed.....

October resolutions

If you read my other blog, perhaps you already read about wanting to make a sort of New Year's Day out of the first of the month. I am making some resolutions about things I was at achieve for this month. My quilt studio is a disgrace! It was bad before but when I started working on Christmas gifts and added the inspiration to make all the pincushions.....well, let's say that the room should now be condemned. It is beyond messy. I have little space to move and am really in need of reorganization.

One problem has been that I have partially sorted and set apart things that need doing. One thing is a couple of quilts made some time ago which I did not label. It has become a pet peeve for me that I did not document my earlier quilts. I now do each quilt as it is completed or I cannot call it finished. This saves on wasted energy like I had this morning with the quilt you see above. It is the first on my list. I had to search for the date I made this quilt. I did it back in 2005.

Once I discovered the date, I made a quilt label for it which took only mintues as I decided to use a premade label I had in my drawer. From now on, I will be labeling each one as part of the quilting process.

It is so important to be sure you document a quilt for future generations. I am going to start labeling the back on my needlework now too. I can simply create a label to attach to the back of a frame. One of the advantages to blogging, is we can look back and see there when we finished projects. I never used to keep a journal but now see it is not a bad idea after all.

*** Please continue to guess for the autumn pincushion give~away on the previous post. I will be announcing who guessed the most correctly when I have the next pincushion sewn which should be later on tonight. See you then..... ***