Thursday, May 29, 2008

The excitement of new projects

Yes, I have a basket full of stitching WIPs.....
Yes, I have hangers and racks full of quilt UFOs.....
.....but there is such an excitement in starting new projects which makes me do just that when I should be working on an old one.

My step~father made me two more wooden hornbooks and brought them with him on his visit. I have the first one stained and ready for me to design a new little sampler for it. Part of the fun of these is designing your own front. You can see the first one I made here. I will show you more as it comes along.

This is all I can show you of this project. My stitching list is have a secret swap who's theme is 'Good ol' Summertime'. The swap gift has to be handmade but can be anything. Then we also include a floss in a color that says summertime to us. Once this gift is finished and received, I will share the total photos of it with you so stay tuned.

After our stitching get together, I was just too tired to concentrate on my quilting or stitching. I have been wanting to try making square yoyos for some time now and thought this was a perfect time. It was something I could do without have to really concentrate. For my yoyos, I used a charm pack by Moda. It is 'Dandelion Girl' by Fig Tree Quilts. I love the summer look of these fabrics.

As you can see, the yoyos are ready to be sewn together. I will share a photo of the progress on this project with you next week.

In the meantime, my blogging friend Carolien is coming over this morning so I must be off. We are going to stitch and chat over tea and lunch. I hope you have an inspiring and productive Thursday!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Giving and receiving.....

I love to give gifts to my friends. I think there is no better way to say someone is special to you than making a gift for them too. So when my friend Sonja was having a birthday coming up, I decided to buy her this pretty tapestry tote while in Brugge for her stitching. I wanted to do something personal to it for her and made a zipper fob. Since the tote is sunflowers (a favorite of hers), I made a fob using the colors in the bag and a butterfly. I filled the bag with a few handwork goodies too. Happy birthday again Sonja and thanks for the wonderful high tea yesterday afternoon!

I wanted to share a few of the fabulous things I was given as gifts when we held our stitching get together here in Holland. Joni made me a scissor fob with these beautiful warm, earthy tones and a brass key charm, Angela made me a tulip pinkeep with the date 2008 as a remembrance and Hazel made a pinkeep with a potted tulip sampler motif...

...and on the back are all our names including Jos' and the year. Thank you so much ladies for the wonderful gifts to remember you by!

Isn't this sampler so beautiful?!? It was also a gift from dear Hazel. I was so touched and will cherish it forever. I love samplers and knowing the time and care she put into this one for me, makes it all the more special. I am so proud to hang this sampler in my home Hazel. Thank you very much!

Note ~ Can the person who asked me for help in how to make scissor fobs in the comments from my last post please email me so I can tell you about making them? You can find my contact on my profile page. I am sorry I cannot address you by name as you did not sign your comment.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Our stitching get~together ~ part two

The day the ladies arrived, we drove home and had a simple lunch after exchanging some gifts. We then went to the center of Amersfoort for a trip on the canals. I find our city looks so different when seen from the water level.

We followed a tradition that we have had for years whenever my mother arrives in Holland. Our first night, we got out to the local pancake farm to eat Dutch pancakes. These are similar to crepes only a little larger. They are ordered with your choice of toppings which can be sweet or savoury.

It was so obvious that we have all been emailing for a number of years as we all seemed to really know each other already.

The second day and we drove to the villages of Bunschoten/Spakenburg. These flowers were just outside the museum we visited.

The museum is set up to look as though you are walking through a street in the village and able to peek into the windows of houses and shops. Click on any of the photos to enlarge them and see more details.

That evening we returned home and my quilt group came over to host a Dutch evening and show and tell for the visitors. Each person brought a typical dish or dessert for dinner. A couple of the members of the group explained what each dish was before we started our buffet dinner. After dinner, we shared a number of the quilts done over the years for our quilt themes and classes.

I want to thank all the ladies in the quilt group for making it such a memorable evening!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Our stitching get~together ~ part one

I am only just now starting to feel a bit more rested after our Holland get~together for a couple of members from my online stitching group. It was a fun week in which I think we all became school girls again. I wanted to show them a little of Holland while they were here. I know they themselves as well as others are waiting to see some photos. I only took one photo of us together which my mother already shared so I will share things we did together. This is part one which happens to be the second half of the week they were here. Sorry everyone, but this is a long post.

On Thursday morning, we left to drive up to Cranberry Cottage. We stopped at the village of Staphorst to have some lunch, shop at a place selling Dutch souviners and see the typical Staphorster farms with their distinctive blue and green paint work.

Milk pails and cans drying on a rack at the farm.

The countryside in the north of Holland is exquisite! The people are very friendly and there are so many wonderful things to see. We picked a manor house and went there one morning to sample the atmosphere.

Being truly addicted to handwork, we examined this beautiful patchwork quilt for quite some time. It has left such an impression on me that I have decided to try and replicate it when I get a couple of my UFOs completed. I will begin to plan the size I will use for the triangles and can cut some of them each time I need to get some fabrics out of my stash cupboard. This is going to be an exciting project for me as it will, in a way, be a special rememberance of the get~together.

I love paying attention to details which is why I enjoy manor houses. It is a wonderful way to peek into the past and things like the pretty card above and this table of portraits and silhouettes really caught my eye. If you read my CelebrateTheSeasons blog, you will already know that I love silhouettes so much that I have begun making aged replicas myself.

We stood for a good while admiring these adorable little black sheep and lambs by the roadside.

Off to Brugge on Monday morning to enjoy the sights and shops. Again my readers of the other blog will know that I love wrought iron. This was in a church we stopped in to view after having a delicious three course lunch at a tiny restaurant on the edge of the city.

The stained glass window really explodes with color like a magical quilt or piece of embroidery.

Even though it was 28C and we were all so very hot, I had to take them to experience the special hot chocolate served at The Proverie. It is something not to be missed in Brugge. This lovely picture was hanging over the fireplace behind the table we sat at. I think we were all so busy talking that we did not think to take photos of things we did but you can see it on this link.

There were many swans on their nests by the Minnewater. How sweet to see these mothers with their young.

I took them to a shop I go to each time I visit Brugge where there are many vintage laces, trims and buttons for sale. For anyone who enjoys these things, it is like going into a candy shop as a child and hard to leave again. Right Angela??? This little tea house was just outside of the shop. I was standing at it dreaming I could own such a pretty place to sit and have some tea while stitching or quilting.

We came across this mermaid during a walk and I had to take a photo of it for our friend Margaret. You, Britt and Francoise were with us in spirit dear Margaret!

And with a final glimspe into a beautiful little lane with its historic houses, we walked to the station to pick up our cars and head back home again...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A few handmade gifts...

The get together with some of my online friends has come and gone. It seemed we were only just planning it thinking it was so far away and now before we know it, the time has passed quickly. Jos and I enjoyed showing them a little of Holland. There was some shopping and stash buying along with sightseeing. There was also much laughter. Now all that has turned to memories to be remembered by all of us...

I had a bag of gifts waiting to welcome them to Holland. A couple of things were items I had bought in the last few months. I also included three specially handmade things for them to remember this trip by.

The WIP (work~in~progress) roll above is made of fabrics from the local Dutch costumes worn by the people of the villages of Bunschoten/Spakenburg. I took them to the museum there on Wednesday last week so the fabrics became more poignant after viewing the museum exhibits. I hope these rolls will remind them of us stitching together here in Holland for many years to come as they use them for their projects.

This sweet little pattern is an online freebie which I stitched up with the help of my mother as a door hanger. Thanks for helping me stitch them mother! 'Welkom bij ons' translates literally to 'Welcome by us'.

Last but not least, I ordered some pretty scissors from France and made a blue beaded fob for each of them with a wooden shoes charm.

Note ~ This post was started back on May 11th but I had no time to post it. It is May 15th today and I completed the post so the date is not correct.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Sorry to be away so long.....

Hello my dear friends! I have been so long in posting on my blog. As you know, I have my mother visiting. I am off to the airport tomorrow morning to pick up three of my online friends who are joining us for a week. It is going to be great fun! I have known these ladies for three years but we have never actually met each other. Both my mother and I are looking forward to this time together. I think it is going to be like an adult version of a young girl's slumber party. Let's just hope Jos survives it all. He has taken the whole week off work to chauffeur one of the cars needed for all the sightseeing.

I have been busy working on some items for gifts but have to wait until tomorrow and the ladies have seen them before I can share some photos with you. In the meantime, here is a purse fob I made for another blogging friend. She reads my other blog so I am safe to share this little finish with you. She is a garden lover so I made this with a little butterfly.

I will share the photos of the gifts I made later this week. I am not able to get around to the blogs as I normally do but want to say hello and that I miss you all.