"Buttons and patches and the cold wind blowing,
The days pass quickly when I am sewing"
~Author Unknown

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Finishing old goals and setting new ones.....

Is anyone else out there in blogland working on finishing up any of your handwork goals set for 2009? I am pleased to say that I finished another of my quilt UFOs just in the nick of time. And I am thrilled with the results too.

Each year in July, we hold a Christmas in July evening for my quilt group. I try to give them a project to inspire them to get started on handmade gifts for the upcoming holiday. A number of years ago, I had the ladies bring in scraps of neutral fabrics. They sewed a patchwork top that evening choosing one of three sizes. I then gave them a challenge to decorate the patchwork using applique or any other technique they choose. I had to sew the three sample sizes and finished one immediately for my mother with a snowman which I unfortunately do not have any photos of. The second is partially done and is still on my UFO list. But I was suddenly inspired to work on this one as a way to use some of my vintage handmade lace I purchased in Brugge, Belgium. It was the perfect way to display this lace and give a winter feel to my home. I am calling this quilt Winter Lace.

The laces were double edged which made them perfect to 'quilt' onto the seams of the patchwork.

A few thank you's needing said for the ornaments I received as gifts in the mail. Ria sent me a cute little primitive wooden angel and Donna sent me a glass ornament in the shape of a toadstool. Thank you both for your thoughtfulness and these will become a treasured part of our Christmas tree.

I am satisfied with my goals achieved this year. I did get a good deal finished in spite of being sick most of this year. I find setting goals works well for me. It encourages and challenges me but I am also able to let go of my goals if they become unachievable. Do you set handwork goals each year? Have you been able to achieve many of the things you had on your list for 2009? Have you created a new list of goals for 2010?

And now for a little giveaway for the end of this year. Remember the coasters I had been making to give away in the name of stash reduction? I have 10 pieces of fabrics from various coasters leftover. They are scraps that I could place in my own scrap box but I thought it would be fun to share them with someone else. They are small pieces but work well for scrap projects or backing ornaments. This packet of fabrics would work well for quilters or stitchers alike. Just leave me a comment telling me about our goals achieved and those you hope to achieve on this post. I will choose a winner this weekend.

In the meantime, I wish you a very Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas excitement!

Yes, my home is buzzing with Christmas crafting excitement! And here is why...

My Sinterklaas quilt is finished. I have fallen in love with this little table quilt so much so that I am already looking forward to November 2010 and being able to set it out on my table when Sinterklaas arrives back in Holland once again.

Since I decided to use our quilt group's charm theme for this quilt, I wanted the quilt work to be visible and yet not over the top. After all, your eye has to see all those various fabrics. So I pulled out my gold metallic quilting thread yet again and quilted some simple lines. Now if you use metallic quilt thread, you must use larger quilt stitches in order for the quilting to show up well.

But what to do about that black fabric I used as a border? I needed something to bring out all those charms even more. This fabric did just the job. Now how to quilt it? All the little berry like shapes on it gave me the idea for freehand quilting half circles in varying sizes all around the border. And so another finish for 2009 is the first excitement!

Dagi had maybe too much excitement yesterday for his 12th birthday. Poor little old man. I am tempted to simply lay down beside him for a Christmas cuddle but no I have to share my next excitement...

I love nutcrackers! When I learned to drive at 16 I started going to see the Nutcracker ballet each year. I went each year for very many years until my health prevented me from being able to sit through the length of the ballet. Now I watch various versions on video for the holidays each year.

This year, I did not decorate as much as I normally do and most of my nutcracker collection has remained packed away. I pulled out only a few.

While browsing on eBay, I was inspired with a fun idea. I have a number of nutcrackers ornaments on my Christmas tree. This set below were a gift from my mother and when I found this...

...a deliciously pink feather tree for only 1,99 British pounds (lets not discuss the cost of postage), I knew exactly what I would do with it. The things I show in the photo with the ornaments are a hint.

So I am very excited to get started on this project but I will not say too much more about it. Come back soon and see what I do with this tree. I will share progress on my nutcracker tree as I go. Until then, my lips are sealed. *grins*

On this Christmas eve, as I sit here by my festive Christmas tree with the glow of candles, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gifts in life.....

Friends are true gifts in life! Never have I felt that more so than this month. I feel so lucky to have many friends who share my passion for needle and thread.

The postman brought me a wonderful package all the way from Canada. Humm...do elves also live in Canada? I think they must because they also live in Holland. *grins*

This elf made me a beautiful sewing pocket using pink ribbon fabrics.

And on the inside, the pink ribbon continues with these amazing pair of stork scissors in the pink ribbon theme.

I love the ric rac trim added inside and out. Does this elf have a name? Why yes...Kaaren. Thank you so much dear friend!

For some reason this photo did not get on the slideshow after I downloaded it. Dagi joined the party and even had his own chair. He knew which girlfriend to corner as Bep was sharing her wonderful home smoked salmon with him. Albertha's husband smoked it especially for our Christmas party and it tasted amazing.

Saskia and Joke made me the sweetest gift this year. This little miniature armoire is so cute but wait...
...because when you open it, you find a little stash cupboard complete with bolts of fabric, a basket of necessities, quilts and an afghan. And that afghan was knitted on little sate sticks by Joke. Thank you both for this magical gift! I am looking forward to sharing another new year of quilting fun with you both.

If you want a glimpse of the handsome man in Saskia's life *wink* then you can check out my other blog here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Join our Christmas party!

Last night was our annual Christmas party for my quilt group. Come on in and join us!

Each year, I give the ladies a theme in August or September to start working on a handmade Christmas gift for each other. This year the theme was hearts. They could make anything they wanted as long as it had a heart on it.

The gift I made included to handmade parts. I made a beaded scissor fob using pink heart beads among the others.

I then embroidered a little pink heart shaped case for the scissors.

I totally forgot to take a photo of the gift wrapped all up. Each year now, I am going all out with the wrapping to tempt everyone with my gift. I placed this scissor set in a wooden gift box with beautiful vintage images and wrapped ribbon around it attaching an ornament made of what we call farmer's or poor man's silver (mercury glass). Four of the ladies declared war on each other to keep that gift. In the end, they had all the rest of us laughing to the point of tears as it came down to the last two who literally fought over the gift as one was allowed to steal it when her name was pulled and the other was trying to hide it. What is it each year about us having our Christmas party that reduces all of us to giggly school girls have a ball?

Enjoy the slideshow. It is long as I included everyone's photo this year but if you look, you will see glimpses of the gift box and the fun.

And what about my gift? I got Elly's beautiful handmade wool scarf. I just adore it and it was the perfect gift for me to receive. I have a passion for scarfs. It has already been put to good use as we went to the city center today in the snow and it kept me nice and warm. Thanks Elly!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Primitive ornaments SAL - Silent Night

Last January, I started this series of ornaments as freebies on my blog. Where did the year go? It is already December 15th and only 10 days before Christmas. I have a small 3 ft. tree decorated with these little primitive ornaments. I hope you have enjoyed working on these as much as I had the fun of designing them. They were intended to be simple charts that could be stitched up easily in an afternoon. So many are overly busy in this day and age that I wanted to create something that was doable for you. There is still time to stitch a couple up even before this Christmas.

When I sat down to create this last ornament of 2009, this image came immediately to mind. I thought this would be a fitting close to the SAL. Who does not love the soft tones of this beautiful Christmas song?

But just days ago, I received an email from Hetty to thank me for the designs and tell me that her father had just passed away so the coming days were busy with arranging things for his funeral. I got goose pimples thinking of the design I was going to put on the blog today. It seemed so fitting for her right now. I want to dedicate this ornament to Hetty and wish her strength this week as well as peace in her heart over the loss of her father. And Hetty, it is you who should be thanked for faithfully stitching my ornaments and being a friend.

To print the chart, simply click to enlarge and either copy to an email or Word.

Hetty's (no blog) Sleigh Rides is adorable with the addition of the little rusty jingle bells.

Her ornament collection is complete and ready for the holidays.

Jackie contacted me recently that she had been stitching my ornaments. When she sent the the photo of her first one finished, all I could say was WOW! Primitive goes elegant!

And this version of Figgy Pudding is so sweet! I love the apron Alma VerĂ³nica made.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

(Ma)tilda's Christmas...

Last year, as the holiday approach all too fast as they seem to do each year once again, I put a little project aside. It was a little design I saw in the the book 'Tildas Julehus'. I love the cupcake designs she has. This was appliqued onto a piece of fabric. I decided it would look really cute done in wool felt instead. When I got to the words, I had to think of a way to transfer the words onto the wool felt. At this point, Christmas was on the doorstep and my little project got set aside to become a UFO.

I want to get some old projects done. I started them because I love them and need to get some finished before I start all too many more. So out came my little cupcake or pupcake as my little grand niece Zoe so sweetly calls them. I then realized the answer was quite simple. Just trace the words onto a piece of pattern tracing paper and pin it into place. Stitch the words, pull the paper away carefully and voila...

I also changed it from just a round cloth to a shape of the look of the yummy icing on the cupcake. I first added beads and then cut the wavy edge. Then added yet another piece of wool felt behind in a winter white using a hole-punch-thingie-bobber to add a bit of an accent. Hole-punch-thingie-bobber you ask? I still have no idea what it is officially called but you use it to punch holes in a leather belt. You know you have been married a long time when you ask you husband where he has put his hole-punch-thingie-bobber and he goes and gets it for you. *grins*

Doesn't this felt look like a chocolate cake? It was sent to me a couple of years ago by my friend Diane in Michigan. Thanks Diane because it was perfect for this project.

If you are not familiar with the books (I myself only have two of them) by Tone Finnanger, she is a Norwegian designer and her books are a real treat. They in themselves are books you will want to look through over and over. But don't stop there and create a Tilda treat for yourself.

The cupcake cloth has Merry Christmas in three languages and looks really nice laying in a dish for part of my holiday decorations.

While I was finishing this, I was thinking of my two nieces Kristy and Mandie who call me Aunt Matilda. It started as a joke when their mother told them that Aunt Heidi could not be mean if she tried. So Aunt Matilda was born. Funny that it never seemed to work and the girls just laughed at Aunt Matilda. Ah...memories... But what better name for this project than Matilda's Christmas cupcake?

I used the random generator and the winners of the coasters are:
AngelaS wins set 1
Caroline wins set 2

Congratulations to you both. I have yours ready to drop in the mail Angela. I hope you can email Caroline with your address so I can send your coasters to you.

Is anyone else walking around singing Suzy Snowflake? I love this cheerful song so if you don't have your speakers on, put them on to hear it.

Edit note: The cupcake cloth is NOT the giveaway prize. I have been giving away coasters for a number of weeks now each week on both of my blogs. The winners were to receive a set of coasters each. There is some confusion. I am sorry for this but the winners were drawn to place on this blog entry and as stated in the blog post the winners receive a set of coasters as shown in the previous post.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Look who's in town.....

Yes, it is almost the big day! Sinterklaas comes to everyone's house and leaves a gift behind tomorrow evening. Well, actually he has already been to my house with the help of the Baker Piet. Right Piet??? *grins*

I can now show you the last motif I stitched for Sinterklaas en reveal the little quilt top I made with them. It is the year of the charm quilt for our quilt group. I am trying to keep to that theme this year so I have used a different fabric for each of the log cabin blocks and the rail fence blocks across the top. There are 62 different fabrics in this little quilt measuring 10 inches by 14 inches.

The extra design is a sweet little freebie from Anneke's blog. I knew when she shared this on her blog that I had to add the Sint's steamboat to the rest of the blocks. Thanks Anneke! It is just perfect with the others.

And you may think steamboat? Yes, no reindeer for the Dutch St. Nicolaas. He arrives from Spain mid November by steamboat with his white horse. He rides across the rooftops helped by not his elves but his helpers Zwarte Pieten (black Peters). The gifts are left on the eve of December 5th, lowered from the rooftops in a burlap bag.

This will be the last sets of coasters to be given away as the next giveaway will be a charm pack of the fabrics I have used. It will be a fun thing to use for quilters or stitchers alike.

Here is the first set...

...and the second. Just leave a comment on this blog entry to be eligible for the drawing. If you don't have a blog, you must be willing to give me your email address in order for me to contact you about your win. Good luck to everyone!

For everyone here in Holland.....Een fijne Sinterklaas feest toegewenst!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The tale of two witches.....

And not any two witches! These two are very good witches who's motto is 'Have broom, will travel' and are good friends. Broomhilde lives in Missouri and Nag lives in Ohio. They keep in good touch with each other sending message back and forth across their brooms. They both love their black hats and talking about the oldest models of broomsticks. They both keep a watchful eye on me from a distance which is great when you are a kind and good witch. One of these witches was born on Halloween (yes I was very late) so what could be more fitting...

...than an orange and black witch's scissor fob for her birthday. I could never leave the other witch out of course so Nag had to have one too. Have you guessed the identity of these two witches? Broomhilde's blog is here and Nag's here.

Now before anyone thinks shock and horror that I called my mother Nag, it was her initials when my father was still alive. We all lovingly teased her about it and, well, what better name for a witch?

Just to update you on my tooth, the tooth came out very easily after the terror of being at the surgeon. He and his assistant were so kind to me and gave me all the time I needed being so afraid. The tooth slid out perhaps because of all the infection making it loose? I noticed that there was a little wire or needle sticking out of the tooth as he removed it but forgot afterwards to ask about it or even if I could have the tooth. That was not part of the root canal was it? My dentist was obviously correct when he first took me on as a patient and did full mouth xrays. He said he thought there was a needle or metal thread broken off during the root canal causing the infection. The dentist who did the root canal was awful! I am petrified now to have any dental work done.

Unfortunately, the stitches ripped within two hours of being home but the surgeon says it should be fine. I must admit as much as I love stitching myself, it was not something I needed to see so I closed my eyes when he started this part. I am very sore now in my jaw and have difficulty in swallowing but that is all normal and should pass in three days according to the booklet he gave me. So this week, I am taking it very easy and sitting on the couch stitching. I am glad that part is behind me now and will see my dentist this month to have a bridge made.

Thanks to you all for your kind thoughts and prayers!