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

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jolly Monday with Mary...

It is another jolly Monday with Mary! And let's step in time.....

"Step in time, step in time
Come on, mateys, step in time
Step in time
Step in time, step in time
Step in time, step in time
Never need a reason,
Never need a rhyme
Step in time, you step in time!"

Can you see the chimney sweeps dancing among the chimney pots? I was thrilled to see Mary up among the chimney pots herself.

"Round the chimney!
Round the chimney, step in time
Round the chimney, step in time
Never need a reason,
Never need a rhyme
Round the chimney, step in time!"

Speaking of time, I am enjoying "Enjoy your time" from Blue Ribbon Designs. I just love working with the Needle Necessities thread and hope to get up to the LNS in Roden in the coming months to buy some ThreadworX which is the replacement thread for this company. It has been a joy to stitch with so I guess you could say that I am taking this saying literally. *wink*

What about you? Are you enjoying your time with needle and thread? We are back to cold and snow so the perfect weather to sit indoors and stitch. So many are having a more severe winter and I am wondering if you are noticing that you are getting more done now as a result? No matter where you are or what your weather...enjoy your time!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fun finishes...

Sometimes you have those fun finishes that you just put off for far too long. This is one of them. I first mentioned this piece back on my old blog NeedleNecessities in January of 2007. I just found this old piece among my things and decided that it was time to update it.

I had stitched this piece before I even immigrated to Holland so well over 23 years ago. I framed it in a cheap and ugly frame when I moved over here to use in my kitchen. I thought it would make a cute double sided pinkeep. You can find my step by step photo instructions on my old blog StitchingTogether. Pinkeeps are not difficult to make and a great way to showcase your stitching. I have a tray in my quilt studio with my pinkeeps which I go through and pull out seasonal ones to decorate with in my home.

So my first stitching UFO for this year has taken this drab piece and turned it into...

...this fun and decorative one.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fabrics with Jane!

Thank you all so very much for your kind comments about my first UFO finish. I wanted to share with you my next UFO. It is one that I had started a couple of years ago but, due to far too many things going on with my quilt group, I have neglected.

A couple of years about Makower UK came out with a line of fabrics called the Jane Austen collection. I love the collection and ordered a number of the fabrics immediately.

The fabrics were inspired by the quilt that Jane and her sister Cassandra made. It is still in her home in Chawton which is a museum. I have been fortunate enough to have been there a couple of times. It is amazing to walk through her home knowing she sat there and wrote or visited with others over a cup of tea. Of course, speaking of tea, even Jos enjoyed going to Chawton due to the excellent care of the lady who owns the tea shop across the lane. She had him supplied with a nice pot of tea and the newspaper.

I also started working on a reproduction of this quilt many years ago but lacking enough fabrics at the time for it, it too has become neglected. *sigh* This was in a time when I did not have as much stash as I now have. One day I will pick this project back up again too.

This was one of the first projects on my list of UFOs to finish this year as I really love this unique project. Makower UK also created the pattern for the Pride and Prejudice quilt. I put on my Pride and Prejudice audio book to get really into the mood and start working on my patchwork. I had it completed up to the triangle borders before it became a UFO. But no longer! I have completed the next two borders with one more to go. I am really excited to get this one ready to sandwich and start the quilting.

"Her needlework both plain and ornamental was excellent, and she might have put a sewing machine to shame."

~James Edward Austen-Leigh speaking about Jane Austen

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Happy in two's!

That is me on this Sunday evening! Happy in two's as the animals are ready to enter Noah's Ark. My first UFO is finished for 2010. This one was a fun way to start a new year of quilting. As I mentioned, I created a charm quilt out of these stitchery blocks. It contains 138 different fabrics. Thanks so much to Lynette for a very fun stitchery set!

And since I count a quilt as really finished only when I have sewn on the label, I did that the moment I finished the binding. Now I have my first of six UFOs completed for my yearly goal. Reason for a happy dance indeed.

Enjoy a child's rhyme about Noah and the animals and have a great Sunday!

Now in come the animals two by two
Hippopotamus and kangaroo.
Now in come the animals three by three
Two big cats and a bumble bee
In come the animals four by four
Two through the window and two through the door.
In come the animals five by five
Four little sparrows with their red breasts white

Well, here come the animals six by six
The elephant laughin' at the monkey's tricks
In come the animals seven by seven
Four from home and the rest from heaven.
In come the animals eight by eight
Some was on time but the others was late
Now in come the animals nine by nine
Some was a'shoutin' and some was a'cryin'.

In come the animals ten by ten
Five black roosters, five black hens
Now Noah says, "Go shut that door
The rain's started droppin' and we can't take more."

Friday, January 15, 2010

It has happened again!

Last year, I caught a bad case of startitis but this year it has really taken hold. I should be busy working away on my hand quilting of Noah's Ark. And I am as you can see...

I am also going along well with my Mary Poppins so much so that my head is spinning with my finishing idea. I am excited and hoping it will all come together as I have planned.

But I also have had 5 charts from Blue Ribbon Designs sitting in my stash waiting for me for ages. I even purchased the 5 frames I want to use for these. The frames are plain oak so I wanted to play around with aging some linen. I never see anyone is blogland working on these sayings, yet I just adore them. Such great reminders in life to live now and be cheerful. But startitis has taken hold as I said so I dug them out along with my frames. I had to figure out which count of fabric would produce a result that they would all 5 fit. I will have to play a little with one of the designs but I ended up with 34 count and am stitching them 1/1. I also pulled out my overdyed thread that Clare had sent me one year for my birthday. It is from Needle Necessities and the first time I have used this thread. I really like it and the colors are so perfectly autumnal. Just what I love!

So off I went with my needle, last night, to just get a little start made as medicine for my startitis. I am loving the look of these letters!

Of course, that was only after I had literally let my fabrics cool down yesterday.*grins* I am not kidding. I started off with scrunching the fabric up and placing it in a tea bath. Then I baked it but did not like the evenness of the dye. I sponged on more tea and then scorched it on our woodstove. The first one frightened me and I pulled it off too soon. I let the others steam more and they came up beautifully aged. Just hope I can get the tea marks off the top of the woodstove when it is cool. *wink*

The woodstove is working overtime here as it is a delightful REAL winter this year. I am loving it and all the cozy stitching time it allows. I had to laugh at how Holland comes to a stand still on some days with a small amount of snow but I am so thankful we have it. I do have to admit that I don't like all the ice on the roads as our city does next to nothing about salting them. Yesteday, it did start to melt away but I have my fingers crossed there will be more to come in February, if not sooner. Yes, perhaps I am a glutton for punishment.

While surfing, I found the cutest new words set to the old familiar song Let It Snow. I think Katrina Werpetinski who wrote this new version is a genius who knows just what we stitchers are like at heart...

One More Row
[to Let it Snow]

"Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But this needlework's delightful,
Since we've no place to go,
One more row, one more row, one more row.

Shows no signs of quitting,
From the comfy place I'm sitting,
I'll just sit here and sew,
One more row, one more row, one more row.

When we finally kiss goodnight,
How I'll hate putting down all my floss,
But if you really hold me tight,
I'll forget stitchin' time lost.

My energy is dying,
But French knots I'm still a-tying,
And as long as there's one to go,
One more row, one more row, one more row."

Thank you all for your kind comments about Mary Poppins and my Noah's Ark stitchery quilt! It means so much to me. Many people commented about the mugs and wondered where I got them. You can find them here. I ordered them years ago and Lonneke designed them herself. She will be getting more in again although I am not sure if she still has the blue ones in production. Just drop her an email to ask.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jolly Monday with Mary!

Well, hello there and thanks for stopping by! I have a cup of hot cocoa all ready for us to enjoy together as we sit and chat...

It has been cold and snowing in Holland. To me, that is the perfect weather sitting sitting inside by our woodstove doing stitching and quilting. Perfect bliss! And of course, Mary Poppins is here as well. She is delightful company. There are always magical things happening in the house when Mary is there...

Each Monday will be a jolly Monday with Mary as I journey on this SAL and then create a special finish for this sweet piece. Remember to put on your speakers and sing along. From the comments when I first shared this piece with you all, many of you surely know the words to these wonderful songs. Isn't it great to be a child again? I wish I had Mary Poppins as my nanny. Just think of the fun cleaning up your toys each evening then! Can you snap your fingers? *wink* I did with my stitching and look at the progress that has been made...

I have entered a challenge with Saskia and Joke from my quilt group. We are going to work this year on UFOs. The first to complete the list will be treated to a high tea by the other two. Now I have a goal of finishing 6 UFOs, Saskia 3 and Joke 4. I do have to ask them if they are doing their by machine as mine are hand quilted and that would mean I have no chance to win so I would have to change my goals. Hand quilting takes much more time.

At any rate, let me share the first of my challenge UFOs. This was a project I had planned on completing last year but, with our new floors being laid, things got side tracked. I finished the last stitchery block last week and completed the patchwork over the weekend. I made this into a charm quilt with a slight twist as the first border around the stitchery blocks is from one fabric, a mustard colored polka dot fabric. There are 138 different fabrics packed into this little quilt. Now to sandwich it so I can start on the quilting.

Are you having a jolly Monday?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Tonight is the first night my quilt group comes over in 2010. Anyone else out there finding 2010 a strange number? I cannot believe 10 years has passed since everyone was so worried about the year 2000 for nothing. My biggest worry now is why is time passing so quickly and how do I ever get all the wonderful projects I have planned done? *wink*

Our new quilt year starts each January with a new theme. This year our theme project is Leanne's House BOM (block of the month). This quilt includes a lot of stitchery blocks and a few with applique. For some of the ladies, this is the first time they will be doing stitchery and they are looking forward to trying it out. I have the first block completed to this stage. I have one more stitchery block to sew and then I can finish up the patchwork. The first block everyone is sewing is traced so I can show them the stitches tonight and they can all start their quilts.

I do hope to show you more results of last years charm quilts theme soon. Many were still working on them. I too am working on two more charm quilts which I hope to finish one very soon.

Now with all this going on, I have neglected my Mary Poppins stitching. This is very poor progress from the last photo!

I have sewed another Job's Trouble block and have two more cut and ready to sew.

Our Christmas decorations are almost all put away and I put up my winter tree once again for the month of January. It is especially fitting this year as Jack Frost has decided to take up residence in Holland for a while. Skating fever has hit the country and I am afraid the only cure is a nice cup of hot cocoa topped with whipped cream! *grins* You can see more of my winter tree on my blog TheCranberryChronicle and my tutorial for making the scarfs for this tree here on my old blog NeedleNecessities.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Meaningful quilt project for 2010....

If you are anything like me, you have a list of projects whether to quilt or stitch that you really want to do some day. I decided that January 1st, 2010 was that some day! One of the quilts that I have admired when seeing antique versions of them is the pattern known as Job's Troubles or Rocky Road To Kansas, the later name often show with a string quilt version. It has 4 inset corners and is better done by hand so I kept putting off working on this one. I needed time to do it.

So what is that old saying? There is no time like the present. After becoming ill in 2009 and still continuing with a struggle to "get things right" in 2010, I think there really is no time like the present! This quilt's name took on a new meaning for me when I went through my health struggles. I am grateful that I have been able to continue to push on in life and have enjoyed my needle and thread even more if that is possible. So I take lessons from Job and keep the faith while I stitch this pretty patchwork pattern together.

I have chosen a cream fabric as my background and only have a half meter of it so when it is used up my quilt size has been determined. I am using reproduction fabrics in reds and pinks against browns and tans. It is a combination I also love in seeing old quilts.

I used the random number generator and it choose comment number 6 which is Elly. Congratulations Elly! I will have your scrap package ready when I see you for our quilt group's Wednesday evening get together.

"Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern; it will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that - one stitch at a time taken patiently and the pattern will come out all right like the embroidery."

~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Friday, January 1, 2010

Jolly holiday with Mary!

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog entry on my other blog about dog sitting for my friend Saskia. Jos took a photo of her dog Rover and I out in the snow while having a walk. A few people remarked that I look like Mary Poppins. *grins*

This has been a little joke between my mother and I that I am Mary Poppins ~ practically perfect in every way ~ due to my being a perfectionist.

By coincidence, I had a new SAL ready to start but was putting it off until the new year. So looking like Mary is a fun thing as the start is...

...this adorable chart from the Mary Poppins blog. Isn't this just wonderful?

I am using DMC 898 and Simply Shaker Sampler threads Mountain Mist. I am using a piece of 20 count evenweave 1 over 1 which I tea dyed myself.

Did any of you grow up loving this movie too? I still love it. Each time I see it, it's like I am seeing it again for the first time. The movie has never lost its magic to me. From the precious story behind Mary Poppins to the incredible music, it is a treat every time. Why not turn up your speakers and sing along?

Ain't it a glorious day?
Right as a mornin' in May
I feel like I could fly
'Ave you ever seen
The grass so green?
Or a bluer sky?

Oh, it's a jolly holiday
With Mary
Mary makes your 'eart so light
When the day is gray
And ordinary
Mary makes the sun shine bright!

Oh 'appiness is bloomin'
All around 'er
The daffoldils are smilin'
At the dove
When Mary 'olds your 'and
You feel so grand
Your 'eart starts beatin'
Like a big brass band
Oh, it's a jolly holiday with Mary
No wonder that it's Mary that we love!

Now then what'd be nice
We'll start with raspberry ice
And then some cakes and tea
Order what you will
There'll be no bill
It's complimentary

Oh, it's a jolly holiday
With you, Bert
Gentlemen like you are few
Though your just a diamond
In the rough, Bert
Underneath your blood is blue!

You'd never think of pressing
Your advantage
For bearance is the hallmark
Of your creed
A lady needn't fear
When you are near
Your sweet gentility is crystal clear!
Oh, it's a jolly holiday with you, Bert
A jolly, jolly holiday with you!