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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Needlework 12 Days of Christmas - 7th day...

On the 7th day of Christmas...

...a cup of tea? *grins*

My mother got the Prairie Schooler chart called Button Up from me and I keep pestering her to start stitching it. She never did but sent me a card with this one section of the chart stitched up. She stitches me things and gives them to me to finish myself. I do have a rather silly mother. *wink* She had done this but the sky was not stitched. Since I knew what I wanted to do with it, I told her she had to stitch the sky in a grey blue for me while she was visiting in November so I could finish it.

I used a small unfinished wood box I already had in my stash which I treated with antique wax. I then glued the stitched on to the front of the box with a trim around the edges (also from my stash) and I now have a cute little tea box to sit on my drainboard for my winter afternoon cup of tea.

Care to join me for a cup of tea?

I was looking back at my list of finishes for 2010. I lost time during September, October and November due to moving but am still pleased with what I accomplished this year. I set out to get 6 UFOs finished but finished 11 in total among the new projects I did this year. I am continuing with the same idea in 2011. I am going to review my UFOs tomorrow to set a new goal for which ones I want to finish within that year. You will hear more about that in the future.

Here is the list of my finishes for 2011:

2010 Quilt/sewing finishes

  • Sewing bag with spool pincushion, scissors and fob for Bep
  • Wool felt scissor holder and fob for Marsha
  • Blues large friendship bag for Marsha
  • Eliza Jane's Nine-Patch doll quilt
  • Pumpkin Fields quilt
  • Strawberries, Cupcakes and Sweets needlebooks - giveaways
  • Strawberries, Cupcakes and Sweets quilt
  • Large friendship bag for Caroline
  • Wool felt scissor holder and fob for Jenny
  • Blue star needlebook - giveaway
  • Little cottage thread holder
  • Teapot Wallhanging
  • The Hand Me Down doll quilt
  • Friendship bag - blue/brown fabrics - giveaway
  • Pollyanna's Pinwheels doll quilt
  • Friendship Bag - summer fabrics
  • Becky's Block doll quilt
  • Pride and Prejudice Quilt - top finished
  • Nutcracker tree
  • Two By Two - Noah's Ark

2010 Stitching finishes

  • Button Up tea box (stitched by my mother and finished by me)
  • Winter Comes Gently
  • Santa Button sampler
  • Ambiance Jardin
  • Nobody Loves Me sampler
  • Good Morning pillow
  • Peppermint Twist
  • Autumn Quaker Row sampler
  • Makkum Flower Sampler
  • Pursue Your Passion saying
  • French Abecedaire sampler
  • With My Needle sampler
  • Enjoy Your Time saying
  • Morton Salt double sided pinkeep

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Needlework 12 Days of Christmas - 6th day...

On the 6th day of Christmas...

...stitching what you love! I was just emailing with Jenny (no blog) about a shared love for things with an alphabet and/or a house on it. Can I add one more thing to that list Jenny? A cat! Last year, I won Olga from Deborah this year and saved it for 2011 since I also got the The Goode Huswife's Book of Designs Vol. 2 for my stash also. And what charts are in this book? Cat and cat samplers. Just adorable...

After all, most days I am stitching with Dagi on my lap so he needs to be honored with his own wall of cat samplers, right? He has been very patient and accepting moving house last month. He is happy now in his new home and wants to spend his days cuddling away here. Yes, that is my cat laying on my couch under my quilt with his head on my pillow. He is a little man with fur. Great personality and a great companion.

I am looking forward to starting this major project of a cat sampler wall. Humm...I think I might have to start looking for more frames. It should be a purr-fect year full of cats.

Are you planning any major stitching projects to start in 2011?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Needlework 12 Days of Christmas - 5th day...

On the 5th day of Christmas...

...quilting friends. I could not make a list of things about this year and my needlework without including my very special group of quilting friends that meet once a month here in my home. We have become a family and I love each one dearly. This past summer they started working in secret to make a house block for me as a surprise. In November, with our first evening here in my new home, they gave me these blocks.

I spent some time pondering what I wanted to do with the blocks. I wanted to set them up in a way that was more interesting that just sewing them together for a house quilt. I finally came up with an idea. Here is a sneak peek with more to come later in January...

"A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be. "
~ Douglas Pagels

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Needlework 12 Days of Christmas - 4th day...

On the 4th day of Christmas...

...planning, research and sewing. Does that sound strange in relation to needlework Christmas thoughts? This is always a very busy time for me. I start the new theme for my quilt group each January. Once our annual Christmas party is over, I go into full swing of preparing for that first month's new theme. Now I love connecting historical themes to my quilting as you have learned reading this blog regularly. It is logical that I try and place that in my newsletters for my group as much as I can.

This year, we are going to all become farmer's wives and create the sampler from this popular book. Everyone is going to put their own twist on it and I am looking forward to seeing how the quilts turn out. I am choosing two or three of the letters from the book each month and we can make one block or more a month to create our quilt by the end of the year. I will be including lots of fun facts about farms in Holland in the newsletters throughout the year. I am spending time doing research now.

I am testing the blocks by sewing those included in this coming month's newsletter. Here are the first few blocks. There are 7 for this month. I decided to start out this sampler with some fabrics I received as a gift from two of the ladies in my group. I will pull more from my stash as I go that work with these. I am going with a combination of browns mixed with blues and pinks or reds. Normally I would mix either the pinks and reds or the blues with brown and not all together. I thought this would be fun to do both and help them to work together by using dark brown later with my sashing. After all...the life of a farmer's wife is never dull I am sure and this represents her many talents.

Edzard Koning Boerin op de Veluwe Farmer's wife in the Veluwe by Edzar Koning

Monday, December 27, 2010

Needlework 12 Days of Christmas - 3rd day...

On the 3rd Day of Christmas...

...inspiration! Sometimes, you see an idea or a chart online and it takes hold of your heart. You cannot seem to put the idea out of your mind. You are compelled to start the first stitch.

I find the online blogging world to be very inspiring. Often I am amazed at the beautiful designs that talented stitchers offer to us all. On Christmas eve, I found this free design on Danybrod's blog and could not get it out of my mind. I immediately thought it would look so nice stitched and placed together with this quilt I made last year. So I started stitching it on Christmas Day. I then remembered a frame I had in my stash and went to look for it. By great fortune, I had already started the design on a stitch count that made it perfect to fit this frame and stand. Today, I framed it ready to use in my January decorating. I like to decorate with a winter theme in January as a transition after the Christmas holidays.

While I was busy stitching, I decided to change the French text to English. I also changed the top line and a few of the snowflakes to make it fit the design. I am so pleased with the results!

Fabric - cream jobelan 26 count, stitched 1/1
Thread - DMC 3021 and 3032

"When snow falls, nature listens."
~ Antoinette van Kleeff

"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather."
~ John Ruskin

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Needlework 12 Days of Christmas - 2nd day...

On the 2nd Day of Christmas...

...yarn and a crochet hook! I always loved feeling yarn in the shops but, when you do not knit or crochet, in the shops it stays. But this year, when I found yarn that was soft and pretty at a shop here called Action, and for only 94 cents per skein, I decided it was time to fulfill a dream to learn to crochet and make my own granny square afghan. I choose purple, light grey, pink and dark grey.

I used this tutorial from a blog and away I went. I am enjoying making them although I feel like I need practice. I want to make this afghan large enough to really wrap up in so I guess practice I will get as I only have 12 made so far...

Can you believe that I am already thinking ahead to the next one from granny hexagons? Humm...maybe I should finish this one first. *grins*

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Needlework 12 Days of Christmas - 1st day...

Today is the first day of the 12 Days of Christmas. I thought it would be fun to reflect on the needlework year past and look forward to the year to come in the coming 12 days. I hope you will join me here or perhaps even decide to create your own 12 Days of Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas...

...a renewal of my bobbinlace hobby has taken place just recently. My mother bought me a black pencil pine tree and small candle lights for my lace ornaments. This is larger than the green tree or white branches I used to use. It also shows the lace so much better! The tree is now standing in my quilt studio.

I am currently working on another ornament which is on my lace pillow. These are some of the ornaments I had made in previous years...

In my quilt studio is a schwibbogen from the Erzgebirge area of Germany. On one of my visits, I was able to buy this Christmas light with the 'official' symbols of the area. You see this in some villages as you enter in a very large form. It contains the figures of the three major industries of the area...a wooden toy maker, miners and a lacemaker.

During that same visit, I bought a bobbinlace pattern for in a schwibbogen. It was not easy to puzzle how to work this pattern but I am still proud and a little amazed that I was able to finish it. I want to give you an idea of how it looks at night so I laid it on the floor lit up. Enlarge the photo to see the lace closer. Jos called the man in Germany that makes the wooden frame as one of my lights has burned out as you see and we are not able to replace it here in Holland. He is kindly going to send me a couple of extra lights.

For me, Christmas is complete when I can use my needlework throughout my house to create a festive feeling in our home.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Here comes Santa Claus!

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus Lane
Vixen and Blitzen and all his reindeer pulling on the reins
Bells are ringing, children singing, all is merry and bright
Hang your stockings and say your prayers 'cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

Yes and just in time! I finished my Santa Button sampler yesterday. It needed a night to let the glue set before I could reveal my finish...

I used green buttons to match a color green thread used and also had this frame in my stash which worked really cute with this design. I found out that it was not a regular frame so I had to think of a way to make it work. I made a top half of a pinkeep and glued it into the opening. You can find my step by step pinkeep instructions here on this old blog. I left the instructions there as I often hear the people are still using them.

I hope your Christmas eve is full of wonder and magic as well as a little needlework. I am going to start my needlework 12 Days of Christmas as of tomorrow. If you can join me, please do.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas fun!

Yesterday evening our annual Christmas party was here for my quilt group. There seemed to be more excitement this year as we had Secret Sisters. We were all anxious to find out who our Secret Sister was when we got our handmade gift from her.

I had Bep as my Secret Sister. She loves batik fabrics so I bought them especially for her. What I had left after I made her gift, I folded up and wrapped with a ribbon for her to keep.

I sewed a folded bag for her to keep her thread and scissors together as she quilts and inside...

A large wooden spool wrapped with a crazy quilt pincushion pad...

which holds a pair of scissors with a beaded fob to make the pincushion and bag.


Enjoy a slideshow of all the members with the gifts they received. As you can see on their faces, everyone really enjoyed their gifts and rightly so. There were many beautiful things made. You can click on the slideshow to see the photos larger. We had a wonderful meal and I had fun creating games and giving out many gifts. It hardly seems possible that another quilt year is already coming to an end.....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Busy as an elf!

Yep...that's me! I have been busy stitching on my Santa button sampler which I will share in another post again. I thought I would show you some other things I have been busy with. Now one major project cannot be shown yet as it is a gift made very personal for my Secret Sister in my quilt group who reads my blog. It has to remain a surprise just a little longer. Wednesday evening is the annual Christmas party and my house will once again be full of love and laughter. I can't wait!

I made my sister-in-law Becky a scissor fob and my mother a winter key chain.

Last week, a friend came over to spend an afternoon making a new bobbin lace ornament. It has been a hobby that I have neglected lately but since I have a new lace ornament Christmas tree which is larger than I used to use, I need to make some more ornaments. I got out a lace pillow, linen thread and my bobbins. I pinned my prikking to the pillow....and then....I froze and could not remember anything. We started and everything came back to me even a special stitch used to turn corners. My friend laughed because I said I was blank and then explained to her how to make the stitch. Guess it was not gone from my memory after all!

The new Christmas bell looks pretty hanging from the tree. We are making another one when we get together next week once again. I promise to share photos of the entire tree then.

Remember that this was my year to finish as many UFOs as I could? I have not been able to give any stitching or quilting much thought during the autumn as we were moving but now that things are settling down again, I really wanted to finish just one more quilt UFO. This holiday stitchery quilt is free BOM from Gail Pan.

I loved it the moment I saw the first word. Words are powerful and poetic. What more so than words that evoke a warm holiday feeling inside.

Immediately, I knew what fabrics I would use for this little quilt. These homespun fabrics came from the shop of a friend from Friesland that died on Christmas eve a couple of years ago. It brings something special to this quilt.

And now before I could blink an elfen eye, there are two rows put together. One more row to go and it should be ready in time for this Christmas eve.

I cannot tell you how much I feel like a piece of my soul has returned after not being able to concentrate on my needlework for week's on end. I am so very thankful that I can spend time nurturing that place in myself where I find peace and happiness...in the eye of a needle.

I hope you are enjoying peace and happiness on this December Sunday evening!

Friday, December 10, 2010

SAL Christmas tea

When I told you I was back in blogland, I had not intended on not posting for so long. I have been extremely busy...some things I can show you which I will in my next post and others which I cannot as I am still busy with a gift for my Secret Sister in my quilt group. In the meantime, I just had to share my fun day today...

When two of my quilt friends and I went to a quilt show in France this past September, we bought an adorable stitching pattern together to use for a SAL. It had to wait until my move to the new house was behind us but had decided to invite them both here for a SAL Christmas tea.
I set the table early this morning including a little table gift for them. The heart ornaments at each place were for them to take home.

Our menu included:
Cranberry tea

Sauerkraut-sausage rolls
Christmas toasts with pesto and parma ham
Dutch egg ramekins

Russian teacakes
Blueberry crumble
Lemon kwark ice
Dark chocolate peanut clusters
Mandarin oranges

It is fun to plan a menu and create a tea for friends.

In my studio, there were more gifts. I gave them a Santa door hanger.

Bep, Saskia and I got down to work although at times we could not see to stitch while we were laughing so very much. I just love these ladies! We never fail to have great fun together.

This is the pattern we bought at the market of the quilt show. There were many wonderful designers there but this is one we simply could not resist!

And here is our start to the SAL. We will get together again at the end of January for the next pillow to be started. I am exhausted and feeling pain from having done so much but it is a good feeling to have been able to treat some friends to a fun day.

I am looking forward to sharing more projects with you this weekend. I am back to full speed stitching again and it is wonderful to have a needle and thread to hand again!