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

Friday, March 26, 2010

Many varied thoughts

I have a good deal to show you in my next few posts. I have wanted first to respond to the caring comments and emails over the last blog entry. I deeply considered at the urgence of a few of my online friends to put the photos back on. I was going to but on further consideration have decided to just leave it so. I truly am sorry that this other blogger seemed to feel she needed to go at me about copying her. I have emailed her a couple of times in response and she now knows that it is a coincidence and I cannot link her to my blog as my inspiration as she wants when it is not true. Not a reflection of her but I just don't even read her blog. A postage stamp quilt is something that can only be done without much variation.

I really loved this tiny quilt when it was finished. For this reason, I feel the need to keep it to myself now instead of bringing out more problems. It is a simple tiny little thing that I am already using to decorate with in my laundry room. Perhaps Becky will come back again to visit one day and see the little quilt named after her. But in the meantime, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind words and comforting thoughts. You are the reason I blog not the odd person who is not gracious. You mean so much to me and I wanted to take this opportunity again to say that as it cannot be said enough.

Recently, I got a box in the mail from my friend Joni (no blog) who spoiled me with lots of goodies. I cannot share them all with you as much is eaten now by Jos and I. *grins* She stitched me two things one of which I am saving to share with you in the autumn. She knows it is my favorite season and made me a really beautiful banner. You will see it in time.

She also made me this sweet pincushion pillow which says 'Bedankt'. It is the Dutch word for thank you. She looked it up and stitched this to thank us for her visit here in Holland two years ago. I just love it and am touched by how thoughtful it was of her to make this. I have kept it out on my table as you see. Now it is resting against an olive jar filled with white dwarf hyacinths. I love the fabric she used for the backing. Thank you so much Joni!

And now for my latest start...

Remember this chart and fabric my mother sent me for my birthday? Jeanne emailed me when she saw that I received it as she has had it kitted up and ready to start. She thought it would be fun to do a little SAL so we started it on last Wednesday. She started hers with the top edge which you can see here. I started mine in the center.

Now I must tell you I was reading the verse and immediately my mind drifted to Emily Bronte. I could see her walking the moors as I read it. I was pulling the DMC thread for the chart and did not feel right about using the yellow for the dress. I am not a yellow person and it would not go with my samplers on my sampler wall. But I felt like this was Emily and she needed a dress in the color of the heather on the moors. As you can imagine, I was so totally engrossed with my thoughts of her that I pulled one of my novels about the Bronte Sisters to start reading. There have been a few released lately and more coming out soon. Yippee!

Then I decided to see if the newest version of Wuthering Heights was online to watch. My English mum had told me a couple of years ago that they were filming it. I had not seen it yet. By this time, I had stitch the face and hair. I was thinking it looked more like a ghostly Cathy than Emily with the very pale yellow for her face. *wink* And speaking of Cathy! If you have not seen that version of the film, you are in for a treat. That Tom Hardy playing Heathcliff should be arrested for being so darn good looking that we ALL want to be Cathy. *grins*

Now if you are still with after all these scattered thoughts, I went to Carolien's house yesterday to say happy birthday and she ended up spoiling me with these wonderful gifts for my birthday. She is busy taking a course so we were not able to get together last month. Thank you so much Carolien! And it was fun to meet your uncle. What a nice man he is and great to talk to. And now I can picture the three little ones you care for after having seen them.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Becky's blocks...a doll's quilt

A little doll visited me last week. She told me her name was Becky and I invited her to join me in my quilt studio. She asked politely if she could look in my scrap drawer. She carefully started pulling out the 1-1/2 inch squares I cut from scraps left when making my patchwork.

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She laid out a number of them and exclaimed what a pretty little quilt this would make for her. I agreed and told her I would start sewing them together. There were 49 tiny squares in creams and beiges and reds and browns.

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I then went to my stash cupboard and found a very pretty reproduction fabric in beige and red. Just right! So I sewed it on to the blocks and took up my quilt thread and a between (the name for a quilting needle).

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Afterwards, I wrote a little label calling this quilt 'Becky's Blocks'. Becky had to go back home but her quilt is here whenever she visits me again.

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Miniature quilt or doll's quilts are so much fun to create. This one is 11 inches square. For a few more of my miniature quilts, you can look on my old blog here and here and here. I am going to go back to quilting another doll's quilt, Pollyanna's Pinwheels.

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But now to hang my laundry and drive over to my friend Sonja's house. I am giving her quilting lessons. She won guessing a chart I was doing a few weeks ago and I am taking her the prize she won which is a pair of patchwork mugs to use in her quilt studio. I hope she will like them.

Edit...I have removed the photos of my latest doll's quilt as I have received emails about my quilt looking similar to another blogger's quilt. This was coincidence although this simple postage stamp quilt is a quilt that many quilters make around the world. I am so sorry for the distress she felt over the similarities. I made this little quilt to work with a few others which I made previously. I based my colors by an antique Mormon quilt I have long admired as I had the others also and used the scraps I had already had cut and laying in my scrap drawer.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


There I go happy dancing again. I got one of my goals scratched off my list. WooHoo! I completed my patchwork top today for the Pride and Prejudice quilt. For some strange reason, I let it sit again after I posted about it here. The quilt top is now finished.

And since I completed a goal, I decided to take out a very old UFO. I just loved this sampler when I saw it years ago and ordered the entire series of the First Lady Samplers from Tanya - The Sampler Girl. I knew when I saw them that I was going to make them all and put them into a patchwork quilt with some very special reproduction fabrics I already had.

I have no idea why I ever allowed this to become a forgotten UFO since I do love it so. Isn't the house and tree so adorable? They will all be stitched with DMC on the same evenweave since they are going to be sewn into patchwork. That will be a long way from now as this is only the first in the series. But it feels really good to have picked it up again.

My goals were to get a UFO crossed off my list each month this year. I want to complete 6 projects but am hoping to do 12 instead. So far, I have been able to keep up as the third on my list of goals in finished.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Extra, extra...read all about it!

Does this bring visions of young boys in knickerbockers out on the street corner selling newspapers? Actually my father was one of those boys in a time far, far away. But this is news about my new big project. I am going to use the entire year to work on this one. No pressure or press deadlines for me.

I bought 40 ct lambswool and Threadworx 10351 and 1077. A new book from Marie Clair Point de Croix is coming to good use.

Any clues yet as to what it is?

On the side it reads 'Rust roest!' which is translated 'Rest creates rust!' Love this old Dutch saying and as a stitcher I will take heed. *wink*

Have you figured it out? It is something that is seen as very old fashioned and not done. Or so I thought!

Once I finally found an antique 'letterbak' or printer's drawer, I started to search for tiny free charts online. To my surprise, they are a big trend again among the French bloggers. I had to be patient looking on Marktplaats for this one. I got it at a great price. Each space in the drawer will be filled with a tiny piece of stitching.

I am not planning it ahead of time. I was the excitement of thinking of things as I go along. I did know as soon as I saw this drawer that I would stitch the word 'borduren' in the top right squares. This is Dutch for stitching. I will update you regularly with new sections as I make them. My first four letters are finished.

And Saskia...I am still working on finishing UFOs each month so it is not going to distract me so I cannot win our challenge. *grins*

I have been a terrible blogging friend and not visited blogs lately. I am really sorry. My needles are just moving so much that I am not online as much. I hope to get around to visit you all really soon. I have had some new people visiting lately and am thrilled with all the new comments. Thank you all for visiting and saying hello!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Nutcracker tree...

Could you hear my big sigh? I am so pleased today as I can share a major UFO that I finished this week. In December, I showed you a sweet little pink feather tree that I found on eBay. I had an idea for it as soon as I saw it online. Excitedly, I ordered the tree and waited for it to arrive. Here is the result of my idea...a Nutcracker tree...

*Click on the photos to enlarge them*

The first step was done back in December when I took a bowl of (fake) snow from my Christmas village and some spray glue outside to give the tree a snowy look. What a mess that makes. I can still see fake snow in our garden. *grins*

I have always loved this magical Christmas story which had been turned into a ballet that is every child's holiday fantasy. The music seems to transport me into the living room of the Stahlbaum house on Christmas eve. I watch with goose pimples as the Christmas tree grows and am transported to that enchanted forest where snowflakes dance and sweets come to life to entertain us.

But look! Here is Clara's godfather Drosselmeyer with a very special gift for her this Christmas eve. A nutcracker!

Clara is thrilled with her new toy.

Oh no! Who is this? The Mouse King has come come to fight the Nutcracker.

But the Nutcracker Prince still reigns. The Mouse King is defeated and the Prince takes Clara off to the Land of Sweets...

I filled my tree with sweets made of wool felt. It has been great fun coming up with various ideas for candy. What Christmas could be complete without ribbon candy. This beautiful decorative candy is a joy to see and I can remember my mother having it in a bowl on the table during the holidays.

Jos asked if I was going to make Dutch 'spekjes' which are a marshmallow candy here in Holland. I made them especially for him.

Care for a little raspberry ice cream cone? I have pistachio too if you prefer?

Or perhaps you would rather have a peppermint twist?

Wrapped candy gives you a surprise as to what is inside...

Taffy rolls are almost too pretty to eat!

I hope you enjoyed visiting my Land of Sweets. I will be keeping this tree out year round in my quilt studio to enjoy being a child each time I see it!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pollyanna's pinwheels

While trying to decide what to name my doll's quilt, I saw that Pollyanna is going to be on television this coming weekend for Mothering Sunday. It is that 2003 version with Amanda Burton as Aunt Polly. I just love this movie. So it seemed the perfect name and here is Pollyanna's Pinwheels...

I must admit that I had other things I wanted to be doing today but sandwiched the quilt after I finished the top this morning and thought just a stitch or two. I should know better and I can never take just a stitch or two. *grins* Hand quilting a quilt is not only enjoyable but it brings a quilt to life. And what a life if I consider Pollyanna herself. I can just picture her in the garden playing happily with pinwheels. For anyone who does not know this delightful story, Pollyanna comes to live with her Aunt Polly after her parents have died. She is forever looking at the good in things and transforms all the people in her life.

Pollyanna has also become a description of a person. Here is the definition from Webster's dictionary...

Function: noun
Etymology: Pollyanna, heroine of the novel Pollyanna (1913) by Eleanor Porter †1920 American fiction writer
Date: 1921

: a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything

— Pollyanna adjective

How wonderful to leave a legacy of story epitomizing seeing good in things! We need more Pollyannas in the world today.

"Instead of always harping on a man's faults, tell him of his virtues. Try to pull him out of his rut of bad habits. Hold up to him his better self, his REAL self that can dare and do and win out!"

I created this doll's quilt truly in the spirit of antique quilts. I ran out of one of the pink fabrics. A friend offered to give me the 3 squares needed to complete the patchwork. I liked the idea of using what I have so told her I appreciated it but no thank you. In olden days, women did not have quilt shops to go to and used what they had. I truly did this for this quilt. Can you see where I had to use a different fabric?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Quilt group progress...

The first Wednesday of the month has come and gone again. My group all assembled again in my house for another evening of needlework, fun and laughter. Oh... and chocolate dipped cookies. *grins* We completed our second blocks on our quilts and I gave them the third blocks to work on in March. A few had there second blocks yet to sew together but will have them done in no time.

My first two blocks are together and I am starting on the third block already. My blocks from here on out are going to contain changes to the original pattern. I think it is great fun to make a quilt very personal and a quilt with stitchery is easy to adapt. I am already excited to share my changes next month but patience as all things in good time.

My second block was done as the pattern showed but I did more ribbon daisies and made button flowers.

Isn't the bee sweet?

"To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few."

~Emily Dickinson

And who can resist playing with buttons?

Enjoy the slide show of the blocks from the members of my group which have been completed up to now...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lost my limp in the excitement!

My limp...remember the last blog entry? More about that later but what about that excitement? Well, there is lots of that going around...

Look who came to my house today! *wink*

I finally had a birthday. Remember I mentioned that my mother canceled it (it was really in February) until I got the present she sent to me? Well, it can no longer be avoided...I turned *6* now. *grins*

And look at the wonderful gift she and my step father gave me!

I am really excited to start on this design but am going to try and get some other things done first. How long will I last? I wonder if some of my blogging friends will be taking bets?

I did frame my last finish. I cannot wait for Jos to get home tonight. After dinner, I want him to help me hang With My Needle.

The frame is from a brocante shop in the north of Holland. I just thought it was so perfect for this sampler but was not the right size. So again I ducked into my stash cupboard and used a piece of reproduction fabric and a little piece of vintage lace.

I am so pleased with how it turned out as it has only added to the old sampler look. Thank you all for your sweet comment about my 'mistake' with my Abigail sampler. I too feel like she must have been marking her initial.

More excitement was had this past Sunday as I went to the hobby market with three other ladies. There were many wonderful stands from shops and webshops there. I am afraid I did not take a single photo as I was too busy buying some goodies...

Funnily enough, Saskia and I both were on the same wave length as she showed up at my house with goody bags for us while I had made fobs for the ladies. I laughed and said it was Christmas.

She gave us chocolate for a sugar burst of energy, a pen and notepad to write out all our ideas and some roses bath cream for our tired bodies after all that shopping.

And, just when I think I cannot stand any more excitement, I started a new quilt project today. I joined an online group belonging to author and designer Kathleen Tracy. She has set a challenge to make a doll's quilt no larger than 30 inches using the double pinwheel block in 4 inches. I am using pinks and browns and want to incorporate a pretty strip of fabric I had saved for 'one day'. I love making doll's quilts and have a stack of them on my shelves in the laundry room. I am happily taking on the challenge for another!

Tomorrow will be the excitement of seeing all the completed second blocks from Leanne's house as my quilt group will be here for our monthly evening. My own Heidi's House is coming along nicely and I have some fun ideas planned for the third block.