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

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and my 2012 be a creative and inspiring new year.....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I love to give!

I crocheted a white flower for the red scarf as I felt it needed something. It is now ready to be sent out to the winner. I just love giving gifts to people so a giveaway is great fun for me.

And the winner is...Catherine. I hope you will email me as soon as possible with your address so I can mail the red scarf to you. I would love you to have it in time for Christmas.

My mother and step father are back on American soil. They landed in Detroit about an hour and half ago so are awaiting their flight home now. On Monday, I made this crazy quilt heart for my mother just in time for her to pack it in her suitcase.

She wanted my heart I made this summer. We happened to find one last metal heart when we went to the shop where I purchased it while she was here so I got it for her. Now she has her own unique crazy quilt heart too. The photo looks dark with the black metal on my table. If you click on the link, you can see my heart hanging on my quilt studio door which shows it better. The metal heart is beautiful with its lacy cut edge.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The warmth of winning...

We have a winner! I placed all the names in the random list generator and Barb's name came up at the top of the list. Barb and I are longstanding happy dancing partners. *grins* Please email me your address Barb so I can pop this package in the post for you.

But I am not stopping there. I made this lacy look red festive scarf which I am now crocheting a white flower for. This will be ready to send off in a couple of days so let's have another giveaway. If you would like to enter, then again leave a comment on this post and leave your email if you are not a blogger so I can contact you if you win please. I will draw a name on Tuesday, December 13th. I want to be able to get this scarf out to the winner in time for the holidays.

Hope you will give it another try and sign up for this red scarf to wear during the Christmas season...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A giveaway to keep you warm...

Have I been away that long from blogland? My mother and step father decided spontaneously to come to visit for two weeks. I was already having trouble being able to blog as I am busy making 13 gifts for my quilt group Christmas party and my swap gift for the party. As you can imagine, it is all top secret until after the party. It is also a busy time as I decorate the house for Christmas.

In the meantime, a gift to my blogging friend Barbara arrived. I was so pleased she likes it (photo above). I made her a cowl of her own which you can see above.

I had made this blue one for my mother but now she decided that she wanted a red one instead. I already crocheted her a cowl just after she arrived last week. She and I thought it would be a good idea to give away the blue cowl. Here it is and it could be keeping you warm for the winter if you leave a comment on this blog entry. If you are not a blogger, you must leave your email address in your comment in order to enter. I need to be able to contact you if you win. *grins* The giveaway is open until Sunday, December 11th. Good luck!

Edit: This giveaway is open to everyone no matter where you live. So yes, I will send it to Spain or any country if your name is drawn.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Autumn warmth.....

It is autumn so that means wrapping up to keep warm as a chill enters the air. I had been wanting to make Martha Stewart's Freedom Poncho and decided I wanted to have it to wear now. I found this wonderful chunky yarn in a shop and it was perfect for it. I used this pattern link which I cannot seem to get to work today but want to share in as I think the site is being serviced. This poncho has a large fan trim and a roll neck.

I had 600 grams of the yarn and thought it was going to be enough. I ended up having to hunt for more of it which is not a problem since all the dye lots work together with this variegated yarn. So I went to 4 shops and one had one skein while the others had none. One of the girls called another shop for me but it just seemed to be all sold out. Jos suggested we look in the opposite direction of the middle of little Holland as they might have it in a different area. He was right! They put aside 3 more for me and Jos ran me over to get it last Saturday. I ended up needing 850 grams to complete the poncho.

I also ended up with 150 grams left over. So what to do? I did not want to put it in the already growing basket of scrap yarn. I had also been wanting to crochet my own project basket and here it is......

I looked up patterns online and tried two to no avail. I couldn't make either work well as my bottom waved higher than the North Sea in a storm. *wink* So after 7 attempts, I decided I would try one more time doing a bit of this and a bit of that to see if I could get it to work. It did! I have no idea exactly what I did so I can not make it again but I have my project basket...

I did not quite have enough yarn to get the height I want so I grabbed some solid grey yarn from my stash (yes, I now have yarn stash...lol) and changed my series of single crochet to one row of single and then a row of double crochets. I did this three times and did a last row of single crochet and a fan stitch on the last row to give it a nice edge to turn over. I left the row up on the last photo so you can see the fan stitch better. And look inside...

I already have a new project inside the basket. *grins*

Sorry I have been away for a while. Last week, I kept very busy and then had my scan at the hospital for my eyes. I was convince when my eyes stayed low pain and calm for 2 weeks and 5 days that maybe the disease was not active any longer. But it is awake and calling my name since yesterday. *sigh* Back on medication again but bearing up okay. I see the eye specialist in the beginning of November so will hear more then. In the meantime, the thyroid doctor is thinking he wants an immunologist to look at me. He had been sick over the summer when I should had seen him and only just learned about this development.

I also ended up Monday starting to feel unwell. By the evening, I had a bear of a soar throat. I also had terrible shakes and pain all over. Flu? No...just a bad fibromyalgia flare up due to having a viral bacteria in my throat. All well now and my FM is back to its normal pain levels. I am looking forward to doing lots of handwork over the weekend now.

Happy weekend!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Things are getting spooky!

I am slowly starting to add my Halloween decorations to my autumn ones. This year, I decided I wanted to create a bowl of Halloween thread keepers as decoration. But I also wanted to make a bowl filler pillow to go with them. When I saw this freebie on Nan's blog ThreadworkPrimitives, I knew it would be just right. I sewed a piece of black and linen colored plaid to the bottom half and added a piece of lace made in black metallic thread. It looks like spiders webs doesn't it? The little stitched made above each zig zag is called a 'spider'. To each corner of the pillow, I added a black button to complete the pillow.

Combined with my black bead garland, I thought it looked really cute in my small dough bowl. The three thread keepers are by Isabella over at ThePrimitiveHare. I just love them!

I decided when I had the bowl done to keep it in my quilt studio. I put out a Halloween quilt too. And those pumpkins? You can see how they are made on my other blog on Monday.

Now I am off to hunt for my Halloween stitching UFO in my quilt studio to take to Cranberry Cottage.....

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lucy's Little Stars - A doll quilt

I have many blog posts lined up to do but have found myself very slow paced. My eyes are worsening slowly and this week the pain has increased. I am hoping it is temporary. My sight is also becoming more blurred. I do not get out much at the moment as I will not drive when I feel this much pain but I am keeping my mind occupied with my needle and thread. That is just the best medicine!

I decided to challenge myself from now to the end of the year with finishing as many UFOs in my quilt studio as possible. I showed you my prettied up bag in my last post and now a little quilt finish. This is a doll quilt created from a star block challenge I did while in Kathleen Tracy's online group. I sewed seven of her little star blocks and set them on point. I then created a very scrappy border to surround the stars.

I called the quilt Lucy's Little Stars and my handmade label was sewn on last night to complete the project. It measures 15 by 20 inches. The combination of blues and browns give it an old fashioned look.

It was so much fun for me to hand quilt this! I do love the quilting process especially these doll quilts. I had the setting triangles to be able to use to play with some quilt stencils, changing things to make everything fit just right. There is something indescribable about the feel of my needle and thread going through the layers.

So this quilt has been added to my miniature armoire which is becoming full.

I have some ideas for changes on my bookshelves in the living room and want to place this cupboard in the shelving units. I will show you when I do it but first I have to read books to create an empty shelf. *grins* It is my hope that eventually the miniature armoire will be filled with only the doll challenge quilts by Kathleen. I am no longer in the group but still want to complete the challenge quilts along with the six American doll quilt club projects.

You can see the other doll quilts I have created using Kathleen's designs here, here and here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fun with finishes!

This month, I entered Beth Twist's challenge of Heartstrings Around the World. This is the photo I sent to her which she selected to take part. It was fun seeing my photo among the others...

I received a wonderful pattern from her which I hope to start in the coming weeks. First, I have to spend more time with needle in hand as I have set myself a challenge to bring 2011 to a close. I want to cut back on the amount of UFOs I have in my quilt studio. I am not even thinking of those I stored upstairs when we moved in. I will move to some of those next year. Yikes!

My challenge is to use or complete some of the bits and pieces I have in my studio now. It will involve sometimes simply finishing a project. Other ones will mean rethinking something I am not happy with or needs a finish. This is the first finish from those UFOs and to read more about it, go to my blog TheCranberryChronicle by clicking on the blog name. I use this bag so often but it was not the nicest looking bag and I love it now that it has been "prettied up". *grins*

While we had our week up at Cranberry Cottage, I had also taken a ball of cotton yarn that is in my yarn basket in the studio. Part of this challenge is finally using the yarn I have bought for certain projects. This cotton yarn had a fabulous coloring which I bought in a little shop in the Mosel area of Germany. I used it to make this pretty crocheted dishcloth. I just love this shell pattern! It turned out to be just enough for one dishcloth as what you see in the darning needle is all the yarn I had left.

My current crochet UFO is coming along nicely but I will keep that for the next post but here is a peek...

Have any idea what it is? Off now to bake a cake for a SAL day tomorrow. Nice thing about baking a cake is that I can stitch a little while my cake is in the oven....

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dagi's sampler wall - Crows, Corn & Cats

Thanks so much for all my comments on my last entry about my Dagi sampler wall. I had mentioned that I kitted up the next design to take with me to Cranberry Cottage. I found a little scrap of 32-count evenweave fabric in my stash and used the recommended DMC colors with the exception of the cat in the lower right corner.

Since autumn has started here in Holland, it was fun to stitch this design while enjoying the time at the cottage. We had a couple of storms during the first few days we arrived so it was the 'purrfect' weather to stitch. Who am I kidding? Any weather is good weather to stitch in my book. *grins*

This is the cutest little design! It came out about 4 inches square stitching this 2 over 2. I kept the naughty cat climbing the corn stalk in black as this represents our neighbor cat. She has a rough life as an outdoor cat and is always here begging for Jos' attention. He fed her while the neighbors were away on summer vacation and since then...well...Jos has a girlfriend. *wink* She is black with little white tips on her paws. She is also quite a naughty little cat but then she does have to fend for herself outside at all hours with very little food to eat. Poor thing! Dagi is in the bottom corner looking at her antics. *grins*

My wall is taking shape and I am going to start another design this week. I hope to get out in the next week or so and see if I can find three more square frames. I need to be able to base my linen count on the frame size since those square frames are hard to find. Before I get back to another cat sampler, I want to stitch a Halloween design (already almost done) and do some crocheting. I am working on a gift. Oh how I love being an elf! *wink*

Don't forget you can click on any photos to see them in more detail...

All the cat sampler patterns are by The Goode Huswife.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

C is for Cat - Dagi's sampler wall

....is coming along now in leaps and bounds! I had set myself a goal to do this wall in 2011 and have realized that if I want to accomplish this goal, I am going to have to concentrate on it in the coming months. It is September and the year is approaching its end faster than we think. Why does time go by quicker each year???

I finished Chester who is not Chester but Dagi. I changed the colors once again to reflect my handsome little man about the house. He is quite in charge here in our house...meow. *grins* The colors I used are all DMC: 3033, 3782, 3032, 3790, 844 and 504, 502, 500. I tea dyed a piece of 30-count linen.

This design really does look like him. Dagi is a lilac tabby-ticked Mandarin or Javanese cat. When he was a kitten you could see his tabby stripes on his belly, paws and head. Now they are only visible a little on his forehead. He is starting to grow his lion's mane again in his neck so the cold weather is coming.

He was curious what I was doing and crawled into the antique cradle by my table. He was very unhappy at the fact that the cradle rocks though. Silly cat!

I have purchased a few frames for my upcoming designs. I still have 3 more frames I need to find all of which are square. They are more difficult to find. Since we are off to stay at Cranberry Cottage, I have kitted up the next design which is much simpler than Chester and I should have finished in no time. One of the cats will again be changed to Dagi's colors of course. It is an autumn design which is great for stitching in the woods as autumn begins! Can you see my smile? My favorite season is beginning!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Time flies!

You know the old saying 'Time flies when you're having fun'? Well, where has 25 years gone? It cannot be 25 years can it since I am not even that old. *wink* But today, 25 years ago I arrived at Brussels Airport to start my life with Jos.

I arrived with two suitcases packed with clothes and stitching supplies hoping I was going to like this new life. I had no idea what was in store for me. Since then, I have learned the language but more importantly the country's spirit. I have become Dutch. Funny that when I was a little girl, my father used to always tell me "Don't be Dutch" which is a cute way to say don't be silly. I can still hear him saying it to me. *grins* Sorry Dad but here I am 25 years later....being Dutch.

I have met many wonderful people here in Holland and have had the good fortune to lead a group of ladies here in my own home for a monthly quilt group. One of them is Saskia. She was the very first person to call to join the group when I placed the pamplets at a quilt shop. She showed up at my house one late afternoon last month on her way home from work with this basket full of gifts and instructions. I was to open one gift a day until today, September 6th when I was to open the one gift with blue lace trim on it.

Each day for 24 days, I had a gift. All wonderful although Jos is claiming the cookies and licorice. I will share with the exception of those speculaas...well, maybe just one... *wink*

This morning I opened the final gift. I removed the lace holding the stitching to the roll and what did I find???

How cute is this? I will be making some patchwork around it and turning it into a very special little quilt in honor of a very dear quilt friend! I just love Saskia...my quilt sister! Thank you so much for making this silver anniversary that much more special Saskia!

In an hour, she and her mother will arrive. We are off to a country tea house for high tea. See you both soon...

Note: Thank you all for your warm and caring comments about my last post! I am still busy emailing each person individually if I am able to see your email address. Your thoughts and prayers mean very much to me! I feel very positive about this and will make it through. All of you are a big help in that process.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When things happen.....

Sometimes life brings things into your path that turn life a bit upsidedown. This summer has brought something to my path that I could never have expected. I have been diagnosed with a rare and incurable eye disease called Graves orbitopathy. After having become very ill weeks after radioactive therapy for my thyroid, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease. It is so rare that only 1% of the patients develop thyroid eye disease.

I had been having severe eye pain for some time now and finally talked with my regular doctor about it in the summer. I had thought it was from my Fibromyalgia. She said she did not think it had anything to do with this condition and told me to be sure to tell my endocrinologist as I was due for my next check up. I had a new doctor temporarily who immediately suspected it was Graves. The eye specialist has now confirmed it this week.

The coming 3 to 8 months will be critical while the disease is active. He says there is nothing they can do until it runs its course. Only then will I know how much damage my eyes will have. They are keeping track of changes in my eyes and I will have a CAT scan done in October to see how much growth is taking place to the tissue around the inside of my eyes. All I can do is wait now.

I have days that I am not able to do much of anything with needle and thread but they are not constant thankfully. I do have trouble focusing but am learning to be patient with my eyes. There is a hazy spot now that I cannot seem to get rid of even using fake tears to keep my eye moist. I have a great deal of hope in me that the problems I am left with will be minimal once the active phase is passed.

You see...for me eyesight is something I have always been grateful for as I adore working with fine linen. I do hope that if I am not longer able to work on this linen that I will however be able to work with a larger count to continue my passion. But I know there are reasons for everything we encounter in life and I am more thankful than ever for all the wonderful things I have been able to make. They are taking on a whole new light to me at this moment. I am finding that each stitch I stitch or quilt is special and much more fulfilling if that is even possible. I do so love doing my needlework!

I am working away at my latest cat sampler and as you can see...Chester is now Dagi as I once again changed the colors. Dagi sat on my lap last evening as I worked it and I think he is pleased. We have hung all the frames I have up to now for my sampler wall. As soon as I finish this one and put it in its frame, I will share the wall with you...soon...very soon.

This is a long blog entry but bare with me for one more little item...

I showed you my new poncho in my last post which is keeping me warm in our cool summer weather. Now I found this video from Smithsonian Folkways which I just had to share. The song is so sweet and cannot help but make you smile but be sure to pay attention to the granny stripe and granny square ponchos. Love them!

I hope you enjoy each moment you can spend each day with needle and thread!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Happiness is a warm poncho!

It is pretty chilly here in Holland so that is my motto for the coming weekend. Why is because I finished my granny stripe poncho early this week...

Oops! I see that I did not straighten it out when I laid it down to take a photo. Oh well...crooked or not, I love it and it keeps me warm. I was inspired by Hazel when she shared this pattern on Le Monde de Sucrette's blog. I loved it and thought why does it have to just be for kids??? Why indeed as I have now seen more granny stripe ponchos in blogland.

I was able to make mine for a super bargain price as it cost well under 5 euros for the yarn and I have a good deal left too. I used a 4.5cm crochet hook and started with a 112 chain stitches for my multiple of 8 which ended up being 14 granny square clusters to start. I finished it off with a row of single crochets around the neck and a shell edging along the bottom.

My mother says I had one of these same ponchos made by my grandmother as a little girl. Unfortunately, she cannot find a photo but I guess this is proof that I am still a little girl...right mother? *grins*

So I will be keeping warm with my poncho. You just have to be warm and happy in a poncho! My weekend will be busy working on my latest cat sampler. What about yours?

Have a happy and creative weekend with needle and thread!

Stop by my new book and food blog Bookshelves and StoveTops...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fun with napkins!

Each year for my quilt group's Christmas party, I come up with a theme for gifts to exchange. I had been telling my homekeeping online group about my choice for this year's theme...cloth napkins. They decided that they also wanted to do this exchange so I got to make a practice run with them. *grins*

I had them fill in a questionnaire about their dishes and color choices when they set the table. I then gave each person their secret partner's answers. I had Tammy and these are the napkins I made for her.

The fabric is a vintage reproduction with a matching plaid for the back. The napkins are sewn in half circles and then folded and ironed to create a tree.

Tammy created a Christmas table setting to show the napkins after she received them. I am thrilled you like them Tammy as I had fun making them especially for you!

Friday, August 19, 2011

More SAL fun!

It has been a while due to circumstances but Bep, Saskia and I had our 4th SAL day yesterday. We started the 4th pillow in this fun Christmas project. I decided to go ahead and string my first three pillows onto a piece of jute. I will add a new pillow now each time I finish. There are six in all so we have two more get togethers before our pillow tree is complete...

First a cup of coffee and something sweet to get us started...

After we finished our strawberry cream cakes, we put our finished pillows together for a photo and then started stitching the next one...

This is Rover who is a special someone in Saskia's life. He spent the day in the quilt studio watching over us...

We do pause for lunch of course! We have a theme each time we get together. We bring something to eat based on that theme. But doesn't the table look bare???

This time Saskia choose the theme of tapas (appetizers). We were supposed to make things along the idea of a tapas using meat for one, vegetable for a second and our own choice for the third. Here is my meat tapas which you can find the recipe for on my new food and book blog by clicking on BookshelvesAndStoveTops...

Not only was the table no longer bare...

There was a cornucopia of truly delicious food to eat...

It was a fabulously fun day Bep and Saskia and I am already looking forward to the next one!

P.S. - Don't forget to become a follower of my new blog to keep up with my recipes and book reviews.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Flowers to keep me warm.....

Yes, it is true. This winter, I will have purple flowers to keep me warm with this Japanese double flower scarf...

Someone had asked me to help her figure out a pattern. It is using a diagram instead of a written crochet pattern. I tested the flower with some yarn I had. I found I had to use one color since I did not have much of this thickness laying around. They are larger than the original flowers should be since I did use a thicker yarn. But what to do with two or three test flowers??? Why make a scarf for the upcoming winter of course. To add interest since these flowers are large, I sewed a glass bead in the middle of each flower.

The only problem this winter is going to be how to choose which of my new scarves to wear. *grins*