Monday, 29 November 2010

Knee deep in Christmas trees

What have I been doing? Well first of all finishing of my pillowcase for the swap of course. It was finished last Thursday, but the postal workers were on strike! Luckily today everything was working again and I finally send my box to my swap partner Peg. So that was one challenge down. She has not received it yet of course, so no pictures.

Each year we make up something to send people by way of Christmas cards. We have a lot of fun designing it, talking about it, buying the necessary material, anything accept actually making them. That is why each year we start way too late, work our fingers to the bone and finish just in the nick of time. Each year we swear we will not be making that mistake again. No. This year we will start in June, well July at the latest......Guess what. We did it again. So for the last few days I have been knee-deep in Christmas trees! I haven't finished yet.......

Lots of little trees! It is almost a production line in my room. Great fun to do though!

Meanwhile out in the real world the weather has been changing. The rain stopped. It became really cold (-5) and today the long awaited snow arrived. It is only a few centimeters, but it looks beautiful.
It is also fun to realize I do not have to go out! So I get to enjoy the white splendor from a warm and cosy house!

How are your Christmas trees coming?

More soon,

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

First block down!

I promised to show you the finished first block of the new mystery. I did get distracted by Sinterklaas walking past my window and a lot of other stuff going on, but I did finish it!
I was very happy with the result! Now I just need to make the little squares required for the welcome quilt. That means I get to cut up some of the lovely fabric in the little silver box!

In the category other projects I am also making Christmas Trees, the pillow case of course and some other bits and bobs. It is a good thing that winter is closing in. All the warnings on the weather front only mean one thing: We are in dire need of more quilts! What a wonderful excuse.

What is your excuse?

More tomorrow,

Sunday, 21 November 2010


It is that time of year again. Traditions are big around December. Everyone has their own for this time. Some of the traditions are truly wonderful, well to me anyway. Traditions for Christmas and - since I am Dutch -Sinterklaas, our version of Santa Claus. Sinterklaas celebrates his birthday (on December 6th) by giving all children in The Netherlands gifts the night before. A big celebration with lots of little traditions to go with it.

The big news is: Good old and very holy Sinterklaas is in Holland! He arrived last week. Tradition dictates that one of the nights he is in The Netherlands, he spends in Oss. The place I live. Our neighbourhood welcomes the holy man with much delight. This is the itinerary:

The small children make their own lanterns in the afternoon (to be used later). The moment the Sint arrives, a procession is formed. A brass band heightens everyone's spirit and the tour of the neighbourhood begins. People really flock outside to watch the procession goes by, singing and dancing. The Zwarte Pieten and Sinterklaas walk with the children.

The end of the tour is an assisted living accommodation for the elderly at the end of my street. These lovely people have a room ready for The Sint. He goes inside to change into his nightdress and hat. He makes one more appearance on the balcony of his room, before turning in for the night. The children (all waiting outside) sing one last song for him and then everyone goes home.

It really is a beautiful tradition. It is a fun way to bring people together and is just generally very lovely indeed.
You can just about make out the Pieten posing for their picture and a very little Sinterklaasje walking past!

As you can see, I faithfully took pictures, but apparently my camera does not take pictures after dark. The flash was impressive though. 

Next tradition involving our entire neighbourhood is the lighting of the Christmas trees. Again with lots of music, a tour past all the trees in our neighbourhood and lots of people! It is only fitting that it is supposed to snow here next week!

More tomorrow,

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Poor Wiep!

Today is a bit of a day after.... The daughter of one of my fellow board members in Second Home Foundation was taking part in a big singing competition. It is called The Voice of Holland and  - to be totally frank with you - the whole show is addictive. I usually hate televised talent shows (such as Idols, Pop Start, etc.) but I started watching for Wiep (the daughter in question). You have to show support, you understand!

As it turns out the show is great fun to watch and it really had me on the edge of my seat. Wiep was wonderful. Unfortunately yesterday she competed for the last time. She was voted of the show. Totally unfair. Still her coach told the audience that she was going to make more music with Wiep and to keep our eyes and ears on this girl. It is sad to see her go. Check out her last performance by clicking here: Wiep during her last performance.

In other news the building of my sisters' new house has finally started. She is keeping a blog about her adventures. I borrowed the picture below. Well, stole it actually.... At the moment it is just a big whole in the ground but she assured me that next year there will be a beautiful house. OK. Good luck!

Petra and Kees are still in The Gambia. They have been moving house. Not with a truck and movers and labelled boxes.....No, this is Africa remember. They had help. A friend of ours arranged a tractor and 20 guys to help carry everything to the new place! I cannot show you a picture because they are having serious internet issues i.e. it is off more than online. According to Petra it all went fine. They have moved in! We will probably have to do it all again next year when we move into our own accommodation. I just hope I will be there to help this time around. Fun!

My life was just a bit more boring. I was working on the first block of the mystery......still! It is almost finished now and I hope to show you a picture tomorrow. I have also been working on the Christmas cards we are going to send out this year.

More tomorrow!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Visiting my favourite place

After a long time - well it seemed like a long time to me - I went to the quilt shop on Tuesday. It was wonderful. All the new fabrics, new patterns to buy fabric for and just the overall atmosphere formed a very gratifying experience. I went there with my sister, who luckily is just as addicted as I am.

I needed to go to the shop in order to get some new fabrics for my pillow swap (sorry no picture of those). But frankly, any excuse will do. I also needed a new spool of thread for sewing my new mystery quilt. In the shop I found out I needed to buy some more fabric for the small quilt included in the mystery. My sister needed fabric for the same project. It was a great excuse to look through all the fabrics and notions available at the Quilterij. Needless to say we had a wonderful time doing so.

Tamzin kept a straight face during the constant lengthening of my list. She understands as she not only works in the shop but is also a gifted quilter herself. To make the experience even more pleasurable she packed the fabrics (and thread, of course) in a nice little silver box.
It just lifts my heart looking at these beauties.
With our bags full of fabric we went back home again. Full of contentment and looking forward to the projects that can now take shape for real! How much pleasure can one person have?
I wish you all a day full of pleasure!

More tomorrow.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Surprises on Twitter

Since I have become a loyal user and follower of many on Twitter, Facebook and (oh YES) Youtube, the world has given me many beautiful and wonderful moments. Quotes that brighten my day such as this one @nmeneghin. Her quote? If nothing is going right, just turn left.

Twitter also sends me to the most surprising places. Check out this link and be amazed yourself.
Real singing in the kitchen. On a day like today it was just what I needed. I loved it. Hope you do too.

This picture was taken in the morning! Dismal weather.
 Thanks to my laptop I visit many places in the world. Doing it in person is my friend Petra. She left for The Gambia yesterday. She was supposed to arrive at 20.00 hrs. Alas, it took a little longer due to the storm, a broken aeroplane and just general bad luck. She finally touched down in Banjul at 03.30 hrs.

Since we have discovered the joys of Skype, I get to enjoy the view and most of the stories too. Without all that pesky travelling! It is not all good of course. The weather is much better in The Gambia and I would like to cuddle the kiddies and meet all our fantastic friends but you can't have everything I guess.

I plan to enjoy her trip almost as much as she does and hope she gets all the work done for Second Home!

More tomorrow,

Friday, 12 November 2010

Poor little Loedertje

My cat is growing up. So much so that something needed to be fixed.... She went to the vet on Wednesday to be spayed. The poor little thing. Luckily the vet is just as crazy about her as I am. That meant cuddles before and after the operation for Loedertje. She was very groggy still for the rest of Wednesday. Trying to jump onto her favourite places.....and missing by a mile. We really had to keep an eye on her.

Down for the count
After visiting the litter box and eating (yes indeed after all she had had nothing to eat all day, terrible!) she finally settled on my legs. We were warned about her licking her stitches and given some tips on how to prevent that. So we found a onesy to put on her and remodelled that.

 I cut the legs (she kept tripping herself up) and added a strip of fabric to keep everything in place. The fabric is tied at her back. Unfortunately she should be renamed Houdini. I kept finding the thing everywhere. Ah well, it was worth the try.

I have tried to take a picture with the cat actually in the onesy, but that proved impossible. She is doing great though. She takes her medication without any fuss at all. In fact, she just takes the tablets from my hand and eats them! Apparently it pays to have a cat that is addicted to food!

It is Friday now and she has been trying to play a bit. That was not a huge success, she is still a bit sore. Next Friday the stitches will come out and hopefully she will be back to normal!

More tomorrow,

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Pillow swap news

Sorry but no joy for this one. Into storage!
Don't panic. I am not giving any secrets away!
I have been very quiet about my progress with the pillow case for the swap. The thing is, I had a plan made and was working diligently on completing the project. The plan was fine, the pattern worked well. It was just that I did not enjoy working on it. Having experienced this before I knew something was not quite right..... Yesterday morning I was looking at the (almost completed) top and I just wanted to put it in a box.  So I made a decision. I am starting over.

I have selected a new pattern and new fabrics and I feel much happier now! So Peg this is the pillow case you will certainly not be receiving. You will have to wait and see for the next one!

More tomorrow,

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

New mystery

I've told you about the new mystery Patch Parade. I've been very good and finished the top of the last mystery first. Even though I was almost salivating at the thought of all those new pretty fabrics. I did not cave.

Before starting the block I have been pondering (quite happily) my full box of fabric and the pattern. Loedertje enjoyed this process too. She was happy to sit in the lid of the box, watching me taking up each peace of fabric at least a dozen times.

Happy days!
Yesterday afternoon and this morning I finally started ironing and cutting the fabric for the first block. This is actually the part I really enjoy. All the pieces in front of me and imagining what the block will look like finished. I found myself humming happily. Fine for me but not for anyone else since I cannot be trusted around music for any reason. In school I was even offered a higher grade in music class. The only thing I had to do for that was NOT SING!

All the pieces ready!

It took me a long time but now I have finished. All 172 pieces have been cut and I can start sewing.The block is going to be 60x60 cm, so it is a big one.

I'll show the block when it is finished!

Have a lovely day!

More tomorrow,

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Blogging and Mystery unravelled!

With the help of a friend I found out that keeping up with all the blogs I want to follow is easy. A feature on gmail provides an overview of the newly published blogs. The only down side is that I can't comment on the blogs......well yet. I will find out how that works to. The wonderful world of computers!
The same friend forced me to start using Skype. She is leaving for The Gambia soon and I need to be updated of course. With Skype (what fun) this is free and very, very easy. It is really a treat to find out so many new things from my bed! Another advantage: No holding of a phone, so all that important chatting can be done while working on a quilt (or something else to be fair, with me it will be mostly quilting).

And now, the mystery is unravelled! I finished the top of the Fabricwonderland quilt and it is truly fabulous!
Yesterday evening (late) I stitched the last piece in place! I am very proud of it.

It was a bit of a hassle to get the top photographed, after all the thing is 2.40 by 2.40 meter! In the end we threw it over the bed. It was dark mind you, the picture is not of the best quality. I just could not wait to showcase the top.
Even on the bed you cannot see the whole quilt top!

It is the first quilt I made with so many round shapes.With my sewing qualities it is a miracle that everything fitted so well. 

Detail. A whole row of stars.

Big stars on corners.
I have to tell you that I hand stitched the whole quilt. Yesterday I pieced the final borders in place. In total I stitched for 4.80 meters (in one day). My fingertips show all of that distance! It was all worth it though, I am very proud of myself. Now all I need to do is make a backing for it, sandwich the quilt, quilt, bind, fit the label and then I am finished. Which of course should be half way through 2011 (I hope)!

On Thursday I received the first pattern for Francoise's new mystery. It is called Patch Parade and the first block looks beautiful. You can check it out on her blog So now I get to rummage through those wonderful fabrics I bought months ago and start a new adventure!

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The good things in life

After all my moaning about the fall and the fact that I don't much care for it, now for the good things in life.

New plants on my window sill
 It always looks better when there are plants on the window sill. I love the red and green. It is reminiscent of Christmas. That way I remember to look forward to that too!
A stack of new books to read
 I bought these books online. Using a gift certificate I was given on my birthday. I love books and new books have a special charm. The promise of a new and fantastical story. A new world to discover, new characters to get to know.....Simply wonderful.
The ever gratifying Nigella Lawson
Do not underestimate the power that a good cook book has. I love reading the recipes and watching the pictures. Nigella never disappoints. This is her latest. I gave a copy to my sister for her birthday. She however is very greedy and mean and refuses to let me borrow it. In all fairness she has not finished it yet, so there you go. I had no choice but to buy a copy for myself!

Tonight therefore I will be tucked in, with a quilt of course, thumbing through the pages of my new cook book! There is just one word for that in my opinion: DELIGHTFUL!

Have a wonderful fall evening.
More tomorrow,