Friday, 23 December 2011

The Christmas Rush.....

Merry Christmas!
 
Right. Last year I was knee deep in Christmas trees (and thoroughly sick of them too) a lot earlier. I vowed then and there that I would never send ornaments instead of Christmas cards again....ever! And if I did, I would start the new ornaments/christmas cards in July. But did I.....

NO!

Of course not. So now, I've just finished the latest bad idea! The little snow man....nice idea right? We were forced to send them out in batches, so that some people would actually receive our wishes before the long awaited day itself.
Lots of different ones too!
Thing is, we did not really think this through. Oh, we did think about the embellishments and the pattern for the hats and the bells for the nose. We just didn't think about the fact that they actually needed to fit in an envelope and be sent via the postservices.....


Ah, well. It will work! Probably!

Have a wonderful Christmas everybody and 
try not to get caught up in the rush!

Lots of love,
Heleen

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas market

You've heard me talk about my nieces and nephews before....This post is all about my second niece. A twelve year old tomboy. Very different from her older sister (my godchicken). She plays hockey with a vengeance and is very, very good at everything she does. She is also absolutely gorgeous. Always has been, bar the two weeks after she was born....but since that time, fabulous. Like a little angel. Now she has been introduced properly, without any bias....here is what I wanted to tell you.

Emma had her first year christmas market yesterday. Her school lets the first year students organise one of these markets for charity each year. Emma made a point of inviting me, made me feel all special and auntie-like. Of course I had to attend. Mainly to see this little Christmas elve preform a song she had written herself. And yes, she is that talented!

Christmas nails!
The market was very busy. Lots of people with that proud look in their eyes that says: See that one....that's mine! There were a lot of fun things to do. Check out my nails! Done for only € 0.75! Great value. I also bought some lottery tickets for just € 2 and won a HUGE box full of goodies. My night was definetely going well! And then.....she took to the stage! Strapped on her electric guitar and just went for it. She was absolutely brilliant! Truely!

Rock chick in the making!
Keep in mind that these pictures were taken by me....weepy eyes and all. Because that is what I do at these things. I cry my way through. With all of them. Ballet recitals, holy communions, baptismes, school plays....even hockey games. I see them in all their concentration and beauty of being and I cry. They are used to it though, so it usually just makes them smile.

The most special thing about it all. She is twelve. Usually the age that you cannot (REALLY CANNOT) embarass them in public by oooh, say hugging or any kind of touching. This night.....she allowed me to do both, lots of time....in public. My Christmas present! I loved it.

Lots of love and tissues to you all!
Heleen

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Mystery Caroussel part 2

I've finished early! I've cut and pieced a lot. At least, it feels like a lot. This month's assingments:
16 blocks like these.
 \
All 16 together....

AND 136 pieces to cut from the background fabric


And then, there is the little mystery. I'm behind! I've finished part one, two of those lovely flowers!


For part two I need to start the border.

Lots of love,
Heleen

Monday, 12 December 2011

A birthday in the family


This time it was my nephew's turn. He is getting big! This picture of Mathijs was taken by his father, during the kids party. He was in awe of the owls. Isn't it a beautiful kid? The owl is handsome too, in a spooky way. There were five owls in attendance.....and not one of the visitors ran! I would have, probably!

Now, in true teenager style. His birthday wishes consisted of MONEY! So, as his auntie, I have to obey that wish....I did include something in my style. Not so bad-ass, though....


I wonder if he likes it, tough guy that he is.

Lots of love,
Heleen

Friday, 2 December 2011

A little bit of sunshine

This morning I opened the curtains and was greeted by darkness and rain. It staid grey and wet during the morning. And then, completely unexpected the sun came out! A wintry sort of sun of course but what a difference that little glimpse of sun made to me.

So now, I'm off. See if you can guess what I am going to do!


Hints: That is my quilting space, the newly arrived pattern for the second part of the mystery and a huge cup of tea!

Lots of love,
Heleen

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Carrousel Mystery



November signals the start of a new mystery by Fran├žoise Maarsse from the excellent quilt shop De Quilterij in Den Bosch. Having finished two mysteries already I know how this works. The pattern also includes a mini mystery each month. More fun!
Home sweet home

Fabricwonderland









Now, I was busy and could not start the assigned blocks immediately. That did not sit right with me. I wanted to get started. The fabric was almost jumping out of the box, couldn't wait to get sliced in to little pieces....and who am I to say no!

So, in the midst of everything going on here I was fondling fabric, taking my time to choose the right combination, marvelling in the colours and designs.....aaaahhh heaven! Eventually I managed to get the blocks for the big mystery done. That includes 8 x 18 triangles I had to cut...no idea why but no doubt I'll find out next year!
Block 1 - times 8
 Just in time, because on Thursday the new pattern will be in the mail and we start all over again!


All the little pieces.....
Lots of love,
Heleen

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Gifts.....

Always nice to give something away right? Since I started with the stitchery madness, I find great excuses to stitch. Any reason will make me reach for my - stitched of course - bag full of supplies.....

A few examples:
Excuse 1: A great free pattern and a friend that deserves a thank you!


Excuse 2: A friends granddaughter in desperate need for a quilt (according to us of course). My mother wanted to finish it before her birthday. I quilted the outer border and took care of the binding and label, to help her finish in time. Reports that have reached us since, Sarah guards her quilt and takes it everywhere. Exactly what we wanted!

That was not all I did......not by any means: There was more stitching (no pictures....no time to take them!), the wedding quilt to finish, another friend needing a binding for a quilt, the first block (times 8, pics to follow soon) for the new Mystery (while piecing together the last mystery, haven't finished that yet) I was block head for the yearly Diabetes Fund collection (lots of phonecalls and counting money \0/). and most importantly loads of great ideas and tutorials on all the blogs I needed to read!

Now things are calming down a bit!
Lots of love,
Heleen

Thursday, 24 November 2011

It is finished!

I knew that the wedding quilt would be hard to finish in time. I didn't finish in time for the wedding. Not a problem. It was a wonderful day. With a fairytale bride and a handsome groom. Both were extremely joyous and looked, well ... simply infinitely happy!

Lucky for me, the happy couple departed on their honeymoon shortly after the wedding. That gave me an extra week! I finished the top and sandwiched the quilt on Saturday the 12th. I have been quilting non-stop this whole week and I will not show you my quilt fingers since I do not want to gross you out, but now: I'm done!  The quilt went in the washing machine (had to....my cat "helped" throughout the process). Which was a  belly churning moment (there is a lot of red in the quilt......). But all was well when I opened the washing machine (YEAH).

 They arrived home last Sunday and today I was finally able to give them their quilt! He looks happy don't you think?

By some stroke of luck I actually chose all the right colours for this quilt! I have never seen their home or furniture, (they live on the third floor and no elevator) but it turned out to be red!

I wish them a long and happy life together!

Lots of love,
Heleen
the label 
Stitchery block


The whole quilt

Thursday, 13 October 2011

My sisters birthday!


It has come and gone. Which means that I can finally show you my gifts for her! The first (and biggest) gift is the Irish Tweed quilt kit! She has been eyeing it longingly since we sew it at the OEQC. Her new house is taking shape rapidly, which keeps her really busy! But this should be easy to get done in between. It is going to look great!

There is only one store in The Netherlands that sells these kits and it is a long, long way from me. Luckily, they were willing to send it to me instead! A big thank you to the wonderful people at Atelier Quiltgebeuren !

The second gift:
Since I was unsure of the arrival of the quilt kit, I decided to make something myself. The pattern was a freeby from Sew Pink. It turned out really nice. My sister can hang it in her brand new quilting space!

So happy birthday to my big (and finally older again) sister! 

Lots of love,
Heleen

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Messy


Messy! See the picture on the board? That is the blueprint for Patch Parade. Isn't it beautiful?
I am. Messy that is. Really, really messy. My quilt stuff is all over the house. Which of course means that I have no idea what fabrics are actually in my possession at any given time. Now, this was manageable. Just. Until you need a pattern or a certain fabric.... But now I also have all kinds of stitchery stuff......Again all over the house. No idea what I have and what I need....

No idea what treasure is buried here...
Other stuff


I've been reading blogs lately that tell the story of a complete revamp and reorganisation of quilting spaces. They make me feel bad......I mean, just looking around here I slightly panic at the mere thought of tackling this mess. Besides....I don't have the time. I need to piece the top of the mystery Patch Parade together, I have to finish that wedding gift quilt. I have to do stitchery.......







It is really bad. I can find loads of excuses of course. Limited space (except in my head), I've been sick for a long time and - and this is a really good one - I do have this handicap! But all that isn't really the point. The point is that it is a big mess and I need to get it done. Now!

That is precisely the reason I post these pictures. I am shaming myself into it. I can just imagine the after pictures.......So lets get started!






Well, after I have nice cuddle with my cat that is......She is still injured and on medication, so she really needs me.......And yes, she is suckling on my hand. The lovely thing!

Lots of love,
Heleen

Monday, 3 October 2011

Poor cat

My cat Loedertje has proven to be accident prone before. She falls of the fence, hits her head while jumping, rips her nails on trees, slips, well, you get the point. Usually it ends well.

There are a lot of cats in the neighbourhood and they don't like each other one bit. Usually this just means a lot of meowing at other cats (preferably nice and safe from inside the house). Sometimes a bit of growling and hissing will follow. Which sends our dogs to the garden to chase any other cat well away from "their" cat.

Sometimes, however, it comes to a fight. Claws, teeth and fur flying everywhere......And now we reach the problem. My cat isn't that good at fighting. She looses. Every time. Never won a fight yet.

Now most of the time, this just means that she comes running home with the disguise of a big ball of fur. Her tail has been known to swell up to three times it's usual size! She then proceeds to stalk around the house in a huff, slowly coming back down. This is all familiar territory. It happened last Thursday too. She did have some scraps and she lost her collar......again!

Last Friday, however, she was a little heap of misery. Didn't want to stand on her foot and made the most sorrowful noises ever heard. She did not want us to check on her scraps and made that very clear!

Naturally we took her to the vet. She turned out to have a big gash in one of her legs, an infection (in a DAY) and had probably been caught on something. So, injection, pills and a staple to close the gash. She will have to stay indoors for at least ten days now. Not an easy job for an outdoors cat! Lots of meowing, inspections of windows and doors (of course this had to happen in the ONLY week of wonderful weather we had this summer!)

Poor, poor cat! And - if just a little bit - poor us.....

Lots of love,
Heleen

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Party time!

My dear friend Petra owns a farm. A wonderful and peaceful place. On this farm they have donkeys, a camp site and a vineyard. Now that last one is unusual for the Netherlands. Not many vineyards around, specifically in this area. It took them a lot of research and tries to find the right grapes to grow in this climate. The vineyard was planted in 2007, so it is young. The donkeys do the mowing and the growing is done organically. Last year they were able to make enough wine to sell it.

Good wine too. I tasted it, it is delicious! Luckily the experts agree!  On September 25th (my birthday, but I am sure that was a coincidence), their white wine was awarded a Silver medal! I don't know all that much about wine or the making of wine, I am more of a taster. But apparently this is unheard of. People work for this type of medal for years and years. To receive a Silver for a first attempt is simply amazing.
So today, we celebrate!

They have kindly invited everyone is invited to come and taste their wine, see the vineyard, cuddle the donkeys and just party!

I'm off!
Lots of love,
Heleen

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Hearts and Roses

I've started the wedding quilt! It is going super quick. These hearts will form the centre of the quilt (nice and corny!) I also have these ready:

Four roses. While piecing them together I noticed that this could also be a nice block:

Mmmm. Maybe for a pillow? Made out of the pieces left over.....
Anyway, I also made these little roses:


That means that I can start the stitchery blocks and then I can start piecing the top together. Looks like I'll make it!

Lots of love,
Heleen

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Bullion Stitch, blanket stitch and those other ones

I've made them, I really did. I just didn't get around to show them of. So here they are! The last three assignments Helen set us.


Blanket stitch
Chevron Stitch and Herringbone Stitch. LOVE IT!

I am really, really proud of my accomplishments with the Bullion Stitch. You wouldn't think I was a novice at this just a couple of weeks ago, would you?





I think it looks fantastic!

The last assignment came last Sunday. So there is still fuel to feed the addiction. What will I do after that one is finished.......

Lots of love,
Heleen

Monday, 26 September 2011

A very late gift

The pattern that started it all......
I've told you about this one before here. Now, my sister-in-law has her birthday at the end of June. I did really believe I had enough time. However, I did not take into account that this particular quilt was my own design. I say design, but I really mean Sew-as-you-go-trial-quilt like-thing. That means a lot of ripping everything out and starting over.

Drawing done by my friend.
First attempt, NO!
Oops, there it is....
Very proud of the stitched wreath. Thank you Helen for the crash course and for the new addiction!
 I finally finished it this week. Only a couple of months late...... My sister is - reluctantly - holding it up for me. I ended up giving the advent quilt (aptly named "Het is bijna Kerstmis" or "It's nearly Christmas") to my sister in law on my own birthday. Luckily she was very pleased with it!

Lots of love,
Heleen