woensdag 26 april 2017

Spring bouquet

I treated myself to a book called 'The Cut Flower Patch' by Louise Curley with a gift voucher I got from my best friend for my birthday. It arrived today and I just leafed through it a little bit. Immediately I was inspired to go and pick a bouquet from my garden, even though I don't have an official cut flower patch yet.

The background here is a bit busy, but it does show off the whiteness of my narcissi.

I combined tête-à-tête narcissi, forget-me-nots and chives.

I planted the narcissi last fall, and was a bit disappointed, because they are a bit messy when coming into flower. They're a bit like crumbled up paper when opening up. But I'm warming to them, because they have been flowering for ages and still look fresh and very white, which is beautiful in my side garden, combined with the blue of the blue forest anemones and the forget-me-nots in there.

I hope the chives buds will burst now they are inside, but they look lovely as they are as well.

In their final position on my home altar.
I'm looking forward to a year of many bouquets from my garden. I might start a real cut flower patch this year, or just devote a few square of my square foot garden to flowers, like I did last year for my Dahlias. I do find real joy in going out into the garden and bringing some of the season indoors.

donderdag 20 april 2017

More quilty fun!

 Look what I got for my birthday!

Exactly what I ordered!
I tipped my husband more than a month ago and he came through!
I'm so happy with the book and the pretty FQ's of Retro 30's Child Smile fabric.

I made this pouch right away! It's for my daughter, the fabric on the bottom is her favorite of the whole line.

The back is pretty, too!

Lovely lining (no zipper yet, I have to buy one first).

And my pretty label, from Nominette.

I love hand quilting for texture.

Did I mention I love hand quilting?

I hand pieced and quilted, and assembled by machine (but then finished the seams on the inside by hand, as per instructions. It's a lovely finish, and one I'd never tried before).

Now I just need to add the zipper, the Japanese way (by hand, of course)

And I got everything set for another tea cup pouch!
I really enjoyed the hand piecing, so I plan to make some of the blocks of the quilt on the cover the slow way, too. But I mustn't forget to finish setting my Splendid Sampler...

zondag 16 april 2017

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!
For her ninth birthday Marieke got a bright pink petticoat from oma Lena. So she needed a dress to go with that. I made her one, and one thing led to another. I thought I would be nice to make my three sons nice outfits for Easter, too. It was a challenge, I sewed the buttons on Felix's shirt on Saturday morning, just in time for the Easter egg hunt at their grandparents' house!

More eggs!

I think I see some more over there...

Yes! Let's go get them!

I'm way ahead of you!

I'll just quietly gather the ones my siblings have run past, in their excitement.

It's huge!

I want to eat the pretty bunny!

My basket is full!

There's one! Quick!

More Easter eggs in the vegetable garden!

I see some there!

I'm right behand you!
Wait for me!
There must be some in the orchard, too...

No, I think we got them all.

Children, would you pose for a pretty picture of your Easter outfits?

Ok, come on Felix, stand here for mum!

We're coming.

Look at my bunny! It's so big! Can I eat it now?

Happy Easter!

zaterdag 15 april 2017

Naughty Easter

My nine-year old daughter made this drawing for Easter. I don't know where she gets the cheekiness, but I can help but chuckle every time I lift the bell to discover what's underneath...

Do I see bunny ears from the top of that bell?

Ooooh, Marieke! That is so naughty! And look how guilty the bunny looks! Caught in the act!
PS I don't know if you have Easter bells in other countries, but here in Belgium, it is said that the church bells fly out of the church spires on Good Friday (and we here no chiming after that), fly all the way to Rome to get Easter eggs, and then fly back in time to sprinkle our gardens with Easter eggs on Sunday!

vrijdag 3 maart 2017

Easter Basket

It's almost spring!
 When I saw the tutorial for a basket tote Caroline at Sew Can She made in February, I immediately decided I would make an Easter basket from the pattern. I really like the shape of this tote, and the construction seemed pretty straight forward.

Front view.
Back view.

I went all out, making an embroidered center panel, and hand pieced side panels. I printed the pattern slightly smaller than the original, simply because I was too lazy to figure out how to print the pieces at 100%. So I simply did "fit to page" and went from there. I did have to trim some of my side panels tops off to make the thing fit, but the shape came out just fine in the end. My basket is 8 inches high in the middle.

Pretty cute...

For the embroidered panel I chose a pattern from doe-c-doe. I purposely chose something cute and fit for spring, but not something that screams Easter, like bunnies or Easter eggs. That way the basket is not too seasonal, just all year round cute. I used stem stitch on all the lines, with a variegated thread in light blue for the kitten.

Isn't she sweet?
Even cuter with a duck and daffodils in the mix.
For the side panels I English paper pieced a bunch of 1" hexies in a pleasing combination of fabrics. I actually used leftovers from my Splendid Sampler Quilt (see previous posts). I'm glad to say that even after a year of sewing with these fabrics I still haven't tired of them.

Thanks to the Splendid Sampler I found out I really like EPP.
I just have to show the other side panel, too!

I did simple straight line quilting (no walking foot).

I think the colors are lovely and give a positive spring feeling!

All panels were then stiffened using a layer of fusible batting first, then machine quilting and then adding some stiff fusible stuff that I don't know the name of. It's something fibrous but not woven. I've no idea what its intended purpose is. I just picked it in the Veritas because it felt like it might do the job. And it did!

The basket is sturdy enough to stand by itself.

It opens up like this, with lots of room for Easter eggs!

And snapped shut, it still stands proud!

Joining the panels was a real struggle, but I managed in the end. I like the structure of the stiff panels, but I might try a basket with just fusible batting, and see how that works. I added a magnetic snap and I think that is the only thing I'm not 100% happy with, apart from the handles. Two things went wrong with the snap. First of all, I put it in quite low on the lining, for fear of not being able to add the bias trim because of the snap getting in the way. So it distorts the shape of the basket a little when closed. Also because I didn't manage to line them up perfectly, which probably goes back to not working to scale and being sloppy with the seam allowances... . Secondly, the snap is really strong. You have to pull quite hard to open it. But it's only attached to the lining, and the lining is only attached to the bag at the top, with the bias binding. So when I tried to open it, it felt like I might tear the snap out of the lining. I did strengthen the lining as per instructions, so it should be fine. Or I might tear the lining out of the bag, a more likely scenario, it is just quilting cotton, I wouldn't have been surprised if after just a few minutes in the hands of my kids, they would have torn the lining. So I strengthened the whole thing by quilting right through al the layers around the snap. Now it feels sturdier.
The snaps look really professional.

See the messy hand quilting around the snap, to hold it firmer in place?

You can see how the top doesn't quite line up...

... and how the front is distorted by the snap.

But all in all, I'm very pleased, with the shape and the colors

 Making the handles was not hard, with the tutorial provided. I made my fabric strips a bit wider and added a cotton core in the handle. I am pleased with the result. I'm not so pleased with the messy top stitching with which they are attached. That was the result of the stiffness of the bag, and the fact that it is smaller than the pattern. Next time, I'll try attaching the handles before constructing the bag. The reason I didn't do that this time is that 1. I followed instructions on this point and 2. I thought it would be better to decide the position of the handles once the bag was constructed.

I just tell myself the cuteness of the kitty distracts from the messy top stitching :-).

All in all I'm very pleased with my project, it makes a nice addition to my Easter decor.

My Easter window sill.