maandag 6 november 2017


It's getting colder. I took some pretty autumn pictures in the beginning of November, and then some very frosty pictures the next day, after we had the first real night frost.

The low sun makes everything so dramatic.

Leaves like stained glass windows.

And buds already preparing for next spring.

Pretty berries close by ...

... and lovely lines high up!

Our lovely little church (St Paulus, it's been there since the Middle Ages)

Pigeons meeting on the roof.

Grey wall, bright tree.

I love the dapple shade we get form the pollard willow in the front yard (I "planted" it by sticking a branch in the ground just a few years ago, and it had grown like crazy)

My veg patch in the autumn sun ...
...and after the first frost.

I love the color of my shed. It looks good in all seasons, here with the changing colors of the young cherry tree.

Orange and pink in the leaves of the cherry tree.

Who can resist Nasturtiums and dew drops?

Rainbow fairy drops!

A little display at the side door.

 Now for some more frosty pictures:

I love cabbage (to eat, but it looks good, too!)

Last show for the Nicotiana.

The Campanula got outlined in white.

Our insulation at work, still 20 °C inside, without heating!

dinsdag 24 oktober 2017

Autumn Sewing

I made this autumn bird using some of the pretty fabric I got for my birthday this spring.
I picked autumny colours.

I think it needs a few friends, it's a bit lonely, all by itself in the window.

I joined the advent calendar sew along at A Happy Little Place.

zaterdag 21 oktober 2017

Four Seasons Baby Quilt

Some quick pictures before sending it off to my friend.

This fabric was the starting point for the color scheme.

 I finished a quilt! In record time. I think it was less than a week from cutting to finishing. That is an absolute record for me. I was inspired by seeing Preeti's work. She just goes for it, and finishes a quilt with simple quilting, and they are stunning.

My lucky heart. This fabric is the leftover from the backing on yet another unfinished quilt.

It's a bit wrinkled, because I kept in a roll, ready to send, for a week. Not clever, I should have made some pictures first, also when the weather was still nice.
 This quilt was made for my godchild-on-the-way. I started planning it as soon as I heard my friend was pregnant. But the baby is due in November, and it was October and I still hadn't started. I agonized over fabric selection, pattern, quilting, all details really, because I wanted it perfect.

I like the solid blue background fabric. It always comes out brighter than it is on camera. It's really a jeansy blue, with a hint of purple in it.

I really wanted a more worn, greyish blue, but this is the best they had, and I wanted to make this quilt!

 And all the thinking kept me from making... . Then suddenly, after reading another post by Preeti, I decided to just make a quilt, finish something. I can make a perfect quilt later!
 So I went to my quilt store, bought 1 meter of lovely jeansy blue fabric (I didn't want a white background fabric) and the next day I cut my squares and 2 days later the top was finished!

The back is a fabric called "Acorn Trail". It has lovely little girls enjoying the four seasons. I've had it for years, bought it because it's simply lovely, but never knew what to do with the large scale print.

Here's autumn, raking leaves, and a squirrel hiding an acorn for winter.
 I wanted to do some pumpkin seed (orange peel) quilting, which I thought would be feasible with my machine with no walking foot. After doing three block I ripped it all out, it was horribly wonky. Then I decided to do a simple grid pattern and botched up again, because the two layers of batting (I want this child to be warm!) shifted (while spray basting I thought they would cling to each other naturally, not so!). So I ripped all the quilting out again.

Winter is gathering fire wood and the little raccoon is helping.

I love spring, tending seedlings, but the rabbit is scary. Can you see it eying those seedlings?

 I thought this quilt must be cursed, I can't send it to this innocent little child. It wil bring her bad luck! But I pushed on, and quilted the grid and you'l never guess what happened ... Just as I made my last stitch of my last line, the thread was finished! Surely that is a lucky omen! Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. Behind the sewing machine is the only place I ever swear (ask my husband, he was shocked when he first heard me). Usually the swearing occurs when the bobbin thread runs out, and I only notice after I've sewn for another five minutes... argh! So when this last stich miracle happened I literally jumped for joy, and immeadiately made peace with the wonky quilting, because this is a LUCKY QUILT! The child that sleeps under it is sure to lead a happy and prosperous life!

Summer enjoying the flowers, the birds and the butterflies.

I added the last of this "Birds and Berries" fabric by Lauren and Jessi Jung. It has all sorts of cute creatures: snails, ...

 To add some extra good luck I added my little gold heart in the binding, and I sewed on the binding by hand while sitting in the autumn sunshine in my garden and at a playground. I'm convinced that the good vibes will carry through to my goddaughter.

... birds...

...cobwebs and lady birds ...

... and humming birds.

 I hope my friend likes it, and that her daughter grows to cherish it. When I finished it, I realized I want to finish more imperfect quilts (not that I've ever made a perfect quilt). It's so gratifying to get it done. And the quilt is no less special because it was made quickly, mostly from "leftover" fabric (is there such a thing, really?) or has a simple pattern, because it was made with love!

Fairy garden flowers.

Lots of texture, because of the double layer of polyester batting.
 So I sent it out to my friend yesterday. Always scary, putting something you made and love in a cardboard box, sticking a barcode on it, and sending it across the sea. But I can track it, and hopefully it will reach her somewhere next week. Then I hope it gets used, washed, stained and washed again a lot, because some wear and tear just make a quilt more cuddly and lovely, don't you think?


Catching Up

I just want to dedicate this post to some of my creative pleasures of the summer. I took pictures of a lot of the creative stuff I enjoyed, but didn't get round to posting them. When I looked through the photos, I realized I'd taken none of the clothes I'v been sewing. I did try and keep a list on my phone, and I just counted fourteen items of clothing, sewn by me this year! I'm most proud of the dress I made to measure for my mum, but I have not one picture of it... . Maybe I'll do a catch up post on clothes later.

I grew some cut flowers for the first time this year. Of course I have been cutting flowers (dahlias, cosmos, narcissi, lady's mantle, sweet peas, ...) from my garden for a long time, but this year I enlarged my tiny veg patch and added an actual crop of flowers. It was great fun and quite succesful.

Just some of the bouquets I cut from my new cut flower patch.
Although I got a late start, the sunflowers and the Ammi gave good crops. They looked so pretty in the garden that I didn't pick as many as I could have, but the bees and hoverflies loved them, too. The snapdragons gave some very pretty, bright and pastel colors, but the stems were quite sure, and I don't really like their scent. I think I'll sew them again next year (lots of seed left), but just pop them in the garden as pretty annual. They are still pretty now, at the end of October, with very little care.

In the beginning of summer I knitted another fox from Little Cotton Rabbits. Felix had managed to lose his Floepsie, so I made this grey fox for him. I still plan to make myself one, too, but the children love their foxes and dressing them, so whenever I do feel like knitting I end up making more dresses for them. This is the first fox I did with stockings (light blue and white stripes) and shoes.

New friend and old (very much used) friend.

She's a winter fox, so she got a snowflakes dress.
 This next project is something I did while we were camping in Delft. I got a really bad laryngitis, so I couldn't go swimming. Instead I stayed in the tent, and started planning a tea party sewing bee. Since I couldn't start cooking while on holiday, I painted some invitations. They are teacups with sewing motives: daisy stitch flowers, embroidery scissors and ohio star quilt blocks. I thought that was quite clever of me! You have to pull on the tea bag label to get out the teabag, which has all the information for the invitation. Isn't it pretty? And I'm glad to say the teaparty sewing bee was an absolute succes. I had the buffet inside and the sewing and cutting tables on the porch. There was also a little seating area where we could drink our tea and leaf through sewing books. And we had flowers from the garden to decorate, because that's what I asked my guests (my mum and my mother- en sister-in-law) to bring. Lovely summer memories!

I'd go to the party if I got such pretty invitation!
 Of course, a lot of my creativity flows into the garden in spring and summer.

My succulent garden keeps growing.

I'm not a pastel girl, I love the bright colors of Nasturtiums!

Calendula is my favorite flower. In Dutch they are called Goudsbloem, "golden flower". Their color is like a natural antidepressant to me.

Lovely leaves of "snijbiet".

Tiny courgette. I had only one plant, but more courgettes than we could eat!

The patch at the beginning of summer, with the addition in front, where the cut flowers are just getting going.

Pretty harvest. I made a thai curry for Willem and myself from this. The kids don't like hot food, but they were visiting their grandparents on that day. We ate it in the shade of our cherry tree: summer garden bliss!

Garden path: to the left is a patch I've left unweeded for 3 years now. It's very pretty and the bees love it.

A harvest of tiny "Marché de Paris" carrots and ...
... huge red beets (I think "Egyptische platronde", but I'd have to check)

I bought some japanese anenome "Fantasy Pocahontas" for late summer flowers, ....

... and added this bright orange with pink shine Echinacea "Mood Sympathy" (or was it Symphony?)
 These final pictures are of some sewing and knitting I did for a god daughter who is due in November. I think the dress is lovely, it just needs buttons on the back, and it's ready to go.

The fabric is called "Walkabout" by Geninne Zlatkis. Maybe she'll take her first steps in it?

The sweater is very pretty in itself, ...

... but it's tiny! Only a really tiny baby would fit. And as she will be a third child, she has every chance of being a big baby, so I donated the sweater to Elly, my daughter's doll, and will knit another, in a size that fits the dress.
 I had so many creative plans for this godchild, but I got stuck planning, because I wanted it to be perfect (not a good starting point!). But more on that in my next post!