Tuesday, 14 February 2017


Hearts at the florist today

The heart of our laburnum tree. The tree decided to fall down when full in bloom, leaving us this heart.

Tiny heart at the festive windmill decoration. Just a few stitches can be so meaningful.

Love this heart at my unfinished 'Peace' sheep

This year's challenge will be to embroider a Russian heart with beads (perles brodées) and to make a sampler with minute hearts. There are some lovely examples on internet, in the form of a book or as a 'leporello'. I never heard of this before: it is a book that you fold up and tie together with a ribbon. When you search at Pinterest for  'embroidery sample books' you will be amazed to see such wonderful samples. There are so many creative women in the world making such beautiful items.
I inherited my mother's and my friend's embroidery material. It took me nearly a year (on and off) to organize it all. On little cartons and in boxes. It will be so much fun though to make a sample book in the way which is shown on this blog:

Apart from the pretty embroidered page with little hearts there is this wonderful Excel sheet which you can download. 
Merci beaucoup, Pastel49!

In addition I would like to add this entry on internet, giving all the exotic names of DMC embroidery floss: 

Such a job to create this list! Thank you, too!

Well, and this is my today's Cupid, all curled up on my patchwork pillows.

Happy Valentines!

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Friends are the flowers on your path

'Friends are the flowers on your path'.
The January sun shines beautifully through the flower and shows its pentagon. 

If you read back on my blog in February 2016 - 'Monograms and hem stitches' -  you will find an entry on my creative friends.
It was time for a gettogether. Our collective creativity limits these days to cooking once in a while. We dine in the garden of the one, along the waterfront of the lakeside house of the other, or like this time in Hermine's wonderful world of antiquities and brocante. We are busy girls with many activities, children and grandchildren taking up time, here and abroad, nearby or all over the ocean. It is not easy to make agenda's meet.
After all the festive moments and dining of the Seasons I greatly admired the hostess for her creativity over this dinner. The table setting and the cooking was Italian inspired, everything in red, white and green. Silly enough I did not take a picture of the entire table, the Italian flag was created as a table cover with various materials. 

The Italian starter

The Italian antipasta
And here stop my pictures of the dinner. Too much engaged in the talking ;-))
We have known each other for over 34 years now and we see how times and we change.
I showed you a Botero picture in February's post: women drinking wine. But this time one was on 'Dry January', the other the driver, one on postoperative medication and the hostess had to keep her head at the roast in the oven. No way we looked like the Botero picture this time.
There is not only a change in our creative activities, but also a change in how we move forward with the use of our smartphones, internet, Pinterest, Facebook, Whatsapp, whatever. The one is smarter on this than the other, or vice versa depending on the subject. And on the children at hand to give smart advise!!
We lived near each other, then all of sudden moved away not far from each other, we shared pains and aches, saw babies born, wedding bells ringing, you name it it happened and we stayed close.

Thank you dear hostess Hermine for a wonderful creative evening. In your home I look around like Alice in Wonderland. It inspires me to give my interior a fresh look by giving things a shake and rearranging here or there. The January low standing sun just asks for a critical look at one's interior anyhow - the sun hides nothing, and particularly not the dust and dirty windows!
I love and collect Joan Walsh Anglund's books and would like to finish this post with the the text 'Un ami c'est quelqu'un qui t'aime'. In March we have the next gettogether, before everyone flies out.

  Let's keep the friendship blossoming!

Monday, 9 January 2017

Hearts and pincushions

Now that the Christmas season is over we all seem to move over fast to the next occasion we can be creative about. The Christmas decorations have only just been put away or out come all the goodies and inspiration for Valentine's: in the shops, on internet, on the blogs, on Pinterest. You can close your eyes on it, or enjoy it and go for it. Heart shaped quilted mug rugs or a table runner with hearts, for instance, take some time to make and might be ready just in time as a gift on Valentine's Day.

In my craft room there are the occasional hearts: in bangles, in jars, in baskets and as I have decided to put up curtains in this room with woven hearts the colour 'red' and 'hearts' certainly attract my eye.

During our last quilt bee before Christmas our teacher Hanneke had put a Christmas wish on our working space, in a bright red envelope and on top of it this beautifully wrapped up parcel waiting for our arrival. Such a warm and surprising welcome! She had engaged her father to help out with the wrapping up, as Hanneke is as busy as a bee in this season, with all its specific happenings, materials and projects.

What a wonderful atmosphere - Season's quilts (you would like to make them all for next Christmas), toys, cookies, embroidery all around us. The quilt shop is inspirational as such but over Christmas has all these extra's - your eyes go round in wonder. Have a look at Hanneke's blog here on the Christmas time in her quilt shop, her December entries. We got all excited and cheery, what a superduper surprise to find a magnetic pin cushion, to put next to our sewing machines. With hearts! Red! Big hearts, small hearts! This is mine ....

Christmas gift for the Monday bee from Quiltatelier Vlijtig Liesje (background private pillow)
Such a huge magnetic pin cushion had been on my wish list for a long time. Once observed during sewing classes years ago when a fellow student carried this back and forth every week (together with a very smart sewing box, which I acquired afterwards just the same). Recently seen on a craft show, but thinking 'I'll get it another time' and therefore remaining on the 'wish list'. A very welcome gift, it will be well used!
When you sew, quilt, embroider, there are all these various pins you use. For dress making I like plain pins and this magnetic pin cushion is great for this.
We became all very giggly and boisterous, and discussed the advantages of the magnet. One girl turned her whole pin box upside down to illustrate how strong the magnet is - you have your pins back in no time, no problem.
With a challenging smile we tried out the variety of Christmas cookies going with the coffee: 'Would you like another one, have you tasted this one?!' ;-)) Gorgeous! Thank you Santa Hanneke!

So, that is hearts for my sewing from now on. There is the little felt heart in my small sewing box, used for embroidery moments, or when I visit classes. It was a packet once at the 'Hema' and if remembered well sold in aid of charity, or sold as a craft project for kids.as a key holder, for Mother's Day maybe. I gave it my own twist with a leaf (still lying there from a strawberry project and waiting for a destination), little silk roses and a red bead, until it looked good to me, chosing the pink as the front as it matched best with the roses. It is cute, it is nice and puffy, about 2 inches in size, and I just love it.

The needle keeper was quickly made from a little project for sale at 'Wibra' (also for kids I think) when I needed to take some needles on a river quilt cruise (organized by Hanneke). Well, you cannot take a cabin trunk with all your notions on a quilt cruise, can you?! The Wibra also meant it to be a key holder, but it ended up like this in my creative world. Running out of red floss in the outer line the white was just as good to finish it with. Who says it has to be perfect? Prepunched, precut, everything there and off you go - back to childhood and making a pretty heart! Wonderful!
Why the big needle ended up on there is a question - it was certainly not needed on the cruise .....

In the middle you see a small enamel pin with the symbol of Friesland, a province in the north of Holland. The heart shaped leaves of a yellow water plant, family of water lillies, are the symbol in the flag of Friesland, so called 'pompeblêde'. So much water all around in Friesland, so many waterlillies. No idea how this little item ever arrived in my sewing box - it found an 'on show' place now on the needle keeper.

Well, guys, pin cushions, pin cushions, pin cushions. In a previous post I asked: how many can you have? In my case never too many. Hearts - hearts - hearts - the same goes here: how many can you have? Well, not enough ..... Share the warmth of your heart with others and enjoy the warmth of accepting a gift and creating small things! .

Saturday, 7 January 2017

The new start of the year

Happy New Year to all my readers and followers!

It is the 7th of January, the Christmas decorations were taken down yesterday and everything has been boxed up until the beginning of December. The Season's Holidays have come to an end. The sunshine holds the promise that the winter will soon change into spring. The snowdrops in the garden have put up their noses since the beginning of December and on my walk with the dog on 27 December this tree caught my attention with amazement! Spring in the air!

There are always items that I would love to have around me all the time.  This gorgeous Googly Christmas ornament is one of them. If her bonnet would not be a Christmas fabric I think I would. Maybe a place in a basket in between the pincushions in my hobbyroom would make her smile all year round.
The fun thing at the beginning of December is that you open up the boxes to decorate the house and - I for certain - always bump into ornaments that have been off your mind all year. So, I open the boxes and gasp -  'oh, how cute!!!' and make a choice what the setting is going to be: red, orange, gold, or just natural ornaments, or like this time just red apples and red roses. Especially during daylight the reds looked very cheery!

I love seeing other's Chritmas trees, everyone has their own personal touch to it. In fact, I would love to race around the country at Christmas and sit under the Christmas trees of my whole family and friends! Would not you? Tradition is high on my list in this season.

In the early '80s the Amsterdam Convention Centre RAI organized an American arts and crafts fair. The variety on show was big and the items for sale tempting to take home. A pottery wind chime with driftwood made in California, a beautifully made up rooster (yes, it is the year of the rooster this year) in a basket as a kitchen ornament, a small hand painted oil lamp wih a Japanese style fleur de lys, and this gorgeous Googly Christmas ornament came home with me. It was the time I made two porcelain replica dolls myself and just LOVED this gorgeous Googly to put up in the Xmas tree. The expression is so cute. It was a big stand where I bought it. Today it is sad the maker remains unknown. Well, it has been cherished and very much enjoyed!

And now it is a fresh start of a new year and an agenda with many blank pages. Pinterest inspired me: take a big jar and put in a note on the happy moments you experience, and then turn it upside down on the next New Year's Eve. Looking back it is always amazing what happened in a year.

Let's make it a wonderful creative year with respect for one another.
Let us smile and be happy, just like my little Googly!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

How many pincushions can you have??

Pincushions are such adorable things to make.
There are many of them flying about: one in the bedroom with pins and needles to do a quick repair on clothing, one in my sewing box, one in my quilting box, a big one next to the sewing machine and just many more because they were just fun to make and an exercise to try out patchwork.
The one on show here is one of my latest. Visiting the webshop of Atelier Soedidee formed the inspiration to work out the scheme for this one. So much fun to dig into the box with red materials and finding little scraps. Pinterest helps you out in finding just thát particular embroidery picture you are looking for.

As the project progressed I kept changing things, as I did not like the results of chosen fabrics and matching colours. At first I used the beads to fill in the 'yellow' cross stitches in the strawberry, but then removed them as it was no good, yellow cross stitch was better. I bought a gorgeous charm for it (a flower basket) and removed it twice, leaving it out altogether in the end. The lace strap was also a matter of choice: how to apply it? It ended up cut up in three parts and placed on the front and the back.

The monogram laundry label is a vintage one. In the middle. I embroidered a tiny flower. It moved from the front to the back. The flower silk strip is a remnant out of my grandma's sewing box. She would love seeing the result using it in this pincushion!
The rig rag is also vintage, silky and shiny, just like the flower ribbon.
My darling husband shook his head, listening to my moaning and groaning on my creation, but always happily prints out my plans and pictures and cheers when all is beautiful and finished..
I wanted the butterfly 'straight' on the square, but as it was not on the right grain of the material it did end up just 2 millimeters out of tune. How perfect do you want it all to be??!!

The beads have been sitting there for quite a while as a biscornu is still on the 'to do and try out list', the bottom with beads and the top with bumble bees. Well, they became part of this pincushion and the sparkle of them enlightens the whole pincushion.
To work with I usually put the beads on a deep soup plate and a tray, but this time it happened twice that my work load ended all over the table and then on the floor ...... My oh my, they are so tiny and really go all over the place.
There was this friend's remark buzzing in my head: 'a pincushion needs a loop'. So, then the boxes with little gimmicks came out. My friend gave me a parcel once with an alfabet ribbon. The width just fitted on the spool and the left over will be so much fun to use in another project.
Altogether it took me a fortnight on fiddling around with my pin cushion (mind you, not all day!) and now so many words on it, but it is sweet and adorable and I am totally in love with it. Especially with the back of it somehow! Is that not strange?!
On the rig rag I tried out some embroidery stitches - zoom in to have a closer look.
The main fabric at the back is a scrap from the windmill embroidery in my earlier posts.
The hobby corners of the Wibra and the Action shops are magnets for me: that is where I found the button, the flower and the spools
Many more pincushions to come in future posts!

Monday, 28 March 2016

Bunny ears to listen

Once you have found out the trick how to fold your serviette to get this result, it is of course very tempting to try it out with other serviettes also. These ones are squares of approximately 25 cm and held together with a small silver serviette holder. The serviettes are part of a small and a large beautifully appliqued table clothes with pink shaded flowers, handmade and embroidered by busy Chinese hands. They will all return in a future post, as they deserve a post on their own.

After having eaten yesterdays Easter eggs in the gingham serviettes I have filled the serviettes this morning with wooden eggs and put them in a basket as a table arrangement. Once that you get going on this (project to remember for next year) you could use artificial eggs just the same - they are on sale everywhere and easy on the budget. However, I just loved using the shiny coloured real ones inside.

The Easter bunny has ears, large ears, ears to listen and in fact tells us this:


There is a severe storm forecasted, grey skies, the rain drops are plentiful on these daffodils on the garden table. They are such a cheery sight from the dining room. A day for cocooning and a day to sit down and drop my long ear on the phone, calling people I have not spoken to for a long time.

This is a sweet not too large very cheery spring bouquet I got first thing in the morning last Saturday. I personally would never mix daffodils with tulips or any other flowers, but it was just so pretty I gave it try and thought it would last over Easter anyhow. Have a look at the remarkable ranunculus: in the middle there is a green part that grows longer and longer as the flower opens up. Like seaweed almost, really funny.

Happy Easter Monday

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Bunnies on a string and vintage table linen

These irresistable bunnies on a string were found at 'Dille & Kamille'. They dangle happily amongst the wooden Easter eggs and fluffy chickens from my Easter floral arrangement, made with blossoms and spring greens from the garden.They are so cute!

Easter breakfast just asks for pretty table linens, and for just anything that looks like spring and is colourful. My dear blogfriend Wanda sent me this very pretty hand embroidered table linen from Canada. It is square, approximately 90 x 90 cm, and just nicely fits a setting for two, on top of another bigger table cloth.The colours are very appealing and blend in with almost any plates used. Cannot decide whether I see yellow tulips or other yellow summery flowers?

The well finished reverse side
The stitcher is unknown, and as a tribute to the lady who made it (and to Wanda, of course!) I am posting it on here. It has been made with so much care and fine stitches, well finished on the reverse and a hand stitched hem in a beige colour. Can you just imagine how she sat down and embroidered this, thinking of spring and summer coming up, thinking of the moments she was going to use this? Well, it has become one of my favourites, as apart from being used at Easter it also is a nice asset on the garden table in the summer.

The hem stitch is intriguing, it is definitely made by hand, but I have to work out how it is done.
There were other things that hopped along with me apart from the bunnies when I was in town: charming little moulds for frying your eggs in a bunny shape and little cookie moulds to try out one's kitchen skills. I have never made cookies myself ever yet! On the news yesterday it was mentioned that it was remarkable that in the supermarkets we seemed to have bought a lot of stuff for home bakery, more than ever before.

This morning I found the way to fold serviettes like a bunny on Pinterest. You fold the points of a square to the middle line, fold both parts once more to the middle line, fold double, tie up in the middle and place your Easter egg in it and pull the ears into place. Voilá!, your Easter bunny. I used a paper serviette, but any linen serviette will make it look even greater.

The cookies still have to be tried out. A project for Easter Monday.

The recipe for the oeufs en cocotte has been tried out: delicious! - leek, green herbs, Parmezan cheese, creme fraiche, eggs. Very easy, but I found it tricky to remove everything from the oven, as the 'cocottes' float in piping hot water. I will have a go at it again, but will then put a lid on and will place it straight into the oven. And who knows, I might even be trying to get the bunny form with the special mould!

Happy Easter to you all!