Friday, 31 August 2007

Driving license

Today I picked up my new driving license. As you can see, it has become a little smaller, then we are used to in the Netherlands. It's very handy. It is the same size as my credit cards.

The old one looked like this. This is a picture of the front and back.

This posting isn't very quilt related, but I thought you would like to see my new driving license :).
Tomorrow you will hear all about my visit to the quilt exhibit in Deventer.

Just a quick update: I didn't finish another block tonight! I was busy piecing everything together but didn't quite make it. Have 2 corners left to piece and 2 middel triangles. I'm too tired now to finish it. I think I will go to bed and do some reading before I go asleep.
In the evenings I can't wait to go to bed. You see, I'm a morning person.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Short post..

I finished another block!! Hope to get another one finished by Friday.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Our weekend with UK guests

This weekend our friends arrived for a visit. They flew to Germany to first spend a day at the Nürburgring. JW goes there a lot and this time he went to pick them up there. I couldn’t go along for the ride as JW has a ‘small’ (but fast) car. He would be unable to fit 4 people and luggage! Saterday we went to Putten to do some shopping for the kids. Nic likes the children fashion that the Netherlands provides. They bought lots of t-shirts and jumpers.
We had a great diner in the evening at a restaurant in Garderen. Sadly, we took no pictures for others to see. Sunday, we went to Marken, a real tourist attraction, but give’s a good impression of Holland long ago. It is well-known for its characteristic wooden houses. It’s also a old fishing village. We saw no one looking remotely like these people in the pictures

No, really, we saw no one walking in clogs. And, know one was wearing the traditional national dress.
Did you know that I have some real Dutch wooden clogs! I use them when I work in the garden. They are however a little hard to walk in, I do have to admit.

We drove from Marken to the Afsluitdijk. The Afsluitdijk (English: Closure Dike) is a major dike in the Netherlands, constructed between 1927 and 1933 and running from Den Oever on Wieringen in North Holland province, to the village of Zurich in Friesland province, over a length of 32 km and a width of 90 meters, at an initial height of 7.25 meters above sea-level.
Once we came into Friesland we decided to drive back home, to enjoy the BBQ I had planned. The drive back took us about 1 1/2 hours. We came home a little later then I had planned :)
This afternoon (Monday) I dropped them off at Schiphol, our national airport. They will be arriving in Stansted, England, around dinnertime.
It was a great weekend, especially as I could converse in English

Tonight I might get some piecing done, after not having done anything for 3 whole days! The next couple of weeks I really need to make some more effort, will I have pieced the remaining 5 blocks before the 20th of September. But we do need our goals!

This is me with my new glasses.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Look what I got....

This morning I went to one of the members of the 'crazy quilters' and got these wonder quilt racks. I don’t yet know which colour I will paint them; maybe red like my wall or maybe a mahogany like colour. What do you think?
But aren’t these racks just wonderful? I don’t have enough (finished) quilts to display yet, but this way I will keep on quilting :)

The day before yesterday I washed the fabrics. They are ironed and laying in one of the new boxes awaiting the autumn workshop on ‘mariner's compasses’.

How do you like my glasses – they are a little hard to see – they’re laying on the ‘Big Book of Best Loved Quilt Patterns’. But you get the general idea.

I’ve also been doing some appliqué!

Happy stitching everyone! Enjoy your weekend. I'll be off-line for a day or two as our quests will be arriving shortly.

Friday, 24 August 2007

No Sewing Machine Trolley for me!

It is becoming increasingly difficult to get myself a sewing machine trolley. Tried ordering one online be as it is quit big they don’t deliver overseas. I would have loved to have had the trolley by the 12th, but I think I will have to carry the sewing machine with me in a box to my first class. I can’t belief this…
Maybe I shall improvise.

Yester evening we had our Bee. Besides it being a productive evening, catching up on all the gossip, talking about our interests, it was also yummy; we got this delicious home made apple-pie with our coffee. This was because Janny is having her birthday today. Happy Birthday Janny (no, she has no weblog, so sadly you can not congratulate her personally).
I found out yesterday evening that I have some readers! Blog followers. Some even check in regularly! When I arrived, Matty complemented me on my new glasses, she had read the blog before coming to the Bee :). That was a strange experience.
Matty, when you read this, you know you are famous. Others know of your existence!
I’m also learning new techniques; Joke showed me how to make a flower, using a specific stitchery stitch. Thank you, Joke.

It is nice to have quilt friends, they all want to share (their skills). And,,,,,,,,

quilting with a friend will keep you in stitches!!

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Who said Quilting was a cheap hobby...?

It is amazing how much money goes into making a quilt. Today I needed a water erasable marking pen. Off I went to Putten, to my local quilting shop. Before popping in, I first got my new glasses. I love them. They were even a little cheaper then I thought. After paying for them I went off to the quilt shop.
Besides buying the marker pen, I bought two FQ of crème fabric and some sewing pins.

I just want to mention there are some great and kind quilters out there. They are always there to help. I also love receiving their comments / e-mails. I’m glad I’m back into quilting. I hadn’t expected to encounter such nice people. If they were there 10 years ago I didn’t meet them. More then 10 years ago I followed my first quilt workshop, but after two seasons I quit. One of the main reasons was that I needed to write a research proposal to enable me to get a grant for my PhD thesis. I got the grant in 1997 and I some years later my PhD. This is one of my major achievements. But I’m glad that project is finished and I could take up my hobby again.
I love big quilts. And, therefore, I try to make big quilts. I don’t like undertaking small projects.
The other reason that I quit the quilting lessons was that I thought I could do it all by myself. I found out the hard way. You need quilting buddies. More then 10 years ago, I started on this star quilt, as shown in the picture.
It is a Karin Pieterse design. It is a 2.06 x 2.06 metre quilt. This is another PhD I’m trying to complete. Only in this case PhD stands for Projects half Done. All the blocks having been laying in a box for a long time!

Yesterday I learned how to appliqué. I thought this would be really difficult but it is actually pretty easy. I’m combining the appliqué with stitchery. The effect is pretty nice. I think Zoë’s quilt is becoming a creative let-out. It is also becoming an expensive quilt. I really don’t want to add up all the euro’s that has gone into this quilt so far and I haven’t even gotten to the boarder. Still I’m enjoying myself. Only 123 days till Christmas and then Zoë’s quilt will have to be ready.

Tonight we are having our Bee again. I’m curious what everyone has made the past fortnight and the progress they have made.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Can’t stay behind....

Reading all those blogs has gotten me into the mood to tidy up my study. I got 4 boxes. They are all filled up with fabrics. The DMC treads are nicely tidied away in my little box. Not bad, if I do say so.

This morning a friend phoned from Australia. It is always great to hear his voice. Skype is a terrific and genius invention. However, it is strange when this ringing sound comes out of your computer and you can’t find the button to click and answer. It took forever to find the button. It kept on ringing and ringing. I was getting a little nervous and just when I found the button that needed to be clicked, he hung up on me. I had to phone back. At least I made someone smile today. He thought it was pretty funny.
For those who think I really had a long search, let me tell you, that this all took place in about 2 minutes.

I had a really healthy lunch.
A fruit salad of strawberries, red currants and pineapple.

Blogger is down. I can’t belief it, just when I want to post this. I will have to try again later. Lucky for me I first make a draft (in Word) before posting it. It is hard to think in two languages and write your thoughts down in one (language). Sometimes I don’t notice that I’m writing in English or Dutch. When I read it, it says what I want to say; even though sentences might be in half English and halve Dutch (only for the readers it might be a little weird). Do others have this problem? I don’t think in two languages, my language is a mixture of Dutch and English, making translating sometimes a little hard. The spelling checker is a great help, to point out mistakes.

I’m having a great day so far. No work till Tuesday next week, just a lot of free time to do all kind of nice things (we are getting guests from the UK this weekend).
I had my picture taken today for my new driving licence that I need to get. My driving licence expires soon and therefore I will go to the city council tomorrow and get a new one. Since recently we have a ‘credit card format’ driving licence like they have in the USA. Maybe I should take a picture of the old one, because in the not to near future no one will have the old one any more.
After leaving the photo shop, I went next door to the shop that has many spectacles. My glasses needed to be adjusted. And, naturally, I saw some nice glasses I liked. A third pair is always nice to have. (To be truthful I have about 7 pair – but the other four are a little old fashioned, I think). These new one’s have a pink frame. Tomorrow I can pick them up. I can’t wait.

I really need to get out the sewing machine and get some windmills made.

Have to control that craving...

Last couple of weeks I’ve gotten into the habit to reading some blog’s before I left for work. I’m a morning person and have no trouble waking up around 5.45 am. As there was no traffic congestion, as everyone in the Netherlands seems to be on vacation, I could leave a little later then usual. Giving me ample time to read some blog’s.

But I think I will need to control my craving, soon. Yesterday it seemed everyone was back. It was pretty busy on the road. The last couple of weeks, the trip to work took me only 35 minutes. Yesterday, the trip back home took me more then an hour! I will have to recondition myself and read those wonderful blog’s in the evenings or weekends. I can’t tell how long the trip would have taken to the office as I had to go to Haarlem, for a business appointment, in the morning. Normally the trip to Haarlem would have taken 54 minutes (according to TomTom) but it took me more then 1 ½ hours to get there. Yes, the Netherlands is very congested, too congested to my taste. Still it is very enjoyable to see all those ‘happy people’ in their cars. Some are really mad. I'm pretty sure this is the right diagnosis :)

I would love to share all the URL’s I have gathered, as I now have around 81 feeds. Wouldn’t it be great if all the quilt blogger’s could meet each other in real life? I think we would need a very big hall.

Yesterday morning I also got some good advice from Sweet P. I will have to make the table higher when cutting fabric so not to put too much stress on my neck, shoulders and back. Or go and use the kitchen counter, I hadn’t thought of that. But I’ve gathered lots of handy kitchen gadgets over the years and there is an excessive accumulation of stuff on my counter. I think I will have to be creative and think of something to make the table a little higher. Buying a new table is not a option as when I sit behind the table to sew it is on the right height.

Happy stitching everyone.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

What I don’t like

Today I cut fabric for another block. What I don’t like is tracing around the templates and cut every single piece individually. It is such tedious work. It takes for ever. To cut all the pieces, for one block (for my ‘star quilt’) nearly take 1 ½ hours. And to sew everything together takes another 2 to 3 hours, depending on de star pattern. How long do you take?
Besides it being tedious, it is boring and bad for my back and neck. I can’t find the right position to stand or sit. Yes, I’m complaining!
Luckily I only have to cut another 5 blocks!
The cutting was made a little easier by having Bette Midler in the background. Her CD ‘Experience the Divine Bette Midler’ gets me swinging and back into a happy mood.

This morning I ordered a Sewing Machine Trolley online. Sadly, the trolley I wanted to order at my local Quilt Shop was too small and a larger one was unavailable. But luckily we get nearly everything online these days. The only thing you need is a little patience and search competence. I just hope I will have it before the 12th of September. I need to take the sewing machine to the course I’m following that day and the trolley will come in real handy.

Yesterday I went to the ‘Apenheul’ in Apeldoorn.
We saw some squirrel monkeys and met the new gorilla who hopefully will become the leader of the pack. After having a great afternoon with my mum, sister and her kids, I must admit I went to bed early. It was so tiring. Yes, I don’t have any kids! The other reason, I went to bed early, was that I was up since 4 am. I couldn’t sleep because of the excitement, probably :)
After an afternoon with the kids at the zoo, I understand when my sister, once again, complains on how tiring parenting is.

Photo 1 - My mum and sister ; Photo 2 - Me and Tess ; Photo 3 - a squirrel monkey, isn't he cute?

Photo 1 - Zoë with a squirel monkey; Photo 2 - the gorilla's

I will get another practice session with the kids soon. The ''girls'' are thinking of taking a little vacation together. My brother-in-law and JW are not invited :). But I expect they will enjoy themselves and are a little glad for some quietness and a long weekend alone.

My Scrabble score!

Pholph's Scrabble Generator

My Scrabble© Score is: 8.
What is your score? Get it here.

As you can see I have a very low scrabble score. Still I do like my name, nice and simple. It is also nice to see that there are other Helen's who are blogging and quilting. This Helen is a little more creative then me! I haven't come across another Helen in the Netherlands, yet. Does anyone know of an other Helen who is also into quilting?

Yes, I have now 71 feeds on my Bloglines! Bloglines is a great way to keep up with everyone. The only negative - you don't see the nice blogs. Some people have put a lot of effort into making a creative, inspirational, nice weblog. Some are also able to express themselves in a nice way. Really good writers. Everyday I have a little peek on Bloglines to read and catch up with everyone.

Saturday, 18 August 2007


This weekend Cathi and Barbara are visiting the The Festival of Quilts 2007 in Birmingham. I’m really curious: does it meet all expectations, are they enjoying themselves, which new ideas have they gotten, what did they buy and which new project will they undertake after all that inspiration. I can’t wait to read about their day. From what I have read so far I think it must be a great exhibition. Would love to visit this festival next year. Does anyone know where and when this is planned?

Donna from Chookyblue has been helping me to get my profile in Blogger arranged a little more effectively/efficiently. Now when I leave a message/comment behind on a blog the blog-administrator, my new inspirational quilt friends, can send an e-mail back to me, without too much effort.
A couple of weeks ago she initiated a Secret Santa Christmas Swap. The response was amazing. Eighty people are participating. Can’t wait to see what everyone has made. I was very tempted to enter but I resisted the temptation. I’m too busy with my day job (work). A couple of months ago I got a new job and it still drains a lot of energy out of me. I’m supposed to only work 40 hours but usually this is a little more (and I’m not including travelling time). Most of the time, there is not much time left in the evenings to do any quilting.
Another reason for declining to participate is that Christmas is really nearby. Only another 129 days! Maybe next year :)

Yesterday I promised my sister, Miranda, I would finish Zoë’s Quilt before Christmas. In the next couple of months I have a lot to do:
- Finish the star quilt (only 7 blocks to go!) and Zoë’s Quilt.
- Start on the Mariner’s Compass Quilt and the quilt-embroidery sampler.
- Make a BOM-design for the Home and Garden Quilt project, an initiative of three participants of the ‘’crazy quilters’’. Needs to be finished January 2008
- Start on the Home and Garden Quilt (the first two BOM’s have been designed)

Yesterday, I received the two quilt-embroidery samplers I ordered. They look great. It is really nice to get little gifts through the post. This morning I will quickly drive to Putten to buy some tread and non glued interfacing (for the Crappy Cabins). I need to be back on time as my mum, sister and my lovely nieces are coming for a visit.

By the way - the Home and Garden Quilt project consists of 9 blocks. Every month some one enters their design. Every block has to use an element from the previous block design. For example, when the first designer used flowers, then the next designer incorporates this into her block-design. The third designer uses something different from the previous block-designer (designer 2), etc. In a years time we will have 9 quilts with the same design, but they will all most likely be made from different fabrics and have a different colour scheme. Every block is 40x40 cm. The total size of the quilt (without borders) is 120x120 cm.
I'm really curious what the outcome will be! We won't know till next year, april!!!

Thursday, 16 August 2007


I was a little distracted while I was doing my block. This is the result! Do you see what I did wrong? Anyway, I had to undo it, and start over. This is what happens when you try to do two things at the same time. I was watching TV and at a certain point I was more into the program then into my block. Well that teaches me for trying to do two things.

As you can see, another block is nearly finished.

Scrappy Cabins

I was reading some blog’s early this morning (before leaving for work) and saw a new posting on Melly&Me. I love and admire the Scrappy Cabins quilt. It looks great. The colour scheme is fantastic. It gives lots of 'happy' vibes. I might take up the challenge and see what I can do with the fabrics I have left over for Zoë’s quilt. I might make a border of Scrappy Cabins.
Melly&Me have even posted a tutorial on how to make the Scrappy Cabin. I think I might need to buy some non glued interfacing so that I can start to make some Scrappy Cabins this weekend.

I also received a letter in the post (snail mail) from the lady who has the pattern for the quilt sampler I saw last weekend. I’ve just ordered the pattern and hope to receive it some time next week. I think it will look great in a picture frame. I intend to put it on the sideboard in the hall. But we first need to buy the sideboard (I'm smiling now). This isn’t in the plans for the near future as I’m saving up for an antique one. I’ll have plenty of time to finish the sampler.

When I opened Outlook I found an e-mail from Crownstitches letting me know I’ll be receiving the quilt-embroidery samplers tomorrow. These are the one's I ordered some time ago, but there was a slight delay as I typed in the wrong banknumber. Silly (stupid) me!

I’m going to have a very busy autumn. I’ll have to put off my plans to make the Dear Jane quilt. It will remain a dream for a little while longer.

What did I buy?

On the way back home I went and bought some things to enable me to do some appliqué and stitcheries. I just discovered Hugs’NKisses in Australia. Wow, Helen really provides some nice stitchery designs. I like the Pocket Hug’s. I might inquire if I can order from the Netherlands.
I also love the Tilda Hus patterns. She is a Danish designer. If anyone knows her website address, please inform me.
I think I might use these techniques on Zoë’s quilt. As I mentioned in an earlier posting, I will also make some yo-yo’s. Now, I only have to find some time.
But back onto the subject, aren’t these nice colours? And isn’t the box cute?
Can’t wait to get started, but I have to learn first! Next week Wednesday I will get some instructions. It seems to be easy. I’ll let you know.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007


I finished the last corner block! And started with a new block, which is half way finished. A very productive evening, if I do say so.

Start of the new quilt season

For those who like to visit quilt shops and be informed on the workshops that they will provide this autumn season; then please visit the following sites:

- Quilt kelder in Putten at Stoffen & Baby Studio - open house on the 1st of september
- Quiltpalace in Staphorst - open house on the 18th of augustus

Sorry, these are Dutch sites! This is information for my dutch readers :)

No patchwork! The corner block is not finished

Last night when I got home from work my parents-in-law were busy in the front yard. The hedge was cut and lots more was done. The garden looks great and I think the neighbours are thankful!

The Dutch are very focused on appearances. Everything needs to be clean and tidy. Sadly one of our neighbours wasn’t so impressed with how we cleared the overgrown plants, so he decided to clear some plants himself (even though they are growing on our side of the wall). It surprised me every time again how little effort people put into communicating. Is it so hard to ask? Now we had to clean up the mess he made and my evening was a little spoilt.

My birthday present – a Christmas tree – has gone. It died and we now have an empty patch. Coming autumn we will plant a new one, for I want to hang up all those nice Christmas lights coming December.

I did no patchwork yesterday as we wanted to thank the PIL’s. We treated them on a Chinese diner. It tasted pretty good!

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Quilt exhibit Garderen

From Friday the 10th till Sunday the 12th Henny Oosterbaan and her students showed their quilts in Garderen.
Garderen is a small village in the province of Gelderland and is located in the forests of the Veluwe, on the western border. The Veluwe is a forest-rich ridge of hills in the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands. The Veluwe features many different landscapes including woodland, heath, some small lakes and Europe's largest sand drifts.

Yesterday a few ladies of the crazy quilters went to the exhibit and Caroline liked it so much that she phoned me yesterday evening to invite me to come along today.
Henny Oosterbaan made a lot of effort to make a nice exhibit as you can see in the pictures.

I especially liked these stitchery patterns (is this the right name for these patterns?).

At the end of November I’ll be doing a workshop with Henny, to learn to make the winter calendar. See the snowman quilt on the left of the picture with hearts. You can remove the middle and put up another season, like a little quilt of spring.
It is becoming very tempting to start a new project although I have 2 WIP’s (Works In Progress). But in 5 weeks time I’ll start with a new workshop, so I think I’ll just do some patchwork tonight and try to finish another block.
Thanks Caroline for the invitation. I'm glad I went.