Tuesday, 30 October 2007

just a quick posting

I’ve made my fourth notation in my gratitude journal! It really works, focusing on the positive things that occur on a day. I can’t wait to copy my thoughts onto the fabric, but I will first need to buy the stuff and get my pens.

For those who don’t want to leave a comment but would like to email me, just click on ‘view my complete profile’. In the left corner you click on email. This is especially handy, if you want me to reply. That way I have your e-mail address :) Yes, Berna, this little message is for you.

I thought it would still be a little light when I leave for work, now we have winter time. Reality, I see the sunrise while sitting in the car in my daily traffic jam. It is also pretty dark when I get home. Sitting in my car in a traffic jam while it is dark is a new experience, I'm loving it :)

Some of my readers live in the southern hemisphere. You guys are so lucky the summer is coming. Yes, I’m a little jealous although I do have to admit I like the different seasons we have here up north. I like autumn and winter but I love spring and summer.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Challenge quilt

Yesterday I decided to undertake a new challenge. Caroline approached me, and asked if I wanted to join her in making ‘the 365 challenge’ quilt. On how to make the quilt, we decided to follow Leanne’s tutorial. I’ve started my little journal last night. Every day, I intend to write something that happened that day that I’m grateful for. I'm improvising on Leanne's idea a little.
I’ve ordered the pen and am going to buy the fabric next month. I don’t have any time before then, to go buy some. That doesn’t matter, as I have my little journal.
I think I will like doing this project: I think it will change my perspective of that day and looking back it might even change my life. It’s better to focus on the positive than on the negative. Negative thoughts are very time consuming.

Today I had a nice walk in the woods with a good friend. Autumn is really here as you can see.
This morning I’ve been busy making the quilt top of my star quilt. I’ve nearly completed a whole row. I’ll continue after dinner.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

New projects and squirrels

The quilt shop still had the fabric. I can cut some more strips for the sashing and start constructing the quilt top. There was nothing to worry about, as the roll was nowhere near finished.

I also bought some new fabrics, as early this morning I thought of a new project. Last year I taped two pieces of wood together to make a portfolio case. I use this portfolio for my finished blocks. This way they are nicely tucked away together, and it works like a press. Even though it is a very practical thing, it just doesn’t look very nice. I’m thinking of making a cover for the case. Do you like the fabric I have chosen?

At this moment the fabrics are hanging to dry after being washed.

On the way back home I saw a squirrel! I haven’t seen one in the Netherlands, ever. And this one was far away from the woods. This little squirrel was visiting a place not far from where I live, only a couple of streets away. Wow, I love squirrels. They make me feel happy.

I might take up a new challenge!! I'll let you know soon what it is :)

Friday, 26 October 2007

Quilting bee

Yesterday evening we had a nice quiet evening cutting fabric, piecing and quilting. Only a few members of our bee were able to make it. One quilting friend is moving house, two quilting friends need to pace themselves and other quilting friend had to study.
So who came over to my place? Tonny, Joke and Jannie. As you can see we were very busy. Most of us were working on our compasses, I however was working on my star quilt.
Wednesday night I had a little fright. I was cutting the sashing and discovered I didn't have enough fabric. Panic!! Mailed straight away to my local quilt shop. This can't happen, I thought. Especially, after all that effort I made last summer completing all those stars.
Luckily I got I a reply pretty quickly. Tomorrow morning, after visiting the hairdressers, I will go to the shop and buy some more dark green material :)

Sunday, 21 October 2007


Last night I was in a creative mood and as I needed the practise with the sewing machine, I thought why not try and make a needlecase. With some help from Natalie from Cinderberry Stitches I was able to produce this needlecase. As you can see I made some alterations. I de- sized the stitchery pattern and to be truthful it looks completely different to the one she made. Still, I do need to give her the credits, if I hadn’t downloaded her ‘springberries Needlecase’, I would never have thought of making something like this.
The end result is not bad. But I do have to admit, I need a little more practise with the sewing machine.

I’ve had some light problems. Now it is getting dark early it is hard to work in my study. I just haven’t got enough light! Then I thought of JW’s old lamp standing in the attic. Well, it is back down stairs and I have all the light I need. It isn’t as ugly as I thought it was (that is why it originally was moved to the attic, by me) I won’t need to buy a new lamp! My light problems are fixed. Haven’t I been environment friendly this weekend? This is recycling, or isn’t it? By the way, the needlecase isn’t completely finished; need to put on some buttons.


Yesterday JW and I went shopping. He needed a new winter coat and jeans (naturally). We went to Moers, Germany, as they have a store there where we can do ‘quick’ men shopping. I wanted a black skirt and black jumper. Sadly, I’m never that successful in this shop, even though it is a very big store. They have lots of clothes for women, but somehow I couldn’t find what I was looking for. JW was more successful. He found the coat he wanted (with lots of help and perseverance from me), two pair of jeans (dark and stone washed) and two shirts.
The restaurant in de shop had somehow disappeared, so we walked into the town for some lunch, and there I saw this great bag in this shop which had lots and lots of bags. I really wanted it, but I didn’t really need it. So we left the shop to find us some lunch. Just imagining that I might never find such a bag again, I convinced JW to go back. I bought the bag, thank …. it was still there.
It always amazes me that most Germans still pay in cash. I had some difficulties swiping my bankcard. We had to try three times before we had a connection with the bank. Most shops don’t even except credit card. Why this is, I don’t know. Going to the cash-machine was a little too much of a bother. The bag was packed very nicely and of we went back home to the Netherlands.

Well here are some pictures of the bag and look what you can put in it.

Yes, I need these things. Can’t leave home without my purse, driving license, credit card wallet, sunglasses, PDA, Tom-Tom (navigation-system) , mobile phone (the bag can fit two, yes I have two mobiles, one for work and one for myself), a brush, hand-cream, lipstick, nail-file. You name it I’ve got it with me (even band-aids, Panadol and tissues).
This is me with my new bag ;)

When I go to work, I have my handbag and laptop trolley with me.

The laptop trolley contains naturally a laptop, but also a notebook (I still like to write things on paper). Now you understand why I don’t take the bus or train to work. A car is so much more practical.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Compass two

I appliqued the centre and it looks pretty goodWe learned how to piece the circle in class last Thursday. We had fun and learned lots of new things. We missed Marja. She fell from the ladder while cutting back the linden tree (lime tree) and has a light concussion. She therefore had to miss class. Hopefully she will feel better soon.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

I have been tagged!!!

I have been tagged by Karol-Ann for a Meme.
I thought I better not decline as she might get angry (lol). Another reason - this is the first time I have been tagged, jippie

4 jobs I have had:
- Chambermaid at a hotel
- Shoe sales woman
- Nurse
- Mediator in a hospital
- Researcher, oeps that is five!!

4 films I could watch over and over:
- the bridges of Madison county, Meryl Streep
- Falling in love – with Meryl Streep
- Top Gun – teenage memories
- Sleepless in Seattle – Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan
- Pay it Forward – I can’t help myself, again five!

4 TV shows I watch:
- ER
- Sisters and brothers
- Men in Trees
- Grey’s Anatomy
- House MD
There is a trend, I like medical/hospital oriented shows ;)

4 places I have lived:
- Cyprus, Limassol
- Greece, Kastri-Athens
- Niger, Zinder
- Australia, Melbourne and Sydney

4 favorite foods:
- any thing Thai
- real curry
- a nicoise salade
- Pavlova

4 favorite colors:
- blue
- red
- green
- cream / off-white

4 places I’d love to be right now:
- on the beach in Durras (NSW, Australia) at sunset, watching the dolphins’ playing in the surf
- North of Wales, in Gwynedd and Conwy (Snowdonia national park)
- Oxford and Cambridge, love these university towns, can’t choose between them
- Sydney, visiting friends

4 names I love but could/would not use for my children:
If I had children I would love to have given them the following names: Andrew, Eric, Nick, Rose, Tess, Micaela

4 people I’d love to tag with this Meme
Nadine – Friendship Treads
HanneHanne’s Quilt Corner
Catharine – Willow Valley Store
Pink and Barbara

Feel free to do it if you wish, or ignore it if you don’t :o)

Tuesday, 16 October 2007


Thank you for your complements. I think some people really like my compasses. It was very kind of you, Ruth, Ineke, Donna, Berna, Matty, Jacqueline, Caroline and Karol-Ann to mail me those nice e-mails. It is very encouraging. Yes, I will continue making more compasses.

Some of you wanted to know how to make these compasses. I could give a tutorial, but then this would become a very long post. I would advise you to do a workshop or follow a couple of classes. For those who are more inclined on teaching themselves: you can learn a lot by just reading Judy Mathieson’s book – Mariner’s compass quilts. Although, her instructions are for piecing with the sewing machine. The compasses I made are done by hand.

Still, I prefer the face-to-face teaching method. You learn so much more when in class. Difficulties are addressed straight away. Aagje, my quilt teacher, always has a solution.
I was very lucky to have come across this teacher who has taught me many (new) quilting skills. She is also very precise. Her teaching skills have taught me to hand piece with such precision. When doing a 15 by 15 centimetre block, it becomes a necessity to be precise. You can’t afford to be sloppy.
I’m looking forward to making another one. Can’t wait to see the end result, I’m pretty curious how this quilt top will turn out.

For those people who are still curious, most of the effort goes into making the templates, choosing the fabric, cutting the fabric and hand piecing everything together. When piecing everything together, we have learned to first piece a quarter, and then the other quarter, which becomes a half. Repeat this procedure and you get a whole circle compass. This whole process takes about 6 hours. Yes, this is not a typing error. It really takes (me) a lot of time to make this little compass.

I mentioned the needle threader in the previous post. This product is from Clover. The article number is 4055.You can order it at your local quilt shop or order it online. It is a great investment (but not a cheap investment).

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Completed another compass

Yesterday evening I found the time to cut out the fabric for the second compass we had to make. Today I pieced everything together while sitting in the garden. I even got a little tanned. We had a beautiful autumn weekend. Why can’t it be like this every day?

Last week I bought this little tool: the clover desk needle threader. It is great! Threading needles has never been easier. You simply set the needle facing down in the hole, lay the thread across the middle, press the lever and your needle is threaded! Who invented this? Was it a woman or a man? Please tell me it was a woman. Anyway, this tool has made hand piecing a lot more enjoyable (lol).
Here are some pictures of different stages of completion.
This compass was a little harder to make as the pieces are so small. As you can image, the block is only 15cm x 15 cm (which is 6 by 6 inches).

In our next lesson, coming Thursday, I hope to learn how to piece the circle in the middle. As you can see, the compass isn’t completely finished.

Here is Charlie. Cats do find the most unusual places to take a nap.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Look what the postman brought!

Backyard - we are ready for the winter :)

Yesterday and today we worked hard in the garden. The parents-in-law helped cut back the trees and bushes in the backyard. It looks pretty barren now. Although I know it is good for the garden and next spring everything will grow back, it still makes me a little sad.
All the garden waste was dumped on the drive-way so that it could be removed this morning. We have a friend who has a car with a tow hook. JW and Adri brought it all to the tip with the trailer.

This friend is also very handy with tools and loves using them. Before I knew it, part of our only big tree was sawed off. Here the men are having fun.

In the next pictures you see the garden as it was this summer and some pictures of the garden all ready for winter.

Ready for winter

Thursday, 11 October 2007

I must be mad!

This week I had planned some days off. However, here I’m sitting behind my computer working on this report for work. I’ve been working on this report for some time, as it isn’t easy transforming the data to an easy reading report. But I’m getting there. So, I’m actually working at home and not having a holiday as I had planned.

But I’m letting myself be distracted easily. I was reading Tazzie’s blog and saw she was making a tumbler quilt. Naturally I had to ask where she got her tumbler template from. Once I popped the first question I couldn’t help myself and I asked a second. I wanted to know if she knew of the existence of kaleidoscope templates. Blogging is such fun, especially when you get an answer back straight away. Thanks Tazzie for your quick reply.
By the way, does any one have any suggestions for a kaleidoscope quilt? Please send a picture of your finished quilt, as I would appreciate some input for ideas.

I’ve also been chatting with Cathi from Celtic Knots, Ruth from Ruth’s Place (she just has gotten a baby daughter, with a lovely name) and Karol-Ann from Sew much fabric, sew little time, sew true! Visit their blog’s, they are really nice.

Well I better get back to the report.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Last lesson!

This morning I had my last sewing machine lesson. We learned how to piece the blocks together using three different techniques. However, not all can be done with just the sewing machine. Only about 80 percent is done with the sewing machine; the remainder has to be done by hand. Still, making borders and sashing this way is fun and practical.
We also learned the technique trapunto with the sewing machine. It is a lot less tedious, but I must admit I prefer the hand method.

I really like my new sewing machine, it has a lot of possibilities but after three lessons of machine quilting and learning lots of new techniques, I have to be truthful and say I prefer piecing and quilting by hand. The effect is so much nicer. The only downside, it takes a little more effort and time.

For those who think using the sewing machine is quicker will need to do a lot of persuasion, as at the moment I’m not convinced. Meandering your quilt isn’t quicker then hand quilting. Also it is pretty hard to get the stitches consistent in spacing and scale. I think this is important, otherwise it looks pretty messy. To get the right effect, you need to keep your hands moving at a steady pace and keep a steady pressure on the foot. This takes a lot of coordination skills. Will I ever be able to acquire this high level of precision?
So far, none of the quilts I’ve seen that have been meandered are stitched in such a way that you could say that the stitching is consistent in spacing and scale. So after three lessons, my conclusion is, I will stick with hand piecing and quilting.

According to JW, I’m a wuss. I should show more perseverance! How can I be convinced after only three lessons that hand piecing and quilting is the better of the two?

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

My bags are unpacked

It was a short break! Four days away from home.
We had a nice swim, we had a short walk (it isn’t easy walking with a stroller and a three year old). Here is part of the family (I’m having a bad hair day) in the heath fields in the western half of the Lüneburg Heath. The Lüneburg Heath (German: Lüneburger Heide) is a region in Lower Saxony in Germany. It covers the area between the cities of Hamburg, Hannover and Bremen.
As we were nearby, we also visited Hamburg.
On the way back home we stopped at McDonalds, as we all had to go to the toilet and Tess needed her nappy changed. Just our luck, it was lunch time.

I had taken a stitchery pattern with me, thinking I would have some time to work on it. Silly me! By the way, it is a pattern of Lynette Anderson – ‘home sweet home’. Hopefully I will find some time to work on it in the next few days.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

My bags are packed!

I’m going away for a couple of days. Just me, my mum, sister and her two girls. JW will stay behind, as will Julian (my brother-in-law), to take care of the cats and maybe do some household chores ;)

When I get back I will tell you all about it.

This afternoon, Jacqueline and I, went to Atelier Bep in Doesburg to buy the fabrics for our Christmas tree quilt. We were greeted with a cup of coffee and a piece of cake, making our shopping even nicer.

Tonight we have class. We are going to learn to make another type of compass. I’m a little curious what kind of pattern we will get this time, as I really liked the one I made last weekend.

All you quilters, happy stitching this weekend, I’m taking a little break.

A not so normal Wednesday

Yesterday around lunch I had a private lesson to learn how I can piece my top together for my Star Quilt. There was some maths involved but Aagje figured it out for me. Aagje is my quilt teacher.
In first instance we both thought I had made too many blocks, a feeling of disappointment and frustration swept over me. This can’t be true! I nearly worked my fingers to the bone last summer. But all became clear once we looked thru the pattern book. A little note was left on one of the backsides of the pattern sheets with my name. We had looked at the wrong pattern. Luckily, we didn’t have to do too much re-measuring and mathematics.
Now I only have to slice all the strips of fabric to make the sashing and piece them between the blocks. I have 4 long strips of 2.45 meters and 4 strips of 1.96 cm, sixteen strips of 30 cm, and another 4 strips of 75 cm. That is a lot of sashing. And let’s not start discussing the border that needs to be fitted afterwards.

I also bought some clothes for my self as I had some time to spare; a skirt, 2 t-shirts and a cardigan. Can wear this to work, but can wear this also when at home, very practical.

Some of my readers left me a message that I don’t post often enough. I hope I make these readers happy with this post.

My friend, Mirjam, and I wanted to celebrate our 20 years of friendship. We met each other on our first working day at the hospital in 1987. We got talking during the introduction program. She was going to start as a midwife and I as a nurse. A lot has happened and changed in those 20 years. She has always been there in good times and bad. She was one of my ''paranifm's '' during my PhD ceremony.
As Mirjam also likes to quilt, we decided to do a workshop together. We searched everywhere and finally came back to the Quilt Cellar in Putten. This will mean some travelling for Mirjam as she lives about an hours drive away. Coming January we are going to learn to make a Kaleidoscope Quilt in a day. Looking forward to this. Have been searching the web for some nice patterns, I’ve found some nice ones but if you have any suggestions, please e-mail me and send a photo.

I’ve been a little busy bee. I’ve arrange a Christmas workshop at my home coming december. We are going to make a little Christmas tree quilt. I’ll be serving cakes and coffee and naturally I will also make lunch for the girls. In between, we have lots of time to do some sewing and chatting. We are a chatty bunch of ladies! If any of you have a recipe for an alcohol free Christmas punch, please send me your recipe. I think the ladies will like this.