Sunday, January 25, 2009

Week #4 Stash Busting Report

You sure don't get a lot done when you travel, do you? LOL I made a few things before I left, the snowman wallhanging (top) and the base for it. I pulled the fabric for backings but haven't quilted them yet. Zoe (my HQ)--hearing that I was headed on vacation--thought she needed some "spa" treatment too. So I took her to the "spa" (aka: quilt shop for servicing) and couldn't do the quilting. And a few other odds and ends that I did, but nothing major. So my report is for Week #1, 2, 3 and 4. Not a very good start for someone (that would be me!) mentioned a month ago that my goal would be to bust 500 yards this year!! ROFLOL!!!!

Total IN: 0
Total OUT: 6 1/4 yards

Don't laugh too hard, it's better than nothing! But I better get a moving if I want to come anywhere close to my goal. Wow--I just figured out that I need to bust 9.61 yards PER WEEK to hit that goal. Hmm, maybe I better get off the clouds, ya think? Or not go anywhere. Nah, that'll never happen.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's here! My RR is done!

What a great thing to come home to! It's just absolutely beautiful! I belong to the Round Robin Quilters--a group of 15 who have been working on a Round Robin for the past 15 months and we are done! It's just a small wallhanging (quiltlet) and just so fun to do. What made this Round Robin one of the best that I have been in is that everyone did such a fantastic job of sewing, choosing fabrics, being creative and being on time! We all started with a 4" x 4" block (mine was an appliqued snowflake)that kind of set the theme of what we would like in our quilt. Then each month as we passed the quiltlet on, we had a prescribed size block or instructions that we were to do. It was small enough to manage without feeling like a burden. And it allowed us time to really put thought into what we were doing. I want to say right now to the Round Robin quilters---THANK YOU for doing such an awesome job on my quiltlet! I will say this is the best RR that I've ever participated in! And to manage it for 15 months says a lot.

Look at this tree! It's amazing and SO well done! I'm not sure which person did it, but she did an excellent job. Well..actually, they all did.

Again--thank you to the Round Robin group and I look forward to participating with you again. Check out the sidebar for the Round Robin ring to see the rest of the quilts.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Quilt Exhibition of Lous Luijer


Who is she? Just a Dutch quilter who does ALL her quilts by hand. This was the second time I went to a Quilt Exhibition Opening for a quilter here in Holland. Apparently it is not uncommon to present your quilts in a nice setting to share with others your quilts. And quite a few times they join up with another type artist that might compliment your work as well. Lous (pronounced 'Luce') presented approximately 20 of her quilts, including a Baltimore Album style, several log cabin variations (one in miniature that was outstanding!), a memory quilt for her children who used be Sand Sculptors and did amazing work. She also had a reversible quilt made from several of the cotton shopping bags. It kind of reminded me of a T-shirt quilt.
Lous works in a nursing home and has 'down' time that allows her to get some stitches in on her quilts. She does not work with a machine at all. Indeed, her hand stitches appear to be done by machine.

The exhibit was in a church hall near The Hague and for the opening we were served wine and hor'dourves and were treated to some piano music as well. The artist that was included in the exhibit was Lia van Muijen, a Delft paint artist who trains others to paint in the 'Delft' way. It was a very nice afternoon.
Thank you Lous for allowing me to attend your Quilt Exhibit 'warmte en ontmoeting' and allowing to photograph and share your quilts.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tassenmuseum (Museum of Bags and Purses)


After Ted and I enjoyed a yummy hot chocolate and bagel, we headed for the Tassenmuseum. We knew we could walk there, but with time being a consideration, we thought we should take a tram, until we spotted the bicycle taxis! We decided to splurge and take that instead. It was a nice ride until we hit the last bridge. It was on a hill and try as he might, the guy just could not pedal us up to the top. We finally had to get out and then Ted gave him a boost! It was hilarious! Does it look bad for him?? or us?? No...don't answer! LOL
What a neat place, especially if you are a purse/bag lover like I am! There were 3 1/2 floors of all sorts of bags and purses and stories of the evolution of their uses. At one time, men and women both used them when there were no pockets in the clothing. Once pockets became more prevelent in trousers, the men slowly dropped the practice of using purses. We saw purses made of all sorts of materials, including leather, tortoise shell, the most finely beaded purses, straw, metal mesh, wood, all sorts of animal skins. You name it, they had it. We were lucky enough to be there when they had a special exhibit of "It's all Glamour and Glitter",that included purses by designers, those used by celebrities. Did you see 'Sex and the City' movie? Remember the darling cupcake purse that was covered in bling? That was acquired by the museum (the purse was from the 1930's) so I got to see it as well. Check out the link, it goes into more detail about this special exhibit and you can get a peek at that darling purse. We weren't allowed to take photos, so I bought a pack of postcards that included that purse.

Another special exhibit that they had there that was SO cool were lights made from glass in the shape of purses! They were SO neat. They were for sale--a bit pricey as you could imagine, but I couldn't figure out how I would get one home in one piece.

I would have loved to take one home. They had different sizes, shapes and styles. Any one of them would have been neat to have. Here is what the website says...

"December 8 sees the opening of an exhibition of glass sculptures by Design Elena, offering visitors the opportunity to buy them. Elena Graure-Manta designs and makes superb glass objects in her own atelier in Erftstadt in Germany. These brightly-coloured sculptures in the form of bags can be admired up until January 18, 2009."

Okay--are you ready for the best part of the day? I got a new the shape of a tulip...and it's pink! LOL Kirt just shook his head. But they were one of a kind purses by a designer and if I didn't get it and wanted to later, I wouldn't have been able to get one. So--since I'm not buying fabric....I got a purse!

Ta da! I think she's so cute and now I'm ready for spring.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Amsterdam in 6 hours

We always take a group to tour Amsterdam, but generally only have 6 hours to do it in. Each time I get to see one or two more things and this trip was no different. If you haven't heard, a man named Johan Huibers in the Netherlands built a replica of Noah's Ark and it has been on display in various locations around the Netherlands since 2008. We were so lucky that it is currently in Amsterdam, only 10 minutes (that's what the website said--but that must refer to the speed walkers!) from the back side of Centraal Station. We did find it, a bit tricky since it was in the harbor where there is a LOT of construction. But it was a site to see. There were some replicas of animals in there to give a general idea of how it might have been. If you go there, stop and watch the video on the construction of the vessel as well as how it compared to the original. Amazing. Our tour guide--okay, not. But our fearless leader for sure! We saw thousands of bikes parked everywhere! Along the canals, in multi-tiered parking garages, floating parking lots in the harbor and anywhere else you can imagine!
After the Noah's Ark tour, we trekked over to Anne Frank's house. We left a group there (I've been there several times and it's worth the trip, but not 10x!). Ted and I then went to my favorite bagel shop for a bagel and the best hot chocolate EVER!! The first time I ordered one there, a cup with a HUGE amount of whipped cream was set down in front of me and I got a square sucker of dark chocolate. How cool. I love it in Europe when you order a hot beverage you always get a little treat--a cookie, a chocolate or something. I was licking the sucker (at first I thought it was a chocolate covered marshmallow--but it's solid chocolate) while I was eating a bit of the REAL whipped cream when I realized the whipping cream was on a little dish on top of the hot chocolate. I removed it and saw only steamed milk! OOPS! You are supposed to put that chocolate in the milk and stir it until the chocolate melts and turns into hot chocolate. Add the sweetened whipped cream and you have the best hot chocolate ever!
Wish you were here to join me!
The other place I wanted to go was to Tassenmuseum, a museum of bags and purses! Anyone who knows me, knows that is my other passion! I love them all. Shoes? I could care less--I hate to wear them, hate to shop for them, hate to buy them. But a purse? Or a bag? Anything that holds anything like baskets or containers, I love! I LOVE the Container Store! Okay, got off track a bit. But when I read an article about this museum, I knew that it had to be on the list I must see. Kirt was less than thrilled when I mentioned it, so Ted so graciously offered to accompany me. Stayed tuned for this adventure and my amazing purchase! :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Quilt:Art with a capital Q

first of all--let me apologize for some of the quality of the photos. My first photos were awesome--until I was told I could only take photos with the flash OFF! Darn! It wasn't always bright in the rooms making photo taking a bit tricky. Too bad I can't read Dutch.

Art, when spelled with a capital A, means it's an valued and important art, not just any old art. And so therefore, this Quilt Show--Art with a capital Q--is important exhibit regarding quilts. This exhibit was meant for more than quilters and is not your usual quilt show. This quilt show, held in Friesland Museum in the northern part of the Netherlands is being held from November 16, 2008 to March 29, 2009. The exhibition is based on the collection of the Fries (pronounced Freece) Museum, supplemented by loans. Ted's quilt was one of them. More on that later.. They not only wanted to shed light on the history of quilting in the Netherlands, but how contemporary quilters are pushing the boundries of quilting.

There were 10 rooms, starting with the Treasure Chamber which kind of gave a representation of the different types of quilts (this is where Ted's quilt was displayed on a square frame that slowly rotated--pretty cool, but not great for photo taking!). There were 6 different themes of the exhibition: history--beginning with the oldest of the quilt forms--quilted skirts; techniques--from the basic triangles to applique; materials-the oldest were made from silk; form--it can go beyond the traditional rectangle found in bed quilts; applications--from a traditional bed blanket, to teacups to clothing or pieces of art; emotions--crafted with care and attention for children, those that were sick (such as the AIDS quilt) or in need.

This was a most unusual quilt show and for those looking for a traditional quilt show might be disappointed. But I found it very unusual and totally fascinating with a variety of quilted objects and many styles of quilting. Kaffe Fassett's works were also included in that he designs his own colorful fabrics and uses them to create traditional quilts based on the inspirations of historical quilts.

Something else we saw was a notebook filled with scraps of cloth that had been preserved by the family since 1830. And we think we have original ideas! :) Patchwork can easily be traced in Holland to the eighteenth century but normally did not have batting. Half square triangles were a common patch shape used.
One part of the exhibit that I loved was the one part in the "Emotions" room. There was a nice display of American traditional 30's style quilts. They represented a period in time during and immediately following WWII. Canadian and North American quilts came to Friesland as part of relief cargoes. There was a book in the bookshop about the story of that period in time when Americans made quilts to send over to the Dutch (similar to how we sent quilts to help the Hurricane victims). I bought the book and am anxious to read it. It gave me some goose bumps to realize how much they must have been treasured. And should encourage ALL of us to continue to send quilts to those in need.
I enjoyed the show, and didn't mind the long drive to Friesland. To some of the Dutch--it's extremely far away, but 1 1/2 hours isn't that long of a drive when you are enjoying the scenery of the farms with their pastures separated by small canals instead of fences, seeing the occasional windmills.
There was a great book on the history of Dutch quilts, but it's only in Dutch right now. There is a website on how you can get on a list of wanting one in English and when they hit 500, they'll consider doing it. Here's where you can check it out.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

She's home.....

Well, she showed up at the doorstep of Ted's late Saturday afternoon. She offered NO explanation as to why she took off or what she did. Although she seemed to give the 20 bottles of Retayne I brought for Ted to someone in Ghana! No note, no nothing. I warned her to to behave the rest of the trip. I'm getting too old to worry about the wearabouts of my undies!!
So no new adventures that day because it was too late. There is very little open on Sunday and we just kind of kicked back and did a lot of well, not sewing..but nothing! LOL It's nice to just be able to relax and just enjoy being together. So that Dear Jane project will have to wait a few more days! Monday was shopping day and Tuesday is Spa day.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Waiting for clothes in Ted's workroom

My baggage finally arrived, but it took the courier another 19 to deliver it! GRRR.... but we got to spend some time in Ted's workroom. Guess what I got? A sneak peek of her newest quilt in the works. another beauty, I tell ya! wanna see? I have her permission to post these sneak peeks of some elements in her quilt. Sorry--a one was a bit blurry. I'll see if I can get better ones before I leave.

one element--check out the background...that's all I'm saying. We were also entertained by her birds, who were so happy to have company in their room again. They just sang their hearts out for us!

I made several finger pincushions, one for her and then for other friends....(hey Annamarte--remind Ted that one is for YOU!!) I love these little pincushions, so handy to have close to your sewing.

Well, this is the first day that I have my own clothes again! We are off for a bit of exploring but I need to be home early as my hubby flew in today and we are going to dinner with friends. Then tomorrow Ted and I will go have a Spa day.....I can't wait!!

Tot ziens,


Bosna Quilts

I walked into Ted's home last week and Wow! A new quilt on the wall, that was pieced and almost like artwork. Upon closer inspection, the quilting stitches were rather large and the pattern was very free spirited. So unlike her other work. That's because is was not her work! She purchased this piece of art from the Bosna Qult Workshop, an arts and crafts studio established in 1993 by the Vorarlberg painter Lucia Feinig-Gieisinger, along with female refugees from Bosnia at the Galina Refugee home in Western Austria. Since 1988 twelve Bosnian women have been completing Bosna Quilts in the community of Gorazde, the only enclave in the southeastern part of Bosnia which escaped occupation by the Serbs. The whole story is quite fascinating and moving and buying one of these quilts helps support a family. You can read about it here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

They found my luggage--and she's being bad!

They found my bag!!!! 4 days

Ghana, AFRICA!! My bag is going on an adventure without me!! See where Ghana is? It's the little green area in the armpit (close to Nigeria) of Africa. So, what do you think about that? She is still not in my hands, but at least they know where she's vacationing! I told them to send her back immediately! I need her! I need her innards! Ted agrees!

First project of the year

I know, I'm writing things out of order, but when things happen, I didn't have time to write! There is a pattern by ??, man, my mind is really slipping! Hip something or other. Anyway, they came out with a monthly wallhanging pattern series that I loved, but wasn't crazy about the dark homespuns. Besides, I completely used 100% of that fabric anyway. I thought I'd like to make it in brights. other things came along and I forgot about it........until the Las Vegas Shop Hop. There was a store there that had it done up both ways, traditional fabrics and brighter ones! New inspiration! So, I've added it to my list of what I'd like to do this year. I'm on a roll, first one is done! Well, okay, not all the way done, I have to quilt it yet. But it's all appliqued and 'ready to be quilted done'. He also needs buttons on his vest...will do that after he's quilted.
I can't do my stash report because I left all the figures at home, but this one took about 3/4 yard or so. I made the base that all these wallhangings will be attached and got the backings ready for both pieces.
I'll look up the pattern company when I get home...darn my brain anyway! LOL

Friday, January 09, 2009

Ice Skating in Holland

All across the Netherlands people are suffering from "Skate Fever". Due to global warming, they have not been able to do their favorite pasttime in the winter, skating on the canals and ponds that are everywhere! Well, this year, for the first time in 12 YEARS, it is cold enough for the water to freeze enough for them to skate. They just held their National Championship of Ice Skating outside for the first time in 12 years as well. Almost a whole generation has passed that has not had this opportunity. And it gave us a little chuckle to watch as the skaters are so used to being inside on a oval rink, turning in one direction only, that outside they struggled with turning the other way at times! But the people are so thrilled to be outside skating. As we drove along the dikes, you could see people skating everywhere! Ted said that she went out last weekend and skated to the next village, along with thousands of others. I wear one size larger than Ted and I'm wondering if I can squeeze into one of her pairs of skates? It'd be fun. Although I've never skated on anything larger than a small pond or an indoor rink, should be an experience! But here is me, Agnes and Ted in front of a lake area in Friesland where there were hundreds of skaters enjoying the beautiful day.
Agnes' boys were out skating on the canal in between the homes (one of which Agnes was born).

Tomorrow is the last day the ice will be strong enough to skate on, so there were reportedly over 1,000,000 people on skates today. Here is a news link to the area called "Kinderdijk", an area of canels and 17 windmills. A helicopter flew over and showed all the skaters out just in that area alone. Oerhollands schaatsplaatje bij Kinderdijk --scroll down to where it says....."Oerhollands..."(translated: Oldest Dutch custom (of skating) skating picture by the Kinderdijk).

New fruit! (to me anyway)

The great thing about traveling is all the new things you learn and new foods to experience! Ted and I took a stroll into the village to go to the grocery store and a few other quick stops. We were walking through the produce section and I saw some thorny things that looked like a nut or something. It was a lichee, a fruit.This is taken from ...
Litchi, Lychee, Lichee
The fruit, commonly called a litchi nut, are about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter when fresh, and have a red brittle shell, with white translucent flesh and a single large seed. Litchi are eaten fresh or dried, and are also available canned in syrup. The flesh is fragrant and sticky, sweet and juicy; the dried fruit has a smoky taste somewhat like a raisin. A versatile fruit, they are excellent in fruit salads, sweet and sour sauces, and dessert sauce. The may be used in stir fries, salads, poultry dishes, and even served over ice cream.

I've never seen one or even heard of it! Remember that I live in the Midwest and we are pretty basic foods type of people, nothing exotic here!

here's a bowl of them:

To peel, you break open the top stem and start peeling the hard shell to reveal a very soft, slightly slimy white meaty flesh.
Once the outer shell is off (it's not as hard as a nut shell, but still a bit hard), you eat the white flesh until you get to the hard pit, which you do not eat. It tasted a bit like sweetened grapefruit. I liked it, it was very good. but there is not that much fruit on it for the work, which is why Ted's husband doesn't like it! LOL Too much work. You can buy them in a can, but like anything, it doesn't even really taste like the fresh fruit.

on the road again.....

Yep, I'm gone again. We've been pretty lucky in our travels lately in not being delayed too much or any other problems. So it was time! I am in the Netherlands now (it's Friday noon right now) and I'm still without luggage. I left my house on Wed. AM to be at our airport at 10 AM. Right away, the flight was delayed. The plane that I was to take to NYC was delayed coming in due to bad weather. Sitting at the gate, I watched about 8 policemen come to the gate and then leave out a side door. As people started gathering around the window, curiosity finally moved me to go see what was going on. Our plane was there and it was surrounded by police, fire trucks, etc. We finally learned that on the flight, some young man decided to mess with the smoke detector in the lavatory! So, not only was he arrested, but they had to have someone come and thoroughly check the plane to make sure he didn't do anything else. 7 HOURS after I arrived at the airport, my plane finally left for NYC. And the long layover I was to have there....gone...and you guessed it, I missed my flight. They put me on another flight to leave late at night there. Fortunately they had a lounge I could rest (some more--like what I've been doing all day anyway LOL). Kirt called Ted and told her my new flight schedule. And then my bag didn't make it and they said it would be on the next scheduled flight to arrive the next day! Well, it's the next day and I still don't have it. I was supposed to go with Ted to a Quilt Shop's Open House, but without clean clothes, make up, hair stuff, I felt I should pass! (I did go to a store in her village to get some more undies.) So, here I wait..

I have started taking photos, but can't load any of them since my cord to the computer is in the suitcase. So, it's clip art for least there is something to look at! LOL

Birthdays that last for days!

My birthday is Dec. 29 and what an inconvenient time of year for a birthday! I read on someone's blog that she did not like her Dec. birthday because it gets mingled in with all the holiday hustle and bustle. I've been fortunate in that growing up with a sister who's birthday is the day after Christmas, my Mom made sure that our birthday's were special. We got separate gifts, wrapped in birthday paper with our favorite cake. I didn't want cake, I wanted chocolate eclairs (or cream puffs). Hmm, hubby doesn't do those! but he did order me a cake, which shocked me! My son in law's birthday is Dec. 28, so we gather as a family for his birthday, so hubby waited until New Year's Day to have the family over for my birthday. He gave me my birthday gift early, an ITouch. Then on my birthday he brought home flowers and a card. My friend took me out for my birthday the day after and another friend took me out on the 2nd. And most special of all, my youngest daughter (with Down's) wanted to take me for lunch on my birthday. Here's our conversation:
S: Mom, let's go out for your birthday. I want to buy you lunch.
Me: Wow--that's great! Where should we go?
S: it's a surprise!
Me: oh, okay. but you'll have to tell me so I know where to go when I drive.
S:I want to take you to Applebees.

**we get in the car and are headed to Applebee's. The minute I pull into the drive there, she says:**


LOL--she's so fun. She "forgot" her purse, so I bought lunch for me and her! And then she thought I should have a birthday dessert and thought a Frosty from Wendy's would be good. Again,...I bought. But, it's the thought that counts, doesn't it? yep, it sure does and her being so excited to treat me for lunch. Money has absolutely NO value to her. She could have a lot of it or none of it, and either is fine. But she does have a good heart.
Anyway--Happy Birthday to Teri (Dec. 26) Matt (Dec. 28) Cindy (Jan. 1) and Collin (Jan. 1).

Thursday, January 01, 2009

FINAL Stashbusting Report--Woohoo!

Wow--my closet sure doesn't show it but I busted a net total of........

358.25 YARDS!!

I didn't post a report all of December cuz I was busy!! Sewing lots of purses, sling totes, tote bags, fabric baskets, quilt for in laws, class samples AND vacationing AND had Christmas! LOL But I kept tally all along. Here's the final report:

December in: 0
December out: 17.75 yards
TOTAL YTD in: 39.5 yards
TOTAL OUT: 397.75 Yards (I was really hoping to hit 400, but ran out of time)

TOTAL NET OUT: 358.25 Yards!!

My friends are all amazed at this former Queen of Quilt Shopping!! I really had to use restraint in not buying fabric, just because. I did break down at Paducah and bought a bit of new fabric and my favorite quilt shop in Pawley's Island had a 50% off sale and how can you pass that up? The only thing I don't count is if fabric has been given to me (a friend bought me a jelly roll and hubby surprised me for Christmas and bought me some--I really didnt' think he would). But I count everything else. Oh wait..I don't count it IF I buy it to make a gift and then make it within a month, so it really never hits the stash. I know that in Stashbuster's, you can have 'legal' buys of the 4 "B's"...backing, borders, backgrounds and bindings..but I even count those, unless it's a gift and only had to buy something twice because I had nothing that did not work.
It all really doesn't matter, because I do this for me. I am out of room in my closet and really do have a nice workable stash. I think another year of really sticking to it will be good for me. I love the new fabric, but I have pretty stuff too. My original thought was to get it all way, way down. But the more I think of it....the reason I can make so many quilts without buying a thing is because I do have a nice variety. And I love that I can pretty much make whatever I want without too much effort. Oh, a few times I sure wished I could have gone out and bought something, but it made me be a bit more creative. And I love the challenge of making quilts with what I have. Okay, I have a lot, so it's not too hard. Some of my friends that are newer into quilting don't have that luxury of shopping a stash. I tell them that I couldn't do it either if I hadn't bought so much along the way. AND that they are the ones who need to keep the quilt stores in business. I did my it's someone else's turn! LOL

All in all, I keep track for myself and actually enjoy the challenge. I might think different later when fabric starts getting depleted to the point that it's more work that it's worth. So..for now, I'm going for another Stash bustin' year. At one point I was trying NOT to buy ANY fabric at all, for any reason, but that is just too much. So..keeping it under 40 yards is a real coup. It's actually only 10% of what I busted, so that's good. I wonder if I can hit 500 yards this year? Wow, that's a lot...but who knows? Who thought I would have used almost 400 yards?'s a picture of me covered in the new fabric hubby got me...and I did not ask for it and he knew what I was trying to do. I asked him about it and he said he just loves the look on my face when I get some new fabric. He said, "I don't get it...but to see your face, it's worth it!" I guess since when you have been a little lean in new fabric, it makes you appreciate it when you do get some! He loves Fat Quarter Shop! too!