Friday, December 30, 2016

Baby's Christmas Present

We had  lovely Christmas days. Daughter, husband and baby joined us for a few days. A house full ! Laughter and crying (baby!), food and presents. Life turns around the 4-months old program. Luckily the weather was beautiful those days. Sunny and a little bit cold. So very nice to go for a coffee in the main square, where they had put up children's attractions which resulted in  lots of kids, parents, joy, music. A lovely atmosphere. 

We exchanged small presents, just for the fun of it. I made these baby blocks, which he can grope and tries to put in his mouth! Teething, you see!


I also wanted to make a little booklet, because I have such nice fabric with animals. Didn't manage to do it before Christmas. I'll have a go at it now.

I wish you all a very happy time and a very good and creative 2017 !!


Love and peace in this challenging times 


 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Houses, houses and more houses

Hurray! My house quilt is finally ready. The blocks are made by 33 Greek quilters, plus three I made myself to get to the 36 needed. The project was a 2015 QAL. It took me nearly a year to start assembling this quilt. Half of the houses were stuck on my designer wall for ages, but they didn't inspire me to do something with them. Until I started! When the first row was framed in white it started to look stunning. I hadn't expected that. So, then I couldn't stop sewing!!


The blocks were already quilted, so I just put an old sheet as backing. The quilt is going to hang on a wall, so the back doesn't really  matter. Because the quilting is done with so many different techniques, the whole top is very stiff and difficult to handle. Couldn't do the stitching in the ditch, to keep the pieces together, with my very basic sewing machine. So I did it by hand. Took me much longer than I expected because of the different fabrics. A "bloody" job!!
The quilt turned out beautiful. It is going to hang in the new workshop center I am, at this moment, realizing together with a friend. I will take pictures of the whole quilt when it is hanging in its final place. 

Inspired by all these houses I decided to make good luck charms for the new year, and yes.... it had to be a house!


First a made a bunch for my Dutch friends, with whom I celebrated "Sinterklaas",  Saint Nikolas, which is a big celebration in Holland.


A week later we had our monthly Quilting Bee meeting, so I made more houses for all my quilters and other friends, and I am still sewing!!


At the Quilting Bee meeting Maria also brought her house quilt to show it to us. The Bee is working on a EPP (English Paper Piecing) star quilt. The stars that are ready are pinned on my design wall. It is starting to look cute. I tried to make a picture from the whole room filled with colour!!!! It is not the best picture, but you get the idea.


We had beautiful sunny weather last week, but as from today there will be big changes. Temperatures will drop and rain and maybe even snow are expected.
More sewing time!!
 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Red and white and Christmas

Time to start getting ready for Christmas! I took my suitcase with fabric and patchwork Christmas runners, cushions etc. from the closet and did a stock-in-trade. I could do with some more new stuff and of course I want to make some gifts. 
As I am working, at the moment, on my house quilt, I realized it also has a Christmas house in it. This one is made by Eleni Gioka.


I myself, also made some Christmas scenes which I sent to my fellow QAL-ers. 

 


 As Eleni choose for a red Christmas, I decided on the snowy one because I had this white fabric with the stars (used to be a curtain!) and the beige flowers (was once a duvet cover!). As a good Dutch girl I couldn't resist to put the ice skating couple in. We made this houses last year. Time to start something new.


 The easy and quick projects first; some mug rugs. Made three red ones.


That's it for the moment. Time to get cracking!!!


This could be a Christmas star, but it isn't! 

I made this for a new project from the Hellenic Patchwork Guild. They plan to hang a nice red-and-white quilt in their office and asked the members to participate in this new QAL. So I did. It just happens to be a star, probably inspired by the season or by the fact that our Spartan Quilting Bee is making a English Paper Pieced star quilt. 
Now quickly back to my quilting. The weather is very cold for here with icy rain. Nothing better to sit inside and do some sewing!!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Hellenic Patchwork Guild - QAL 2015 - my house quilt

My post of the 28th of October showed the house quilt Sandra Coronaki made from the houses she got through the QAL of the Hellenic Patchwork Guild. 
I really liked the  way she put the quilt together. I found a tutorial on the internet on how to assemble ready made and quilted blocks, that I liked and started the procedure. 


 I tried out a lot of colours for the strips, but ended up using white with blue/grayish little squares on the corners. The quilt will be displayed in the workshop center I am going to open, together with a friend. Can't wait, but all the paperwork is delaying us quite a bit. The quilt will be hanging in a hall on a very light grey wall. I think that the work that the 36 women, who made the houses, did, will show off very well on this wall.

Didn't finish the quilt yet!! Did sew all the houses, though, and have started hand quilting the blocks. 


At the moment I am babysitting in Athens, but next week I'll be back in Sparta and will finish the quilt. Can't wait!!


 Since I took the house blocks from the design wall I have space to start putting the stars on it. This is a project from our Quilting Bee Sparta. Next week we will have a meeting again, so more starts will be arriving!! 
Until then I have to paper piece a few stars. Can do  that in Athens, that's why I like English Paper Piecing,you can do it everywhere!

 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Autumn in the garden

The weather in Greece is still unusually warm. It is lovely, excellent for nice walks. Unfortunately I don't have much time at this moment for long walks in the mountains, but in my garden I can see autumn. The leaves of the Lagerstroemia are colouring and falling down.



Next to this tree is the Abutilon, which still has some flowers 



The dwarf roses, which become a rather big shrub in my garden also still bloom


In the front of the house I have a Bougainvilea, a dark red one. It took 15 years to start blooming, no idea why. I was ready to pull it out, but I am so glad I didn't, because now it has lots of flowers in spring, summer and still in autumn!




I forgot the name of this one, although I really love it. It has beautiful dark, nearly black berries, which the birds love, as you can see. They nearly ate all of them. The leaves turn in a lovely red and they look great in a vase.

Luckily the garden doesn't get completely barren during the winter, because we have the citrus trees, a lemon tree, a few orange trees and a tangerine tree. The tangerines are the first ones to ripen. I guess that in a week's time we will be able to start picking a few.


I am in Athens at the moment, so when I will be going back to Sparta I can start eating !!!



My naughty friend in Athens. He ruined the all the flowers by digging in the flower pots, so we bought some netting. He is just checking it out!

 
 

 

Friday, October 28, 2016

ATHENS CRAFTS FAIR - ΧΕΙΡΟΤΕΧΝΙΚΑ

Last Saturday I visited the big Crafts Fair in Athens. There were lots of crafts to be seen and workshops to attend, but of course my main interest was the stand of the Hellenic Patchwork Guild. 


This quilt was a QAL (Quilt Along). 36 Women belonging to the Guild made 3 houses each month and sent them to their fellow quilters to receive 3 different ones. The above one is put together by Sandra Coronaki. Didn't it turn out lovely!!!
I started to sew my houses together yesterday!! Can't wait to finish them and see the result.

The weather was dreadful, pouring rain, thunder and lightning. That was no reason, though, to stay at home. The fair was very well attended.

 



My fellow quilter from Sparta, Maria 






With Maria and Mania, the president of the Hellenic Patchwork Guild



 This Christmas quilt was made by Mania and hanging in the stand from Klotho, one of the places where Mania teaches. They sell everything for patchwork and quilting as well as for knitting.

Another interesting stand for us was the one  from Ιfasmataki, one of the first Greek shops that sell cotton for patchwork.



 It was a lovely Saturday morning. Next year again!!



Sunday, October 16, 2016

QUILTING BEE SPARTA

After the summer break, the Quilting Bee Sparta started two new projects and finished the two quilts they were working on before and during the holidays. Both turned out fantastic! The first one has appliqued flowers from the Magic Vine Quilt. We used the book written by Eleanor Burns. The original designer of the Magic Vine flower blocks is Florence LaGanke Harris. As a quilt designer Florence wrote a syndicate nationwide newspaper column under the title of the "Nancy Page Quilt Club", starting in the early 1930's and ran the column for seventeen years. Each week, Florence printed one pattern from a quilt and gave her readers a week to complete the bloc. 


We made 30 blocks with all different techniques, some machine appliqued and others hand appliqued with the blanket stitch or with the needlepoint technique. As we couldn't decide with colour to use for the binding, the idea came up of making a multi-coloured one from all the scraps we had. The binding turned out great!


 The quilt will be given to one of our members who has some health issues at the moment. 



The second finished quilt was a crime!! The pattern and the fabrics I choose from our donated stack of materials didn't really match. I look if the colours go nicely together, which, I think, they do. But.... the yellow fabric was rather thin, nice to work with. The patterned one (an old  sheet) had too much synthetic and little cotton and was very stiff and difficult to handle. Not exactly handy to make the triangles of the Butterfly at the Crossroads blocks. Too much for most of our members. So, one of us took the quilt and managed to sew it with this great result.


The quilting had some difficulties too, because the back is also from the thin yellow fabric. Next time I really have to consider the fabric thickness too in the designs. But, we are doing great!! All fabrics are donated and until now we didn't buy any. The finished quilt will also be donated.


Our next project will be an English Paper Piecing star quilt from 60-degree diamonds with interlocking background. For EPP we use the book from Jessica Alexandrakis Quilting on the Go!
Here are the first two starts. Still 70 to go!!



 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

I'm a granny !

On the 9th of August I became a grandmother! What a beautiful experience!


I stayed in Athens to help and enjoy the little guy, who is a perfect baby. He sleeps, cries only when he is hungry or has a dirty nappy. It is amazing how quick they grow the first month, well, the first year as a matter of fact.

Two weeks before the baby was born the happy couple adopted a little kitten, they found!! Not the brightest idea, because it is only 2 months old and has to be educated, especially in an apartment. The cats they know from home are also in the garden and get rid of all the energy they have chasing flowers and leaves. Mio wants you to play with him and boy...has this little kitten an energy!!! He sees no danger and gave us all some heart attacks, being on the 4th floor, trying to look down from the balcony, putting his head between the railings. After a week or so he managed to walk on top of the railing.



 I am back in Sparta since a few days, happy to find the house and garden in a good state. My husband excelled himself!! 

We had  constant heat waves in Greece, very high temperatures, certainly not good for walking especially in Athens where it doesn't cool down during the night. Sparta lies in between mountains and is hotter during the day, but cooler during the night, so the early early morning (6 or 7 o'clock) is excellent for walking. The idea is that I start again tomorrow. Have to get rid of  some extra kilos. My pregnant daughter had a crave for ice cream and who am I, not to join her in this heat!! 
It is grape time, so I'll better switch to this delicious fruit now.


I am going to finish my baby storage unit now because in Athens I didn't have time. Time to go to work!


 
 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Heat wave - what to do??

We are still waiting for the baby to arrive, so I should have a lot of time to do some sewing! The thing is... we are having a long and very hot heat wave, and that really slows me down. 

When I arrived in Athens, I started to walk in the stadium next to my daughter's house, early in the morning. Then it became so hot, that I decided to wait a few days. I'm still waiting, so maybe I should just start again and ignore the heat. I really need some exercise!

There are few things I made, that I haven't posted yet. My camera broke down and it took me  a month to get a new one. I had just started to knit a white cotton baby cot blanket, although with these temperatures baby doesn't really need any blanket, not even a sheet!!! Of course the blanket is in Athens now and I could make a picture of it in the baby's cot. (When is he finally deciding to come???) 


The pillow case my mother bought when she was expecting me!! Never mind that I was a girl. Those days you had no idea what was coming! I always loved blue, maybe this is the reason why? Unconscious baby memories, haha!!

As it seems that babies have to be in sleeping bags nowadays I quickly sew this one. It is an embroidered pillow case, that I never used because it wasn't the right size. I closed it and put elastic through it. Excellent for this weather.


To keep myself busy I started to make a storage unit for the baby's room. It is still work in progress. I am going to have 9 pockets with animals appliqued on them. This is the first one, the hippo.


I  cut out all the pieces and made the lay-out 

 
 This morning I finished the first row, and now I have to hurry to continue the other two rows. Can't wait for it to be finished. Who knows, baby boy might suddenly decide to see this world today or tomorrow instead of waiting till Monday, when they have to go to the hospital for check-up, with the suitcase!
 
 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

getting ready !

Still about two weeks to go till the baby is due. I am in Athens at my daughter's place, helping out and waiting. This cot quilt was made about a year ago, but it was a little plain, till I appliqued the bear on it two weeks ago. 



Of course I also wanted to make something for the nursery, and, as it is going to be a boy, I choose these VW cars wall hanging. My first car was a Volkswagen beetle, slivergray, 10 years old. How I loved that car. No digital picture, though! 



Still in Sparta I finished the placemats for my Greek neighbour friend who lives in Holland and has two Dachshunds. The colours of the picture are not very good. I quickly photographed the doggies before I handed them over and started packing to get myself on the bus to Athens. 


My husband is on garden duty now and except from our Flopsy, he has company, when watering the garden, from a few stray cats, that we feed. 
This one is very cute and my husband's favorite.

 

 He looks a bit like Flopsy, who really likes his food, plays in the garden with the other cats and fights with intruders who don't belong in his territory. A bit peculiar, because he is neutered !!




Besides the garden Flopsy also likes fabrics and quilts. Whenever he gets the chance he will try to have a nap on top of my precious pieces.