woensdag 7 oktober 2015

On a whim...

Sometimes you just have to surprise yourself and do something on the spur of the moment (and not plan ahead long before as we usually do)!

So…  when during a phone call our friends from Houston mentioned they would be travelling around the UK for  a holiday and would be spending the last night of their holiday in London (but due to work commitments did not have the time to come to The Netherlands) , we looked at the hub’s work schedule, found that we could take the time to fly over to London, booked tickets, a hotel and a table at a Covent Garden restaurant and off we went.

The weather was gorgeous from beginning to end!


Catching an early flight we did have the greater part of the day to spend around town. As you may know we love London and I have visited frequently for the past 35 (!!) years, the last 21 (!) with the hubs, so we have seen a thing or two, but this time we went to a part we had not been to before: Brick Lane in the East End.

It was busy, colourful, fun and I wonder why we never went here before, especially after our visit to the Beigel Bakery. Open 24/7 they are famous for their beigels (they look like the better known bagles) that are constantly being baked in the back of the shop. You eat them on the spot with various toppings, but we opted for their (apparently) famous hot salt beef, and oh boy, it was good!

In the meantime there was food everywhere and cozy coffeeshops (you know, the ones that actually sell coffee) , trendy clothes shops etc.

And something for the hubs, which is the reason we went up here in the first place

We loved Brick Lane, will definitely go back again.

After Brick Lane a ride on the tube and a walk across Tower Bridge with a spectacular view of the new London skyline, reminding me how much this city has changed since I started coming here


At the other end of Tower Bridge:  Shad Thames, also a first for us


Before heading back to the hotel and the dinner we actually flew over for. Needless to say that was memorable, lovely to see our friends in this wonderful city.

The next day we still had a few hours to do the usual things before catching our flight back home again, which for me of course meant a visit to…

Yippy!! I love it here, and I don’t know why, maybe because I was there when it opened and the weather was so nice and everybody stayed outdoors, but the place was very quiet, lovely to just wander around and look

I have heard about glamping, but this….. a tent made of (one of my favorite) Liberty fabrics!


The Liberty Christmas department was already open !


and this year at Liberty’s Christmas has gone to the dogs!


After all this a walk through sunny Chinatown


lunch and then the flight back home, with wonderful memories of a very special 36 hour trip!



vrijdag 25 september 2015

Liberty Star!

Meet Liberty Star!

This quilt was always going to be for Nancy. A dear friend for many years, I knew that one day I wanted to make a quilt for her. So when I came upon this pattern (click) by Jeni Baker, I saw straight away: this was going to be Nancy’s quilt.

Nancy, a gifted jewelry designer and goldsmith, makes and showcases her own and other jewelry designers’ items at her workshop and gallery in Schoonhoven (click).  Her designs have a classic basis but are executed in clear, clean lines and materials. A bit of the old, a bit of the new. The same holds true for her house, a beautiful old building furnished with classical but modernist furniture. A bit of the old, a bit of the new.

So her quilt had to show that too: a bit of the old, a bit of the new and clear lines.

Quilt patterns don’t come more traditional than a star, but this pattern (click) looks modern because the star is so huge and the only shape in the quilt.

Fabric wise, I always wanted to work with Liberty fabrics but somehow never got around to it and with Liberty fabrics being the classics that they are this was the perfect opportunity.

Unfortunately…. Liberty fabrics are hard to find in The Netherlands so over the past three years, whenever I was in London, I bought one or two pieces of fabric for this quilt.

Lucky for me my Liberty fabrics collection for this quilt was completed during our last visit to London, because early this summer Nancy announced a big party at the end of August for a special birthday, so for me the race was on this summer to make and finish this quilt by then!

My local quilt shop (click) did not let me down when it came to finding the perfect background. A classic gray, a bit modernised by a white polka dot pattern. The fabric was the perfect contrast to those Liberty classics.



I handquilted Liberty Star in a very basic way, the big stitch quilting technique, no hoop, with the perle 8 thread I love working with when I use this technique. The bigger stitches with the bigger thread nicely contrast the very fine (patterns of the) Liberty fabrics.


Again when it came to finding the fabric for the binding (not easy with these Liberty fabrics) Evy had the perfect fabric (from Laundry Basket Quilts) in her shop.


So, this is Liberty Star, a quilt I loved making and I am really happy with the way it turned out. The quilt lives with Nancy now and I hope that it will keep her warm this winter and many more winters to come.


Size: 173 cm x 173 cm / 68”x 68”
Quilting: handquilted with DMC Perle 8
Batting: Hobbs 80/20
Fabrics: 100% cotton, mostly Liberty Tana Lawn


P.S. This quilt is also the reason it was a bit quiet on my blog (especially with regards to quilty things) the last few months. As Nancy reads my blog,  I could not show any of this, so this was one of the two secret projects I was working on this summer. There will be a later blogpost about the  technical challenges of this quilt and of working with Liberty fabrics.
Now it is back to qulting my second Feathergirl quilts, which was sorely neglected this summer!


woensdag 2 september 2015

Bella Italia!

With the weather showing signs of changing into fall I think back of the lovely holiday in Italy we enjoyed just a few weeks ago in Italy. Besides some city trips, Italy was new to us and the only thing I can say is that was fabulous!

We flew to Bologna, such a different world after a flight of just 1,5 hrs! We spent the first night there, our hotel was part of the famous portico’s (a Unesco world heritage site), so all we had to do is walk via the portico’s to the central piazza of this very elegant town. We had a lovely dinner underneath the portico’s, a great start to our holiday.

Even the McDonalds looks elegant in Bologna! Sorry about the fences, they were re-doing the road surface.

Breakfast was yummy, the Italians start the day with something very sweet (cakes etc) and perfect coffee , our hotel had a professional barrista present at breakfast who made your coffee to order.


The next day we went back to the airport to pick up the rental car and drove 2,5 hours to the apartment we rented at La Giravolta (click)  just outside of the village of Barchi, in Le Marche. The last half hour it was pouring with rain, so when we arrived with the help of the owner, we quickly put our luggage into our apartment, I made dinner with the groceries we bought on the way and went to sleep early.
Next morning we woke up to this: beautiful weather and a gorgeous view.

As it turned out I made the right choice both with regards to the area, Le Marche,  as well as with regards to where we were staying. La Giravolta is a property that consists of two buildings, beautifully restored, with a few spacious, modern apartments and a great infinity pool. The atmosphere was great. To be honest, their website does not do it justice, the www simply can not. The views, the silence, the smell of lavender everywhere, it was so beautiful and so relaxing.



I loved that pool!

Getting the groceries was special too. The village of Barchi was a walk up a path behind La Giravolta, through a field, rather steep, but you got your reward walking back down again! That view made it so special!


I can honestly say that this walk down to La Giravolta made these trips the best, most special shopping trips ever for me.
The area of Le Marche is beautiful, with its hills, winding roads, medieval villages etc., and – important for us- not packed with tourists. It is located on the Adriatic Coast and there are very nice beach resorts, the sea is turquoise and warm.
And the food, oh the food. Soooo delicious, as are the wines. The restaurants? A lot of them, because of the hills, have terraces with beautiful views, it is like being on a movieset, constantly.
We made the most of the (sea!)food and the restaurants!

Dinner is mostly an all-evening affair

We did do other things besides eating…
The old villages have been beautifully restored and are impeccable. So, so clean, not a piece of paper (or chewing gum)  on the streets, nothing. The people really respect their history and their heritage and they are very disciplined about their waste and garbage.
So we did some sight seeing.
A walk up to the upper town of Urbino (again, the town was spotless), I loved all those small passages and open doors everywhere. Also this famous place, there were tourists but not very many.


And Mondavio, 15 mins from where we were staying:

Again, spotless streets!

August is the month where all the factories are closed so most people are on holiday. It is also the month where there are a lot of town parties, they can last 3 – 4 days. So we enjoyed a few of those.

In Fano:


In Mondavio (again) , the medieval plays in the evening time:
Also here, mostly local people,  just a few tourists and a great atmosphere.


Our daughter Eline spent a few days staying with one of her friends whose family has a holiday home about 2 hours from where we were staying.

She spent the better part of a week there with her friend and family, had a super time but was a bit unlucky too.
Eline and her friend went horse riding in the fields a few times during those days. Unfortunately the last day not all went well. While galloping Eline was unable to avoid a branch with thorns and she suffered a deep cut in her right arm which needed stitches, so she was taken to hospital. The stitches have been taken out now, looks like they did a good job and we just feel lucky it was her arm and not her face, because it will remain a scar.



Lucky enough this happened only two days before we were due to go home, because swimming was out of the question after this.

So we decided to end this wonderful holiday doing something all three of us love…..J!


Besides Eline’s horse riding incident it was a lovely, wonderful, relaxing holiday and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We will come back to this beautiful place!


woensdag 26 augustus 2015

Presents for (quilt) friends

It has been quiet on my blog.

For two reasons: I was busy on two secret projects I showed you bits of before and I went on a lovely holiday, still getting used to being back home……
But at least now I can show you at least one of the secret projects, a goodbye (not farewell, that much is sure!) to my dear friend Emma who moved back to France recently.

Since Emma is a (very accomplished!) quilter herself it was no use making her a quilt of any sort, so I had to come up with something different.

Thinking that as a busy mother of two younger children she is always juggling all sorts of schedules  and reminders in her head I thought a brocante looking memory board would be nice and also I could attach to it small reminders of the fun times we had together as well as some small gifts. As I am only handy with fabrics and not much else I bought the memory board.
But I did want to make her something myself (and not just give presents that I bought) so I made her a keyring for her beautiful renovated home in France.


As our dogs Whopper and Bailey are also best friends and spent many hours together during their playdates (that recently involved a red stuffed chicken J  ) a picture of Whopper could not be left out.


Living around the corner from me and having so much in common we spent lovely mornings and afternoons together, I will miss being able to just pop over for a cuppa and a chat.

And while we are on the subject of presents for friends, I never showed you the finished present that I made for fellow Feathergirl Hubertine when it was her birthday earlier this year.

I bought a small tray (to take small sewing items with her around the house or her roof terrace) and made a mini quilt for it.


And now back to sorting out all those pictures from our holiday…. Hope you had a lovely summer too, either at home or elsewhere.