dinsdag 20 september 2016

Festival of Quilts I

I should have posted already about my visit to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham in August, but things got in the way. Hope I can make it up to you with this long (picture overloaded!) blogpost :-) :

 The fun started with a half empty plane on the way over, plenty of space to relax a stitch, yes!
As you will probably be most interested in pictures I will keep my writing down to a minimum. Let me just say that I found the quilts at the exhibition of a high quality and the booths great! Enjoy!

One thing I would like to mention: I was surprised to see practically all quilts machine quilted even the very special, beautiful (3D) applique ones: 


As a dog lover/owner this one made me smile… so many, many funny details, I can only show you a few :-) 

Petra Prins’ booth never disappoints and was busy as usual

And Karen Styles' booth was exquisite, hi Karen, lovely to have met you!

The town of Birmingham was something special, our hotel was right in the middle of the city centre… what we did not know is that the city centre is going through enormous  - 20 year!! -   revitalisation project which makes the most of the city centre one big building site….

Impossible for cars, roads just end somewhere in one of the building sites, this poor guy got stuck right underneath our hotel, he sat just stood there in his car for minutes, not knowing where to go..

This is not nice at the moment (and will not be for quite some time), but the parts of the city that are already finished show that they have done a great job combining the old with the new.

The new Bullring shopping centre next to an old church

The area with the old canals has been revamped

Great for a dinner on a terrace, so we did

We had fun trying out the selfie-stick I brought and chatted until after dark, it was wonderful to see Emma again, so much to talk about when you are both passionate quilters, were first practically neighbours and now (after Emma’s move to France) you haven’t seen eachother in a year

A walk through town the next day : a finished square with the new library building next to the war memorial

I know what you are thinking when you see the new library building, my thoughts exactly… a quilting pattern!

This is what is looks like from the inside

There was more quilty inspiration in the tiles of the coffee place we had our breakfast each morning

At the Festival of Quilts the old met the new as well. I showed you some of the newer quilts in this blogpost, I’ll show you some of the older quilts in the next one.

Until then,


donderdag 1 september 2016

Reunions and gifts

While I am sorting through my pictures of the superduper Birmingham Festival of Quilts earlier this month I thought I’d catch up with a few pictures on this blog.

Earlier this summer Melissa and her family visited our house for a meal, to make sure they could find our house we hung the American flag from our house.

Melissa runs the very successful Polkadot Chair blog and is a Riley Blake designer, we met before when she, her husband and eldest daughter visited my hometown The Hague a few years ago, this now was a great opportunity to meet the rest of the family.

It was a lovely evening, like last time way too short, so many things to talk about so I do hope we can do this again some time. Her husband Jeff spent two years in The Netherlands in the past and we were amazed at his language skills, he still speaks Dutch! Apparantly he has regular Dutch speaking days back home… admirable! 
Melissa came bearing many gifts, which of course was a lovely surprise and so kind of her. I especially love the fabrics, from her own lines, I had been looking for them over here, but had not been able to find them (yet), so thank you so much Melissa, I love them!

And another wonderful gift came my way…. A few weeks ago I visited the Festival of Quilts with my friend Emma, which was also a lovely reunion since we had not seen each other for a long time. Again I was spoiled with gifts. She brought me one very special gift… a wooden bobbin holder made by her son Nathan. This summer he has been doing woodwork with his granddad, isn’t that special? Such wonderful memories must have been made. This is the first bobbin holder he made and he asked his mum to give it to me, isn’t that just the sweetest? I am really touched, so say the least. 
It is beautiful, very handy and I use it constantly as it takes pride of place on the dining table where I do most of my quilt work.
The fun little gnome you see in the background is the pincushion that Emma gave me, he makes me smile. Together with the bobbin holder they are great helpers with my quilt work and lovely reminders of people I do miss a lot.

Speaking of quilting…. this one got sandwiched!

Next blogpost I will show you some of the things Emma and I saw at the Festival of Quilts, promise.


dinsdag 2 augustus 2016

A few days in London and one day in Het Gooi

No long summer holiday for us this year. In June – while our daughter Eline was away on her exam trip to Portugal with some class mates – we enjoyed a few wonderful days in Rome and in July – again while Eline was away with a few other girls this time to Barcelona – the Mr and I travelled for a few days to one of our favorite cities: London.

Our ‘home’ underground station this trip:

London always feels a bit like coming home, I have been there so many times, with the Mr, with friends and on my own, there are places (often to do with food or fabrics) that I keep coming back to, but also there are always new things to discover and experience, which is why we never, ever tire of this city.

This time we went to the Rolling Stones exhibition (yes, we are fans) called Exhibitionism (click) at the Saatchi Gallery. No pictures allowed inside, but if you get a chance go and see it then do so, fan or no fan, it is fun and a bit of history. And there is a really great 3d experience too at the end.
After Exhibitionism ends in London it will move to New York where it will open in November.
Staying with the rock and roll theme we also went to the Jimi Hendrix appartment at the Händel House (click), they re-created the appartment to what it looked like when Jimi Hendrix lived there
Another new thing for us this trip was the extension to the Tate Modern Gallery that opened a few weeks ago in June. We had not been to the Tate Modern in years so this was a good chance to visit again. As before we thought the main old building was great, that wonderful huge space.

The new building (called the Switch House) next to it has great views over the city from the 10th floor 360 degree panorama deck.
And for those on a budget: entrance is free, they just ask for a 4 UK Pound donation, well worth it!

The famous Shard in all its glory:

The old Tate Modern building with the Millenium walkway Bridge across the Thames:

The view towards St. Paul’s Cathedral:

And below the funny looking building of 20 Fenchurch St. also nicknamed the Walkie Talkie building, this is the building we visited twice during our Xmas trip to London in December of last year, from the Sky Garden in this building you can also have a wonderful view of London (click).
The pictures are a bit grey because it was cloudy that day. But it was also warm and humid, so after our visit to the Tate we had a coffee on one of the terraces nearby, overlooking the Thames.
Foodwise new to us was Neal’s Yard, not just a colorful little square but full of nice restaurants (Gert (click) look for the vegetarian/vegan Wild Food restaurant , it gets great reviews!) and with it being a warm evening and all the doors and windows being open the place was buzzing!

Nearby is the Hotel Chocolat School of Chocolate with all you can wish for chocolate, so delicious! The sign in the window said it all J!

And we loved this new restaurant on the edge of Chinatown: Shuang Shuang!
Chose if you want your individual hotpot or share a double (which we did), chose your broth (spicy, non spicy, vegetarian) and pick your ingredients from the conveyor belt. Fun, delicious and sooooo healthy!

When in London we always stay in a hotel in Kensington, our favorite area. And we always go for walks, we love the atmosphere there and looking at all the houses, mews, gardens etc. Here are a few things we came across this time:

I love those chique white houses especially if they are combined with some nicely shaped boxwood plants:

But some color is very nice too:

Of course you want your Ferrari to match the color of your front door and shuttersJ!

The pubs in the area are great too, we found one with a nice patio so we spent  a few of our evenings out there:

There are two more places I always want to go to when in London, Liberty of course:

And Shaukat, not to be missed, their cellar is wall-to-wall-to-wall-to-wall Liberty and they sell scraps!

Always sorry to say goodbye to London, until next time!

Before our trip to London, I had a chance to visit Judith (click) and drive around Het Gooi area with her, her sister Karin and Mirjam which was great, since I do not know the area at all.

We met at Quilt Studio Het Gooi (click) , such a great quilt store! Spacious, light, a good selection of materials and very friendly people !

And I love a quiltshop with a good coffee corner!

After the quiltstore we went to a lovely embroidery shop: Atelier Steekjes en Kruisjes (click) in Huizen, it is just the prettiest little shop, all four of us loved it! Have a look!

We had lunch at the Eemnes Theetuin (click), again a first for me, go there if you are in the neighbourhood, it is beautiful and the food they serve yummy!

There is also a space that can be used as a wedding location, we could not resist having a peek, isn’t this special?

Judith, Karin and Mirjam, thanks for taking me there girls, I had a great time!

So both at home and abroad, I had some great days recently, hope you are enjoying yourself too this summer.