maandag 23 december 2013

All things Xmas!

Oh dear, I started my Xmas preparations a bit late this year, so yesterday I had to go down town for some last minute shopping. One of my favourite shops around this time is De Bijenkorf department store, their Xmas decorations are always wonderful! I took this picture of their huge Xmas tree:-

Speaking of Xmas trees, remember I was soooooo angry last week? Guess what..??

Yes, I took this picture too yesterday afternoon, the tree in the Passage is back!!! Hubertine and Sandra already told me on Friday they were putting it up so I had to go and take a look for myself and yes, there it was!
Usually it is up weeks before Xmas and then there are lots of things going on, carol singers etc. It is all much too late for that now, but at least the tree is back, the Passage looks much better now and there were more people around too. I can only guess that all the protests worked. And I am sooo pleased to see this tree again.

Next year, when the Apple Store has opened, you bet I will have a chat with the manager and go on the Apple Facebook page again in time to try my best to get the tree there again!

Of course, there is a Xmas tree at home too, full of soft decorations.

Getting into the Xmas swing of things was greatly helped by Dorry’s wonderful Xmas party last weekend. She did a wonderful job, greatly helped by Dorien and her mum and a friend.
Hubertine and I went together and we enjoyed it so much!

We had some yummy food

Dorry organised a lovely little workshop, nothing too difficult so plenty of opportunity to enjoy the company at the table of some very nice ladies.


Dorry introduced her newest member of staff, Pluis:-

And Dorien showed her beautiful version of the Love Entwined quilt top:-

After all this inspiration I was ready to start planning Xmas dinner, looking at old Xmas issues of my favourite food magazine, making lists..

In between all this I am turbo-quilting, trying to get this quilt ready for Xmas to give to my teenage daughter Eline.  I can safely write that here, she seldom looks here.


First I machine quilted criss cross across the quilt and then I decided to handquilt the colored centers of the stars to give it a little more texture (I love handquilting, it just takes so long).

I used DMC Perle 8 and big stitches, I did a workshop big stitch quilting by Laura some time ago at Den Haan & Wagenmakers, it is the first time I used this technique and I loved it. So relaxing not to put your quilt in a hoop and trying to make small stitches! Easier on the eyes too!

The binding is ready and waiting to be attached too!

While all this is going on I love listening to all the Xmas tunes on the radio, there was one song I kept on hearing and couldn’t get it out of my head, my favourite this Xmas season. When they played it again a few days ago I decided to look it up on the playlist of that radiostation.

And this is what was…..that boy……. before all that puberty madness started :-
The same boy singing the same song but very nervously (the hands!) for President Obama..
Because the coming period will be busy I doubt I will get a chance for a blog post before the end of the year. So I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been reading my blog and has left comments, I really appreciate it. 2013 Was my first full year with a blog and I enjoyed it so much! A heartfelt “Thank you!”, is in order,  it is great ‘meeting’ you all this way and I hope we will ‘see’ each other again this way (or maybe in person) next year.
Wishing everyone a lovely, wonderful, cozy Christmas with family and friends! Enjoy, enjoy!


maandag 16 december 2013

I am angry!

Anger is not a very Xmassy emotion, I know, but in my home town of The Hague unfortunately this year anger has something to do with Christmas this year.

I love my hometown and one of my favourite places, ever since I was a child growing up in The Hague, is the chique Passage, I wrote about it in this blogpost last Christmas and showed you this picture.

Isn’t it beautiful?
I always love going to the Passage around this time, to see this huge Christmas tree with all those lights. Often on weekends there are Christmas carol singers or children playing Christmas songs on their violins for some pocket money. The acoustic in the Passage is wonderful, which makes it all a bit magical.

It is a good thing I made this picture last year, because from now on it will not look like this anymore. From now on the place will be empty and silent and right now it looks like this.

And not just this year, apparently our beautiful Christmas tree will not return at all anymore.
Why? You may think it is because of the economic crisis or lack of money….. but nooooooo that is not the case…….
It is because behind those black boards a new Apple Store is being built and the Apple company does not want that tree it front of its Store………….. Apparantly in its rental agreement Apple has negotiated that the tree will not be put up any more from now. I am just sooooooo angry about this and I apparently I am not the only one.

You can see more about it here, start watching at 7.40 mins (it is in Dutch)
To be honest, it is good news our town is getting an Apple Store, they make the most wonderful Stores in wonderful buildings everywhere in the world, it is good for the city, it brings jobs etc. etc .  And yes, I like Apple products, I do have an Iphone, we have an Ipad. But that does not give a huge company with $$$$$ to spend the right to take away local traditions! There is more to ‘moving’ into a town than just $$$$$!
What a stupid thing to do on both sides, Apple and the other party in the rental contract to take away this lovely tradition. (Honestly ‘other party’ whoever you are, a Christmas tree would not have been a deal breaker, you lack negation skills to say the least!)
And what a missed opportunity by Apple too, are their marketing peeps asleep? Why not put up that beautiful tree in front of the Store each year, pay for it with all those Apple $$$$$ and put a sign next to it: ‘Sponsored by Apple’, or something.
Give those children with the violins and the carol singers back their place next to the Christmas tree, and give us back that special place downtown full of Christmas spirit, instead of this bare rotunda where nothing is happening right now and where - once the Store is there -  only shoppers will walk, just like every other day of the year.
Certainly the local people will go to the Store and spend their money and buy Apple products, so Apple, do the decent thing: give something back to our community, give us back our Christmas tree, our Christmas tradition, it is CHRISTMAS after all, a time for giving not taking!!
I rest my case.

woensdag 4 december 2013

Quilting with friends

Quilting with friends is always lovely and often very helpful! Recently Anita helped me to spray sandwich my wonky star quilt. Not only that but when I started this quilt she let me and Eline go through her scrap boxes to find fabric for this quilt and we found a lot! It appears that her scrap boxes were filled with scraps from another bee member, Irma, so her fabrics wound up in this quilt as well, as did some scraps from Jantine. Great fun to work with friends’scraps!

And last week was a lovely, quillty kind of week.
First, on Saturday I went to Petra’s shop again. Hadn’t been there in a long time and as usual the place was full of inspiration.

Then on Tuesday, I went over to Emma’s, (quilt)friend/almost neighbour for a morning of sewing. She is working on the Robin’s Nest quilt, so beautiful. I admire her, not only because her work is so precise, but she has a quality which I lack: she finishes one quilt before starting another………no ufo’s at Emma’s!

That same evening it was bee night at my place. Unfortunately three ladies could not make it but still lots of different work around the table.

And the next day a friend came over from Heemstede for an afternoon of sewing. Like me she has had a period of several years without quilting and recently took it up again. She is taking the applique course at The Sampler, with great results.


Having friends over is a nice opportunity to try some baking again, I made these: sour cream pop cookies.

They are like soft cookies and they were yummy. I used this recipe, but without the frosting. And for the ‘shortening’ I used about 75 grams of margarine.
The cups and spoons measurements mentioned in this recipe are the regular American sizes.

I got my sets over 25 years ago when a friend brought them from the US for me, at the time it was impossible to get them over here, but maybe these days they can be bought at  good cookery shops in The Netherlands also.

That was my week and it was nice one, how was yours?


donderdag 21 november 2013

A (sort of) finish and a fashion moment

Yes, the wonky stars quilt top is finished and Eline found her favourite backing fabric here..

This is only my second machine made quilt top and I have to say I am really pleased with my sewing machine, it (or is it a ‘she’?) did a great job

Apart from finishing this I managed to squeeze in another museum trip on a rainy afternoon, omg, there have been so many of those… I am so fed up with the rain, I can’t even begin to tell you, but this was a great trip to the Gemeentemuseum (Municipal Museum) in my hometown The Hague.

We were not the only ones though, more people were looking for something to do that rainy Sunday afternoon:

Of course, the famous Chanel suits


Jewelry, I loved this cuff bracelet


And this, a bill for Marlene Dietrich, she sure loved Chanel!


Some Chanel wisdom, she was one clever lady!


Apart from this exhibition you are allowed to visit the whole museum with your entry ticket. There was also an exhibition on Lalique glassware  and one on Delft blue, with the tall tulip vases I love:


interesting in this exhibition: there were pieces of modern artists of their version of the Delft blue tulip vases:


An antique Delft blue birdhouse…. It looks cute, but that poor bird… no space at all…


If you have time I recommend a visit, it was an interesting afternoon, well worth it. Now back to today, busy day ahead so I better get on with it, would like to get some quilting done today as well. Next blogpost I will show you the finished wonky stars quilt top when it is sandwiched and hopefully a Phebe update, enjoy your day!


vrijdag 8 november 2013

London calling!

Yes, I had just been in September, but London…. I never tire of London!

Some time ago Hubertine and I talked about not being able to make the Houston Quilt Festival this year and wanting to do something else instead.  And London is always fun!

So here we were Friday lunchtime:


Did you notice the small dog in the lower right hand corner…. he made me laugh, he and his friend were soooo sweet and calm, waiting for their boss to finish his lunch… but the way he sat with his leg straight….


The absolute highlight of our trip already came on Friday evening, we had tickets for this:


You may know I am a Rolling Stones fan and have seen them many times (all but twice standing right at the front), so I have also seen Ron Wood many times in his role as guitarist of the Stones (and to be honest, because of his health issues in various conditions….) , but this was a first for me, Ron Wood with his own band. Also a first for me to see Mick Taylor, ex-Rolling Stone, who joined the Ronnie Wood Band for this occasion (he left the Rolling Stones before I went to their concerts, he was replaced in The Rolling Stones by none other than…… yes, Ron Wood!).

The ‘gig’ was in the beautiful Royal Albert Hall (another first for me), within walking distance of our hotel


And we had great seats!

Then the fun started………….


A fabulous evening of blues (love the blues anyway)……… what can I say, it was such a memorable night, Ron Wood was at his best (being one of a group with the Rolling Stones he gets much less chance to shine when playing with them), such sharp guitar play and wow, …. I had no idea he was such a good harmonica player……. Mick Taylor was great too, wonderful to see them both playing together…. And with their guests this evening, like Bobby Womack and Paul Weller.
And Ron’s fun personality made that big, elegant concert hall feel like more being in at club concert….

Saturday morning a change of pace… the Victoria & Albert museum, also within walking distance of our hotel:

It was difficult taking pictures, everything being behind shiny glass and the light reflecting in it…

Inspiration in the tiles on the floor



As for the rest of the weekend, we were lucky with the weather, Saturday and Sunday mostly no rain but sunshine, which called for morning coffee on the terraces

Visiting fun shops in Soho


How about this: the floor of a travelbook shop ….. a map of London!

For me London is also about foooooooooood (of course)!

Like Indian food

Another this was another highlight for me: a farmer’s market (ok, a rather posh one ;-)  ) with oysters, can’t resist oysters, and another first: English Maldon oysters, never had those before, they were fresh and tasty! 

Ha! Not my best picture, this is my ‘slurp’ face enjoying the oysters, but love the double decker there! (Great shot, Hubertine!)

Gone! That was for starters, the oysters were followed by duck confit in a bun

London already showed the first signs of the Xmas period : in our hotel lobby

At Covent Garden

It was a wonderful visit to London, we had a fantastic time & what a great way to get into the mood for the Xmas season!