Sunday, August 28, 2011

Don't Miss Out

Some of you might not know that I blog Under the Willow Tree with a bunch of friends around the world.

It's been quiet over the summer but I just shared some fun and new things. You'll definitely want to stop by if you're looking for just the right take-along project as kids return to school and sports schedules resume .. or for your own lunchbreaks and waits and doctor's appointments. Or even, for just those few minutes you snatch for yourself each evening. Just be sure to stop by and check it out!

have Hexagons - will Travel
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Friday, August 26, 2011

The Tense and Waiting Game

tense momentsI saw this and knew I needed one too. It was harder than I thought but I'm glad I persevered.

It would have helped if the pattern correction had been included with the kit .. instead of me fighting with at 3am during a sleepless night.

I'm hoping it will dry by tomorrow so I can take it along to a friend's 50th birthday bash (outside) ... the evening will likely be cold because ...

it's autumn here ... although you won't find me complaining. It means I can dip into my shawls and sweaters and starting making random piles of pumpkins. Bought some today! Everything feels early. I snapped this picture after my purchase today.

early pumpkins Pin It Now!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fat Quarter Stars Quilt Along

I've been asked to be one of the designers for the Fat Quarter Stars Quilt Along hosted by Konda of Moose on the Porch Quilts.

Starting September 27th, every other TUESDAY, instructions for a new 12" block will be posted at Moose on the Porch Quilts. All of the blocks will be star blocks made from fat quarters and some background yardage. Every two weeks there will be a guest blogger at Moose on the Porch Quilts introducing himself or herself and his/her block. At the end you will have made a fun quilt 65" x 84" (or 74" x 93").

I was also a designer for Konda's Layer Cake Quilt Along. You can see the block I designed here.

I hope you join us! It's sure to be a dazzling show of wonderful star themed blocks. Pin It Now!

Monday, August 22, 2011

I {heart} Gent

Axel and I spent the afternoon in Gent on Saturday. It's terrible, really, to admit that in all the years we've been together we haven't taken much time out to just explore and relax. Our staycation this summer really reminded us to do this more often. So we made dinner plans in Gent to celebrate our anniversary and went into town hours early to "browse."

Click on the photo to see more pictures of our day out in Gent.
It was busy and very hot so headed to the underground carpark at KOUTER, when we popped up out of the parking lot onto the market we found a wonderful international market going on. Stalls from all over Europe .. I bought this lovely coinpurse from a man who was selling all kinds of leather goods made by his family in Hungary.

Then we headed toward the GRASLEI, we didn't really have anything in particular in mind .. except ending at the restaurant for our reservation at 6:30. But then we remembered that I wanted to hold an iPad 2, we've been talking about getting one but didn't want to take the plunge until I had at least had one in my hands. SOLD! I can hardly wait, even though I know it will disappear with Axel when he goes on tour for two weeks the end of September.

Still heading into the center of town, we stopped in at one of my favorite shops: Dille & Kamille. Even Axel doesn't get bored in here .. it's full of all kinds of great kitchenwares, garden items, children's toys and more.
We bought ourselves the perfect anniversary gift .. a ravioli form!

After that we just kind of wandered here and there following our feet through the crowds - it was really busy! The best times were went we wandered down the empty streets without any aim, but darn there, we forgot to take pictures.

We even found an English bookstore with lots of old hardbacks including Pollyanna of the Orange Blossoms and a couple of other historical reads for me.

Oh yeh, I wanted to run into the yarn/fabric shop. I had no idea Stoffenidee had moved (two years ago!), but the new shop owner was very very friendly and pointed us in the right direction. I swear I have the most patient husband. Off on a jaunt, past Gravensteen, a bit further and yep - there it was! I love their new location and they were soooo much more friendly this time. Is it because I speak Nederlands now? Although, when stuck they were happy to switch to English and then back to Nederlands when we figured it out again. Came out with a sweet bag full of yarn for this project and an impulse buy of yarn and whoppen needles for the simplest shrug or "teapot warmer" as my friend Janice would say.

There's more fun girly stuff to share, but this post is already getting long and I've probably bored you so I'll do another tomorrow and show my LACE PURCHASE .. it's to die for!

We ended the evening at the Raj along the Kraanlei. We sat outside, the weather was amazing, the service great but the food sadly wasn't much to write home about. Pin It Now!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

14 years and counting

Axel and I are celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary today. Geez, it's hard to believe it was so long ago.
our wedding day

We have some fun and funnier as well as some hot and hotter (weather-wise) memories of the day. We did it smart, a very tiny celebration - just 10 of us including the priest and our friends' baby but complete with a hand-made wedding dress and vests for all the boys. It was very relaxed .. oops, I might not have done my hair (which you wouldn't know since I was wearing my mom's wedding hat) and well, my fingers might have been green - from putting together impromptu bouquets just minutes before getting dressed. I'd only change one thing if I could and that is to have better pictures .. but maybe not .. maybe the memories are better. I'd love to show you another pic or two but I've yet to find the negatives and scan them. Maybe for our 15th.

In the meantime, we've packed a lot into these fourteen years, plus the two years we dated before that.

We met in Seattle, moved to England, moved back to the US and at the same time rented an apartment in Germany (because that was cheaper than a storage unit in England plus gave us a place to stay when we came to visit his family and for me when he went on tour). Five years ago we made the final leap back to Europe and made Belgium our home.

When I met Axel I was a twenty-something office worker who still hadn't decided what she wanted to do. I've worked as an office manager (several times), in my share of temp jobs, as a nanny, in a fabric store here and there and taught more quilting classes than I can count. Now I'm a stay-at-home business owner with more ideas than I have time to create.

Axel had left his job as a university lecturer to work in tourism for a friend in Seattle, he went back to lecturing for a while when we returned to the UK. He drove buses and has continued to be one of the darned bestest tour driver/guides to hit the road in Europe - just ask his customers. Now he's working for the football (soccer) industry - who would have thought?

We've been through some tough years .. some *really* tough years .. but if I had one bit of advice to any newlyweds out there - I'd tell them that the best comes after the worse.
I take you, for my awful wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health. I will love and honor you all the days of my life, until death do us part.
We have really struggled through it all - through sickness and financial hardships and more ... but the best really does come later, much later - with a lot of work and compromise.

And to celebrate I'm cooking home a yummy dinner for tonight. From our garden tomatos who have also gone from better to worse and right now I'm hoping they'll turn out best .. I'll share more tomorrow in the little grey cookbook.

Saturday celebrate in full style with a stroll through Gent ending with an Indian meal - we're both looking forward to that - cross your fingers that the weather plays ball. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Custom Fabric

In the course of working on my latest hexagon project I began wishing for motives and textures I couldn't find in my stash.

Axel and I want some specific things in this quilt so we made a list and I went on a hunt for images: bicycles, watches, moose, steam trains were on Axel's list. Most of what I want I had in my stash (funny that, huh) but I fell in love with this butterfly.

Our initials in bold red will look great with the poppy theme fabric. And the 18p stamp .. well we were married on the 18th of August in West Drayton, England.

Ordered an 8" x 8" swatch of this from Spoonflower today. It's supposed to take 6-7 days to ship. I can hardly wait to feel it - I've heard good things.

If you could print your own fabric, what would it be?

Ok, back to work! Me, not you .. enjoy the browse and happy stitching as always.

xox J Pin It Now!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jekyll & Hyde

The two latest projects in my sewing basket. One started as a class sample, the other because a pile of fabric was screaming at me. Sometimes I wonder about my split personality .. do you have a "style" .. or do you wander out and about and every quilt has a unique look?


Both of these projects are likely to end up on a bed some day ... one for our bedroom, one for the guest room. Which one would you rather sleep under?

more hexies

And both are sewn by hand. The smaller one uses the English Paper Piecing technique, the brights are traditionally hand pieced.

BOTH feed my addiction to hexagons. Off to the sofa for a quiet evening of stitching after *another* rough night of sleep. Geez, when will this end?

You can see more of my addiction to hexagons here. Pin It Now!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

fueling my addiction to hexagons

more hexies by Jovita's Patchwork Atelier
more hexies, a photo by Jovita's Patchwork Atelier on Flickr.
when you have a problem, stopping is harder than you think ... Pin It Now!

Friday, August 5, 2011

An Abundant Day

Yesterday was amazing ... I'm still dragging my butt out of bed in the mornings and getting what I need to get done, but yesterday I felt like Superwoman!
By 11 am I had :
  • bread rising (but it flopped and weighs a brick)
  • eggs were boiling to go into sandwich filling for dinner and Axel's lunch today
  • beets from our local CSA were simmering away
  • zucchini bread was in the oven - you can get my new recipe here - yummmeeee!
  • and I finally refined my recipe for mock apple pie - it turned out really good this time.

1. my A-7, 2. hand-pieced HAL, 3. Zucchini Bread, 4. Blogged A-7 5. Cooked beets 6. "Scandinavian" sandwich filling

Oh, and in the midst of all this, I was WORKING! I wrote this really long, picture-packed blog post about how to piece A-7 block for Contemporary Jane.

But I have to give most the credit to Superman, who came home after his own busy day and cleaned up the kitchen after I had packed up my basket with zucchini bread and pie and ran out the door to cooking club with our local CSA. What fun! I think there were 8 to 10 of us and we used red beet in 6 different recipes.
  • pureed soup - with carrots and onion garnished with cream, chive and a nasturtium
  • baked - with garlic and herbs
  • as a carpaccio with capers
  • pan-fried with peaches
  • raw salad with apples and raisins
  • as a coulee with ginger and raspberries served over ice cream
I think that nearly all the vegetables and herbs came from our field. Fresh dill, anise, thyme, oregano, chives and more! It was fun, our first meeting. I think it's fair to say they were all a tad surprised but intrigued with my baked "vegetable" goodies. I am loving the CSA experience and am hoping to get more involved and cooking up some new recipes for us all. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What is "Reverse" Applique?

I've had a couple of questions about what "reverse" applique means? I thought I'd see if I could come up with a simple explanation for you all.

WHAT is reverse Applique?

The term reverse applique applies when  the desired shape is cut out of the upper layer of fabric and appliqued along the inner edge of this "hole" to reveal the fabric below.

HOW IS IT DIFFERENT from "normal" Applique?

The easiest way for me to paraphrase this is ...
  • "normal" applique is stitched 
    • counter-clockwise around the 
    • outside of the shape which sits 
    • on top of the background.
  • reverse applique is stitched
    • clock-wise around the 
    • inside of the shape which sits 
    • beneath the background.
... of course this is if you are right hand-handed.
If you are left-handed ... "normal" applique is stitched clock-wise and reverse applique is stitched counter-clockwise.
Here's a quick photo-cap:

"normal" vs. reverse applique
Down-load a printer friendly version of this picture tutorial here.

WHY do reverse Applique?

One reason for doing reverse applique instead of "normal" is that the background fabric would show through ... for example if you were appliquing a white snowman or ghost onto a darker background. You would get what is called "shadowing" or "ghosting" around the inside edge of the applique shape. So you could applique the lighter object behind (in reverse) your background.

Before I decided that my black fabric should be on top, I checked if there would be a problem.  See that black showing through in the top picture? Well that means that if I had appliqued a green melon shape on top of the black, you'd not only see a green ghost (in the seam allowance) but also the black showing through the middle.  I could have avoided the black in the middle if I cut my background out from my applique but I *almost* never do that.

Of course there are other practical, dimensional and even fun reasons for doing reverse applique.

For example when you want to add detail without adding another layer on top.  In both cases here the detail in the rose, leaves and star are created using reverse applique.

For my "boy" version of Bunnyhill Designs basket BOM, I am appliqueing a star first and then adding the elements of each month's theme on top.  The outside edge of the star is of course "normal" applique, the inside is done using reverse applique.

Tisket Star JANUARYBOM-5009

So, I'm sure you have more questions, so feel free to ask away and I'll do my best to answer them whether it's more about applique or anything else you're curious about.

Happy stitching!  Jovita Pin It Now!

Monday, August 1, 2011

It's a Wrap

Officially our vacation / staycation is over and Axel went back to work this morning. It was tough, but I crawled myself out of bed, drug my bod downstairs and had breakfast with him. It was nearly noon and two iced coffees later before I woke up enough to climb back upstairs and shower.

What a vacation! I can't remember when I had a better time .. and I know when the last time I was this tired .. but geeez, shouldn't I be rested and raring to go after two weeks of bliss. Not likely! I think this might be the most action packed vacation on record!

Just a bit of as much as I can remember :
  • went exploring 2 days
  • made two bracelet / cuffs 
  • enjoyed a few meals in the garden
  • watched a few movies
  • made buckets of iced coffee
  • finished 3/4 of our bathroom renovation 
  • knit a new shawl
  • got ready for a big garden party
  • built a picket fence

And laughed our silly heads off about the amount of pouring rain we got and were grateful we hadn't tried to go away ... who wants to be stuck in an over-priced hotel room with a bed that's too short for your 6'8" (203cm) husband when it's raining? Not me!!

But best of all during the entire Staycation I enjoyed every minute of watching my husband relax, smile and laugh.

hubby and I

There is more ... lots more ... photos, projects and ideas to share .. but this is as far as I could get it together. Off to grab another mug of iced coffee and hang out in our warm, sunny, tidy garden.

Summer decided to return ... today! Pin It Now!
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