Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Yes, we are alive *and* well ...

Sorry it's been so quiet here ... and I know so many of you are new followers and probably wondering what the heck is going on.

Well the simple truth is there's been a lot going on, too much really and I decided the only way for me to keep my head above water was to keep my head down and concentrate on my family.

I'm sorry.

But I know you all understand.

I've missed you.
I've missed writing.
I've missed creating and sewing.

But we are doing fine .. we're happy and healthy .. just taking one day at a time.

One of Saskia & Arne's godmothers did a photoshoot with us in September to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary (in August) and we finally had time to sit down and pic out our favorites. This is one of mine! 

How perfect is this?? And why didn't we do it sooner?

Sneaky ...

I have been wanting to do anniversary pictures for years and we ( ahem, I ) finally made it happen! There are more .. and I put a few on flickr today after editing them and playing around a bit for just a few minutes. Now we have to agree and decide which ones to frame ... or have printed on canvas. Hehe, it might take us another 15 years to agree on that!

I'm also popping in to remind you there's still time to enter the drawing for my giveaway ... it ends tonight! Pop over here, become a follower (if you aren't already), print out the free pattern and leave a comment to be eligible to win a kit for my Charlotte's Keeping Watch block designed for the Glorious Autumn Block Party.

Glorious Autumn Block Party - Charlotte's Keeping Watch. 2012-10-12
Once In A Blue Moon my Charlotte’s Keeping Watch block from Jovita Goldschmidt  and Quilting Gallery Glorious Autumn Block Party 101612
 Be sure to check out the blocks that have already been made too!  Aren't they fantastic?

I love how individual they are turning out! A plaid barn, a brick barn ... the possibilities are endless.

There's another one here but I'm not able to post a picture. I love her web - she did it by machine!!

In the meantime, Happy Sewing!
I'll be back as soon as I can. xox
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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Charlotte's Keeping Watch

I had so much fun designing this block for Quilting Gallery's Glorious Autumn Block Party! I have lots to tell and show you too ... about my design inspiration and how I made the block. BUT I am having terrible computer problems today. Good thing Charlotte is watching out for me cuz otherwise I'd have blown a gasket by now and thrown my computer out the window.

I will be adding a complete tutorial (with pictures!) 
and more info to this page so see you again soon.

In the meantime, without further ado ... I give you

Charlotte's Keeping Watch

charlotte's web

psst ... be sure to keep reading there's a chance to win something at the end of this post!

And be sure to stop by and check out the rest of the fantastic Glorious Autumn blocks!

I will be giving away 5 kits for the appliqué / embroidery portion of my block.
 (Winners will need to supply their own background and barn door – I used cream and brown.) 

To have a chance at winning one of the kits, be sure you are a follower of my blog 
and leave a comment … telling me your favorite thing about Autumn. 

(Drawing will close October 31st at midnight ... eeeeek ... I hope you win!)

xox Jovita
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Sunday, September 9, 2012


Thirteen years ago today my dad left this place for greener pastures. 

While computer geeks around the world waited for potentially strange things to happen, 
my dad with his fantastic mathematical mind slipped away. 

On the 9th of September, 1999. 

That he called for me in the hours before he went I know. That they never took him home in spite of his wishes still makes me a little mad. That he went so soon, too early, when he did, that will always hurt.

But that he now grows a perpetual pea patch 
where my own two little peas lie between the rows 
and nibble away to their hearts content 

... of this I have no doubt ...

My dad could grow the best peas 
... ever ... 

dad's peapatch

I made this block for My "Jane" quilt yesterday all the while thinking about him.

About the things he taught me and what he left behind. 

A lot. AND Not much. 

What struck me more than anything was how few personal belongings he had. I had never thought about it before. I have and cherish his last gardening hat. He'd had several. They were always straw when one wore out there would be another. I don't know who bought them. They almost always had a hole in the tip at the front where he would lift it repeatedly to wipe his brow. He wore two rings. A "ruby" ring that I coveted, but he made it clear to me that someone else was to get it. In the end it seemed that only I knew this so made his wishes known. I am consoled by having his wedding ring, I wear it almost every day.

All day long I kept thinking, I wish I had a picture of his hands. 

Axel says my hands look like his ...

my hands 9.9.99

And if you're wondering about this picture of my hand in my photostream,
then please read this

There are more blog posts waiting for final a edit ... yes, I still have to share pics of our anniversary weekend. But while my mind is full and my heart overflowing, my concentration is still suffering ... positively lacking as evidenced by the other Jane blocks I tried to make yesterday. You're sure to find booboos here, but I'd like to re-read my other posts before I hit that publish button.

But I'm taking a technology break this weekend ... enjoying myself while Axel works. The weather is fantastic and I have a basket of handwork, tall glass of water and a ball for the dog at my side.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

't lang leven :: "longevity"

We went away last weekend. 
To celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. 
It was spontaneous. 

To try to make a rather long story short. There's a TV programme here in Belgium "Met 4 in Bed" and the premise is that the owners of four B&B's visit each others properties, spend the night and then provide critique.

't lang leven moestuin & guesthouse
our room was the window you see above the vegetable garden
 't lang leven near Ichtegem (Belgium, of course) was featured the first week of August. We fell in love first with the owners, Annie & Luc, and then with their B&B as the week progressed. Their philosophy is simple "enjoy the peace and quiet." Before the program featuring their property was over I had dashed an email asking if the Moestuin "vegetable garden" room was available for the weekend of our anniversary. The next morning came the quick reply that indeed it was and we were booked in for two nights. Two nights, the two of us including breakfast ... for 105€ ... $132. 


We set out Friday afternoon on nearly the hottest day of the year. On the way we dropped Whisper at the kennel we've used several times before but only after a few detours because this silly mom left her collar at home. I had her leash but no collar. Turns out the kennel has plenty to spare so no big deal but it did make us rather late.

Wow, I can not say enough good things about this B&B. We were greeted warmly and offered a glass of chilled white wine with a splash of homemade cassis (a liquor made of red wine and black currants). We chatted for a while about a number of things before Annie showed us to our room. 

No TV, no radio. 

Annie bakes fresh bread daily, Luc is in charge of the bread rolls. Fresh fruit and jams come from their garden. Annie's herb garden is gorgeous and full of bees and butterflies of all kinds. Oh, and that vegetable garden - wow! Omelets from their chickens .. you're getting the picture, right?

Here are just a few pictures we took in their lovely garden over the course of the weekend. There was an exhibition going on "Art and Garden, Summer in Ichtegem" (through August 27th, Fridays through Mondays from 2-6:30pm). The featured artist at 't lang leven is Goedele Soetewey, it is her calligraphy and stone carving you see in some of the photos.

't lang leven

It was wonderful. 

Thank you Annie & Luc for the perfect location to mark our 15th wedding anniversary!

We thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet.

It will be repeated.
We will be back.


Stop back by tomorrow to read more about our weekend adventures ...

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dazed {oh happy daze}

August has been amazing ... fulfilling, happy and promising.

oh happy daze
keep reading ... there's more about this quilt "oh happy daze" at the end ...
It all began with one of two open house days here in the shop ... expectations were surpassed in every possible way! So many friends came, shopped, visited and enjoyed my freshly baked cookies, coffee and tea. The weather cooperated and everyone was able to cozy up in the courtyard for a chatter. It was so nice to see everyone and makes me appreciate this fantastic circle of friends in so many way. Three friends in particular really went out of their way to help make the open house a success ... Edith, Magda and Marleen organized, folded, rolled and priced, cleaned and made coffee. Without them the open house days would not have been nearly as successful.

p.s. I've been officially told off for not showing you more pictures of the inside of the shop. If you're on facebook be sure to check out the pictures that Marleen took.

JPA august 2012

On Saturday we went to pick up Axel's new bike. The first time since he was a child that the poor guy has had a frame that fits his own 6'8" (203cm) frame.  More about that in a few days when I tell you about our fantastic anniversary weekend.

Sunday I cut, sewed and machine quilted the little quilt you see above. I hand quilted some of the quilt too and you can see a close up of that below.

me and AM
Monday I ran around cleaning house ... because company was expected. Oh my gosh! Neighbours from England who now live back in their native Ireland. Man, it's been 12 years ... and they were only staying for one night. Seriously. HOW do you pack 12 years and a night's sleep into 20 hours?? It was a blast and there is no way we're going to wait another 12 years. For one, their girls are growing up way too fast. Niamh was in diapers last time we saw here, but bummed that Aisling couldn't join them - next time!
Once they left I got the shop ready for the 2nd open house day. It was Wednesday, everyone thought I shouldn't expect too many visitors. I agreed and we were all blown out of the water when it turned out to be even busier than the previous Friday. The weather was crappy but that didn't stop the sweetest bunch of ladies from gathering around my kitchen table to stitch, chat, drink coffee and tea and enjoy more of the cookies I had made.

brenda birthday brenda's dress
Thursday morning I stumbled out of bed and made myself as presentable as possible to run to the airport and pick up my friend, Brenda, and her husband, Gary. Woohoo, did we pack a lot into four days! We laughed, cried and laughed until we cried some more. Brenda needed her dress altered to wear to a wedding this weekend in Italy. Ugh .. shifty lace and chinese silk lining, but oh my gosh it turned out so cute! And in exchange she tackled my Mt Rainier pile of ironing and finished it! .. the best part is she still thinks she got the better end of the deal. We had a lovely day in Gent to celebrate her birthday and I bought something rather cool but will tell you about that later too. I dumped them onto the train Monday morning and then came home and went back to bed. I had some serious sleep to catch up on.

Another bleary-eyed morning greeted me on Tuesday as I jumped in the car to head to Germany. Axel's parents were in dire need of a bulky grocery shopping trip so I combined it with an afternoon sewing with my girlfriends from Mülheim. Bummed that I didn't take pictures but you can read more about my last visit here. Their projects always astound me ...

Duty and pleasure were taken care of and rewarded by confirmation from our doctor that we are all clear to start trying to get pregnant again. Oh my ... emotions are trying to flood in all different directions but thankfully the busy month means that I'm distracted and busy enough that I'm still sleeping ok and trying my best not to stress.

This last weekend was the perfect way to do that ... Axel and I went away to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. Trust me, the B&B where we stayed and the weekend itself deserve their very own posts. So check back soon ...

But .. you want to know more about that quilt, right? It sure isn't my "normal" thing is it? NOPE! Not at all .. in fact I made it as a sort of challenge to myself ... soft, blendy colors. What do you think? successful? or not? I think it's either a love or dislike, maybe even indifferent for some people. But if you're interested in the kit or pattern let me know and I'll see what I can do ;) I'm sending it off to a friend today to use as a sample in her store.

The quilt is entirely machine pieced. Then I machine quilted it except for the points of the stars. There I chose to do a "bigger" hand quilting stitch using 3 strands of hand-dyed embroidery thread. I love how that part turned out! I think it gave it a little weight, dimension, definition and some softness to otherwise very straight lines. Check here to read the label. I prefer to write directly on the quilt backing to create a permanent label that can't be changed or removed.

I'm calling the quilt Oh HAPPY DAZE 
to celebrate the amazing month 
this August has turned out to be.

oh happy daze collage

And a word for the wise ... always wash your fabric! No matter what "they" say. My quilt now measures just over 19-1/2" square-ish. Ahem - it should be 20-1/2" but ... guess who was in a hurry and didn't wash her fabrics. Never, NEVER will I do that again. I always wash my fabric with very very few exceptions. But I can tell you that this quilt after quilting and washing it shrunk an entire INCH!! I really had to do a bit of stretching, pulling and blocking to get to to be 19-5/8" when I was done. Straight out of the wash it was much closer to 19-1/4" ... ugh. Just a reminder to me and everyone else who wants to know - WASH your fabrics. They do shrink. Just think if it shrunk 1 inch out of 20 ... if you were making a king size it could potentially shrink up to FIVE inches. What a disappointment if you wanted that quilt to fall to the boxspring line or something.

I'm also linking up to WIP Wednesday .. must celebrate this finisht that was never even on the list!
Argh, my list of WIPs hasn't changed a bit :(
Next week maybe.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
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Friday, August 17, 2012

Dashing By with a Finish!

First and foremost, another quilt is finished!!!

And yes I'll show more but right now I'm dashing around in a daze
trying to pack our bag and a picnic for tonight.

Axel and I are going away for the weekend to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.
Boy, those 15 years have flown by ... I'll tell you more about them later.

More poignantly the last three weeks have flown by. Thank you to those of you who sent a sweet message asking if I was ok 
... it's been so busy that blog writing had to take a back burner.

We had visitors from Ireland and Seattle. We celebrated two Open House days in the shop ... I'm still overwhelmed by the response and will tell you more about it soon.

I'm plugging away at projects but kicked one out in record time to help out a friend. Here's just a quick peak. If I showed you the whole thing I'd have to tell the story and I just don't have time for that so I hope you don't mind.

Here's a peak of the label. Hopefully you can read it.

So what do you include on your labels?
I'd love to read your comments, ideas and suggestions.

oh happy daze - quilt labelled 

Machine Pieced and Quilted,
Hand Quilted by Jovita Goldschmidt
August 2012 * Kalken, Belgium

100% cotton batting * machine wash cool * lay flat to dry * xox JG

The quilt has been revealed in this post.

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Not Working

I try not to work on the weekends.

Easier said than done .. especially when your job is also your hobby 
and what you love to do.

binding ... or NOT!

I'm working ... but it's not "working."

It's the weekend and my general rule is that on the weekends I don't work. 
But, family time permitting, I am allowed to PLAY ... try out new ideas, 
make a mess and so on ...

So remember this project I started in a moment of madness one crazy weekend not so long ago? Well because it was one of those "I really shouldn't be doing this" projects I've not allowed myself to "work" on it during the week. My weeks are full enough of work and the weeks are never long enough to get all my work done ...

But this weekend since Axel was actually working (he's picked up some extra jobs doing translation) so I pulled it out and went to town. I'd love to have it done for my open house this Friday but ... well, I'm going to do my best ... evenings only though because this week really is full of tons of work-related stuff!

So here are some fun pics of this project progressing ... I hope you enjoy!


The initial string was sewn while Axel was in the shower one Saturday morning ... 
I turned the blades watching TV that night. 
On Sunday he took a nap so I sewed like a demon and constructed the plates.

pennants now plates

And went to my neighbour's because he has the most loveliest green grass ever. Piecing the background is a blur ... but the applique happened anywhere I had five minutes. The doctor's waiting room, a few minutes in the evening, waiting for Axel's train to come in.

I finally got around to basting and machine quilting around the dresdens yesterday. Then knotted and pulled in all the pesky tails before I tackled the little pink dots - 12 of them ... some got cut in half or quarters (in the corners).

Summer Dresdens

And since Axel was working today I got to sit in the garden and play! 
Stitching around the dresdens and dots with 3 strands of hand-dyed floss.

summer stitching

So it's clearly a work in progress .. although I'm doing my best to get as much done 
before Friday's open house.

the whole thing!

Kits are in the works.

So I'm "not working" ... haha, which explains the brain fart ... 
when I cut that binding MUCH too narrow. URGH!

You see ... I've been "working" on another secret project that involves a few bias stems ... cut ... yep ... 1" wide. Guess how wide I cut that lovely green goodness up there. Geesh - I guess I see some funky green stems in my future cuz I sure can't let it go to waste!

So tomorrow I'm off ... on a long drive ... to work with Heidi on our collaboration that I haven't really told you about. Soon, I promise. It's a busy week of work ahead!

And stitching! So much to show. So much to share. I hope you can stop by during the OPEN HOUSE!

Yeh, I know ... some of you just can't ... at least not physically 
so I'll share as much as possible virtually. 

Stay tuned!

xox Jovita

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Celebrations of Friendship

One thing we have very been blessed with is friends. 
We've met so many wonderful people. On the internet, via my blog and the shop.

You probably all remember me telling you about me designing a block for the Fat Quarter Star Quilt Along last year. Well we had just found out we were expecting twins so my block celebrated our excitement in twos. There were a whole bunch of quilters following the quilt along and when the twins arrived so many messages of love and support poured in.

Then Konda asked if anyone would like to make blocks out of their scraps from the quilt along. She collected them all in and put together this quilt. It arrived on our doorstep a few days ago but I haven't been able to snag anyone to take a picture of the two of us with it .. so Axel had to model alone.

A Gift of Love

Isn't it amazing?? We love it. It's just the right size on our sofa. Perfect even for a summer's afternoon snuggle. Ask me how I know ... wink.

So I've been missing all the wonderful ladies here in Belgium too ... the shop has pretty much been closed since I went on bedrest in late October .. it makes me sad. They are a fantastic circle of friends who have offered so much support. I've been able to get together with some of them but have only been ready for that recently. In the meantime, the shop sits there ... empty ... of friends ... and full ... of so many beautiful fabrics, threads, wool, packets and more. 

Here's a little collage of the shop I did today ...

shop collage

So today, I finally announced an OPEN HOUSE ... there's so much to get ready. But I am really looking forward to it. Almost everything in the shop will be 20% off. My prices are already quite good by European terms. But this makes them even better. Our sales tax (BTW) is 21% so this nearly covers it. So by the time you convert the $ to € and the yards to meter you're almost at even steven!! 

In the meantime and for the forseeable future the shop will remain closed. We're not giving up on our wish to grow our family and until that future is a little more certain I don't think it's fair to keep opening and closing it. I wrote a little about that here - it's in Nederlands but you're welcome to give it a shot.

I'll do my best to keep you all posted. I am busy tidying the shop with the help of friends. This will also mean I can feature a few packets here and there for sale. And ... hmmm, that Mystery! Yes the packets are cut. A number of the blocks are planned and some sewn .. I'm working on the applique now.

Can you guess which color combination is the mystery in the collage above??

Tonight I will be raising my glass to all my friends all over the world.

Near and far. Whom I've met over the internet and in person. 

Thank you! 

You mean the world to me. Every single one of you!

xox Jovita

p.s. did you notice the two sunflowers to the left of Axel in the picture .. they showed up all on their own ... my two little ones "reminding us to turn our faces to the sun." As we've shared this story we've had reports of several twin sunflowers seeding themselves in friends' gardens too. 

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Monday, July 23, 2012


I don't have Instagram, don't get it, don't need it. 
But I can still show you a pic of our most awesome home-made pizza ever.

homemade pizza

I can also tell you that I am feeling much better about our pretty much crappy staycation - made possible by an unexpected three day weekend.

Summer finally arrived and we're getting things done around the house.

It feels good.

Yes, I know there's no instant happy. But after feeling really crummy post-surgery and entirely blazé during our staycation, things are looking up. And tonight I'm a happy girl.

On Saturday I baked date & nut scones (sorry, no pics but they were also amazing) and there was enough for a sweet little afternoon tea each day. We capped off tonight by enjoying our pizza in the garden - in fact nearly meal was enjoyed in the garden 
- even breakfasts!

I always took my handwork along so managed a bit of stitching while Axel played with the dog. Unfortunately most of what I've been working on is a mystery. Although a few new ideas and blocks were added to this project - Legacy - pieced entirely by hand!


I've been busy painting cabinets for the kitchen and Axel has been doing various odd jobs around the house. This is on top of all the things we accomplished our first week back after the notoriously not-so successful staycation. 
Don't worry, we're not so bummed that we won't try it again - next July.

Oh and we did make it on two outings during our Staycation!

Again to Lille (France) where we stocked up on all kind of French goodies after enjoying a wonderful Moroccan meal for lunch! And I got to visit my favorite yarn shop and a wonderful little quilt shop. 
It's still on of our favorite places to visit. I could take pictures of the windows, chipping paint and of my favorite blues, greens and reds all day.

windows in Lille (France)

We also popped up to the appropriately named Axel (The Netherlands) and had the mussels of my life at "The Arms of Axel" (as in weapons / arms). Honestly these mussels were the best ever! I am still dreaming about those mussels. We also stocked up on Dutch goodies (spices, raisin bread and haha, mexican food ingredients) and then ordered a big huge bike for my amazing 6'8" husband, Axel.

Hehe, I just realized it's Monday ... it feels like Sunday still.

Next weekend will be here before I know it!

And there's more to do ... before friends arrive from Seattle.

We . can . hardly . wait!

It's been 3+ years since I was over there and she's bringing goodies!

More soon ... it's a busy week ahead ...

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Busy Bee

Were you a Busy Bee today?

busy bee 
 If you're curious about what I got up to in the one "spare" hour I had, 
check out our Facebook page.

The photo above was taken this mid-day in our garden

... have you ever looked very closely at a poppy's petal ...

I love how it looks like crumpled up tissue paper.

In fact here's another I took a few years ago in our last garden.

pink poppy
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Monday, July 16, 2012

One Lady's Shoes

How many shoes do you wear?

Hats are one thing .. but how about shoes?

How many different paths do you chase at the same time?

I find one hat can and will fit many situations / celebrations. But shoes ... well not only should they match the outfit but they have to be suitable for the occatsion. Walking, running, hiking, climbing, dancing and you need just the right ones to easily kick off and bury your feet in the sand.

There was a lot of sand during our vacation. 
And not of the beach variety. 
More like it rained buckets and buckets and with two cats, 
a dog and a husband trekking in and out ... 
my house has a fine layer of sand all over it.

Speaking of  "vacation" - our's was "interesting." 
I'll explain more later because right now

I'm  Just Not Sure

... how I feel about our staycation this year
... what I should do next
... what to tell you
... how to prioritize
... what shoes (or hat) I want to wear today
... when the shop will open again
... how I feel about a lot of things

I wanted to come back from this two week break rejuvenated. Ready to reschedule, prioritize and tackle a bunch of things. Instead ... I have yet to make a list. I've jotted down a thing or two but that just results in another 100 tangents.

My mind is racing with creative ideas 
hampered by a list of jobs around the house that need doing.

I want to be "working" ... 
designing and selling ideas and fabric.


The fun little wool applique shoe you see above? It's a new design. Drawn up on a whim during a whirlwind ... Heidi and I are partnering in a quilt plan. It's been fun and crazy. We've gone through sevvvvvvveral drafts. We're not done, but almost I think. Then the fun will really begin. Kits, classes, mysteries abound in the reveal of this project. I hope we've piqued your interest!

In the meantime ...

  • My laundry pile is the size of Mt. Rainier ...
  • The living room alcove needs another coat of paint before Axel can mount the curtain rods ...
  • then I need to sew curtains.
  • The window frame in his office needs a quick rub of varnish so I can mount his blinds.
  • The kitchen floor needs a really good mop ... and then a sealant applied. Read, remove all furniture first! While I'm at it ... repaint two cupboards and buffet to match. This constant rain is not helping.
  • The bathroom we started renovating May 2011? Yep, didn't do a darn thing on it during our staycation ... that darn sinus surgery was a lot more than I bargained for and really knocked me for a loop. 

So I'm whining instead. I really hope you don't mind. 
But I needed a whine. 
I need some encouragement and redirection.

I need to get my ducks in a row. 

I need to be ready.

* And this folks is what happens when there are so many ideas in your head that they come out a complete and terrible mess. Tossed in a bucket, mixed up and dumped out ... sorry about the mess but I'll try to clean it up as we go along. There's so much to show and tell again that I really don't know where to start ... I guess first ... one step at a time. *

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Staycation 2012

gone on holiday
Have you ever gone on Staycation? 

We enjoyed it so much last year that we're doing it again.

Everyone else goes away. 
We stay home. 
The village goes quiet. 
It's wonderful.

I had planned to post during our Staycation but have now decided the healthy thing to do is keep a running list, take photos and jot down ideas and save it all for when I'm back. You see, it wasn't my idea but my "holiday" starts with sinus surgery tomorrow (Monday) morning. I'm not complaining .. it needs to happen and now is really the best time.  It just means there's a lot to pack into the remaining days, so I will be spending as little time at the computer as possible. 

If you're curious about this idea, this is how *our* concept of staycation works.
As a "guide" we rotate a 3-day plan but this is never set in stone.

  • Day 1 we work on a house or garden project together. There are so many to choose from this year ...
  • Day 2 we each do whatever we want .. we might even *choose* to work on the house, but no guilt if I sit and sew in the garden and he does whatever he fancies. 
  • Day 3 we go on an outing together, explore some place new (or old) and enjoy a nice meal. 
We sometimes toss the schedule around and do three days of work in a row, but then we might go out and about for two days after. We just do what works on that day for us. It might be weather depending or one of us is itching to do something of our own, or that bathroom needs finishing. 

Whatever works ... as long as we work a little and remember to relax and play as well.

Here are just a few memories of last year's staycation ...
    Staycation Gourmet
  • Last year's weather sucked which is why we had few outings. But we enjoyed more time at home relaxing ;) We did manage to get out and explore 2 out of 4 planned days ... Terneuzen & Hulst in the Netherlands and Lille (Rijsel), France. 
  • Lille was *a-m-a-z-ing* 
  • had a couple of fantastic meals in the garden on days the sun shone - there weren't too many of those.
  • laughed our silly heads off about the amount of pouring rain we were getting and grateful we hadn't tried to go away ... who wants to be stuck in a hotel when it's raining? not me!!
  • made two bracelet / cuffs and then forgot to wear one for our garden party.
  • watched a few movies and two very different "The Kennedys" series
  • enjoyed every minute of watching my husband relax, smile and laugh
  • figured out how to make iced coffee concentrate - yummm! 
  • sheet-rocked, mudded, sanded, mudded, rinse, repeat ... the bathroom . 3/4 is now primed - still need to tackle the sink corner but it already looks wonderful.
  • started and finished knitting a new shawl - although not convinced it's going to block out big enough - it looks so blinking tiny right now.
  • got ready for a big garden party ... the culmination of our staycation! lots of dishes to pre-wash, table-cloths to iron, decorations, tables, chairs and tents to assemble. not to mention the food and the best brownies and lemon bars I have ever made (very big grin)
  • built a picket fence
oh, how will we top it? Just you wait and see!

The best part about a Staycation is we get to sleep in our own bed every single night. We choose good and simple meals and enjoy them in the luxury of our own garden. The weather - ha, who cares ... we didn't spend hard-earned money to sit in the rain somewhere.

hubby and I

Staycation ... try it, you might like it!

I look forward to seeing you on the other side ...
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Friday, June 29, 2012

Wow, it's Friday Again ...

WAW! After the last couple of weeks I really didn't think I could pack more in.

This week was off to a running start and never really let up.

It was busy, busy, busy ... so ... I'm afraid there aren't too many pictures.
But the list ... the list tells the story. Happy Reading!
  1. finished painting the kitchen
  2. vacuumed and mopped 
  3. then cut out, baked and decorated cookies with two sweet little girls
  4. cleaned the kitchen again!
  5. made salad rolls (twice in one day!) and again today, they were declared delicious ... even if they weren't very pretty ... and I've found the perfect spicy peanut sauce combination, mmmmm.
  6. sat in the sun, got nice and brown while chatting with a friend and stitching away
  7. prepped four Oma Lena blocks to take to the hospital with me on Monday
  8. had two friends over for another day of stitching ... lots of laughter of course
  9. finalized the design for the last two blocks of Nesting
  10. went to the market again for more strawberries for more jam ... last batch turned out pretty good so here's to another try.
  11. also went crazy at Ikea ... more storage for my office, kitchen towels, bathroom cupboard and kitchen doors - all very necessary things
  12. narrowly avoided what could have been a very bad accident - phew, my heart still clops every time I think about it. definitely the emergency stop they train you for!
  13. had another friend over for coffee, then went an sewed the afternoon with her at yet another friends house
  14. may have ruined my favorite pan for making sauce ... not sure if I should tattle ... suffice to say it is glued / melted to a rubber surface after being taken outside to cool (because I had burnt a pan of onions)
  15. slept soundly another 6 out of 7 nights ... in spite of some very warm nights.
  16. felt like i needed a better profile pic so made an attempt at a self portrait .. not too bad but there are definitely room for improvements.
And yes, you counted right, I spent 3 out of 5 days sewing with friends!! It took up a chunk of time but was entirely worth it and I got a lot of stitching, drawing, laughing and bitching done. And yes, my head is rather tired from speaking so much Nederlands ... but I'm coping there too. I am a lucky, luck girl to have so many wonderful friends

Most significantly ... I made it to the end of the pregnancy. Yesterday was the last day of the 40 weeks. It's been a tough ride getting here. But I made it. We made it. The best moments of my entire week has been in creating and stitching the little squares you see above. In all 25 very special memories, wishes and dreams for Saskia and Arne. I can hardly wait for it to be done, but I won't rush it. It's too special.

Our two week July vacation officially began at 5pm tonight. 
Axel doesn't have to work for 16 days! and we plan on enjoying it. 
I'll do my best to pop in and say HI, 
but I'm not going to sweat it if I don't ... I hope you won't either. 

We've got some great plans for our 2nd annual Staycation!! 
And regardless of during or after the fact, 
I'll be back to share the highlights with you.

Oh, and don't freak out about the hospital thing .. it's for sinus surgery. 
Hopefully just a day there. Maybe overnight.
Prayers are welcome but don't worry.
I'm looking forward to this sinus issue being solved.

And don't forget you can join in on, just post write a blog post containing your WAW list. 
Then come back and leave a link in the comment section.
You know I won't be able to stay away from my computer during our vacation so I promise to stop by and be wowed by all the things that you get done in your week ... you know ... the ones that get overlooked, the important things that keeping us from stitching every minute of the day ...

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Plus One, Minus One

... that's what I'd have to tally this week 
if I was keeping count of "on-going" quilt projects.

ever green trees

Starting a new project wasn't exactly intentional, 
but it was absolutely the right thing to do this week. 

Tomorrow is (was?) Saskia & Arne's official 40-week (gestational) due date ... 
I've been watching it slowly approach on the calendar. 

After tomorrow different kind of counting starts ...

I've used some of my nervous energy to create a special piece to honor Saskia & Arne. 

Day 1

Each square represents something that relates to them. Our wishes, dreams and intentions all stitched up in a little 7-1/2" square sampler. Each square (including the t-shirt above) is 1-1/2" square.

You can read more about this project here and see detailed pictures of each square here. Be sure to visit Amy Power's blog Inspire Co. and check out her Happy Go Lucky Stitchalong.

On the finishing side of the column, I put the last stitches into 
the binding of this quilt last Friday and threw another party! 
More pictures and all the details are here.

 periwinkles bound

I'd like to say that Axel's second sock is done .. but it's still waiting for me to turn the heel (again) ...

But TODAY, I drew the last and final block pattern for Nesting!
Now it's time to sit at the computer, scan, edit, write, re-edit and finalize all the patterns. 
This finished quilt design has been a long time in coming but I sure am loving the results.

Nesting - the happy hoek

This week is crazy busy. 
There is at least one major thing on my calendar every single day. 
I'm really not sure why it turned out to be this week. 
But maybe it's for the best 
... one thing is for sure ... 
it will mean for a whopper of a WAW list ... I hope you'll stop back by.

Be sure to stop by Freshly Pieced and see what every one else has been up to ...

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Morning

I am really not sure where the weekend went. But it was perfect ... we worked, we relaxed, we played. The perfect combo, right? Our garden is shaping up and hopefully I can show so major improvements over this soon.

Axel put the last coat of paint on the kitchen ceiling so I'm headed in there to do a deep clean and put things back. Soon .. the lamp, we are actually going to hang a very cool lamp.

Yesterday, I played. I really didn't mean to spend the whole day doing it but it was rather therapeutic. A couple of years ago I saw this and fell in love with it, but I knew I couldn't justify another project. Then I saw more of them and they kept haunting me.

In March, I read that Amy was going to teach a class on-line - for just $10 (introductory price). I was curious about the whole on-line class thing. It's something I would love to try doing. I thought what the heck ... do it!

Day 1

Use it as an opportunity to honor Saskia & Arne. Of course in early March, I couldn't quite see all the Happy things. It's much easier now, it is all I see. I miss them terribly but they have given me so much. I can only be grateful ... I keep saying over and over "we are better people for having known them."

My heart and soul is going into the stitchery.
I am working on it in my quiet time. 
After my work is done when I can sit and relax. 
And reflect.
It is all about them. It is all for them.
It makes me smile!

It makes me happy!

You can see close ups of each of the squares in my flickr stream.

I hope you have a lovely week.
Mine is just starting.
I have quite a list.

But I am ready.

Be sure to check back on Friday to see what I've gotten done.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weekend Stitching

Can you guess what I'm working on?

happy peapod prep

I'll give you a clue. It involves this.

Of course, if you're really curious you can see much more in my flickr stream. 
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Friday, June 22, 2012

Wow - 2 finished quilts!

periwinkles boundHahaha! I am really milking this week for all I can ... it started with a party when I finished the binding on this quilt. And is ending with a party because now this one is done!

It's still hard for me to imagine that I started this quilt 10+ years ago. It hung around (literally) as a quilt top for a very very long time.

Keep reading, I've included details of 9-Patches & Periwinkles are below (size, pattern, inspiration, quilting, etc)

It feels so good to have it done. Plus I'm doing a little test. I'll get on my soapbox about it later. But it involves binding ... Do you like Straight Grain or Bias better? And why ... ? I am very curious. But I have a lot to show and tell on the subject.

So, what else have I been up to?

It's been another WAW week! But this pretty much sums it up.


Honestly, I laughed and cried while making these. In an effort to have us eat "whole" foods I suggested to my husband that I make his much loved ice cream bars. I had a recipe for Chocolate Nutella bars. Wow, he sure came home with a huge jar of nutella in a hurry. The bars turned out really nice. Beautiful ... ha, until I tried dipping them in chocolate. Complete disaster. Oh boy, the things we do for love!

In addition:

  • Made yogurt 3 times, one flopped big time.
  • used a flopped batch of yogurt in the place of water in the doughg resulting in the best home-made pizza we've had in a long time. 
  • I made poppyseed bread. You can find the recipe here, but what another joke! Right after swearing I wouldn't eat baked sweets during the week I make poppyseed bread - which just happens to be one of my all-time favorites ... oh, the mornings I would pop into my favorite coffee stand for a non-fat, triple tall latte and a poppyseed muffin ...
  • ventured out to the goat's farm for the first time in a long while - Axel's been picking up our fresh goat's milk
  • WENT TO THE MARKET - what a lovely way to start a Thursday must do it more often. Strawberries for jam and fresh pineapple (both very cheap).
  • cut, folded, filled and delivered a bunch more seed packets for Saskia & Arne's Garden
  • dropped by our old neighbours for a visit and scored the grandma's strawberry jam recipe, fresh lettuce and lots of eggs ... well, "traded" for poppyseed bread and half my market pineapple because Axel won't eat it.
  • spent way too much money on (mostly knit) fabrics but came home with enough to make Axel another 3 pairs of pajamas plus 3 tshirts and 2 blouses for me
  • cast on Axel's 2nd sock, turned the heel, made a mistake and frogged it. tonight I'll try turning it again.
  • made strawberry jam today
  • moaned about not having anything for lunch in the house and then made a lovely lovely lovely salad with boiled eggs and lettuce from our old neighbours - yummmm! oh yes, we used the same lettuce and boiled eggs last night along with pineapple (from the market), ham, peppered goats cheese (from the farm) and cucumbers. Delish!
  • slept soundly six out of seven nights!
I'm sure the list should be longer - I'm forgetting something but Axel just came home so it's time to hit that publish button. Sorry, I'll drop in later to check for goofy and spelling errors. It HAS been a week. 

Don't forget to tell me about your week!
Oh, and in case you missed it ... 

And there's more ... I know there is. 

9-Patches & Periwinkles

9-patches & periwinkle (JPA)

Blocks7-1/2" finished 9-patches (before washing)
Flowers: inspired by the book Folding Flowers by Rebecca Wat. I constructed mine differently than her instructions but the result is nearly the same. I also hand-painted each piece of fabric before folding it so each of the colored flowers are unique. The center ring of flowers I left white.
Finished Size: approximately 36" x 50-1/4" /  91,5cm x 128cm (after washing)
Fabrics: lots of different ones. I think the back might be a Kona Bay pimatext weight.
Batting: Hobbs 80% cotton / 20% polyester
Quilting: Professionally long-arm machine quilted by Barb Dau of Everett, WA (USA)
Binding: mostly Bias Cut, some Straight Grain - testing to see which wears better 
Time Frame: 2002-2012 - A whopping 10 years! Top pieced: spring 2002, Quilted: Nov 2011, Bound : Jun 2012.

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