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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