06 October, 2007

oh, brave new world....

Monkicat Giha

Where have I been? Yes, yet again, I've neglected my blog. Not intentionally, life just threw me a boomerang and I went after it....but its' path brought me back eventually...

So, to answer the question, I've been exploring that strange world called Second Life. Some of you may have heard of it, some of you may have already entered it. I had heard of this Second Life through the media - can't remember exactly but on and off for the past year and a half or so. It went in one ear and out the other. Then one day, while thinking about what to do it popped into my head to go check it out. I did, and so my life took a little turn...and so for the past few weeks I haven't done a stitch, haven't looked at my blog. Second Life is a virtual world, a world created by the residents themselves. Everything one sees, can do, and experiences in Second Life has been created and made possible by a human being like you and me. You start off with a generic avatar, learn a few rudimentary basics to get you started and off you go! Even though I officially started the end of June, I didn't really get into it until quite recently. It was so overwhelming at first! Then with help from total strangers (avatars dressed in black capes, fairy wings, or just in jeans) I began to learn. Now I've made friends from all over the world, laughed until my belly ached, and had serious discussions. I've even joined a wonderful groups of quilters! We recently came together from all over the world for a show and tell of our quilts. Good fun that was!

Now, I have a home, first alone, now sharing a bigger one with a real life friend of mine who lives in France. I, or actually, my avatar was found pretty enough to become a model with a modeling agency. While that's going on, I've been looking for more serious work and am most likely to begin in a week or so, and earn money. Yes it's strange, but Second Life, or SL is much like the real world and even though many call it a game, there's so much happening that is real that I've come to realize that this is bigger than I thought! Oh yes, there are people there with the only goal of picking up someone, or creating havok, but SL is so big, I haven't come across any trouble yet.

I haven't made up my mind about SL yet, but for now, I'm enjoying exploring the brave new world, a world that for better or worse is on the threshold of the way we may live and relate in the future. It may not be through the SL platform, it may be evolve into something else, and although I feel strongly about the importance of relating to each other in the physical world, this may be the direction we are going in whether we want to or not. In the meantime, I'm going to move among the natives, like David Attenborough and observe...learn...ssshhhhhh....!

05 October, 2007

SBQ of the Week: October 3, 2007

Suggested by Jennifer

What are your favorite online stitching supply sources?

There are many I like to browse through and some that I have ordered from, all have given me very good service, especially since I live in the Netherlands and the places I order from are primarily in the States. However, since I'm living here, I would like to support as many shops here as I can and this two, by far, have the most items that fall within my interest and, more importantly, great service! The first is the "Handwerkboetiek" (or literally translated, "Handwork Boutique"). They are way in the North of Holland more than 2 hours drive from me, so I do my business with Annemiek on the phone. She's quite knowledgeable, even knew a pattern I was planning on working ONLY by the threads (Au Ver A Soie) that I asked for! I trust her blindly with color choices, and what she has chosen was always perfect. Brilliant.

Then there's "Kunst en Vliegwerk". This shop specializes traditional cross stitch patters, such as quakers, red and white work, reproduction samplers. With Lonneke it's a pleasure to chat, discuss, and her advice is always on target.

These are my favorite stores in Holland, stores that not only carry what I want and need, but always go that little bit further to educate, explain, and enjoy to talk with their customers about our favorite past time. It's just another pleasurable part of the craft...!

24 September, 2007

SBQ of the week: September 6th

Today's SBQ is from Rene

Would you ever stitch one of your BAPs a second time? (This does not
include starting over because of mistakes, bad fabric, etc., rather
stitching something from the first stitch for a second time.)

For those who don't know (I didn't) BAP = "Big Ass Project"

Answer: NO.

No matter how beautiful, fantasic, fun it was to make: No
No matter who asks: friends, family, etc: No

There's so much stuff, wonderful stuff out there, so many patterns, challenges, colors, fabrics, threads...
I probably won't be able to complete the projects that I'd like to make in my life time, wouldn't want to spend not a single second repeating the same project.


06 September, 2007

never thought of them that way...

Heard on APM: The Splendid Table Podcast:

On the subject of Chinese food and chopsticks:

"You do not sew with a fork and I see no reason why you should eat with knitting needles....."

-Miss Piggy

31 August, 2007

red & white inspiration

From my dear friend Marni who surprised me and delighted me with this wonderful birthday gift of red and white fabrics and luscious silk embroidery threads. Are you telling me to get back into the quilting saddle Marni? UFO's, what UFO's? they'll be put on hold yet again while I get stuck into this bundle of joy! Of course, I've been wondering what to make - a wall quilt - but what block? How to incorporate the threads?

I've always had a preference for traditional blocks and old quilts. Their simple design and surprising color combinations I've always found inspiring, and never boring. Narrowing it down to two blocks: the nine-patch and the shoo-fly, I thought of a simple quilt using the deep red for the block, and the light fabric for the background, mixing the background colors up. I may dig into my stash to find some bits of red and white/cream fabric to add to the background. In order to use the threads, I thought of making a cross-stitched border separately stitched on linen. I could stitch one border design, or different ones using elements in the fabric. My only wonder is whether, when sandwiched, the cotton batting would creep through the linen...?

Lot's to think about and muse over....
Any suggestions, ideas, comments, are of course welcome!

28 August, 2007

more beads

This is what my Trollbeads bracelet looks like so far. It's a strange collection of colors, but that's okay, they're bright and cheerful. It'll change as I collect more beads.
It's been on my arm ever since I've had it and even fall asleep with it! During the rare moments no needle is in my hand, I find myself twirling and playing with it, enjoying the secret stories and meanings of the charms that they have for me. My daughter is crazy about hers as well, and it's fun to chose a new bead together. We talk about what each bead means to us and why we chose it, and which ones we'd like and why. It is another fun way to learn about each other...

I'll share with you a little about the beads and what they symbolize. From right to left:

Cells - fascinated by what nature is and how such a basic building block can create such wonder in the world.

Red Fizz - a birthday gift, a color that has always challenged me.

Lucky Dragon - I'm a dragon in the Chinese zodiac. They've always been an important symbol to me.

China - a birthday gift; a wonderful blue that reminds me of the Chinese worker suits I used to wear when there working in the rice fields...

Purple bubble - a spiritual color, a calming color, I imagine the bubbles burst through the surface like when I used to SCUBA.

The Lion - I'm a Leo

Green Rainbow - a fresh and cooling color, reminds me of the rustling leaves when walking through the woods

Three sisters - a birthday gift from Mieke, who considers me a like a little sister.

The Fish Lock - for the name "guppy" or "guppie" in Dutch: my daughter's second nickname.

26 August, 2007


Blurry eyed, I completed the rose last night.
Now to figure out how to wrap the thing....

25 August, 2007

My Fun Loving Criminal

Our Darwin. 13 months young.
A great shot taken by our neighbor, and local canine papparzzo, Piet.
Note his date of arrest...

almost there....

I'll probably need glasses after this, I've been working for hours on this today, just a little more....

19 August, 2007

a birthday gift

I've always wanted one, a charm bracelet, and now I have one.
Here it is, my own Trollbead bracelet.

13 August, 2007

a birthday gift

From one bit of panic to another....

For my friend Mieke, who due to health, cannot see very well. A cross stitcher for many, many moons, she can't see very well now and is limited to stitching on Aida, for she can no longer see properly to work on linen. She can see the little holes in the Aida fabric. Although it's not her favorite medium to work with, she continues to stitch and has discoverd the joys of red and white samplers - claiming it was my "fault" when she saw the sampler I was working on. Once in a while she tells me that she wishes she could work on fine linen like she used to, but is happy she can still practice her art. As it is, she had to give up quilting because she just couldn't see the seam lines to stitch. I'm soon to begin making a baby rib quilt for her - a kit that she bought but can no longer complete.

Anyhow, with this in mind, I decided to make this for her birthday, and hope she will like it.
Mieke is very fond of roses, and when I saw this rose, the decision was easy to make. Will I get it done? I'll be stitching as soon as I finishish posting......

Oh, and forgive the wrinkles and rings - I work with a hoop and don't iron a work until it's done.

From the book: Les Roses de Monique Bonin

ya think?

You are The Sun

Happiness, Content, Joy.

The meanings for the Sun are fairly simple and consistent.

Young, healthy, new, fresh. The brain is working, things that were muddled come clear, everything falls into place, and everything seems to go your way.

The Sun is ruled by the Sun, of course. This is the light that comes after the long dark night, Apollo to the Moon's Diana. A positive card, it promises you your day in the sun. Glory, gain, triumph, pleasure, truth, success. As the moon symbolized inspiration from the unconscious, from dreams, this card symbolizes discoveries made fully consciousness and wide awake. You have an understanding and enjoyment of science and math, beautifully constructed music, carefully reasoned philosophy. It is a card of intellect, clarity of mind, and feelings of youthful energy.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

10 August, 2007


I'm feeling a bit frazzeld - partially my own fault, the reset due to being unwell for several days....
The cross stich friendship sampler group is convening tommorow, and I'm still not done with my contribution! A beautiful sampler, I just had trouble deciding what to do (it mostly consists of letters, with borders or little motifs for spice) and when I finally decided, I became ill, too ill to stitch. So now, still feeling, well, crappy, I'm going to have to spend the entire day stitching with a head filled with what seems to be cotton wool. Not good.
Because some of the ladies of the group like to take a peak at the progress on my red & white sampler, I can't post the round robin samplers I'm working on. That would spoil the surprise, of course. I will however, post at a later date so I can share them with you.

So off I go, needle in hand to try to get this work done on time!
Wish me luck!

07 August, 2007


I've found something new and frivolous to get excited about: Trollbeads.

It all started when considering a gift for my daughter, who's turning sixteeen the 21st this month. I thought it was time for a more "serious" gift, something memorable, meaningful & personal. The classic charm bracelet came to mind, but upon seeing them in the jewelry shops, they looked flimsy, and visions of them breaking off and hooking onto sweaters and things immediately came to mind.

Then my eye caught these beads. Up until that moment I had completely forgotten that a good friend of mine had been given such a bracelet, each family member gifting her with a bead until it was full. I see it always on her arm, and each bead has a personal meaning to her and brings her pleasure every day.

The decision wasn't difficult to make and now, at the shop, the bracelet, and a glass bead waits for the other two silver beads on order. Dear Daughter will be able to create her own bracelet, special only to her. Did check first with and receive the enthousiastic blessing of one of her best friends - didn't want to go through all the trouble only to find it wasn't cool to have such a thing! I'm very excited and hope she'll be as well.

In the meantime, I've fallen in love with these beautful little sculptures too! Since my birthday is two days before, you can probably guess what I would like! A wish list is in the makng....

In case you're wondering what these Trollbeads are, here are some photos.....

red & white sampler

As promised, a complete overview of the sampler. In order to get it all, I had to hand it from a clothes line. Thankfully there's no wind today! When I see it like this, it feels like I haven't got very far....not matter, I'll get there or hope to as long as I keep working on it. Won't be much of a problem since I'm still enjoying every stitch! All the other projects I've been keen to begin will have to wait a bit longer!

05 August, 2007

red & white sampler

It's summer, and there's been lots to do besides sit behind the computer....
Here's another update on the sampler that's comng along slowly but surely....I'll try to post a complete photo soon...

It's summer, and there's been lots to do besides sit behind the computer....
Here's another update on the sampler that's comng along slowly but surely....I'll try to post a complete photo soon...

28 July, 2007

SBQ of the week: july 28th

Today's SBQ was suggested by Dani and is:

Have you ever thought of getting a rider on your household insurance
to properly cover your stash (some of us have quite an extensive
stash that an average household policy wouldn't fully cover) in the
case of some sort of damage to your house that would destroy/ruin
charts, fabrics, floss, etc?

You know, the thought did cross my mind, wether I should insure my stash or not. When I once joked about it to my insurance guy, he said with a straight face that all that stash was insured. A good thing, then.

What does nag a bit in the back of my mind is that I never hope to have such a large stash that I really do need to take out some extra insurance. To me that would me having a wasteful amount of stash, stash that I would probably never be able to use. So now, there's a boycott, and for the first time a very serious boycott on stash that's been succesfully in effect for a year now! If our crafting ancestors could do it, then there's no reason I could as well - make do. The only things I purchase now, is what is needed to complete a project. Frees up money for other things in life and .....I don't have to worry about insurance!

03 July, 2007

SBQ of the week july 3: The Choices We Make

From Renee

Do you consider yourself a “floss miser?”

Not really, but I do have the tendency to want to keep going and fiddle with a tiny piece of thread just because I want to finish a line, or part of a motif. Not wanting to break my rythm, I'll keep going as far as possible.
Since I'm currently only working with DMC thread, I'm not too fussy about being miserly, but am careful not to waste, because DMC is not cheap here in the Netherlands, compared to, say, the U.S.

In the near future I plan on working with silks, and then I would be miserly or at least try to work more efficiently, like using shorter needles (if I can ever find them here!) - silks and hand-dyed threads are much more expensive and there no sense in wasting perfectly good thread, no?

29 June, 2007

SBQ friday june 22: The Choices We Make

This week from Kathryn:

When you start a new work do you look for something small, do you look for another huge project or do you consider your UFOs?

It depends. If I already have a large project up and running, I may consider a small project that I can complete in a short period of time. Then again, if there's something I'm really excited about,or very different from the current project, I'll start that, wether it's large or small.

As far as considering UFO's, well, they're UFO's for a reason, either there's a problem I'm not ready to figure out, or the project hasn't captured my fancy to continue with it....basically any excuse to just leave them be in the closet with the slight feeling of guilt that I've abandoned it, but with the hope of some day coming to it again.

All in all, the choice depends mainly upon whim. A choice made on Monday, may be different on Tuesday. Happily, I don't do this in other aspects of my life...I consider it a luxury to be a bit flip-floppy in my creative life...

27 June, 2007

red & white sampler

Some progress...

the left side of the sampler

the right side of the sampler

I haven't done any stitching for the past three days (gasp!).
It's funny how you can miss doing something when you haven't done it in a while. Sometimes you don't feel like it, sometimes you're just too busy with other things (like I am right now - doing some late spring cleaning in the summer...), sometimes you don't know how to proceed. All of the above count for me, and in the second photo (the one that turned out a bit strange, I don't know why there's a pink color wash over the photo!) I got stuck with the weaving. It didn't seem to come out right! Hopefully this evening I'll be able to sit down and take a look at with a fresh pair of eyes or I'll be lazy and start another motif and come back to it later...

22 June, 2007

Happy Birthday Darwin!

7 weeks

12 months

He's a year old today - I can't believe it's almost been a year since we received our little white bundle who's now grown into a fun-loving bear.

17 June, 2007

a work in progress

I've been meaning to do this for some time now, but never got around to it. See here one the longest works in progress lurking in the closet:

'n Hollandse Schone or "A Dutch Beauty" A.D. 1790

This sampler has special meaning to me and was a catalyst for entering the world of quilting and later a serious re-entry into the world of cross stitch. Out of my mind with back pain and not wanting to keep taking drugs that left me fuzzy headed and, quite frankly worse, I felt driven to work with a needle. I just saw this pattern in the shop, gathered the threads and linen, got some beautiful golden needles and went to work. I can't recall now what made me put down this project, for I still think a stunning sampler, but somehow, this sampler got me into quilting, and 5 years later, to today, back to the little golden needles.

Later a specialist physician explained why I unconsciously abandoned the knitting needle in exchange for the sewing needle, and it all made sense. Sometimes I recall and feel a twinge of guilt for rejecting my knitting (a passion for most my life) so definitively, but as time goes by I feel less of it now that I've come to understand why. One day I may pick up my favorite Addis or Rosewood needles and go digging in my woolen stash, or even get behind my spinning wheel and enjoy the feel of soft Merino between the tips of my fingers, lulled my the soft sshhhh... of the wheel.

So wether or not this sampler will ever be completed, doesn't really matter, it has already served it's purpose in a way and I am very grateful to it for that. Yes, it would be a shame to leave it unfinished, but when the time comes, I'm sure it'll call me to it again, just like it did those 6 year ago...

16 June, 2007

Dogs are fun, dogs are fun, dogs are fun...

How does a dog that is supposed to look like this:

End up looking like this?

This is the third time I'm changing my clothes today...

I love my dog, I love my dog, I love my dog........

14 June, 2007

SBQ of the Week June 14th: Storing Stuff

This week's question is from Jennifer

How do you store your WIPs and other projects that you have kitted up?

I have a plastic envelope-style folder (A4 size) that a couple of centimeters (about an inch) thick. In there I can put my linen, my ring and slip in the pattern. In a separate little box I keep my threads, scissor, needles and such.

For projects that I'm kitting up but haven't started yet, I keep a binder with plastic see-thru sleeves on it. The pattern, fabric and threads are all tucked into the sleeve. This way, when I'm ready for it, I can just grab and go!

Still considering getting one of the larger Yazzi organizers to be able to put more than one project in so when on the go I can easily change between projects.

08 June, 2007

Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week June 6th

This week’s SBQ was suggested by Ish and is:

What has been your most challenging project and why?

Gee, I'm relatively new to this stitching business, so I still have a lot to learn! Although I have "Dutch Beauty" or "Hollandse Schone", a large reproduction sampler lying in the closet for a few years now waiting to be completed, I would still have to say that my current project, the Red & White sampler the most challenging project is. Why? For me it's an exercize in being able to work freely, without planning. Sounds easy, but for so long I've been making things from patterns, to exact specifications, in my knitting and (a bit less) with quilting, I wanted to do something different and try something new.

I hope this will help me with my other crafts, so I can be able to work more spontaneously, less fearful of "getting it right".

So now it's no deciding in advance what I'll stitch next, just finish one motif, and see what fits next, what I feel like. It's fun, freeing, and I won't know what the end product is until it's complete. An exciting prospect for one who is used to already knowing how the story ends.

06 June, 2007

red & white sampler

It's been quite some time since writing for this blog! Life happened and took priority.
But in between those priorities, I did manage to extend my cross stitch library with several good reference books, and work some more on my sampler. The unfinished bit is a flower from a pattern destined for my daughter, but I felt like trying it out, so why not on this sampler? Some of you may recognize my internet "call name" .....

I also took a side track with my quilting friend and tried our hand at making a biscornu. See here the results of the first try. I just grabbed some linen I had in my stash of which I couldn't remember its purpose. Not really my colors, but then again, it was just a dry run to see if I could make this thing and more importantly, liked making it. After a few false starts (that's what happens when you're chatting away ), and fiddling with the corners, it took shape and I got the hang of it. It's a really cool thing to make! Wouldn't be cool as a gigantic poof?

The week after we spent decifering a japanese book and tried our hand at making a needle book! It was a very funny experience trying to figure things out, but two heads being definielty better than one in this case, we finally got it. Thank goodness the diagrams are clear...here's a photo of one I made for a friend. It's not my dream needlebook, but it was a good way to find out what I did and didn't want in a needle book.

Back to the sampler, I had to stop (unwillingly) to work on the Friendship Sampler of the cross stich group I'm in. This one is more classic than the last - Flowers in Pots is the subject. Worked in one color, a beautiful color, DMC #3858. As soon as it's completed, I'll post a photo.

That's it for now, oh, and yes, I've been tagged - have no idea what that is, and what it entails, but now my time is up at the computer, so dear daughter can do her homework. Tommorw I'll make work of this - so whoever tagged me, don't think I"m ignoring you, it's just that life hasn't allowed me to spend much if any time behind this thing! In the meantime, have a crafty day!

30 May, 2007

SBQ of the Week April 31st

From Kathryn :

How many needles do you use during a project? Have you ever loaded up a needle for every color? Do you use a new needle for every project or recycle your favorite needle?

Just one.
I'll keep using the same needle as long as it remains smooth and thank it for it's use when it breaks.

That doesn't mean I don't have quite a stash of needles waiting for their turn....

28 April, 2007

farm mouse

Yesterday, just in time, I completed this little farm mouse to add to the "Farm" theme of this sampler. There was no excuse to do this at the last minute, and I've learned my lesson! Frankly, it's because I've been having so much fun with the red & white sampler, and digging around in all my books and magazines for new motifs. This time, I'll get started right away on the third sampler I'll receive this afternoon.

So let me write a note in the journal, and packs things up ......

have a great weekend!

19 April, 2007

quilt shop trip

We ended up not going. To the quiltshop I mean. My friend An and I decided to stay at my place to stitch and have lunch. I began another motif on my sampler, and she began a red cross stitch pattern that her mother who passed away did not complete and was actually making for her!
An's been working on a project for her work as well - her company recently upgraded their logo, spiffed up the colors and then asked all the employees to purchase, make, efin, contribute artwork to brighten the office. All artwork reamining property of the company. An decided to make a little dresden plate quilt after she had taken a workshop a few months back. She's completed the quilting, it only needs the binding and label. Here it is:

It's new bright and sunny day again today - and I think it's a good idea to spend more of it in the garden. Here in Holland the weather is often very cold, wet, damp, and grey. So you can imagine people complain a lot about the weather. But not only do they complain about bad weather (who doesn't?) they also complain about the good weather: it's too warm, the sun is too bright so their eyes hurt, the dust everywhere, oh, dear now the windows have to be cleaned, will the dykes dry up and not be able to hold the water? All I can say is I'm pleased that for as long as it lasts, I don't have to come home with a wet and muddy dog and go through the paw and belly washing ritual after every walk. But Darwin, being a little pig in dogs' clothing, will find something to get dirty in or dirty with......!

Anyhow, going back to the subject of quilting, I'll post the fabric as soon as I get it to share with you.
Have a wonderful day!

18 April, 2007

red & white sampler

Decided not to make the "I" a "J" after all. It's been a busy week with the good weather, I've been spending more time with Darwin working on his traing excersizes, and spending some time in the garden. Still, I'm most happy just sitting quietly working on this sampler that has now managed to completely have my attention! Usually I work on more than one project at a time, and end up with the feeling nothing really gets done, so working on one motif at a time and finishing it in a day or two gives me a feeling of having completed something. I think I needed that because I didn't get that while working on quilts. Not that I don't have the perseverence or need immediate satisfaction when deciding to work on a project, it's just fun to see something done relatively quickly once in a while.

I still have to stitch on my second frienship sampler and have a week to complete it. The design and colored threads are ready and waiting. But I must admit that I've become very lazy working in just one color and that's the reason I haven't started it yet. It's just so much easier to grab one color and start counting.....

Today my friend and I are stopping by the quilt shop to pick up some fabric. It's the last fabric I promised myself I'd buy for a very, very long time. The fabric closet is getting full and It's almost a shame to see all that beautful stash just sitting there waiting to become something, so this batch of beautiful baticks will be the last I'll get. Then the only trips I'll take will be to get batting or backing or anything else I absolutely need to complete a project.
Yes, you say, I've heard that before! But this time, I'm serious!

Adding to my book collection however, is not included in this resolution....(smile).....

14 April, 2007

red & white sampler

Slowly progressing on the sampler: the letter "I" was supposed to be a "J", but somehow I didn't calculate it properly and were I to continue, the hook of the J would've hit the letter F. So now I'm soncidering to leave it that way, or to elongate the I and still making it a J. In the meantime, I found another motive to make while I ruminate.

It's been unseasonable warm here in Holland, and with the weather comes working in the garden, spring cleaning, and all that stuff, so I haven't been working on the sampler as much as I would have liked to. That, plus the guilt feeling creeping up on me about reorganizing my clothes closet (can't find anything!) and tyding up the sewing room and doing some quilting haven't helped much. I haven't started my second frienship sampler either!
Ever have that feeling your running after yourself? Well, I'm in that funk now and even though I know it's just a matter of getting started, it seems like climbing Mount Everest.

Anyhow, it's time to walk Darwin who's still wet after washing him down after he decided to take a dip in a bog after hunting training. Wonderful think black oily stuff! Yuck! The smell of "wet dog" isn't any better.....Hopefully he'll dry a bit more during our walk.....

10 April, 2007

SBQ of the week 5 April

How do you decide which stitching blogs are worth repeat and/or regular viewings? Are there certain things you look for in particular? Are there things you wish there were more of? Less of? Is your blog a good example of what you like to read?

Hmm, well, I like blogs that are clean and simple. Blogs with whole rows of shiny blinky things a bit tiresome and distracting. At the moment the blogs I'm primarily interested in are those that have something to do with my crafts, but I enjoy visiting blogs that do something completely different! There is just so much great stuff people are doing and making out there!

Okay, so I like blogs that are clean and simple, where the information is easy to find, and clearly written. Good photos are a plus, but hey, not everyone is an Ansel Adams (I'm certainly not!).

Things I wish there were more of? Well, I'm not a computer wizz and certainly have so much more to learn about the world of blogs and what you can do with them tecnically and such, but more information on how to work with your blog in lay-men's terms would be nice - I mean I don't even know how to get a link into my post!

Less of? That smoldering feeling of pressure that one has to create such a wonderful blog. I don't think my blog is all that great, I basically suffer from a sort of "blog fright", a stage fright for blogs. It's very difficuly to write to an audience without a face (so to speak - as I have seen some wonderful faces out there!) I'm still feeling my way around this media, getting used to this. I guess it would be nice to get comments and learn from them.

Is my blog a good example of what you like to read? I don't know. It's hard to be an objective critic of one's own blog, but I do belive there's lots of room for improvement!

05 April, 2007

Nicole's Quilt

Nicole's Quilt, originally uploaded by Monkicat.

Nicole decided to come by today: it's a bit hectic with her little one Mees and Darwin flitting about us, but hey, ....Ceara just came home from having Easter breakfast at school, so she can take over for a bit....

Here a photo of Nicole's quilt that she has been working on. I decided to post this so she can also see how easy it is to take a shot and get it on the internet and on a blog...yes, soon we'll have another blogger in our midst!

30 March, 2007

red & white sampler

another letter done...

SBQ of the week 29 March

Do you have a system for organizing freebie charts in your stash? If so, what is it? Do you print out copies of all of the freebies that you find on the web (that you think you might actually stitch) or do you maintain electronic copies of them until you are ready to stitch them?

For freebies I use the same system that I use for purchased patterns: those that I do plan to use in the immediate future I print out and keep in a binder so I can find them easily. For the patterns I find inspiring or think to use at a much later date, if at all, (you never know!) I keep them on file on the computer. Simple!

22 March, 2007


Darwin, originally uploaded by Monkicat.

This shot was taken and kindly given to me by my neighbor, Piet.

8 months and although it doesn't look like it, he's still a pup!
Our Darwin is in full puberty and trying to extend his boundaries. That includes, not coming when called (unless we hide behind trees and he thinks he's lost!) or running way out ahead of us! Commands, well, he does them, but now you'll have to wait half a minute before he does!
The dog owners I come across in the park all assure me this phase will pass...hmmm,...at the moment it's hard to imagine.

Soon we'll be starting the second half of hunting training ( no, we're not going to hunt with this ball of love, just love to see him do what he was bred to do, plus he loves it! ) so hopefully he'll be better behaved. Besides, there's nothing Darwin loves more than chase hares & rabbits (who laugh and even slow down for him to catch up!) falling leaves and carrying around fallen branches. The dirtier he can get, the worse the weather is, the more fun! Not for us of course....

Still, he's beautiful, loving, affectionate, funny, and a wonderful companion and I can't imagine how life would be without him! He's lying at, no, on my feet now, snoozing away after sharing an apple. The sun has finally come out, so soon we'll be out in the park sharing new adventures large and small...

21 March, 2007

red & white sampler

I've been quiet for a while, didn't know really what to talk about and have been busy stitching away, and learning more and more about cross stich by doing and reading history and reference books (that was a long sentence, wasn't it?).
I finally got round to talking a photo of my red & white sampler. It's quite large, so difficult to get a good photo, that's why it's folded. Excuse the wrinkles - no sense in ironing it, that'll come when it's done and ready for framing.

This is such a fun project to do!
It's really relaxing to work with one color, and the hardest thing of all is to decide wich figure or letter to do next and where. after that, it's just a matter of counting...

15 March, 2007

SBQ of the week 15 March

If you had $500 to spend on stitching-related items, what would you buy?

Hmmm,....lots of patterns, beautiful hand dyed silk threads....wonderful frames to frame my work in.....

Wait, let me be sensible here: I think I would get a beautiful stitching frame and a good chair! If there was anything left over, then I'd get the silk thread, antique linnens, shaker sewing box, chatelaine, .....

...hold on... think I ran out of money already......

09 March, 2007

SBQ of the week

Do you use your needle, a seam ripper, or something else when you have to frog stitches? Why do you use the method that you do?

Late again for this question, but here is my answer:

Just the other day I had to frog a letter on my red & white sampler. I began using my needle, lifting the thread slowly and carefully, but then got stuck - I couldn't figure out where the next stitch came from, so I got out my fine little scissor and began snipping the stitches and picking out the cut threads. A bit like surgery it was, but I was very patient and careful not to cut the linen!

I prefer using the needle 'cause that is what I have in hand and find it's a safer tool. But if it's a tangled mess in the back and I can't track my line of stitching, I'll cut. I have seen interesting gadgets on internet that apparently snip and cut wrongly placed stitches,and pick out the bits, but would have to do some more looking into it to see if I would want to try any of those. Mind you, for now I'm only working with one color. My strategy would probably change if there were many colors in the piece!

Basically, I try to use the simplest tool or solution for that situation at that moment, and then work from there. Hey, whatever works, right?

28 February, 2007

red & white sampler

Well, it's starting to look like something now, and finally it's beginning to get into my fingers, this cross stitching.
Oh, I still hesitate whether to work vertically or horizontally, do I jump accross three, or just cut the thread and start neatly over? There's still a lot to learn about using proper technique, and although I own some beautiful books, none of them really go into tecniques at all. But that's what this sampler is about anyway. Working freely, having fun gathering fun patterns, and learning all along the way.
It's really addicting......

I've already planned to make a wonderful sampler for my daughter's 16th birthday, and the thought of tackling the Houses of Hawk Run Hollow is tempting me very gently.....why can't I just settle for a small project? Why do those dramatic samplers always get me? Guess that's something to consider as I pick up the needle again and with a hot cup of tea listen to the rainstorm outside....

WIP wednesday...

Lately, I've been more occupied with my stitching than with my quilting (Gasp!).
That doesn't mean it has fallen completely by the wayside. I've been helping to make log cabing blocks (I can't seem to escape these fascinating little blocks!) for a friend using reproduction and Japanese fabrics. I think they're going to create a wonderful old-world quilt! I love the musty-dusty colors!
To save time, we're working these on the machine. Just as well, my pinky (with a torn ligament) is still splinted to my ring finger, making delicate sewing a bit trickier, and typing very tedious!

19 February, 2007

red & white sampler

I begun working on an ambitious project: a red and white sampler. The idea is to create the sampler from letters, symbols and whatever other motifs and just freely stitch them onto 14 threads/cm linen about 100cm x 80cm. Now that I've begun, it seems I'll need a pretty long breath to be able to see this to completion!

It's been fun digging through my Marie Claire idees magazines and French stitchery books to find letters and motifs; these stylized flowers are being worked in one of the corners of the sampler.

Further more, I've come to the conclusion that working on such fine linen is Monks' work! By comparison, quilting goes quite a bit faster! It just seems that so little gets done after stitching for an hour. For me, this pattern is not the easiest to follow so I still have to color in what I've stitched so I can more easily keep track of where I can continue. As I gain more experience it won't be necessary to do that anymore...

The wonderful thing about it is that the stitching is very calming, and once I get started, it's hard to stop. I always want to finish that last row, that last flower - very addicting. It just seems to pull me in and everything around me dissapears and all that remains is me and the needle making that next stitch.

16 February, 2007

Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week

Do you like to buy "chartpacks" that include charms, buttons, and/or beads or do you prefer to gather all materials yourself?

I only own one chartpack that has all the bottons included. Since I've just begun stitching again, I'm really not all that up on all the latest, and the charts that I do have are from purchases made a few years back, so for now, let's just say I'd buy it only if I found all the additions perfect fot that project.

I'm a fan of the classics: beautiful linens and thread!

14 February, 2007

another first....

Well, that was that! My first border on my first sampler "round robin" is completed! My contribution are the little green squirrles. It was a surprisingly difficult theme, so difficult to find oak leaves, acorns, or anything that would fit in this border sampler! A learning experience it was too. It's been many, many moons since I've done cross stitch, so it took a bit of fumbling and fiddling to get used to the way Alie's stitches crossed, and deciding whether I would work horizontally or vertically. The back is not the way I'd like it to look, but the front is neat.

Now that I've got that out of the way, I can begin working on my red & white sampler! Yippee!...or so I thought....
I'm helping Nicole (our stitch leader) make a log cabing quilt! Yes, another one! This time a true scrap log cabin made up of many, many reproduciton fabrics. I've showed her how and she's already made a few blocks and they are wonderful.
It's a simple block, but the log cabin never ceases to surprise me! As soon as I've made a few I'll post.

Well, back to the sewing machine. It's a drizzling, grey cold & day here in Holland. Perfect for making beautfiul things.

09 February, 2007

it was there, then it was gone.....

With a "weather alarm" announced for 5-10cm of snow, Holland braced itself for the stuff yesterday.
Of course, we had to take advantage of it, because it wouldn't last very long - as it turned out, it was gone this morning, as if it were never there.

Naturally, we had to let Darwin (now 7 months old) go out and spend as much time in the park to experience and enjoy his first snow! He loved it, and was a happy pup! It was certainly worth the cold feet to watch him have so much fun!

03 February, 2007

red & white sampler

a free sampler, originally uploaded by Monkicat.

As a first-time member of a friendship sampler "round robin", and having studied some newly acquired books on the subject, I've decided to give it a go and make my own classic red & white sampler.

The idea is not to work from a pattern, but to just start and see where it takes me. Lots of letters, borders and symbols will create a lively stitched "patchwork". Or so I hope....

No, I haven't abandoned my patchwork! Just taking a bit of a break to learn something new. Doing this sort of things inspires me in ways I only realize when working on something completely unrelated.

It's really cool..

..well, wouldn't you know?...and he is a Cancer!

Your True Love Is a Cancer

Why you'll love a Cancer:

Cancer's loyal and sincere heart makes your own sensitive heart melt.
Caring and devoted, a Cancer will take the lead in pursuing you - and not give up!

Why a Cancer will love you:

You're laid back enough to deal with Cancer's little mood swings and freak-outs.
A fellow homebody, you know how make Cancer comfortable and at home with you.


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