Thursday, 29 January 2015
One of the things I miss most about the Netherlands is the way cycling is part of everyday life. In Holland everyone rides everywhere; to work, school, the shops, the gym (without wearing a helmet, too), and therefore you see bikes everywhere. During our holiday I took lots of photos of bicycles - here are my favourite pics. Bicycles are so photogenic, don't you think?
Monday, 26 January 2015
Down Under Quilts 168, our special Australia issue, is now on sale. I am really happy with this issue - we feature Lucy Carroll, whose work I admire a lot, we have some great projects (love that Uluru quilt by Keith Wood) and share quilts from International Quilt Week Yokohama, the Canberra Quilt Show 2014 and A World of Colour.
My project for this issue are these Australia postcards - quick and easy to make, and great for sending to friends overseas!
(photo by photographer and textile artist Jolanta Szymczyk)
The magazine comes with a free fat quarter of this lovely fabric:
I had fun thinking of small projects to make with this fabric. Of course you could also use it in a quilt!
Wednesday, 21 January 2015
We are back from the Netherlands! It was a holiday with ups and downs - one of the ups was this castle we stayed in for Christmas, and another one was the snow (on the 27th of December), which the boys loved! Here is my youngest stepping on a frozen puddle - first time he encountered one of those!
The biggest 'down' was my middle son breaking his arm on Christmas Eve. Here he is looking quite happy with his orange cast (he got this one the day before we left Holland), but of course it wasn't fun when it happened, and with the original cast he couldn't swim, which was a shame as we stayed in a holiday park with a subtropical pool later on during the holiday... And it's still no fun, as the fracture isn't healing correctly so he will have an operation tomorrow to insert a wire :-(
A big 'up' was meeting some new members of our family - the two nieces I made quilts for in the last 2 years, and this little fellow who was born just before we arrived in Holland. He got a quilt too but I can't show it here yet... (it's a project in the March issue of Down Under Quilts)
Another highlight of the trip was my eldest son Hugo (the gymnast) meeting his hero Epke Zonderland, World Champion and Olympic gold medallist on high bar, and watching him at his training:
Apart from being with family and friends I really enjoyed strolling through the old cities and photographing the houses, bicycles etc.
On my photo blog you can find a few series of photos taken in Maastricht, Aachen (Germany) and Zutphen (where the photo above was shot), and also a series of black and white photos made during our visit to the Efteling, a famous Dutch attraction park inspired by fairy tales and fantasy.
We had a two-day stop over in Jakarta, Indonesia, where we visited the old Dutch part of the city (the former Batavia). It was fascinating - some of the buildings and structures the Dutch built are crumbling and rotting away, while others have been restorated and used for new purposes:
More photos of Batavia are here.
In the Netherlands we had a few lovely, quiet days in a holiday house on the Veluwe, in the centre of the country. In our garden squirrels and birds came to enjoy the peanuts. I love robins!
On my husband's birthday we visited the Kroller-Muller Museum which was nearby. It has a large Vincent Van Gogh collection - I really liked this painting called Tree Trunks in the Grass:
Look at that detail!
I also liked this painting by Armando, called Der Zaun:
So much inspiration in this holiday! I may post some more photos in the coming weeks. For now I'll leave you with this one, as I catch up with work, get ready for the new school year that starts next week, prepare for my son's operation tomorrow and let all these impressions settle in my mind :-)
Friday, 26 December 2014
A few months ago a Dutch friend who lives in Sydney asked if I could make a wall hanging for her husband. She had seen my Thinking of Holland quilt and wanted to know if I could do a piece featuring the lighthouse of Haamstede, a place in Holland where her husband has spent many happy days.
I have never visited Haamstede, but I was familiar with the lighthouse, because it used to be on the 250 guilders note, before Holland switched to euros (not that I had that note in my wallet very often...).
I started by making the lighthouse, and then (during the retreat last month) auditioned fabrics for the background - the sky, the sea, the dunes...
After piecing the background together I was ready to quilt the piece, using mainly my favourite Aurifil threads:
I used different quilting patterns for the different layers. I really like the sea and the sky:
This is the back of the quilt:
I am planning a third Thinking of Holland quilt - featuring the Martini Tower in my beloved city of Groningen :-)
Saturday, 13 December 2014
Photography by Colin Bushell
Tomorrow we fly to Indonesia where we will spend two days in Jakarta before we travel on to the Netherlands, to celebrate Christmas with our family - for the first time in seven years! I am so looking forward to this trip.
I made the curvy Christmas table runner with matching placemats for my mother-in-law - it is a project in the current issue of Down Under Quilts (168). The wall hanging on the cover was made by Charlotte Scott from New Zealand - isn't it gorgeous?
I'm taking my laptop with me and will try to blog when we are in the Netherlands. I don't think it will happen before Christmas though, so I would like to wish you all Merry Christmas (or happy holidays, if you prefer). Thanks for reading this blog - I hope you will continue to do so in 2015!
Saturday, 29 November 2014
Last weekend I took part in the BVAC Pop Up Shop at the Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens, together with fellow Queensland Quilters Mel (in photo above), Jane R, Jane W and Chris. It was great fun - I sold quite a few things (mainly pencil rolls and postcards), it was nice and cool in the airconditioned room, and I got a lot of my Christmas shopping done!
We are going home to the Netherlands for Christmas - I had planned to make presents for family and friends, but just didn't have the time, so buying handmade presents is the next best thing, right?
Friday, 14 November 2014
A week ago I was packed and ready to go on a quilting retreat! My friend Rens picked me up and we drove via Gatton (where there was a Christmas craft market) to Edmund Park, near Thornton in the Lockyer Valley. This was the view we had over the Great Dividing Range:
It was the same place as three years ago, again organised by Julie. It did look a bit greener then...
The beautiful jacaranda was in bloom again...
And there were still lots of wallabies:
Here is Rens, working on a quilt for a friend:
Apart from the Dutch post bag that I showed in the previous posting, I worked on three projects:
The blue squares are scraps of my favourite fabrics. There weren't enough for a quilt, so I made a cushion. I love it! (and so do the boys)
Remember the pencil roll I made last year from a kilt I found at the op shop? I gave it to a friend after she told me loved it (yes, if friends or family tell me they love my stuff there is a good chance they end up getting it!). I still had most of the kilt and one more clasp, so I finally made another pencil roll - had been planning that for ages! Think I will keep this one myself :-)
The third project I worked on is a quilt I am making for a friend. I will show it here soon in a separate posting.
Tuesday, 11 November 2014
I am very happy to be able to show you this bag! I finally found the courage to cut up the vintage Dutch post bag that my best friend gave me when we were in Holland in 2012:
(The text above the Dutch tricolour says 'property ptt post' in Dutch, the text below 'post netherlands 84' in French. PTT used to be the postal service in the Netherlands)
I adjusted the Alice Book Bag pattern that I used to make my mail bag(see previous post) to include the Dutch text and the tricolour on the flap, and the French text on the back of the bag:
I made two large exterior pockets (for sunglasses and hand cream) using a piece of coloured fabric:
I lined the bag with... another polka dot fabric!
And created lots of interior pockets - for wallet, keys, mobile phone, business card case etc:
I made the strap from the remaining fabric and broke a few needles trying to attach it to the bag...
I showed it via Skype to my friend (who is living with her family in New Zealand at the moment, we are planning a visit for Easter 2015!). She loved it and asked if I could make one for her as well!
Umm yes... - maybe I can buy another bag when we are in Holland in December...
I made this bag last weekend at a quilting retreat - did I tell you I was going to a retreat? No, I don't think I did... I'll show some photos of the venue and the other projects I worked on in the next posting!