Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Cards for Inspiration

These cards are from last year. They where so much fun to make! I just love it how the fabrics pop-up in these. I glued the fabric on the cards and add some beads with thread and needle. For more scrap card inspiration here are some nice ones from Rachel from Stitched in Color. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Blog of the Month - Plain and Joyful living

Plain and Joyful living follows the life of a family who has chosen to live more simple life. In the mist of the holiday season I love to follow Tonya's simple ways to celebrate. You don't need to have a lot of resources to celebrate the holidays. If you do, enjoy using them, if you don't, get creative.

Happy holiday season to you all! 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Yellow Blue and Black Christmas Embroidery

Some less wonky embroidery I have been working on. If you want to learn some new tricks I warmly recommend Mary Corbet's Needle'n thread -website. It has really great video tutorials, short and clear! 
Christmas embroidery 1

Christmas embroidery 2

Christmas embroidery 3

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

For the Wonky Season

Only 44 days to Christmas. I love Christmas and I love to prepare for it. But like so many of us I sometimes get all stress about it as well. Mostly because I start to reach for perfection. Everything should be handmade, organic, beautiful and delicious. Perfect perfect perfect! And I kind of forget about why I love it. 

I love all the love ones being together, I love the giving and I love the peace and quiet after the laughter and talk. And I even love the darkness that gives the candles a magical glow. I'm from the very north and it gets very dark during Christmas time (except if you from Finland I'm from the shout. Everything is relative;). It is a mystical time for me. 

Yesterday I was doing some embroidery the holidays in mind and it got all wonky and wrong. First came the frustration and little after the realisation: let it be wonky. There is no harm in wonky. Even better, let this be a wonky Christmas! No strive for perfection this year but only love, peace and wonkyness!

Here you can read more about the power of wonky by the talented Tara Swiger. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


From this

To this
Love October block
And this

Love October block
I like the fabrics more mixed together. What do you think? They are both Kaffe Fasset.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blog of the Month - A Way to Garden

So many nice blogs out there and I feel like sharing. It is time for blog of the month!

The writer of the blog A Way to GardenMargaret Roach, describes her blog as: horticultural how-to and “woo-woo.” The blog includes lots and lots of great information about gardening written in a friendly authentic way. It is packed with information and laughter. A wonderful combination, don't you think? I'm only starting to explore all the knowledge it contains and just signed up for her newsletter. I'm very exited to see how following this blog will influence my gardening. 

P.S. Margaret left her job as editorial director of "Martha Stewart Living" at age of 54 to live more creative life. She is publishing a book about her journey in February 2011. Too late for Christmas but my birthday coming up on February the timing might be just perfect for me;)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Work in Progress

started my second quilting course three weeks ago. The first quilt we are making is the Square Dance. I had a hard time choosing the fabrics and ended up buying a ready cut package from the quilt shop. The colours are different than what I usually would buy but I like them. And I think they are perfect for the person I'm planning to give the quilt. Perfect Christmas present don't you think?
Did not bother to iron it for the pictures. Either I'm lazy or try to keep it real.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Radical (the book) Homemaker (me)

After reading about the book Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes in several different blogs I finally just had to have it. I was hesitating a bit because of the word 'Radical' which so often leads to 'alienating' I feel. And the book is a quite black and white, us and them, which I don't like. But there is lot in it that is just empowering. 

This is how the publisher describes the book: 
Radical Homemakers uncovers a hidden revolution quietly taking hold across the United States.  It is the story of pioneering men and women who are redefining feminism and the good life by adhering to simple principles of ecological sustainability, social justice, community engagement and family well-being.  (for more see source

The book is divided in two parts, the why and the how. The twenty-year-old me would be in shock, but I don't care about the why. Not in the way Hays is exploring it, the academic way. I have studied feminism and all that and I just think I'm done with it. It doesn't interest me any more.  

But the how! So powerful! 

ME, the not-so-radical HOMEMAKER
When I was a serious worried little girl I decided that I needed to save the planet. So that would be what I would do when I grow up. When I got older the task ahead started to look a bit too challenging and alienating (radical activism and all that stuff was not for me). Finally the cynicism of the university world killed the last sparkles and I was left wonder career wise. Otherwise life was getting sweeter by the day. 

About a year ago I decided I need to do something about my career and now we get back to the Radical Homemakers and some of my favourite pieces of it. 

Because it is not about the career. It is about identifying my true source of contentment (page 46). It is about the discovery that a home-centered life is the way for me to feel connected (page 121). 

The book put so many pieces of the puzzle into its place. To name few, I realised that community-building is a skill that can be learned and while establishing limits may be necessary, passing judgement is not (yay!). That there is a method how to be self-learner:  "think independently, embrace general knowledge, work with what you have, make mistakes, find your own teachers and muster the courage to start from where you are" (p. 215). 

Changing or adjusting your lifestyle can be overwhelming,  but this powerful book gives the key to it:
"...a key to keeping pace with the lifestyle is to limit the amount of time spent doing it" (p. 224). Take baby  steps and be okay with that (p. 226). Develop a tolerance for imperfection and have adequate rest (p. 228-229).  

To come back to my career, according to Hayes "Those homemakers who seemed most satisfied...entered a 'rebuilding face'. In this period they took on genuine creative challenges tended toward engagement with their communities" (p. 47). And that is what my company is all about. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ahoy You All - the Store is Open!

My store is open! Please visit or It is the same thing,  I just can not decide which domain to use. And should be the same thing as well but is not working yet. 

This is just a small start to something bigger. New products will be added regularly. If there is anything you think would be perfect for the store and should be added, please let me know! Figuring out the feel and look of the store and most importantly the items sold is a constant work in progress. It is also a lot of fun. I feel like an explorer on an expedition to find new species and territories (much more fun than figuring out what is my "market" or  who are my "target customers").

Wish me luck on this new voyage I'm undertaking! 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blog of the Month - Kalla Design

Textile design was my first love long before sewing. I have learned to appreciate all the cuteness out there but what I really love are the modern simple designs. Like the ones Hitomi Kimura from Kalla Design makes.  For someone like me who dreams of designing my own fabric her blog is a real treasure. She is very generous in sharing her designing process not so much in words but with pictures! I just love to see how designers work. 

I also should mention that she has a pattern that carries my name, here in my favourite colour. Can you guess what Mari means in Japanese? 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Paper Piecing Ruth B. McDowell Style

Love tree block II

I purchased Ruth B. MacDowells's Piecing workshop some time ago and finally had the chance to try it. So much fun! The book is just great, so easy to follow and covers every question I had along the way. One thing that I did differently was that I used paper glue and tracing paper instead of freezer paper. I have understood that in North America freezer paper is widely available but at least in Holland we do not have it (please correct me if I'm wrong).

First I sketched the design right on the piecing paper. Luckily for me I realised on time that since I wanted to make two blocks I had to find a way to save the design before I cut it. So I scanned the design, which I thought was very clever of me;) Then I just cut it, glued it and pieced it together as described in the book and it worked! I just could not believe it. A year ago I thought sewing a straight seam was a challenge and now I can do this. So exiting! 

I will definitely be using this method again. Next time I will however pay more attention to the intersecting seams when making the design. Some of them turned out to be very bulky. Also the back of the block looks like a mess (not because of the technique used I have to point out..). Of course nobody will usually see the back side, but these ones were sent to the quilter of do.Good Stitches charity bee so I'm feeling a bit embarrassed about it :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Guilt-free Gardening

I love to garden and I love to post pictures of my lovely garden. When I take close-ups of the beans, sunflowers, roses and fig trees it really looks like they are just small glimpses of something much bigger. In reality though that is kind of it. The roses are next to the sunflower that is next to the fig tree that is next to the raspberry that is next to the blackberry and then we reached the fence. Apart from the roses there is only one of each. My kitchen garden is only three and a half square meters (37 square feet). In its whole the garden is about 7m x 13m.

When we bought the house I was creating high standards for what it should be like and got completely stuck since perfection was not achievable. I often suffer from this form of perfectionism - what is the point if it won't be perfect? Luckily for me my husband just took the shovel one day and created the kitchen garden in half an hour. I bought some seeds, put them in the grown and waited. After some time the seeds started to grow, I got  all exited and then the snails ate half of the seedlings. That is it, I'll give up...

Somehow I managed to keep going and after three years I have really learned to enjoy it and make best of it without guilt. You loose some you get some and there always will be new seasons to try again. Last year I planted the tomatoes way too late, but luckily the autumn was warm and we got enough green tomatoes to make one small portion of green tomato jam that we ate with goat cheese and bread. This year I accidentally pull out the tomatoes thinking it was weed. 

At this very moment only two small squashes are growing together with some silver beet. I'm hoping for squash blossoms to stuff and fry, will see if we get to that. I know that if I just had planned a little better ahead I could be harvesting my own green cabbage, Brussels sprout and more, but I didn't. Will try again next year. 

In my dreams I am living like this Farmama. The truth is that even if I would have more land, I'm just not there yet, not even close. I hope that one day I am able to be more self sufficient but for now I will celebrate the small victories and share them with you :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Garden update

My very first homegrown fig! In the Netherlands! Figs don't grow on trees around here, except now they do:) And some more coming although I'm a bit worried it will get too cold for them to ripen. 


My sweet little three-year-old girl asked for a cup on her way out and came back with this:
Yellow raspberries and blackberries
Last but not least, the sunflower has finally opened 
So much joy from our little garden! 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Blog of the Month - Stitched in Color

So many nice blogs out there and I feel like sharing. It is time for blog of the month!
Ooops! Is it still August somewhere in the world? Well lets just pretend that it is, OK? 

Are you new to sewing? I have a blog just for you! Rachel started to sew only about a year ago (!) and it is so amazing to see what she has accomplished. Browsing through her flickr stream is a great way to get yourself motivated. The series Stitch Your Life is full of great sewing tips including how to get started. Next to fabulous finished projects you also get to read about the process which I love. Stitch in Color is a joy to read and a constant source of inspiration and information

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Baby sleep sack and unfinished projects

I would love to give an update on these projects but nope, nothing to tell. No progress what so ever.  But I did make this: 
The pattern is from Handmade Beginnings and the fabrics on the patchwork are almost the same as in the book, only a different colourway. The only thing I improvised was the fabric of the body that is jersey and not flannel like in the book. I was little bit nervous about sewing jersey and voile together but it worked out fine. I used small zigzag stitch. The only thing I regret is using dark fabric under the patchwork, it makes the colours of the voile a bit dull. I should have used white fabric for more vibrant result. I also cut the patchwork upside down but decided not to be upset about that:)  

I have been thinking why did I finished this project and not the other two? 
Some things specific to this project:
  • it is for a baby and they grow fast! If not finished in time the small baby (who should be born any days now!) would never get a change to wear it
  • it was a gift
More of a general nature
  • since I was following a pattern I knew what I would get in the end. When I'm designing something myself I often have a vague idea that I don't think through before I start. I'm now thinking that is a mistake. 

By nature I want to create my own things but I have noticed that projects like this are essential to keep me going. I learn a lot and it gives me so much joy to see that I actually managed to do it! 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Anna Maria Horner: Innocent Crush Sneak Peak

Anna Maria Horner: Innocent Crush Sneak Peak

Sorry if I got your readers all confused yesterday testing the "link to this blog" function. Anna Maria offered a sneak preview to her new fabric line and I just love it! I was reading my google reader and saw the picture and some how thought I was reading another blog. I looked at it and thought "really nice but someone is copying Anna Maria's style here.." And of course it was her and I can't wait to see the rest! 

It feels kind of nice and weird to be this exited about something. I thought this kind of excitement was only reserved for teenage girl. I don´t even need to own it all, I´m just happy it exist and is out there (soon). Looking forward to seeing all the creations people will make of it! That´s the beauty of this fabric business - the endless circle of turning something beautiful into something new and beautiful. 

More blocks for charity - Aqua and Red

Aqua and Red
Here are my first blocks for charity bee do.Good. organized by Stitched in Color. The assignment was to make two blocks in aqua and red and no wonky lines. After some surfing around I decided this is the perfect opportunity to practice HST-blocks using this method. The cutting and sewing was fun and easy but before I got to do that I needed to figure out the measurements. Oh boy was that a challenge. 

Participating in charity is truly a great way to learn. Whit this particular project there where some confusion about the block size and because of that I know now that when reading a block pattern the finished size means the size after the blocks have been pieced together. So the block itself is 1/2" larger than that (because of the seam allowance). Very good thing to know. That meant that I needed to adjust my pattern with 1/2". Being a European I'm not used to working with inches since we use the metric system. We do learn at school about fractions but after that we never need to use them. Never. Except if we get crazy about patchwork that is. So you can imagine I was completely lost. It took a nuclear physicist (my husband) to get the measurements right. We had a fun evening together me trying to explain what I wanted to do and he calculating and explaining it back to me. A little bit like playing boardgames but more fun since there where no losers (I'm a terrible looser).  

The experience got me curious about how do you Americans do it? If you have some tricks I would love to hear about them!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blog of the Month - A Hundred Billion Stars

So many nice blogs out there and I feel like sharing. It is time for blog of the month!

I found A Hundred Billion Stars quite recently through Rainbow Around the Block group on flickr. I just started to click through her photostream and was hypnotized by the vivid colours and the amazing designs. The blog offers tutorials to some very unique fabrics projects like
 this picture holder or this fabric decorated tray. Besides crafting, the topics include book reviews, some fascinating writings on science and beautiful photos of various objects from amazing desserts to natureA Hundred Billion Stars is a visual feast for the eye that has opened a new world to me what it comes to combining  colours and shapes. Melissa P behind the blog is one very talented woman! 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Prosperity Tree

prosperity tree
Finally I have something to share that is all made by me (design and all). Please meet the Prosperity Tree. This is how Wikipedia defines the word prosperity: Prosperity is the state of flourishing, thriving, success, or good fortune. [1] Prosperity often encompasses wealth but also includes others factors which are independent of wealth to varying degrees, such as happiness and health. The tree symbolizes all of these things to me.

I embroidered the tree on organic single jersey cotton using different kinds of threads that I had in hand; 6 strand stranded thread split in three, perle no. 8 (that was actually a bit too thick) and thread called multi work. All except the multi work are from House of Embroidery. I also combined one strand of blue multi work with 2 strands of orange thread from House of Embroidery.

I didn't draw any stitch line or pattern, I just started tembroider and followed my instincts. Most of it is done by back stitch. I had borrowed books from the library to have some stitch instructions at hand, but did not use them this time. 

I  just love crafting. To learn a technique and enjoy the learning and doing you can pick up a pattern and follow the instructions. Then if you wish to create something of your own  you have a set of skills to work with. I used to paint and draw and I always had this pressure on me that I should not only paint but also create some fantastic piece of art. Craft has freed me from that pressure. Speaking of drawing, I can't believe there was a time when I thought it is easier than sewing! 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Beans part III

Yesterday it was the time! The beans are all full grown. Love the colours, too bad that they both turn green cooked.



Here my biggest garden enemy got to the picture as well, the small white flower. She is trying to take over the whole garden. Isn't she cute though?  


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Piecing it together and why I love it

Once upon a time in 2009 I:
wanted to design my own fabric
- bought some scraps from Noeks for inspiration
- used the scraps to make a blanket to my daughter's doll
- bought magazine called Quilt Mania
- was blown away with all the beauty

I believe this is how I discovered and fell in love with patchwork and quilting. But I could be wrong since it is kind of hard to recall how this all started. Anyhow, I caught the quilting fever from somewhere about a year ago and have been hooked ever since. In 2010 I followed my first quilting course and in September I will start the next one.

Why do I love it?
The fabric, beautiful beautiful fabrics! I just love them and they give me so much energy. Then breaking them apart and combining back together. Sitting and cutting, measuring, thinking, making mistakes, starting over. Finally having all the pieces and being ready for sewing. Seeing the little pieces slowly but steadily becoming a whole new thing. 

I also love it that patchwork and quilting are such a great metaphors. In everything in life, being it loosing weight or starting a business, the advice always is to do it one step at a time. Rationally that is of course the only way to get anywhere, but really believing it and actually starting to take the first steps is much harder. Working with a piece of patchwork is just a wonderful non-abstract proof that it really works. Piece by piece and stitch by stitch you will eventually get there and if you learn to enjoy the process you don't even mind that it might be slow. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Beans part II ...and some carrots

Update from the garden. The beans have flowers! Beautiful beautiful flowers! This year I planted purple and pink  beans, so exiting! 

And then the carrots. It took forever but they are ready to be pulled out. And after all this waiting what do you get? A carrot. I just can't get very exited about carrots. My kitchen garden is tiny and I can't believe that I used two whole rows of it for carrots. The carrots where suppose to be purple but mine are only a bit purplish. They do however taste better than the regular ones from the shop. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blog of the Month - kirin notebook

So many nice blogs out there and I feel like sharing. It is time for blog of the month!

I love love Lara's designs. She is a fabric designer co-owner of Ink & Spindle, a screen printing studio in Melbourne Australia. The fact that she lives in Australia makes me sometimes feel like she would live in another planet talking about autumn in the spring and having pictures of native flowers that I have never seen before. Her style on the other hand reminds me of Finland, where I'm from. For me it is a funny combination of familiar and strange at the same time. Most of all it is a great inspiration source and reminder where following your dreams can take you. 

Oh I wish they would invent the Start Trek Transporter already so that I could just stop by for a coffee on one of those open days they have. If I ever will visit Melbourne I hope I can pay a visit. 
ps. did I just mention Stark Trek in my blog???

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Process Pledge

I took the pledge! And now it is time to not just talk the talk but also walk the walk...
Let's start with some pictures, although often when I'm busy processing I forget to take them.

Here is a beginning of a picnic-quilt that I'm working on right now. The fabrics are all from IKEA, randomly selected from the discount pieces. I really need to have that kind of inexpensive fabric lying around to have the courage to just start experimenting. It is thick upholstery fabric, and I do realise that quilting it will be a challenge, but I will figure out something. I have this general idea how the quilt will look like, but I have not planned anything on detail. I started by using the instructions from Anna Maria Horners's second book, Handmade Beginnings It was a very smart thing to do and I learned some new tricks, but I'm not planning to follow the pattern all the way through. 

This one is me just doodling on a piece of fabric. I have an idea what I will use it for, but that is still a secret ( I have to first see if it works out). First I used embroidery needle but that was a mistake! What a horrible thick thing it is leaving holes to the fabric. There probably are some other ones better suited for the fabric I was using, but for now I will stick to my quilting needle.  More posts coming of both of the projects in the coming weeks. (...did I just make a commitment to work on these? Good for me:)

And here is a bonus picture, my home made bread!

I'm so proud! It took several attempts to get to this. First I did not have a bread pan so I used a cake pan. Not quite the same. After I had bought the bred pan the first time baking bread with it I killed the yeast by using too hot water. But this time I really nailed it! The next challenge for me is to incorporate the bread making into my daily schedule without it taking over the whole morning. The children would appreciate that. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pink and orange

One would think that I got inspired by my new fabric when picking up the flowers but in fact it is just a coincident. The orange flowers where for the Dutch football ( playing on Saturday and the pink ones where chosen by my daughter. Beautiful nevertheless, the flowers and the fabric!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fabric shopping

I just went click click click and bought myself some new fabrics! That is not easy for me, I'm so afraid that I make a wrong choice or buy too much - which is of course impossible because I will without a doubt use every piece of it at some point. So of course I end up buying too little. Well, it is a process and I'm working on it. One day I will trust that this sewing craziness is not just a phase. 

Other problem I encountered was that I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to order from the United States? It feels so outdated to have all these regulations between countries in this internet era, but I guess we won't be rid of them any time soon. 

Unrelated but very important! The roses are blooming! I was so happy and thought well, lets smell the roses - but these ones doesn't smell at all...had forgot about that. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rainbow blocks

Here are the two first blocks for the Rainbow project
This one turn out to be quite ok

This one looks a bit wrinkly , I don't know what happened.