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