Friday, February 29, 2008

Warm colors for a chilly day

I thought it would be fun to share a couple of photos of the work done in the living room. I am really pleased with the new paint color. We used buff from Painting the Past which are chalk paints. It is such a pretty color that is much more peaceful than the sand yellow we used to have.

We have a very ugly radiator on this wall and I have camouflaged it but placing an antique sidetable in front of it. The legs just fit in the space. I use this sidetable upstairs as I have dark wood in the living room but I think it works here. I placed a lace tablerunner over it with my candlestick lamps and space to do some seasonal decorating.

I have not had any time to get out my few Easter decorations but this little bunny lives in my hutch so he was easy to put out with my container of white grape hyacinths. I hope to get my Easter decorations out next week.

These fun surprises came in the mail yesterday from my online friend Angela as a belated birthday gift. Yummy bourbon creams! Thanks so much for everything dear Angela!

We kept the same ox blood red on our wall where the woodstove is and behind our bookshelves you can see here. I love this color! To me, it says come in and get cozy.

One of the things we have found with this new chalk paint is that it changes shade all day and evening. We love how it becomes a warm glowing color with lamplight in the evenings. I think I love these colors because I have a tendency to be cold most of the time. I love warmth around me.

On one side of our hutch are my antique fruit wood candle stand and oak plant stand. We did not change the placement of the hunt prints in the living room and these are my four smaller prints.

Here my speculaas molds come out much nicer now against this deeper color.

I am not around as much at the moment as we are so busy not only with this room but also the guest room. I have to deal with the limitations of three chronic illnesses while trying to help Jos as much as I can. It has left me feeling very exhausted and unwell. I am feeling stressed to get it finished. I want the house to look in order before my mother arrives in April. I will be blogging more regularly once again when we have some of this work behind us. At the same time, we paint at Cranberry Cottage each weekend so all in all, it is a very busy time for us. I try to visit blogs each day but am behind on some. I want you to know that I think of you and hope to stop by for a visit soon.

I wish you all a wonderful and inspired weekend!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Chicken tales and keeping busy...

Some days are full of surprises. Saturday, I had made some lunch for Jos and called him to take a break from painting to come and eat. We were sitting at the table and I let out a yelp. Jos thought the red squirrel was back again chasing the birds. He had done that the weekend before. Nope!

Now I have to explain that I have always had a dream of moving permanently up north and having a garden large enough to keep some chickens among other things. What did I see peeking into our back door? Two beautiful chickens! Now I know better than to think that Jos got these two ladies for me so I knew they were runaways. We thought they would stay just a moment and leave again. How did they even get into our fenced garden?

Wrong! They seemed to decide that it was an okay place to roost with plenty of birdseed and water. Jos checked with some people one street away as he knew they kept chickens but all theirs were accounted for in the coop. We left for a couple of hours and when we got back, we thought they were gone as we did not see them anywhere.

Wrong! At 4am, we were roused from our bed with a chicken outside our window screaming bloody murder. Now I thought how silly this girlie was for waking up before sunrise. I also looked out to see spots all over the garden. I thought it must be chicken poop. Well, I love seeing Carolien and Mia's girls but they never talked about how the chicken poop is all over the garden. Jos went out in his pajamas to open both garden gates and we went back to bed. I spent a while mulling over the idea that keeping chickens might not be such a great idea if they leave that much chicken poop. I would get up in the morning and wash it away and end of story.

Wrong! We awoke to go out and find it was not chicken poop but chicken feathers. Apparently, something was in the garden attacking our visitors and we must have scarred it away. Jos found only one chicken. He is sure the other left the day before. I don't want to think he is wrong. So he chased her out of the garden thinking she would go back home to her own roost which was much cozier than sitting under our conifers and eating birdseed.

Wrong! We were 'hat rack' pruning a very old and overgrown holly bush to attempt to save it. Jos had left one of the garden gates open when he got some things from the shed. We both stepped back to look at the pruning and decide what still needed done when all of the sudden we hear Miss Henny Penny behind us. I swear she was cheerfully saying 'Hi there! I am back again!'

We had a run into Assen this weekend and on the way home is a tulip farmer. I stopped by to buy a bouquet of these pretty red pointed tulips.

Two things I want to accomplish in 2008 are to get through some of my many books waiting to be read and work on getting my quilt UFOs finished. I just finished the Daughters of Lancaster County Series by Wanda E. Brunstetter this morning. I had not read the third and final book of this series. I decided to start this book now which is called 'The Fragile Thread' by Aliske Webb. So far, I only read the first page to see how the book is and it is about a 47 year old woman starting her life over by buying a quilt shop. Hey a girl can dream right? That would be great fun.

If you read this post on my other blog, you know that I have been sorting my very many quilt UFOs. I have some that are in the stages of patchwork still being sewn, some are summer spreads (quilt tops completed and waiting to be sandwiched and hand quilted) and some are in the process of the hand quilting. I thought it would be a good idea to take one of those summer spreads and get it started. I picked on that was not too large and would be easy to quilt without too much thought. I really have to get my amount of UFOs under control. So here I am working on this quilt since Friday evening. It is going well and I am so far avoiding the temptation to put it aside and start more of my cross stitching. I hope to keep very busy this week finishing the first of a very long list of these quilts.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Where did my week go?

I cannot believe how fast each week seems to fly by. Is it me or is 2008 going faster than 2007? I never seem to have enough hours in my day. We have been planning some little changes to our guest room before the honored guest arrives ~ my mother. I will be busy in the next few weeks working on that. We also have to finish the painting in the living room as the woodwork still needs done. We just hate missing weekends at Cranberry Cottage and are also painting up there. We are going there this weekend but may have to stay here the next. That woodwork needs finishing.

I was invited to tea and lunch with one of the ladies in my quilt group this week. I always enjoy spending time with her and her husband. He has an amazing eye for finding antiques and pretty vintage items. Recently, I had asked him about vintage cloches. He said he had a number of them to show me. Look at these two beauties which I bought from him! They will be fun to use for Easter.

If you visit my handworking blog, you already know that I am a lacemaker. I also purchased this piece from him as it reminds me of a piece of lace worked in silver. Don't forget to enlarge the photos as the detail on this silver dish is so pretty.

I am off to pack for our weekend at Cranberry Cottage. What are your plans for the weekend? I hope you will stop by to say hello and I wish you a fun weekend!

Monday, February 18, 2008

'Reflections' of my weekend...

Hi there bloggers! I hope everyone had a really great weekend? We spent ours at Cranberry Cottage. It was very cold with temperatures dropping to -10C at night but our days were filled with blue skies and sunshine to spite the cold. I am afraid the flowers bulbs (crocus and daffodils) are feeling rather sorry for themselves in this heavy frost. It is not overly sunny in our garden with it bordering on the woods so our bulbs get a late start compared to others around us here in Holland. Even our garden in the city is a small garden with a high hedge giving a walled garden effect which also means less sun. We are anticipating they will all give an explosion of color once the temperatures rise again after this cold period.

I had a fun find a few weeks ago and had to wait to take it to Cranberry Cottage to share it with you. One friend of mine cringed when she saw this find but I love it. I bought this very old and damaged looking mirror at a garden center. I feel in love with it as soon as I walked past it! It reminded me of having my great aunt's furniture with its very imperfect mirror as a girl in high school. I miss that furniture which I had to give up when I immigrated. I had been wanting the perfect mirror to use in our bedroom at the cottage for behind our headboard. The roof slopes and I felt a mirror would give a more spacious effect. I love that this one is all spotted as we did not really want one that was too reflective yet gave the illusion of more light and thus more space. Jos was not too wild about the mirror until he hung it here for me. It is just right for this room. I also brought the quilt I used to have hanging in my upstairs hallway at our house to use on the end of the bed here as it works well with the colors of the floral quilt.

My weekend started receiving an sweet gift from a blogging friend Carolien. She came over on Friday and had this wonderful bouquet of mixed tulips for me. I took it up to the cottage to enjoy them for the weekend. Aren't they like a rainbow of joy?

I wrapped them back up and brought them home again on Sunday. Now they are sitting on my coffee table as I am taking my Valentine's Day decorations away and changing them today. I love puttering around the house changing my decorations! The little pinkeep you see was a gift I just received on Friday from an online friend in Germany. I think it is so adorable! Thanks Britt!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Spreading more love.....

Back at the beginning of this month, I was given this award by Kim at Ragged Roses. It is a very special award as it is supposed to be passed on to devoted readers who leave supportive comments on your blog. I passed this award on and mentioned that I wanted to award this to a few non~bloggers. I have a couple of people who read my blog regularly who deserve this award too. It is not conventional to do this but I hope you will forgive me for deciding to use this award to honor a few of those non~bloggers.

I have been honored with meeting wonderful ladies here in Holland that share my passion for stitching and/or quilting who leave comments on the blog for me. It is always fun to read these remarks and both say they struggle with doing so in English. They do a wonderful job and I am glad you both stop by to leave a comment whether in English or Dutch or mixed. Thank you to Elly and Sonja!

Next, a few on my online friends who stop by.....

Diane who has become so dear to my heart. She and I met through a Yahoo list and things clicked quickly between us. We keep in contact as much as possible through emails. Sorry Diane but I owe you one again this weekend. Thanks for always being there with an encouraging word and all your support. I really think you are a warm hearted and sweet person who I am so honored to have met online. I only wish we lived near each other so we could get together to chat and stitch!

Joni who is always there to make me smile. She has the most amazing sense of humor and worse yet, it is so much like my own. I have been able to talk to her on the phone and she is coming to visit me here in May. Well, to say I am thrilled is an understatment! She has decided she is going to join my family one way or another so she can get some gifts like my handmade quilts or fobs, etc.. Ah, Joni, I think you don't have to be family to get a gift from me, my dear! And if all else fails, you can stop by Diane's and steal her fob and quilt.

Andylynne who started visiting my blog a long time ago. She always leaves me warm and wonderful comments. I enjoy checking my comments and reading a bit about her through her remarks. I asked her once and she told me that she did not have a blog but I think she should start one. For a couple of weeks she was gone and I was worried something happened. I was happy to see you back again Andylynne.

Then there is Angela! Well, next to Joni and her Joni~isms, Angela says the funniest things. She is always there with a wonderful long comment to brighten my day and here is just a sample of what you get if you are lucky enough for her to visit your blog: "Let piglets fly and mermaids bask, relax awhile then tackle the task :>)"
She left this on Mary's blog who told me that she had started going to hers. She is a delight and her comments 'are my one weakness' too. Right Angela? Just call me Dorcas. A very Happy Birthday to you today dear Angela!

These photos are courtesy of Mary at Across the Pond. Thanks Mary!

Blogging has enriched my life and I think each person who stops by to comment is very deserving of this wonderful award. I want to thank each and every one of you. I always try to visit your blogs. When I fall behind, I just want you to know that you are all very important and special to me. Thank you all for being part of this incredible online friendship ring!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Day is heartfelt

Valentine's Day is tomorrow and I wanted to share a few of my decorations. I don't do a lot of decorating for this holiday but this year for the first time, I have a Valentine's tree. I bought lit white branches which I hung some crocheted hearts made by my mother, some red hearts I found at Christmas time, an embroidered ornament also made by my mother and a fabric heart I made.

These are two very old Valentine's I received as a baby. I am glad that my mother saved them in my baby book.

I found it so fun to decorate the old Singer sewing machine with my nutcrackers at Christmas, that I decided to use it again with a few ferns, a crazy quilt heart pillow and my collection of old keys.

This crazy quilt is on my coffee table with a few items that give a Valentine's look.

A pinkeep I made last year and some calorie free chocolate cookies. Sorry ladies, they are not real but if you stop by for a cup of tea, I promise to have some real cookies to serve.

A glimpse of our new color on the walls behind this hearts quilt. We have the walls finished but now Jos has to start on the wood around the doors and windows at the back of the house. I am really happy with the color which looks so warm and pretty at night. We laughed that we have a craving now to eat some 'hopjes vla' (coffee flavour) custard as it reminded us of that when we saw the paint.

"Time is too slow for those who wait,
too swift for those who fear,
too long for those who grieve,
too short for those who rejoice,
but for those who love, time is eternity."

~~ Henry Van Dyke ~~

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Celebrate life.....

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I don't really celebrate my birthday. I don't really have trouble getting old ..... not that I am which I will explain in a minute. I just don't bother celebrating it. Jos and I will go out to dinner tonight but that is about it. But I wanted to share with you my memories from what a birthday is.

I don't remember the presents given to me by friends and family. They have faded along with the past. What I do remember is my mother making not only my own but my brothers and sister's day special with her homemade birthday cakes. She would make us a cake each year based on things we liked. We can look back at photos and follow our own trends and likes through these photos. One of the cakes I remember fondly are the doll cakes she used to make for my sister and I. You can see one here on this photo. She would actually put a doll in the center of an angel food cake. They cake was then decorated as the doll's skirt. Doesn't this doll look so 1960s. *sigh* I am sure, like every child, we all had things we 'wanted' for our big day, but all I would want now is to once again have that adorable doll cake. Thanks Mom for having made our birthdays special!

Now to explain why I am not growing any older? All you need for the fountain of youth is staying happy in your heart and a big brother named Bill! Yep! That is the secret. My brother decided years ago when he was in his 30s that we would just drop the first number of our age. So bloggers, I am 4 years old today. Funny but I am 4 years old in this photo back in Texas too. I think there is something in each of us kids that really never did grow up and never wants to. Guess what? I don't think my mother wants us to either...

Our painting is coming along slow but sure. We won't finish it all by the end of today. Jos has to go back to work again tomorrow. That is okay because he has worked so hard! It is really looking nice and I love the color buff.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Things can only get better...

We are having a very busy weekend. We painted our living room 10 years ago and it needs to be freshened up. Jos took a few days off work to get the room painted. We don't think we will be able to finish it in the four days we have as it is more work than we thought it would be.

We are working on some of the problems we inherited with this house. This is a little piece of wall between our kitchen and dining area. The last owners had a piece of dry wall inserted where the kitchen did not quite fit and the plaster cracked as a result. Jos has scraped off the loose plaster and is doing some spot repairs until we get a new kitchen. That black hole to the right of the photo is the kitchen.

As you can see, the walls have become dirty looking by our heaters. We had a sand yellow on the walls but were tired of this color. Espcially since we love the ox blood red walls. These walls are behind our woodstove and behind the bookshelves. The sand yellow just is too tired looking to use with that rich red. I debated and almost went with a color called Dune which is a dirty cream as you can see a patch on the wall. This was just too light to mix with it too.

I went back to our paint shop and got more samples. We are using a line called 'Painting the Past' based on historic colors. This is chalk paint. We decided on the color buff which is turning out to be very pretty.

I could not sleep last night and at one in the morning, with only one coat of paint on the walls, I was feeling panicked at not liking this color. The paint is so rich in minerals that it doesn't dry like other paints. I was not happy with what I saw in the middle of the night. After the second coat and drying time, we are very happy with it. This is going to work so much better with the other color. While everyone out there in blogland is going white or light colors, I am going even richer English country house colors.

Now I am putting our bookshelves back together. This was not fun to have to remove all the books and take them upstairs while we painted this wall again. One nice thing is that it is very clean now. I am putting aside a few books to give away to friends coming to visit me in May.

I cannot wait to see that yellow woodwork around my windows and doors turned into an egg white. You can see a little of it to the left of this photo.

As you can see, I have a great many books so it is back to work for me.....

Friday, February 08, 2008

Reflections of our weekend in Brugge.....

Last weekend, we were in Brugge and I wanted to share some photos with you of our weekend...

This restaurant 'De Bekoring' is just perfect a name. The Dutch word 'bekoring' means charm or enchantment.From the moment you walk in, you are enchanted by the beauty of this old home and its welcoming husband and wife team who run this small restaurant. The building dates back to 1652.

We tried for a couple of years to get a table here for lunch. We called a week ahead to be sure we could get in this time. It was worth it as the food was excellent. We will be going back here on one of our upcoming visits.

The thing I love about the city of Brugge is its rich history. I never tire of walking around the city admiring the amazing buildings. I love details and this is just an example of what you see in the city. This is one of six chimera on window frames of a building we saw while walking among the side streets of the center.

Of course, the reason we went to Brugge was for the open house at the quilt shop 'De Lander'. Here is the latest window display.

These were among the quilts displayed which I thought are appropriate for this blog as it is a framed series of quilts of the four seasons.

The shop is a combination of quilting supplies and gift shop. Katie's husband helps her out behind the cash register when he can. It was a very successful day for them with the shop bursting with people. Their golden retriever Lander, who the shop was named after, was in his element greeting everyone who came through the door.

Just a few of the pretty items for sale in the shop.

Upstairs, the living room had been cleared to use as a display area for all the lovely quilts. Look just how wonderful Katie's kitchen is! I just love it.

The owner Katie was also presenting her new classes for this year. She is just the nicest person and makes you feel so welcome in her shop. She has an great talent not only for quilting but also for making bears. She creates kits for her wonderful bears of all shapes and sizes. You can see more on her website.

I am really glad I had the chance to see her open house.

What better way to end a trip to this city of architecture, lace and chocolate than to stop and have a pastry with coffee or tea. It is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.