zondag 31 juli 2011


This is the last weekend that Marne and Elaine are in the Netherlands, wednesday they're leaving, back to Seattle. I don't want to think to much about it. So this weekend we visited Rotterdam and Kinderdijk. In Rotterdam we visited the Cubic Houses build in the eighties, and in Kinderdijk we visited windmills build in 1740.

You could say: we go from one extreme to the other.

Rotterdam is one of the biggest harbors in the world, and a mix of traditional and modern architecture. On the 14 mai 1940, the city center of Rotterdam was bombed by the Germans. Around 1 square mile was almost leveled, 24.978 houses, 24 churches, 2.300 stores, 775 warehouses and 62 schools were destroyed. That meant a lot of building after the second world war.

Around 14.00 we (my parents, M&E, Rob, Paco (our dog) and I ) went on board of the "Nehalennia" to Kinderdijk. It's very nice and quiet way to travel.

What's on the menu today: cycling through the dunes.

Cubic Houses

The Cubic Houses are designed by the Architect Piet Blom in the seventies, and build between 1982-1984 in Rotterdam. The concept behind these houses is that he tries to create a forest by each cube representing an abstract tree. He wanted people to have the feeling: living in a village in a town. We visited one of the houses. They're about 100 square metres. Two steep stairs to get you on the first floor: living room and kitchen, then the second floor: bathroom, bedroom and a study. On the third floor you got your own: three hut under the roof. Imagine living in this house, you have to have a very creative mind. No skyline when you look out of the windows. All the windows are situated that you see the sky or see the ground. All the outside walls are lopsided, not very easy when you want to hang up some curtains. Wanna buy one? They're about 200.000 euros.


Nineteen windmills, build around 1740, still doing their work: keep the Albasserwaard dry. Once a rough and wet peat bog, but eventually colonised and reclaimed by man. Kinderdijk is about 25 kilometres from Rotterdam, and is situated between the rivers Lek and Merwede. Nowhere in the Netherlands you can find so many windmills as here.

dinsdag 26 juli 2011

A cheerful Staphorster Quilt

What are you doing early in the morning, when you're out of your bed? I'm really a morning person. I'm happy, lively, full of energy. Often I'm awake early (6 a.m. isn't an exception), and then I can't stay in my bed.

Time to make a cup of tea, put on the radio, and do some sewing before I leave for work. This is my new sewing machine patchwork. Every evening I do some handquilting on Grace's quilt, so it's more then halfway now, but it's good to have some variaty. This will be a very cheerful quilt, the fabrics are from traditional dutch costumes from Staphorst and Rouveen, period: 1950-1960. I'm always a little bit suprised, this little villages in the Netherlands have strong traditional conservative traditions, about what you can or can't do. But the fabrics are often very cheerful.

zondag 24 juli 2011

Adventures in Madurodam

Madurodam is the smallest town of the Netherlands. Literally! It's build on a scale 1:25 cm. Madurodam is named after George Maduro, a student from Curacao, he showed much courage during mai 1940 (starting of World War II) to defend The Hague. Later he died in 1945 in Dachau. The idea for a miniature-city started in 1929. For me and my sister it was several years ago that we were in Madurodam, probably when we were kids. Now we took her kids to Madurodam. There is so much to see, an airport, several train stations, canals, churches, residence buildings, flowers and the ship "The Rotterdam". My father worked in the sixties on this ship as an engineer.

vrijdag 22 juli 2011

Dear quilters .....

....... (especially from the Netherlands), this will maybe come as suprise to you, but Zutphen isn't only known for "Petra Prins Patchwork". There is more to discover in this cute little town on the banks of the river IJssel.

Last wednesday, Marne, Elaine, Dieuwke and I did a tour through Zutphen. PHOTO-IMPRESSION. We visited several gates/places/courtyards (hofjes) where often religious or spinsters lived, and even nowdays still live. During this walk, that you can buy for 3 euro at the Tourist Office (opposite Central Station) we came along the Saint Walburgis Church.
This church is famous for his library, called "The Librije". It's one of the three libraries in the world from the 16th century. It was a public library. The building and the interior library have remained almost unchanged throughout the ages. What makes it so special is that the books are chained to the desks. Some book have chained to the reading desks since the time of foundation. The founders of this library were Conrad Slindewater and Herman Berner. They believed that, if people would read the right books, they would be cured of their errors and become true bleive of the Christian faith. to him this meant the Roman Catholic Faith. The red door leads to the library.

And my dear quiltfriends, don't worry, if you walk the "hofjeswandeling/walk", you will pass the Quiltshop of Petra Prins. Better not tell your non-quilting partners.

zondag 17 juli 2011

Grace's quilt

Today was just amazing. You all know I'm working on Grace's quilt. Well today I met the daughter of Grace: Doris. She's a lovely 85 year old woman, and the eldest daughter of Grace. Grace was born the 11th december 1902 or 1903 (they're not sure, they lived in the country, there wasn't any registration except in the family bible wich gives two dates). She was a real farmers daughter. She and her husband Lewis had a farm in Kansas. They had crops, like beans, corn, peas, alfa, strawberries etc. and also some animals: cows, pigs, sheep, chickens and sometimes turkeys. Life wasn't easy in the 1930's. Grace became 90 years old, and died in 1992 of cancer. The farm is still in the family. It feels very special to finish this quilttop that Grace started in the '30s.

On this picture (left) you see three generations of women with the quilt of Grace. On the left, sitting is Doris, standing on the left Susan, her daughter and standing on the right Leah, her granddaughter Leah. And then there is me sitting on the right. I will need to spend some hours with this quilt, but I hope to finish it before autumn.
How did we all met? Well Susan is friend of Marne and Elaine. Leah is studying in the Netherlands, and Susan and Doris were visiting her. Marne bought the quilttop as a present for me at the superfluity at the church. Small world.

Quilt challenges

That's the problem with us quilt shopping girls. There is always fabric that we really need, and there are always new projects. Two quilt challenges are calling me, the first is Grace's quilt, the second are my "Staphorster" fabrics. With all the bad weather here in the Netherland (some people like myself says that they just got the wrong date 14th october instead of 14 july), and I'm sorry to say the next two weeks aren't looking to good either, there will be quilting time. Grace's quilt, I'm doing hand quilting on this 1930th quilt, and I'm almost half way. Then I bought some very nice 1950's costume fabrics in Rouveen. They're original and very cheerful, but I'm not sure what pattern I will use. Somebody has a suggestion? Before I forget, I got some exciting news about my "antique quilt collection", but I can't tell you now. Just wait and read my blog.

maandag 11 juli 2011

Sunday eve

If you think our weekend was over. No way. On sunday evening we were all invited for dinner at Dieuwke, Eric and Willem. Dieuwke cooked us an indonesian dinner, with several meat dishes, like beef, chicken, vegetables, fruits, eggs and sateh-sauce (peanutbutter sauce, very popular in the Netherlands). Dieuwke really is a great cook, so we eat more then we should. The weather was lovely, so we moved the dining table outside into the garden.

Life is so good

... at the moment. This morning Rob and I made a bike-tour (about 60 km). Me on my new e-bike, wich is really fantastic. Cycling against wind? What wind? There are always new things to discover. So we cycled along this "strange" hill. Bloedberg (literally translated blood mountain). Bloedberg was constructed during the crisis 1935-1939. It was an unemployement reliefs works by the local county. Sand from the whole area was carried with wheelbarrows to this place. The hill is about 11 metres (12,5 yards) high and is a belvedere.

zondag 10 juli 2011

Staphorst and Rouveen

Saturday at 8.50 all the girls (Dieuwke, Marne, Elaine and myself) were stuffed in the car on our way north to aunt Joke (Dieuwke's aunt) for a visit. She lives close to Staphorst and Rouveen, very conservative and traditional little villages. We were very warmly welcomed by Joke and Marco, and had tour through their house, wich has all kind of treasures. Joke is also quilter. Just a short report and an photo-impression (click on the link to see all the pictures) of what we did: lunch, quiltshop, museum, second-hand-shop and a really fantastic dinner "bami", cooked by Marco. (We keep him!). I found some lovely old traditional costume fabrics, more about it later. Back home at: 23.00h.

This farm is typical Staphorst, the green stands for: young life, nature, the white stands for: innocence, purity, the blue would protect the family against disasters. Above the door you found the "tree of life", it's and old germanic fertility symbol. In Staphorst and Rouveen are still 500 women who wear the traditional costumes. A few men wear them also, but the youngest is 83 years old. One of the things Staphorst is well known about is painting little polkadots on furniture and clothes, it's called: Staphorster stipwerk. They don't know why they started it, probably to cheer up their black clothes and their furniture. The originally colours are: white, yellow, blue, red and green, painted on black satin. The technique isn't very difficult, you only need: paint and nails in different sizes.

donderdag 7 juli 2011

Jelly roll quilt

This quilt is finished. It's made from a "jelly roll" I got from Marne. The pattern is very simple, and you can make two blocks of every strip. I choose three strips for the middle, cut them in 2,5 inch squares. From the other strips I cut:

2 squares of 2,5 x 2,5 inch
2 rectangels of 6,5 x 2,5 inch

The finished size of the quiltblock is 6,5 x 6,5 inch (including 0.25 inch seam allowance).
From the leftover strips you can make more blocks and combine the different strips. For the sashings I used muslin (cotton). You can make the sashing as wide if you like, depending how many blocks and depending the size of your quilt. For the back I didn't use cotton, but I used a brown corduroy. The quilt is partly handly quilted (country stitches) and partly done with the machine. Now the quilt is on his way to my uncle, he's rather ill, so I thought he and his partner could use a quilt.

Two of my favorite quiltshops

Well, just like Marne I'm having a hard time to catch up with my blog, there is so much going on. I haven't even write about Munster and Bad Bentheim, beautiful towns in Germany, and the lovely castle we visited. But Marne did, so have a look at her blog.

We didn't do a lot of quiltingstuff, but we managed to find time to visit two of my favorite quiltshops. The "100 rozen" in the Wallstraat in Deventer, beautiful location in the old centre, full of history. And then on sunday we went to Atelier Bep, totally the opposite. Her shop is located in the country, in the old pig shed, surrounded by a beautiful garden. Here I found a nice collection of fabrics to go with the fabrics I bought in Spakenburg.

And dear blogreaders, I promise you, my next post will be about quilting.