Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The in-betweens

Dear Blog Friends,
It can't have escaped your notice that I haven't been blogging regularly these past few months and my visits to your blogs have been way too few and far between. It has been a choice I had to make out of necessity, as I haven't had much 'me' time since I don't remember when. I have a hard time wrapping my head around all the twists and turns of 2012, so far.  It's been challenging, it has been worth it, it has taught me a new and deeper understanding of patience. It has brought me closer to friends and family near and far, and it has shaken the foundations of my sources of comfort. And it has even brought an unexpected  positive turn in my health. It hasn't been easy but it seems that the hard work is about to pay off.

Despite all the goings on around here, I have not forgotten you and do miss you. And I look forward to sharing all these new silver linings with you.

This makes me think of a joke my friend Elena shared with me, when we first met:
 Due to austerity measures having been imposed due to the worsening financial crisis, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off, until further notice...

Endings and new beginnings are never easy, and it feels that this year has all been about that uncomfortable and unsettling transition time 'in between': the old chapter not yet resolved, and the new one starting to reveal its clues and pushing you forward. 
And all this time, as I have been stretched and compressed, I have been waiting for some kind of version of normal to come along, a place and time when  I could get back to stitching and blogging :) 
Am I the only one longing for that beautiful and blissful state called 'Routine'? In my case, a routine in this brand new chapter, which now will include planting a new cottage garden and supervising six year old's homework! In Greek! 

The boys will be starting elementary school next week. An exciting (and somewhat terrifying) time in our little family's life. Being their mom and seeing them grow up to the little men they are today, has been the greatest honour in my life. I can honestly tell you, that I like them, enjoy spending time together and laugh so hard at the goings on of those young brains. They are happy, sensitive, with just the right amount of naughty to keep things interesting, :)

This also means an official end to our 2012 summer, the summer when I first visited my ancestral home of Spain, and the summer we nearly completed our new home.

Something we used to sing as kids:
We zijn er bijna, we zijn er bijna
Maar nog niet helemaaaaal!!!

Translation from Dutch:
We are nearly there, we are nearly there
but not entirely...

So, I'll see you when I get there!

Big hug and kiss, especially to all of you that sent me the most beautiful emails, notes and tokens of your love and friendship during this long dry spell, Thanks again.
with Love Always,

Friday, March 2, 2012


I was going to tell you how I have been busy talking to builders, electricians, placing final orders for kitchen and bathrooms... You know, all that exciting and terrifying stuff; decisions that need to be made and that you hope you will not regret.
I was going to tell you how I have missed you, missed visiting your blogs and knowing what you have been up to.
I was going to tell you it snowed in Nicosia 2 days ago: thick fluffy cotton-balls dancing outside our windows. I was hoping to put into words the excitement we all felt: from grandparents all the way down to the 5 year olds...

I wanted to confess to you that I have fallen into temptation,  and have not been able to put down my crochet hook... (once again: Thanks Nadine!)

So in the past few weeks those 'in between/otherwise lost moments' have turned from this...

into this...

Now I am on a forced break waiting for some silvery grey to tie is all together...

and just in case you feel like getting hooked yourself, this is the fabulous Tutorial I have been following, Thanks Sols(tr)ikke !

I wanted to tell you how happy I have been to be back working on my little Farmer's Wife blocks---

Oh, how I have missed these little cuties... and how I have added 4 more to my growing stack...

I was left utterly speechless this morning...
Arriving home after yet another whirlwind morning running, errands to find this on my front step-

and everything stopped.

Thanks Tineke of Quilt & Zo for the lovely article.

I had no idea she would be a Cover girl!
oh my...


I hope to translate some of the article for my non dutch speaking friends, but give me a little time to settle down a bit, okay? I am still in a state of disbelief! :)

"Mama, did you win, that's why your quilt is in the front?"

Look! It's Mama! Hurray for Mama!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's!

Sweet friends, how are you!

yesterday I found something that gave the me intense urge of sharing it with you: a tulip! I have missed you, and to my horror I realized it had been way too long...

it took me by surprise to find this little tulip, in my 'soon to be cottage' garden, and it let me know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that hibernation is over! 

It has been a long cold and wet winter for Cyprus standards, and our favourite past-time has been to go for long drives and discover all the little streams and enjoy the lush greens. It feels like the earth is refreshed, and helping us all get ready for the hot summer ahead.

Making the best out of the cooler temperatures, also means that we have enjoyed cosy home time: sitting by the fire offering me the opportunity to hand-quilt to my heart's content. It has been years that I have been so focused on Handquilting and I had really missed it. Not that my stack of Quilts waiting to be quilted has noticed much of a difference, but hopefully I can keep at it for a while longer and make a bit of a dent.

I will soon be able to show you the results of this year's efforts, as my little Camelot is to be featured in the Dutch Quilting Mag QUILT&ZO coming in march.
(i'm so excited!)


The other big news for our family, is that despite all the daily bleakness of these uncertain times, we are building. 
And what a difference 6 weeks makes. So I have been 'measuring twice' and applying all my quilting skills in a much larger scale than usual. And I have been loving it. And I hope so will you, as we share some tea, and a stitch or two, in the years to come :)

The boys have already been enjoying exploring the woods, and I have been dreaming about the garden. But all in due time, and I have been practicing being patient.

So, happy Valentine's, 
May you know how much you are loved today and always,

your Valentina

I received some very special flowers from a friend, and I wanted to pass the joy of these lovelies on to you. Enjoy! I bet you cannot just play it once... :)

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Season's Greetings

HAPPY NEW YEAR, dear Friends, receive my warmest wishes for these blessed days. I hope your Christmas was merry and bright, and surrounded by those who love you, and that you are also enjoying a few days of quiet, resting, and carefree stitching- making memories with your families and friends.

It has been a long time since I last posted, and I am so sorry it turned into a much longer Blog-break than I ever anticipated. You were never far from my thoughts, however, and I wish I could have found the time to write down some of the funnier observations I was thinking of sharing with you. Believe me, I could have used a clone, or telepathic messaging in the last few months! LOL
I found myself needing to make some hard time-management decisions, and unfortunately the blog was never making it to the top ten on my daily list.

November took me by surprise: the time-demands becoming more pressing and urgent as the days got shorter. All those things that require immediate care and attention, and have a tendency to derail the best laid-out plans. If anything, this has taught me to be a wee bit more humble: I cannot possibly do everything, the way I would like or am used to doing... a big 'ouchie' on the ego, but also a letting go of a lot of expectations... And at the end, I am happy how I invested my energy and most grateful to everyone who pitched in to help me along the way. All is good and all is well: a good place to be as I say goodbye to 2011.

Realizing I had less and less time available for prepping, I started focusing on getting my Camelot half-square triangles hand-stitched, as I could have them with me as I went about my day. Well--- those teeny weenies turned out to be the most worthy of stitching adversaries I have yet to encounter... You wouldn't think they would bring a grown woman to tears of frustration, boredom and exasperation--- but they did!

I have never been so challenged, or learned more about the depths of my fickle and wicked self, as I did making these 4 HST-corners: 1764 little triangles that took over the last two months of my stitching life! It was not unusual to find me stitching them at 5 am... I couldn't let these little ones taunt me for ever...
It became an obsession to finish: I needed to have my Camelot top done by Christmas or else...

Good news. On Christmas eve the top was finally assembled and basted. The boys did a spontaneous happy 'Hopscotch' dance on the quilt, what else could you do than jump from circle to circle on the floor? :)

Leave it to them to put all things in perspective. :)

And all is getting back to normal, I am feeling more and more like myself and I am happily enjoying hand-quilting: the dragon slain and the quilt a beauty. :)
I am starting to look forward to get back to my other projects once the kids get back to school in the new year.

Thank you for all the lovely emails and wishes, hoping all was well in my little corner of the world. I rather enjoyed them, and gave me a chance to get to know some of you better. Thanks for thinking of me! :)

  Yes, all is well, and at the end of it all, I can honestly say, that sharing the load with friends is what it is all about! Thank you, for being in this with me, as I look forward to being there for you!

I raise my champagne glass to you, on this New Year's eve:
To my dear friends and Quilting Sisters,
Happy 2012! And May there be stitching! Lots of Stitching!

with love,

Cannot believe this is what all that fuss was about...
Seeing them now, they were kinda cute, actually!

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's that special time of year!

And of course I mean Amy's Bloggers' Quilt Festival! For us in Cyprus it's a long weekend and I intend to make the best out of all the wonderful quilts, quilters and their stories.
I am also looking forward to the inevitable inspiration overload :)
Thank you, Amy, for your generosity in organizing this wonderful week-long event.

I was so looking forward to sharing this quilt with you.
This is my Scrappy Dresden and it has been a long time in the finishing!
Let me tell you about it.

I started it about 10 years ago and my Dresden Plates have 22 petals each. I hand-appliqued them to their backgrounds and assembled the quilt top quite quickly, considering all the work involved. It's because I had been looking forward to hand-quilting it so much. I had brought batting with me from Canada and  I soon had the quilt on my hoop. I quilted and quilted. And had a wonderful time. My cat Cleo would join me, crawling under the hoop, and purring as I quilted. Heaven! She had been a mature cat when she adopted us, and had moved with us from Canada to Cyprus.

Then, when she got sick, we continued quilting together. It was a long and difficult illness and quilting became a very special time for both of us. As you can imagine, my quilt became covered in cat hair. But I didn't mind and patiently cleaned it, considering how much comfort this quilt was already providing us both. However, to my absolute horror, I soon realized that that wasn't all cat hair; could this be what they meant by BEARDING!?! ---that awful thing described in quilt books : HORROR!
Were the polyester fibers from the batting truly traveling through the cotton fibers and showing up like long stringy 'hairs'... I didn't know what to do... and continued hand-quilting...
Eventually the sad day arrived, and these where the last stitches I did by hand on this quilt.

The quilt was put away until I could decide what do do with that bearding. It took me a long time to muster the courage to take my seam-ripper and start undoing my hand-quilting. I had managed to quilt over 3/4 of the quilt. And un-picking gave me a new respect to the strength of hand-quilted stitches. It took for ever, but it was eventually done. And I never used polyester batting again! It took another few years until one day, late spring, as I was swapping quilt-stories with a dear blog-friend, out came the Dresden top. An avid hand-quilter herself, she encouraged me to get it machine-quilted. If the problem had been the quality of the quilt-top materials, then cotton batting with scrim would do the trick. So I asked my trusted friend Irene, who does machine quilting, and she lovingly took it on.

Isn't she a beauty? And she is done!

And Cleo would love snuggling under it, of this I am sure! :)

This week we had another quilt story at home. My littlest asked me: " Ma-maaaah, can we make a quilt for my friend? It's her birthday and she is ALWAYS my friend... So all other projects got shoved to the side and out came the "36-patch" scraps. Within a few days he was the proudest boy bringing her a big wrapped gift to her birthday party...  so cute! I'll never forget that grin... :)

And these are my Farmer's Wife blocks for this week: #39 Friendship and #40 Friendship Block- How appropriate, wouldn't you agree? Because without you this wouldn't be as much fun!
Farmer's Wife Blocks 39 and 40

Wishing you a lovely weekend, full of inspiration!


And here a close-up of the back of  Cleo's Quilt.
The quilting is a loose overall feather...
Can't wait to wash it and see it crinkle!

Friday, October 21, 2011

sixty-four teeny pieces

and 4 days later... I hope you agree it was worth it  :)

The basket, on the other hand, only took yesterday afternoon- but oh, how I like it!
So, yes, my little pile of hand-stitched Farmer's Wife blocks is growing and I am so loving the colours.

36 blocks, that makes it a third of the grand total!

I finally managed a picture of my Basics quilt. I hope to have in the mail for New York City on monday

It really has an autumn feel to it, and the machine-quilting wasn't too bad with the walking foot. I liked it so much I would like to make one for myself. (and I believe I still have a Dahlia lying around somewhere... You'd be surprised what I have lying around! LOL)

I really like the texture and colour of this aubergine.
This week had some quilter's therapy. Yep. I needed a pep-talk and a kick in the pants and some blog-friends gave me just that. Kathinca said to me: what applique phobia?! And Danielle told me: just do it! and Tineke said 'get cracking' and Terry said 'Don't be precious about it...' and Shirley reminded me how every little helps, Una told me she loved me and Nadine showered me in XOXOXOXOXOXOXOX's
Thanks Friends, and it goes without saying: thanks to all of you that always leave me the loveliest, most encouraging comments-

So out came the 1 1/2" half-square triangles for Camelot
And today I took the time to get over my... well, what ever was stopping me for enjoying this!

Life is too short!

sending you my love,

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hello All!
Friday came and went, and I haven't really stopped long enough since to post my Farmer's Wife progress for week 9. It was a lovely and busy weekend and we spend most of it outside. Me, dreaming up new gardens and gathering seeds, and the boys getting lots of fresh air chasing red dragonflies. I can totally imagine a rocky hillside covered in Creeping Thyme... :)

It was so hard to take a picture, but I managed to 'hang it' from my wardrobe!
But if you press on the picture you can get a much better close-up.
Turned out nice, huh?

This morning I put the last stitches in my gigantic 36-patch quilt top. And I can honestly say that I am itching to start hand-quilting it. However, it will have to wait its turn, because my Klosjes-quilt is finally getting quilted in these cooler evenings. 

Farmer's Wife Blocks 28 and 30

Farmer's Wife Blocks 32 and 31
Farmer's Wife Blocks 33 and 34

Farmer's Wife Blocks 35 and 36
I am still enjoying stitching these little blocks. They are so portable! And if I take a bit to mark and cut out the pieces, then I can take them along with me and stitch when ever an opportunity presents itself.

I hope you all have such unexpected moments of stitching bliss in the coming week,

My Patchwork Family Through Adoption

A Bit of Africa and China
Came knocking on our door
And in a home where there was longing
Now empty rooms no more

Like a Quilt of Many Colours
Our Family stitched together into One
God's Love and Grace for us Abundant
In the Miracle of our Sons

Written by Valentina