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,

Friday, October 7, 2011


 having a nasty stomach bug visit my whole family this week
a little sneak peak...
Some things got done.

This morning we are all at home, eating crackers and watching cartoons.

Earlier this week I finished machine quilting the Dahlia and started the binding. I really liked overall the effect and might just need to make one for myself. I think I have another 'practice' Dahlia hiding some place... :)

I still have one side to go.
It has been very slow and sweet progress, as sometimes,
I have had to stitch with someone crawled up on my lap
 and watching or 'helping' with the stitches... 
Tuesday morning I had a break from my nursing duties and used my time to start turning this pile of 36 patch blocks

 into 5 strips of 8 blocks each. These are the ones I enjoyed working on last August. Still 4 strips to go, but so far, I really like how it's looking. I am so looking forward to hand-quilting it, this winter :)

The bug caught up with me by wednesday, and this morning I also have to contend with a runny rose... sneeze!
However, last night I was well enough to be able to put the finishing touches on these two: Farmer's Wife block 29 and 27.

Hoping you are doing better! Boy, for being sick, these kids sure are hungry!!!
See you soon,

Friday, September 30, 2011

finding my way back to normal... or not! :)

Hello my friends-
Before leaving, Terry still squeezed in some time to teach me the basics of Felting. She also gave me her opinion on some quilts I was planning. This Dahlia was part of a hand-stitching class I had taught a few years back. And we were so happy to see it transform, in a matter of hours, into a beautiful quilt top for Victoria's Basics, before her departure.

Backlighting makes this Dahlia look like stained glass!
Thanks Diana for the wonderful tip of using my walking foot for machine applique.
It really worked!
I continued working on it some more this week, and started machine quilting it yesterday. It's been such a joy working to work on, and I think she is going to be a beautiful addition to someone's life in New York City.

Farmer's wife blocks are still getting happily hand-stitched around here. I seem to have found a groove that works. I mark a few blocks in advance and store them in between the corresponding pages of my book. This way when I have a chance, I stitch! :)
 This week I worked on quite a few teeny weeny half-square triangles. Most of these were made 'on the go' or in the car. These made Camelot's HST feel 'normal' size in comparison, and so I resolved to spend some time this weekend to mark some more to continue Camelot.

 We had lovely birthday celebrations this weekend. In my family we passed a bylaw long time ago, that birthdays are 3 day celebrations. And for the last few days the boys and I have been having fun planning a little birthday school-party for their friends this morning. There was cake, there were treat-bags, there was jelly and loads of fun!

Used a little of Terry's Block printed fabric for a centre.
The best souvenir of our wonderful visit!

My little stash of FW's  keeps growing: 26! Only 75 more to go.
-but that green pinboard is not very flattering!

 I was finishing this block this morning, while waiting for the boys to finish school, when we received the sad news of our great-aunt Sophia's passing away. She made me feel so special and welcomed when I first moved to Cyprus. Always insisting I sit next to her at family functions 'so she could practice her English'- and after a while she invariably would switch to French, and so forced me to practice my elemental french from school. In later years she would encourage me to speak greek and would patiently wait for me to find the right words to say. She had been an illustrious teacher, loving mother, aunt and grandmother to us all. A Kyria (lady) in the real sense of the word. She is the last of that generation to leave us. We will miss you, Yayia Fifi. May your memory be Eternal!

And last but not least, a very warm Thank you to Wendy; your emails made my day! :)

wishing you all a wonderful weekend and even though ours will be a sober one, I hope there will plenty of time for stitching.

Oh I nearly forgot!
These are the two Farmer's Wife blocks that I couldn't upload last week!

Looking forward to visiting Kathinca, Marga and Nadine and seeing for their FW blocks are progressing.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Taste of Cyprus with Terry

Hello everyone,
Sorry i have been so absent, but hubby has been gone on a looooong business trip and it's been challenging to keep things rolling along smoothly. But All is Well--- I did it! (yeay for me!) And the Boys had a marvelous time. Hubby will be home tomorrow morning; in time for us to start birthday celebrations for our youngest who will be turning 5! The trick in the last weeks was for me to remember stay calm, stitch like a mad-woman when things started getting hairy--not lose my cool and keep those little active (chatty!) little  (sorry, Mama, we are BIG!!!) boys engaged and to keep the routine going. Imagine, we had homework for the first time; and everything that could go wrong did! LOL What do you expect with a 4 and a 5 year old being asked to sit still and finish these tasks... oh the drama... and me just having flashbacks of homework horrors of my past and envisioning a bleak tormenting endless homework sessions in the future... It ended well. And they were so proud to take their completed work to school. And I actually finished my first of Terry's Spiral Blocks ( a.k.a. Delicious Vertigo!) If you can't beat them, Stitch- 1-2-3 Breathe 1-2-3 Stitch!

It's about 14" across
 and I need to tweak a bit with the template for the block to lay a bit more flat.
But oh so enjoyable to make!

Terry is back from Alsace this week and I have been enjoying her company and friendship again. Oh my, it sounds like Alsace was incredible and her trip to the Museum of Printed Textiles in Mulhouse France an amazing experience.

Terry will be sharing all about it on her blog soon. I was fascinated as she was explaining the process to me and all she did at the workshop. Another stop we need to plan for in our 'someday soon' quilter's european tour! :)

Today I took Terry for a "taste of Cyprus": through the Troodos mountains to Paphos and back to Nicosia via Limassol taking the scenic route.

In Paphos we visited the House of Dionysios and I got to take some pictures of the mosaic floors, I had been wanting to share with you for quite some time. Talk about Antique designs!
Isn't it amazing?
Clamshells with a twist!

Even my Farmer's Wife blocks got in on the action, :)

Blogger is being a royal pain. So (stitch 123-breathe-123...) I will try to upload these unto Flickr if you want to see my other 2 blocks for this week. And Please, forgive me if I haven't answered your comments and emails. I think I have a virus that is not letting me see my gmail. But help is arriving tomorrow!
Looking forward to visiting Kathinca, Marga and Nadine and seeing for their FW blocks are progressing.

I wish you a lovely weekend, with plenty of stitching and fun times,
Valentina ( and Terry!  she's waving! :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

hello friends!

I wasn't sure I'd be able to post at all, but here is a really quick one to share this week's progress on Farmer's Wife.


It's been busy, but I look forward to slowing down this weekend. I need to recharge my batteries and look forward to a bit of hand-quiling.

Sending you my love,

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