Thursday, May 31, 2007

Roses and orchids

Again a week later. Quilt Festival is over for another year. Last Saturday I went to the Mennonite Relief Sale and had a great day. Even a few sprinkles could not dampen the enthousiasm. The top quilt, an embroidered quilt, went for $11.000.The daughter of the maker bought it. This year there were less quilts, mainly because knotted baby quilts and knitted afghans were sold in the craft tent. And I had my yearly fill of herring on a bun. Nobody wanted to join me, except Jenny's friend Margaret. She had her first taste on a visit to Holland. Good girl!!!
Sunday we had a good rain so now with the heat , everything seems to grow in leaps and bounds. This morning I saw the first roses. I'm not a rose person, too much work, but quite a few years ago I bought a shrub rose in the Explorer series. Very winter hardy and every year new little ones appear around the older bushes, so now I have a whole row along the driving shed. This morning I also spotted the first peonie.
It is back to the triangle and hexagon quilt. I ran into problems with the roof on the farm house, so I have to let that perculate in my head till I come up with a good idea. In the meantime I did get an idea of how to continue with this one. There will be 8 different orchids around the pieced centre. 7 have been drawn up on freezer paper. From there I copy the pattern on the dark blue fabric using a light table and a Clover white pencil. This is the one where you cannot see the line till a few seconds later. I'm planning to do all the leaves in sashiko and applique the different orchids. Now I realize, that my supply of over dyed sashiko thread is almost non existing, so I will have to try and find more.
Seeding and planting are done. Not the yearly chore of "stone picking"
Every time the soil is tilled we have stones from the ice age coming up. The small ones we leave, but anything bigger than a soccer ball has to be removed from the fields. If ever one of that size finds its way into the combine, we would have a big and expensive mess. So with the kids gone it is left to Laurence and me.I have the easy job, driving the tractor, but by the time I figure out how the loader works, most of the stones are picked. Coming from the farm in the Netherlands I did not believe Laurence when he talked about picking stones. I do now and so do the dozen or so European agricultural exchange students we have had over the years.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Quilt Show

It has been a busy week so far. On Monday the quilts for the Ontario Juried Quilt Show were judged and in the evening I got a call, telling me that I had won 2 awards. The official opening was the next day, but I could not attend. At the same time I gave a lecture/trunkshow at the Church Theatre in St. Jacobs. Here you can see me in action. Yes, I did piece a few quilts, but it is not my favorite activity. Afterwards I drove to the RIM Centre and got there in time to hear, that I had also won the Judge's Choice of Bonny Browning. Longevity, or as I call it"The Crane Quilt" received best hand quilting. Since I'm not able to quilt because of back and shoulder problems (I was diagnozed with scholiosis at 4 and have had problems my whole life) I made a choice. I can only spend a small amount of time each day stitching, so I decided to make applique my priority and get the hand quilting done. I do some machine quilting, but only in very short bursts.Back to the quilt.This quilt was different. Part of the quilting is "normal", part is done sashiko style. I asked Florence Moncur from my guild and she was willing to tackle this. She has over 60 years of quilting experience and was up for the challenge. A few times I would get a call, but it all worked out. So this award will go to Florence, here on the right.
My other entry, Winter Breakfast received the award for best small quilt and the judge's choice.
Tuesday evening I did not see much of the show. All I did was talk to all the people I knew. So after my talk in St. Jacobs yesterday I went back and had a good look around. I liked what I saw, lots of quilts from all over.
On my way home I stopped again in St. Jacobs and saw the quilts at the Mennonite Church. Some will go to the Relief Sale on Saturday.
There was also a very good selection of quilts made a by group of 10 friends, who meet weekly.

Now no more quilts till Saturday, when we will be going to the Mennonite Relief Sale in New Hamburg .I cannot miss, because I have to get my yearly fix of herring on a bun!! I think Laurence might come along this year. The weather has been great and all the soybeans have been planted.
My job today will be to mow the lawn.With this warm weather it grows with leaps and bounds and the dandelions are doing very well.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Frisian Farm

It has been a warm, cold and at times wet week. Not good to get the soybeans in the ground, but very good for the lawn. I mowed it at the end of last week and in a few days it looked again like a hay field. But that has been taken care of. Hubby still has problems with is ribs, so I have had to help here and there, more than usual. But I did get some quilt work done. I started on the wall hanging I want to make of our old farm in Friesland. This picture is the only one I have to work with, beside a small colored drawing. The brochure is for cleaning supplies. Nobody knows when it was taken and it was just by coincidence that we found a copy. The farm can be divided in 3 parts, the body where the animals and feed are kept ( in our case it also had the summer and regular kitchens), the"neck" with a hall and the"good" room. The "head" had one small bedroom and a huge room upstairs with the milk cellar below. In my time we used that for the apples out our orchard.
I don't know how old these buildings were, but it was clear in the 50th that the living quarters were slowly sinking in the clay. So in the 60th a new house was build. I have lots of pictures of the new house, but that's not what I want to use.
My first try was very crooked, even worse than the house was. This second try is better. This is only the applique, I will have to do the rest with embroidery.
The coming week will be very busy. The Waterloo Quilt Festival will be all week long. I think I could go to an opening most evenings. I will also give 2 trunkshows at the Church Theatre in St. Jacobs, one Tuesday evening and the other Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


It was early getting up this morning. I had to be in London, Ontario that is, just after nine to give a lecture/trunkshow for the Thames Valley Guild. As you can see it was a "trunk" show. I have made up a list and I tick items of as I put them in the car. This way I'm sure I have everything along
The large quilts are in the suitcase, the larger wallhangings are in a roll and the smaller wall hangings are in the blue binder I made. The smaller items like cards and framed landscapes are in the black bags. It does not take me long to get ready.The trick is to put everything back in the right place when I come home. Usually I'm tired by then and items do not always get back where they should go. Than it is trouble when I have to go away again. It was an uneventfull drive. I did not get lost and arrived more than in time( I'm not a city driver!!). I even had my own parking spot right beside the door. My friend Pat came along for the ride . I promised to take her out for her birthday afterwards. We made it back to Listowel early in the afternoon and had time to visit my mother-in-law and get some groceries. By the time I got home it had started to rain. And we need that, it is very dry here.
On Sunday Laurence and I walked to our 20 acre woodlot at the back of the farm. It was still about one week too early, because all we saw was some dark red trilliums and my favorite, this lonely Jack-in-the-pulpit. If this warm weather keeps up, the white trilliums will be out by the coming Sunday.
Things have been going slow here at Lauren Farms. Laurence had a mishap and hurt his ribs. Coughing, sneezing and laughing almost do him in. This happened just before the corn planting was finished. He did manage to do the rest. I have been helping him as much as I can, but this rain comes at the right time. This will give him some rest.
I started on my next project, the farm house. I finished one side of the house, but realized that the windows were crooked. Now I know that the house was slowly sinking down( the house was replaced in the 60th), but not quite that much. It was not bad, but could be done better, so I ripped it out. I had too, because I had only a small amount of the right fabric and I will have to re-use it. But I did discover a better and easier way of putting the windows in ,so maybe it was a blessing after all. Hope to start again tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Who can be in a bad mood with these colorfull pansies looking at you. These were a big surprise. Some of the yellow ones poked up through the snow already. Last year I had a few pansies in my big pots and they must have dropped some seeds. As you can see the pots are still empty.
The weather has been great the last week, but we still can expect frost. Laurence is planting corn and so far it is going well. My job is to stay near a phone and be available in case something has to be brought to the field or some equipment has to be moved, all things I can handle. It also means that I can work on my applique or in the flowerbeds. This coming week-end I hope to go to Jenny's and cash in my gift certificates at Vermeers in Welland,my favorite plant nursery.
This little landscape was another one started during a workshop I gave. I must be doing something wrong, when I take these pictures, because the centre is square, not like it looks in the picture. The purple part has been embroidered and I quilted around the yellow flowers. I will get it quilted on a rainy day.
The hexagons and triangles piece is almost attached to the background, but it will need something more, either a border with cherry blossoms or different orchids. I have to think that one over for a while.
This morning I started on a landscape of our farm in Friesland. The house has lots of windows with very narrow sashing, so it will be a challenge. It has been looking at me for over six months and today was the day. I found fabric for the bricks and found a way to make a fabric look like tiles for the roof. More next week.
Got to go outside. With it warming up outside, the flowers grow, but so do the weeds. It seems to be a never ending job to stay ahead of the weeds, but at least we can try