Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Table runners

I've been very busy sewing! I made a lot of Christmas presents; for me to give to friends and to sell. Next Monday I'm going to have a tea party at home. That means that I still have a lot of work to do!!!
I started making table runners in different sizes.

As it was raining for more than a week I couldn't make any pictures outside. Even inside I didn't have good light.

These are two greenish ones. I like the magazine, which says: " make it personal" and that's what I am trying to do. Everything I make is different, one of a kind!

It is difficult to get cotton fabrics in Greece, so you have to work with what you can get. For Christmas materials I have to go to Athens, because in Sparta there is nothing available. 

Writing blogs is sometimes also very frustrating! Now I can't get the text next to the picture. Why did it work with the first picture and now it refuses to do so?? Well, I made some light-coloured runners too.

Before Monday I also have to decorate my house. I managed to do the buffet two days ago. This red table runner is the biggest one I made.

It's time to start working again. I still have a lot of pictures to make from all the mug rugs, more table runners and cellphone covers. So,  more in a few days.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Advent calender

In some countries, like Germany, people have, or make advent calenders. This is a 24-day calender. It starts the 1st of December and ends the 24th. The calender has 24 little pockets with a chocolate or other sweet inside. Till Christmas you eat a chocolate a day. I'v also seen them without sweets, for instance with 24 windows. Every day you open a window.
The daughter of a friend, who is a German teacher, wanted to make one. She made 24 little bags and asked her mother (who came to the quilt exhibition) to make the main part of the calender. Kristine, the Quiltmaker,  was working on a Christmas tree. When my friend saw this, she liked it very much and asked me to make something similar to pin the advent bags on.

It thought that it is also nice to use for Christmas cards and I am planning to make some more of these wall hangings.

While making this I came into the Christmas mood and started work on table runners. I made a few of them, but I only have a picture of the first one.

I have my friends who go abroad buy me some fabric if they have time and whatever they like. In this runner are pieces from Holland and Greece.
Yesterday I got some new Christmas materials, bought in Berlin! Am'n't I a lucky girl! It's always a surprise what they buy for me. I love the challenge to mix the patterns.

I think that I shouldn't have used the white pieces, better if they were more red. Well, I got more Christmas fabrics now, so more options to work with.
At the moment I'm working on mug rugs with all leftover pieces of material from last year's Christmas projects.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sun and rain, and more

Today was a lovely day, beautiful weather. We could even sit outside in the garden to have our coffee, and that in November! Isn't Greece great!

My friend Ina made this picture, and as you can see, I'm very busy! Can't stop working on my Christmas table runners. I finished a few, but pictures will come later.

Two days ago the rain finally came! It rained for 2 days. I loved it! After 4 months of sun we really needed rain. The olive groves were desperate for some water. People were postponing picking olives, especially the ones for oil because they had no juice, they were dry.

It was nice sitting inside sewing, hearing the rain. I made a cellphone cover for my friend, who bought the backpack with the post office pattern.
It is laying on a wedding chest from 1891, a heirloom. I love to decorate and made some pictures.

Let me show you the beautiful embroidered runner my mother-in-law made for her dowry. She made lots of stuff. I'm very lucky she didn't have any daughters, only two sons. I inherited most of her handmade linen, as well as all the furniture. She had a very good taste and I love her things. My brother-in-law lives in America, so he couldn't take any heavy things. Am'n't I  lucky!!!

Very tiny stitches, what a work!
Even the black rows are all embroidered.
The runner goes lovely with her china.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Patchwork backpacks

The Quilt Exhibition had a nice coverage in the local media. Maybe we can do it again next year!
Now it is time to start making the Christmas stuff. I made already a quilted Christmas tree for a friend, who is going to use it to make an advents calender. I can't show it yet because it is still on my camera and not yet on the computer.
Just before the exhibition I made two backpacks.

The moment my friend, who ordered this one, saw the bag, she said:" Oh, my daughter is going to take it!!".
She wanted a backpack that isn't too big to take with her to the gym. But.... she lost it to her daughter. Have to make another one now!.

The weather here is still warm and it still didn't rain!!! 4 months now with only one thunderstorm with some rain. Maybe today the rain will start, because it is all cloudy. Yesterday it was a blue sky and at midday a temperature from 23 degrees.
Lovely autumn weather. Nice to go for a walk in the mountains and with this bag on your back, you're one with nature!
The colours are brighter than shown in the picture.

The other one is made with fabric with a postal print. This one is also meant to take to the gym. The two bag owners are friends and go the same gym. The lady who has this bag also has a daughter and said the same thing: " Oh, she will take it". I didn't talk to her yet, so I don't know yet  what happened there!

Ok, back to work now! I've started Christmas table runners. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I just want to share some more pictures of the Quilt Exhibition.

This is Kristine, explaining in front of two of her quilts. We had a lot of visitors; people were genuinely interested and eager to learn more about quilting.

Thomas, Kristine's husband is resting after he set up the exhibition

We have a beautiful, very big library in Sparta.

It hosts also the archives of the poet Nikiforos Vrettakos. A famous Greek poet, who was born in a village close to Sparta. He   loved nature and especially the Tayegetos Mountains. It is a very rough mountain range, with snow on the top till the end of May.

Nikiforos Vrettakos is also called: "ο ποιητής της αγάπης", the poet of love! He was a big fighter for world peace.

Of course I also had to show some of my work. I use new and recycled fabrics. The pieces are stitched together with the machine and the quilting is done by hand.

The green quilt is very thick and heavy. It's like a blanket, not a cover. Also it doesn't have a sleeve to hang it, so we draped them over the tables.

                                         A very successful mission completed !

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Quilt Exhibition in Sparta

I was very busy, so I didn't write for a long time. In September I went to the first Quilting Seminar and Exhibition In Thessaloniki, where I followed a few workshops. I had a lovely time over there. Because I liked the exhibition so much I arranged for it to come to Sparta too.

We had the exhibition for 3 days in the Public Central Library of Sparta. It's a beautiful and very big library, so space enough to hang the quilts. Most of them, like the appliqued monster one here in the front and the two long ones in the background were made by Kristine Pappas, an American lady, living with her Greek/American husband in Thessaloniki. Quilt making was always her hobby and she donates most of the quilts to orphanages, widowed or divorced women with children who are in a difficult situation, homeless people. She makes about a hundred quilts a year!
The other quilt is made by Theodora Badra, a quilter from Athens.

The exposed quilts were divided in three categories: traditional American quilts, quilts with a Greek theme and quilt, which designs were made by women who escaped sex trafficking and live in a safe house in Thessaloniki.

The patterns of the traditional quilts of the exhibition have a secret code. In the old days women had no voice, they couldn't vote or express their opinion. They used quilts to show their preferences for e.g. a president candidate or left messages for the slaves, who, during the Civil War in America tried to escape from the South to the North, where they could be free.
In this quilt here the inner square is black instead of red, which is the "official inner colour". This means that the people in the house where the quilt is hanging on the line, are friendly and will help the slaves on their way to freedom.

The "zig-zag" pattern means that there is danger. There are slave hunters, lots of times with dogs, in the neighbourhood and the slave should choose another route, pass through rivers to mislead the dogs, and be very careful.

The quilts in the category with Greek themes were made by Greek women. This one here won the first prize in Thessaloniki, where they had a contest .

The woman who made this one used old doilies, which her grandmother made.

Kristine teaches quilting in a safe house, where women who escaped sex trafficking live. It gives them something to do, which is very important, because they get bored. They are in a safe "prison" . She asked 10 of them to make a sketch about their experience, and made quilts with these designs.

The quilts speak for themselves!

She asked the women which colours to use and what the colours represented for them.

The white innocent rabbit against the snake

The boat is attacked, lost its rudders, floating without being able to steer and going down.

A few month ago a hot line for sex trafficking opened in Greece.

The number is 1109


                                                      Tomorrow more about the exhibition.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Autumn walk in Tripi, close to Sparta

One of my Dutch friends had her birthday and invited a couple of Dutch "ladies" for coffee and lunch and ...a surprise. We were all very eager to find out what the surprise was. She took us just 5 minutes with the car to a lovely spot. We drove down into a mountain gorge, parked our cars along the stream and went walking.

This is me, with my backpack!

The night before there had been a lot of rain and early in the morning it was still very cloudy. On our way to the gorge, the sun peeked every now and then through the clouds.

Here it is still cloudy, a very moist atmosphere, with the sun trying to break through.

And there came the sun!

A little pool was formed with extremely clear water. You could swim in there. The water would be freezing though. When my husband was a teenager they went there to swim.

In the winter, a waterfall is coming down here. After 3 months of no rain and 45 degrees Celsius I am surprised that that there is still water!

. This was a real surprise. Such a beautiful spot.

We had a nice walk and after that we were of course hungry and went back to my friends place for lunch.
What a nice day!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Green quilt

I finished this quilt some time ago, but making a picture of it was an issue. Till I thought that I could hang it over the balcony. I can only make a photo on the street on a Sunday morning, because all the other days there are cars parked on both sides of the street. But on a Sunday the street is empty.

If you look good at the picture you can see my cat, Flopsy, sitting underneath. He always wants to know what is going on!

Looking left and right to see if there is any danger! He is frightened the big male black cat is coming to attack him again. Flopsy in neutered and the black cat isn't and tries to chase every cat that isn't female out of his area. Poor Flopsy might be big and fat, but is no match for this Cat King of the area. The women like Flopsy, though, and rub themselves all against him. So maybe the black cat gets really jealous and that's why he is attacking all the time!

So, this is the quilt I made a month ago, with all colours of green and a soft pink striped border around the patchwork.

I also finished the front of a red quilt for some time now. Have to start the back, but I did some other projects in between. I made some back packs and baby totes. I will post this ones one of these days.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pink baby bag

The weather is still hot, but compared with the extreme heat in July and August it feels lovely. Two weeks ago I worked every day for hours in the garden. Pulling weeds, digging and pruning. The vegetable garden is now ready for planting winter veggies. The flower garden looks nice.
This week I went into my normal routine of going to the gym and sewing. I made a few baby bags. The first one is this pink bag.

The elephants I ordered from the States, together with some more lovely fabrics with patterns for children. The pink materials are from Greece.

This is the back. The flower material I got from Jo-Anne. I love to go shopping there when I am in America. It's so easy shopping there. In Greece there is very little cotton fabric available, so I have  to really search, which became kind of a sport!

This weekend I'm going off to Stoupa which lies near Kalamata. Jennifer Gay, who writes garden articles in Athens News and who is a member of the Mediterranean Garden Society will give a talk over gardens she designed together with her partner Piers.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Quilting Exhibition

I just want to share some pictures from the Quilting Exhibition which was held in Thessaloniki last week.

There were three categories: general quilts, quilt with a Greek theme and 10 quilts which are designed by women  who where victims of sex trafficking.

The cord of the telephone is cut. No way to communicate and call for help. Only fear, panic and desperation.
The quilt with the white rabbit symbolizes an innocent woman in a beautiful world, full of life. But danger and death is always there.

A thorough look at the details. The twins seem very interested!

This is a very traditional quilt pattern

This is a very traditional pattern