Friday, July 27, 2012

Patchwork baby bag

In the summer, here in Greece, lots of babies are baptized. This is a big celebration. It's a bit traumatic for the babies,I think, because they have to go three times completely under water. First they are anointed with olive oil, so they are very slippery. Then the oil/water gets into their eyes, so they cry and scream a lot. After this, they are dressed in their new fancy clothes, and can relax. They look lovely: everything is new, underwear, dresses, little suits, shoes and a little hat. After church the party starts. That means dinner with usually a lot of people, and when I  say a lot, it is a lot! Last weekend a friend of my daughter baptized her little girl. There must have been about 100 people.
People give expensive presents. Nowadays lots of them give an envelope with money, so the couple can buy what they want and/or need. My daughter will give the pink quilt I made as a present. She couldn't be at the baptism because she was working and due to the holidays, she couldn't swap days with someone else.

Besides the baby quilt, I also made a baby bag, and are going to make some more of them, because they are nice presents.

The bag has an outside pocket, as well as a lot op pockets inside. It also contains a changing pad.
This is the backside of the bag.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Collecting materials

I love the search for nice and special materials, especially vintage. In Greece there are still shops who have old stock, like the one in Kalamata, which I mentioned in a previous post. Now it is much more difficult to find new cotton fabrics here. Greek women don't sew so much. They are experts in embroidery, knitting and crocheting but the sewing they leave to professional dressmakers. Because it is not cheap to have a dress made, they order mostly outfits for weddings and other celebrations or special occasions. Not the everyday cotton summer dress. Curtains are also made by professionals, and heavy, rich materials are used.

In Holland now, there is an enormous choice in cotton.

We have shops everywhere and every market has stands with material. It's like paradise for me!
I used to go every year to Holland to visit family and friends. One of my daughters studied in Eindhoven and lived in Breda. I loved the market in Breda, where I bought quite some material.

This daughter now moved to America. That's why I go every year to the States (where I can easily find lovely materials) and  less to Holland.

My photographer friend, who was in Amsterdam, made this lovely pictures for me.

This makes me want to go to Holland again. Of course I can order on the internet, but it's so much nicer if you can see and feel the fabrics, talk with the sellers and enjoy the whole market. And of course, after all the shopping have a rest before going home again.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Due to the extreme heat I'm a lot inside. Enough time to work on my projects. I stuck all the squares for my green quilt together and am ready to make the border. I'll use some pink. I love green and pink together. When that is finished I have to think about the back. See what big pieces of green I have left and find some pink for that too. I don't have a picture yet.

I have pictures, though, from two bags I made

This is the one, a friend's daughter got. She wanted something in blue/greens and with checks.

In this one I used materials which I bought in the States and in Greece. The dark blue with the little bright flowers is cotton, which they used and still use to make this  "house dresses" the Greek elderly ladies in the villages wear.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Colourful beach bag

Summertime, and the living is easy! Well, if it's 40 degrees is not so easy, even on the beach it's kind of hot! That's why most Greeks go to the beach at 7 or 8 o'clock in the morning and leave at 10. They go back to their apartment or hotel, have some coffee, an early lunch and have their siesta. When you wake up you need some coffee again, and at 7 it's back to the beach.  At that time you can swim, play, and watch the sun set. At 10 or later, you have dinner, at home or in a lovely taverna. The best way to spend your holidays when it's hot! If you want to do things, like a lot of foreign tourists who come in the summer, you should come in spring or autumn. Then the weather is beautiful for excursions.

Now it's beach time!

Yesterday one of my friends went to Gytheion with her family. They go with the caravan. That's great when you have children. I used to do that and I loved it.
She took the bag I made for her with her. She was very pleased with it, also because I used a piece of material she had given me, that had emotional value for her.

I love to search for materials in old shops and I also use recycled fabrics. If I like the design, I cut up cotton shirts, skirts, tablecloths, sheets and whatever else I can find in cotton or linen. For the quilt I am making at the moment I cut up a brand new tablecloth. A friend who saw that couldn't believe it. She would have loved to have the tablecloth. I got it in the old shop in Kalamata. It is made by Πειραϊκη Πατραϊκη. This factory closed years ago, which is a pity, because they made beautiful stuff, in a very good quality.

                                           This bag I made for a friends birthday

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Heatwave and gardening

The temperatures here in Sparta are already a few days 36-38 degrees and will go up to 39-40. All this will at least last till Friday. That means for me that I can work till about 10 in the morning outside and after 8 in the evening. So, this morning I started at 7, with the idea of working for 3 hours in the garden. First I started with the Campsis. This is such a lovely climber with beautiful flowers.

But the mess it makes is unbelievable! Every day the path from the   street to the garden is covered with fallen flowers. Now, when I sweep there I have to be very careful, because bees and wasps love the flowers and there are loads of them. It goes bzzz, bzzz, bzz. I like the sound, it gives you a real outside feeling. Twice I've been stung by a wasp. I learned though, that ivy is very good, and as I have it in the garden, I get some leaves, squize them a bit and rub over the swelling. It goes down and the pain subdues rather quickly. There are more campsis lovers, the ants! When I try to get some order in the climber, or pick dead flowers, the ants creep over my arms, try to get into my clothes. You really must love gardening to have a campsis!

Then I turned my attention to the Solanum on the other side of the path, which also needed some pruning. These two climbers grow wild.

Now, on the other side of the house I have a jasmine, honeysuckle and a red climbing rose. The jasmine and rose have been planted by my father-in-law, some 50 years ago. The roots are so strong, that they survive any heat or cold. The honeysuckle is a pain in the neck, because it grows quick and has covered everything. It strangles all new shoots from the other two. I keep postponing to clear this up. I also have no pictures to show you, because it's always a mess. So, today I decided to tackle this job. Excellent idea, 38 degrees! I thought, I just start. But the problem is that when I start I can't stop. So I worked till 1 o'clock lunchtime. I didn't finish, but I can see the change. Happily my husband cooked, so we had our meal and then I had a nice 2-hour siesta. I really needed that, I can tell you.

The petunia's are doing great in this heat.

Time to stop writing and get down again in the garden, to water and do some work in the vegetable garden.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pink baby quilt

It's too hot now to imagine a little baby girl sleeping under the quilt, but in wintertime I can see her sleeping under it, nice and warm, or playing on it on the ground, or in a play pen. It is so sweet to make things for a baby.

I got the material for middle part with the babies in America. The rest are Greek materials

I still haven't  figured out what's the best way to picture a quilt. Hanging on a wall, or on a clothes-line, or laying on a bed or, as here, on a table. 

I love the pillowcases my mother-in-law made for her dowry, all handmade! They start falling to pieces, because we used them so much.

Now, being it 38 degrees Celsius over here, there won't be any use for the quilt at this moment. But.... for now I have also something for a little girl, nice to go to the beach!

Time to start sewing, I need to make a few more bags, because some people are interested in them and want to come and visit me. No time to loose!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

vintage materials

Last Thursday I went with my friend to Kalamata to buy materials. There is an old shop over there where you can find vintage materials, blankets, tablecloths and other old stuff.

I love this kind of shops. You have to search in all corners to find the things you like.

The boy who is cutting my materials uses a pair of scissors from his great-grandfather. the scissors weigh two kilo's 

These are some of the materials I bought, ready to be cut. And in the end we head to the check-out!

In the old center of  Kalamata you can still find  more of these kind of old shops. Pity is that they're disappearing. They modernize them, not in a bad way nowadays, they look very fashionable, but the charm of the old is gone.