Thursday, November 28, 2013

Visit to Tegea (2)

I am getting myself ready to go to the center of Athens, to Monasteraki to buy some fabric. It's a beautiful day, cold but sunny.

But first, let me post more pictures or our visit to the Quilt Group in Tegea.

These ladies make beautiful quilts 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Visit to Quilt Group in Stadio/Tegea

Yesterday I went with 3 other members of our Spartan Quilting Bee to visit a Patchwork and Quilting Group in Tegea, a village close to Tripolis.

The Public Benefit Foundation Michail N. Stassinopoulos - Viohalco built a very nice Cultural Center in this village, with a theater, library, workshop rooms.

This group started in 2003 with Mrs. Myrto Blassopoulou as (a very experienced) teacher. They showed us the lovely quilts they made and are still working on.

We followed the lesson, where Myrto taught us how to make a patchwork Christmas snowflake to use in a quilt, table runner or Christmas ornament.

I didn't make a picture of the snowflake, but, talking about Christmas, above the table runner, small tablecloth, that Thea (a Dutch member!) made. 
I have a lot of pictures that I cannot submit in one post, but I will write a second time about this visit. 

Now, this one would look gorgeous (when ready) draped over the sofa with Christmas. I can imagine myself cuddled up in this quilt on the sofa under the Christmas tree, sipping a hot chocolate! 

To stay in the red tones, another beautiful log cabin one. 

That's it for now. Tonight or tomorrow morning I will write the second post. I am a bit pushed for time because tomorrow I am going to Athens.

Display in the upper corridor of the building

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Winter bag from recycled grey/yellow materials

For the first winter bag I made this year I used a different pattern. The patchwork is not regular, but consists of different shapes and materials.

The yellow flower material is from a woven tablecloth which I bought in the secondhand shop in Sparta.The yellow pieces are from samples of upholstery fabric as well as the big yellow flower.
The big white flower material was once a curtain and the pocket is cut out of a pair of trousers from a friend's daughter!

All pieces have their history!l

The small strip of yellow lace was sewn at the bottom of one of my dresses. I liked the dress, but not the lace, so I cut it off. Now it will get a second life!

The yellow lace is machine-made, but the white lace that you can see above is made by my late mother-in-law. It is not really lace, I think but English embroidery. Once it was a nice doily, but now it is in a bad state because of intensive use. The good pieces are ready for a new life!
Below a detail.


The second winter bag is a rust coloured one, which I showed you already in an earlier blog. I am ready to make some more!! Time to start working!

Saturday, November 16, 2013


The girls I taught last year became very enthusiast about patchwork and quilting. We decided to meet again after summer to  show our finished projects. We had a great time, very inspiring and fun. I should have made pictures to show you. Well, next time!

That's what gave me the idea to start a Quilting Bee. And as the financial situation in Greece is not well, I thought it a good idea the Bee to be for charity purpose. Wouldn't it be great for someone who is going through a difficult time to receive a beautiful quilt made with love by a group of women.

12 Women made each, at home, two nine-patch blocks, which we laid out on the bed to match the colours and patterns. It turned out beautiful!
Because we are all rather inexperienced quilters, it took some time, and unpicking!! to sew all the patches together. 

Next Wednesday we come together, some in the morning, some in the afternoon, to continue to work on the quilt. 

In the meantime we started the preparation for the second one. Also a baby quilt, just as the one above. We decided on a pattern with triangles to do something different. It wasn't easy at all to get the points together, but it is good exercise. Instead of making a whole quilt by yourself, you learn by making every time 2 patches with a different pattern. 

We are very lucky that a shop donated old stock sheets, which are great for the back of the quilts and people brought us pieces of fabric, old sheets, shirts to cut up and use. 

We still have to think about a name for our Bee. Any suggestions?

And this is me, explaining at a birthday party what we are doing.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


I love making quilts for babies. First of all they are small and thus easy to handle. You can make all kind of lovely designs. And it doesn't take too long to finish. That is to say.....every quilt takes a long time, but I can still oversee the project and don't get overwhelmed!

This one I made in the beginning of the summer. Last year I bought a kind of little tablecloth with big animals printed on it at the Year Market of Mystras. The idea was to cut out the animals and use them for applique.
That's what I did with the elephant. I appliqued it with the machine. A lot of the fabric is vintage and bought in a shop in Kalamata. Other squares are from Holland, bought in winter when I went to the Westermarkt in Amsterdam. The borders are from a sheet bought in Athens. Wherever I am I can't seem to resist the purchase of cotton!!

For the back I used a piece from a duvet cover. I got it from one of the two secondhand shops in Sparta.

Today I bought a cotton skirt and  blouse with lovely prints at the bazaar that the people from the Animal Society had in the Public Library. They need money for an animal shelter. At this moment Sparta doesn't have a shelter, but the society feeds stray dogs and cats in the night at certain places. They also get the animals sterilized.

I am off now to the cinema. Going to see a film with a friend. No idea which movie. Will be a surprise. She just phoned me from her cellphone, but I trust her choice!!!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Autumn bag

The weather in Greece is still beautiful. Sunny with temperatures around 24 degrees at midday. Because Sparta lies in a valley, the nights are much colder, which gives you an autumn feeling. At this time of the year I miss Holland a bit. The whole country is dressed in yellow, orange and red, while here the trees are mostly evergreens. I have to go to forests in the mountains to see the leaves change colour. This weekend, though, I will  probably go to Arna, a village high up in the mountains where they will be celebrating the annual Chestnut Festival.

I might take the bag I just made with me. It will fit the chestnuts I am going to buy!

It is made of different kind of  fabrics: cotton, wool and pieces I cut from upholstery fabric samples. A very dear friend of mine, who passed away last year, left me a bag of crocheted granny squares. I used one of these for the bag. The flower on top of it, is cut out of the upholstery samples and appliqued on. 

The back also has a flower. The "tweed" fabric is cut out of a skirt I bought at the second hand shop. So, most of the patchwork pieces are recycled. 


The cats in the garden use the tree the bag is hanging from as a scratch pole! Luckily it doesn't bother the tree, a Lagerstroemia, which colours beautifully at the moment.

As, in summer,  I don't sit in the garden a lot because it is too hot, most of the times, I really enjoy having a cup of coffee in the garden at this time of the year. Doing some hand sewing in the meantime. I started making Christmas decorations, as you can see.

Now, back to work, lots of things to be done!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

My "celebration" bags

Usually I make large bags. I like them more than small ones and I consider them very practical. But sometimes you need a tiny little bag, for instance when going to celebrations, like weddings, baptisms and other festive occasions.

This summer I had to go to a wedding and a baptism, so I made myself a neutral little purse of all recycled fabrics.

The base of the bag is cut out of a thick shirt. The top is part of the closing strip of the shirt. I cut up a embroidered doily my mother-in-law made. It was already torn and had holes in it! It is beautiful, it deserves to be recycled.
Also an old curtain with sea motives is cut up and used as well as a duvet cover I bought second hand.
I still have some crochet edges, also made by my mother-in-law. She was a great crocheter and has made lovely things (and a lot!) . Good use for them too.

Last year I made two little bags. The first one to go with a skirt I have. The skirt was too long, so I shortened it and used a piece of it to make the bag.

Here it is, made out of linen and to be more festive I stuck a corsage on it. 

And the last one. I really like this collier and wear it a lot. So I matched the bag with the collier and scarf.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Messenger bags.

I haven't written for a long time. Summer caught up with me and my priorities changed! As it gets extremely hot here in Sparta I tended more than an hour each day to the garden. The heat also seems to affect my energy level. Everything goes a bit slower!
But....autumn is here and the temperature is lovely at the moment. There are clouds (no rain!) which was excellent to do winter cleaning in the garden. Yesterday, together with a friend, I pulled out all the tomato, ocra, courgettes plants. We left three eggplant and two pepper plants, creating space enough to put in the winter veggies. Tomorrow I am going to the market to buy some.

I did do some sewing, though, during the summer.

I made two messenger bags. There are rather big, because they can hold a laptop. They are padded.

I like big buttons and started to look for vintage ones. Not easy! I have to go again to Athens to start searching for things like this.

This is the second one, in turquoise colours, more summary.

And a shopping/beach bag. I didn't go to the beach at all this year! I love to swim, but because I am very fair with a white sensitive skin, I can't sit in the sun. I get even burned under an umbrella!
To get to the beach you need a three quarters of an hour drive. Just to swim it is too long for me. I would like to stay at a place at the sea. Swim early morning, late afternoon and then sit somewhere in the shade and read. Didn't happen this year, maybe next!

The piece of embroidery I bought at the Athens' flea market. I went there with my quilting friend Theodora in spring. The embroidery was in a frame. The salesman was emphasizing how nice the frame was. I had no interest for the frame, though! The only thing I am interested in is fabric, embroidery, buttons. It is getting an obsession. I am becoming a REAL quilter?

And the last photograph, a more detailed picture of the messenger bag.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Want to go on a picnic?

Hot time, summer in the city.....  Well, Sparta is a city,  a tiny one,  with about 20.000 inhabitants! And it is hot, for sure!!!   So, especially on a Sunday lots of people leave town, and go to the beach, or to the mountains. Of course you take your lovely patchwork beach bag with you to the sea.

This one is for a friend of mine who lives very close to the sea, in Marathea, near Gytheion, where there are lovely beaches. Some very quiet, and a few a bit more cultivated.

You can also choose for the mountains. Take your backpack and go to Anavriti, for instance. This is a lovely village, close to Sparta, high up in the Tayegetos Mountain Range. 

I've been there quite often,with friends, and with  members of the Mediterranean Garden Society, who organize lovely excursions in this area. Nature is beautiful over there and you can make excellent walks.

The mountains are very impressive, rather rough. In an area very close to this picture we found a meadow of wild red tulips. I must have somewhere more pictures of the mountains, but it seems that they are living a life of their own on the computer, because I can't find them.  So, I'll show them another time!! Sorry.

And as I mentioned a picnic, we fill our beach bag and backpack with healthy  sandwiches, nuts, fruit and something to drink. We'll take a plastic cup and a mug rug to go with it.

E N J O Y   Y O U R   S U M M E R  W H E R E V E R  Y O U  A R E 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer in Greece

The weather has been lovely the last two weeks. Not too hot, a cool breeze, beautiful weather to go to the beach. Not that I went, because, unfortunately, Sparta doesn't lie on the sea. As a matter fact it is situated in a valley between two mountain ranges and it can become very hot. The sea isn't that far away, but still it takes you three quarters of an hour to get there.

I have a very fair and sensitive skin, so I can't really stay in the sun too long. I become like a lobster,even with all the creams I put on! I am too old now to sit under the umbrella with only 1sq meter of space!
I like to go if I could stay for a few days. Have a swim early in the morning and late afternoon and stay in a nice cool house during the other hours. I might manage to go for a few days sometime this summer.

I have my outfit ready!

I love the beach at Skoutari. It is a tiny beach and it is still very authentic.

There are a lot of these  lovely  beaches in Greece, where you can really relax.

And....of course, I have nice bags to chose from for each visit to the beach or to Gytheion, the little town on the seaside , where you can have a nice meal or ouzo on the waterfront, shop in little boutiques and take the ferry to Crete. Or have a stroll in Aereopolis, where the last pictures are taken.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday morning in the garden

Drinking my coffee, early morning in the garden, I looked around me and felt so grateful for nature. The trees, the flowers, the birds and bees (mostly wasps, though!) and the cats.

I went to check on the vegetable garden and saw that the artichokes had flowered. The idea is, that I cut them before they flower and cook them, but this year they started very late to grow and now it is too hot. They become too hard and are not good for cooking.

I love the flowers, though! As I can't see the vegetable garden from the house, I cut the flowers and put them in vase together with a cutting from the neighbours bush. I don't know the name of the shrub but it looks like a Buddleja. 

The cats are always funny. There are quite a few in the garden. My lovely neighbour, Kiria Katina (96) and me feed some stray cats, so they became "ours" and they stay in an around our gardens. They have ruined a few flowers because they just love to sit in the pots!

I really enjoyed my morning coffee. I should have it more often in the garden instead of in front of the computer!