Friday, 28 November 2008

Seeing Red .....

No, not with rage ....though if I stab my finger once more with a needle, there's no knowing what might happen. No, it's seasonal sewing , buttons , ribbons and tiny 9 Patch blocks for a Hitty quilt, my lovely pencil case that holds thread, pins etc., the needle case Jessamy sewed for me years ago, a Radio Tarifa c.d. to sing along with, and a glass or two of this to jolly things along.

All this and a chicken , chorizo and potato puchero (sort of soupy/stew) in the oven and I can ignore the cold greyness outside.

It's the weekend !!

Friday, 21 November 2008

On vintage buttons


They can be plastic, metal or glass, but I love buttons.
Here are some of my favourite ones, tiny pink glass flowers, a blue scotty dog, and variations on sunflowers made of glass:

These buttons were made by Lionel Nichols at some point between 1940s and 1960s, and his daughter Dixie is selling them to collectors. One day I will make some jewellery with them, but in the meantime I just enjoy looking at them!

I used free software Picasa 3 to create these photo collages - isn't it fun?

I use the buttons to make necklaces or bracelets. This one, for example, used two - one shaped like Schnauzer dog in profile, and the other an auburn coloured plastic one. The beads are Czech pressed glass beads in orange and brown, and the caramel coloured ones are by Rob Johnson - they look good enough to eat!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Oldehove ... the Kaffe Fassett quilt

The Kaffe Fassett quilt , which was hung on the Oldehove in Leeuwarden this weekend to celebrate the Quilt exhibition at the Fries Museum , was perfect! The colours complimented the warm red bricks of the tower and cheered up what is usually a rather wind-swept square behind the centre of town .

On Saturday, in the early afternoon , quilting ladies ( you could tell ....they'd come , in groups of four or five , from all over Holland in their warm coats , colourful scarves and trendy glasses ) gathered by the tower and shivered and waited .

Sturdy men in yellow helmets looked purposeful round a crane and shivered . Then we all came to the conclusion that we were in the wrong place and surged into the town hall where nice waitresses were waiting with drinks and peanuts . Introductory speeches from local dignitaries and from Kaffe Fassett before we all surged out again to wait for the unveiling .

It was nice to see the odd young quilter in the crowd!

Then two sturdy men , who'd meanwhile climbed the tower and caught their breath , started hauling on the ropes and the quilt slowly rose to its full 80 feet.
It glowed in the grey afternoon light and I think we all wished it could stay.

Sadly, it was taken down on Sunday night and will be taken apart, the pieces to be sold for charity, I think.

But, Thank you to the 360 women who each made a 90 cm. square and to the many members of local quilting groups who assembled the quilt . They finally resorted to using a hangar at the local airfield .....the only place, out of the rain, where there was room enough to lay it out flat.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Sunday cook up


Not exactly a bloggable week-end, as busy sorting out the cluttered room so that it can be transformed into a study by Neville Johnson. This involves a lot of moving things out of one room into another (thereby cluttering another room), spending a lot of time going 'Ah! that is where that was', and Freecycling. It is amazing how many freecyclers think they can ride home on their bikes carrying an office chair, or a hoover.

As it is Sunday evening, it is time for a cook-up. So, on the stove tonight:

Mixed Bean and Farro soup: a much lazier version than Locatelli's, because all of it has been bunged in a pot.

Green soup (also known as what is in the vegetable section of the fridge and needs to be made into something asap):
Fry the onions and garlic in Rapeseed oil.
Add herbs (in today's case: thyme; coriander)
Wilt all the greens you have found (in today's case: Pak Choy, spinach)
Add stock, bring to the boil, turn down, simmer and then blitz.

Make sure that a glass of bubbly is close to hand all the while.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008


I make quilts for Hitty dolls. Since she's quite small, my quilts are usually 8"x 7". So I can't wait to see the giant one which will be hung on our local landmark this Saturday ....It's going to be about 80 feet long and 30 wide. It's been made by 360 local quilters from Kaffe Fassett materials and the great man himself will be present. He and a local councillor will be at the opening ceremony of the Quilt exhibition at the Fries Museum, here in Leeuwarden, when this enormous colourful banner will be unfurled from the Oldehove, our local version of the Leaning Tower. Afterwards the quilters will have an advance viewing and the exhibition will open to the public the next day , 16th November . It runs till the 29th of March 2009 .
The long quilt should stay in place till Sunday , weather permitting ....mind you , at the moment it's blowing a gale !

I'm delighted to get the chance to see all this quilt goodness! There are workshops till March and a lecture by Kaffe Fasset ( at 120 Euros a ticket it is too expensive for me ! ) and in February a quilt market .

If you Google the Fries Museum Leeuwarden, you'll see the details. Being a novice blogger I haven't a clue how to make a link, sorry. By my next entry, I'm determined to find out how to .

I'll tell you on Monday what I thought of it , long quilt and all .

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Once upon a time I had a knitting blog scarfomatic which rapidly became a blog about knitting plus loads of other things unrelated, like events in London, travelling in Europe, and whatever took my fancy. Then, after two years, I suffered blog burn out and bowed out. So why am I starting a new one? Well, this one is shared, so perhaps the work will be halved? Mmmm, though my partner in blog crime (AKA my mother) may take a bit of techie

So, why the change of identity? Ermmm, I don’t knit quite as many scarves as I used to. Smitonius (stolen from my cat, one of her contrived nicknames… it morphed or riffed from 'smitten with a kitten’) is a name I have used online before. Here is the original Smitonius, is she annoyed I nicked her nickname?

So what will I blog about? My new obsession (beads), some knitting, the occasional London event, a bit of travelling… even sometimes travelling in this divine Danbury Suzuki SuperCarry:

And, what will my mother blog about?

When my daughter suggested writing a blog together I was both honoured and appalled (she'd done this before). Whereas I type with one finger, had my first mobile phone conversation a couple of weeks ago (walking down the street! so cool!! ) and spend my spare time making quilts for a small carved doll, I'm not a foodie:

(Last night's supper... and very good it was too!) and I've been knitting the same scarf for the last two years .

I've read other peoples very first blog entries and think Angry Chicken's is the one that fits me best. She said "I'm thinking of this site as part show-and-tell , part personal sketchbook....".

So you'll see what I've seen here in Holland or Belgium lately, whatever I've admired at Dutch Collector's Fairs, whatever I'm sewing or whatever I think you'd like to have a look at without actually having to queue to get on a plane first .

Next time I'll show you the Quilt exhibition just about to open in our local museum... including an 80 foot long quilt made of Kaffe Fassett materials by local quilters to hang from our very own leaning tower!