Wednesday, 24 December 2014

2014 in pictures

Finished quilts and tops

Bags and pouches


Christmas crafts

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and interesting New Year.

Vreni xx

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and hope you'll enjoy this beautifully animated Russian Christmas story.

Vreni x

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

A couple more Christmas gifts

Two pouches made with Cotton & Steel fabrics. I especially love the stripy tigers.

Isn't the lacy zipper cute? I just had to get my head around the fact, that the lace had to be on the  outside tough, but managed it after a "false start". 

My daughter wanted a grocery bag dispenser like I have so I made her this. Only when it was finished did I realize that the flowers are upside down. Oh well! 

And the cookies are bagged and mostly handed out already. 

My next task is to decorate the Christmas tree. We got a live one as always but had a bit of trouble as apparently a strike in the US ports delayed their arrival.

I hope you are also enjoying the season.
Vreni x

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

And now I can't stop....

..... making these little spice filled house and tree ornaments, instead of doing some more pressing things like writing my Christmas cards. But they really are addictive and I love how my sewing room smells.

I've also been playing with gift tags; aren't they cute? Sort of like mini post cards. I made the fabric stamps the same way as I did for my Christmas cards.
Then I made one more tea box for the charity fair which went off to a good start as a lot of my things were snapped up right away. I was planning to recycled whatever wasn't sold as Christmas gifts, but apparently there's nothing left to recycle!

I've made more Christmas cookies too and I'm sharing another of our favourites:

Spitzbuebe which means "Rascals" in Swiss German (don't ask me why they are called that)

250 g (8 oz) butter
125 g (4 oz) powdered sugar
1 pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp water
350 g (2 cups plus 3 Tbsp) flour
1/2 cup of red current jelly

Cream butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, pinch of salt and water and mix well. Add the flour and bring together into a dough. Refrigerate for at least half an hour.

Roll out very thin (2 mm, 1/8 of an inch) and cut out circles. For half the cookie circles cut small holes or stars. Refrigerate again for half an hour, so the cookies will keep their shape.

Bake 8 to 10 min in the middle of the preheated oven (200 C, 400 F).

Cool on a wire rack, then assemble cookies with red current jelly. Keep in an airtight container in a cool place


Vreni xx

Saturday, 22 November 2014

I think I need my head examined!

When I first came across pictures of "The Aunts' Quilt" on Instagram I knew I had to make it one day. At the time it was a BOM run by Amitie in Melbourne and not available as a pattern yet. When I visited Amitie in June the quilt was in the shop window but the pattern still wasn't ready. Luckily my Aussie friend went back home a little while ago and brought me back a copy. When Thimbleanna announced a QAL for this quilt all my good intentions to focus on my current quilt went out the window. 

So here's my first block, a few days late. I should also have made two pieced blocks at this stage but decided to do all the pieced blocks together at a later date (definitely after Christmas). 

As I'm needle turning My Auntie Green's Garden quilt  I decided to try another method. I've been following Esther Aliu's progress with her Love Entwined quilt and was intrigued by her method of using wash away applique paper. So that's what I'm doing with this quilt. It's quite a bit more preparation work, but then the appliqueing goes quite fast and the results are very sharp and crisp edges. I've also use the Apliquick tools for the first time and love them.

And since Anna has a "cookie of the month" program I'm copying her and share a cookie recipe here too. I've started my traditional Christmas baking this week with one of our favorite: Basler Brunsli which translates into something like Brownies from Basel (Basel being my hometown).

Basler Brunsli
250 gr (1 1/2 cups) sugar
250 g (8 oz)  ground almonds (not peeled)       mix all dry ingredients
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour
2 egg whites                                                      whisk until stiff and fold dry mixture into egg whites
100 g  (6 oz) good dark eating chocolate          melt either in a double boiler on in the microwave and                                                                            blend with the mixture until it comes together.                                                                                                            
Roll out dough to about ¼ inch between two pieces of cling film and cut different shapes with the help of cookie cutters.  Transfer to a baking paper lined baking sheet and leave for a few hours before baking for 6 min by 200 C degree (400 F). Cool on a wire rack then store in an airtight container.

Vreni x

Saturday, 8 November 2014

A Christmas Village

After my first Christmas house ornament turned out slightly too big I found a tutorial here and had another go. They are much more suited to hang on a Christmas tree and they also smell heavenly as I filled them with cinnamon sticks and star anise as well as the normal filling material of course.

While trawling Pinterest I came across these lovely cinnamon Christmas tree ornaments and had to make some as well. They too are filled with star anise seeds. 

Now I have sewn myself a proper little Christmas village. They will  be for sale at the charity fair later this month. 

Vreni x

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Checking in!

I can't believe a whole month went by since my last post. How did that happen? I guess I've been busy and trying to make the best of what's left of this year. I want to be super organised this year (don't I say that every year?) and have already started to "stockpile" Christmas gifts and bought Christmas cards as well as made a few for special people who appreciate a hand made card.

I found a tutorial here of how to make fabric stamps and made some with Christmas fabric. Aren't they cute?

Here are a few more things I made for the Christmas charity fair:

Coasters with coordinated boxes

A couple of tea boxes with  glass lids

a Singapore photo box

I've seen these Christmas house ornaments on Pinterest and was dying to try to make them myself. Here's the first attempt. It turned out a bit too big, it's almost a small pillow so I will have to give it another go!

Last week our group made sewing kits to sell

and since they they are great for travelling, I made one for myself as well.

Then I made  another sewing box and if you are wondering how many sewing boxes one person needs, well this one is much bigger and can hold all my Auntie Green Quilt paraphernalia which is great when I work on it away form home. 

And talking about my Auntie Green Quilt; I have to be careful not to let that fall by the wayside and have decided to work on it each day for as little or long as I have time for. Here's a progress photo.

Till next time, take care everybody.
Vreni x

Monday, 29 September 2014

Yikes, they are multiplying!

I had a little bag making workshop with my quilting group a couple of weeks ago and here are all the bags together. Everybody was please with the result. 

And in the meantime DH's birthday has come and gone. The cake has been made and eaten and although it looked a bit rustic (or in other words home made) it was delicious. 

I also managed to make him a couple of little pouches he requested .

After all the zippers I've sewn lately I can do them almost blind folded now! With the left over fabrics I made this little pouch intended for the charity bazaar in November

as well as this key pouch thingy. 

A friend made made a Jester Bag and I tried to copy it. It should have small bells at the end of the pointy bits, but I think I leave them, as it looks more like a flower this way. 

 I made myself a pattern as I want to make more of these bags. They are fun and easy to make and I think they will look lovely filled with goodies.

But I doubt I will have much time for sewing this week as my daughter came for a surprise visit. 

Have a great week ahead.

Vreni x

Friday, 19 September 2014

I'm thinking Christmas gift

 I've made two more "sew together bags" and as with everything else, it gets easier with practice. They are very addictive!

This one is earmarked for my daughter. I "dived" into my scrap bin and added a few fabrics from my stash and here it is - quite scrappy and colourful. The black and white bindings are leftovers from quilt bindings. It's become a bit of a tradition that I would make her either a box or a bag and filled it with "girlie stuff".  Last Christmas she told me that it is always her favourite present.

This one has not been allocated yet, but I have a few recipients in mind. Made almost entirely with Cotton & Steel fabrics it is nicely coordinated, although to be honest, I think I like the scrappy look better. It's more me!

I'm very temped to start one more, but there are other things which need my attention first. My Auntie Green's Garden for one not to mention that I promised to make a few things for the Charity Christmas Fair my group is taking part this year. And there's the little fact that it's DH's birthday tomorrow and I always make him a Linzer Torte. He also mentioned that he wouldn't mind a little bag to put his medication and vitamins in when he's travelling. I'll keep you in the loop.

Vreni xx


Monday, 8 September 2014


After a bit more than a year since I started, my Camelot top is now finished. I decided on a small border, although it doesn't really look like a border but more like an extension of the blocks. The blocks are all hand pieced, but the rest is done my machine. I used only two fabrics for the little corner squares as I prefer it to the scrappy look the pattern suggested. I think it's scrappy enough as it is. The top measures 70 by 70 inches.

I have also prepared the backing as well as the binding for this top to go to the Philippines where it will be hand quilted. It will take around four month, which really isn't long but still, I can't wait to see it finished.

Don't forget to check out Wendy's, Ailsa's and Martina's  "Around The Word Blog Hop" posts today.

Have a good week ahead.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Today is my stop on the

My friend Linda of Flourishing Palms  fame has kindly tagged me and I'm very happy to comply. The idea is to answer some questions to get to know me a bit better. So here goes:

1. What am I working on? 
I usually have a few project on the go at the same time but I always have one which I do by hand. As I'm meeting with two different quilt groups on a weekly base I have several hours of sitting and sewing time, when I'm not too busy chatting, laughing eating that is.

This is my hand sewing project that I'm working on at the moment: Auntie Green's Garden

and this is how it's going to look when it's finished, hopefully!

Auntie's Green Garden

I'm also in the process of sewing my Camelot blocks together. All the blocks are hand pieced. 

I have to decide if I'm going to add a border or not. And then of course I have to think about how to quilt it. I feel it deserves to be hand quilted but I might "out source" that task.  

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
I don't think it's much different really from other quilters. Looking back I have definitely moved on from country and shabby chic to the more modern/contemporary fabrics. But I'm not categorising  myself as a certain kind of quilter as I like a wide scope of styles. I think I have a low boredom threshold and don't like doing the same thing over and over again therefor I would never attempt to make a quilt where I had to sew lots of the same blocks, especially using the same fabrics.  What I do like is putting my own stamp on a project as I hardly ever follow a pattern completely. I love applique and this is one of my earlier more traditional applique quilts which started with  Eleanor Burns "A Quilt a Day" pattern but then it became "my own".

Applique is my first love anyway, probably because I can't sew a straight line, and I'm not kidding! But as every quilter who hand appliques would tell you, it's slow going. Since I've discovered raw edge applique a whole new (applique) world has opened up to me. A quilt can be finished in a fraction of the time it would usually take to hand applique. Here are some examples I made this way. They are all Don't look now patterns with the exception of the middle one on the left, which I "designed" myself. 
Speaking of designing; that's something I would love to do more in the future. When I say designing, I don't mean I sit down and draw a pattern of a quilt. My method is more hit and miss. I start somewhere and see where it takes me. Here are a few examples:

Another craft I adore is French Cartonnage and sometimes I combine it with applique and quilting. It's great to make use of the fabric stash which grows at an alarming pace at my house ;)!

3. Why do I write/create what I do?
I probably started quilting/crafting more out of necessity to keep myself occupied and to meet new people than anything else. My family and I have moved from country to country for almost 30 years now. That meant that I wasn't able to work (paid work) and I had/have plenty of time on my hands. Finding a quilt group was almost the first thing I did when we moved to a new country, after settling the kids into their new school and setting up house again. The kids are now grown up and I have even more free time but of course quilting has become much more than just a time filler. 

4. How does my writing/creating process work?
Certainly not in any structured or scientific way. I just make and then I show photos and write a little blurb on my blog. I have a note book where I list all my WIPs,  UFOs, quilts I would like to make etc. and at the beginning of each month I write goals of things I want accomplish. Blogging has definitely helped me to stay a bit more focused though (read finish things instead of starting new projects all the time) and I enjoy the interaction with other blogger. Technology is an amazing thing, most of the time at least!

And now it's my turn to tag three more bloggers. 

First we hop down to New Zealand where the relatively new blogger Wendy lives and blogs at Wendy's Quilts and More. Although she is fairly new to blogging, she is definitely not new to quilting. I love her colour choices and I adore the Victorian Gingerbread village she is currently working on.

We will stay a bit longer in the Southern Hemisphere and hop all the way to South Africa, where the talented and creative Ailsa blogs at Cape Pincushion. She is a scientist by day and a quilter/crafter by night as well as on weekends. 

And the last stop is Basel, Switzerland where Martina lives with her family . She blogs at Sunshinequilting and she is currently hosting a "sewalong". Although I still call Basel my hometown, we have not yet met in person.  Hopefully one day! 

All three tagged bloggers will have their own blog post on September 8th where they will answer the same questions and then they will get their turn to tag three more bloggers.   

The purpose of the Around the World Blog Hop is to introduce you to bloggers that you may not know about otherwise. I hope that you've enjoyed your visit to my blog today and continue to follow along with the Blog Hop!

Vreni x