Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Street Art in São Paulo

Every where I go in São Paulo, and I haven't been around a lot yet, I come across graffiti: beautiful paintings of airbrush, spray paint, paintbrush, marker, chalk and sometimes even with parts of magazines. They are made by famous local artists and amateurs alike.

Today DD and I went to Vila Madalena, a hip neighbourhood of São Paulo with some lovely eateries, shops and galleries. We walked around for a little while looking around and soaking up the bohemian atmosphere. Unfortunately many shops were closed due to the Holiday Season.
When we wanted to take a taxi back home, we had to walk a bit further down the road and stumbled upon a street full with amazing graffiti. I want to go back and spend more time looking at all these colourful street art.

Back home I looked for more information about this kind of urban art on the internet and found that "the Pixadores, as graffiti artists are called in São Paulo, find room for their art alongside city freeways, on the walls of abandoned warehouses, and even atop high-rise apartment buildings. While it's still common for police to prosecute pixadores for illegal graffiti writing, many artists now receive government commissions to display their work in public spaces."


Saturday, 25 December 2010

My first Christmas in Brazil

These pictures are taken outside a restaurant near our apartment. I thought these Christmas figures were very funny, unfortunately the quality of the picture is not so good as it was already getting dark.
Outside temperature today is 32 Celsius and the streets are very quit. Usually there is a lot of traffic on the roads and noisy Harley motorbikes are speeding around the corners. But today families are enjoying themselves in the park playing ball games, walking or having a lazy picnic on the grass.

We enjoyed a peaceful morning with fresh breads from the bakery on the corner, yes, this one is open today! Sun on the terrace and music from the kids' itunes collections and coffee with panettone. My DD and DS have to warm up a bit after escaping the cold weather from London/Holland and New York.

People often wonder what language we speak at home when we live abroad, outside of the Netherlands. Well, I can assure you we speak Dutch and our daily life does not make any difference from the way we live in Holland! It is basically the same as anywhere else, except being in a different location.

Fresh products @ the grocery, the gas is finally installed and a funny face on the broom

What does chances are the products in the shop, the climate you have to adjust to, setting up your social life and the language you speak outside your home.
At home we always speak Dutch, although the kids are more comfortable in English. They have learned the Dutch grammar during their secondary and high school years (lagere en middelbare school) and that is something I always found very important. It is simply a way of installing their Dutch roots while living overseas.

This Christmas quilt is still in the container with all my other stuff, but I found the picture on my computer. I made it while living in Singapore, about 7 years ago. Hopefully the container will be released in about 2 weeks time by the custom officials. Too late for this quilt to be put up on the wall, but I will hang it out just to give it some fresh air after being stored for more than 18 months...
Until that time we explore our new city and do all the washings by hand ;-)

Enjoy your weekend! Hilde

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

My first week in Brazil

Today it's exactly a week ago that I arrived in my new city Sao Paulo.
It has been a week of very mixed emotions, culture shock and good vibrations! For the first 3 days we stayed in the hotel where my DH has been living for the past 6 months. Friday we got the key to the apartment and a bed, table with chairs and two fauteuils were delivered by a rental company. It will be all very basic until our container with our own furniture will be released by the customs authorities in Santos. When this will happen, nobody knows.... Our first impression of Brazil is of a very bureaucratic country where setting up life is very hard, but when you have taken that enormous hurdle, life will be great.

There is so much to tell but maybe I should tell you a little bit about my first Sunday in this city. That morning we went to the Ibirapuera park which is only a 10 minutes walk away from the apartment. On Sundays one lane of the main street, going along the park, is cordoned of for bicycles only. In the park many joggers in fancy outfits are running by, dogs are walking their owners and kids want to buy a fancy coloured toy. I simply love to watch the beautiful trees and flowers in the nursery.

Later that day we went to a street market and bought some delicious fruits and fresh vegetables, it feels so good to have this so close to the house. People are all so very kind and helpful although I can hardly explain what I want as I do not speak Portuguese yet. With my Italian and Spanish I can somehow survive, but the Brazilian Portuguese is a bit different...

This week the kids will join us here for their holidays and hopefully the gas in the kitchen will be working so we can cook a decent Christmas meal! A new friend borrowed us some plates, cups, pots and pans, and mattresses for the kids, so Christmas time will be celebrated in a kind of camping style!

As we do not have our TV yet, amongst so many other things (!), I want to get out my scissors, needles and fabrics that I stuffed in my suitcases. Hopefully I will find a quilt shop and meet like minded people soon! Hilde

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

We made the move!

With 2 dogs, 2 kennels and 2 suitcases I made it safe and sound to Sao Paulo!
We arrived last night and all three of us were tired of all the stress that comes with planning a trip like this.

I was lucky my parents could help me during the last days in Holland with all small errands I had to do. Here they are standing in line before the check-in at the airport of Amsterdam.

It is always hard to see the dogs in their kennels being transport to the no-go area, from where they will be taken to the airplane. They are in a special part of the plane where the air is at room temperature but without television...

My DH, who was already here for the last 6 months, and I are  are staying in a hotel, waiting for the keys to the apartment. We will rent some furniture like a bed and a table until our furniture will arrive.

I am prepared: I have enough fabrics with me, Japanese and K. Fassett, to make a few projects by hand in case the container with our furniture will be delayed.  The first-aid sewing kit is in my suitcase too!

While I am having a cappuccino at Fran's Cafe, outside people are lining up for tickets. It is so crowded and I have no idea for which event tickets are being sold, because I don't speak Portuguese yet. Later I found out it is for a U2 concert in April '11. Well, I prefer going to Brazilian concerts first! But not for now, I first want to 'make my bed' before anything else! Hilde

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Java express quilt

Yes, I did it in the fastest mode ever! The quilt is done and I hope DD will like it. She better does! Washing instructions are visible on the quilt so she cannot go wrong, unless the colours will bleed as Xue mentioned earlier on...
I will leave it in The Hague so she can take it with her to London on her way back from Brazil after Christmas.

Isn't this cute! There is a big group of wild parakeets in The Hague and some other cities in Holland surviving the winters after having escaped captivity 6 years ago. Every year there are more and more of these green exotic birds.

My suitcases are almost packed, I have to do some more cleaning up and in the evening I relax with quilting the project visible on the sofa. Don't know if I will finish it before I leave next Tuesday. Never mind, there is no rush as I will be back in the apartment in a couple of months when I visit my family and friends and stock up on Dutch goodies. Hilde

Monday, 6 December 2010

Snow sew sew

All blocks, 90 in total, sewn together and spread out on the floor. Well, because the table and carpet has to move out of the way to make space for this action, Mr. Bickel takes the chance. I was hesitating if I would make the quilt smaller to make the quilting by machine go easier, or do it in 2 pieces, but I just left it as it was.

Outside the first snowstorm passed and left a thick white carpet on the streets. Freshly fallen snow, I love it and so does Mr. Bickel! Outside my window  birds are coming and going to the feeding station on the small balcony.
Inside my old Bernina, about 18 years already, is doing a great job with quilting in the ditch and diagonal lines over this huge quilt. The quilt seems to be growing while pushing it through the small opening next to the needle. It is a hurdle I do not like and I am afraid to pucker the quilt.

Quilting is finished, what a relief! Now only the binding and I will concentrate on my flight to Brazil next week: dogs health check, official stamps for customs, 2 kennels, 2 suitcases to pack, cleaning the flat, lunch with friends, one more quilt bee with my new friends and many other things... Hilde

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Mom, can you make me a quilt???

Chat over Skype with my DD in London:

DD: Mom, can you make me a simple quilt?
Me: sure, but all fabrics are in the container on their way to Brazil...
DD: well, you can buy some new ones!
Me: I will be leaving in 2 weeks!
DD: I was thinking about a simple one with only squares, big squares
Me: hmmm
DD: :-))
Me: what colours would you like
DD: can you make me with some Asian fabrics? I miss Singapore...
Me: I will see what I can do
DD: :-))

Well, what can you do when your child wants you to make a quilt and you like doing this? I have 2 weeks left before I leave for Sao Paulo and not much on hands, so why not! My DD has lived in Singapore for almost 8 years, during her teenage years, and during the wintertime she misses the tropics a lot.

Can you imagine how happy I was to find a wide selection of Java batiks in a new fabric shop in The Hague?! They bring back good memories.
I will cut blocks of 25cm square and sew them randomly in rows.

This should be easy and quick, right?

I you are interested in the new fabric shop, it is De Boerenbonthal Stoffen. They have a shop in Amsterdam and since November 9 opened their second shop in The Hague at de Papenstraat.

Java batiks and boerenbont (traditional farmers cloth), two traditional fabrics the Dutch have a lot to do with!
I better get going and focus on this Asian batik quilt. Hilde

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Set of 3 in snake print

One of the small things I wanted to do today was to finish this set of boxes. I made a box similar to the bottom one before, for a dear friend (click here). It turned out be such a nice combination of colours, that I wanted to make a few more in different sizes as you can see on these pictures.

Covered completely in book binders linen, snake print paper on the outside and Italian paper on the inside and a small metal handle attached to the lid.

Sizes are in cm: 24(w)x17(d)x11(h), 16(w)x12(d)x8(h) and 8(w)x8(d)x7(h).

The set of 3 boxes is available for 75 euros, not including shipping, anyone interested? Hilde

Thursday, 25 November 2010

New house on the block

If you google 'house on the block' you get a lot of different options: ugliest, loudest, spookiest, coolest, best, looniest house... well, this one is certainly none of those, it is the latest one I made for my Dream House Quilt. Because that is what I still do: dreaming about our next house in Sao Paulo.

With Cosmo embroidery threads, I have spruced up some houses I finished before.

Our new home should have at least one room for my sewing and box making, some flowers in pots will be added and with the dogs there too it will be quickly my new best place to be!

Because we have not found a place yet, I will stay in Holland for a few more weeks. More sewing can be done on this quilt while slowly the snowflakes will start covering the streets. Just hoping to be in Brazil in time for Christmas!

And yes, I finished my Saturday project. It was an easy and simple design. This is me in my mom's garden!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

It's Saturday morning...

... and I am enjoying my cappuccino with a piece of Dutch cake. Some magazines and the daily newspaper are on hand and I am setting out my projects for today. Hmmmm, have a good weekend! Hilde

Monday, 15 November 2010

Back to work

Thanks for all of you who voted for my doggy and my quilt Floating Flowers over the past weekend in the quilt contest from the quilters gallery! I did not make it though; there were many other beautiful quilts you could vote for. Never mind.

So let's get back to business! My parents were at my place for the weekend and I got a bit more quilting done on my UFO. Hopefully it will be finished before I leave for Brazil. I want to leave it behind in our apartment in Holland. 
This apartment is our save place where we can stay every time we come back from overseas. My UFO would be a nice quilt on one of the single beds where the kids usually sleep when they come back to Holland. The both live abroad; my DD lives in London and my DS in New York City. That happens when you drag them along while living overseas for more than 20 years... ;-)

A few more stitches and this quilt should be finished just in time. Hilde

Friday, 12 November 2010

Please vote for me!

My Mini Schnauzer Spetter and my quilt Floating Flowers are entered  in the Weekly Quilt Contest from Quilting Gallery.
I hope you can take the time and visit us here.
After you have chosen by clicking on the circular button next to the name, please scroll down all the way, until you get to the bottom of the names of quilts. Then press the VOTE button.

 Spetter and I need all your votes!
Woof! Hilde

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Looking for a house

Outside autumn is sending in rain and wind to play with the leaves on the streets. They even try to uproot some trees!
Inside music plays and I think about the next house to design. Is it a coincidence we have to look for another apartment in Sao Paulo after the contract for our first choice did not come through and I am stitching houses on blocks? Ah well, at least I can keep playing with colours and dream of our next home.
Our furnishings are loaded in a container and will go on a ship tomorrow. It will take about 3 weeks to arrive in Brazil and another few weeks before being cleared by the customs. In the meantime I stay in Holland in our small apartment, building my stash of house blocks with Japanese fabrics and think about a name for this quilt... Any suggestions? ;-) Hilde

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Japanese style (^_^)

Last week I started a new project with Japanese fabrics.
It is my first time working with this kind of material and their typical colours and I love it! Every fabric has a lovely woven structure and both sides are interesting.
The blocks are all done by hand and my box with Aurifil threads comes in handy. The threads blend in so nicely! All blocks, 24 in total, have an applique of some kind of a house,  like a tent, a lighthouse, a church, a windmill, a quilt shop, etc.
Later on I will add some embroidery with Cosmo threads.

The course is given by Anke Magre at the Quilterspalet. Thursday is the next lesson and I have some more homework to do...

I will keep you posted about the blocks to come. Hilde

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Pincushionswap showtime!

It is finally time to show a very special pincushion! 

This is the first time I joined a swap in bloggers' world and it was fun! When Jeannet organized a Pincushionswap in September, I thought yes, let's do this! 152 quilters joined in from Holland and overseas! I was linked to Hennie who also has a blog.

Hennie must be a thoughtful and experienced quilter because she really took the time to think about something that would suit me: she made me this very nice Dutch Pincushion!
I was totally taken by surprise by the originality of the design. This pincushion is such a lovely and useful little piece of art I will treasure when I live in Brazil for a few years.

Her use of Dutch colours on one side and the tulip on jeans on the other is clearly made with love.
Thanks Hennie for your thoughtful present!

I hope you like mine too!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Time to sew!

My back is aching, but all boxes are cleared from my place and at the movers'.
This morning I stuffed them all in a van and my Bernina was sitting next to me in the front. I told her to be brave and that I hopefully will see her again in about 7 weeks... That is, if all goes according plan and we can unload the container before Christmas!

Time to relax and sew! This quilt I want to have finished before I travel to Brazil in a couple of weeks. Hmmm, no more boxes around me for the time being. Sew, sew sew! Hilde

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Moving on

The mover has brought some boxes to the apartment so I can start packing my sewing and boxing stuff, clothes and books.
What to bring to the other side of the world, what can I leave behind in Holland. For sure I do not need my winter clothes as summer starts in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Of course all my fabrics will come along, my new pincushion from the swap, and my shoes ;-D. My Bernina will be packed last!

Moving to a new country is sometimes daunting. This will be my 8th international move, but it still makes me nervous, what to expect, will I make friends again, will I be able to set up workshops for Geckoboxes again? How long will it take before our furnishings will arrive at the new place, will the apartment be fine, can the dogs adapt quickly to the new climate...

While packing and making other preparations, my thoughts are going into all directions.
Before, when we arrived in a new place, the kids used to play in the empty boxes while I tried to get the house sorted out as quick as possible. This time around, they are not coming along as they are now living in London and New York. But hopefully with Christmas we can come together in our new place and hopefully, all boxes will be unpacked by that time..

Talking about cardboard: a few weeks ago I went to the Valkhof Museum and visited the exhibition 'O Fortuna'. One of the participating artist had made fishes out of cardboard, simple yet beautiful. I have no idea why I am attracted to this kind of art.

Anyway, the boxes have to be filled, the house to be cleaned, the dogs have to be up to date with their vaccinations, and saying goodbye to family and friends. Partir, c'est mourir un peu... New experiences are ahead and I want to make the best out of it! Will keep you posted about the move! Hilde

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Tiles in Lisbon

I love looking at these pictures taken in Lisbon in May this year. 
My DH and I went there for a short break in May and had a great time wondering around this beautiful old city and enjoying the Portuguese kitchen.
While walking through the old neighborhoods we came upon many houses decorated with these tiles and along the beach we bumped into a funny sign.
We had a wonderful time with lots of good food and wine and more inspiration for crafting! 

A few weeks later I bought the book 'The gentle Art of Quiltmaking' by Jane Brocket and she writes about the mosaic-patterned pavements and the tiles in geometric designs folowed by a lovely pattern! This quilt I have to make... one day... Hilde

Monday, 18 October 2010


Here is my very special folded book with The Stitches from my Mom!
Yesterday I showed you the Stitch Sampler and I have folded the long sampler into 6 pages covered with a piece of left-over linen. This linen is a bit stiff, so the binding became a bit bulky.

A small part of my very first UFO is on the outside so it finally comes to use after being stored away for more than 35 years...

Working with something made by my mom so many years ago, gives a very special feeling.
I hope this folded book with My Mom's Stitches will stay in the family for a long time. Hilde

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Treasures from my mom

Last week I stayed with my parents for a couple of days as my DH is back in Sao Paulo. While I was working on a quilt, my mom suddenly came to me with a small bag and inside were these beautiful colours.
She used to make wall-hangings when I was a kid. One bedroom was converted into an art room where both my mom and dad used to have their own section, one side for the fabrics and one side for the wood crafts; I spend many hours there.
This bag with these old DMC threads bring back good memories. Apparently I never finished this colourful sewing piece which was going to be part of a top.

This stitch sampler was also inside and I simply love the idea my mom made all these stitches during her art lessons, just to see which of these stitches would work best on her art pieces.

It is about 125 cm long and I will try to make it into a folded book so I can keep it close to my working space and be inspired by it. Hilde

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Stitching a book

Some time ago I took lessons in bookbinding. The books we made were bound the traditional way with glue. One day we did a workshop in bookbinding without adhesives and we had to weave the front and back of the book to make a strong cover. We used 'Zaans bord', a paper made in an antique windmill, the Zaansche molen. This windmill makes the paper out of textiles and the colors are a bit mat.

I got hold of a plain copy of a cooking book with all kinds of recipes with mushrooms. This book has some lovely illustrations and I would like to give it to my mom.
It is called 'Zwammen smullen' (Mushrooms feast).

It is already some time ago I did this workshop and the instructions handed out are not very clear.  I struggled a bit and made some mistakes but I know my mom will not mind.

When I finished the cover, I thought it could use something extra.
The sewing machine was still on the table, so I added some stitching to the front. This is not going to show on the inside as the cover is double folded.

Hmm, I think I will order another copy of this book and make another cover with a better matching design. But for a start this one will do (can do-lah!). Hilde