woensdag 2 september 2015

Bella Italia!

With the weather showing signs of changing into fall I think back of the lovely holiday in Italy we enjoyed just a few weeks ago in Italy. Besides some city trips, Italy was new to us and the only thing I can say is that was fabulous!

We flew to Bologna, such a different world after a flight of just 1,5 hrs! We spent the first night there, our hotel was part of the famous portico’s (a Unesco world heritage site), so all we had to do is walk via the portico’s to the central piazza of this very elegant town. We had a lovely dinner underneath the portico’s, a great start to our holiday.

Even the McDonalds looks elegant in Bologna! Sorry about the fences, they were re-doing the road surface.

Breakfast was yummy, the Italians start the day with something very sweet (cakes etc) and perfect coffee , our hotel had a professional barrista present at breakfast who made your coffee to order.


The next day we went back to the airport to pick up the rental car and drove 2,5 hours to the apartment we rented at La Giravolta (click)  just outside of the village of Barchi, in Le Marche. The last half hour it was pouring with rain, so when we arrived with the help of the owner, we quickly put our luggage into our apartment, I made dinner with the groceries we bought on the way and went to sleep early.
Next morning we woke up to this: beautiful weather and a gorgeous view.

As it turned out I made the right choice both with regards to the area, Le Marche,  as well as with regards to where we were staying. La Giravolta is a property that consists of two buildings, beautifully restored, with a few spacious, modern apartments and a great infinity pool. The atmosphere was great. To be honest, their website does not do it justice, the www simply can not. The views, the silence, the smell of lavender everywhere, it was so beautiful and so relaxing.



I loved that pool!

Getting the groceries was special too. The village of Barchi was a walk up a path behind La Giravolta, through a field, rather steep, but you got your reward walking back down again! That view made it so special!


I can honestly say that this walk down to La Giravolta made these trips the best, most special shopping trips ever for me.
The area of Le Marche is beautiful, with its hills, winding roads, medieval villages etc., and – important for us- not packed with tourists. It is located on the Adriatic Coast and there are very nice beach resorts, the sea is turquoise and warm.
And the food, oh the food. Soooo delicious, as are the wines. The restaurants? A lot of them, because of the hills, have terraces with beautiful views, it is like being on a movieset, constantly.
We made the most of the (sea!)food and the restaurants!

Dinner is mostly an all-evening affair

We did do other things besides eating…
The old villages have been beautifully restored and are impeccable. So, so clean, not a piece of paper (or chewing gum)  on the streets, nothing. The people really respect their history and their heritage and they are very disciplined about their waste and garbage.
So we did some sight seeing.
A walk up to the upper town of Urbino (again, the town was spotless), I loved all those small passages and open doors everywhere. Also this famous place, there were tourists but not very many.

And Mondavio, 15 mins from where we were staying:

Again, spotless streets!
August is the month where all the factories are closed so most people are on holiday. It is also the month where there are a lot of town parties, they can last 3 – 4 days. So we enjoyed a few of those.
In Fano:


In Mondavio (again) , the medieval plays in the evening time:
Also here, mostly local people,  just a few tourists and a great atmosphere.

Our daughter Eline spent a few days staying with one of her friends whose family has a holiday home about 2 hours from where we were staying.
She spent the better part of a week there with her friend and family, had a super time but was a bit unlucky too.
Eline and her friend went horse riding in the fields a few times during those days. Unfortunately the last day not all went well. While galloping Eline was unable to avoid a branch with thorns and she suffered a deep cut in her right arm which needed stitches, so she was taken to hospital. The stitches have been taken out now, looks like they did a good job and we just feel lucky it was her arm and not her face, because it will remain a scar.


Lucky enough this happened only two days before we were due to go home, because swimming was out of the question after this.
So we decided to end this wonderful holiday doing something all three of us love…..J!

Besides Eline’s horse riding incident it was a lovely, wonderful, relaxing holiday and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We will come back to this beautiful place!


woensdag 26 augustus 2015

Presents for (quilt) friends

It has been quiet on my blog.

For two reasons: I was busy on two secret projects I showed you bits of before and I went on a lovely holiday, still getting used to being back home……
But at least now I can show you at least one of the secret projects, a goodbye (not farewell, that much is sure!) to my dear friend Emma who moved back to France recently.

Since Emma is a (very accomplished!) quilter herself it was no use making her a quilt of any sort, so I had to come up with something different.

Thinking that as a busy mother of two younger children she is always juggling all sorts of schedules  and reminders in her head I thought a brocante looking memory board would be nice and also I could attach to it small reminders of the fun times we had together as well as some small gifts. As I am only handy with fabrics and not much else I bought the memory board.
But I did want to make her something myself (and not just give presents that I bought) so I made her a keyring for her beautiful renovated home in France.


As our dogs Whopper and Bailey are also best friends and spent many hours together during their playdates (that recently involved a red stuffed chicken J  ) a picture of Whopper could not be left out.


Living around the corner from me and having so much in common we spent lovely mornings and afternoons together, I will miss being able to just pop over for a cuppa and a chat.

And while we are on the subject of presents for friends, I never showed you the finished present that I made for fellow Feathergirl Hubertine when it was her birthday earlier this year.

I bought a small tray (to take small sewing items with her around the house or her roof terrace) and made a mini quilt for it.


And now back to sorting out all those pictures from our holiday…. Hope you had a lovely summer too, either at home or elsewhere.




woensdag 15 juli 2015

Summertime... and the living is..busy!

So I haven’t been here on the blog for a while. Not that I haven’t been busy, in fact I have been very busy!

First of all quilt-wise this is going on….. two secret projects. I can show you bits of them, the rest (and why they are secret for now) I will share when I can.
The first secret project


And the second one

Also of course summer arrived and with it lots of activities that go with it. Yes, there is time for this……..summer evenings on the beach….

It is wonderful to live in a town that has beaches!


But also terrace life in the city suits us just fine (with our without jackets, depending on our Dutch summer weather)



And yes, I do appreciate that glass of rosē when I am enjoying the sunshine and some nice food ;-)!

And there was this…. the Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2015 right in front of hubs office

It was very hot and a bit crazy at times, but a great party atmosphere in the town of Utrecht, for us also helped when we persuaded the band that was playing across the street to come and join us on our platform for a while


The end of the school year for Eline brings the usual whirlwind of activities: parties… sleepovers… hockey camp….school books returned….. a camping trip to Terschelling.



Which gives me time to work on those secret projects and (hopefully) meet the deadlines for these.

Sorry I cannot share more right now, but thought I’d stay in touch with this update anyway. Hope you are all enjoying a lovely summer so far.



maandag 25 mei 2015

Quilting in the south of Holland

After the fun I had trying out their new Q20 quilting machine at the Rijswijk quilt fair (Patchwork en Quilt Dagen) recently (click), the people from Bernina kindly invited me for more quilting fun and a workshop by Elly Prins (click) at their Creative Center in Breda in the south of Holland.

Unfortunately my day started with this…….

which made me an hour late for the workshop but not to worry, Elly made sure I caught up with everyone else during their coffee break and soon enough I was able to try my hand at a bit of longarm quiting for the first time ever, on the new Bernina Q24.

I loved it! 
I also tried out the pantagraph

I enjoyed it so much, I could have done this all day, I needed to concentrate so much no time to think of anything else, so therapeutic!


There was a lot time to play with the Q24 and I enjoyed it tremendously, thank you very much to the people from Bernina en to Elly for this opportunity!
Now I guess I need to win the lottery ……… ;-)

After the workshop there I had time to make the short drive to the Quilt it & Dotty quiltshop in Tilburg, I had not been there for some time, so this was a good opportunity.
Always lovely to visit Dorry’s shop, great for some quilt inspiration

When I was there Ingrid (Supergoof, click) also dropped in, so we had a cup of tea and a chat to catch up on everything.
After that it was time to hit the road again for the 100 km drive back home.
And this is what came home with me

the Bernina goody-bag and some fabrics from Dorry, also a shocking pink needle puller, could ‘t resist that one , so cute!
Hope you are enjoying a lovely, long Whitsun/Pentecost/bankholiday/Memorial Day weekend!