January 30, 2009

Blue Roses Quilted Wall Hanging - Show and Tell Friday 2.

Since last week cloudy Show and Tell Friday entry so many of you wished some sunshine for me, that on that weekend the air actually got clearer and the sun came out of hiding. Thanks!

But by now the old and sad weather returned, and the best you can do is get wrapped into a warm blanket by a warm lamplight with a cup of hot chocolate. Or: back to the Naples’ memories!

I started making this wall hanging quilt in Naples, following the instructions in Dina Pappas’ wonderful book. It’s not always easy to find fabrics with large roses that have contrast as well, but I succeeded. In Monterusciello (small neighbour town) there was a market on every Wednesday, where – in the large bustle of goods and people – everything that we could imagine was there for sale.

On the above picture it is only a small part of the market, as it went on long into the streets to infinity. New clothes, bed clothes, pictures, candles, curtains, tablewares, so many things I can’t even write it all down! I found lots of treasures (there were a few thrift store alike tents as well). On the other huge area they were selling delicious fruits, vegetables, cheeses (amazing fresh buffalo mozzarella and parmesan etc.) different kinds of olives (that we had to taste all the time) and sea fruits.
Well on this market around the new bed clothes once I discovered two lonely pillowcases, that somehow lost their duvet covers, so I got them at a very low price. They had wonderful small and large blue roses. I knew it instantly, that I would learn Dina Pappas’ methods on this fabric.

I finally did it, and the making was a lot of fun too. It was put aside for some time though, because I knew that I wanted a blue and green frame on this wall hanging quilt. I already had the blue fabric for that, but couldn’t find a matching green. You wouldn’t guess where I found it in the end. At our move I had to go through all of my fabrics to empty our wardrobe and in the bottom of my owns I found this green one, which fits the picture very well in my opinion.

I learned the free motion machine quilting on this picture, so it became a very personal and valued piece: it has the hot Italian summer’s feeling, a walk on the market, the many things that I have learned in the making, and – on behalf of the green fabric – our move as well.

January 23, 2009

Show and Tell Friday

The weather is terrible in Hungary for days now, dark and clouded, it’s a bit depressing. I am desiring some sunlight. So Show and Tell Friday was a good occasion for me to look for our old pictures made in Naples, Italy, and show you some of them. What do you think this is?

And this one?

Before I tell you (more time for you to think about it), I will share how we got to Naples. My husband’s job needed him there for 1 year, so it was natural that the whole family moved with him. We rented a house in a village near Naples, which had a huge terrace with a view of the sea. This was very important for us, since Hungary has no sea, so we wanted to have a sight on it as much as possible.

We regularly watched the sunset from the upper balcony, with a glass of port-wine in our hand, to watch the red sun disappear slowly in the sea. Shortly after our bats showed up (we had two ones) flashing around with lightning speed, and then the show ended (until the next evening). This was the view from the balcony:

And this was how it looked like when the night was falling:

And here is a picture that might help with the clue:

Maybe you may see that the first two pictures show the same thing: a stopper for the shutters, to stop the strong wind constantly blowing from the sea from slamming our shutters in (that is when the hard-face gentleman is on top). To set the shutters loose, before closing them you have to turn the gentleman down revealing the nice-looking lady. Then you may close the shutter. This is shown on the picture above, though from a bit far I know. I really liked how the Italians solve even this everyday task in such an esthetic and witty way. It was quite common that if we payed attention we could discover really small but beautiful details wherever we went.
We loved living in Naples, and on such cloudy gray days we miss it maybe even more. Someday I will tell about it more.

January 18, 2009

In Recovery

My whole family got beaten down in the same time by some kind of a virus (according to our doctor), high fever, stomach ache and other similar “bonuses”. We were just laying around our living room, could barely move at all. Now we’re coming out of it though, getting better.

Of course we stricted ourselves to complete diet, and all we did was just sit in front of the television and watch movies. Finally we had time to watch a lot of movies together. It would have been better if we were healthy though, but since we saw good movies, it was totally bearable.

Die Hard and Die Hard 2 (I have two men in the family, though I like these movies too) and some other comedies before and after, like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or Music and Lyrics (Hugh Grant already showed his amazing dance moves (dazzling hip actions) in Love Actually, but I think he managed to top that in this one )

And it was nice to hear them sing as well:

Before we saw some episodes of the fantastic British comedy series “You Rang, M’Lord?” however we finally started watching them in order on DVD, one after another. It is a funny and interesting series, we like it a lot. 

We saw quite a lot funny and exciting movie together, and when the guys went to sleep I stayed up and watched a french movie called Palais Royal. It has a special atmosphere, I liked it a lot. I’ve known since the movie “Amélie” that we should be watching more french movies, because they are all very good – like the old ones from the past.

January 11, 2009

Looking Back II. – Home Blessing

My cousin and his family have a little farmhouse in a small village in the northern part of Hungary close to the border.
When they bought this house it was ruinous condition, however since then they’ve been working a lot to rebuild and build on an extension to it. The work hasn’t been finished yet, but it is coming on well. When they first set their eyes on the old building in a romantic and prolific garden.

And here it is today.

And this is a bonus picture for you guys: a printed–painted pattern calendered with a rubber roller on a white basic that came out during the dismolition–excavation. Unfortunately the condition of the plaster was so bad that it was impossible to save the original pattern, so only a picture of it will remain for the posterity.

Even though we cannot visit my cousin and his family in their farmhouse so often that we would like to, we always spend good time there together. At the end of the garden there is a babbling creek on which their ducks with noisy gaggling swim about in all the summertime (they are always really cute). Over the creek there is a small forest just beginning.

Because they are running a second household there, for Christmas and other family occasions we often give them presents that suit for their little farmhouse and they can also use them there (for example self-made tablecloth or bedclothes).
For this Christmas we figured that it would be nice if I made a Home Blessing for them.

In the usual old Hungarian farmhouse there was always a Home Blessings on the wall. As far as I know it is also used by other nations, however when I googled on the Internet I found the Irish people have a bunch of Home Blessings with different texts. In Hungary the text is always the same with only some difference in the design at most. Of course the Home Blessing is almost always embroidered with all the regions having their own style and pattern. This is the text in English:

Home Blessing
Where belief is, there is love
Where love is, there is peace
Where peace is, there is blessing
Where blessing is, there is God
Where God is, there is no dearth.

This Home Blessing embroided in Kalocsa style (pronunciation: Kalocha). It is a traditional Hungarian embroidery named after the town of Kalocsa, where it originated. "Writing women" in this town on the Danube in Southern Hungary draw their designs on white or pastel colored fabrics. Daisies, marigolds, cornflowers, poppies, lilies, tulips and roses furnish the colorful motifs.

This is another example made with “written embroidery” from Kalotaszeg. Kalotaszeg is located in
Transylvania between the River Körös and the River Kalota. The “written embroidery” is made on homespun canvas with thick cotton thread which is red, blue, black or white monochrome colored. Its motifs come from the nature: tulip, marjoram, poppy, apple and pear. 

I’ve found a nice Webpage which is about a Transylvanian village in Hungarian language, you could find further embroideries there: 


So back on the subject of my Home Blessing. In my cousin’s farmhouse there are old and traditional furniture, stuff supplemented with some modern ones. So I did not choose a fancy and complicated embroidery, but based on a
„blue-dyeing” (Hungarian „kékfestő”) cotton I made a relatively simple structured Home Blessing.

I embroidered the text with my sewing machine. It was the first time that I used it for that so I suffered a lot with it. But I didn’t give up and finally I finished with it, and it turned out to be just as I’ve imagined.

The „blue-dyeing” (Hungarian „kékfestő”) with blue and white color patterns are typically Hungarian cotton fabrics. Here are a few sites (the first one is 
English-written) about them.

Have fun looking around!

January 8, 2009

Looking Back I. – Skirts of Little Fairies

I had written before Christmas that even though I sew a lot, I couldn’t really show my works, because they would be presents.
By now all the people got their presents, so I will not ruin any surprises if I show a few. (Not all because during the big sewing madness I didn’t have time/mood/sunlight to take picture of all of them.)
So. My sister has two beautiful daughters, two little fairies. They are both going to kindergarten. Zsóka is the older of the two, she learns to ballet and she is very good in it. Maja is smaller, but she likes to dance as well. I think all the fairies with dancing feet deserve a real twirly princess/fairy/ballet skirts, so I sew those for Them.

I used two layer (believe it or not, that was my husband’s idea) of thin and silky fabric, from which I cut whole circles. They were enough big so that I could wrinkle the waist of the skirt for the nicer twirl. An elastic band pulls it together even more (they became a bit too large for the children, so my sis will have to pull the elastic band tighter at the waist).

When I trimmed and folded the bottom the fabric stretched a bit, but maybe it was even better this way, as it gave an even more loose falling to the skirts.

I got quite used to the 100% cotton, so it was weird and hard to work with such slippery fabric that tends to get threadbare (it had been long since I used so many pins!).

But eventually I did finish with the skirts, and the girls liked them a lot! They didnt get out of them the whole day, and even more, my sis told me on the phone that they were wearing them in the next couple days as well. I am very glad that they like their skirts so much!

About the pictures: if you ever tried to take a picture of two constantly moving, twirling and whirling little girls, than you might understand why the pictures turned out the way they taken.

Additionally because they are so beautiful girls, I’ll add the two pictures that their father made from them at a summer wedding in the last year, where they had an important task (Zsóka sprinkled the rose petals, Maja was carrying the rings) so they looked very ceremonial. (And they were slow enough to take good pictures. )