Check Out My Beautiful New Wooden Shoes to Celebrate St. Nicholas Eve!

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My sweetie and I just got back from visiting the coolest shop!

Dutch American Market & Import in Beaverton, OR.

The whole purpose of the trip was to purchase a lovely pair of wooden shoes so I would be able to properly celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas this year.

But needless to say, things got a bit out of hand as my sweetie browsed the imported food aisles and I happily poked about among the shelves and shelves of Delft Blue pottery candlesticks, ornaments, dishes, canal houses, St. Nicholas figurines and of course wooden shoes.

I have come to the conclusion I am going to need more than wooden shoes and one Delft Blue Windmill ornament to celebrate my Dutch roots on December 5th!

And one of those things needed for the celebration is Edam and Gouda imported from Holland. We brought a big piece of aged gouda home with us but it will probably not last the week - certainly not til December.

The "Gouda" in the grocery stores - which I happen to like by the way - no comparison.

When I bit into the sample,  my mouth felt like it was tasting cheese for the first time.

Locals, you just have to visit! And go hungry because they have a lunch bar serving sandwiches featuring their lovely cheeses! Or you can just taste test the cheeses. Did you know there isn't just one Gouda??

And - did you know there are 32 kinds of Dutch licorice? Apparently licorice is a huge favorite in the Netherlands! My sweetie brought his share home - didn't even make it into the photo before it was sampled!

At the end of our visit, Joke, who helped us with our questions and purchases and whose heritage is Dutch East Indies, sat us down and served us complimentary Dutch coffee (in the most beautiful Delft Blue cups) and - get this - Speculaas windmill cookies!

I wish I could have taken every one of you with me.

They do have a web site here and will ship anywhere in the US. It is not yet set up to show the inventory but many, many items available are listed so, by all means, contact Hans or Lia Middelhoven. They are genuinely kind people who will be happy to assist.

If you are local, don't miss a visit with Joke. She will guide you through the food items from the Dutch East Indies.  We came home with both salty and sweet soy sauce (OMG) and packets of spices to be used in chicken and beef dishes and even one especially for green beans.

You might find the history of the Dutch East Indies interesting - I sure did.  Holland ruled the Dutch East Indies for 300 years before giving Indonesia it's freedom to self rule in 1948.  I found this story especially fascinating.

Now if you will excuse me, it is time for another piece of Gouda!

How I Supported the Crafty Blogiverse in April

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What could be a more perfect opening for this months post about supporting inhabitants of the crafty blogiverse?

My Mother's Day gift from Diane. A fabulous brooch designed and created by Odile Gova. She creates beautiful wearable works of art from zippers and felted reclaimed sweaters she finds at thrift stores.

Vintage Stylin' On Mother's Day

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My Mother, Julieanne. Beautiful isn't she? I think she looks like a movie star in this photo.

I thought because Mother's Day is upon us and because there seems to be so much interest among us in everything vintage, I would share a few images of the stylin' women who have been and are a big part of my life.

All The Pieces Have Come Together.

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Be sure if you haven't read this yet, do so now! "Thank You Craft Bloggers and Wordpress" an update containing very good news posted on Zencrafting.

About The Felted Bag. I Need Help Please.

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Now that my bag is only a few more drying days away from "finished", and before I begin "bag #2" which I am making for my MIL for Christmas, I would appreciate some help so I don't make the same mistakes!

Don't misunderstand - I LOVE my new felted bag.  There are just a couple things I would like to do better on bag #2!

I followed the instructions given in Susie Johns' The Felted Bag Book for her "Juliet" purse. And for the most part the instructions were clear and well written and beautifully illustrated. A good thing for a newbie like me!

There are so many really gorgeous bags included among the pages, I - the gal that never carries a bag - will most likely just have to make two or three more! LOVE her bags!

I would have liked instructions for joining the garter stitch fabric, but otherwise, the instructions were very thorough. The only disappointment - the strap is a bit too long and too wide and the edges uneven.

The wool I used - Brown Sheep Company Lamb's Pride worsted 85%wool and 15% mohair. I chose this wool because it is supposed to be especially well suited to felting. Oh and I used #10 1/2 needles as suggested in the pattern.

For the most part, all went well. But I have a few questions I just know some of you out there can answer!

1. Does anyone know of a good online tutorial that teachs how to seam together two pieces of garter stitch fabric. I tried Ravelry and google searches and I just can't seem to find one. Millions of tutorials for joining stockinette stitch fabrics.

Obviously, I got the pieces together. It is being felted after all,  so almost any reasonable facsimile would do I suppose, but I was hoping for some practice on something that doesn't matter so much.

2. I used a top loading washer for the felting process. I actually ran the bag through twice because the straps just were not felting. The bag felted beautifully - the fibers so densely packed it will haul a ton of bricks! But,  I ended up having to felt the straps by hand.

Why was this necessary? Why didn't the strap felt in the machine?

3. If you look closely, you can see long fibers on the surface. I am thinking that this is the mohair? Except that this stringy appearance did not appear on the surface of the inside of the bag. So - should I be felting my bags wrong side out?

The long stringy fibers did not occur on the hand felted strap either.

4. If I have to felt the strap by hand again, any tips for keeping the edges even?

For the second bag, I am using Cascade 220 - 100% wool worsted weight. I understand it felts well. Anything I need to know?

Thank you in advance for your help.

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