Dutch Orange

My friend Caroline is South African by birth, Dutch by heritage and American by citizenship. She is a sweet blend of European beauty and African fun. I used the March In Stitches project to fuel my creativity for a gift for her birthday this week.

After a bit of research, I found out the Dutch were responsible for turning the common carrot orange. Carrots used to be purple and red and all sorts of different colors. In honor of the House of Orange (and in all fairness, this is where my knowledge of Dutch history gets a bit shaky), some crafty Dutch dudes changed the color of the common vegetable so all Europeans would think Dutch and orange when getting their beta carotene. And this all happened in the 1700s. Go figure.

I’d wondered why Dutch soccer stadiums are always full of orange crazies. Now I kind of get it. One of Caroline’s favorite sweets is carrot cake. Do you see the theme brewing?

Caroline's birthday gift

A Dutch-inspired clutch, mini tulip carrot cakes and an orange Dutch/African card.

when your purse matches your couch

I had been saving this soft orange floral fabric for just the right project. I love the way the clutch seems so demure…

Dutch-African clutch

When really it is just hiding a loud, happy African party inside. I bought this navy/red/orange print in Mozambique. Makes for a perfect lining.

cvid detail

To fit with the In Stitches theme for March, my adaptation to the pattern is this wrist strap, embroidered with Caroline’s initials.

Carrot cake tulips


The bag is Dutch on the outside, African on the inside. Just like Caroline.


40 Replies to “Dutch Orange”

  1. Great clutch! Love its dual personalities… and the emboidery on the strap.

    My fabric is cut and ready for sewing… maybe tonight!

  2. Ack – I love the whole thing!! You’ve kicked the whole “theme gift” idea up a notch, what with the research and all. The African lining is such a stunning foil to the quieter exterior of the clutch; I congratulate you on being able to part with such a fine piece of fabric. 🙂

  3. I am so envious of your baking/crafting time. Le sigh. That clutch is ADORABLE!!!! And the goodies look delish.

    Are you going to make it out to Mesa for knitting this weekend darlin’?

  4. I LOVE that interior fabric – it is so fun. And so orange! What a fabulous gift, too. Carrot cakes – yummy! I’m hoping to post successful photos of this clutch project soon. Just a few more details…

  5. carrot cake and a dutch clutch!? wowie. i’m still super envious of your poolside-reading. can’t get that out of my head. i’m so bummed that i’m not poolside. and kind of jealous of you, actually.

  6. What a great gift! I love the clutch, the simple white with the orange accent and the lining is fab.

    Oh also like the dutch-orange lesson!

  7. Awesome Kelli. I love the WOW factor when you open the clutch. You’re a great friend. And you’ve given me a great idea for a friend who’s an orange fanatic.

  8. What a fabulous present for your fabulous friend!! Hubby’s family is Dutch and orange and blue are a big hit with that crowd!!!

  9. I’m going to have to investigate Carrots of Another Color. Sounds like something I need to try growing. 🙂

  10. That’s a SPECTACULAR clutch! I love how it’s so soft and sweet on the outside, but wild and zany on the inside. Perfect! And hey, I never knew that about carrots … good to know. 🙂

  11. Love the theme, love all the goodies, love the history lesson! You’re a triple threat, sweetie!

    (and who knew about the carrots? Not I! It’s funny, I like carrots well enough. I like purple well enough. I’m just not sure that I’d like either of them as well if they were put together….

    I know “a rose by any other name blah blah blah…” – but I can’t help but thinking that those lovely carrot cakes would come out looking muddyish if carrots were blue…)

  12. How thoughtful of you to research the Dutch like that! And so interesting. I adore the clutch…especially the wild lining! And oh how I wish I had some carrot cake right now 🙂

  13. You are such an inspiration to be a better gift giver. You don’t just give a gift for the sake of doing so, you give an extra special from the heart gift!

  14. What a fabulous gift! I love the clutch…I loved the touch of orange on the outside and then the suprise lining made me gasp! You are an amazingly talented woman. I went to Hope College in Holland, Michigan…our colors were orange and blue but never heard anything about the carrot/orange and Dutch connection. Thanks for taking the extrordinary to an even further extreme! I too an off to have carrot cake! xoxox

  15. All I can say is I have seen the Dutch Football Team in action and they’re the one’s I always pull for…

    Hup Oranje Hup!!!

  16. i love the bag! i had no idea that the dutch had such a connection with my favorite color. perhaps that’s why i love holland so much? 🙂
    and hello, those carrot cakes? super super cute! your mini-tulip pans have me convinced at last, you *are* june cleaver 🙂

  17. What a lovely gift, Kelli. And I learned something in the midst! I too love carrot cake (doesn’t everyone?)

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