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.