STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Introducing....



We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for this extra special announcement! We have our first grandson! Yep, that's what that new blue header is all about. We're celebrating all things BOY....
Noah Osmond was born yesterday at 12:22 p.m. weighing in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces, and measuring 51 cm. (20") long. A healthy little bundle of boy. Osmond was my father's name.. he would be overjoyed... sure wish he was here to know this little great grandson.
He sure looks little, compared to Daddy's big hand!
I can't wait to meet him!

Peace,
Linda

"A new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities." ~ Eda J. LeShan

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Day Trip to Grand Manan Quilt Show

The Tidal Threads Quilt and Needlework Guild of Grand Manan recently held a show and since I have not been able to make it to their last few shows, I made it a priority to attend this one. A day trip to Grand Manan requires a bit of planning. It is wise to make a ferry reservation, as the ferry departs only once every two hours, and you must be in the departure compound a minimum of 45 minutes before

departure (or lose your reservation.) This meant leaving home very early in the morning, to catch the 9:30a.m. ferry. Sadly it was not a sunny blue sky day, but on the other hand it didn't rain and surprisingly there was no fog. Our crossing on the Grand Manan Adventure was smooth and before we knew it we were rounding North Head. Seeing the famous Swallowtail Light (lighthouse) as you swing around the point and into the harbour makes my heart smile...We had lunch at the delightful Café Bleu Marie before making our way to the show.
               
Here is a sampling of the spectacular quilts we saw... enjoy!



Knotty Bits by Nancy Estle

Detail of Knotty Bits by Nancy Estle

Blueberry Fields Forever by Martha Eaton. Quilted by Jill Lloyd

Whirlwind by Dawn Locke. Quilted by Jill Lloyd

Detail of Whirlwind by Dawn Locke

Nellie Jane by Dawn Locke. Quilted by Jill Lloyd

Migration by Nancy Estle

Gwendolyn by Mary Hawkins

Woven Runner by Leslie Daigle and Knit Doll by Freda Large

Wings Over Water by the TTQN Guild.  An original design.
This was their raffle quilt two years ago. One of my all time favourites.

Detail of Wings Over Water showing puffins on the Grand Manan basalt columns.
Wow! Just WOW!
I love Grand Manan and hope to get back later this summer for another visit. In my next post I'll share more photos from last year's GM visit which I never got around to showing... stay tuned...

Peace,
Linda

"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." ~ Maya Angelou

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Another Easy Salad

I'm sure I'm not the only one who often thinks what will I make for dinner? Something new and different than the usual fare.. something I can make with what I have on hand without a trip to the grocery store... I get tired of the "same old thing." I am very lucky to have a hubby who is not a fussy eater and he never complains about what is put in front of him at the dinner table. I am blessed that way. But every now and then I just want something different.
It seems I usually resort to some sort of a salad concoction on hot summer nights. So tonight I worked with what was in the fridge and came up with a pasta shrimp salad. I had a package of frozen cooked shrimp in the freezer and I like to use that sort of thing up quickly. So I cooked some penne and thawed the shrimp, chopped red pepper, celery, red onion, broccoli, shelled some fresh peas and tossed all the ingredients together. If I had had a can of pineapple chunks, or even some fresh pineapple, that would have been tossed in too. The dressing was a curried mayo- Miracle Whip flavored with lemon juice, soya sauce and curry powder. I didn't measure, but I would guess about 1/2 cup Miracle Whip, and 1 tsp. soya sauce, 1 tsp. lemon juice and several good dashes of curry powder. Do it to your own taste. I've always been a "taster" as I cook...
Top with some toasted almonds and serve up with some crusty rolls. Yummy, quick and easy. What's not to like?

Peace,
Linda

"Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music." ~ Julia Child


Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Voice of Experience

I have long believed that "experience is the best teacher." Don't you agree? We learn from both our failures and our successes. When we're younger, the older generation give us advice, and sadly we don't always listen. We think that advice doesn't apply to us. As we mature we come to realize that often that advice WAS good and perhaps we should have listened a little more carefully. And sometimes we learn the lesson "the hard way."
So today, dear readers, you have the opportunity to learn from my experience. And yes, you're about to get some good advice, so put on your listening ears!   :)
A few weeks ago, we learned a valuable lesson. We had a break-in, and were "relieved" of cash and jewelry. It was morning - somewhere between 9:20 and 10a.m. and we were both out of the house for a while. Yep, broad daylight! Talk about brazen! "He" forced open a locked casement window in our kitchen, climbed through the window and headed for our bedroom. It appears that he didn't touch anything else in the house... Just headed straight for the master bedroom where he rifled through closets and dresser drawers and found what he was looking for. Therein lies the lesson. If you keep cash in your house, DON'T keep it in your bedroom. I bet if you asked ten people where they keep extra cash, nine out of ten would say their sock drawer, or their undies drawer... and thieves know that! So find another "hiding place" folks! Look around, there are lots of good spots that you can access easily, but a thief in a hurry wouldn't think to look...
Lesson #2, take photos of your jewelry and other valuables. With digital cameras, it is a quick and easy thing to do... Print the photos or store them somehow that you can easily access them if you need to refer to them. Once your valuables are stolen, if you have no photos, you only have your memory to rely on for descriptions....  We are told to do this, for insurance purposes if nothing else, but how many of us have done it? Have you? And perhaps keeping your jewelry somewhere other than your bedroom dresser might be a good idea too....
So, be smart and take my advice. Thieves know "the bedroom" is most likely where they'll strike the jackpot. Don't make it easy for them if they decide to visit your house...
We have learned our lesson, the hard way!

Peace,
Linda

"A thief is a thief, whether he steals a diamond or a cucumber." ~ Indian Proverb

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Trying Something New... Always Refreshing

Just a few of the wool projects on display


A short while ago, my friend Lucy and I took a little jaunt out of town to join a group  of ladies for what they call "Wool Day." These gals recently developed a love for wool work and this informal group meets several times a year to get together and work on projects, share ideas and skills, etc. It is not limited to wool work as some are doing punchneedle, cross stitch, knitting etc. Some bring muffins to go with the morning coffee, and others bring lunch for all. There is a good deal of laughter and fun, and some even accomplish some work! It was a yummy day all around!

I was practicing my punchneedle skills which are definitely still at the beginner level, but really enjoyed just going around the room to see what everyone was working on. There are some very talented ladies in this group!









There were lots of finished projects on display for inspiration,  and several gals were happily giving demos... I had never seen this slick AccuQuilt machine cutting wool pennies. Quick and easy, and all exactly the same.  Almost made me want to try doing a penny rug....






Linda M gave us a wet felting demo, felting a cake of soap. This is not a great photo, but it shows Linda wrapping layers of wool fiber around the cake of soap.
Then it will be placed in a piece of pantihose, wet with water and rubbed against a surface to felt the fibers.










One kind soul was even willing to shed her knee highs for the cause! lol (You rock, Sue H!)

Kathy's dryer balls








Kathy B joined Linda in teaching Lucy and I how to make wool dryer balls. I had done machine felting with silk fiber before, but never dry felting by hand.  We started by winding wool roving into a tight ball. Next we covered it with more wool fibre to "smooth" the surface, felting it in with a barbed needle. The repeated jabs of the barbed needle tangle and compact the wool fibres. Then we created our sunflowers, by laying on the yellow and brown fibres and much more jabbing of the felting needle. The final step is to put the dryer ball in a length of pantyhose, or a knee high, and toss it into a hot water load of laundry, then into the dryer. The hot water and then the dryer shrinks and compacts the ball. It was fun to try something new... Will I make these for everyone on my Christmas list? Probably not, but glad I tried it!

Sue's beautiful wool appliqué
















Doreen's punchneedle chickadees in progress

























Thanks Kathy B for organizing this great day and including Lucy and I.


Peace,
Linda

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." ~ Joseph C. Pearce

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

One Baby Down, One To Go...





Last night we had a dear friend over for dinner. Louise, our children's "first teacher" ran a wonderful program for preschoolers and both Mark and Laura attended for two half days a week. (I guess that means we've been friends for 24 years now!) She taught them valuable lessons in co-operation, sharing, being kind and thoughtful of others and lots of other useful skills before they began kindergarten. We also had her stay with our children several times when we took short trips without them. We think of her as family. So I was thrilled when she told me earlier this year she was going to become a  grandmother this summer. Although her daughter-in-law was due after Laura, she beat us to it, becoming Grandma to a sweet little girl last week. Andi Louise was born a month early. (Our grandson is still taking his time.. no signs of action yet...)






So after dinner last night I was so happy to give Louise this little baby quilt and a burp pad. I told her they were for her, not the parents... to be kept at her place for Andi's visits... and she loved that idea!  You've seen the quilt before but here it is again.. it's about 36" square.










The burp pad was such fun to make from this cute baby print...


What about you? Any new babies in your family this summer?

Peace,
Linda

"A new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities."
~ Eda J. LeShan

Monday, July 11, 2016

On My Bookshelf

Hello again! It's high time I got back here... as one blogger friend put it, I've been "summer busy"... Lots to tell you about so stay tuned the next few days for some catch up. Today, another book review as I am so far behind with those...
Two Rivers by T. Greenwood is well-crafted. I like a story that "builds".. you know "something big is coming" but you can't figure out what... and then at the end, there's a twist.... This is such a book.
Here's what the book jacket has to say: "In Two Rivers, Vermont, Harper Montgomery is living a life overshadowed by grief and guilt. Since the death of his wife Betsy, twelve years earlier, Harper has narrowed his world to working at the local railroad and raising his daughter Shelly, the best way he knows how. Still wracked with sorrow over the loss of his life-long love and plagued by his role in a brutal, long-ago crime, he wants only to make amends for his past mistakes.
Then one fall day, a train derails in Two Rivers. and amid the wreckage Harper finds an unexpected chance at atonement. One of the survivors, a pregnant fifteen-year-old girl with mismatched eyes and skin the color of blackberries, needs a place to stay. Though filled with misgivings, Harper offers to take Maggie in. But it isn't long before he begins to suspect that Maggie's appearance in Two Rivers is not the simple case of happenstance it first appeared to be."
This is one of those "hard to put down" books... the characters, especially Harper, are well developed and I found it easy to identify with his struggles. The strong plot keeps the reader turning the pages, and the ending is a surprise. A story of love and loss, redemption and forgiveness. What more could a reader want?

Peace,
Linda

"I have lived a thousand lives and I've loved a thousand loves. I've walked on distant worlds and seen the end of time. Because I read." ~ George R.R. Martin

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day everyone! Today is Canada's 149th birthday! I say this every year, but this year more than ever, I am SO proud to be Canadian and to live where I do. As this crazy world just seems to keep getting crazier, as there is more unrest, more tension, and I hate to say it but more hate and prejudice towards our fellow man, I am proud to live in Canada. Our flag is recognized as a symbol of a peace-loving country and our troops are known as peace-keepers. Will we ever see world peace? I don't know...
What are you doing today to celebrate? Attending  a community  event? a parade? a picnic? fireworks? having a special meal with loved ones?  However you choose to celebrate this beautiful day (it's going to be  a mighty hot one here!) take a moment to stop and think about what it means to you to be a Canadian. It makes me very proud and thankful! I've travelled a lot and seen many beautiful places, many I'd like to return to, but there's no where else I'd want to call home. I love you Canada! Happy Birthday!!

PEACE!
Linda

PEACE is not something you wish for; it's something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away." ~ John Lennon 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

On My Bookshelf

The Piano Maker written by Kurt Palka is the suspenseful story of  Hélène Giroux, a widow with a mysterious past. Hélène arrives in a small town on the southwestern shore of Nova Scotia, well dressed and driving an elegant car, with all of her belongings in the backseat. It is clear from the outset that she is also carrying a secret... It is the winter of 1933 and after exploring St. Homais and finding an old Molnar piano in the local church, Hélène decides to make the small town her home. Her family manufactured Molnar pianos in France for three generations before the war, and she is thrilled to once again have a Molnar to play. As she tries to make new friends and fit into the local community by taking the job of pianist for the local parish, rumours and questions begin to surface. Where has she come from? What is in her past?
Palka has written a compelling story, keeping the reader engaged until the final page. He gradually reveals Hélène's difficult history, from her involvement in the family piano-making business and the loss of her soldier husband, to a relationship with a suitor/business partner which leads her on a journey with a fateful ending.When she is confronted by the local police, past and present collide and she must face her secret once again...
I thoroughly enjoyed this book; I thought it well written with attention to detail and imagery. It flows easily from present to past and I felt I knew Hélène, a character of great strength and courage. I'll be checking out another novel by Palka - has anyone read Clara?

Peace,
Linda

"I'm the kind of girl who fantasizes about being trapped in a library overnight." ~Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Saying Goodbye

Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere... but this is the final week for a favourite meme of mine and many of my blogging friends - Mosaic Monday. Judith at Lavender Cottage has hosted this weekly gathering for several years now and has decided it's time to pass the torch. Although I haven't been a regular participant lately, I certainly have enjoyed taking part and have made some wonderful blogging friends through the regular visits to each other's spaces.
Since the meme is still open for a few more hours I decided I should jump in too for the final hurrah! Someone has to be the last one to the party!! It seems I haven't been doing a lot of photography lately, so I thought I'd just look back through the archives and choose a few of my favourite mosaics from past posts. Hope you enjoy seeing them again... It's not difficult to see what my favourite topic is...














And last, but not least, my most favourite collage... photos from Kingsbrae Garden in St. Andrews NB, taken in July of last year.....


Thanks Judith (and Mary previously.)  It's been great fun!

Peace,
Linda

All you need in life to lift your spirit is to take a moment and  gaze at nature's beauty.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A New Favourite Dish

Who doesn't like a new recipe, especially when it's super quick and easy? You're in luck tonight as I have a "keeper" for you! This is a new favourite for us, first served to me by Mark and Maggie in Toronto a few weeks ago. It is originally a Buzzfeed recipe, so you may have already seen it. If not, here you go:

Garlic Chicken Pesto Pasta

1 Tblsp. canola oil
2 chicken breasts, sliced into 1/2" strips
2 Tblsp. garlic, chopped (I use a bit less)
generous sprinkling of salt and black pepper, freshly ground if you have it
3/4 cup cream (I use coffee cream, you could also use half milk and half cream)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup basil pesto
3 cups penne pasta, cooked and drained
*veggies of your choice - see below
optional garnish- parmesan and chopped fresh basil

*original recipe suggested 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved. I have used broccoli and mushrooms, at least a cup of each, but whatever veggies you like would work- asparagus, carrots, whatever floats your boat! I partially cook the veggies before adding them.

Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. Combine the chicken, garlic, salt and pepper, cooking until the chicken is browned. Stir often.
Add the cream, parmesan and pesto, stirring until well combined. Let bubble a few minutes until the sauce is reduced a bit.
Stir in veggies and penne, stirring until evenly coated. Remove from heat and serve, topped with parmesan and/or fresh basil as a garnish.
Yummy with warm crusty French bread and a salad.  Enjoy!
Serves 3-4.

Peace,
Linda

"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." ~ James Beard

Friday, June 17, 2016

Catching Up

I'm back! No excuses for the break... just busy! The weather these last two weeks has been rain, rain and yes even more rain. I can almost feel my Vit. D. level waning... Just kidding, but we are more than ready for some serious sunshine. Today was supposed to be sunny but it was minimal. I'm hoping the forecast for the next four days is accurate - lots of sun and warming temps. Bring. It. On.
Despite all the wet weather I have managed to get my vegetable garden planted (well mostly planted- the tomatoes and cukes aren't in yet).
My annuals are all in - snapdragons, zinnias, jolt dianthus, osteospurmum, geraniums, cosmos and cleome. I've added a few new perennials - a pink baby's breath, a shasta daisy and catmint. My glad bulbs are all started in flats, and the large bed of geraniums around the company sign is planted. Seeds for nasturtiums, poppies, nigella and bachelor buttons are in. And lastly my hanging pots, large planters at the front of the house and a new mandevilla are all in place and growing nicely.  So I'm feeling good! Now all we need is some warm sunny weather to get things moving along! With all the rain our property is lush and green, and I am thoroughly enjoying my daily feathered visitors- lots of chickadees, sparrows, goldfinches, hummers and yesterday a male cardinal.

Northern Lights, 103" x 101" by Mrs. Lloyd Kuepfer, for this year's auction
I have a few more photos to share with you from my Ontario trip. After time in Toronto, I headed to the Kitchener-Waterloo area to take in a bit of the Waterloo County Quilt Festival. I have always wanted to attend it, but the timing has never been right, so I was happy to find myself in Ontario during the right week this time! The Festival has many events in various locations, so I had to make choices as my time was very limited. I drove to St. Jacobs and despite the entire main street being torn up for construction, and a sudden downpour just as I arrived, I took in several displays. After a lovely chat with guest artist Kathy White


In Good Company IV , 100" x 102" by Pix Martin, for this year's auction.
of Stratford who had a solo exhibition of her contemporary fibre art, I also quickly toured displays by the Grand Guild of Fibre Artists, the Guelph chapter of the Canadian Embroiderers' Association and the Group of Eight, a collaboration of eight fibre artists with diverse styles and mediums.
The big event during the festival is on the weekend - the New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale and Quilt Auction. It is a huge event,  raising over $300,000.00 annually for the last 25 years. This year was the 50th year and although I could not stay for it, I did get to see a "preview." In the St. Jacob's Mennonite Church there was a display of some quilts destined for this year's auction as well as a number of quilts purchased at previous auctions. All the quilts shown in this post are from that exhibit. A few of the quilts from past auctions had interesting stories and I have included them for your reading pleasure...









Flowers for Lois, purchased in 2004 for $6,100.



Black and White and Teal All Over, purchased in 2013 for $2,000.
 Included in this display was the quilt which sold for the highest price in the history of NHMRS - $44,000. in 2003!! Kaleidoscope of Nations. the 2003 feature quilt, was appliqued and pieced by the Waterloo County Quilters' Guild and quilted by the ladies of the Listowel Mennonite Church.
Co-ordinated by Renske Helmuth, the quilt was designed to celebrate friendship and understanding. It was an incredible piece of work and my photos do not do it justice.




At the request of Renske Helmuth. the designer, fabrics from 40 countries were collected and used for the national costumes including bark cloth from Uganda, silk from Bangladesh, damask from Ireland, and caribou hide from Labrador.

You can view all of this year's auction quilts by clicking here.

Piece,
Linda

"Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present." ~ Albert Camus


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