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

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Busy and Busier




This time of year always seems to be exceptionally busy. After all the outdoor fall work and a few weeks hiatus in November, things seem to swing into "full speed ahead" with Christmas looming. As you can guess from my rather spotty presence here lately, I've been busy just simply "getting stuff done." Find a new Doctor. Check. Annual checkup. Check. Mammogram and bloodwork booked. Check. Vet appointments and vaccinations for the kitties. Check. Register "change of ownership" for both kitties with the companies they are chipped to. Check. Start Christmas shopping. Check. Pack and send Christmas box for Laura and family. Check. Sort, box and deliver unused Christmas decor to Value Village. Check. Decorating done except for family room tree. Check.... On and on it goes. I have done some sewing, but as it is all for Christmas, I cannot show you yet. (You will see it eventually, I promise.) Next big job is the Christmas letter and cards - that's #1 on my to do list for the next few days.





Meanwhile, I've been doing some stitching in the evenings. The current project is also a gift so you won't see it until after the 25th, but here is a small one I finished a few days ago. I started it last year (or was it the year before?) got it about 95% finished, then set it aside. So it didn't take more than an hour or so to finish up, attach the tiny buttons, and deliver it to the framer. I took it in on Sunday afternoon and had it back on Monday! How's that for great service! It's a Lizzie Kate design, #Q07 in the Quick-it series. I enjoy working her designs, they are always well charted and easy to follow. (I have done this one before so you may remember it, gave it to a friend.) Here's another LK Christmas one I did a few years back - so cute!


Through late October and into November I was working on a Hallowe'en piece; seems silly to be showing it to you now, with Hallowe'en long past, but here's my progress so far, roughly half done. It was a Mystery Sampler a few years ago, done in three parts, also by Lizzie Kate. It'll be put aside now, as I have a few small winter pieces I want to do, but hopefully you'll see it next fall all finished and framed.

What's keeping you busy these days? Are you doing any Christmas stitching?

Peace,
Linda

'Tis the season to be jolly....

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

On My Bookshelf

It's been a while since I've done a book review, and I'm more than a few behind. I finished this book recently, in between two Louise Penny books. Cane River by Lalita Tademy is an Oprah's Book Club pick. I often find many of Oprah's choices quite "dark" but not so with this one. It is a well written family saga of four generations of women, all born as slaves, somewhat reminiscent of Arthur Haley's Roots. Although a work of fiction, the characters are real. Tademy left the corporate world as a vice president with Sun Microsystems to research her genealogy and write this novel based on her ancestors on a Creole plantation on the banks of the Cane River in Louisiana. Here, Elisabeth, Suzette, Philomene and Emily (Tademy's great grandmother) endured a difficult and often brutal existence at the hands of their white masters. Tademy combines meticulous historical "reconstruction" with wonderful storytelling to bring their lives to life on the page, stories which were not always pleasant. These four women of great strength and perseverance were each determined to see the next generation do better, always with the hope and dream of freedom. The addition of actual photos of her ancestors and legal documents enhance the story. 4.5 stars out of 5 from this bookworm.

Peace,
Linda

"The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it." ~ James Bryce

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Many Faces of Noah

It's time for another update on little Noah. Well actually, he's not so little. At four months now, he weighs over 18 pounds! Looks like he's going to be a big boy!



He loves sticking out his tongue!!


(Although I have watermarked these two photos, photo credit goes to Mommy, Laura Cooper.)


It was wonderful to have Noah (and his parents too of course) here in October for a visit. I did take "a few" photos during that two weeks. We enjoyed lots of walks in the fresh air. He loves being in his wrap or carrier.





















Walks in the stroller were fun too! If it was cool, we bundled up and he often went to sleep quickly... (Wish I could fall sleep that quickly and easily!)



Of course, part of the fun of having a baby around is trying to capture all their different facial expressions...



Yep, I DO think my new grandson is a cutie....

Photo credit: Laura Cooper

Okay, it looks like we're done....

"NO more photos Mom!"    Photo credit: Laura Cooper
I am linking to Mosaic Monday. Please drop by there to see other awesome mosaics by the participants.

Peace,
Linda

Having a baby is a life-changer. It gives you a whole other perspective on why you wake up every day.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

On My Bookshelf

My love for Louise Penny and her mystery novels continues to grow and grow. I last wrote about her series here when I was finishing the fifth book in her series... I am now on the tenth. This fall I have read  A Trick of the Light, The Beautiful Mystery and How the Light Gets In, and am now well into The Long Way Home. I have read a few other books in between (yes, sadly, I am way behind on reviews here) but I just cannot stay away from this series. And as I have said before, each one gets better. (With each one I keep thinking she can't possibly get any better, and she keeps proving me wrong!) My favourite of these last three is definitely How the Light Gets In. I could not read the last hundred pages fast enough, all the while not wanting to reach the end because then it would be over.  :(
Again, I won't go into detailed plot summaries here, but the same cast of characters appear in each book, Chief Inspector Gamache and other officers of the Sûreté du Québec, and the colourful villagers of  Three Pines. Penny has a wonderful ability to "grow" each distinct character and with each novel we gain more insight into their personalities, their hopes and fears, their weaknesses and insecurities.
Three Pines artist Clara Morrow is a central character in A Trick of the Light, as she is finally having her solo art show at a Montreal gallery. She is on a "high" after such a successful opening, until an old friend is found murdered in her garden the next morning...
The Beautiful Mystery is one of only several in the series so far, that is not set in Three Pines. Rather, Gamache and Beauvoir are investigating a murder in an isolated monastery, deep in Quebec's wilderness. Two dozen Gilbertine monks live there in seclusion and silence, and one of their own has been murdered... by one of their own, it seems. Despite the secluded peaceful setting, there is a great deal of conflict in this novel, conflict among the Gilbertine Order, conflict between Gamache and his superior Francoeur, and conflict within Beauvoir as he unravels with a drug dependency...
How the Light Gets In returns to Three Pines just before Christmas when villager Myrna Landers reports that an expected guest has failed to arrive for the holidays. Gamache is intrigued when Myrna seems reluctant to reveal who her guest is, and agrees to stop by her Montreal home, where he finds her body. Although her murder and true identity are the main plot line, even more riveting is what is happening to Gamache. His elite team has been decimated, his right hand man Beauvoir has turned against him, and it seems evil in the department is going to bring Gamache down. Although Penny writes each of her novels as a "stand alone" you really owe it to yourself to read them in order, as the relationships between the Sûreté officers and the conflict in their department has been steadily building and it comes to a head in this novel. You'll get a lot more out of this book if you understand how they got to this point...
Maintaining momentum in a lengthy series is not easy but Penny has no trouble keeping her readers coming back for more. I for one am hooked, and bedtime is coming earlier each night as I head upstairs with book in hand...
 
Peace,
Linda

"There's a crack in everything.. that's how the light gets in." ~ from Anthem by Leonard Cohen.
RIP Leonard

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Christmas is Coming




For my local readers, a reminder that tickets are now available for the Fredericton Ladies Choir Christmas concert on Sunday December 11. The concert will be held at St. Dunstan's Church on the corner of Brunswick and Regent Streets and begins at 3 p.m. Doors open at 2:15. Tickets are $15. and make a thoughtful gift for someone who is hard to buy for.

We have worked hard to prepare a wonderful mix of sacred and secular Christmas music for your enjoyment. I guarantee we will put you in the Christmas spirit. I have tickets, or they can be purchased at Westminster Books on King, and there will be a limited number of tickets available at the door.







Peace,
Linda

"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air." ~ W.T. Ellis

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Shooting for the Moon


Like many, I was out last night trying to get photos of the "super moon." I quickly realized that a 300mm telephoto doesn't do much when we're talking about something that's thousands of miles away. However I had fun trying. This is the best shot I got, and with a little cropping it's not too bad for an amateur effort. I'd love to have a 1000mm telephoto, but I doubt that'll ever happen. I hope you saw the moon last night with your own eyes, that's always better than photos anyway!





I also got this silhouette of part of the downtown area while waiting for the moon to appear. This was taken from the walking bridge that crosses the river. These efforts do make me want to try more night photography, but that likely won't happen until our temps warm up again.

It is fun to try new things with the camera, that's how you learn...





Peace,
Linda

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." ~ Brian Littrell

Monday, November 14, 2016

FABulous Fall







It has been a fabulous fall weather-wise and the colour was spectacular. I am very behind on blogging, so far behind I may meet myself coming back! But even though most trees have now dropped their leaves and what colour is left is not as vibrant, I want to share with you some of my favourite images from Autumn 2016. I will no doubt do a few more posts with autumn photos once I do some more sorting and editing. For now... a few favourites. I am joining Mosaic Monday, hosted by Maggie at Normandy Life. This is my first time back at MM since Maggie started hosting. It feels good to be back. I hope to make it a regular occurence.













The maples were spectacular this year, almost beyond belief. After such a dry summer I did not expect the colours to be so rich and vibrant. It seemed that everywhere you looked there was another tree, more beautiful than the last.













There is so much variety of colour in the different species of maples. Some turn a brilliant yellow, others are yellow with orange tipped leaves. Some trees will be green, yellow and orange all at the same time, others will be yellow and red at the same time.












But without a doubt the most beautiful maple in my eyes is the maple that turns red, and many were truly scarlet this year. This old red maple is at the foot of my street. It is much older than I, and I marvel at its colour every year.
This photo really does not do it justice at all...












Look at the variety of colour... these are all maples.





















The berries are plentiful, perhaps the sign of  a hard winter ahead?




A few other random favourites to finish off....





This is the burning bush (Euonymus alatus) on our front lawn, before it turns totally red. I actually prefer it like this.















 Apples fallen on the back deck.


















Pumpkins and frost-bitten zinnia, definitely signs of autumn...


















I hope you'll stop by Normandy Life to visit  the other Mosaic Monday participants.


Peace,
Linda

"A tangerine and russet cascade of kaleidoscopic leaves, creates a tapestry of autumn magic upon the emerald carpet of fading summer." ~ Judith A. Lindberg

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lest We Forget



Once again Remembrance Day is upon us. We thank and honour our fallen war heroes, those still with us and those who presently serve our country. We owe them so much. It's also a day to think of peace.... world peace and peace within our nations.

REMEMBRANCE

Long ago and far away
across the ocean
wild and wide,
the young men stormed
an alien shore
where many of them died.
Here and now
old men remember
the valor and the gore,
and the boyish faces
of their youth
that are young for ever more
 

~ William Bedford 

Peace,
Linda

Freedom is never free.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Can't even begin to think of a title for today...

Like many of you, I'm sure, I am in shock today over the American election results. I don't even know what to say. How are you dealing with today's news? We all handle stress differently; I chose to spend time in the kitchen making a big pot of turkey soup. Soothing, calming comfort food. It won't help the situation much, but at least we'll feel better for a short while at suppertime.  :)
I'm also studying music for our upcoming Ladies Choir Christmas concert, and that got me to thinking about a piece we have performed in past concerts- Make Me A Channel of Your Peace, based on the prayer of St. Francis. I do my best to keep my blog free of political and religious views, but I think these lyrics might be appropriate for today when so many are feeling sad, angry, worried, despondent. Let us hope that as we go forward, the deep divisions among the American people will heal...

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is hatred let me bring your love
Where there is injury, your pardon Lord
And where there is doubt true faith in You

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is despair in life let me bring hope
Where there is darkness only light
And where there's sadness ever joy

O Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul

Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are  pardoned
It is in giving to all men that we receive
And in dying that we are born to eternal life

Praying for Peace,
Linda

Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

"Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future." ~ John F. Kennedy

And lastly, Jack Layton's wise words: "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear.  Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world."

God Bless America.         God Save America.           God bless us all.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Winding Down...

Fall is winding down. We have had a beautiful autumn with glorious colour, sunny warmer-than-usual days and lots of sunshine. I do love the fall colour but hate to think of what is to come next... I guess one should just appreciate each day and try not to look too far ahead to that nasty "W" word.
Since all our October company left, we have both been working hard to get all the outdoor chores done in preparation for "the next season".. I can't bear to say that "W" word yet...
So, I have planted all my new tulips and other spring bulbs, pulled out chopped and composted all the annuals, cut down all my perennial beds and covered them with leaves for their long winter sleep, emptied

all planters and a few other small jobs which I'm too tired to remember right now. The vegetable garden has been tilled. The end result.. I'm pretty much DONE. I can feel myself slipping into hibernation mode. (I think I'd make a good bear!) My studio beckons; I am anxious to get into a more creative mode and get working on some long overdue projects, both new and already in progress.

I am always sad to see gardening season end as I derive so much pleasure from my garden. Even as plants wither and die there is still a simple beauty to be appreciated, if one takes the time to look. Dark blue berries appear on the Virginia Creeper vines. Early frosts fade colour as flower petals wither, ferns curl and turn brown, hosta leaves yellow and wilt. The end of a season, end of a cycle. All is now prepared for the long winter sleep.

Peace,  
Linda

"Walked for half an hour in the garden. A fine rain was falling, and the landscape was that of autumn.
The sky was hung with various shades of gray, and mists hovered about the distant mountains - a melancholy nature. The leaves are falling on all sides like the last illusions of youth under the tear of irremediable grief. A brood of chattering birds were chasing each other through the shrubberies, and playing games among the branches, like a knot of hiding schoolboys. Every landscape is, as it were. a state of the soul, and whoever penetrates into both is astonished to find how much likeness there is in each detail." ~ Henri Frederic Amiel

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Hallowe'en!








Happy Hallowe'en from Noah! Isn't he just the cutest little bear?! Wouldn't you just love to squeeze those chubby little cheeks? At three months, he's a little young for trick or treating door to door, but one's never too young to dress up!




I hope you had some cute little trick-or-treaters at your door tonight...

Peace,
Linda

Ghosts and goblins, spooks galore,
Scary witches at your door
Jack-O-Lanterns smiling bright
Wishing you a haunting night!

Monday, October 17, 2016

The End Is Near...

The end is near... the end of gardening season, that is. There are still a few plants in bloom, but overall, things are winding down. The fall asters are at their peak as are the Japanese anemones and the toad lilies. There are still a few nigella (also known as Love in a Mist- isn't that a sweet name?) and a couple of very late poppies. It seems my first and last bloomers in the garden tend to purples and pinks... This is a short post, but I thought you might enjoy seeing these last few blooms...  the colours are quite a change from all the glorious yellows, golds and reds we are enjoying in the fall foliage.



Peace,
Linda

"Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers." ~ Veronica A. Shoffstall

Monday, October 10, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!







Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We have been so lucky to have beautiful fall weather and the leaves are turning their brilliant colours. I am a bit surprised, after such a dry summer, I thought maybe the colours wouldn't be as intense. I am so thankful to live in such a beautiful part of the world; there's nothing like a New Brunswick October! I'll have more fall colour photos soon.











I haven't been in blogland much lately as I've been busy getting prepared for Thanksgiving and a house full of family. Laura and family are home for two weeks, Mark and Maggie are home for five days as well, and Ian and Claire are here for two days. When you live in a quiet house with just we two ole farts and two kitties, seven extra people makes quite a difference! Claire at 3 has an abundance of energy... Noah hasn't been sleeping all that well, Laura and Dan both have colds... Yep, it's interesting! But it is so wonderful to have everyone here together. We are very thankful for a wonderful family. We feel very blessed!



Last night we had a yummy turkey dinner with all the fixins... We were so happy that Maggie's mother came from Moncton to join us and how lucky to have her to take a few family photos for us.  I think there's going to be a lot of this going on today..... Zzzzzzz....


Happy Thanksgiving from the Hubbard clan.




Peace,
Linda

One of the best gifts you can give someone is the gift of thanking them for being a part of your life.
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