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

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Input Please...

Here it is - my "Not Quite Civil Pineapple" miniature. Right now, it measures 8.75" square. The blocks finish at 2.75". I can't decide whether to add borders or not - what would you do? Would you just leave it as is, or add a border or two? Decisions, decisions... The next thing, of course will be how to quilt it? All suggestions and input welcomed....

Piece!
Linda

"Indecision may or may not be my problem." ~ Jimmy Buffett

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Another Student's Quilt

It's sunny and HOT again today (insert happy dance here), and I have to get outside for a while and do some work in my veggie garden. We've had far too may wet or overcast days lately so I just have to get out and enjoy some rays and stock up on Vitamin D! But when I come back in, I'll be finishing up the assembly of my little Pineapple blocks. I finished nine blocks, and have them all together in rows so now just have to join the rows. I'm still debating on whether to add any borders or whether to just bind it borderless as is often done with Pineapple quilts. I promise a photo as soon as it is together and you can give me your opinion re. border or not...

In the meantime, here is another student's miniature quilt from the class I taught in N.S. in April. This is Anne's third Mini resulting from my class. She really liked my blue and green Spool and Bobbin quilts so I drew out the block for her and here is her version. Well done Anne!!! Her mini is 10.5" square and she has used two different pink batiks. I hope you'll leave a comment and tell Anne how great her miniature looks!

Okay, I'm off to the garden. The tomatoes are calling for attention...

Piece!
Linda

"Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment." ~ Thomas Carlyle

Saturday, August 23, 2014

It's a Winner...

Each time I read Susanna Kearsley's writing, I become a bigger fan. I have read four of her novels now, and you can be sure I'll be reading more. Mariana is my latest, and I loved it just as much as The Winter Sea, The Rose Garden and The Firebird. From the book jacket: "Julia Beckett believes in destiny. When she moves into Greywethers, a beautiful sixteenth-century farmhouse, she suspects that more than coincidence has brought her there. The locals are warm and welcoming, especially the eligible squire of Grafton Hall, yet beneath the ordinariness, Julia senses a haunting sadness about her new home. Then she learns of Mariana, a beautiful young woman who lived there three hundred years ago. It seems history has been waiting for Julia..."
Yes, once again Kearsley has written a story that draws you in right from the very first page, involving the reader in the community and character's lives. I wanted to live in Wiltshire. I wanted to know Julia and her brother Tom, Vivien the local pub owner and Iain the Scottish gardener. I could clearly picture the village and its inhabitants and just wanted to join them for a pint and a chat at the Red Lion pub! Kearsley has a way of bringing a story and setting to life that it seems 100% real. Her characters are so well developed, the plot well thought out and the twist at the end was both delightful and bittersweet at the same time. Julia's time travel back to the seventeenth century to explore the life of  Mariana Farr is seamlessly woven into her current daily life in the English countryside. It is very easy to see why Mariana won the Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize. This book has it all- romance, mystery, great characterization and good plot, wonderful description and an unexpected ending. Bravo!
How many times do you finish a book and say to yourself- "That's a keeper" or "I want to read it all over again"? I found myself immediately going back and re-reading some sections, and although this copy belongs to the library, I'll be keeping an eye out for a copy for my own shelves. Yes, I am a BIG Kearsley fan.

Peace,
Linda

"I have always been a reader. I have read at every stage of my life, and there has never been a time when reading was not my greatest joy. I still believe in stories. I still forget myself when I am in the middle of a good book. Books are for me, it must be said, the most important thing."
~ Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale

Friday, August 22, 2014

Progress Report

Just a very short "progress report" on the current Miniature that's underway. My friend Sandi gave me a bag of strips last week,  left over from a project she's working on. Most were 1" wide, some a little less.  They were light neutrals and darks- a mixture of colors, but not my usual choices. They are not Civil War repro's, but close. Sandi calls them "not quite civil". Since the strips were quite narrow, I decided they'd be perfect for a Miniature, and after some consideration, I thought I'd try a Pineapple. So far I have 5 blocks done, hope to have a sixth done before beddy-bye tonight. There are 49 pieces per block, so they do take a little time... Here they are pinned up on my design wall. The blocks will finish at 2.75" sq. My original thought was 16 blocks, but now I'm thinkin' 9 might do... We'll see....
Sorry the photo is not the best.. taken indoors. The next one will be outside and better light/colour...
I think I'll call it my "Not Quite Civil Pineapple"....

Piece!
Linda

"He that can have patience can have what he will." ~ Benjamin Franklin


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kings Landing and This and That...

 It was so nice to see "good" news on the front page of our local newspaper last week. Our beloved
Kings Landing Historical Settlement is finally getting a good amount of money (3.8 million, both federal and provincial) to repair the mill and dam which have been closed the last few years. Flooding in 2010 damaged the wooden dam and undermined the mill's foundation. The funds will allow replacement of the dam, repair of damage to both the sawmill and gristmill structures and replacement of the walkway atop the
dam. 


The aging timber crib work and rock filled dam has been advancing about 8 inches per year. Many of the timbers are rotten and/or broken. The walkway atop the dam has been removed for safety, and the spillway atop the water wheel has also been removed as it was being pushed over the wheel. The sawmill is an iconic element at Kings Landing but also a symbol of our province's history, in which the lumber industry played such an important part. There will be much celebrating, I'm sure, when all is repaired and the sawmill and grist mill re-open. After all, the KL mill is one of the most photographed scenes in Canada! Great news, for sure!









Have you been to Kings Landing yet this year? I have only been once, but do plan at least one fall visit. I visited in mid July with a friend whose grandson was a Visiting Cousin. It was such fun to follow Teighin around as he and the other "cousins" went about their day. Here are a few photos from our visit.







School's out! The Cousins head off for lunch.
















Lunch at the Morehouse home.















Teighin "Morehouse"

















The Morehouse herb and vegetable gardens















Someone's been busy haying....




















Of course no visit to Kings Landing is complete for me without a visit to the Ingraham garden. So beautiful, anytime during the summer. The delphiniums were at their peak that day... one of my favourite flowers...














I was very saddened, as was all the world, by the news of the death of Robin Williams. Such a loss, he was so very talented. I'm sure Billy Crystal will give him a fine tribute at next week's Emmy's. I have been enjoying some of my favourite Robin Williams movies on tv this last week- Mrs. Doubtfire is my all time fav, followed closely by Good Morning Vietnam and Patch Adams. What is your favourite Robin Williams movie?

And speaking of not-to-miss movies, make sure you catch The Hundred-Foot Journey. A great story and so well acted. Click here to watch the trailer. I enjoyed it so much I just might go see it a second time.

I'm working away on several new Miniatures; tomorrow I'll give you a sneak peek of the little Pineapple I have underway...

Peace,
Linda

"A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions."
~  Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hey Ho, Hey Ho, Off to the Quilt Show...

On Friday my friend Barb and I headed "stateside" - yep we braved the lineup at the US border (25 minutes to get across first thing in the morning - why do I always seem to pick the slower moving line?) to attend the Friends and Needles Guild's quilt show in Houlton, Maine. It's been a couple of years since I've been to this annual show, and I was pleased to see they have found a new venue. The Education Centre was brighter and more spacious than their previous venue, however most of the quilts are hung in hallways so it was not easy to get good photos. I did not take many photos, but will happily share the few I did get.
It was a nice little show- some beautiful quilts, a lovely raffle quilt and a silent auction, a Guild Challenge and vendors! It's not easy to do a show every year, especially when your guild is not terribly large, so hats off to these gals. I always enjoy a show that goes that extra little step to add some interest to the show with "decor". This show is graced with the most beautiful bouquets of wildflowers - and not just a few bouquets- many! There had to be more than 20. They were gorgeous! Did I take any photos of the bouquets? No... duhhhh!! Sorry! You'll just have to believe me. I understand this is the undertaking of one member- and what a talented lady she is! I overheard her telling someone that most of the flowers she picked along the roadside - well I'd like to know what road she lives on, because she had such a wonderful variety - everything from cattails and rushes, berries and ferns to black-eyed Susans, Queen Anne's lace, goldenrod, and many more. Some were garden flowers as well- coneflower, hosta, phlox, etc.  Many of the arrangements co-ordinated colourwise with the quilt they were placed by. I hope the guild is lucky enough to hold on to this member for a long while- she is one valuable lady to the Quilt Show Committee!! She's a "keeper" for sure!! I wish I had noted her name...

 In my haste and excitement to get some photos of the quilts before the hallways got too crowded, I missed getting the name of one quiltmaker and the name of two quilts. I apologize - I always make a point of giving credit to each quiltmaker as I feel this is important  and some bloggers do not bother to do this.
This is the first quilt we saw upon entering the show. This is one of several that resulted from a Guild workshop taught by Kim Hazlett. It is always interesting to see different pieces from the same pattern or workshop, and see how the colour or fabric choices and the quilting design make them all unique. This one is made by Gayle Cyr (trusting my memory  and hoping I have her name correct) and quilted by Jan Frost.









Here is another from the same workshop. This quilt,
54" square, was made by Mary Anne Stewart and quilted by Anne Freeman. The design/pattern called Golden Harvest, is by Judy and Brad Niemeyer. Beautiful! I haven't seen a Niemeyer pattern yet that I didn't like!

















I'm sure I'm not the only quilter who is drawn to the quilts made in her favourite colours... Most of you know I am a big blue fan! So how could I not love this quilt- my photo really doesn't do it justice- it is done in rich deep blues and navys, and the lights included soft blue-greys and golds. This is one that I didn't get the complete info on. I know it was made by Kim Hazlett, and I'm guessing it was quilted by Jan Frost, but I don't have the complete title- I know it was Japanese...something.











Isn't that a lovely quilting design?














The next quilt that really caught my eye was yet another Judy Niemeyer design called Confetti, and not surprisingly it was made by Kim Hazlett. Kim made this 55" x 68" quilt for the guild's "30 Something" Challenge to celebrate their 30th anniversary. The quilt contains 30 colourways and over 90 different batik fabrics.




Oh yummy... such batik beauty!!

Upon entering the show we were handed ballots to vote for two Viewer's Choice winners, large and small. We were also to pick favourites in the 30 Something Challenge. This one got my top vote!   :)









Here is yet another beauty pieced by Kim Hazlett and quilted by Jan Frost, this one is called In A Pickle. The pattern is by Larisa Key and is available here. The quilt measures 57" by 64".
Each time I attend the Friends and Needles Guild's show, I am always drawn to Kim's quilts. Her workmanship is impeccable and we have the same tastes in colours and fabrics. I think I have to meet this lady!



























Lastly here is a lovely scrap quilt made by Sandra Troutt and quilted by Amy Shannon. Sandra called it Pick and Mix. What a great name for a scrappy project! I'm sure she had lots of fun going through her scraps and making choices of what to put together. It's a simple design - just four patches and half square triangles.

I hope you've enjoyed this brief look at "Celebrating Thirty Years of Quilts and Friendship", the 30th anniversary show by the Friends and Needles Quilt Guild of Houlton Maine.

Piece!
Linda

Quilters know all the angles...

Friday, August 15, 2014

More Summer Reading...

If you enjoy the occasional "light summer read" like I do, you are probably familiar with author Elin Hilderbrand. Her Summerland does not disappoint. Set on Nantucket Island, as most of her books are, this is a story of love and loss, grief and healing, and the complicated relationships between teens and their parents.
The story begins with graduation ceremonies at Nantucket High, followed by the traditional grad party afterwards, a bonfire on the beach. But the celebratory night ends in tragedy as four of Nantucket High's finest students are involved in a car crash which leaves the driver dead and her twin brother in a coma. The other two passengers are unhurt, but tormented by what has happened and why. Why did Penny, who had not been drinking, crash the car, and what happened in the dunes before she got behind the wheel?
Zoe, the twin's widowed mother, faces an unthinkable future without her daughter Penny who she has been so close to, and a long recovery period for her son who had been a star athlete with a promising  future. Penny's boyfriend Jake cannot imagine his life now, with his girlfriend/soulmate dead and parents who are unhappy in their marriage. His mother Ava longs to return to her homeland of Australia while his father Jordan is dedicated to life on Nantucket where his family has run the newspaper for generations. It seems the accident has affected everyone and no one has answers...or is there one person who knows what happened just before the crash? What does Demeter Castle know? She was with Penny in the dunes just before the fateful drive....
Summerland is a compelling read, I found it hard to put down - the "chapters" are not too long so it's very easy to read "just one more" before turning out the light. Although it jumps around a bit from present to flashbacks, I did not find it hard to follow. The characters are so well developed, you feel you know them as well as your own long time neighbours, and the descriptions of  the Nantucket landscape are vivid and real. Hilderbrand's writing style is easy to read. This book offers romance, drama, and relationships aplenty- teen relationships and all their secrets, adult relationships and their infidelities, and dysfunctional family relationships - lots of those! A great summer read: 5/5.

Peace,
Linda

"I never understood people who don't have bookshelves." ~ George Plimpton

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

App is for Appetizer

Do you have basil growing in your herb garden? Are you looking for ways to use it up? If so have I got a recipe for you!! This is so tasty - and good for you too! A yummy appetizer before dinner or a barbeque, or to take to someone's cottage...

Bruschetta

1 cup creamy ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mild chevre cheese
green onion and fresh basil, chopped
Mix the cheeses together and add chopped green onion and chopped fresh basil, to taste.

2 1/2 cups chopped Roma tomatoes
8-10 sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 or 3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tblsp. red wine vinegar (last time I used balsamic and it was equally good)
2 Tblsp. olive oil
dash of salt and pepper
Mix all together.

Spread cheese mixture on small slices of fresh baguette, top with tomato mixture. Serve. SOOO good!!
Refrigerate if there are any leftovers (keeps several days, but I bet it won't last that long.)

Peace,
Linda

"Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors. It's how you combine them that sets you apart." ~ Wolfgang Puck

Monday, August 11, 2014

Another Wedding!


Our only niece was married on Saturday in Woodstock. What a beautiful bride she was. Poor dear, she was not feeling the best (fever, swollen glands, etc.) but she carried on and you would never have known. She smiled and was radiant all day long.


Congratulations Alyson and Jonny! We wish you a long and happy life together


I loved the lace on her dress - equally beautiful front and back!


Of course weddings bring all the family together. Here are all the Hubbard grandchildren, and the only great-grandchild.


And here is our crew. L to R: Dan, Laura, Mark, Tiffany holding Claire, and Ian.


Yes little Miss Claire is a cutie-pie!  In just a few weeks she'll have her very first birthday!!

Peace,
Linda

"The bride and groom- May their joys be as bright as the morning, and their sorrows but shadows that fade in the sunlight of love." ~ Minna Thomas Antrim

Friday, August 8, 2014

August Personal Photo Challenge

It's that time again - Donna has challenged us with the theme of Animals this month for her Personal Photo Challenge. I was sorry to miss participating last month as we were offline for days, thanks to Arthur...  So I'm happy to be back!
Donna mentions that being a photographer of animals gives one the chance to practice the virtue of patience. She is so right... Animals are unpredictable and aren't always so keen on posing.. or following directions... My original plans (pets) were foiled. Oliver, my feline companion, didn't feel like posing for me; my sister-in-law's new puppy is so full of energy that many of my photos of him were not perfectly sharp - he had no intention of holding still for more than half a nano-second! Plans to photograph another dog didn't work out... so I have turned to my archives for something a little different - farm animals.

Taken at Kings Landing Historical Settlement, this photo of a lamb was taken in early September.  (Perhaps I should say "young sheep" - at what point does one go from being a lamb to a sheep??)  Regardless, she was photogenic, even with her dirty wool. She looked like she could use a good bath! She stuck close to what I assumed was her mother, so it was hard to catch her with a preferable background of grass or field, but I think there is enough contrast with her lighter head against her mother's
darker wool. I used a shutter speed of 1/250 to be sure to "freeze" her.


Charlie the rooster belongs to the brother of a friend. He was happy to pose and show off his spectacular plumage, but he wasn't about to strike a pose for long. "Be quick about it", he seemed to be thinking! Once again I was aiming for an uncluttered background  but I could not avoid the barn boards in the background. (I should have used a shallower depth of field so the background was in softer focus.) But I do think his surroundings make it clear we are in a barnyard! When I was a child, we had a small flock of hens and one downright mean rooster who loved to chase and peck children's legs, so I've always given roosters a wide berth... This was taken on a very bright sunny day with a shutter speed of 1/500.


The backlighting on this horse caught my eye as I drove by him in a field. He too looked like he needed a bath, but I guess he was a working farm horse, not a "fairytale shining white steed". He paid me no mind as I tried to entice him to come a little closer. It was a warm day and all he was interested in was the grass he was nibbling. Taken with a shutter speed of 1/350.

I hope you'll drop by Donna's Challenge here and see what other participants have done this month.

Peace,
Linda

"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms." ~ George Eliot

So many books.....

 This is the stack of books I've been working my way through lately. Three down, three to go... As I've said many times before, I need to find a few more hours in my day. So many good books, so little time!!


The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry is the story of a young woman with Asperger's. From the book jacket: "After the unexpected death of her parents, shy and sheltered Ginny Selvaggio, a young woman with Asperger's syndrome seeks comfort in the kitchen, away from her well-meaning but interfering relatives and her domineering sister, Amanda. The methodical chopping, slicing, and stirring soothe her anxiety, and the rich aroma of ribollita, painstakingly recreated from her Italian grandmother's recipe, calms her senses. But it also draws an unexpected visitor: the ghost of Nonna herself, bearing a cryptic warning in rough English, "Do no let her," before vanishing like steam from a cooling dish."
Ginny continues to spend time in the kitchen to escape her grief and her uncertain future. Her sister is adamant that they will sell the house and Ginny will come to live with her. Ginny has other ideas. She does not understand her sister's concern
for her safety and her immaturity in dealing with everyday life situations, her inability to live independently. Sheltered by her parents, she has never had to cope with the day to day business of life and its stresses, but thinks she is quite capable... she considers herself  "normal", and is, in fact, somewhat obsessed with the whole concept of  "what is normal"...  Food is her coping mechanism;  she turns to it to try and hold on to the past, even though she knows she must move forward.
I enjoyed this book, it held my attention. I didn't know a lot about Asperger's but found Ginny's character easy to like. (Upon finishing this book, I added Jodi Picoult's House Rules to my "to read" pile.) Although I could certainly identify with Amanda's concerns for Ginny's future and independence, I couldn't help but root for Ginny. The addition of recipes (and some great food metaphors) made the book even more enjoyable.You 'll laugh and you may even shed a few tears, and for sure you'll think about "what IS normal, anyway?"

Peace,
Linda

"Reading fiction is important. It is a vital means of imagining a life other than our own, which in turn makes us more empathetic beings. Following complex story lines stretches our brains beyond the 140 characters of sound-bite thinking, and staying within the world of a novel gives us the ability to be quiet and alone, two skills that are disappearing faster than the polar icecaps." ~ Ann Patchett, "And the Winner Isn't..."  NY Times 4/17/12

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Yet Another Good Book...

After reading Mrs. Kimble a few weeks back, I knew I wanted to read more by author Jennifer Haigh. My friend Jeanne Kaye who is also an avid reader suggested The Condition A Novel and I have to say Thank You, JK!! It was another great read!
This New York Times Bestseller is more than the story of a young woman with Turner's Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that keeps Gwen forever trapped in the body of a child. Rather it is the story of the entire McKotch family and how it gradually falls apart. Haigh explores the human condition - the weaknesses and faults that we all have, the mistakes we make and the disappointments that follow. No family is perfect and, as in life, every member of this family has their own challenges to face and deal with. Gwen's "condition" is only one of many that afflicts the McKotch family. The father, Frank, a scientist, is a workaholic - one could say he's obsessed. Paulette, the mother is controlling and very insecure. Sons Billy and Scott each have their own issues too - I don't want to give away too much of the story here, folks.
Haigh develops each character beautifully as the children move on with their adult lives, all are so "real" and believable. As they each struggle to cope with the choices they have made, the family drifts apart. Will they resolve their issues? Can they ever come back together as a loving family unit?
The Condition A Novel is really a story of relationships, and Haigh does a superb job of capturing the humanity of this dysfunctional family. It will make you think about your family and the relationships therein. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of Haigh's writing.

Peace,
Linda

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors and the most patient of teachers." ~ Charles W. Eliot

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Dessert for Dad

Today is my father's birthday. If he was still with us he would be 98 years young today. Wow - hard to believe. I was only 39 when he died, too young to lose such a wonderful father.
Dad loved desserts. Truth be told, he loved to eat, period. But he did enjoy desserts, and it was a family tradition to make homemade ice cream on his birthday. I'm not making ice cream today but I do have a great dessert recipe for you! It's one of my favourite go-to recipes when I have to take a dessert somewhere, or when company is coming. Or just for us! :) It's quick and easy to make and you likely have most of the ingredients right in your cupboard. I know Dad would approve of this one!


Pistachio Dessert

Base:
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
1 cup chopped pecans

Blend together well. Spread in 9"x13" pan. I flatten it with my hands or the back of a spoon - a smooth surface makes spreading the next layer easier.  Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. Cool.

Layer 2:
Cream together 1 8oz. package cream cheese with 1 cup icing sugar. Spread over cooled base.

Layer 3:
Mix 2 packages pistachio instant pudding mix with 2 1/2 cups milk. Beat together. Spread over cream cheese layer.

Layer 4:
Beat 1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream until stiff. Add a little sugar and vanilla. Spread over pudding layer. Garnish with chocolate shavings or curls. Refrigerate.

Note - I'm sure this would be equally good with other flavours of pudding too- chocolate, butterscotch, whatever your pleasure...  :)  Try it and let me know how you liked it!

Peace,
Linda

"People who love to eat are always the best people." ~ Julia Child
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