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

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!


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.


"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.


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

Monday, June 6, 2016

Finally, some finishes!

Now that the baby shower is past, I can show you what I'd been working on lately. You saw the baby quilt in the previous post, but here's another view. Not a great photo, just a "record shot" in dappled sunshine on the grass. It was a quick and easy scrappy quilt, made with fabrics already on hand. Nothing fancy, just a good sized "utility quilt" for her to use. I will be doing another quilt, more carefully planned. You'll see that later...

I first saw this quilt here on my friend Holly's blog. (Thanks for the inspiration Holly!!) Really liked it and sort of "filed it away" in the back of my mind... a few weeks later I found it in a magazine and really filed it for future use. (It's called "Paper Pinwheels" and found in Fons and Porter's Quilting Quickly, September/October 2015 issue.) When I found out the baby's room walls were soft grey and Laura was decorating with shades of blue, teal and turquoise, I knew this would fit right in! I needed something I could get finished quickly and this fit the bill with simple 6" blocks and no borders. It measures 36" x 48."

Here it is over the side of the crib, awaiting his arrival! Looks good, don'cha think?

Also on the list of items to be made before I went to Ontario were some receiving blankets (sorry, no photos, but I did four good sized ones) and some reversible burp pads. I had never made burp pads before, but again they were fun to do, not to mention quick and easy.

I had collected some fun fabrics, all cottons, for one side, the reverse sides were flannel.

A friend gave me two patterns, one slightly larger than the other, and I made four of each. I clipped the concave curves and notched the convex curves which helped to get good smooth curves that laid flat. (Dressmaking/tailoring skills are still with me!!) A good pressing and some top-stitching finished them off nicely.
Stay tuned, I'm quite sure there'll be more "baby projects"....


"A package of joy, a bundle of bliss,
This quilt for baby was sealed with a kiss."

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Update Time

I'm back! Oh wait, you didn't even know I was gone, did you? Well it's time for an update... family news, travels and such!
On May 23 I headed off to Ontario to visit my two kiddos. Yes, two! I haven't told you that Mark moved to Toronto at the end of March. With his girlfriend there and him here... well... they could only keep WestJet in business for so long....  I could see what was coming... He was very fortunate and got the first job he interviewed for!! He now works for the largest international company in the world that produces human
vaccines. They operate 24/7 and distribute more than a billion doses of vaccine per year, making it possible to vaccinate more than 500 million people across the globe. He is still training, and will be for a while yet, which means he currently has weekends off. Once he starts "working" it's shift work Thursday to Monday, and he'll be working on acellular pertussis vaccine. He is loving his job and big city life! It was great to see he and Maggie and their new place, a 25th floor condo at Yonge and Bloor. The big city is not for me, but it's wonderful to see them happy with their careers and lives.

I was proud of myself for doing the long drive alone (all 1368 km.) navigating busy highway 401 without incident and driving right to Mark's building without a wrong turn once! From Toronto I continued on to Kitchener Waterloo area to take in a bit of the Waterloo County Quilt Festival and visit some dear friends in New Hamburg. More about that in a later post.

On Friday, May 27 I headed to Hamilton to visit dear daughter. She didn't know I was coming. Another big piece of news: She is expecting, due mid July. Yes! We're going to have a grandson! One of the main reasons for the trip was her baby shower on Saturday the 28th. I just couldn't imagine not being there! So I showed up at her workplace at noon Friday and surprised her with an invitation to lunch! I do love a good surprise, don't you? I was there 4.5 days so got to know the city a bit, help Laura with a few things, etc. She is well organized and pretty much all set up for baby's arrival. The baby shower was lots of fun and it was so nice to meet the friends I have been hearing about.

The photos are of Laura at the shower opening the baby quilt I made - more on that in the next post.
I flew home Tuesday night and have been busy ever since trying to catch up, mostly on gardening. I must say, after the big city and the noise, people and traffic, I sure do love and appreciate my quiet green spacious backyard...  :)


"There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again."
~ Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Tastes of Spring...

What do you most look forward to eating in the spring? For me, it's maple syrup, fiddleheads, rhubarb and asparagus. I've restocked my supply of maple syrup, fortunately I have friends who are maple producers ... lucky me! We've had asparagus a few times lately and the rhubarb is almost big enough.. I'm giving it just a few more days. But the fiddleheads are ready NOW and we've been feasting on them. Some of you may not know what fiddleheads are... they are somewhat of a local delicacy I guess you could say. They are the unfurled fronds of the ostrich fern which grows along the riverbanks as the spring flood waters recede. Tightly curled up, they resemble the curled ornamentation on the end of a stringed instrument like a violin. They are hand picked and eaten as a vegetable. (If left on the plant they would unfurl as fronds.) They can be purchased at the grocery store, but I usually buy from an older gentleman who picks them each morning, then sells them off the back of his truck in the afternoon. His are always the cleanest and don't require much rinsing. Fiddleheads are a good source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, and are high in iron and fibre. The season is short, just a few weeks in May, so we enjoy them as much as possible when they are fresh. They are boiled or steamed until fork tender, served hot with butter, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and many like them with a dash of vinegar too. Favourite spring meal? Salmon and fiddleheads, with a rhubarb dessert. All I can say is yummmmm.
Do you have a favourite spring meal?


"Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring?" ~ Neltje Blanchan

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Waiting on the Bookshelf

What are you reading these days? Do you have a stack of books stored up for "summer reading" awaiting your attention? I've been lucky lately in finding books at a great price in some of my favourite used bookstores. I even found one which has been on my "want to read" list for a while, in a favourite lunch spot. When I stepped in the door recently I noticed a lovely basket full of books, with a sign reading "Take One, Leave One." Wow, what a great idea! The owner let me take one even though I had nothing to leave. I assured him next time I was there I would bring several to leave behind for someone else to enjoy.
I've already told you about my luck in obtaining many in the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series here. These are the other recent acquisitions, two of them on loan from friends.  Have you read any of these? Any suggestions for others I should add? I have finished The Pink Suit and A Desperate Fortune, and am currently reading The Boston Girl. Next up will be The Piano Maker. Bring on those lazy days of summer, I'm ready! (Well, I will be once the gardening chores are finished...)
What are you looking forward to reading this summer?


Sometimes I tell myself to stop reading and get things done.... then I laugh and turn the page.
Source- Pinterest/Aesta's Book Blog

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Who Doesn't Love Tulips?

I don't have many tulips, many of the bulbs I've planted over the years have died out. These ones
were planted by my mother years ago in a small bed by her driveway and they come up faithfully every year even though they are pretty much neglected.... She loved them so, and now I am enjoying their cheery bright colours. I think of her every time I look at them. I hope you enjoy them too!

Here is the same clump, a few years ago on a beautiful blue-sky day.... couldn't quite replicate the same shot this year


"A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms."  ~ Unknown

Monday, May 23, 2016

Recent Classes

I love teaching classes but am also happy when I'm finally done for the term. It takes a lot of time to get ready for classes, get demos prepared, samples completed, notes written, etc. But it is very rewarding and I'm not ready to give it up yet. Most of the classes I teach are "skills" classes rather than "project" classes. One of my favourites to teach is the "Miniatures" class. I call it a combo class - combining skills (improving your sewing accuracy) with a project (making a miniature quilt.) I was fortunate to teach that class twice this spring, once for the Mariners Guild of Dartmouth NS, and then for the St. Croix International Guild of St. Stephen NB and Calais ME. I rarely remember to take photos during a class, I'm always too busy getting through all the info and keeping everyone on track, but I thought I'd share with you two group photos that were taken at end of day in these two classes. Thanks to Jackie L. and Lynda D. for sending me these "class" photos. I'm hoping many of these gals will send me photos of their finished miniatures... If so, I'll share them with you...

Photo credit: Jackie Logan

Photo Credit: Lynda Duplissea


"It is the supreme art of  the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."
~ Albert Einstein 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

I'm Back...

Yes, I AM still here... no doubt you've been wondering...  I haven't been in blogdom much lately, life has been keeping me incredibly busy. But I'm finally starting to see the proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel.." Guild is finished for the year, except for one last Executive meeting. I finished a large (very time consuming) project for our last meeting, sadly I cannot show it to you for a while. But you WILL see it eventually. I'm done teaching classes now until fall. That's a huge check on the Done List! Choir is finished, concert is over, music passed in. Another big check. Cancer canvassing is done, money passed in. Check. (Can you tell I love crossing things off a list?!)
The big thing looming now is getting all the outdoor work caught up...  there is always so much to do in the spring. Several of my perennial beds really need some serious attention. Some perennials need to be dug and split, a job which often requires some of hubby's muscle. I did manage to get him to cut some chunks off a few well established hostas for a neighbour/new gardening friend. So that's one job on his "Honey-Do" list completed. It takes a sharp shovel and his weight to drive the shovel through the mature plants, I cannot do it... I have lots more to do this coming week, bulbs to start, seeds to plant, top-dressing to do with compost, some plants to re-locate, not to mention weeding... why oh why do the weeds always grow so much faster than the plants??? Then there's the vegetable garden to get tilled and planted... The list goes on and on... A gardener's work is never done... but I love it. It's such a wonderful and rewarding hobby... Here's what's been blooming lately...

From left to right, beginning with top row:  Chionodoxa, double daffodils, scilla (squill), tulip, purple violets, Solomon's seal, muscari (grape hyacinth), tulip, pulmonaria (lungwort).

I have lots of jobs to cross off the list this coming week, but I promise there will be a few (likely brief) blog posts. Stay tuned...


"The world's favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May."
~ Edwin Way Teale

Saturday, April 30, 2016


We all know that friends are the best!  But having a friend who is also an avid reader, knows what you are reading, and keeps an eye out for you is the absolute best! Last Friday as I was getting ready to leave for the weekend, my friend Barb called and said she was working at her church rummage sale. Among the books were a number of the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series, and would I like her to get them for me? "Well Yes, absolutely." So look at what I now have on my shelf - 1 through 12 except for 2 and 11. I know our local library has #2, and no doubt they have #11 as well. She picked up 7 books for me, for the whopping sum of $5.00! What a score! How lucky am I?! Thanks Barb! So if any of my local reading friends are interested in this series, you know Linda's Library is open!!   :)


"A book is a magical thing that lets you travel to far-away places without ever leaving your chair."
~ Katrina Mayer

Friday, April 22, 2016

Signs of Spring

Hi all. Just a very quick post today as I am leaving shortly for Moncton for the NB Gathering of the Guilds. This is a gathering of representatives from all our quilting guilds in the province, held every second year. We get together to share ideas, challenges and see if we can brainstorm to solve common problems and issues. It's always very inspirational and a good deal of fun as well. So, all my bags are packed, I'm ready to go.... ♫♫  (I'm just not leaving on a jet plane... ha!)

With the nice weather we've had this week, I've tried to get some work done outside, and am happy to say I have the leaf mulch all cleaned off four of my five big beds and things are sprouting up! The daffodils are up and budded, they'll be in bloom by next week I expect, the tulips are budded too, but smaller. Some of the perennials are poking through already, and some of the small bulbs are already blooming - chionodoxa, crocus and scilla.

So it looks like spring has finally arrived. (We won't discuss the foot+ of snow that Newfoundland got this week, okay? ... sure hoping that doesn't happen here...)

So hope you enjoy these few spring-y photos huriedly taken around the hacienda this morning....


"The naked earth is warm with Spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Lean to the sun's kiss glorying,
And quivers in the sunny breeze."
~ Julian Grenfell
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