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

Friday, April 28, 2017

Signs of Spring

Spring seems slooow to arrive here this year as it is in most of Canada I guess. But she is slowly, gradually unfurling, dabbing the lawn with her green paintbrush and coaxing buds and shoots to grow, despite the cool temperatures. We have had a number of wet days, and many "too cool" days so I have yet to get much done outside, other than uncovering my perennial beds. Here are a few photos of spring signs, taken several days ago when it was dry and somewhat sunny. We're in the midst of yet another rainy stretch, with little sun in the forecast for the next six days... rather dreary... So enjoy these indications of what is coming, and my cheery crocus that bloom joyfully regardless of the weather (a lesson for us all, perhaps?)

These cheery little chionodoxa are usually the first to show themselves in the spring. 

Before long the daffydils will be nodding their golden heads...
...and the scilla will be a mass of  vivid blue. 

These crocus were my mother's and I think of her each time they bloom.
I brought her these bulbs from the Netherlands in 1976!!
Every spring they make me smile with their little heads lifted to the spring breezes.


Take heart, everyone. Spring and colour are on the way! We just have to be patient!

Peace,
Linda

"Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world." ~ Victor Kraft

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Upcoming Choir Concert

Tickets are selling fast for our upcoming spring concert. Don't wait too long to get yours! I have sold all I had, but am picking up more tonight. If you are local and want tickets, get in touch with me this week!

Edit: Tuesday night, after our first dress rehearsal: I think this will be the best Spring Concert we have done. We have such a nice selection/variety of music. No special guest performers this time, but there will be two small groups from within the choir... If you are local you don't want to miss this concert! Tickets are available from choir members, at Westminster Books or, if you're lucky, at the door.

Peace,
Linda

Singing in a choir is cheaper than therapy, healthier than drinking and more fun than working out.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

On My Bookshelf

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah has been on my list for quite a while and I have finally crossed it off. What a great read! I loved it. Historical fiction is definitely my favourite genre and WWII is one of my most favourite time periods. I would rank The Nightingale right up there with other WWII favs like Sarah's Key, Those Who Save Us, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and The Far Side of the Sky. 
The Nightingale, set in German-occupied France between 1939 and 1944 is a beautifully written story of two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle Rossignol. Kristin Hannah is a master story-teller, painting her characters with a fine brush - they seem so very real and alive. This is not your typical WWII story, but rather one of family, and the courage that two women displayed, each in their own way, to deal with the horrors of Nazi-occupied France. Vianne and Isabelle are somewhat "estranged" with a difference in age and opinions. With Vianne's husband off to war, her home becomes the home base for a Nazi officer. Isabelle cannot accept this arrangement and leaves to join the French resistance. Their lives follow different paths, each showing strengths by resisting the occupation in their own way. I won't give away any more of the plot, you really must read this book yourself! A powerful and moving story, the character of Isabelle is based on a a real person who helped more than 100 downed Allied airmen escape occupied France. It left me wondering if in similar circumstances I could be half as determined and courageous. This novel has won several awards and I've heard there will be a movie. I cannot wait! 10 stars out of 10 from this reader!

Peace,
Linda

"The book to read is not the one that thinks for you, but the one which makes you think." ~ Harper Lee

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Quilt Atlantic Retreat 2017

I don't know how the days are flying by so quickly! How can it be a whole week since the Quilt Atlantic Retreat at White Point Beach Resort? To say it was an awesome weekend would be an understatement... friendly students who were keen, beautiful location, awesome meals, wonderful accommodations, and a well organized schedule keeping us all busy and engaged, but not pressured or rushed. The only disappointment was the weather, the skies were overcast, we had some rain and saw little sun. But we can't control the weather so we just carried on and had fun anyway, despite the conditions outside. Things did brighten up on Sunday morning...
The seas were high and the surf was pounding the whole weekend. There's just something mesmerizing about the sea.. I could watch it and listen to it for hours...




The new lodge (rebuilt after a devastating fire a few years ago) is beautiful. The dining room overlooks the beach and the ocean, as did my classroom space. I should have taken more photos inside... Here is the lodge from the beach.


The property is home to many bunny rabbits, and the bunny theme is evident around the resort (such as adirondack chairs with bunny ears and feet) and in the gift shop. But the poor weather must have been keeping the bunnies in their burrows, as I only saw two, and had my hands full both times but no camera. (I'll remedy that if I ever get back!)

I didn't take any photos during the classes (bad Linda!) but Bev, our fabulous retreat organizer, has kindly sent me a few of hers. There were 5 teachers offering 5 half day classes, 3 full day classes, and my class was 1.5 days. I'm not sure how the students ever made choices with so many wonderful options: a hand appliquéd miniature landscape, stained glass reverse appliqué, wool appliqué, hand quilting, hand appliqué, jewelry from fabric, curved pieced appliqué, miniatures and rug hooking. Photo Credit to Bev Crouse for the following photos:

Teacher Sue showing her wool appliqué bunny (keeping with the bunny theme!)
Student Kathleen working on her hand appliquéd landscape.
Teacher Brenda and student Wendy discussing stained glass reverse appliqué.
Student Lyn's miniature fish blocks in my class. (I hope she'll send me a photo of the finished quilt.)



Student Sherrille looks pleased with her miniature Log Cabin block

And... if you have a birthday at White Point, you get the "bunny ears" treatment in the dining room and the staff sing Happy Birthday! ♫♫  Here is teacher Jane of River House Rug Hooking in Petite Riviere, celebrating her Saturday birthday. Happy Birthday Jane!


All in all it was a wonderful weekend. I feel honoured to have been a part of it. Huge thanks to organizer Bev Crouse and to Donna Hatt of White Point.

Piece!
Linda

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." ~ Walt Disney

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Look Who's Growing!

Photo Credit: Tasha B Photography
For those of you who have been asking about Noah, yes, he's doing just fine! Growing and learning new skills, and growing more lovable every day! He has two front teeth, has mastered crawling, (and he is fast!) can now pull himself up to standing, and walks along if he has something sturdy to hold onto - he easily walks the length of his crib, holding onto the rails. He is learning to eat solid foods and to drink from a cup. All useful skills! haha I can hardly believe he will soon be 9 months old!!
Annnddddd... some big news.. he will soon be moving to NB! Yes! They are moving back to NB later this spring. You know I am one happy Grammie! (Insert Happy Dance here!)

Photo Credit: Laura Cooper
 Each month Noah's mummy has taken his photo on or around his birthdate. I'm thinking this is likely the last one he will co-operate and lie still for.. he is on. the. move!

Photo Credit: Laura Cooper



And here he is looking so handsome in his new jean jacket!
Let's go for a walk, Mummy!


Hold him a little longer,
Rock him a little more,
Read him another story,
You've only read him four.
Let him sleep on your shoulder,
Rejoice in his happy smile,
He is only a little by
for such a little while.


Peace,
Linda

Such a big miracle in such a little boy!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Goodbye Florida




It's time to finish off with the last photos from my Florida trip. I've been so busy... Time marches on and I have other things to share with you!


Spring seems to finally be making its way here.. The snow has gone down considerably over the last week, and spring bulbs are poking shoots through the leaf mulch on my side and back perennial beds. I have loosened up the layer of mulch and hopefully by the weekend I can clean off the beds completely. You can tell the gardener in me is getting anxious.... looking at these wonderful Florida blooms makes me yearn for blossoms in my own backyard. Hurry up spring, let's get on with it!





A walk around Sandi's neighbourhood provides lots of colour.. just about any colour you could want! Of course the bougainvillea come in lots of colours... I especially liked the variegated one in the lower right corner.


This passionflower vine grows just up the street; it was loaded with buds and blooms this year - last time I saw it, it had only one bloom so I was happy to see it thriving.


If you like bright oranges, peaches and reds, here you go.. lots of beauty! Can anyone identify the plant in the lower right corner? It was sooo beautiful... and looked very exotic!



I prefer the pinks and purples...here are bougainvillea, plumbago, hibiscus, jasmine, mango, and again several I cannot identify.


Ah, such a beautiful world we live in. I DO appreciate the seasons, and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else...but I wish our summer (ie gardening season) was a little longer and winter was considerably shorter...

Of course, when visiting Sandi one also has a lovely view of the St. Lucie River and all its goings-on... the birds, the boats, the sunsets... Here's the back of  the house from the river, and from that lovely deck one can relax and enjoy the river view...


Because I didn't take my long lens there aren't  any great bird shots, but I enjoyed the daily visits from the osprey and pelicans, and occasional sightings of a blue heron and a male cardinal, and porpoises! Mr. Osprey who visits every morning loves to sit high in the old live oak - what a great vantage spot to watch for fish... Can you see him?


I'm sure you can understand why it's hard to "come back to winter" after spending time in this paradise...  But come back to reality I must! "Thank you Sandi" hardly seems adequate for such an awesome week! 



Peace,
Linda

"Be happy in the moment - that's enough. Each moment is all we need - not more." ~ Mother Theresa

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Florida Fish and Flowers

As I started this post this morning, it was snowing, yet again. (Insert sad discouraged face here.) Our ground is still covered, although there are some bare batches appearing at the base of trees and along the driveway edge. I am so very ready for some significant signs of spring to arrive. Those of you who are enjoying spring, please send it our way. I just had to change my header, I couldn't stand looking at the wintery photos any longer!
So to appease myself, today's post will feature lots of green, and some Florida blooms. Although we spent a lot of time indoors at the quilt show, and shopping throughout the week, of course we had some outdoor time too to soak up some Vitamin D and enjoy "nature."
We visited a wonderful exhibit ("Our Body, The Universe Within") at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium.  Photos were not allowed, but I strongly encourage you to see this amazing exhibit if it ever comes to your area, if you are interested in the human body and how it functions. From the publicity website: "OUR BODY: THE UNIVERSE WITHIN is a fascinating, artful and educational exhibit consisting of actual human bodies and organs. Appropriate for all ages, this exhibit literally goes "under the skin" revealing the mysteries of the human anatomy. The bodies, specimens and organs have been preserved using a process known as polymer impregnation."
We both thoroughly enjoyed it.

 At entrance of South Florida Science Center in West Palm Beach
Of course we took a stroll through the aquarium as well. I love aquariums so wasn't going to miss this chance. Good photos were not easy to acquire as of course the fish haven't been trained to stop swimming and "pose".. haha


I did manage to get one good shot of Mr. Lionfish. He was so beautiful to watch, with all his fan-like "plumage"....


And these two fellows were happy to pose...


Aren't they cute? Who would like a baby 'gator?


Okay, enough of the "Florida wildlife"... let's move on to some green....

When one is a gardener, winter "here in the north" is far too long. It just does my heart and soul good to be able to have a few days of sunshine, warmth and GREEN to "tide me over" until we see spring arrive. I so enjoy the gardens and blooms, the trees and the palms... Let's go take a walk around Sandi's front and back yard....


Banana trees, mandavilla, bougainvillea, hibiscus, split-leaf philodendron, ti plant, and several which I cannot identify... yes, it's a beautiful spot...

Not to mention the trees and the river..... which will have to wait for another day. It is late and I must get my beauty sleep...

Peace,
Linda

"Stop, take a moment, look around you and appreciate the beauty in your life."
~ Gail Lynne Goodwin

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Last of the Quilts...

I've been spending a lot of time in the studio these last few weeks, trying to get several new pieces done. Now I'm busy preparing for a weekend teaching trip to Nova Scotia. Can't wait for the Quilt Atlantic Retreat at White Point Resort!  So, I've been a bad girl and haven't been blogging much... let's fix that right now!
I promised to show you the Best of Show and a few special exhibits from the Broward Quilt Expo. Here we go.




First up, Best of Show.  


Night Blooming Rose of Sharon by Rose Hunter Valentine.

Best of Show and also first place, Appliqué Duo
 
















This is one talented lady, and appliqué is obviously "her thing."
You saw her two other entries, both ribbon winners, in this previous post.



















This was a beautiful quilt, the colours were vibrant and rich, the appliqué was skillfully done, as was the quilting.






One of the special exhibits was by the Miami Art Quilters. The fourth Saturday of July has been set aside as the National Day of the Cowboy to preserve the pioneer spirit and heritage, and to promote "cowboy culture." As part of this celebration, the Miami Art Quilters have displayed their cowboy-inspired works for a number of years.











Cowboy John by Sandy Marietta was my favourite, even though I thought he looked more like a Jake or a Sam...  wink!




















This piece was also very well done. Sadly I did not record the maker's name..
My apologies.








Another small special exhibit was by a group of Brazilian SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) artists. The exhibit was titled Brazilian Amazon Inspirations. The one piece that really caught my eye was this parrot, made entirely from Kaffe Fassett fabrics. Again, my apologies for not having the maker's name. (If anyone can provide names, I'll happily add them...)


























Lastly, here are two photos of some of the small quilts awaiting the auction. A "Mini Quilt Live Auction" was held on Saturday afternoon; we had left by then, but I'm sure it was great fun.
123 small quilts were made and donated for auction by members of the six participating guilds! Very impressive indeed!




Peace,
Linda

There should be an eighth day of the week called SEWDAY, where all you do is sew all day long.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Seriously?!

Laughter is the best medicine they say, so with that in mind, I just had to share this with you tonight....

When my mother saw something she couldn't believe, or if there was something she really disapproved of, she would "tsk tsk" and often say "what is the world coming to?"  As I get older "more mature" I frequently find myself thinking the same thing.... "What the heck is the world coming to?" That was my thought when I saw this today, in a coupon flyer that came with our newspaper....



Seriously??? ! "Spray before you poo, to keep nasty smells in your bowl." Ummmmm, I always thought you wanted to get rid of any smell.. by flushing when you were done ...? Am I missing something here?? Is this an April Fools joke? Perhaps a good choice for a gag gift?



Good Lord, what next!? Do we really need this product, folks??

(I hope you too find this funny... I certainly don't wish to offend anyone... )

So, tell me... Will V.I.Poo Pre-Poo toilet spray be on your shopping list this week? I'm dying to know... If anyone would like my Free Coupon, just let me know; you're welcome to it...
(Yes I will be back with more quilt show photos next.)

Peace,
Linda

Laughter is, and always will be, the best form of therapy.



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

And... More Quilts!

Are you ready for another walk around the Broward Quilt Expo? Got your comfy walking shoes on? No need for a lot of chat, let's get going. Again, in random order, here are more of my favourites (yes there were many favourites!) Warning, this post is photo heavy...




First a few more wonderful pieced quilts...






You know anything blue always catches my eye.
This quilt hung so beautifully, perfectly straight and square.















Dimensional Star by Joanne Oelschlanger

So beautifully quilted by Eleanor Sasnett







Although blue will always be my most favourite colour to work with, I have to admit, red is growing on me...


Free Range Sheep by Elena Madara
Quilted by Nora Bordach

The border fabrics were cute sheep prints, and I really liked the block design...



(This RED one is for you, JKS!)












Owl in the Nines by Charlotte Noll really appealed to me visually. Isn't the optical illusion well done?

Honorable Mention, Small Pieced, Single Maker.
















There were some wonderful appliqué quilts to admire.. Appliqué is not my thing, but I sure do appreciate them and how much time and skill goes into them....


Anna's Blue Baskets
by Rose Valentine
(I am sorry, I don't have the quilter's name for this one.)

Honorable Mention, Appliqué Duo








Wow! Look at all those perfectly turned edges...
And what a great choice of background fabric.


ULV Breadfruit by Rose Valentine

1st Place, Appliqué, Single Maker












Another beauty!

Ella the Elephant is Watching
by Linda Levine

Honorable Mention,
Appliqué, Single Maker












This one was incredibly beautiful!

Hungarian Rhapsody 
by Elizabeth Kiss

Special Merit for Hand Quilting



And did I get a good clear closeup shot of that beautiful hand quilting? Nooooo.... Sorry! Trust me, her hand quilting stitches were fine and even.






And we'll finish off with some wool appliqué.



Safari by Cheri Guariglia

3rd place, Appliqué, Single Maker

This was another that I could have spent a lot more time studying... the longer you looked the more you saw.















There is so much to enjoy at a quilt show. Not only are you treated to seeing some incredible work up close and personal, you can learn so much from studying the quilts... design elements, technical skills to admire and aspire to, colour combinations that you would not have thought of, border treatments, quilting designs, and so on. I feel very fortunate to have been able to attend this high quality show.

Next up I'll show you a few of the special exhibits and the quilt that won Best of Show.

Piece!
Linda

Appreciation is the act of feeling the beauty around you.
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